Friday, April 10, 2009

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki In Moscow On A Goodwill Mission

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki In Moscow On A Goodwill Mission *Analysis: Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev are matured and good politican as well statesmen, under their leaderships, Russia will progress further economically and financially. (DTN Defense-Technology News) (NSI News Source Info) April 10, 2009: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Moscow on April 10, 2009.
Iraq is to consider restoring lucrative contracts won by Russian companies before the 2003 war that ousted Saddam Hussein, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said.

Iran Announces Nuclear Progress, U.S. To Join Talks

Iran Announces Nuclear Progress, U.S. To Join Talks
*Analysis: It is a begining and a good step forward for cordial relations in the future in conjunction with all parties concerned. Thank God it is GOOD FRIDAY. (DTN Defense-Technology News)
(NSI News Source Info) JERUSALEM - April 10, 2009: Iran announced it has made more progress on uranium enrichment, a day after the United States said it would join talks with Iran on its nuclear program. Israeli sources commented Thursday on the U.S. announcement, saying Israel did not object to the move as long as western powers worked to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, Ha'aretz reported Friday. The United States said it will join Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany from now on when meeting with Iran to discuss its nuclear program. Talks with Iran are reportedly set to start Saturday in Geneva. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Thursday that the Islamic Republic had 7,000 working centrifuges enriching uranium, the same day that he opened the country's first nuclear fuel manufacturing plant. The U.S. did not view Iran's announcement on the heels of its new engagement as a slap in the face. "We do not attribute any particular meaning, with respect to the range of issues that we are looking to address with the Iranians, from this particular statement," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a Thursday news conference. She added that Iran's claims of progress may be false. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to make Iran's nuclear progress a major topic of discussion when he meets with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington next month.

Russia Confirms Spy Drone Deal With Israel

Russia Confirms Spy Drone Deal With Israel
(NSI News Source Info) April 10, 2009: The Russian Defense Ministry has signed a deal with an Israeli company to buy several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), a Russian deputy defense minister said on Friday. "We have closed a deal with an Israeli company on the delivery of a range of UAVs," said Vladimir Popovkin, who is responsible for military procurements. The Russian business paper Kommersant reported on Tuesday that a contract signed with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) envisioned the purchase of the Bird-Eye 400 mini-UAV (weight - 5kg, range - 10 km), I-view MK150 tactical UAV (160 kg, 100 km), and Searcher Mk II medium-range UAV (426 kg, 250 km). The Russian military stressed the need to provide its Armed Forces with advanced means of battlefield reconnaissance in the wake of a brief military conflict with Georgia last August, when the effectiveness of Russian military operations was severely hampered by the lack of reliable intelligence. The Russian Air Force has launched a number of UAV development programs for various purposes. Air Force Commander, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said last year that Russia would deploy advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with a flight range of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) and a flight duration capability of up to 12 hours by 2011. However, Russian defense companies, including the MiG corporation, the Russian Helicopters and the Vega Radio Engineering Corp., have failed so far to provide the military with effective spy drones. Popovkin said that buying foreign spy drones was a temporary measure, and the purchases were designed "to show our industry what it [a spy drone] is." "We will rely on our own equipment to fight wars," he said. According to various estimates, the Russian military needs up to 100 UAVs and at least 10 guidance systems to ensure effective battlefield reconnaissance in case of any military conflict.

Georgian Armed Forces Currently Undergoing Modernization With Help Of U.S. And NATO

Georgian Armed Forces Currently Undergoing Modernization With Help Of U.S. And NATO
(NSI News Source Info) TBILISI, Georgia - April 10, 2009: The United States and Georgia will continue to work on a strategic partnership over the coming years, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff yesterday.
Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright is visiting the former Soviet republic to meet with senior military and civilian officials, traveling to both Tbilisi and Gori. During his visit to Gori, Cartwright toured an old tank battalion base and a field artillery base.
US naval troops from the USS Klakring frigate hold joint training exercises with the Georgian Coast Guard in the port city of Batumi on April 2, 2009. The United States will "work hard" to help Georgia retrain its armed forces and obtain new military hardware after the ex-Soviet republic's war with Russia last year, a top US general said on March 30.
At both locations, he was able to see first-hand destroyed buildings and military equipment from the Russia-Georgia war in August over the disputed South Ossetia province. Cartwright said seeing the damage up close was sobering.
"The tour of this base and seeing the destruction first-hand has been very informative, a stark reminder of the harsh realities of war," the vice chairman said. "I can see from the soldiers I have met that the Georgian military is very committed to protecting the sovereignty and integrity of their nation."
After touring the damaged area, Cartwright laid a wreath along with Georgian Chief of Defense Maj. Gen. Devi Tchonkotadze to honor the country's fallen servicemembers. "It is a privilege to lay the wreath in honor of Georgian soldiers killed in the recent fighting," Cartwright said. "These men made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their life for their country and families. My thoughts are with their families and their loved ones." Tchonkotadze said it was important for Cartwright to see "the results of Russian aggression." He said the visit overall was very important, as the Georgians continue the joint cooperation, the transformation of their military into NATO standards, and working on strengthening the warfare capacity of the army. Cartwright said the joint cooperation will continue for years to come.
"We look forward to continuing the strategic partnership in the months and years ahead," the vice chairman said. Cartwright also met with Georgian Defense Minister David Sikharulidze and Georgian National Security Council Secretary Eka Tkshelashvili.
During his meeting with Sikharulidze, Cartwright said the United States is committed to helping the nearly 29,000-strong Georgian military move forward in its modernization. The vice chairman also had what he called a "productive and candid" meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.
The general said the meetings throughout the day show Georgia is committed to a strong military and a strong partnership with the United States. "It is clear from talking to the president and from my earlier meetings that Georgia is committed to peaceful relations with its neighbors and to working toward full NATO membership," Cartwright said.
"The United States remains committed to the U.S.-Georgia charter on strategic partnership and to provide training and other assistance to the Georgian military in support of their reform efforts and continued independence."
The general said his visit was partly a fact-finding mission to view assessments that have been done regarding U.S. and Georgian military relations.
"My trip today allows me the opportunity to see the results of these assessments, talk to the people on the ground, and understand now where the priorities should be put," the general said. "I will go back to the United States and work very hard to take the assessments and the needs, put them together with the resources and try to move forward on this strategic partnership." Cartwright said he foresees the strategic partnership including more training and equipment. "The training will be focused on the defense of Georgia, on its self and internal defense," he said. "We will work hard to get both the skill levels that are necessary to do that and work as partners on the equipment necessary. These assessments have helped us understand what the priority should be on that equipment, both in what the Georgians have been able to put together on their own here from indigenous equipment, what equipment needs to be upgraded and then what new types of equipment that are necessary for their homeland defense."

Japan Extends Sanctions Against North Korea After Rocket Launch

Japan Extends Sanctions Against North Korea After Rocket Launch
(NSI News Source Info) TOKYO - April 10, 2009: The Japanese government decided at a meeting on Friday to prolong existing sanctions against North Korea for another 12 months in the wake of a rocket launch by Pyongyang. This is the fifth time that the sanctions, first imposed in 2006 after North Korea tested a nuclear weapon, have been extended. However, this is the first time that they have been prolonged for a year. Japan said that it had seen no progress in either the issue of past kidnappings of its citizens by the communist regime or in talks on the dismantlement of the North's nuclear program. "We have not seen a sincere response from North Korea on the issues of abductions, nuclear programs and missiles," Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said at a news conference. Tokyo is also preparing to impose additional regulations that would lower to 10 million yen ($100,000) from 30 million yen ($300,000) the amount of remittances that can be sent to North Korea without informing the Japanese authorities. Pyongyang on Sunday launched a multistage rocket that it said was carrying a communications satellite, defying pressure from the United States, Japan, South Korea and other countries, which suspect the launch was a cover for the test of a Taepodong-2 long-range missile. On Friday, the Japanese government for the first time referred to Sunday's launch as part of a long- range missile program. Kawamura said that the government had come to the conclusion that the launch was "linked to intercontinental ballistic missile projects, which is an infringement of [UN Security Council] resolutions." North Korea claimed the rocket, which was launched over Japan, successfully delivered a communications satellite into orbit, but the U.S. and South Korean militaries said all three stages fell into the ocean and "no object entered orbit." The 15-member UN Security Council convened for an emergency meeting last Sunday at Japan's request, to discuss sanctions against Pyongyang over the rocket launch, but strong opposition from Russia and China prevented the adoption of even a preliminary statement of condemnation. Diplomatic sources from a number of delegations indicated to media after a UN Security Council meeting late on Thursday that the United States could be willing to soften its position and accept a nonbinding statement rather than a resolution in response to the launch.

Pakistan: U.S. New Conditions Incorporated Into Pakistan Aid Bill

Pakistan: U.S. New Conditions Incorporated Into Pakistan Aid Bill
*Analysis: In simple nutshell, US is warning Pakistani administration and army to act on militants, as terrorism originating from Pakistan is becoming a global menace to society all around the world, otherwise economic and military aid could be a factor. (DTN Defense-Technology News)
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - April 10, 2009: Pakistan will have to undertake not to support any person or group involved in activities meant to hurt India and to allow US investigators access to individuals suspected of engaging in nuclear proliferation if it wants to qualify for a threefold increase in US economic assistance. Pakistan will have to undertake not to support any anti-India activities if it wants to qualify for US economic assistance. The clause requiring such a pledge is incorporated in a bill moved in the US House of Representatives on April 2, seeking to provide $1.5 billion of annual assistance to Pakistan for a period of five years. Clause (J) of the bill, called the Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement or the PEACE Act of 2009, requires Pakistan ‘not to support any person or group that conducts violence, sabotage, or other activities meant to instil fear or terror in India.’ This means that Pakistan will have to ban all Kashmir groups involved in armed struggle in the valley against India. Clause (K) of the bill binds Pakistan to ensure access of US investigators to ‘individuals suspected of engaging in worldwide proliferation of nuclear materials, and restrict such individuals from travel or any other activity that could result in further proliferation.’ If adopted, the act would enable US investigators to seek direct access to Dr A. Q. Khan and other members of his group accused of providing nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. The Indian lobby on Capitol Hill played a key role in including the two clauses into the bill and had formed a special task force for this purpose. The Pakistani caucus, which once started as an effective lobbying group, has been rendered useless by the Pakistani Embassy in Washington. To ensure that it cannot function as an independent body, the embassy purged all senior people from a support group created to provide technical support to the caucus. Consequently, the Pakistan caucus, which on papers has the support of almost 100 lawmakers, has become a non-functioning body with no clout on the Hill. Although two separate bills are now being moved in the House and the Senate for tripling US economic assistance to Pakistan, the motivation for doing so did not come from the Pakistan Embassy or the lobbies. The motivating force behind the move is America’s fear that if not helped, Pakistan, a nuclear nation of 170 million people, could turn into a safe haven for terrorists armed with atomic weapons. The need for Pakistan’s help in fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda militants in Afghanistan and Fata also played a key role in motivating US lawmakers for seeking to increase the aid to Pakistan. But this did not prevent the House members from seeking strict restrictions against Pakistan in return for the aid. Clause (H) of the bill requires Pakistan not to provide any support, direction, guidance to, or acquiescence in the activities of, any person or group that engages in any degree in acts of violence or intimidation against civilians, civilian groups, or governmental entities. Clause (I) needs Pakistan to redouble its efforts to prevent the presence of the Taliban and Taliban-affiliated groups in Pakistan that support insurgents in Afghanistan. To ensure transparency and provide effective accountability of all US assistance and reimbursements provided to Pakistan, the bill wants Islamabad to improve counterterrorism financing and anti-money laundering laws to comply with international standards, to include applying for ‘Financial Action Task Force’ observer status and adhering to the United Nations International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. The task force is an inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of national and international policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The bill also requires Pakistan to take all appropriate measures to adapt its armed forces to be able to conduct effective and sustained counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations. The bill, however, also recognises Pakistan as an invaluable friend and ally to the United States, ‘both in times of strife and in times of peace.’ It notes that the two countries share many common goals, including combating terrorism and violent radicalism, solidifying democracy and rule of law in Pakistan, and promoting the social and material well-being of the people of Pakistan. The bill assures the Pakistani people that the United States seeks a ‘sustained, long-term, multifaceted relationship’ with Pakistan based on friendship between the peoples of the two countries, the commitment to democracy and the rule of law, and the mutual interests of stability, security, and prosperity. ‘It is critical for the United States to support Pakistan's democratic government and strengthen its democratic institutions, including its parliament and the judicial system,’ the bill notes. The bill also makes it clear that the United States supports Pakistan's struggle against extremist elements and ‘recognises the profound sacrifice made by Pakistan in the fight against terrorism, including the loss of more than 1,600 soldiers since 2001 in combat with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extremist and terrorist groups.’

Russia To Test Launch Topol Ballistic Missile

Russia To Test Launch Topol Ballistic Missile
(NSI News Source Info) April 10, 2009: Russia will test launch on Friday a Topol intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia, a spokesman for the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) said. A man looks at a newly installed Topol RS-12M mobile missile on display at the Artillery Museum in St Petersburg. Russia test-fired two ballistic missiles and bombed a dummy town at the weekend, but analysts said the show of military preparedness was for domestic consumption and not a Kremlin warning shot to the West.
The missile was in active service from 1987 until 2007, and deployed with the 54th Strategic Missile Division near the town of Teikovo, about 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Moscow. "The goal of the upcoming launch is to confirm the reliability of the technical characteristics [of Topol missiles] during an extended service period," Col. Alexander Vovk said. The RS-12M Topol (SS-25 Sickle) is a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) approximately the same size and shape as the U.S. Minuteman ICBM. The first Topol missiles were put into service in 1985. The missile has a maximum range of 10,000 km (6,125 miles) and can carry a 550-kiloton nuclear warhead. Although the service life of the SS-25 was extended to 21 years after a series of successful test launches last year, the missile will be progressively retired over the next decade and be replaced by mobile Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin) missile systems. According to open sources, Russia's SMF has a total of 541 ICBMs, including 306 Topol missiles and 59 Topol-M missiles.

Russia Plans To Deliver Advanced Air Defense Missiles To Belarus`

Russia Plans To Deliver Advanced Air Defense Missiles To Belarus
(NSI News Source Info) BALASHIKHA (Moscow Region) - April 10, 2009: Russia will supply advanced S-400 air defense systems to Belarus under a recent agreement to create an integrated air defense network, a senior Air Force official said on Thursday. "One of the provisions of the agreement is to upgrade the network. It must be equipped with the most advanced weaponry," first deputy Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Vadim Volkovitsky said. The S-400 Triumf (SA-21 Growler) is designed to intercept and destroy airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles), twice the range of the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot, and 2 1/2 times that of the S-300PMU-2. The system is also believed to be able to destroy stealth aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, and is effective at ranges up to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) and speeds up to 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second. The general did not specify the schedule for the deliveries, but said the ongoing talks on the issue would certainly bring positive results. "We are still discussing the dates for delivery of the S-400 systems, but I am certain that it will happen as part of our efforts to develop an integrated air defense network," Volkovitsky said. Moscow and Minsk signed an agreement in February on the joint protection of the Russia-Belarus Union State's airspace and the creation of an integrated regional air defense network. It will comprise five Air Force units, 10 anti-aircraft units, five technical service and support units and one electronic warfare unit, and will be placed under the command of a Russian or Belarusian Air Force or Air Defense Force senior commander. Belarus has several Russian-made S-300 air defense battalions on combat duty, and has long been negotiating the purchase of advanced S-400 systems from Russia, which should be available in 2010.

Indonesian LSI Quick Count Shows Only Nine Parities Win DPR Seats / Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono On Path To Re-Election

Indonesian LSI Quick Count Shows Only Nine Parities Win DPR Seats / Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono On Path To Re-Election
(NSI News Source Info) JAKARTA - April 10, 2009: The quick count results issued by Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) on Friday showed that only nine parties passed the 2.5 percent parliamentary threshold to have legislators at the House of Representatives (DPR) and be able to compete in the 2014 polls. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (L) accompanied by first lady Kristiani Yudhoyono speaks to journalists after casting his ballot in a polling station near his residence in Cikeas, West Java April 9, 2009. Yudhoyono's Democrat Party led in a partial quick count of voting in Thursday's elections, but was not doing as well as some polls had forecast in a vote considered key for further reforms. "Only those nine party made through the parliamentary threshold," said LSI executive director Saiful Mujani quoted by the Jakarta Post. According to the results, the incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party wins the legislative elections with 20.48 percent votes, followed by Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) with 14.33 percent and third place Golkar Party with 13.95 percent votes. The other six passed parties were the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) with 7.85 percent votes, the National Mandate Party (PAN) 5.72 percent, the United Development Party (PPP) 5.24 percent, the National Awakening Party (PKB) 5.12 percent, the Indonesian Great Movement Party (Gerindra) 4.59 percent and the National Conscience Party (Hanura) with 3.78 percent votes. LSI executive director Saiful Mujani said the result used data from 2096 polling stations, out of a total of more than 530,000 polling stations, across the nation. They were still data waiting to be sent from several stations in Papua due to communication problem. "But the random quality of these samples reach 99.57 percent, meaning it should reflect the real counting," he said. The samples were chosen through combination method of stratified cluster random sampling. LSI rated its margin of error at 0.9 percent. LSI's conclusion about nine parities passing threshold and Democratic Party winning were supported by another three institutions conducting quick count, but they said that PDI-P ranked third following Golkar. The official result is scheduled to come out on May 9.
Additional Info: Related News
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono On Path To Re-Election
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - The party of Indonesia's president won a resounding victory in parliamentary polls, handing him a stronger mandate to push a reformist agenda in the world's third largest democracy.
Unofficial counts from five polling agencies showed Friday that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party would be the largest in the 560-seat lower house after collecting 20 percent of the popular vote. It ranked fifth in the last election in 2004.
That was a clear sign of widespread public approval for Yudhoyono's performance in his first years, but he will still have to form a coalition to garner enough seats to contest July 8 presidential polls and build a parliamentary majority that can push through his policies.
With preliminary, official results not expected for days, Yudhoyono made no comment about possible coalition partners, but analysts expect he will again join forces with the late dictator Suharto's party, Golkar, which took a beating at the ballot box, and any number of smaller Islamic parties.
Parties or coalitions need a fifth of the legislature _ or 25 percent of the popular vote _ to nominate a candidate for the presidential race.
The parliamentary election put Yudhoyono on track for «a landslide» in the presidential polls, said researcher Sunny Tanuwidjaja at the Jakarta Center for Strategic and International Studies. «This is an indication Yudhoyono is still very strong, very popular.
But while it gave him the political clout needed to seek a more ambitious agenda, it remains to be seen whether he would «dare to actually deliver the breakthroughs.... He has always been perceived as a slow and indecisive figure,» he said.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, emerged from 32 years of dictatorship when Gen. Suharto was swept from power in 1998, leading to reforms that freed the media, vastly improved the country's human rights record, and for the first time allowed citizens to vote for president. But corruption is still endemic throughout government institutions and the courts, undermining its democratic transition. Critics say deeper reforms are still badly needed.
Voting went smoothly at more than half a million polling stations across 17,000 islands, but pre-election violence left five dead in the easternmost province of Papua in an apparent rebel attack. There were also complaints about ballot paper mix-ups and incomplete registration lists that meant some people couldn't vote at all.

Russia Able To Shoot Down North Korean Missiles - Air Force

Russia Able To Shoot Down North Korean Missiles - Air Force
(NSI News Source Info) BALASHIKHA - April 10, 2009: Russian air-defense systems deployed in the Far East are capable of shooting down missiles of the type recently launched by North Korea, the Air Force chief of staff said on Thursday. Pyongyang on Sunday launched a multistage rocket that it said was carrying a communications satellite, defying pressure from the United States, Japan, South Korea and other countries, which suspect the launch was a cover for the test of a Taepodong-2 long-range missile. "Russia's air defenses in the Far East are capable of shooting down missiles of the type launched by North Korea. As to the recent launch, our radars monitored the missile flight for about 15-20 seconds," Lt. Gen. Vadim Volkovitsky said. North Korea claimed the rocket, which was launched over Japan, successfully delivered a communications satellite into orbit, but the U.S. and South Korean militaries said all three stages fell into the ocean and "no object entered orbit." The 15-member UN Security Council convened for an emergency meeting last Sunday at Japan's request, to discuss sanctions against Pyongyang over the rocket launch, but strong opposition from Russia and China prevented the adoption of even a preliminary statement of condemnation. The United States and other countries argued for sanctions against Pyongyang, saying that the launch violated Security Council Resolution 1718, which was passed after North Korea's 2006 nuclear test, but Russia and China called for restraint on the grounds that the resolution does not prohibit the launch of satellites. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated on Wednesday that Russia was concerned by Pyongyang's recent rocket launch, but believed that imposing sanctions against North Korea would be counterproductive.

North Korean Special Forces Demoralized And Deserting Their Units

North Korean Special Forces Demoralized And Deserting Their Units
(NSI News Source Info) April 10, 2009: North Korea has long maintained elite commando forces, troops who were carefully selected, then paid, housed and fed better, and given access to better equipment.
About 15 percent of the 1.2 million military personnel are in these elite units. Most of them are similar to U.S. rangers, marines, paratroopers or special reconnaissance troops (U.S. Marine Force Recon and army LURPS).
A North Korean soldier looks south as he holds a pair of binoculars on the north side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, about 55 km (34 miles) north of Seoul, April 9, 2009. North Korea re-elected leader Kim Jong-il as its supreme military leader at its newly elected parliament on Thursday, marking his return to centre stage as the country celebrates what it calls a triumphant satellite launch.
There are also some 30,000 snipers, organized into ten Sniper Brigades. This is a rather unique use of snipers, and given shortages of ammunition in the north, it's uncertain how well these troops, no matter how well selected, are at sniping. If you want to maintain your shooting skills, you have to fire thousands of rounds a year.
The same applies for all elite troops, although a lot of the training just consists of physical conditioning and combat drills. For snipers, this consists practicing staying hidden. This can be accomplished, if you can keep the troops well fed and housed. This is no longer the case with many of the Special Forces, and morale is suffering. At the apex of North Korean Special Forces there are about five thousand commando and U.S. Special Forces type troops. These are meant to get into South Korea and go after key targets and people. Again, the North Koreans have trained for half a century to do this, but have not been able to actually put these troops to the test much.
There have been thousands of small operations in the south over the last half century. In the 1960s there was a low level war going on, as the North Koreans sent dozens of small teams south each year. Over a hundred American troops were killed or wounded, and many more South Korean soldiers and police. Yet, the North Koreans had little success. While the top special operations units are still well cared for, more and more reports come out of the north about many less skilled special operations troops complaining about less, or at least lower quality, food and other benefits (like access to electricity year round, and heat during the Winter.) More of these troops are deserting and heading for China, where they can be more easily interviewed.
Some have made it all the way to South Korea, where the extent of their numbers and preparations has pushed South Korean commanders to increase their security preparations, and train more troops to deal with all these commandos in war time. While the North Korean special operations troops are grumbling, and not getting all the training resources (ammo and fuel) they need, they remain a highly motivated, and generally loyal, force. The government uses these troops to insure the loyalty of the other 85 percent of the military, and more and more elite troops are being used to assist the secret police in going after dissidents and corrupt officials.
This is probably hurting the North Korean special operations forces more than anything else. The troops are getting a close look at the corruption and contradictions in North Korea. The troops generally lived in closed bases and don't get out much.
But now that they do, they see a North Korea that is unpleasant, and not as swell as their commanders told them it was. It turns out those letters they were getting from home were not exaggerating how bad things were. And the trend has been down for so long, it's hard to assure the troops that there's any way up.

UN Chief Urges Fiji To Fully Respect Human Rights, Rule Of Law / Fiji Coup Regime Ruled Unlawful / Court Declares Fiji's Military Government Illegal

UN Chief Urges Fiji To Fully Respect Human Rights, Rule Of Law / Fiji Coup Regime Ruled Unlawful / Court Declares Fiji's Military Government Illegal
(NSI News Source Info) UNITED NATIONS - April 10, 2009: UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Thursday appealed for calm and urged full respect for human rights, the rule of law and the judicial process after the Fiji Court of Appeal declared unlawful the removal of elected government and the appointment of interim-government. "The Secretary-general takes note of the ruling of the Fiji Court of Appeal ... and appeals for calm and urges full respect for human rights, the rule of law and the judicial process," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesperson. The Fiji Court of Appeal declared on Thursday that the removal in December 2006 of the elected government was unlawful and the appointment of the interim-government unconstitutional. It has ruled it lawful for the president to appoint a caretaker prime minister to issue writs for general elections. The United Nations has also learned of the outcome of the meeting convened by Commodore Voreque Bainimarama on Thursday, which included a number of political parties, while excluding a number of major ones, and the position taken at that meeting with regard to the President's Political Dialogue Forum to be jointly mediated by the United Nations and the Commonwealth, the statement said. "The United Nations, in consultation with the Commonwealth, will be reviewing its role in mediating a national dialogue in light of these developments and the prior understanding that the dialogue must be broad-based, inclusive, time bound and without prejudice as to its outcome," it said.