Rebels Make Progress in East Ukraine

Night Watch
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Posted: Sep 04, 2014 12:01 AM
Rebels Make Progress in East Ukraine

Pakistan: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif convened an emergency session of the National Assembly to discuss the continuing clashes and protests in Islamabad.

Comment: Pakistani political commenters wrote that even the parliamentary opposition supports Nawaz Sharif in standing up to a small, but loud minority that is calling for his resignation.

Afghanistan: Dr. Abdullah's team renewed its threat to withdraw from the voter fraud audit unless its demands were met in 24 hours. His most powerful backer, the Governor of Balkh Province in northern Afghanistan, Atta Mohammed Nur, has warned Abdullah's supporters to prepare for mass protests.

The Independent Election Commission announced that it had invalidated 48,000 votes and was half way finished with the process. Results should be announced by the 10th..

The government announced that Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi will represent Afghanistan at the NATO summit on 4 and 5 September, when NATO is expected to declare "mission accomplished."

Comment: Presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai received at least a million more votes than did candidate Dr. Abdullah. The election commission is barely scratching the surface of the voter fraud that took place. As a result, Afghanistan has no president to send to the NATO summit.

Abdullah's Reform and Partnership Team clearly expects to lose the audit. Large protests demonstrations appear unavoidable.

Iraq: Prime Minister-designate Haydar al-Abadi has nine more days to form a cabinet/council of ministers within the constitutionally prescribed period. One press service has reported a political breakthrough is near in that Al-Abadi is close to filling a cabinet of 30 ministers -- down from 41 under al-Maliki-- including a Sunni Arab as Interior Minister.

Comment: President Fuad Masum asked him to form a government on 11 August. Nuri al-Maliki resisted delaying al-Abadi's appointment until 14 August. The Constitution allows a prime minister-designate 30 days in which to form a new council of ministers and to have parliament approve it.

The overriding theme in the new council of ministers will be balance, according to the news analysis. Balance means more ethnic and sectarian inclusiveness and a public tilt towards the US and away from Iran.

The tilt to the US is clearly intended to placate the Americans in order to obtain more and better military support. Iranian support has helped slow the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but not reverse its seizure of Iraqi territory. ISIL has sustained limited tactical reversals only since US air support resumed.

Ukraine: Separatist fighters in east Ukraine said they have taken control of the Donetsk-Mariupol highway and several other roads leading to Mariupol, the second-largest city in Donetsk Region, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 2 September.

Comment: The rebels claim to have released hundreds of captured Ukrainian soldiers near Luhansk. They also claim to have inflicted heavy casualties in other areas. The Kyiv regime has not disputed most of the claims. Instead it claims to be at war with Russia.

The separatists restated their new goal of creating an autonomous state within Ukraine. The Kyiv regime continues to reject negotiations with them.

Nigeria: On 1 September, Boko Haram terrorists attacked the town of Bama, the second largest town in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria. On 2 September the terrorists overran most of the town, News services reported heavy casualties, but no specific numbers. Some Nigerian Army defenders were killed by friendly fire from an air attack by the Nigerian air force.

Bama is 45 miles from Maiduguri, the state capital, which has 200,000 people.

Comment: Boko Haram is evolving into an insurgency from a terrorist raiding group. It is showing evidence of greater organization and discipline, more intelligence and focused targeting and the intention to hold territory and build a base. It might not be capable of overrunning Maiduguri, which is the Nigerian Army's base for the northeast. However, Maiduguri looks like a target for attacks.

On 24 August, Boko Haram's leader declared the recently captured town of Gwoza to be part of the Islamic Caliphate. It was unclear whether he was referring to his own caliphate or tothat of al-Baghdadi in Iraq and Syria.

Mali: At least four UN peacekeepers from Chad were killed and 15 others wounded when their convoy hit a mine near Kidal in northern Mali, a UN spokesman said.

Comment: The frequency of attacks has dropped significantly, but the terrorists and Touareg separatists continue to demonstrate that they remain a threat. Their infrequent attacks test the vigilance and reaction time of the security forces.

End of NightWatch

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