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22 Aug 13. France has said that if Syria is proved to have used chemical weapons against its own people it could merit an international “reaction with force”. The comments from Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius come as Syrian activists say more than 1,000 people were killed in the attacks on Wednesday. France, the UK and Turkey are leading calls for a tough response from the UN. In a letter, they called for UN weapons inspectors already in Syria to be granted access as a matter of urgency. However, there is no sign that the UN team will be allowed to investigate. The team are staying close to the site of the recent attacks, but only have a mandate to visit three sites previously agreed between the UN and the Syrian government. (Source: BBC)

16 Aug 13. In what is viewed as a vital test of indigenous industrial capability, a Turkish defense electronics company has been tasked with developing a sophisticated strategic radar. Aselsan, Turkey’s biggest defense firm, said it signed a $103m contract with the govern­ment’s procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, to develop a multimission, phased array radar under a program dubbed CAFRAD Faz-1. The CAFRAD will be similar to the ALPHA multimission M-2258 advanced lightweight phased-array naval radar developed by Israel’s IAI and Elta for blue water and littoral warfare support. Industry analysts said Aselsan’s venture was quite ambitious and marks a first time in testing Turkey’s local capabilities.(Source: Defense News)

16 Aug 13. After years in which key procurement decisions were quietly made by senior politicians and generals, a new generation of Italian parliamentarians wants to claim a role in the process. A wave of new entries into parliament in February, including many represented by comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo, combined with heightened public
awareness of defense spending as recession bites, has turned the defense commissions from obliging rubber stamps into busy forums for debate. And if a pending law giving the commission veto power over acquisitions is enacted, the commissions will have the decision-­making clout they seek. This could make life difficult for the Defense Ministry if it has to win approval for all future acquisitions, including big-ticket items such as the joint strike fighter (JSF). “The lower house commission has increased its work rate by 100 percent, and we are still learning; in September, we will pick things up further,” said Massimo Artini, who was elected to parliament this year with the Five Star Movement, founded by Grillo to challenge mainstream Italian politics. A former IT entrepreneur, Artini is one of two vice presidents of the lower house defense commission. Elio Vito, the president of the commission, said there have been 60 meetings since new members were drafted in in May after the election. (Source: Defense News)

16 Aug 13. Poland will limit its participation in overseas military missions and concentrate on modernizing its forces at home, President Bronislaw Komorowski announced Thursday.
“We are abandoning without hesitation the missions policy, announced in 2007, which was too eager and ill-advised. The consistent policy of sending Polish soldiers to the other side of the world is over,” declared the president at a military parade during armed forces day in Warsaw. Komorowski, who is also the supreme chief of the armed forces under the constitution, said the death of 41 Polish soldiers during NATO’s ISAF mission in Afghanistan was a main contributor for the policy change. Poland maintains 1,600 soldiers in Afghanistan. Like other countries participating in the conflict, it intends to pull out its troops in 2014. Polish troops

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