Night Watch

North Korea: North Korea fired seven short-range rockets from its east coast range near Wonsan on 4 March, using multiple rocket launchers.

Three of the rockets were 240 mm multiple rockets which have a 55 kilometer range. Four rockets were 300-mm rockets which have a range of 155 km, according to the South Korean National Defense Ministry statement.

Comment: The timing of the launches, which are occurring during Allied exercises, is the only potentially unusual feature of these firings. This looks like crew training again, but on rockets instead of ballistic missiles.

Now if the missiles and rockets had been fired towards the Demilitarized Zone or over South Korea and into the water, those acts would have been provocative as well as unprecedented in the last 30 years.

Thailand: Political tension has eased because anti-government protesters complied with orders to stop blocking streets in Bangkok. Instead they have relocated to a central Bangkok park, freeing up traffic after having blocked intersections for more than a month.

Thai press reported that the protesters, who moved to Lumpini Park on the weekend after orders from their leader, Suthep Thaugsuban, have taken their cause to the courts in order to bring down Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government.

"Bangkokians are able to go to work more easily, but the state of play in Thailand has not changed since protesters scaled back," said Siripan Nogsuan Sawasdee, a political analyst at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

Comment: Apparently authorities persuaded the opposition that their cause was not being helped by the economic drain from loss of tourism and from obstacles to moving goods and services in and around Bangkok.

The case against Yingluck and some associates is corruption. The significance of the resort to the courts is that if Yingluck is removed by a judicial process, she would have little recourse. Her brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was overthrown by a military coup in 2006, but he fled Thailand and contended that he remained the democratically elected and rightful head of government. He has remained politically active and influential from outside the country.

The opposition against Yingluck apparently has sophisticated legal advice and a smart legal strategy. Their actions indicate they have learned from the mistakes made in failing to imprison Thaksin after he was overthrown.

Night Watch

NightWatch is an internationally acclaimed nightly newsletter that tracks and assesses threats to US national security. It has an edgy, executive style unlike any other summary of its kind.

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