North Korea - The Allies: North Korean media published an official denunciation of annual Allied exercises in South Korea and warned that they are dangerous. Excerpts follow.
"Despite the unanimous denunciation by the public at home and abroad, it was openly announced that huge Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military exercises will be staged for months from the end of February. This has created such a deplorable situation in which huge aggression troops of the U.S. are deployed in areas close to the Military Demarcation Line."
"The U.S. and puppet warmongers are claiming that the purpose of the drill is to take control of nuclear facilities in the north and occupy Pyongyang in case of "emergency in the north" This is another serious military provocation against the DPRK and an outright challenge to the good faith of the DPRK and the public opinion at home and abroad."
"We sternly warn the U.S. and the south Korean authorities to stop the dangerous military exercises which may push the situation on the peninsula and the north-south ties to a catastrophe."
"They should clearly understand that the north-south ties will plunge into a deadlock and unimaginable holocaust and that disaster will follow should they go ahead with the nuclear war drills and make military provocation, defying our warning."
Comment: North Korean forces are in the middle of their annual winter training cycle. Allied exercises will occur during the period of peak combat readiness for North Korean forces in late February and March. The timing of the US reinforcements and Allied training purposely is scheduled to deter North Korean provocations. North Korea knows this after more than 60 years.
The North Korean message is that there will be no progress in North-South ties during the exercises. That is normal. More importantly, the language in the North's statement is rather benign compared to last year at this time. The protest is pro forma, while the North turns inward to stabilize the leadership.
Thailand: Thailand's prime minister said Wednesday that elections due in less than three weeks will go ahead despite pressure by her opponents to postpone the vote. The statement came after an overnight shooting attack on anti-government protesters in Bangkok wounded two people.
Comment: The protestors appear unable to shut down Bangkok as they threatened. Elections are scheduled for 2 February. The opposition does not want elections because they will re-elect the progressives who are led by Prime Minister Yingluck. Their position requires escalation of violence in order to create an emergency situation that forces the government to resign and the King to appoint a governing council.
Iraq: At least seven car bombs detonated across Baghdad on Wednesday in apparently coordinated attacks by militants that killed at least 30 people, according to police and health officials. Separately, at least 18 people were killed when three bombs detonated at a funeral tent in the city of Baqubah, north of Baghdad
The situation in Anbar Province is unclear. Early reports indicated that militants beat Iraqi forces in one town. Later reports indicated Iraq Army forces recovered the lost ground.
Comment: Militant capabilities appear to match those of the Iraq Army which was US trained and equipped. The Iraq Army forces display no signs of following a campaign or strategy. They appear mired in tactics and are regularly getting beaten.
The unclassified battle reports indicate the Iraq Army is incapable of preventing the secession of the Sunni Arab areas. That raises a question about what that army was trained to do. It certainly could never defend Iraq from an outside attacker if it cannot defend Iraq from an inside secessionist force.
Egypt: Update. News sources have been contradictory about the second day of voting on the draft constitution. Early reports said the voter turnout was low. Later reports said it was enormous. All news sources reported no incidents of violence.
Considering past voting patterns, the Egyptians will do whatever they are told by those in power. The draft constitution will be approved.
Comment: This country is not and cannot be a modern democracy. It is too poor and too poorly educated. Those conditions may be considered Mubarak's greatest crimes after 34 years in office.
End of NightWatch
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