19 Feb 07. Iraq: OP TELIC. As at 8 Feb 07, UK Forces had detained 118 individuals in Iraq (whereas the US had held some 15,300 internees as at 28 Jan 07). (Ministerial Answer (MA), 19 Feb 07.) A large security Operation in Basrah City, OP TROY, was successfully completed. (MoD, 20 Feb 07.) Since 1990, 12 British Service personnel have been killed in friendly fire incidents involving American military personnel in Iraq. (MA, 21 Feb 07.) The number of UK troops involved in OP SINBAD had been reduced from 650 to 150. (MA, 21 Feb 07.)
The Prime Minister announced (21 Feb 07) a reduction in the number of troops in Iraq. The Defence Secretary confirmed the reduction in a Ministerial Statement (22 Feb 07). Details are at page 3. Anti-smuggling patrols had been conducted on the Southern Maysan waterways as part of OP THUNDERBIRD. (MoD, 23 Feb 07.)
Comment: The Prime Minister drew attention (21 Feb 07) to the “steadfastness” of allies in Multinational Division (South East), from: Australia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania and Romania. As was pointed out during the Lords’ Debate on Iraq (22 Feb 07, Hansard Column 1181 et seq), the Danes are providing a much needed detachment of four helicopters even though their Battalion is being withdrawn. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0709, 26 Feb 07)
19 Feb 07. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Since April 2006 261 Urgent Operational Requirements have been approved, of which 108 have been delivered. (MA, 19 Feb 07.) Over 250 UK troops, supported by UK-trained Afghan artillery, took part in OP GLACIER 4 South of Garmsir. (MoD, 20 Feb 07.) A Marine from 45 Commando died as a result of injuries sustained from a mine strike in the Sangin Valley on
21 Feb 07. (MoD, 22 Feb 07.) A Marine from 42 Commando died on 21 Feb 07 as a result of injuries sustained in a traffic accident in Helmand Province on 4 Feb 07. (MoD, 23 Feb 07.) UK deaths since the start of Operations in November 2001 thus rose to 48 (22 accidentally and 26 killed in action). The UK is to assume command of the two-star Headquarters in Regional Command South in May 2007.
(WA, 22 Feb 07.) The Defence Secretary is to make an announcement concerning additional troops for Afghanistan on Monday, 26 Feb 07. (MoD, 23 Feb 07.)
Comment: The Defence Committee’s evidence session on ‘UK Operations in Afghanistan’ on 27 Feb 07, when the Armed Forces’ Minister was due to be examined, has been cancelled. No explanation was offered. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0709, 26 Feb 07)
23 Feb 07. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Jacques Chirac on Friday stressed their “common interest” in a fair sharing of burdens and opportunities as European airplane maker Airbus goes through a restructuring program. The two leaders “stand behind Airbus” as puts together its plan, a joint statement said. “At the same time, they assume that the effects on jobs, technology and the balance of capabilities in the affected states will be taken into account.” The two leaders met in Germany for talks expected to center on tension over the major restructuring plan for Airbus. The meeting in Meseberg, north of Berlin, also is likely to address Iran’s defiance of a U.N. deadline to suspend its uranium enrichment program and efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
20 Feb 07. C-130 Transport Aircraft: Operational Loss. The Defence Procurement Minister said (20 Feb 07) that the Hercules C-130J destroyed on 12 Feb 07 had been on a routine mission when it was involved in an incident on landing in Maysan, Iraq. Initial investigation suggested that the aircraft had been hit by an improvised explosive device similar to a roadside bomb. Recovery was considered too risky for those involved and the aircraft was destroyed by UK personnel. The Minister said that the current market value of a C-130J was “in the region” of £45m.
Comment: On 9 Jan 07 the Armed Forces’ Minister said that there were 25 C-130J in service (now red