15 Nov 15. Turkey has cancelled a $3.4bn long-range missile defense system tender which was provisionally awarded to China in 2013, a move that had stirred U.S. and Western concern, an official at the Turkish prime minister’s office told Reuters on Sunday. NATO member Turkey, which in 2013 chose China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp as the preferred candidate for the deal, is now planning to launch its own project to build such a system, the official said. (Source: Reuters)
13 Nov 15. Paris: Terrorist Attacks. Starting at 20.30hrs on 13 Nov 15, a number of terrorist incidents took place in central Paris and near to the Stade de France. In a national broadcast, the UK Prime Minister described the events in Paris as the worst act of violence in France since the Second World War, with at least 128 feared dead and some 300 injured. Members of the public who were directly affected by the incidents were advised that they could telephone the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (020-7008 000).
Comment: The estimate of those killed may well rise. Systematic border control checks have been implemented at entry points into France. On 14 Nov 15, the Prime Minister chaired a COBR (Cabinet Office Briefing Room) meeting where it was agreed to maintain the UK threat level at ‘severe’ (which means an attack is ‘highly likely’) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/45, 16 Nov 15)
12 Nov 15. Iraq: OP SHADER. Tornado GR4 and Reaper have flown daily armed reconnaissance missions over Northern Iraq and Anbar Province. On 5 Nov 15 Tornado GR4 launched Paveway IV guided bombs against a pair of ISIL fortified positions near Sinjar. The GR4s were again in action over Northern Iraq on 8 Nov 15 and on 9 Nov 15 the aircraft provided close air support to a Kurdish unit. On 11 Nov 15 successful strikes were reported by Tornado GR4 and Reaper. A large Kurdish offensive started on 12 Nov 15, to drive ISIL from the Southern part of Sinjar City. (MoD, 12 Nov 15.)
On 13 Nov 15 the Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East welcomed the liberation of Sinjar and reiterated support for the Government of Iraq in the fight against ISIL. (FCO, 13 Nov 15.)
Comment: The Armed Forces. Minister said (10 Nov 15) that there were currently over 850 military personnel committed to OP SHADER based across the Middle East. (OP SHADER was defined as “counter-ISIL Operations in Iraq and Syria”.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/45, 16 Nov 15)
09 Nov 15. Mediterranean: OP SOPHIA. The RN reported (9 Nov 15) that 130 people crammed into a dinghy were rescued by HMS RICHMOND. RN ships in the Mediterranean have now rescued nearly 8,000 people since May 2015 (initially by HMS BULWARK; then by HMS ENTERPRISE and more recently by HMS RICHMOND and ENTERPRISE).
Comment: EUNAVFORMED, the European Union.s military Operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean, was launched on 22 Jun 15 and re-named as OP SOPHIA on 26 Oct 15. Under the latest phase of OP SOPHIA naval action may include boarding and seizure of vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking. The Headquarters for OP SOPHIA is in Rome. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/45, 16 Nov 15)
12 Nov 15. Cyprus: Security Concerns. The Chairman of the Defence Committee wrote an open letter (12 Nov 15) to the Defence Secretary about the migrants who came ashore at RAF Akrotiri in October 2015. The Chairman indicated that his Committee would be grateful for details of how the migrants were able to gain access to the RAF Station and whether a wider review of security was intended. The Defence Secretary was also asked for “an update on the disturbances at RAF Akrotiri which were reported in the media on 3 November….”
Comment: The arrival of the migrants in Cyprus was recorded in DNA 15/42 (Item 1). The Armed Forces’ Minister answered a Parliamentary Question about the migrants on 10 Nov 15 in which she described satisfactory welfare conditions. 14 of the original