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Clash Continues in Egypt: U.S. Policy Wobbles

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
South Korea-North Korea: Preliminary talks about reopening the Kaesong industrial complex are supposed to be taking place on 6 July, but no news services have confirmed them during this Watch.

China-Russia: For the record. Chinese National TV posted to the web footage of Operation "Joint Sea 2013." The joint Chinese-Russian exercise in Peter the Great Bay in the Sea of Japan began on 1 July and will run through the 12th.

The Chinese naval contingent consists of four guided missile destroyers, two guided missile frigates, a supply ship, and three ship-borne helicopters. It's the Chinese navy's single largest deployment of military force in any joint foreign exercise. China's national defense ministry says the drills are not targeted at any third party, and that the aim is to deepen cooperation between the two militaries.

With the Russia ships, including a submarine, 18 or 19 warships and more than 10 aircraft and helicopters are taking part in the maneuvers. The two navies will practice recapturing ships seized by pirates, as well as search-and-rescue operations. They'll also be a number of air defense, anti-submarine and anti-ship exercises. Russia and China have regularly held joint naval drills since 2005, under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Comment: The Joint Sea series of exercises are annual events whose location alternates between Russia and China. Operation Joint Sea 2012 took place in the Yellow Sea.

The framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization initially was counter-terrorism and crime prevention. It has evolved far beyond that.

China-Pakistan: Following meetings between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the cohort of senior Chinese leaders, including President Xi, the two countries released a 37 paragraph document entitled, "Common Vision for Deepening China-Pakistan Strategic Cooperative Partnership in the New Era". Most of the paragraphs are anodyne. Paragraph 19, in the middle of the document, is the most important.

"19. Both sides agreed that they will focus on the following areas of cooperation in the near future under the framework of the Long-Term Plan for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: start the China-Pakistan Cross-border Fiber Optic Cable project at an appropriate time, upgrade and realign the Karakoram Highway on fast-track basis, explore cooperation on solar energy and biomass energy, explore construction of industrial parks along the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor, launch at an early date inter-governmental consultations to implement the Digital Television Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcasting (DTMB) in Pakistan, coordinate the commercial operation of TD-LTE in Pakistan, and enhance cooperation in the wireless broadband area."

Comment: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the program by which cooperation with Pakistan fits into President Xi's vision for China. Improved communications between western China and northern Pakistan are the top listed projects. They will improve the ability of the two states to coordinate mutual support in the event of a crisis with India.

The economic corridor with Pakistan is part of China's strategy to reduce dependence on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore for importing strategic materials. Complementary programs are being tested with Burma, Turkey and Iran.

Egypt: Security. At least 30 people were killed Friday during clashes among Brotherhood supporters, new government supporters and military forces. The Health Ministry reported more than 400 injured.

At least 12 deaths were reported in clashes In Alexandria, after Islamists opened fire on a rally of Mursi opponents, a medical services official reported. Police sided against the Islamists.

Comment: The backlash has begun and the new regime weathered its first challenge. The Brotherhood had called for a million-man demonstration. Limited information indicates the largest pro-Mursi demonstrations numbered in the low thousands.

Reports are conflicting about who fired first, but Brotherhood supporters and the military were the groups that news services reported as armed. The worst clashes occurred in Sinai where a soldier was killed. The Army denied, however, that a state of emergency had been imposed in that governate, as some press sources reported.

Politics. Interim President Mansour spent the day assembling his top advisors. He appears inclined to move cautiously and unimaginatively in establishing the civilian government. If so, his honeymoon period with Tamarrud will be brief.

Today the Egyptian Tamarrud (Rebel) movement called on the masses to take to the squares and streets in various provinces on 6 July to defend the "achievements of 30 June, the second wave of 25 January Revolution."

The movement urged the masses to join the "national army" against what it called "legions of terrorists belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies."

"We see this bloody attack on the masses of our people and on the security forces and our soldiers on the borders as a desperate attempt by the regime of the deposed Muhammad Mursi to defy the Egyptian people's will, which manifested on 30 June," the statement said.

Comment: The competing demonstrations ensure there will be more violence.

End of NightWatch ###

Editors Note: Below is a reprint of comments from previous NightWatch:

Attitudes towards the US are uniformly hostile, particularly to the US Ambassador who spoke in public on 30 June against the anti-Mursi demonstrations. That speech is cited often as the reason for hostility to the US by the Tamarrud members. Large posters of the Ambassador have her face X'ed out in red paint. The US government has limited influence with Tamarrud which believes the US propped up Mursi. The ambassador should be considered not safe in Cairo.

As for the Brotherhood and the Salafis, they are convinced that the US Army is responsible for the "coup," because of its connections with the Egyptian Army.

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