Night Watch

China: Another apparent terrorist attack occurred in Guangzhou in southern China. Xinhua reported seven people were slashed in the city's Tianhe district in an evening attack.

Comment: The Chinese are not calling this a terrorist attack. However, it is similar to recent attacks by Uighur separatists this year, particularly the use of edged weapons. This attack indicates that the Uighur terrorist cell in South China remains intact and a threat, despite an increasingly harsh security crackdown on the Uighurs.

Thailand: Junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha has been elected the new prime minister of Thailand, by his hand-picked parliament. The vote was 191-0, with three abstentions. He was the only candidate. His approval by the King will be important, but a formality.

Comment: Since his overthrow of the Yingluck Shinawatra government in May, Prayuth has tried to revive the economy with large infrastructure projects, such as railroad construction, and to attract foreign investment, such as by trying to modernize the education system. His main task, however, has been to eradicate the political infrastructure of the Shinawatra family.

He is 60 and must retire from the armed forces next month. In his new position, he will become a civilian, like President al-Sisi in Egypt, who is a retired Field Marshal. As prime minister, Prayuth will be in a position to continue his program of political reform and tutelage, which aims at guiding rural voters from supporting the populist programs that resulted in repeated electoral victories for the Shinawatras.

Pakistan: Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan suspended talks with the government Thursday after it appointed a new police chief in Islamabad. Khan said he would not leave the PTI sit-in site in Islamabad until Nawaz Sharif resigned as prime minister. He also called for his supporters from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province to come to Islamabad to reinforce the protest.

Comment: The Army made no new statements. No new clashes have been reported. Imran Khan refuses to compromise, frustrating the government's attempt to initiate a dialogue. As a result, the political confrontation shows no sign of ending soon. Khan's refusal to compromise suggests he has strong backing from some powerful political stakeholder. Since all important civilian political groups openly back Nawaz Sharif, that leaves the Pakistan Army and Islamic groups as the most likely backers of the anti-Nawaz Sharif movement.


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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