Sunday, December 22, 2013

Night Watch

China: On 29 November, the fifth meeting of the Standing Committee of the Fifth Hainan People's Congress passed an amended version of the regulations governing Hainan province, according to Chinese press.

This year's amendments include the declaration of a new maritime identification zone for regulating all fishing in the area bounded in red -- from the coast of Hainan southwards along the Philippine Islands down to the coast of Borneo and northwards skirting Vietnam. The boundaries encompass 772,204 square miles (2 million square kilometers) of sea.

According to the regulation, "All foreign persons and foreign fishing boats that enter waters administered by Hainan Province to conduct fishing or fisheries surveys must have pre-approval from the appropriate PRC (People's Republic of China) State Council office." The new regulation is effective 1 January 2014.

Comment: The new maritime zone was declared six days after China announced the new air defense identification zone that covers the Senkakus. The fishing industry has not protested the new regulation, probably because it is not yet in effect and, thus, has not been tested. The effect of the regulation is to treat the sea and island areas as China's territorial waters, rather than international waters.

Last year on the same date, Hainan announced more sweeping regulations for effectively administering the sea areas under its jurisdiction. Those regulations empowered Hainan's public security border defense units to board or interfere with all foreign ships - not just fishing ships -- under six conditions that range from "trying to pick a quarrel" in the 12 nautical mile territorial sea; to illegal landing on islands; violations of national sovereignty or propaganda activities that threaten national security; to other actions that threaten the management of public order in coast and border areas. These are models of subjectivity.

Authorities on Hainan clarified last year that they would only enforce the regulations within the 12 nautical mile zone, including the 12 nautical mile zone around all the islands that China claims. That led to the standoff with the Philippines over Scarborough Shoal.

The new developments this year - the zone declaration and the targeting of foreign fishing ships - suggest an incremental expansion of enforcement should be expected in 2014. One expert concluded last year that, on balance, the new regulations asserted a legal basis for boarding or seizing foreign ships, but did not portend a major change in Chinese law enforcement practices. That was last year.

NightWatch judges that this year the treatment of fishing boats will be more aggressive. If so, it will change the fundamental economics of fishing and mineral exploration in the South China Sea. In addition, it will increase the inevitability of confrontations over sovereignty with Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Inasmuch as this declaration supports long term Chinese development plans, another expansion of jurisdictional claims may be expected in 2015 and every year thereafter until all foreign ships should expect to be monitored and China's neighbors get used to it.

North Korea: New threat. The secretariat of the National Defense Commission sent a fax in which it threatened to attack South Korea "mercilessly without notice" in response to rallies held in downtown Seoul by conservative groups this week.

The message warned that North Korea would strike if "the provocation against our highest dignity is to be repeated in the downtown of Seoul."

A South Korean government official announced today that, "A threat was delivered yesterday that the North will attack the South with no forewarning. This message was addressed to the Blue House national security office."

Using the West Sea military communication line, "The reply was sent through wired message and in the fax message (sic), we warned that if North Korea is to carry out provocation (sic), we will firmly retaliate," said Kim Min-seok, the spokesman for South Korea's Ministry of National Defense.

Comment: This most recent threat is a response to the burning in effigy of Kim Il-sung, Kim Chong-il and Kim Jong Un in front of the Korea Telecom building in Gwanghwamun on Tuesday. The South Korean protestors said, "Kim Jong Un, who has ascended the throne as the devil of the world, has mercilessly executed the husband of his aunt, and is now an explicit danger to the South."

The North always reacts to insults by protestors in the South. This is the first such instance since the execution of Chang Sung-taek. The threat to attack mercilessly is normal. The threat to attack without warning is elevated because it implies the use of missiles. Forward forces north of the Demilitarized Zone are under constant close surveillance. Their military status is normal, according to South Korean defense officials.

Post Execution Cleanup. Defector sources have reported that following the execution of Chang Sung-taek a roundup of his extended blood relatives has begun. They are being sent to political prison camps.

According to one source, "At around 10pm on the night of the 13th, the day after Jang was executed, armed men from the Ministry of State Security arrived unannounced in the Pyongchon area of Pyongyang where a lot of Chang's relatives lived. They took away a few hundred people. As far as I know they were taken off to political prison camps."

"It wasn't just his close relatives who were taken away, but distant relatives too like the relatives of his father," the source added. "In these circumstances even his relatives outside Pyongyang aren't safe."

Comment: The Pyongyang government continues to insist that conditions are normal. In one sense, the roundup of relatives of an executed traitor is normal. If they are not executed themselves, they will remain in prison work camps until they die or the regime changes.

Turkey: A high profile corruption and bribery investigation is unsettling Turkish politics. More than 88 people have been arrested including at least 30 senior police chiefs. The charges are bribery, abuse of office and manipulation of tenders. At least some of the charges stem from the confrontation over Gezi Park last summer.

Prime Minister Erdogan has called the investigation a dirty political operation against his administration sponsored by unidentified foreigners - presumably the government of Israel.

Comment: Conservative, secular Kemalists have attempted to bring down or at least obstruct the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for years, most sensationally in the Ergenekon plot involving senior military officers.

Turkish political commentators and outside experts say that the latest political attack is the result of a split between Erdogan and one of his strongest backers, a moderately Islamist Turkish Muslim leader who has set up some 900 Islamic schools in multiple countries. Erdogan wants to close all private schools, according to some accounts.

The issues are essentially internal politics in Turkey, but they affect the economic outlook and the political stability of the country. A large scale purge of police and security officials is being conducted by the financial crimes authorities. This is the most serious challenge to Erdogan to date and it arises from within his own coalition.

Central African Republic: Update. After a brief lull following the arrival of French forces, clashes recurred in Bangui, resulting in 19 dead and more than 50 wounded. The French have reinforced Bangui with troops from the Marine Infantry.

Comment: The unrest is fundamentally between Christian and Muslim militias and the security situation is much worse thatn the French anticipated. They planned a six month stabilizing operation in cooperation with Chadian and Burundian troops. The operation will take longer than six months. The blood lust has not spent itself.

End of NightWatch ###


30) "Oh, the guy who bombed Boston is on the loose in my neighborhood? Super glad I don't have an AR-15 with 30 round mags" Said nobody, ever. -- Katie Pavlich
29) I wanted to know why we were promised a state of the art website and we got an abacus and a sundial. I want to know what we got for our money. I want to know if this thing could be fixed in two months why didn't you have it up and running in the three years prior to October the 1st? -- Congressman Trey Gowdy on healthcare.gov
28) When lefties "discuss" issues, a lot of their so-called "discussion" amounts to nothing more than rationalization about how & why some person should be excluded from further discussion. Either him, or the points he has just brought up. They truly do seem to think we become more "learned," by way of knowing less. -- Morgan Freeberg
27) Part of what's so problematic with Washington is how many Republicans want a show vote to pretend to their constituents they're fighting for what they say they're fighting for, rather than actually fighting for it and actually winning. In both parties, you've got entrenched politicians who have barely veiled contempt for the American people. They think their voters are gullible rubes — and you give them a little “show vote,” you tell them, “Hey, I'm totally with you,” then they go to Washington and they don't actually do what they say. -- Ted Cruz
26) Liberals love diversity. That's why they love to punish anyone who doesn't think, act, eat, drink, drive and speak exactly like them. -- Congressman Steve Stockman
25) One of the best peace speeches I ever read was one delivered back in the 1930s — by Adolf Hitler! He knew that peace speeches would keep the Western democracies from matching his military buildup with their own, or attacking him to prevent his buildup from continuing. Peace speeches by Iran today serve the same purpose of buying time — until they can create a nuclear bomb. -- Thomas Sowell
24) There is no scientific evidence that bullying causes suicide. None at all. Lots of teenagers get bullied (between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 teenagers report being bullied in real life, fewer report being bullied online). Very few commit suicide. Among the people who commit suicide, researchers have no good data on how many of them have been bullied.
It is journalistically irresponsible to claim that bullying leads to suicide. Even in specific cases where a teenager or child was bullied and subsequently commits suicide, it’s not accurate to imply the bullying was the direct and sole cause behind the suicide. -- Kelly McBride
23) “I don’t see why anyone needs …” is code for: “I don’t do it, so let’s ban it.” The corollary is: “I enjoy this, so you have to subsidize it.” -- Ann Coulter
22) What would you think of a person who earned $24,000 a year but spent $35,000? Suppose on top of that, he was already $170,000 in debt. You'd tell him to get his act together -- stop spending so much or he'd destroy his family, impoverish his kids and wreck their future. Of course, no individual could live so irresponsibly for long. But tack on eight more zeroes to that budget and you have the checkbook for our out-of-control, big-spending federal government. -- John Stossel
21) No Republican presidential candidate has won the black vote since the 1920s (Here’s to you, Herbert Hoover!), the majority of black voters had become Democrats by the 1940s, Republicans’ gains in the South were concentrated among educated and relatively affluent suburbanites, the same as they were everywhere else in the country, not among the redneck bloc. The Southern congressional caucus went Republican in 1994, not in 1964. -- Kevin Williamson
20) If Republicans are opposed to what mass immigration is doing to the country demographically, ethnically, socially and politically, there are, as Reagan used to say, "simple answers, just no easy answers."
Those answers: No amnesty, secure the border, enforce laws against businesses that hire illegals, and impose a moratorium on new immigration so wages can rise and immigrants enter the middle class and start voting as did the children and grandchildren of the immigrants of 1890-1920 by 1972.
So what are the Republicans doing?
Going back on their word, dishonoring their platform, and enraging their loyal supporters, who gave Mitt 90 percent of his votes, to pander to a segment of the electorate that gave Mitt less than 5 percent of his total votes.
Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. -- Pat Buchanan

New moderate Iran threatens retaliation to proposed sanctions

From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer


Bushehr.jpgThe Bushehr nuke plant

Clearly the new Iran is just as "moderate" as Barack Obama and John Kerry claim. Don't "moderates" always threaten retaliation when things don't go their way?

"Iran threatens retaliation to proposed sanctions," by Ramin Mostaghim and Paul Richter for McClatchy-Tribune News Service, December 20 (thanks to Kenneth):
TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian lawmakers on Friday, Dec. 20, threatened retaliation for a new Senate bill that proposes tough new sanctions on Iran if the Islamic Republic fails to cooperate in upcoming negotiations aimed at curbing its nuclear program. 
Mehdi Moussavinejad, a senior member of the Iranian parliament’s energy committee, said lawmakers were considering a measure that would hike Iran’s uranium enrichment for the current top concentration of 20 percent to more than 60 percent, substantially closer to the 90 percent needed for nuclear weapons fuel.
“Given the method that the other negotiating side — the U.S. in particular — has adopted during the nuclear negotiations, the legislators are working on a bill that will require the government to increase the level of uranium to over 60 percent,” Moussavinejad told the official Iranian Republic News Agency.
He said the high-grade material was needed “to supply fuel for our ships.”
The lawmaker was reacting to news that 26 senators, including 13 Democrats, had signed on Thursday as co-sponsors of a new sanctions bill, despite furious lobbying from the White House. The Democrats included Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., the No. 3 Senate Democrat, and Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Obama administration officials have maintained that new sanctions could drive Iran from the negotiating table and strengthen its hard-liners who don’t want a deal with the West....
For years the establishment foreign policy experts have taken this line: we have to come to the aid of this or that unsavory individual or group, or we have to make these concessions that are not reciprocated by the other side, or else we will drive our friends into the arms of the extremists or let the radicals win out. What has it gotten us? Disaster in Afghanistan, disaster in Iraq, disaster in Libya (Benghazi), disaster in Syria (where the "moderates" who were so highly touted by John Kerry and John McCain just a few months ago have now been almost entirely routed), disaster elsewhere. It is time for a sea-change and the utter rejection of the foreign policy establishment. But that is not on the horizon.