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22 Jul 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The Tornados of 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron undertook reconnaissance missions throughout the Regional Commands, providing vital intelligence to ground forces. The Sentinel R1 aircraft of 5 (Army Co-operation) Squadron provided over 60 hours of radar reconnaissance and analysis for ground forces during the previous week. Reaper aircraft of 39 Squadron delivered over 270 hours of full motion video during the week. (RAF Ops Update, 22 Jul 12.)
A US Marine Corps Harrier Squadron has relocated to Camp Bastion, making air support for troops on the ground more accessible. (BFBS, 1 Aug 12.)
The Chief of the General Staff visited troops and spoke of “real progress” across Helmand. Afghanistan remained the General’s top priority and plans to withdraw combat troops in 2014 remained on track.
(BFBS, 2 Aug 12.)
Comment: ‘The Week’ (4 Aug 12) includes a Briefing article on ‘The exit from Afghanistan’. As the article states, the parallels between NATO’s withdrawal and the retreat of the USSR in 1989 look uncanny. The civil war, which lasted from March 1992 to 1996, remains Afghanistan’s great trauma.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/31, 06 Aug 12)
31 Jul 12. Olympic and Paralympic Games: Military Assistance. HRH The Prince of Wales visited RAF Boulmer (31 Jul 12) to gain an understanding of the integral role that the Station and the Air Surveillance and Control System Force are playing in the air security operation.
The Prime Minister visited RAF Northolt (31 Jul 12) where he thanked RN and RAF personnel for their contribution to the Games’ security. An RAF Typhoon detachment and RN Sea King helicopters are temporarily based at Northolt.
The Mayor of London visited the temporary camp at Tobacco Dock (3 Aug 12) where 2,300 troops are accommodated. The Service personnel are providing security at five venues: The Olympic Park, The Olympic Village, Excel, The Greenwich Arena and Greenwich Park. Chefs told the Mayor that they serve half a ton of sausages for every breakfast.
Comment: The MoD described media reports on conditions at Tobacco Dock (1 Aug 12) as “highly inaccurate and misleading”. As the Commander of Tobacco Dock Camp has said: “While the accommodation could be considered austere by the general public’s standards, it is certainly better than a soldier could reasonably expect on Exercise or on Operations.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/31, 06 Aug 12)
22 Jul 12. Gibraltar: Incursion by Spanish Authorities. The Foreign Office Minister for Europe said (22 Jul 12) that he was “shocked by the disgraceful behaviour of the Spanish Guardia Civil who detained two Gibraltarian British Nationals in British jurisdiction and transferred them to Spain”. The Minister went on to confirm that the UK would not enter sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content.
Comment: The two Gibraltarian British Nationals were detained while fishing some 200 metres off the coast of Gibraltar and transferred to Algeciras for a short time. The incident took place in the context of a disagreement about who can fish where. The actions of the Guardia Civil in detaining Gibraltarian British Nationals in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters was said, by the FCO, to be “a provocative escalation and is contrary to international law”. The general conduct of the Guardia Civil was debated by the House of Lords on 16 Jul 12. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/31, 06 Aug 12)
01 Aug 12. Switzerland: Mutual Interests. The Swiss Federal Councillor for Foreign Affairs met the Foreign Secretary on 1 Aug 12, Switzerland’s National Day. Discussions are said to have covered the relationship between the two Countries as well as shared interests in Europe and the wider world including Syria,