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27 Oct 08. Iraq: OP TELIC. The role of the 4,100 Service personnel deployed on OP TELIC 12 “is to provide mentoring, training and support to Iraqi Security Forces” in Southern Iraq. (MoD, 27 Oct 08.)
The majority of the Service personnel deployed to Iraq are based at the Contingency Operating Base (COB) at Basrah Airport. The COB is protected by 500 personnel, mostly from the RAF. (MoD, 27 Oct 08.)
“In 2007,….UK Forces conducted a dialogue with a range of militia leaders in Basrah, including Jaish al-Mahdi….”. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 27 Oct 08.)
HMS PEMBROKE and HMS GRIMSBY set sail (27 Oct 08) from HM Naval Base Clyde in order to relieve HMS RAMSEY and HMS BLYTH in the Gulf. (MoD, 28 Oct 08.)
“Coalition ships operating in the Persian Gulf regularly interact with the Iranian Navy but since January 2008 there have been no reports of significant incidents of concern.” (MA, 28 Oct 08.)
The Tri-Service Counter Rocket Artillery and Mortar Battery (CRAM) provides protection to the COB. The CRAM’s Phalanx guns were decommissioned from RN warships, overhauled and reconditioned for land-based use. (MoD, 31 Oct 08.)
Comment: HMS RAMSEY and BLYTH have been in the Gulf for 27 months and HMS PEMBROKE and GRIMSBY expect to be deployed for at least 24 months. It has now been established that two Sandown Class minehunters will stay in the Gulf with the crews rotating by air approximately every six months.
The Defence Committee published a Report on ‘UK Operations in Iraq and the Gulf’ on 22 Jul 08, as HC 982. The Government’s response was published on 29 Oct 08, for £3:00, as HC 1073. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0843, 03 Nov 08)

27 Oct 08. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The last 60 members of 2nd Bn The Parachute Regiment returned to the UK on 26 Oct 08. (MoD, 27 Oct 08.)
“We regret incidents where civilians are accidentally killed as a result of actions by International Forces.” (Defence Secretary, 27 Oct 08.)
In the opinion of General Sir Michael Rose, there are not enough combat troops to carry out all the necessary tasks if momentum against the Taliban is to be maintained. (RUSI, 28 Oct 08.)
A third of Afghans (8.4m) are suffering from food insecurity and are facing famine this winter. (RUSI, 31 Oct 08.)

Comment: The House of Commons debated ‘Afghanistan’ on 29 Oct 08. The debate is recorded in Hansard, starting in Column 263 WH. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0843, 03 Nov 08)

30 Oct 08. Poland increases defence expenditure by 8.8% for 2009. Approving Poland’s proposed 2009 defence budget on 22 October, Poland’s Parliamentary Defence Committee said that expenditures would rise by 8.8 per cent (5.9 per cent excluding inflation). In total Poland will be able to spend PLN25bn ($9bn) on defence, of which PLN24.57bn will go directly to the Ministry of National Defence. (Source: Jane’s, JDW)

01 Nov 08. Minister ‘horrified’ by SAS claim. A minister has said he is “horrified” by accusations the government has been “cavalier” with soldiers’ lives by not giving them proper equipment. An SAS commander in Afghanistan resigned over what he is said to have called “chronic underinvestment”. The Daily Telegraph said Major Sebastian Morley accused ministers of ignoring his warnings about the safety of the Army’s Snatch Land Rovers. But defence minister Quentin Davies said safer vehicles were now available. Maj Morley, an SAS reservist commander in Afghanistan, is reported to have blamed a lack of adequate resources for the deaths of four service personnel. ‘I recently visited Afghanistan, and 100 per cent of those I asked said they were now satisfied with their equipment.’ Defence minister Quentin Davies. (Source: BBC)

04 Nov 08. Amid the crowd of nations signing up to NATO’s new C-17 pool in October, Italy’s absence was notable, given that it backed the plan at its inception. Budget cuts prevented Italy from taking part in the deal to purchase three Boeing C-17 transport planes

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