22 Jan 07. Iraq: OP TELIC. A Private from 2nd Bn The Light Infantry died as a result of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device in Basrah City on 21 Jan 07. (MoD, 22 Jan 07.) UK deaths since the start of hostilities thus rose to 130 (six from natural causes, 39 accidentally, six from friendly fire and 79 killed in action.) “….14 of Iraq’s 18 Provinces are relatively peaceful….80% of the violence occurs within 30 miles of Baghdad.” (Ministerial Answer (MA), 22 Jan 07.) HMS SUTHERLAND assisted an Iraqi fishing dhow that had been adrift for seven days. (MoD, 22 Jan 07.) “There is no tension, as various media have speculated, between US and UK objectives and activities in Iraq.” (MoD, 25 Jan 07.)
Comment: The House of Commons debated ‘Iraq and the wider Middle East’ on 24 Jan 07 (Hansard, Column 1425 et seq). In the absence of the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary led for the Government pointing out that the four Southern Provinces only accounted for around four per cent of the violence in Iraq. The Foreign Secretary also considered that: “….we may be in a position to handover to the Iraqi Government responsibility for all the Provinces in November – in the Spring, we hope, for Basrah.”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0705, 29 Jan 07)
22 Jan 07. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. “The security situation in Afghanistan remains stable.” “No substandard ammunition was supplied to our troops….” “All Urgent Operational Requirements that have been approved by the chain of command have been acceded to.” “….there is no truth in the suggestion that Urgent Operational Requirements in relation to night vision goggles were turned down for financial reasons….” (Defence Secretary, 22 Jan 07.) The handover from 800 Naval Air Squadron to 1 Squadron RAF has been completed. The Harrier GR7 aircraft remain at Kandahar Airfield. (MoD, 23 Jan 07.) Both Defence Intelligence Staff and Intelligence Corps personnel are deployed in Helmand Province. (MA, 23 Jan 07.) No decisions have been taken as to the size and shape of the Force Package that will replace 3 Commando Brigade in Helmand Province. (MoD, 24 Jan 07.)
Comment: A Joint (Afghan/Pakistan) Intelligence Operations Centre was opened within the secure ISAF area in Kabul on 25 Jan 07. The prime purpose of the Centre is to develop intelligence assessments of (Afghan/Pakistan) border issues. The Centre is manned by 24 ‘hand picked’ personnel: six each from the Afghan MoD and the Pakistan MoD and 12 from other ISAF members. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0705, 29 Jan 07)
01 Feb 07. ‘Great damage’ of BAE deal ruling. Lord Goldsmith said the decision came from the Serious Fraud Office. The government has been accused of “glaring” double standards over a decision to end a fraud probe into an arms deal between Saudi Arabia and BAE. In a Lords debate, Liberal Democrat Baroness Williams said the decision had done “great damage”, and weakened the fight against corruption. Ministers say the probe was dropped in the interests of national security.
But critics claim ministers ignored anti-bribery commitments, to save a threatened £6bn Eurofighter deal. Baroness Williams said the decision would weaken the battle against corruption in developing countries which “we have been addressing in lofty tones about good governance”. She added that while many defence companies had been working hard to improve their reputation, the decision had been very damaging. Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has denied reports that Downing Street had pressured him into ending a fraud probe into a BAE deal. He said the decision to drop the inquiry had be taken by the Serious Fraud Office director. He told peers the BAE deal had been a “specific instance”, with the Saudi authorities threatening to withdraw intelligence co-operation if the investigation went ahead. If “damage had been done to the country”, the question asked of him would have been “Why would you allow this to go on?”, Lord Go