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12 Mar 22. Pakistan demands joint probe into ‘accidental’ India missile fire. Pakistan on Saturday demanded a joint probe into a missile India said it accidentally fired into its territory, rejecting New Delhi’s decision to hold an internal inquiry into the incident and calling on the international community to play a role.
“Such a serious matter cannot be addressed with the simplistic explanation proffered by the Indian authorities,” Pakistan’s foreign office said in a statement.
“Pakistan demands a joint probe to accurately establish the facts surrounding the incident,” it added.
India said on Friday it had accidentally fired the missile into Pakistan this week because of a “technical malfunction” during routine maintenance, giving its version of events after Pakistan warned New Delhi of “unpleasant consequences.”
The international community must play its “due role in promoting stability in a nuclearised environment”, the foreign office statement from Pakistan said, warning of “dire consequences” if any misinterpretation by one of the sides lead to an escalation.
Military experts have in the past warned of the risk of accidents or miscalculations by the nuclear-armed neighbours, which have fought three wars and engaged in numerous smaller armed clashes, usually over the disputed territory of Kashmir.
Tensions have eased in recent months, and the incident, which may have been the first of its kind, immediately raised questions about safety mechanisms.
Pakistan demanded clarifications from India over its safety mechanism to prevent accidental missile launches, and whether it was appropriately handled by its armed forces.
According to the U.S.-based Arms Control Association, the missile’s range is between 300 km (186 miles) and 500 km (310 miles), making it capable of hitting Islamabad from a northern Indian launch pad. (Source: Reuters)
Mar 22. U.S. working to help Iraq get missile defense capabilities – Sullivan. U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday condemned Iran’s ballistic missile attack on Iraq’s northern Kurdish regional capital of Erbil, and said Washington was working to help Iraq get missile defense capabilities to defend itself.
Sullivan told CBS’s “Face the Nation” program that no U.S. citizens were harmed in the attack, and no U.S. facilities were hit, but the United States would do whatever it takes to defend its people, interests and allies.
“We are in consultation with the Iraqi government and the government in Iraqi Kurdistan, in part to help them get the missile defense capabilities to be able to defend themselves in their cities,” Sullivan said.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards claimed responsibility for a dozen ballistic missiles that struck Iraq’s northern Kurdish regional capital of Erbil in the early hours of Sunday, Iran’s state media reported. read more
The missiles targeted the U.S. consulate among other sites, according to the Kurdish regional government.
Sullivan, in a subsequent statement released by the White House, said the United States backs Baghdad and governments across the region in the face of threats from Tehran.
“We will support the Government of Iraq in holding Iran accountable, and we will support our partners throughout the Middle East in confronting similar threats from Iran,” he said.
Asked about the impact on negotiations over a nuclear agreement with Iran that are already at an impasse, Sullivan said: “The various negotiators are back home in their capitals and we will have to see what happens in the days ahead with respect to the diplomacy around the nuclear deal.”
He said President Joe Biden remained strongly committed to stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
“One thing I will say is that the only thing more dangerous than Iran armed with ballistic missiles and advanced military capabilities is an Iran that has all of those things and a nuclear weapon,” he said.
U.S. forces stationed at the Erbil International Airport complex had previously come under fire from rocket and drone that attacks Washington blames on Iran-aligned militia groups, but no such attacks have occurred for several months.
The Defense Department referred all queries about Sullivan’s comments on missile defense capabilities to the State Department, which oversees security assistance agreements with other countries.
The State Department had no immediate comment on any new security assistance packages for Iraq. (Source: Reuters)
11 Mar 22. Saudi Arabia: Drone attack on oil refinery underscores persistent aerial threat amid global energy concerns. Early this morning, 11 March, the Saudi Press Agency reported a drone strike on a Riyadh-based oil refinery. The assault reportedly caused no injuries or disruption to oil output and that a fire was extinguished at the scene. Though no group has claimed responsibility, the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s continued involvement in the Yemeni conflict will sustain their vulnerability to airborne attacks carried out by the Iran-backed Houthis in the coming weeks. Moreover, in the face of global energy concerns due to the Ukraine conflict, the Houthis will likely seek to target critical infrastructure to disrupt the Gulf states’ global influence, as states seek to reduce energy reliance on Russia. However, the expansion of defensive and monitoring capabilities will largely mitigate any major impact on the region’s operational environment in the short-term. (Source: Sibylline)
10 Mar 22. Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby on Recent DPRK Missile Tests. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted two ballistic missile tests on February 26 and March 4, 2022 EST. Based on analysis of these launches, the United States Government has concluded that these launches involved a new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) system that the DPRK is developing, which was originally unveiled during the Korean Workers Party parade on October 10, 2020. The purpose of these tests, which did not demonstrate ICBM range, was likely to evaluate this new system before conducting a test at full range in the future, potentially disguised as a space launch.
While the DPRK chose not to publicize information on the systems involved in these launches, the United States is revealing this information publicly and sharing it with other allies and partners because we believe that the international community must speak in a united voice to oppose the further development and proliferation of such weapons by the DPRK. The United States strongly condemns these launches, which are a brazen violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, needlessly raise tensions and risk destabilizing the security situation in the region.
While the United States remains committed to a diplomatic approach, we will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the United States and our allies. Earlier this week, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command ordered intensified surveillance activity in the Yellow Sea, as well as enhanced readiness among our ballistic missile defense forces in the region. Our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad. We have been and will continue to coordinate closely with our allies and partners to address the threats posed by the DPRK and to advance our shared objective of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. (Source: US DoD)
10 Mar 22. Readout of the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council Working Groups on Integrated Air and Missile Defense and Maritime Security.
Department of Defense Spokesperson Cindi King provided the following readout: The United States and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) convened Working Groups on Integrated Air and Missile Defense and Maritime Security at the GCC’s headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 9. The Working Groups affirmed the longstanding defense partnership between the United States and the members of the GCC and reaffirmed a shared commitment to regional security, under the framework of the GCC-U.S. Strategic Partnership.
The United States and GCC member states discussed the range of threats to the region with a focus on the air and sea domains. The participants reaffirmed the November 2021 statement of the U.S.-GCC Iran Working Group, again condemning Iran’s malign behavior through proxies and direct use of advanced ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Iran has used these weapons and supported terrorist and other armed groups to conduct hundreds of attacks in the region.
The United States and GCC member states stressed the importance of strengthening the ability of the GCC countries to collectively address these threats. They developed a common vision for deterring the most pressing threats in the region from air, missile, and maritime threats.
Members of the GCC briefed on their efforts to bolster defense cooperation, in concert with the United States.
The United States and GCC member states agreed on the importance of advancing integrated defense initiatives to defend against and deter air, missile, and maritime threats. The United States and GCC member states welcomed opportunities to work together – including through joint training and exercises to prevent Iran from holding the region at risk through its proliferation and direct use of advanced ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, maritime weapons, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), which pose a clear threat to regional security and stability. (Source: US DoD)
10 Mar 22. Addressing the continuation of disinformation on chemical weapons in Syria. Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East/Syria.
Mr President, I thank High-Representative Nakamitsu for her briefing.
Just ten days ago we discussed Syria’s chemical weapons in this Council. It was clear then that Syria remains uncooperative. The serious outstanding issues on its chemical weapons declaration, which include the fate of thousands of chemical munitions and hundreds of tonnes of chemical agents, remain unresolved. The terms of resolution 2118 continue to be breached. We therefore call on the Syrian regime – as we do every month – to cooperate with the OPCW and return to compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention.
In the ten days since we last met, Russia has continued its war of aggression against Ukraine. Besieging cities, killing civilians indiscriminately, forcing millions to flee in search of safety. The parallels with Russian action in Syria are clear. Regrettably, the comparison also extends to chemical weapons, as we see the familiar spectre of Russian chemical weapons disinformation raising its head in Ukraine.
Russia has a long history of deflection, denial and obstructive behaviour when it comes to chemical weapons. In 2017, Putin claimed the Khan Shaykhun attack, for which the expert and impartial OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism found the Assad regime responsible, was staged by the West.
Russia has offered more than 40 different narratives about the chemical weapons attack its military agents carried out in Salisbury four years ago, and we have seen nothing but obfuscation and falsehoods in relation to the Novichok attack on Alexei Navalny.
As you listen to the Russian statements during this session, I ask you to consider — who should we believe? Should we believe the state with a track record of using chemical weapons, that has denied and deflected questions about attacks by its client, the Assad regime, whether in Khan Shaykhun, Ltamenah or Saraqib? Or should we believe the independent, impartial international organisations that have conducted rigorous investigations, attributing responsibility based on clear evidence?
This Council has heard enough lies about chemical weapons from the Russian Federation. We must stop pretending that the Assad regime is acting in good faith. We should stand up for the rules we have all agreed, look those who break them in the eye and hold them to account for their actions.
Finally Mr President, I note that Libya is on our agenda for next Wednesday — I look forward to discussing it then.
Thank you. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
10 Mar 22. RoK: Presedential Election Results. On 10 March, Yoon Suk-yeol was elected president after his main challenger Lee Jae-myung conceded defeat in one of the tightest run presidential elections in South Korean history.
- Yoon, a member of the conservative opposition People Power Party (PPP), will serve a single five-year term as president when he replaces the ruling Democratic Party’s (DP) Moon Jae-in on 10 May. However, the Democratic Party continues to hold a strong majority in South Korea’s legislative chamber – the National Assembly – with legislative elections not scheduled until 2024.
- The contest was largely seen as a referendum on the incumbent Moon Jae-in’s term, with DP candidate Lee viewed as more of a status-quo choice in terms of foreign policy and socio-economic management. However, neither candidate was deemed a popular choice, with both Lee and Yoon implicated in a series of corruption scandals over the previous year. South Korean voters indicated in the pre-voting stage that issues concerning corruption and the country’s growing real estate prices would be key deciding factors for this election.
- The initial challenges facing Yoon when he comes into office on 10 May will be to manage the rising number of Covid-19 cases, South Korea’s post-pandemic economic recovery, the country’s growing real estate prices, in addition to navigating tenuous relations with its neighbours China, Japan, and North Korea.
Yoon has indicated that he will take a more hawkish approach to inter-Korean relations compared to Moon and align more with Washington in attempts to pressure Pyongyang via sanctions to denuclearise. This prospect, and the more assertive rhetoric likely to emerge from a Yoon-led Blue House, will likely result in North Korea taking more provocative actions during Yoon’s five-year term. This is likely to involve greater missile launches and/or the resumption of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) testing. While a recent US intelligence report also highlighted the prospect of the North restarting its nuclear tests this year, an escalation in regional tensions leading to a direct armed conflict remains low given the prohibitive cost to North Korea.
In terms of economic plans, Yoon has indicated he will focus on undoing Moon’s policies and reducing the government’s role in the economy. However, Yoon has yet to disclose how he will finance his announced spending plans. Yoon has also declared that he will improve labour flexibility in the country by reducing regulations in the labour market, including for working hours and minimum wage. Despite such promises, there remains significant uncertainty whether such policies can be achieved given that the PPP does not enjoy a majority in the National Assembly and are likely to face strong opposition to labour reforms from the DP and South Korea’s prominent labour unions.
Regarding foreign policy, if Yoon does pursue his promised hawkish approach towards Beijing while strengthening ties with Washington, maintaining healthy economic relations with their most important trade partner China will likely be difficult. As an example, following the 2017 deployment of the US missile defence system THAAD in South Korea, Beijing banned Chinese tour groups from visiting the country and high profile South Korean businesses faced boycotts from Chinese consumers. While such hawkish China policies are unlikely to be implemented in the coming months given Seoul’s current focus on improving the country’s pandemic stricken economy, such policies could pose a long term threat to future Sino-Korean economic cooperation. (Source: Sibylline)
09 Mar 22. SAMI secures SAR 7bn for major future projects.
- The deal involved three separate agreements with Saudi National Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, and Gulf International Bank – Saudi Arabia
- The financing agreements will contribute to the company’s projects related to defense industries localization, infrastructure, acquisitions, and working capital financing
: As part of its strategic efforts to expand its operations in Saudi Arabia, SAMI, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), signed three separate financing agreements with three Saudi banks for a total amount of nearly SAR 7bn. This is the first deal of its kind in Saudi Arabia’s defense industries sector and will contribute to the company’s future projects related to defense industries localization, infrastructure development, acquisitions, and working capital financing.
Commenting on the agreements, Eng. Walid Abukhaled, CEO of SAMI, stated, “We are pleased to cooperate with the Saudi banking sector in this massive deal, which is the first of its kind in the defense industries sector of Saudi Arabia. These agreements will support our principal goals and future projects and will strengthen and broaden the scope of our operations. They also seek to employ local talent in the defense industries sector, thus accomplishing the goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 of localizing over 50% of defense spending. This deal will also support PIF’s efforts through SAMI in localizing cutting-edge technology and knowledge, as well as building strategic economic partnerships.”
Mater Alenazi, CFO of SAMI, added, “SAMI’s ability to acquire substantial financing affirms the confidence of the banking sector in the strength of our operations. The company’s targeted growth and the economic feasibility of our future projects confirm our eligibility for this financing. These agreements will also benefit our society by creating new employment opportunities and supporting the GDP growth, as well as localizing Saudi Arabia’s defense industries. We will continue to build strategic partnerships with leading local and international financial institutions in order to finance many of our projects in the near future, which aim to strengthen the defense industries sector in Saudi Arabia in line with Vision 2030.”
Since its inception in 2017, SAMI has led the way in developing and supporting the defense industries sector in Saudi Arabia. The company plays a key role in accomplishing sustainability in the defense industries sector and promoting its self-sufficiency by ensuring rapid growth of defense products and services through its five main business divisions, namely SAMI Aerospace, SAMI Land, SAME Sea, SAMI Advanced Electronics, and SAMI Defense Systems.
07 Mar 22. On 9 March, the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), the Afghan wing of the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in Sibi district, Balochistan on 8 March that killed at least five soldiers.
- ISIS-K also claimed responsibility for the bombing inside the Shia Kocha-e-Rasladar Mosque in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on 4 March that left 56 dead and close to 200 injured (see Sibylline Alert – 4 March 2022). The two attacks in quick succession mark a resurgence of ISIS-K in Pakistan where the group opened a local chapter in May 2019. ISIS-K has traditionally targeted security forces and ethnic Hazara Shias, though the group also has a history of attacking other minorities including Sikh and Christian priests in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. ISIS-K grew in prominence last year when it successfully launched an attack against Western allied forces during their evacuation from Kabul airport (see Sibylline Alert – 27 August 2021).
- Significantly, the group’s latest attacks come after Pakistan’s Country Terrorism Department (CTD) killed ISIS-K commander Bilal Khan on 19 January 2022. Bilal’s death likely activated local sleeper cells that then responded with counter suicide bombings against typical ISIS-K targets – Shia minorities and security forces – in retaliation. Furthermore, as neighbouring Taliban forces continue to launch security operations against ISIS-K in Afghanistan, several fighters have fled to Pakistan strengthening the local ISIS-K chapter. The group has also taken the advantage of rising hostility and minor clashes on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border between Pakistani and Taliban forces.
- The Balochistan bombing occurred at a time of immense domestic political volatility as opposition parties continue to conduct a “long march” protest from Karachi to Islamabad, while Prime Minister Imran Khan also faces a no confidence motion in parliament (See Sibylline Daily Analytical Update- 7 March 2022). The deteriorating domestic security conditions will likely become a rallying point for opposition parties, driving the risk of government instability further. (Source: Sibylline)
09 Mar 22. Australia to invest $38bn to surge troop strength by 30 percent.
“In their last three years in Government, Labor cut Defence spending by 10.5 per cent in real terms,” while the current government says “Our Government has increased investment in defence to more than two per cent of GDP.”
In a decision that has been in the making for some time, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defense Minister Peter Dutton announced a huge increase Wednesday to the island state’s force structure.
Morrison said in a press release that “we need a bigger ADF with more soldiers, sailors and airmen and women to operate the cutting-edge capabilities we’re getting to protect Australia.”
The uniformed military, currently 60,000 strong, will see an increase of 18,500 troops by 2040. The ministry estimates the cost will be at least $38bn over the period of 2024-40.
“This growth in workforce and expertise will enable us to deliver our nuclear powered submarines, ships, aircraft and advanced weapons. It will mean we can build warfighting capabilities in the domains of space, and information and cyber,” Defense Minister Peter Dutton said in the release. “It will also build the resilience we need in critical areas and enable our people to increase intelligence, information and communications capacity.”
Much of the growth is likely to come for troops — “diggers,” in local parlance — trained for space, nuclear sub and cyber duty, but a press release says the growth “will be even higher when workforce requirements for the nuclear-powered submarines are finalised.”
Industry sources here have flagged the need for a significant growth in troops trained as space specialists to cope with the substantial increase in ground stations, launch and satellites expected over the next 15 years
The timing of the release is interesting and there are clear indications from the press release that it is closely tied to the upcoming federal election, where Morrison’s Liberal Party is fighting off a challenge from the opposition Labor Party. The release notes the review was launched as part of the 2020 Force Structure Plan, which committed Australia to a range of new weapons and capabilities, and the main decisions were approved on November 17 last year.
The release notes that: “the Labor Party’s “defense spending as a share of GDP dropped to 1.56 per cent in the 2012-13 Budget – the lowest level of funding since 1938. In their last three years in Government, Labor cut Defence spending by 10.5 per cent in real terms. Our Government has increased investment in defence to more than two per cent of GDP.”
It points out that “ADF personnel will be increased in every state and territory (emphasis added), with a particular focus on capabilities associated with our trilateral security partnership between Australia, United Kingdom and United States (AUKUS), as well as air, sea, land, space and cyber.” The release also notes that “a majority of the growth” will occur in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.
Queensland is an important battleground state for the upcoming election and has been the scene of several recent defense announcements. Its capital, Brisbane, is a strong candidate for the new $10 billion AUD eastern seaboard base. South Australia is the center of mass for Australia’s space industry and for much of its maritime construction and maintenance. Morrison’s Liberal Party suffered stinging upsets here in recent state by-elections and two ports in New South Wales, Newcastle and Port Kembla, are in the running for the sub base. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
08 Mar 22. Lockheed Martin to invest $1bn in manufacturing in Saudi Arabia. Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) will invest more than $1bn in manufacturing in Saudi Arabia, a senior executive said on Tuesday, as the kingdom looks to use its clout as a major arms buyer to help diversify its economy away from oil.
Ray Piselli, Lockheed’s vice president of international business, told broadcaster Asharq Business the funds would support efforts by Saudi Arabia’s military industry regulator GAMI and state-owned defence firm SAMI to boost local industry.
“Funds will be allocated to facilitate manufacturing, R&D and MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) initiatives across the kingdom, by investing in and upskilling Saudi industry,” a Lockheed Martin spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters.
With more than $45bn budgeted for military spending in 2022, Saudi Arabia has made developing a domestic industry central to a multibillion-dollar transformation plan initiated by its de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as Vision 2030. read more
Piselli said Lockheed Martin would invest in opportunities with local companies and government entities to base some of its industry in the kingdom, without giving details.
On Monday, GAMI said it was working with Lockheed Martin to make some of the parts for its THAAD missile defence system in Saudi Arabia.
Piselli said Lockheed Martin had big contracts with Saudi Arabia. In addition to collaborating on building parts, it wants to include the kingdom in global supply chains and create an export market. Revenues from Gulf Arab countries reached $4bn in 2020, he said, without giving a more recent figure.
Saudi Arabia’s industry minister said on Monday Riyadh attracted 81bn riyal ($22bn) of investment into the industrial sector in 2021.
U.S. group Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX.N) was quoted as saying on Monday it planned to move production of some parts of its Patriot missiles to Saudi Arabia. (Source: Reuters)
07 Mar 22. North Korea could return to ICBM, nuclear tests this year-U.S. intelligence report. North Korea’s missile launches could be groundwork for a return to intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear bomb tests this year for the first time since 2017, the U.S. Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) said in its annual Worldwide Threat Assessment released on Monday. On Tuesday, U.S.-based analysts said commercial satellite imagery shows construction at North Korea’s nuclear testing site for the first time since it was closed in 2018.
International experts have also reported that North Korea’s main nuclear reactor facility at Yongbyon appears to be in full swing, potentially creating additional fuel for nuclear weapons.
The DNI report, dated Feb. 7, and released ahead of a congressional hearing on Tuesday, said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un remained strongly committed to expanding his nuclear weapons arsenal and ballistic missile research and development.
It said the North Korea’s continued development of ICBMs, intermediate range ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles showed the country’s intention to bolster its nuclear delivery capability.
“In January, North Korea began laying the groundwork for an increase in tensions that could include ICBM or possibly a nuclear test this year – actions that Pyongyang has not taken since 2017,” the report said.
“Flight tests are part of North Korea’s effort to expand the number and type of missile systems capable of delivering nuclear warheads to the entire United States,” it added.
The DNI report said it based its assessment on information available as of Jan. 21. A return by North Korea to ICBM or nuclear testing would be a massive additional headache for the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, even as he grapples with the crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Amid stalled denuclearization talks, North Korea has suggested it could resume testing nuclear weapons or ICBMs. It tested a record number of missiles in January, including its largest since 2017, and appears to be preparing to launch a spy satellite. The United States and 10 other countries on Monday bemoaned the failure of the United Nations Security Council to condemn North Korea’s missile launches this year, saying this eroded the credibility both of the council and the global non- proliferation regime. (Source: Reuters)
07 Mar 22. China increases 2022 defence budget by 7.1%. The proposed increase is said to be the largest since 2019. China has proposed to increase defence spending by 7.1%, to CNY1.45tn ($230bn) in 2022, in a bid to safeguard its sovereignty, security, and development interests.
The proposed increase was announced by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang while delivering the draft budget at the opening of the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the top legislature of the country.
If approved, the rise in defence spending will mark the largest increase since 2019, reported Reuters. Last year, the figure was 6.8%.
According to the news agency, Premier Li said that the government will focus on modernising its military’s logistics and developing modern weaponry.
He was quoted by Reuters as saying: “We will continue the reform of national defence, and the military, and step up innovations in defence science and technology.
“Government at all levels must give strong support to the development of national defence, and the armed forces, so unity between the military and government, and between the military and the people, will remain rock solid.”
Global Times, an English newspaper that runs under the auspices of China’s ruling Communist Party, said that the defence budget increase comes at a time of the ‘unstable security situation’ around the country.
The rise also comes at a time when the ongoing crisis in Ukraine pushed several countries to increase defence expenditure.
Denmark recently said that it will increase its defence budget to 2% of GDP, by 2033.
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Germany also announced that it will increase military expenditure to more than 2% of GDP while the Polish Government is also working to boost defence spending more than previously planned. (Source: army-technology.com)
07 Mar 22. SA soldiers to stay in Mozambique until at least mid-April. South Africa’s military commitment to SAMIM (SADC Mission in Mozambique) has been extended to mid-April this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa informed Parliament via a letter to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. The President is constitutionally obliged, both as the South Africa’s first citizen and Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), to inform Parliament of utilisation and “employment” of soldiers and other military personnel.
The extension of the Mozambique deployment (Operation Vikela) was in a letter dated 28 February stating the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will continue to support the Republic of Mozambique from 16 January to 15 April 2022. It was published in Parliament’s Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports (ATC) on 4 March. The letter has it the three-month deployment will cost R984m, the same amount Ramaphosa quoted for extending the original July deployment in October. The 1 495-strong deployment will continue being part of the regional bloc force fighting “violent extremists” in northern Mozambique, particularly Cabo Delgado. South African military personnel first moved into the country’s eastern neighbour last July with the deployment extended for three months in October. In response to a defenceWeb inquiry, the SANDF said it is currently mobilising Combat Team Alpha for deployment to Mozambique. “Due to security reasons, names of deploying units will not be disclosed. The SANDF has elements of the SA Air Force deploying in Mozambique for air support.”
It is understood Combat Team Alpha is an infantry battalion and will largely replace the Special Forces operators who have been in Mozambique since the start of SAMIM operations. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
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