For the night of 30 July 2013
North Korea-South Korea: Update. North Korea has not responded to South Korea's "final offer" for talks to normalize operations at the Kaesong industrial complex.
India: Update. India's indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant (trans. slayer of enemies), is almost ready to commence its first sea trials, four years after it was launched by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur at Visakhapatnam in 2009. The 6,000-ton submarine has completed its harbor trials. Its nuclear reactor is ready to go critical.
This submarine will be armed with K-4 and K-15 submarine-launched nuclear-capable ballistic missiles (SLBM), which are still under development. It will be India's second nuclear-powered submarine, joining the nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarine, INS Chakra, leased from Russia. India reportedly is interested in leasing a second Akula-class hunter-killer submarine.
Comment: The navy is the leading edge of India's assertion of strategic dominance in the Indian Ocean region against China. There is a grudge match to be fought between India and China over the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. Neither side is ready for that contest, but both know it is coming and are preparing for it.
Pakistan: Update. The head of Pakistan's election commission said lawmakers have elected ruling party candidate Mamnoon Hussain as the country's new president. Fakhruddin Ibrahim says Hussain, who was nominated by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N party, received 432 votes Tuesday. "His victory was widely expected."
Egypt: Tuesday night pro-Mursi activists marched to Defense Ministry buildings in Cairo without incident.
Earlier on Tuesday, the European Union's chief of foreign relations visited ousted President Mursi. Catharine Ashton said he was in good spirits and in good health. Ashton offered him a safe exit from Egypt, which Mursi refused.
In Sinai, another Egyptian Army soldier was killed by militants during an attack in Al Arish. Five soldiers and policemen have been killed in the prior 36 hours.
Comment: Mursi's refusal of the offer of safe passage means that he does not accept that his ouster is final. However, anecdotal reporting indicates that the Muslim Brotherhood's tactic of sacrificing bodies to generate public support is not working. Most reports relate views that the Brotherhood is getting what it deserves.
The Brotherhood, as an organization, remains committed to challenging the military-backed government, but its base of support appears to be shrinking. Eventually the demonstrations will end.
Tunisia: The country's largest labor union called on Tuesday for the dissolution of the Islamist-led government, and the interior minister, a leading independent, said he was ready to resign. The union's spokesman said it wanted the Islamist government to be replaced by a technocratic government led by an independent. It said that it considered the Ennahda-led government "incapable of doing its work."
Comment: Prime Minister Larayedh said he is willing to accept any formulation that does not repudiate the national elections and the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, which has produced no useful draft in over a year. That kind of appeal is an indication of desperation and an admission of failure.
Nigeria: The army said soldiers have arrested 42 suspected Islamic extremists in the southwest states of Lagos and neighboring Ogun. Maj. Gen. Obi Umahi told reporters Tuesday that some of those detained already have admitted to belonging to the Boko Haram terrorist network.
Multiple explosions at a bar and entertainment area in a Christian quarter of Nigeria's northern and mainly Muslim city of Kano killed at least 24 people, a hospital official said Tuesday. Lt. Ikedichi Iweha, a spokesman for the Military Joint Task Force, said earlier Tuesday that 12 people died at the scene and 'a couple' of people were wounded in Monday night's attack, which he blamed on the Islamic extremist Boko Haram network.
Comment: Nigeria announced today that it was withdrawing a Nigerian Army battalion from Mali to strengthen its capabilities against Boko Haram. Nevertheless, Nigeria has no strategy for dealing with Boko Haram and little capability to ensure civil order.
The Nigerian response in withdrawing a battalion from Mali repeats a pattern that dates to 1960. The latest Western-equipped battalion supposedly will be the savior of the nation's security problems. That has always been a myth. The Nigerian villagers will solve the Boko Haram problem, if properly supported, not the Nigerian Army.
As for the big round up of extremists in Lagos and Ogun States, that announcement is a shallow attempt at disinformation. The Boko Haram threat is in northern Nigeria, not the south where Lagos is.
End of NightWatch for 30 July.
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