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13 Feb 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Senior Aircraftman from the RAF Regiment was fatally wounded by small arms fire in the Western Dashte area on 13 Feb 12. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 398, of whom 358 were killed due to hostile action. (MoD, 13 Feb 12.) [The figure of 358 has been revised.]
From 1 Jan 06 to 31 Jan 12, 1,871 personnel were Wounded in Action and 5,393 were aeromedically evacuated. (DASA, 15 Feb 12.) From 16 to 31 Jan 12 the figures were 16 and 35.
The VC10 of 101 Squadron completed all their planned missions and offloaded almost 140 tonnes of fuel.
The Tornado GR4 of 12(B) Squadron, operating from Kandahar, continued to support a number of coalition ground forces. (RAF Ops Update, 11 Feb 12.)
Around 250 British soldiers from 2nd Bn The Rifles and other Regiments contributed to a force of 1,000 which cleared an area known as the Bowri Dashte. (Media Ops, 13 Feb 12.)
Members of the RAF Regiment were among those who found and destroyed a large cache of IED-making equipment. (RAF website, 13 Feb 12.)
Comment: The MoD recorded (15 Feb 12) the visit by the Indian Army’s Chief of the Army Staff toOP HERRICK training on Salisbury Plain. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/08, 20 Feb 12)
17 Feb 12. Anglo-French Summit: D’Accord. The Prime Minister attended a UK-France Summit (17 Feb 12), hosted by President Sarkozy in Paris. The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, the Defence Secretary and the Energy Secretary. Three communiqués were agreed:-
* An energy declaration.
* A communiqué on Syria.
* A declaration on Security and Defence.
The declaration on Security and Defence covers: Lessons Learned from Libya; Combined Joint Expeditionary Force; Joint Force Headquarters; Defence Equipment; Defence Industry; Research and Technology; Defence Nuclear Co-operation; Cyber Security; Counter-terrorism; Olympics Security; International Security; Iran; Somalia; Burma and Foreign Policy Co-operation. The two Governments have instructed a Senior Level Group to oversee further work and to report back at the next Summit, to be held in the UK.
Comment: As the Defence Committee recorded in December 1991: “The United Kingdom and France have much in common. They are nations of comparable population and wealth, with proud military traditions and with global international interests stemming from a colonial past and a mercantile present.” (HC 91 of 1991/92.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/08, 20 Feb 12)
12 Feb 12. The SNP is deeply divided over Alex Salmond’s defence policy, with more than half of grassroots members disagreeing with the First Minister’s plan to withdraw an independent Scotland from Nato. The first ever comprehensive survey of the SNP’s membership has exposed a series of potentially damaging splits on policies such as defence, education and Salmond’s proposal that the Queen should remain head of state after separation. The research – led by James Mitchell, professor of politics at Strathclyde University and involving 7,112 paid-up members – uncovered schisms within a party that has made strenuous efforts to appear as one on policy. Since the SNP came to power in 2007, the leadership has exerted an iron grip on discipline – keeping differences of opinion under wraps so that the party can concentrate on its pursuit of independence. The policy that generated the most consensus was the constitution, with 71.1 per cent agreeing that the SNP’s primary goal was independence and “all else should be secondary”, while 69.6 per cent took the view that when someone criticised Scotland it felt like a “personal insult”. The research found that 52.7 per cent of SNP members believed membership of Nato was in Scotland’s strategic interests. Onl