Small Wars Journal

20 December SWJ Roundup


Biden Says U.S. to be Out of Afghanistan by 2014 - Associated Press

Militants Kill Afghan Soldiers in 2 Attacks - New York Times

Taliban Show Reach, Kill 13 Afghan Troops - Associated Press

Karzai to Open Afghan Parliament By January 20 - Reuters

Germany's Merkel Pays Visit to Afghanistan Troops - New York Times

Afghan War Just a Slice of U.S. News Media Coverage - New York Times


Biden Says Al Qaeda in Pakistan Is Weaker - New York Times

Chinese Premier Praises Pakistan's Fight Against Terrorism - New York Times

Militants Destroy 2 NATO Tankers in NW Pakistan - Associated Press

Korean Peninsula

U.N. Security Council in Emergency Talks on Korean Tensions - VOA

At Security Council, a Stalemate Over Blame - New York Times

U.N. Fails to Take Action on Korea Tensions - Associated Press

Seoul Undertakes Effort to Measure North Korea's Longevity - Washington Post

South Korea Concludes Artillery Drill, Scrambles Jet Fighters - VOA

Firing Drill Increases Tensions in Korea - Wall Street Journal

South Korea Conducts Live-Fire Drills Near the North - New York Times

S. Korea Holds Live-fire Drills Despite Threats - Los Angeles Times

War Games Increase Korea Tension - BBC News

S. Korea Conducts Firing Drills from Border Island - Associated Press

North Korean Guns Silent as South Conducts Drill - Reuters


Allawi Comments Boost Iraq Government Prospects - Washington Post

Iraq to Reveal New Government, End 9-month Political Gap - Reuters

Iraq Govt Formation Hits New Snag - Associated Press

Infighting Delays New Iraq Government - Reuters

Cleric's Anti-U.S. Forces Poised for Gains in Iraq - New York Times


Iranian Police on Alert as Government Cutbacks Begin - Voice of America

Gas Prices Soar in Iran as Subsidy Is Reduced - New York Times

Iranians Brace for Fuel Subsidy Cuts - Los Angeles Times

Police Patrol Cities as Iran Hikes Prices of Gas, Other Staples - Washington Post

Ex-Iranian FM Criticizes President for Sacking Him - Associated Press


New Details Reveal More About Problems Assange Faces - Wall Street Journal

Careful When Shooting the Messenger - New York Times

U.S. Department of Defense

Contractors Behaving Badly Mean Headaches for U.S. - Associated Press

'Double-dipping' Probe Targets Calif. Air National Guard Pilots - Sacramento Bee

DADT Repeal: A How-To Guide for a New Military - New York Times

Focus Shifts to Implementing Plan to Let Gays Serve Openly - Stars and Stripes

Marines Backing 'Don't Ask' Repeal, With Reservations - New York Times

At Long Last, Military Honor - New York Times editorial

A Win for Fairness and Decency - Washington Post editorial

Time Magazine's Person of the Year

Person of the Year: SSGT Salvatore Giunta - New York Times

United States

Democrats Scramble to Save Votes to Ratify Nuclear Pact - New York Times

Monitoring America: Domestic Intelligence - Washington Post

Remembering America's Most Innovative Diplomat - Bloomberg News

United Kingdom

12 Men Arrested in U.K. Anti-terror Raids - BBC News

12 Arrested in British Terrorism Raids - Associated Press

U.K. Police Arrest 12 Men In Counterterrorism Raids - Reuters


Canada and U.S. Near Border Security Pact - Wall Street Journal


Islamic Sudan Envisioned if South Secedes - New York Times

U.N. Refuses to Pull Troops from Ivory Coast - Washington Post

U.N. Says More than 50 Killed in Ivory Coast - Voice of America

U.N.: Reports of Abductions in Ivory Coast Grow - Associated Press

Media Fight Rages Between Ivory Coast Rivals - Associated Press

Militia in Somalia Abandons Key Positions to Radical Group - New York Times

2 Main Somali Islamist Insurgent Groups to Merge - Associated Press


Venezuela: Chavez Defends Plan for Internet Regulations - Associated Press

Venezuela and U.S. in Envoy Dispute - BBC News

Venezuela: A Chance for Democracy - Washington Post opinion

Guatemalan Military Seizes Drug-Plagued Province - Associated Press

Haitians in U.S. Brace for Deportations to Resume - New York Times

Asia Pacific

Chinese Envoy Arrives in Taiwan for Talks - Associated Press


Lukashenko Wins Belarus Presidential Election, Mass Protests Follow - VOA

Belarus Opposition Attacks Government Building After Election - VOA

'Hundreds of Protesters Arrested' in Belarus - BBC News

After Belarus Vote, Riot Police Attack Protesters - New York Times

Middle East

PLO Signals Flexibility on Security - Washington Times

Palestinian Leader Has 60 Israelis to Lunch - New York Times

Why Egypt's Power Has Dimmed - Reuters

Egypt Arrests 4 Citizens Over Spying for Israel - Associated Press

WikiLeaks: Yemen Nuclear Material Was Unsecured - Associated Press

South Asia

Indian Party's Leader Stands by Singh - New York Times

India PM Offers to Answer Corruption Allegations - Reuters


reagarding the ROK artillery exercise and the north's lack of response:

Many of the Korea hands can say I told you so. But it was interesting listening to the pundits talk all weekend and not understand the true nature of the Kim Family Regime. It will respond but just not how people think it will. Although I did hear some good reports on how major war on the Peninsula will have global effects so in some sense the increase in tension is a good wake-up call.

I do not think that GOV Richardson had any impact and I believe he has been duped. The "agreements" he obtained - a hotline, the return of US remains (for which we have already paid about $1 million per set of remains), the joint north-South working group or commission to reduce tensions or whatever he is calling it, and "concessions" on its nuclear program are nothing to the north. And furthermore, since GOV Richardson is there as a private citizen the regime has an easy out since it can say it made no official agreements. Furthermore, the north used GOV Richardson's visit and the news coverage - both to appear strong (note the weekend rhetoric) and appear diplomatic as it attempts to seize the "moral high ground" by not responding. GOV Richardson's presence helped to "legitimize" the north's actions and in a way he served as a mouthpiece for the regime.

I don't usually "do" war. Canadian Politics is my usual Bailiwick. Though in that regard, certain issues regarding Afghanistan are inevitable.

But it seemed appropriate enough that with the potential for a global conflict to erupt, I monitored events on the Korean peninsula closely into the wee hours last night and "tweeted" accordingly. At least until the all clear was given.

But what seems to amaze me, is the relative nonchalance of the media regarding the Live Fire drill by the ROK last night. The attitude being something like "been there, done that, bought the end of the world t-shirt all ready".

Maybe old hands know that this was just typical sabre rattling from two political rivals, but I can't help but feel that we came perilously close to all out catastrophe.U.S. war planes were on high alert in Guam. If fighting had started, would they have intervened? How would China and Russia react to that. Would we have reverted to 1953 all over again? Would we have found ourselves in a conflict that would make Iraq and Afghanistan look like a walk in the park? (which of course, they are not).

But I guess that in this age of high speed up to the moment global information reporting (except for CNN who were at least an hour behind the live news events) "It came, nothing happened, move on to the next thing". No time, no point in contemplating the "what ifs".

I'm sorry though, but I'm just a little shaken still. The feeling of how close we came to something quite terrible makes the domestic news scene seem rather trivial today.

That was close... after threatening "brutal consequences beyond imagination" if the drills went forward, when they did the North Koreans did nothing by claiming that they were simply "not worth reacting" to. I guess attacking civilians is much easier when there's no-one there to fight back, but once the big guns have been deployed chickening out is the better part of valour...