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EUROPE

21 Aug 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Personnel from the Royal Army Medical Corps have been instructing Afghan soldiers in trauma care and first aid skills. (MoD, 21 Aug 12.)
The 4th Mechanized Brigade is to deploy on OP HERRICK 17 in October 2012 for a six-month tour as the lead formation of Task Force Helmand. The UK’s military commitment is due to be reduced by 500 by 31 Dec 12. Approximately 10% of personnel deploying on OP HERRICK 17 will be Reservists. (MoD, 23 Aug 12.)
Tornados of 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, operating from Kandahar, mounted reconnaissance missions across the Regional Commands using RAPTOR pods. Chinook and Merlin detachments operating from Camp Bastion continued to provide tactical air transportation of ground personnel, stores and equipment. (RAF Ops Update, 25 Aug 12.)
“The death of every Service person on Operations is thoroughly investigated in accordance with procedures used by civilian Police.” (MoD, 28 Aug 12.)
Soldiers from the 12th Mechanized Brigade Reconnaissance Force searched insurgents’ caves in the Upper Gereshk Valley and removed a large collection of weapons and explosives. (MoD, 29 Aug 12.)
Soldiers from the King’s Royal Hussars have been assisting with an Afghan Government programme aimed at improving animal welfare in Lashkar Gah. (MoD, 30 Aug 12.)
Comment: An article in ‘The Economist’ (1 Sep 12) discusses the phenomenon of Afghan soldiers turning on their NATO colleagues: “In 34 ‘green-on-blue’ attacks this year, 45 soldiers have been killed and 69 wounded.”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/34, 03 Sep 12)

26 Aug 12. The SNP leadership does not have grassroots backing for its plan to reverse policy on NATO membership, a group of Nationalist MSPs opposed to the reform said yesterday, as the party’s battle over the crucial issue intensified. The anti-NATO campaign, which launched yesterday with the backing of ten of the party’s 67 MSPs, said it was “confident” party delegates could be persuaded to stick by its historic opposition to the military alliance. The reform has been backed by Alex Salmond and proposed by defence spokesman Angus Robertson, who has argued that the SNP needs to show it is prepared to join an alliance which includes many of Scotland’s closest neighbours. However, the MSPs opposed to reform said yesterday that Robertson was “worried” he was about to lose, citing the fact he had issued polling supporting his case yesterday, on the same day as they launched their campaign. They claim that an independent Scotland outside NATO could help create nuclear disarmament across Europe by showing the way forward. Robertson announced earlier this summer that he wants the SNP to support NATO membership after independence, so long as Scotland does not have to host the Trident nuclear submarines based at Faslane, and can stay out of NATO conflicts which are not sanctioned by the UN. The decision will be made at the party’s annual conference in Perth at the end of October. (Source: The Scotsman)

29 Aug 12. UK ECO Announces Conviction of Businessman for Arms Dealing with North Korea and Azerbaijan. The U.K. Government’s Export Control Organisation (UK ECO) has announced that on July 20, 2012, Michael George Ranger was convicted and sentenced concerning two counts of being knowingly concerned in acts calculated to promote the supply or delivery of goods subject to trade controls with intent to evade. In early 2010, Mr Ranger attempted to broker two separate deals to supply surface to air missiles and Beretta pistols to Azerbaijan. He sourced the missiles from a clandestine contact in North Korea via a secret email account held in a false name. He also attempted to source a hundred 9mm Beretta pistols direct from the US manufacturer which he intended to sell to the Az

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