North Korea: South Korean defense authorities are expecting more North Korean short- or medium-range ballistic missile firings. North Korean authorities declared a no-sail zone in the East Sea/Sea of Japan near Wonsan. The North said the drills are justifiable self-defense behavior to preserve peace and to “protect the safety of our people and our country”.
Comment: The South Koreans are treating this as a dangerous provocation. This time the North provided a warning. The North Korean leader is upset at being treated as a second-class citizen and appears to be showing his pique by wasting a lot of ordnance. A Swiss education seems to have made little impact on Kim's leadership skills, except the notorious Kim family penchant for luxuries.
South Korea-North Korea: South Korea says it has recovered an unidentified drone that crashed on one of its border islands the same day that North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire across their disputed maritime boundary. The wreckage was discovered on Baengnyeong island, which lies just south of the maritime border.
Comment: This is a reminder that countries hostile to the US have learned from US military practices in the past several wars. The presence of the drone also signifies that the North Korean gunners probably knew exactly where their coastal artillery was placing its shells in the recent live-firing exercises and how the South Koreans were reacting.
Pakistan: Pakistani authorities released more than a dozen Taliban members from internment centers in Wana in northwestern Pakistan.
According to details provided by the government, the release of the Taliban members at this time shows the interest of the government in avoiding any possible deadlock in the talks.
Comment: The limited release is a half measure because the Pakistani Taliban negotiators required the release of 300 women, children and elderly as well as fighters. It probably will be sufficient to keep the sides talking.
Syria: Syrian army soldiers with the help of militias are slowly taking back the villages in northwestern Syria that Islamist fighters captured between 21 and 24 March.
"Syrian army units have full control of Observatory 45 in the north of Latakia province and are continuing to pursue terrorist groups," the government said. A rebel spokesman denied the government claim and insisted fighting continues.
Comment: The Islamist offensive in Latakia appears to have gone as far as it can, but they are tenacious in attempting to hold ground and tie down government forces. After ten days of fighting, the opposition should have required resupply from Turkey. There is no mainstream reporting on how the rebel groups are able to get ammunition.
Central African Republic: Cameroonian Brigadier General Martin Tumenta Chomu, military chief of the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA), on 31 March took the defense of Chadian soldiers who on 29 March killed about 32 civilians and wounded 100 others by shooting into a crowd.
According to Chomu, the Chadian troops only reacted to an attack by Christian militia fighters in the area. He added that the Chadian shootout was a "nonevent" for the MISCA. The Chadian soldiers claimed they came under an attack that left two soldiers injured.
Comment: The security situation in Central African Republic has devolved into a sectarian extermination campaign by Christian militias, called anti-balaka fighters, against Muslims. The Chadian soldiers are Muslims and they tend to protect the Muslims. The UN intends to evacuate 19,000 Muslims at risk. Already a million people have been displaced because of the fighting.
The European Union military mission to Central African Republic officially started on 1 April. The European Union battalion will join 6,000 African Union peacekeepers and 2,000 French soldiers. Thus far these forces have had no impact in reducing the killing.
End of NightWatch
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