North Korea: The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published a new cooperation proposal.
"The National Defense Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) makes a special proposal as follows with a resolute determination to adhere to the three principles of independence, peace, and great national unity and the spirit of by our nation and to open up a new turnabout phase toward improved North-South relations in reflection of the aspiration of all countrymen and the desire of all the nation."
"1. Let us make a renewed pledge to the nation to unchangingly adhere to the principle of independence and handle all large and small issues stacked up between the North and the South on that basis…."
"2. Let us fully suspend all hostile military acts that drive North-South relations to the brink of war and show our resolute determination to create a peaceful atmosphere to all countrymen and the world from the standpoint of peaceful reunification…."
"3. Let us take practical measures to find a new turning point toward reconciliation, cooperation, and national prosperity under the spirit of by our nation and the principle of great national unity…."
Comment: The timing of this proposal suggests some North Korean leader belatedly realized the President of China will visit Seoul this week and probably would be annoyed by North Korean missile launches and provocative propaganda. Chinese President Xi has been foremost in ordering North Korea to avoid war, maintain stability and resolve differences through talks.
The new proposal is a revival of a similar proposal made in February. The theme is familiar: that the Koreans should settle their differences without outside involvement.
The target is, obviously, the US military alliance with South Korea. At one point in the statement, the North said that many countries have requested opportunities to train with North Korean military forces, but the North has always refused. Thus, the North's purpose is to persuade South Korea to cancel annual summer training with US forces.
That will not happen, but at least the North is not firing missiles today. However, inconsistent and erratic policy announcements continue.
Pakistan: Today, in a long statement, the Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations, Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa, said that action will be taken against anyone who takes up arms. He added that the North Waziristan operation is a battle for Pakistan's survival.
He said the area is a hub of all kinds of terrorists, and the terrorist attacks being carried out all over the country can be traced back to this area. "All the terrorists will be wiped out. North Waziristan is also the last refuge of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). This operation is the beginning of the end of terrorism in the country."
General Bajwa also said the 327 militants have been killed and 45 hideouts destroyed. The military operation will enter a decisive phase in the second or third week of July and a ground assault will be launched between 2 and 5 July.
Comment: The press coverage of Pakistani ground forces in trucks showed forces moving into position for the ground phase of the operations. Thus, air attacks are responsible for most of the deaths. The ground forces role has been to prevent militants from escaping.
Chechens and Uzbeks. The General's remarks advanced the theme that outsiders are responsible for much of Pakistan's troubles. He said, "the question is: What are Uzbeks and Chechens doing in our areas? Why do they not go back to their countries and carry out jihad against their own governments? Why are they only focusing on Pakistan? Surprisingly, terrorists from all over the world who were unable to find refuge in other countries were allowed to settle in Waziristan. The question that comes to mind is how this area of Pakistan became a hub of terrorists from all across the world?"
Comment: The Uzbek and Chechen terrorists now in Pakistan were part of the al-Qaida group that fled Afghanistan along with bin Laden and the Taliban leadership. They intermarried and became part of the tribal society in North Waziristan. Mention of them shows that the army continues to be careful not to place too much blame for terrorism on home-grown Pakistani tribal fighters.
Afghan cooperation. One of the more significant statements is Bajwa's praise for the cooperation he has received from Afghanistan's leaders. He said, "A terrorist is a terrorist by nature. He is not a Pakistani, nor an Afghan. Pakistan has assured Afghanistan that the operation is being carried out against all the terrorists, including the Haqqani Network."
Comment: The operation probably will last through the month of July. The destruction of the Haqqani Network will be the best measure of its success. As yet no source has reported what Afghanistan has promised Pakistan in return for destroying the Haqqanis.
Iraq: The security situation appears to have changed little in the past day. Neither side has made measurable progress. Fighting continues in Tikrit. Pro-government sources claim that the militants and tribal rebels are on the run in many locations. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the tribal rebels have made no new claims of conquest.
Air attacks continued, primarily against targets in Mosul. Significant destruction from the air apparently will be Mosul's reward for supporting ISIL over the Baghdad government. Parts of Mosul are in danger of being rubbled, like Aleppo in Syria.
Concerning the Islamic State, few Muslim groups have pledged allegiance to ISIL. Many have rejected the declaration, especially in Syria. Some Sunni Arab tribal militants told the press that they intend to continue their fight against the Baghdad government and will deal with ISIL later.
Politics. The new Iraqi parliament convenes on 1 July.
Lebanon: The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has named an emir for Lebanon and established a camp to train suicide bombers and send them to Lebanon, Naharnet reported.
Comment: This report might be propaganda at this point, but it reinforces ISIL's intention to include Lebanon and Jordan within the Islamic State.
Israel: During this Watch, Israeli aircraft executed punitive attacks against 34 targets in Gaza in retaliation for 18 rocket firings in the past two days and the murders of the three Israeli youths, whose bodies were found in the West Bank today. The Deputy Defense Minister said it is time to eradicate HAMAS. Prime Minister Netanyahu threatened that either Hamas stops the rocket firing or Israel will.
Comment: The effect of the murders and the rocket firings has made government leaders bloody minded. They are comparing the current security situation to that prior to the 2012 incursion into the Gaza Strip as Operation Pillar of Defense. The comparison is an incongruity that indicates the leaders seriously are considering a ground offensive into Gaza Strip. Ground operations appear likely, especially if more rocket attacks occur.
Ukraine: Following a meeting with his security council, President Poroshenko addressed the nation to announce the termination of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine on 30 June.
"A session of the Council of National Security and Defense of Ukraine was held in the evening of 30 June. Following discussion of the situation, I, as supreme commander, made the decision not to extend the unilateral cease-fire arrangements…."
"Defense of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the security and peaceful life of the citizens requires not only defensive, but also offensive, operations against the terrorist rebels."
"The Armed Forces, National Guard, and State Border Service have received the corresponding orders. In the accomplishment of the objectives set today in defense of territorial integrity they are no longer restricted by the cease-fire arrangements."
Poroshenko also said "we will liberate our land. Discontinuing the ceasefire is our answer to the terrorists, militants, marauders, and all those who are mocking the peaceful population, who are paralyzing the work of the region's economy, who are taking the payment of salaries, pensions, scholarships, who are undermining the railroad, destroying the water supply system, and who have deprived the people of a normal, peaceful life."
Ukrainian press quoted a government official who said that the security council decided to resume operations and to declare martial law in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Pro-Russian separatists reported the Ukrainian paratroopers landed at the Donetsk airport today. At one location separatists reported overnight a resumption of shelling by Ukrainian artillery.
Comment: Poroshenko and his advisors seem to have concluded that Russia decided to abandon Donetsk and Luhansk when Russian President Putin asked the upper house of parliament to revoke the authorization to use force in Ukraine. The Ukrainians have gotten bolder since then. The European Union association agreement appears to have made them almost reckless.
The timing of the Ukrainian moves would seem to be a deliberate affrontto the Russian leaders, who recently have cooperated in negotiations to end the crisis. Ukraine apparently is determined to test Putin's promise that Russia would protect Russians.
Nigeria: Update. Local sources and authorities told the press today that on Sunday Boko Haram fighters attacked churches in four villages, all within 6 miles of Chibok in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria. The death toll stands at 54. Chibok is the town from which Boko Haram abducted the schoolgirls.
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