29 Jan 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. The House of Lords debated (25 Jan 16) various aspect of the campaign in Syria: Foreign Relations; Humanitarian Aid; International Assistance and Military Intervention. (House of Lords, 25 Jan 16.)
The Armed Forces‟ Minister spoke (27 Jan 16) during a Westminster Hall debate on the Iraqi Historic Allegations Team (IHAT). The Minister concluded: “….the objective is simple: we must protect human rights and we must protect those who defend them – our Armed Forces.”.
On 20 Jan 16 Typhoon FRG4s and Tornado GR4s provided close air support to Iraqi ground forces in and near Ramadi. Support was also provided to Iraqi troops near Fallujah. A pair of Typhoons delivered four Paveway attacks on 21 Jan 16 while a Tornado flight destroyed a terrorist fighting position and a mortar team. On 22 Jan 16 Typhoons claimed a direct hit on a group of terrorists. Typhoons were in action again on 24 Jan 16, as were Tornados near Mosul. In Syria, Tornados attacked three mobile cranes with Brimstone missiles and two more cranes were destroyed on 25 Jan 16. (MoD, 27 Jan 16.)
On 26 Jan 16, a pair of Tornados attacked a weapons stockpile while further North other Tornados provided close air support to Kurdish troops. Typhoons patrolled East of Ramadi on 27 Jan 16, delivering a successful Paveway attack. Typhoons were in action North of Habbaniyah on 28 Jan 16, conducting four successful attacks on Daesh positions. (MoD, 29 Jan 16.)
Comment: The MoD continues to remind those interested that British military instructors “play a significant role within the coalition’s intensive training programme to help prepare Iraqi units for the fight against the terrorists”. In her speech on 27 Jan 16, the Armed Forces‟ Minister mentioned the Al-Sweedy case which has cost the British taxpayer £31m although the Armed Forces were exonerated. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/05, 01 Feb 16)
29 Jan 16. Afghanistan: OP TORAL. As at 18 Jan 16, there were 458 members of HM Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan under OP TORAL (in line with the Defence Secretary’s announcement of 27 Oct 15). Of the 458, 33 (10 Officers & 23 Other Ranks) are female. (Minister of State, 26 Jan 16.)
As part of OP TORAL, the UK is advising Afghan instructors at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul. Up to 1,140 Afghan cadets can be enrolled in the Academy every year.
Comment: In addition to the above and as part of wider NATO activity, the UK has a small team deployed to Helmand to assist in the development of 215 Corps of the Afghan National Army. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/05, 01 Feb 16)
25 Jan 16. South Sudan: Peace Agreement. The Minister for Africa visited South Sudan (25/26 Jan 16), meeting the President and other Senior Ministers. Starting this year (2016) the UK is to commit 250 military personnel to the UN Mission in South Sudan in order to “support peace and security”.‟
Comment: The Foreign Office has also declared “long term support” to the South Sudanese people, to help the Country recover after two years of conflict. The pledge of 250 military personnel confirms the Prime Minister’s announcement of 28 Sep 15. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/05, 01 Feb 16)
26 Jan 16. Lebanon: Further Assistance. The Armed Forces’ Minister said (26 Jan 16) that the UK is committed to the security of Lebanon, including helping the Lebanese State secure its borders. Between 2012 and 2015 the UK spent over £30m to help the Lebanese Army raise and equip three Land Border Regiments (LBR) deployed along the border with Syria. 75% of the Syria-Lebanon border will be under State control by March 2016 and the rest will be further secured with the establishment of a fourth LBR in the 2016/17 financial year.
Comment: The Ministers’ reply (above) expands on the Foreign Secretary’s Written Statement of 12 Jan 16. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/05, 01 Feb 16)
26 Jan 16.