10 Aug 06. Iraq: Defence Committee Report. The Defence Committee published (10 Aug 06) a Report on UK Operations in Iraq. The Chairman and five Members of the Committee visited Basrah and Baghdad from 5 to 8 Jun 06 and the Report seeks “to highlight some of the issues which were raised” during the visit. The Report expresses concern about ‘Snatch’ Land Rovers, “extreme” temperatures and a shortage of helicopters. The Defence Secretary acknowledged the Report and said (10 Aug 06) that the MoD would publish a formal response within six weeks.
Comment: The Report includes, as part of background information, a list of troop contributing nations in Iraq. The list is repeated at page 3 alongside similar information from June 2004. There is some evidence in the Report that Committee Members paid undue attention to the soldiers’ routine grumbles: particularly on the subjects of ‘overstretch’ and pay. Visits by Members of Parliament are invariably occasions for a good moan by the ‘barrack room lawyers’ and the June excursion appears to have been no exception. ‘UK Operations in Iraq’ is available from TSO and from The Parliamentary Bookshop (Tel: 020-7219 3890), as HC 1241, for £13:50. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0631, 14 Aug 06)
24 Jul 06. Strategic Exports: 2005 Report Published. The Foreign, International Development, Defence and Trade & Industry Secretaries published (24 Jul 06)their Strategic Export Controls Report for 2005. The Report records the delivery of military equipment by the UK to 94 countries, with a total value of £1,390m. 54 of the 94 countries imported equipment valued at less than £1m (one million).
Comment: The Report only covers military exports recorded by HM Revenue & Customs, which is usually about 30% by value of the total. ‘Additional aerospace equipment’ figures, the remaining 70% of Defence exports, are collated by the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC). The Report acknowledges the Government-to-Government supply agreements with Saudi Arabia and with Kuwait without releasing any financial details. ‘UK Strategic Export Controls – Annual Report 2005’ is available from TSO and from The Parliamentary Bookshop (Tel: 020-7219 3890), as Command Paper 6882, for £17:00. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0631, 14 Aug 06)