Night Watch

China-US: Comment: When world powers disagree on an issue they tend to spotlight minor points, such as treatment of journalists. While that is important, it does not threaten conflict in the same way as scrambling fighter jets in an air defense identification zone, which China has done.

The Chinese made no compromises to the US Vice President about their declaration of an air defense identification zone. The Vice President said he was very direct with the Chinese, but North Korea and economic issues appear to have been more prominent in the talks, based on the press coverage.

The Chinese seldom admit mistakes, almost never issue retractions and would never compromise on a national sovereignty issue for the US or any other nation. The Biden visit was mostly for show. Nothing serious appears to have been accomplished, which should surprise no one.

Yemen: A series of attacks at Yemen's defense ministry have left at least 52 dead and some 162 hurt, officials say.

A suicide car bomb blew up at the gates of the complex in Sanaa's Bab al-Yaman district, at the entrance to the old city, and a gun battle followed at a hospital inside. Seven foreign medical staff - doctors and nurses - are among the dead.

Comment: No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but foreign news commentators blame the local al Qaida franchise for the attack. The significance of this attack is the lapse of security that it exposed. The Arab Spring bypassed Yemen and skipped to the fractious fall.

Syria: The activists told the media that two shells loaded with gas hit a rebel-held area in the town of Nabak, 40 miles northeast of Damascus, on a major highway towards Homs and the coast. Seven people supposedly died. The rebels accused the Syrian army of the attack

Comment: No one should take this accusation seriously. No Army fires two rounds to accomplish anything. The Syrian army and Hizballah have no weapons that fire only two chemical rounds. The rebels do. Poorly trained militias and disorganized rebel groups perpetrate attacks of this kind.

The Syrian army's chemical weapons have been accounted for by international inspectors from the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, except for one site in northern Syrian. This attack supposedly occurred along the border with Lebanon, where government and Hizballah forces are advancing.

Night Watch

NightWatch is an internationally acclaimed nightly newsletter that tracks and assesses threats to US national security. It has an edgy, executive style unlike any other summary of its kind.