Wires Brief: Pakistan has low-yield nuclear weapons, Canada to call back CF-18s, Russia expands military bases in Arctic

22 October 2015 – Vancouver, CA

United Kingdom

British industry is now warning that the country’s national security will be at risk if there are any delays to replacing the Vanguard-class submarine fleet, reports the Telegraph. The Successor programme is estimated to cost between GBP 11 and 14 billion and has yet to receive the official green light. BAE Systems was awarded the GBP 257 million to fund the final design work back in March. While there is an ongoing debate in the UK whether the country needs to maintain a nuclear deterrent.

A United States Marines F/A-18C Hornet crashed soon after taking off from RAF Lakenheath, reports the Telegraph. The pilot did not survive the crash. The plane was from Marine Attack Fighter Squadron 232 and was one of six aircraft that were returning back to the United States.

Europe

Germany plans to expand its UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, reports DeutscheWelle. Currently, only nine German soldiers are participating in the peacekeeping mission that has seen continuing violence. Germany was part of the EU-led training mission in the south of the country, where it is perceived to be safer. Fifty-six peacekeepers were killed in Northern Mali during the first six months of this year alone.

Representatives from 17 European countries have gathered in Riga to discuss plans to thwart ISIS’ recruitment of foreign militants, reports AFP. The new protocol, which was drawn up by the 47-member Council of Europe, amends existing provisions to outlaw a number of terrorism-related acts. This will include, traveling abroad to conduct acts of terrorism, receive training for terrorism and organizing or facilitating travel abroad for the purpose of terrorism.

Russia

Russia’s Arctic military base has been completed, reports the Ottawa Citizen. This base will accommodate 150 personnel. Russia is currently developing four bases in the Arctic and it was recently announced that Russia will be revamping a base on the Kuril Islands, despite tensions with Japan. There is some transparency though because of the rising tensions. Finland is conducting a three-day inspection of Russia’s new Arctic special forces unit that is based kilometers (31 miles) from its border in the town of Alakurtti.

North America

This week marks the one year anniversary of the separate attacks that killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo in Canada. Vincent was killed in a deliberate auto incident in a shopping centre parking lot. Cirillo was shot, while standing guard at the National Memorial, and his attacker was later killed inside Canada’s Parliament Building.

The Liberal Party won a majority in Canada’s federal election. Canada’s Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau has promised to cancel plans to buy the F-35 and will be calling Canada’s fighter jets back from the Middle East. Trudeau and President Obama have spoken on the phone and it is unclear when the schedule to call back the CF-18 fleet exactly will be. This will end Canada’s combat mission against ISIS, however elements of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment will continue its “advise and assist” role in the Iraq.

The first American casualty in the ISIS degradation campaign occurred. A US special operations service member was killed in a ISIS prison raid which aimed to free at least 70 prisoners. The prisoners were freed, which included approximately 20 captive Iraqi servicemen. The US service member was an adviser to the Kurdish Regional Government.

Africa

Nigeria’s police are warning that Boko Haram is now using iPads, laptops and phones for bombs. Five suspects have been detained, but the authorities warn locals not to pick up the devices as they are now used as IEDs. Boko Haram has been known to use kidnap victims strapped with explosives as suicide bombers.

Middle East

AFP is reporting that Russia is refuting claims of one of its strikes hitting a Syrian hospital. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group is behind these claims and Russia has denounced the group as being no more reliable than a “pizzeria”. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that 13 people were killed in the strike, a staff member later confirmed these reports, but could not identify whether it was a Russian plane or not.

Asia-Pacific

AFP reports that Pakistan has built low-yield nuclear weapons in order to counter Indian aggression. This was revealed by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhary, who also stated that Pakistan will not be signing a nuclear deal with the United States during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington. It was also revealed that the US plans to sell eight F-16s to Pakistan. China will also build four of the eight Yuan-class submarines in Pakistan that it will sell to the country.

Reuters reports that the Afghan Taliban are active near Kabul despite a change in the threat level. Reuters reports that in Khawaja Ghar, a village in Deh Sabz district, you are more likely to see a Taliban fighter than a member of the Afghan National Security Forces. Deh Sabz district chief Mohammad Gul Sharafat states that the Taliban do not physically exist in the district and only temporarily are in the area to move rockets and other logistical matters. However, Sharafat does warn against traveling to villages such as Khawaja Ghar.

Social media wires

A Russian Sukhoi jet got within a few hundred feet of a Reaper drone over Syria. This is another cause of concern as Russian and US-led coalition aircraft continue to attempt to operate over Syria.

 

A Dutch Apache in Mali.

 

Reports compiled by Stewart Webb

Feature photo / “Military truck carrying Pakistani IRBMs” – Wikimedia Commons, 2015

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.


Stewart is the editor for DefenceReport. Stewart holds a MScEcon in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and holds a BA in Political Science from Acadia University. His specialties include South Asian and Canadian defence issues. He has made frequent appearances on CTV National News, and other Canadian media outlets both radio and TV. Stewart can be contacted at: swebb@defencereport.com


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