Night Watch

North Korea: North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan early on Wednesday, 9 July. Both appeared to be variants of the Scud missile and flew over 300 miles, according to South Korean and Japanese press.

A South Korean military source told the press that one or both of the missiles were launched from the southwest of North Korea and flew northeast across North Korea before impacting the Sea of Japan.

Comment: Launches from the southwest towards the northeast are infrequent and potentially dangerous in the event of a technical problem because a missile would fall on North Korea. The azimuth, however, permits a full range test of air frames that have a range of 500 kms without hitting a neighboring state -- South Korea, China, Japan or Russia - or falling into the Pacific Ocean.

China: For the record. On 2 July, Al Arabiya reported that Muslims in the Xinjiang autonomous region in western China who are civil servants, students and teachers have been banned from fasting during Ramadan.

The state-run Bozhou Radio and TV University said on its website that it would "enforce the ban on party members, teachers, and young people from taking part in Ramadan activities. …We remind everyone that they are not permitted to observe a Ramadan fast."

The commercial affairs bureau of Turfan city, in Xinjiang, said on its website that "civil servants and students cannot take part in fasting and other religious activities."

Comment: China officially allows freedom of religion, but personal freedoms always are subordinate to the interests of the state and Party. Several news items reported that official teams are checking Muslim homes to ensure the residents are not observing Ramadan.

Afghanistan: Supporters of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah rallied in Kabul today. Abdullah rejected the results that the election commission announced and declared himself the winner. He threatened to create a parallel government, but backed down under intense international, primarily US, pressure.

Comment: In his speech, Abdullah said he needed a few days to consider his options. He asked his supporters to give him some time. Meanwhile, Ghani is acting as if he is the president-elect. He said he is confident that the preliminary results will be validated. Expect violence by Friday after prayers.

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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