12 Sep 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. Between November 2014 and August 2016 473 Hellfire missiles were used in Iraq and Syria, at an estimated
cost of £44.455m. (House of Commons, 12 Sep 16.)
The net additional costs of counter-Daesh activity in Iraq and Syria were £45m in FY 2014/15 and £220m in FY 2015/16. (House of Lords, 13 Sep 16.)
The Foreign Secretary delivered (14 Sep 16) a Written Statement about the use of Chemical Weapons in Syria and the steps HM Government is taking to respond to the situation.
On 6 Sep 16 Tornados destroyed a group of Daesh vehicles near Qayyarah and two days later Tornados hit a bomb factory and two groups of terrorists in Northern Iraq. Typhoons destroyed a howitzer in Western Iraq on 9 Sep 16 while a Reaper silenced a mortar team near Qayyarah. On 10 Sep 16 a Reaper destroyed mortar and rocket teams near Qayyarah. On 11 Sep 16 Tornados bombed a Daesh strong point in Eastern Syria as a
Reaper destroyed a mortar team near Qayyarah. (MoD, 14 Sep 16.)
Comment: Qayyarah remains the focus for Iraqi offensive operations and RAF aircraft have continued to contribute to the coalition air effort. A ‘Ministerial Correction’ was published on 14 Sep 16, correcting an error published in Written Answers for 8 Sep 16. The subject is weapon releases (Brimstone, Hellfire & Paveway) over Iraq and Syria. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/36, 19 Sep 16)
12 Sep 16. Argentina: Consultations. The Minister of State for Europe and the Americas visited Argentina on 12/13 Sep 16. The principal reason
for the visit was to enhance bilateral consultations with the Argentine Foreign Ministry and to attend a Business and Investment Forum organised by the Argentine Government. Both Countries agreed the first positive
statement on South Atlantic issues since 1999, which set out a commitment to work together on issues affecting the South Atlantic and the Falkland Islands. The Minister stated that: “The UK and Argentina have a broad relationship that goes beyond our differences”.
Comment: Both delegations expressed “full support” for a DNA identification process in respect of unknown Argentine soldiers buried in the Darwin cemetery. It was agreed that the wishes of the families concerned were paramount. None of the discussions or the Joint Communiqué affects the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands and the UK remains “absolutely clear” in its support of the rights of the Islanders. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/36, 19 Sep 16)
14 Sep 16. Falkland Islands: Demining. Ministers from the Foreign Office and the MoD drew attention (14 Sep 16) to a new £20m phase of demining work in the Falkland Islands. Expert teams will clear 46 minefields over the next two years and carry out surveys to prepare for the clearance of another 27, as the UK continues to work towards clearing all mines from
its territories (in line with Ottawa Treaty obligations).
Comment: Thousands of mines will be cleared in the next phase of this work, making safe dozens of areas which have been unusable since the1982 conflict. Under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the UK is
required to clear all mined area under its jurisdiction or control
13 Sep 16. RFA Diligence: Warship Repair. The proposed sale of RFA Diligence and the future of warship repairs at sea was discussed in both Houses of Parliament (Lords on 13 & 14 Sep and Commons on 13 Sep 16). In response to questions, Defence Ministers confirmed that: “RFA Diligence, the forward repair ship, is one part of a system providing support facilities to deployed ships and submarines. This support is regularly supplemented by commercial arrangements and international agreements. When bespoke afloat capabilities are required, these are contracted on the commercial market”.
Comment: As reported in DNA 16/31 (dated 8 Aug 16) „expressions of interest. in the sale of RFA Diligence were invited on 4 Aug 16. RFA Diligence underwent refits in 2012-13 and 2014-15,