Night Watch

North Korea: The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim Jong Un personally supervised the military's latest missile-firing drill on 26 July.

"Kim examined a firing plan that was mapped out in consideration of the present location of the US imperialist aggressor forces' bases..." He also reviewed the simulated battle to strike and destroy them before guiding the drill.

The launch was intended to mark the 27 July anniversary of the ceasefire agreement at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, KCNA said.

Comment: Saturday's launch was the first since the UN Security Council on 17 July officially condemned Pyongyang for its series of ballistic missile tests, in violation of UN resolutions. With international attention focused on a ceasefire in the Middle East, Kim and his men apparently decided the world needed a reminder that only a truce exists between North Korea and the Allies.

Kim Jong Un, like his father Kim Chong-il, has no military training; never served in the armed forces and never wore a military uniform or saluted an officer. Defector sources say the real soldiers resent the photo ops, just as they did when Kim Chong-il was alive.

Afghanistan: The voter fraud audit remains suspended. The head of the Independent Election Commission, Ahmad Yusof Nurestani, said in press conference on 26 July that the vote audit was suspended after the electoral teams failed to comply with the audit procedure on invalidating votes and other criteria proposed by the UN.

Comment: The audit will remain suspended through the end of the Eid al-Fitr observances this week and until the electoral teams agree on standards for disqualifying ballots. Meanwhile, the Independent Election Commission in Kabul said it has control of 67% of the ballot boxes, representing 21 of the 34 provinces.

Saudi Arabia: The Kingdom announced that the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, begins on 28 July. In a statement today, King Abdallah denounced the outlaws and deviants who have distorted Islam and are tools of the enemies of Islam. He described the struggle in Islam as a fierce war and Saudi Arabia as a strong dam in the face of aggression, terror and blood-shedding.

Comment: The King pointed out that normally Eid is the occasion for congratulations. This year, his tone was admonitory. He did not name the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but said some groups were being led astray by the enemies of Islam, who were using religion as an excuse for terror.

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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