Night Watch

China: Xinhua reported that a preparatory meeting of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party appointed Xi Jinping as the new Secretary-General of the Party.

Comment: Xi will be the new head of party and government, as expected. The Communist Party wants predictability and stability, which is why it was pleased with the outcome of the US presidential election.

Iran: On Wednesday Iran's leadership dismissed president Obama's reelection, suggesting that Tehran was not in the mood to start negotiations over its nuclear program any time soon.

Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, the head of Iran's judiciary, said, "After all this pressure and crimes against the people of Iran, relations with America cannot be possible overnight and Americans should not think they can hold our nation to ransom by coming to the negotiating tableā€¦Four years ago, Obama was elected on a platform for change and said he was extending his hand for cooperation with Iran, but he acted otherwise and unprecedented sanctions were imposed."

Comment: The foregoing was Iran's first official reaction to the US elections. It puts the lie to reports over the weekend that secret US-Iranian negotiations were taking place.

Turkey-NATO-Syria: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said 7 November that NATO is preparing to deploy Patriot missiles to Turkey's border with Syria, Today's Zaman reported.

Comment: Three points beg for comment. The region to be protected is a refugee camp on the Syrian side of the Turkish border, according to news service reports, not a safe haven inside Turkish borders.

The second point is that multiple sources, including Turkish officials, denied this report. The latest report, however, came from Davutoglu.

Third, this does not look accurate because it would enlarge Turkey's meddling in the Syrian uprising, without adding any significant protection to Syrian refugees. NATO has no taste for increasing any military commitments of any kind anywhere at this time.

Syria: Comment: Since 3 November, one or more bombing attacks have occurred in Damascus daily, including a car bomb today that killed a judge in Damascus. The state-run SANA news agency said a 'terrorist group' planted explosives under the car of Judge Abad Nadhwah when it was parked in front of his house. This murder was the second assassination of high ranking government officials in the capital in two days.

Some of the bombings and other attacks have targeted government officials or their family members. On Sunday and Monday, bombings targeted Alawite residential neighborhoods.

The attacks have been well planned, reconnoitered and executed. Some have involved crew-served weapons, such as mortars, which indicate better training and better execution by some opposition fighting groups.

The last surge of attacks in Damascus occurred around 21 October. That means that the periodicity of attacks into Damascus is about two weeks. In the summer, the opposition did well to execute two or three bombing attacks in Damascus in a month.

The significance is that the periodicity between attack surges has halved. Secondly, the attacks are more coordinated. Thirdly, they are more threatening to the regime's survival because the targets are in or near core regime neighborhoods.

The regime's ability to maintain security in Damascus is declining. The next downward step is loss of control of neighborhoods and flight from Damascus.

Greece-Europe: For the past three days tens of thousands of demonstrators, supported by labor unions, have gathered outside the Greek parliamentary building in Athens to voice their opposition by European Union imposed austerity measures.

Protestors in Athens on 7 November were said to number 200,000, some of whom threw Molotov cocktails at police who responded with tear gas.

Late reports indicate the Greek parliament approved the EU austerity measures by a narrow margin.

Comment: The Greek government will do whatever the EU requires as well as spend without restraint. That is the only way it can stay in the eurozone and keep internal violence under control.

Readers should know that European authorities have lowered their predictions of economic progress for 2013, including for Germany. Most predict and expect another dip in the European recession that will have worldwide consequences. From the US to China, investors are avoiding risky investments. Markets for consumer products are contracting, according to the experts. One implication is that internal instability, civil disorder and street disturbances will increase in at least five European countries, if the economic prognosis is accurate.

End of NightWatch ###

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Night Watch

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