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NightWatch 20141029

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NightWatch

For the night of 29 October 2014

Syria: International news services reported the arrival of Free Syrian Army (FSA) Arabs and Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga contingents in Kobani today. A few dozen fighters represented the Free Syrian Army. The Iraqi Kurds numbered about 150 fighters who came with arms and ammunition.

Comment: A Syrian Kurdish spokesman admitted that the contingents would not turn the tide, but said they represented an expansion of support for the fighters in Kobani.

One press account said that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) controls half of Kobani again.

Tunisia: The official results of the 26 October general election were released on 30 October. The secular Nidaa Tounes (Call of Tunisia) party won 85 seats in the 217-seat parliament. Nidaa Tounes has pledged to form a government "with those closest" to it.

The Islamist party, the Ennahda Movement, won 69 seats, making it the runner up..

A spokesman for Nidaa Tounes said that the party recognized that the Ennahda Movement is now part of Tunisia's political life. Nidaa Tounes recognized it must coexist with the Islamists, not necessarily enter a coalition with them.

Comment: The language of the Nidaa Tounes leaders indicates they judge they can form a government without having to include representatives from Ennahda. Ennahda will be in opposition for the next four years.

The celebrations of a victory by a pro-democracy secular party may be short-lived. The real test of Tunisia's secular democrats will be whether they can provide goods and services better than Ennahda did. The electorate has given them a chance because Ennahda failed.

Nigeria: African news services reported that Boko Haram militants seized the town of Mubi on 30 October. They sacked the local emir's residence and released militants in prison. Nigerian soldiers fled, but the air force launched air attacks at targets in the town.

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Comment: A string of seizures in the past seven days has focused on villages along the border with Cameroon. Mubi is just south of a town that was seized on the 23rd. The local Boko Haram leaders appear to be sealing the border of their caliphate while they expand southward. The seizures show how poorly the Nigerians have defended their border villages.

The attack occurred as a Boko Haram delegation was in talks with the Nigerian government in Chad. The Nigerian government insists that a ceasefire with Boko Haram is holding and that Boko Haram is serious about releasing and returning the kidnapped women and girls.

End of NightWatch for 29 October.

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