Night Watch

Afghanistan: Dr. Abdullah's campaign team withdrew from the voter fraud audit today. The UN monitoring team then asked Ashraf Ghani's team to withdraw, while the UN and the election commission continued the so-called audit.

Comment: The international monitors botched this election. They did not monitor the voting or the ballot boxes in ways to safeguard against fraud. Abdullah's people claim the election commission has no interest in invalidating ballots and has no transparent procedure in place. The so-called audit degenerated into a simple recount that Ashraf Ghani will win.

Secretary Kerry said it did not matter who won as long as the election was credible. The Afghans clearly disagreed, but were too polite to contradict him. Now there is no winner; no credible election; a Taliban offensive that is taking advantage of the leadership vacuum and another US-allied country in danger of fragmentation.

For Abdullah, this would be the second time an election was stolen by the Pashtuns through organized and officially sanctioned fraud. He would have beaten Karzai in the last election, but for massive ballot box stuffing.

The lesson is that Afghanistan is yet another country -- like Libya, Egypt, and Iraq - that is not ready for Western-style democracy. It is in danger of a resumption of ethnic civil war or of breaking apart, like Libya and Iraq.

Syria-Israel: Syrian rebels, including fighters from the al-Qaida affiliated al-Nusra Front, seized control of a border crossing post on the Golan Heights on Wednesday after clashes with Syrian government forces.

Comment: The capture of the post is symbolic, more than practical or defendable. Lightly defended border posts in Syria are vulnerable to overrun by larger bands of hostile fighters.

Border posts on the periphery of a country are indefensible all the time. Border posts are peacetime installations. They are expendable trip wires in wartime. Thus the Islamists chose to waste resources and energy on symbolic victories that ultimately make themselves targets.

During this Watch, Syria fighter jets began attacking the captured border post and killed six Islamic militants.

Israel: The ceasefire held today.

Special comment: Pundits in international media are debating who won the third Gaza War. The level of sophistry is entertaining. The prevailing judgment is that nobody won.

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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