21 Oct 15. Cyprus: Migrants Landed. The MoD confirmed (21 Oct 15) that a number of boats with migrants on board had landed on the shore of
RAF Akrotiri. The number of migrants was subsequently (22 Oct 15) given as 114 (67 men, 19 women and
28 children), who were all assessed as being “fit and well”. The Republic of Cyprus agreed to process all asylum claims; meanwhile the migrants will be accommodated within the Sovereign Base Area (SBA).
In a further statement (24 Oct 15) the MoD stated that a temporary transit facility is being provided on the SBA
“should it become necessary to move the migrants.”
Comment: The UK has two SBA in Cyprus: some 3,100 hectares at Akrotiri including the RAF Station and a further 2,340 hectares at Dhekelia. In addition to those serving with UNFICYP there are two Infantry Battalions and an RAF helicopter squadron on the island. Eight Tornado GR4 are temporarily deployed with OP SHADER. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/42, 26 Oct 15)
19 Oct 15. Iraq: Training for Security Forces. The Defence Secretary announced (19 Oct 15) that UK personnel have started to deliver Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) training to members of the Iraqi Security Forces. The new courses follow the Prime Minister’s pledge that the UK would increase the number of personnel assisting the Iraqi Government’s specialist training. 50 personnel from 33 Engineer Regiment, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, are delivering life-saving C-IED instruction to members of the Iraqi Security Forces in Besmaya and Taji.
Comment: UK Forces have already trained over 2,100 members of the Kurdish Security Forces in C-IED tactics and the programme is now being extended to the Iraqi Forces. Kurdish Forces have recently detected 60 IED and avoided a further 300 in a single village thanks to the 1,000 Vallon detectors donated by the UK. During Oral Answers (20 Oct 15) the Defence Secretary said that there are an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 active ISIL fighters in Iraq. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/42, 26 Oct 15)
20 Oct 15. Oman: Personnel Numbers. The Personnel Minister said (20 Oct 15) that there are around 195 military personnel in Oman. The figure includes those with the Defence Section in the British Embassy in Muscat; personnel on Loan Service with the Omani Armed Forces and others on temporary assignments in the region. There are no MoD civilian personnel based in Oman.
Comment: As reported in DNA Issue 15/39, the UK is currently considering plans for developing a British presence at the Omani port of Duqm. A permanent presence at Duqm would enable the UK to shape the development of the naval facility to support its future carrier capability and wider maritime interest in the region. The Personnel Minister also confirmed that no personnel are currently based at the Duqm Port facility. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/42, 26 Oct 15)
20 Oct 15. Somalia: Military Support. Ministerial Answers (20 Oct 15) indicated that the UK has 20 Armed Forces personnel deployed in Mogadishu, including a Defence Attaché and his Assistant at the British Embassy. Personnel are supporting a range of UN and EU missions to provide training and logistical support to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and to develop the Somali National Army. The purpose of these missions is to counter the terrorist threat from Al Shabaab and to achieve security and stability within Somalia and the wider region.
Comment: The UK is the only EU country with an Embassy in Mogadishu.
AMISOM has lost more than 1,000 killed, with contingents coming from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Uganda. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/42, 26 Oct 15)
20 Oct 15. Syria: Military Intervention. Armed Conflict, Refugees and Military Intervention associated with Syria were the subject of Parliamentary Questions (20 Oct 15). The Foreign Secretary said that “there is no prospect of a resolution [