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
In North Korea you can be executed for sneezing the wrong way, andindeed dozens of officials have been purged since the child dictatorKim Jong-un came to power in 2011. Nonetheless, the sudden fall fromgrace and execution of Jang Song-thaek is so spectacular and so publicthat it’s feeding speculation that it signals a major power strugglebetween 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 officialreport on the execution of Jang:
Upon hearing the report on [Jang], the servicepersonnel and people throughout the country broke into angryshouts that a stern judgment of the revolution should be meted outto the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factionalelements. Against the backdrop of these shouts rocking thecountry, a special military tribunal … was held … againsttraitor for all ages Jang Song Thaek…
All the crimes committed by the accused were proved in the courseof 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 suchprofound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party andthe leader for him…
The era and history will eternally record and never forget theshuddering crimes committed by Jang Song Thaek, the enemy of theparty, revolution and people and heinous traitor to thenation.
Analysts are mixed about the meaning of Jang’s spectacular fall. Somesay that it signals a power struggle within Kim’s family and possiblya coup. Others say that it means that Kim is becoming more powerfuland confident, to the point where feels he can get rid of even familymembers 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 theU.S. in order to justify further purges within his government.Examples of previous crises precipitated by Kim or his father are theshooting of long-range missiles earlier this year, nuclear missiletests, and the sinking in 2010 of the South Korean warship Cheonanwith 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 tostop making large money payments to terrorists in return for therelease of hostages. No specific countries were named, but it’s thoughtthat 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 Frenchgovernment denies it. Earlier this year, Al-Qaeda in the ArabianPeninsula (AQAP) took delivery of $22 million in cash in exchange forSwiss, Austrian, and Finnish hostages. Spain allegedly paid 12 millioneuros to free a hostage in Mali.
Ransom money is a major fundingsource for terrorist groups, who use the money for everything fromfood and electricity to chemicals for explosives. The Foreign Officeis asking other countries to stop making ransom payments, butgovernments find it difficult to resist pressure from kidnap victims’relatives. BBC andDaily 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 apolio vaccination team in two separate attacks on Friday in Pakistan. Theshootings were the latest in a series of attacks by militantstargeting polio teams. The Taliban have imposed an “official ban’ onpolio vaccinations, claiming that the polio vaccines are a stealth wayto prevent Muslims from having more children, and they’ve beenmurdering doctors and nurses who administer the vaccines. The resultis that polio is endemic in Pakistan, as well as in Afghanistan andNigeria.
India has become the first country to implement a ban on travelersfrom Pakistan who have not been immunized against polio.
Pakistani travelers will not be allowed to enter India after January30, 2014. According to an Indian official:
Any Pakistani wishing to travel to India has toprovide a certificate of vaccination as we want to keep the Indiannation safe from the crippling disease.
Other countries are considering measures as well. The Lancet MedicalJournal has warned that the Pakistani polio virus could become athreat to Europe. In January 2012, 21 children in a Chinese provincewere affected by polio, and it was confirmed that the virus strain hadbeen transmitted from Pakistan after its DNA was analyzed. Pakistanipolio 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