31 Oct 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. The UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN made a Statement on chemical weapons: “It has now been
conclusively demonstrated that both the Assad regime and Daesh have used chemical weapons against civilians in Syria.”. (FCO, 31 Oct 16.)
The Defence Secretary visited Baghdad and Erbil, meeting Iraqi officials and UK personnel who have helped train over 25,000 members of the Iraqi Security Forces. RAF Tornado, Typhoon and Reaper have completed
more than 1,000 strikes in Iraq and Syria. (MoD, 31 Oct 16.)
On 28 Oct 16 Tornados and a Reaper attacked Daesh on the outskirts of Mosul. On the next day a Reaper provided close air support to Iraqi forces in the Tigris Valley. On 30 Oct 16 a Reaper attacked terrorist positions East of Mosul. Tornados launched Storm Shadow missiles against bunkers in Western Iraq on 31 Oct 16 as a Reaper supported Iraqi forces around Bazwaya. On 1 Nov 16 Tornados destroyed two Daesh machine gun
teams while a Reaper attacked targets South East of Mosul. (MoD, 2 Nov 16.)
The Foreign Secretary made a Statement in the House of Commons “updating the House on the campaign against Daesh in Iraq and Syria”. (Hansard of 3 Nov 16, starting at Column 1077.)
Comment: ‘Political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood Review’ was published by the Foreign Affairs Committee on 7 Nov 16 as HC 118. The Committee calls for a clear set of standards for engagement with
‘political Islamists’. The Committee concludes that the phrase ‘political Islam’ is vague; with no universally-accepted meaning and includes a wide variety of groups. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/43, 07 Nov 16)
02 Nov 16. Colombia: State Visit. The President of the Republic of Colombia and Mrs Maria Clemencia Rodriguez de Santos were formally welcomed to the UK by HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on 1 Nov 16 at the start of a three-day State Visit. The first State Visit by a Colombian President to the UK confirmed “the strength of bilateral relations based on shared values of democracy, prosperity and respect for human rights”. (FCO, 2 Nov 16.)
Against the background of the State Visit, the Defence Secretary’s Columbian counterpart visited the MoD (2 Nov 16) where the two Ministers discussed military assistance provided by UK Forces. The UK has
provided training courses and expert advice on peacekeeping as well as Defence education and support to the Colombian MoD.
The partnership between Northern Ireland and the Columbian Government was confirmed as President Santos arrived in Belfast for the final part of his programme. The partnership will focus on education and Police reform, as links are strengthened between Colombia and Northern Ireland. (NI Office, 3 Nov 16.)
Comment: The Defence Secretary invited Defence Minister Villegas back to the UK in 2017 “to hold further discussions on shared areas of interest.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/43, 07 Nov 16)
31 Oct 16. South Sudan: Confirmation of Additional Troops. The MoD announced (31 Oct 16) that the Defence Secretary met members of 16 Air Assault Brigade preparing to join those already in central Africa. As part of 16 Medical Regiment, troops will travel to South Sudan with a specialist field hospital which can be deployed by parachute.
Comment: The announcement confirms the Defence Secretary’s earlier forecast that up to 100 extra personnel were to join the peacekeeping mission, adding to the 300 already announced (see also DNA Issue 16/35,
Item 2). 16 Air Assault Brigade is the Army’s ‘high readiness’ Brigade.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/43, 07 Nov 16)
04 Nov 16. Type 26 Frigates: Manufacturing to Start. The Defence Secretary announced (4 Nov 16) that the MoD planned to cut steel in Summer 2017 to build the first batch of the eight planned Type 26 frigates, “subject to detailed contract negotiations”. BAE Systems confirmed (4 Nov 16) the start of Type 26 manufacturing as “a world-cl