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NightWatch 20120413

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For the night of 13 April 2012

North Korea: The Korean Central News Agency announced that the fifth session of the 12th Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) of the DPRK took place at the Mansudae Assembly Hall Friday, 13 April.

"Those present included Kim Jong-un, first secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, supreme commander of the Korean People's Army and supreme leader of the WPK and the people of the DPRK, along with the deputies to the SPA."

"Deputy Kim Yong-nam, president of the SPA Presidium, made a speech recommending the dear respected Kim Jong-un to the top post of the DPRK. He proposed to the Supreme People's Assembly the proposal of the Workers' Party Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the WPK on electing the dear respected Kim Jong-un as first chairman of the National Defense Commission, in reflection of the unanimous will of the party, the army and the people."

"The proposal was fully supported and approved by all the deputies and the participants as it reflected the ardent desire and unanimous will of all the party members, servicepersons and other people."

"The session solemnly declared that Kim Jong-un has been elected first chairman of the NDC of the DPRK."

Comment: This completes Kim's sweep of all the top positions. Prior to this SPA session, there existed no position with the title First Chairman of the National Defense Commission, just as there had been no position of First Secretary of the Workers' Party. The new Kim is showing filial piety to his dead father. Apparently Kim Chong-il will remain eternal Chairman of the National Defense Commission as well as eternal General Secretary of the Korean Workers' Party. Kim Il-sung continues as eternal President of North Korea.

The failure of the space launch did not interrupt the planned sequence of events associated with Kim Il-sung's 100th birthday. No nuclear detonation has been reported by any source during this Watch.

Philippines-China: Update. China and the Philippines agreed to stop any provocative actions at Scarborough Shoal while they negotiate a resolution to their standoff there, Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario said on 13 April. China withdrew one of three ships from the Scarborough Shoal on the 13th. The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines told Philippine officials the ship had a different mission, a Philippine foreign affairs spokesman said.

Syria: The ceasefire is holding, though some sporadic shooting has occurred.

Syria-Russia: Russian warships will be permanently deployed to patrol the Syrian coast, an unnamed high-ranking source in the Russian Defense Ministry said on 13 April. Several warships are on their way to the Mediterranean, and another Black Sea Fleet ship will replace the guided-missile destroyer Smetlivy in May, the source said.

Comment: Russia obviously is not abandoning Syria and evidently does not judge the al -Asad government is in such peril that Russia should recall its patrol ship.

Egypt: In the past two days, Islamists have staged large anti-military and anti-Mubarak holdover demonstrations in Cairo in reaction the Omar Suleiman's announcement of his candidacy for president. The Muslim Brotherhood and others appear shocked by and concerned about Suleiman's entry.

Guinea-Bissau: On the night of 12 April soldiers seized interim President Raimundo Pereira and ex- prime minister Carlos Domingos Gomes Junior, who is the leading candidate in the presidential run-off election scheduled for 19 April.

The soldiers told the media that they were taking over the government to prevent their "annihilation" by Angolan soldiers under a secret agreement between the two governments.

Comment: Once again farce is tragedy in West Africa. A small Angola military mission recently departed after trying but failing to reform and professionalize the Guinea-Bissau military force. This was the sixth or seventh military coup or coup attempt since independence in 1974, half of them since 2003. No elected president has completed a term of office since independence.

Guinea-Bissau is a narco-state, the hub for the drug trade from Latin America to Europe. At least 60% of European drugs transit Guinea-Bissau and the Tuareg region of northern Mali. The soldiers acted to protect this trade and to loot.

End of NightWatch for 13 April.

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