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07 Jun 06. Military justice in the dock after acquittals. British soldiers cleared of killing 15-year-old Iraqi looter. THE policy of prosecuting British soldiers for misconduct in Iraq was in doubt last night after three Guardsmen were cleared of killing an Iraqi looter. The men, who had been accused of ordering the 15-year-old at gunpoint into a tidal canal where he drowned, walked free after a five-week court martial costing £2.5m. A board of seven officers deliberated for just five hours yesterday before reaching the unanimous verdict that cleared the men of the elite Irish Guards and the Coldstream Guards. The officers refused to accept the evidence of another looter who was the only witness to the drowning of Ahmed Jabar Karheem on May 8, 2003 in six feet of water in the Shatt al-Basra canal. The acquittals call into question the future of Britain’s court martial system for dealing with serviceman accused of committing abuses while on duty. Lord Goldsmith, QC, the Attorney General, will call today for a full debriefing from the prosecuting counsel to identify if any lessons need to be learnt for the three further alleged abuse cases still pending. The acquittals at the Colchester court martial followed the collapse of the trial last November of seven paratroopers accused of murdering an Iraqi civilian. That case cost about £5 million. (Source: The Times)

25 May 06. Iraq: OP TELIC. The two main militias known to operate in Multinational Division (South East), each with a significant following, are the Badr Organisation and Muqtada al-Sadr’s Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM). (Ministerial Answer (MA), 23 May 06.) No requests (from commanders in Iraq) for additional armoured vehicles have been received in the last 12 months. (MA, 25 May 06.)
A Lieutenant and a Lance Corporal from 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards were killed by a roadside bomb in North West Basrah on 28 May 06. The number of UK deaths since the start of hostilities thus rose to 113 (six from natural causes, 37 accidentally, six from friendly fire and 64 killed in action). Troops will be able to watch television in their tents as soon as a new transmitter has been erected in Shaibah. (Soldier, June 2006.)
Comment: The Iraqi Prime Minister visited Basrah on 31 May 06 and imposed a state of emergency on the city for a month, ordering the Iraqi Army to take over the streets. In an earlier interview, the Prime Minister had indicated that he was not satisfied with the British Forces, without specifying his complaint. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0622, 05 Jun 06)

25 May 06. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. “We are there to prevent Afghanistan from again harbouring terrorism, to build security and Government institutions and to support the Afghan Security Forces in combating insurgents and illegally armed groups….” (MA, 25 May 06.) A Troop of Royal Marines was involved in the rescue of 21 diplomats and their families from a rioting mob in Kabul on 29 May 06. (MoD, 31 May 06.) NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan dominated the final session of the five-day NATO-Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Paris. (NATO, 31 May 06.)
Elements of 42 Commando, Royal Marines returned to the UK after nine weeks at Lashkar Gar. The Marines served as the security force as Camp Bastion was being built. (Navy News, June 2006.) Troops will be able to watch television in their tents as soon as transmitters have been erected at four sites in Afghanistan. (Soldier, June 2006.)
Comment: A certain amount of mystery surrounds the C-130 fire at Lashkar Gar on
The aeroplane was reportedly destroyed and a burst tyre has been (unofficially) suggested as the cause of the blaze. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0622, 05 Jun 06)

08 May 06. Combat Aircraft: Numbers. The Armed Forces’ Minister said (8 May 06) that 82 Tornado F3 air defence aircraft were planned to be in service with the RAF at the end of the present financial year (i.e. 31 Mar 07). The figures for offensive support

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