Wires Brief: MoD unveils mental illness stats, NATO halves Baltic air mission, Power struggle within Taliban and Afghan government starting

5 August 2015 – London, UK

 

Digital wires

United Kingdom

DefRep’s recent discovery of an FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request filled by the UK MoD has revealed the number of lost work days of uniformed military personnel from 2010 through 2014. The numbers show a marginal decline in ‘sick days’ taken for reasons of ‘mental health’ (the MoD classifies all mental health issues as ‘Anxiety Stress and Depression’). The ratio of days lost to those serving, however, is on the rise.

Days Lost to Mental Illness

 

FTE – Full Time Equivalent employees

 

MoD Work Loss

The RAF will extend the mission to degrade ISIS until March 2017. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon stated in Baghdad that “Our aircraft have flown thousands of missions and RAF Tornados have carried out hundreds of strikes, helping Iraqi forces push back Isis from the Kurdish region and out of key towns such as Tikrit and Bayji.” In the first six months of 2015, ISIS has only lost 9.4% of the territory that it holds and thus further suggesting a very long road ahead.

Europe

The notable welcoming of two Eritrean refugees into the home of a conservative German MP has highlighted the controversy aroused by recent migration fracases in France. Migrant movements from France to the UK have resulted in security forces cracking down on immigration and illegal movements of vulnerable populations.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/03/military-aircraft-interventions-have-surged-top-gun-but-for-real

NATO halves its Baltic air policing mission come September, reports France24. This comes at a time when air inceptions are almost routine in the Aegean and in the Asia-Pacific region. The reduction in the Baltic can be seen as a shift in priorities and the need to make a rational use of resources.

Russia

In a move to improve coordination and efficiency, Russia merged several branches of its military into the new Aerospace Force, reports AP. This new force will be comprised of Russia’s air force, air defense, anti-missile and space forces. Russia is continuing to expand its military and infrastructure. It was also announced that Russia will repair and upgrade 108 of the air force’s 125 airfields.

Russia has made its first bid in over a decade to lay claim to 1.2 million square kilometres of the Arctic shelf, reports the BBC. The claim is allegedly backed by recent scientific discoveries and aims to secure an area said to retain 25% of the world’s untapped oil and gas reserves.

North America

The US has continued air strikes on IS, with an additional 19 strikes carried out on Monday on militant targets in Iraq and Syria, Reuters reports. Approximately 5,700 sorties have been launched against IS targets in the last twelve months. Recent third party investigations reveal allegations of some 450 civilians killed by these strikes over the same time period.

Africa

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claims the killing of Malian soldiers near Timbuktu, reports the Long War Journal. 10 soldiers and two vehicles were burnt at an army outpost in the town of Gourma-Rharouss. Northern Mali continues to suffer from a small scale insurgency by Islamists after the failed attempt to overthrow the government. The UN has deployed a peacekeeping mission in the country and peacekeepers are regularly targeted.

Middle East

Yemeni pro-government troops have recaptured the Al-Anad military base in the country’s south, reports AP. The base was originally seized by Houthi rebels in the spring. The base was once used for US intelligence operations against al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula. It took several days for the soldiers to take the base and were backed up by tanks and APCs. The Saudi-led coalition has been operating in the country for many months and this is definitely a significant win for the coalition and the Yemeni government.

Asia-Pacific

At an Afghan Taliban meeting where Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was named leader of the insurgent group, many of the senior leaders, including the son and brother of the late Mullah Omar, walked out reports Reuters. Many wish Mullah Omar’s son Yaqoobto take over the group, and some believe that Pakistan’s ISI had  their hand to guide Mansour in taking over. This may be an indication that the Taliban may split.

However the same can be said about the government, General Abdul Rashid Dostum (and current vice-president) stated that he and his followers will take the fight to the Taliban. This move will concrete his authority in the north as the government moves forward and Dostum is known for his showmanship. Dostum has frequently stated that his is the kingmaker and that he, alone, brought current President Ashraf Ghani into power. This may signal the beginning of a power struggle between the two.

 

Social media wires

Dostum and his fighters are already massing for a major offensive.

The Netherlands continues to contribute to the UN mission in Mali.

One year has past.


Reports compiled by  Robert Densmore and Stewart Webb

Feature photo / “British Army Bomb Disposal Team” – ResoluteSupportMedia

The Wires Brief is a mid week breaking news report incorporating wire service news and social media updates. DefRep can not verify the authenticity of social media reporters nor the accuracy of social media updates.


Robert is a former US Naval Flight Officer and frontline journalist. He specialises in aerospace technology, drone warfare, military ethics, just war theory and combat related mental health.


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