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NEWS IN BRIEF

NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

18 Nov 07. Army head concerned over morale. The head of the British Army has expressed concern about poor morale among troops. Gen Sir Richard Dannatt also raised the issue of the strain placed on resources by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to an internal report obtained by the Sunday Telegraph, Sir Richard said troops felt “devalued, angry and suffering from Iraq fatigue”. The Ministry of Defence said he was referring to individuals, who were not necessarily widely representative. A spokesman said: “The feedback given by lower ranks in the army helps the chief of the general staff to stay firmly in touch with life across the army and this helps to guide in him his discussions with the chain of command and in his decision making process.” The report catalogues disquiet on a wide range of issues facing soldiers, including poor housing when they are in the UK. Gen Dannatt also said the military covenant – the guarantee of a duty of care between the government and the armed forces – is “clearly out of kilter”. He added: “We must strive to give individuals and units ample recuperation time between operations, but I do not underestimate how difficult this will be to achieve whilst under-manned and with less robust establishments than I would like.” “We strive constantly to ensure that the armed forces have the best possible package of care.” Des Browne, Defence Secretary. Gen Dannatt issued a further statement on Saturday in which he said: “The military covenant is not broken, but more needs to be done.” In response to our concerns we have had some welcome news this year on medical treatment, equipment, pay and improvements in accommodation.” In a separate Sunday Telegraph article, Defence Secretary Des Browne said concerns the covenant “is in any way broken are wrong”. He said the government was now “asking a lot” of the services and their families and Iraq and Afghanistan were placing “huge demands” on personnel. He added: “That does not mean that we, the government, cannot do better.” But the truth is that we strive constantly to ensure that the armed forces have the best possible package of care.” In September, Gen Dannatt said he was becoming increasingly concerned about “the growing gulf between the Army and the nation”. He said soldiers were sometimes greeted with indifference on returning from service and contrasted the attitude in Britain with support for soldiers among people in the United States. (Source: BBC)

12 Nov 07. Iraq: OP TELIC. Soldiers from 2nd Bn The Royal Welsh deployed to the Al Qurna District. (MoD, 12 Nov 07.)
There have been 17 suicide/open verdict deaths among the Regular Armed Forces following recent deployments: 15 from those deployed on OP TELIC, one from OP HERRICK and one who had deployed on both Operations. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 12 Nov 07.)
Around 70 baton rounds were used in Iraq in 2004; 1,520 in 2005; 1,070 in 2006 and 200 in 2007 (to date). (MA, 13 Nov 07.)
The UK is holding 35 Iraqi nationals in the Divisional Internment Facility at Basrah Air Station. (MA, 15 Nov 07.)
Comment: The MoD reported (15 Nov 07) the Senior British Military Representative to Iraq as saying that the tasks of UK Forces were: “Principally to continue to train and mentor the Iraqi Security Forces….”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0745, 19 Nov 07)

14 Nov 07. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Captain from The Royal Regiment of Scotland, serving with 2nd Bn The Yorkshire Regiment, was killed by an Improvised Explosive Device in Helmand Province on 14 Nov 07. UK deaths since the start of Operations in October 2001 thus rose to 84, of whom 56 have been classified as Killed in Action and two as Died of Wounds sustained in action. (MoD, 14 Nov 07.)
There have been two suicides following deployment on OP HERRICK. (See also Item 1.)
Records indicate that no baton rounds have been used in Afghanistan since July 2006. (MA, 13 Nov 07.)
Some 700 Reservists are currentl

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