World View: India Announces Travel Restrictions as Taliban Targets Polio Workers in Pakistan

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Concerns grow over stability of North Korean regime
  • European governments fund terrorism through ransom payments
  • India announces travel restrictions as Pakistan polio workers are killed

Concerns grow over stability of North Korean regime

Kim Jong-un and Jang Song-thaek earlier this year

Kim Jong-un and Jang Song-thaek earlier this year

In North Korea you can be executed for sneezing the wrong way, and indeed dozens of officials have been purged since the child dictator Kim Jong-un came to power in 2011. Nonetheless, the sudden fall from grace and execution of Jang Song-thaek is so spectacular and so public that it's feeding speculation that it signals a major power struggle between competing factions in the child dictator's government. (See "11-Dec-13 World View -- Purge of Kim Jong-un's uncle signals N. Korean 'reign of terror'"

The following is pretty funny. These are excerpts from the official report on the execution of Jang: 

Upon hearing the report on [Jang], the service personnel and people throughout the country broke into angry shouts that a stern judgment of the revolution should be meted out to the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional elements. Against the backdrop of these shouts rocking the country, a special military tribunal ... was held ... against traitor for all ages Jang Song Thaek...

All the crimes committed by the accused were proved in the course of hearing and were admitted by him... 

However, despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him... 

The era and history will eternally record and never forget the shuddering crimes committed by Jang Song Thaek, the enemy of the party, revolution and people and heinous traitor to the nation.

Analysts are mixed about the meaning of Jang's spectacular fall. Some say that it signals a power struggle within Kim's family and possibly a coup. Others say that it means that Kim is becoming more powerful and confident, to the point where feels he can get rid of even family members whom he dislikes. 

Whichever is true, the fear is a period of instability in North Korea. Even worse, Kim may precipitate a crisis with South Korea or the U.S. in order to justify further purges within his government. Examples of previous crises precipitated by Kim or his father are the shooting of long-range missiles earlier this year, nuclear missile tests, and the sinking in 2010 of the South Korean warship Cheonan with a torpedo, killing 46 people. Washington Times and CNN

European governments fund terrorism through ransom payments

Britain's Foreign Office is calling on other European governments to stop making large money payments to terrorists in return for the release of hostages. No specific countries were named, but it's thought that the Foreign Office was referring to France, Spain, and Italy. 

France is believed to have paid Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) $20 million to free four French hostages in Niger, though the French government denies it. Earlier this year, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) took delivery of $22 million in cash in exchange for Swiss, Austrian, and Finnish hostages. Spain allegedly paid 12 million euros to free a hostage in Mali. 

Ransom money is a major funding source for terrorist groups, who use the money for everything from food and electricity to chemicals for explosives. The Foreign Office is asking other countries to stop making ransom payments, but governments find it difficult to resist pressure from kidnap victims' relatives. BBC and Daily Mail (London)

India announces travel restrictions as Pakistan polio workers are killed

Gunmen shot dead a polio worker and two policemen on duty to protect a polio vaccination team in two separate attacks on Friday in Pakistan. The shootings were the latest in a series of attacks by militants targeting polio teams. The Taliban have imposed an "official ban' on polio vaccinations, claiming that the polio vaccines are a stealth way to prevent Muslims from having more children, and they've been murdering doctors and nurses who administer the vaccines. The result is that polio is endemic in Pakistan, as well as in Afghanistan and Nigeria. 

India has become the first country to implement a ban on travelers from Pakistan who have not been immunized against polio. 

Pakistani travelers will not be allowed to enter India after January 30, 2014. According to an Indian official: 

Any Pakistani wishing to travel to India has to provide a certificate of vaccination as we want to keep the Indian nation safe from the crippling disease.

Other countries are considering measures as well. The Lancet Medical Journal has warned that the Pakistani polio virus could become a threat to Europe. In January 2012, 21 children in a Chinese province were affected by polio, and it was confirmed that the virus strain had been transmitted from Pakistan after its DNA was analyzed. Pakistani polio has been found in Egypt, Palestine, Israel, and Syria. The Nation (Pakistan) and Dawn (Pakistan)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, North Korea, Kim Jong-un, Jang Song-thaek, Britain, France, Mali, Algeria, AQIM, Yemen, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, Pakistan, India, Taliban, polio, Afghanistan, Nigeria 

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