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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Meantime, Back At The Ranch

The Chinese-Japanese confrontation over the disputed islands continues to heat up. Last week there were multiple incidents, yesterday an attack on the Japanese embassy, and today:
A Panasonic Corp. (6752) factory and a Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) dealership in China were damaged by fire as anti-Japanese demonstrations spread across the country, prompting Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to urge the Chinese government to ensure the safety of its citizens.
It's not really surprising that so much tension has erupted. It's worth noting that a group of Hong Kong activists started the conflict originally. In late August, the Japanese ambassador's vehicle was attacked.

A Chinese official had hinted at a boycott - I don't think the authorities are goosing this one.

A few years ago, in the run-up to the late unfortunate Great Recession, I was writing about unrest in the ME and in China. 

The Libyan attack that killed four American diplomatic staffers was clearly organized, but the spontaneous outbreaks probably have more to do with inflation and difficult economic circumstances than anything else.

I had thought these situations would be held in check until mid-November, at least. Looks like the lid is coming off the pot a little ahead of schedule.
Is that a real effect of inflation and worsening economic conditions?

The Libyan attack is different from the rest of these disorders.

Of course, I looked at the coverage of the Australian demonstrations, so yes, some of it is Rushdie-ism.

Pots are definitely on the simmer.

Not sure which reports to believe on the Libyan attack, but so far it sounds like this:

1) Apparently excellent intelligence on the Ambassador's movements.
2) a light-weapons attack that killed the (presumed) primary target and drove the secondary targets to their supposedly-secret safe house refuge.
3) Pickup of intelligence materials and creation of propaganda video (dragging the body) at the primary target.
4) When the relief force arrived at the supposedly-secret "safe" house, they were hit by heavy machine gun fire and surprisingly accurate mortar fire from ambush. Somebody on that team was a quick thinker, or else casualties would've been a lot higher.

So, this looks like a thoroughly-planned and well-executed platoon-level operation, with prior knowledge of the target's movements and of his egress plans, as well as some knowledge of available reinforcements.

Yeah, that was different. Al-Qaeda? Quds Force? Not sure.

The Egyptian situation has no apparent connection, but it was also thoroughly planned. The later attacks seem to be just "me too".

I'm wondering if the Israel-Iran situation is unraveling, as well. Netanyahu is arriving soon to make a Haile Salassie speech to the League of Nations--errr, UN.

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