ISIL & Libya
Security in Libya has collapsed in the wake of the revolution that unseated Colonel Gaddafi in 2011 reports the Daily Telegraph as the majority of outlets continue to cover the news that ISIL militants are planning to target the country to use north Africa as a “gateway” to southern Europe. Meanwhile, the Independent reports that ISIL is seeking to bolster its military forces and it introduced a new rule under which men under the age of 18 are no longer exempt from conscription.
Elsewhere, the Sun (p2) references a YouGOV poll that says nearly 60% of Brits would support David Cameron sending troops to Libya to bomb ISIL.
The UK continues to play a leading role in the fight against ISIL in Iraq and Syria and have stepped up our activity in recent months. We are one of the largest contributors to air strikes over Iraq, second only to the US and of the 15th February 2015 our RAF Tornado GR4s had flown 232 missions. We have now trained almost 1000 Peshmerga forces and recently confirmed that we intend to gift 1000 VALLON IED detectors and will act as the coalition lead for the planning and coordination of all aspects of a C-IED training package for the Iraqi Security Forces.
The news that a Russian warship has been intercepted by the Royal Navy’s HMS Argyll as it strayed closed to the English Channel has been reported in the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, the Independent (p5), Daily Express and the Sun (p8). This was routine monitoring under the NATO agreement whereby alliance nations co-operate on this type of activity. The Royal Navy took over from French surveillance and sent the Fleet Ready Escort, a warship maintained at high-readiness for tasks in UK waters.
The Daily Mirror’s piece also includes comments from the ship’s Commanding Office Commander Paul Hammond who said:
We are one of the Royal Navy’s high readiness ships and we knew we could be called upon to respond a range of duties, such as monitoring a Russian warship, at short notice. The vast majority of the ship’s company, myself included, returned from a highly successful Atlantic Patrol Task (North) deployment just before Christmas. To be ready to undertake this duty after a short period of leave and maintenance is a testimony to their hard work and the capability of this ship.
Following Chief of the General Staff General Sir Nicholas Carter’s speech at Chatham House yesterday the Daily Telegraph and the Times (p2) write that the structures of the Army must be reformed to allow women to reach the top, echoing earlier comments from the Defence Secretary who said that he wants to end the Army's ban on women serving in front-line infantry roles. The Guardian, however, reports that General Carter said the British decision-makers who committed the country to the conflict in Afghanistan were trying to change the world without understanding it and that Tony Blair’s Labour Government is facing increasing criticism from many former senior military figures for failing to properly comprehend Afghanistan and Iraq, and their economics, tribes and cultures.
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