Posts Tagged 'Armed Forces'

Syria – put the dogs of war back in the kennel

When seeing Concrete Willy Hague and Cast Iron Dave Cameron talking tough on Syria and angling for international intervention on the side of ‘rebels’ of the Free Syrian Army – and inevitably if unintentionally, Al Qaeda and a raft of their smaller terrorist client organisations – I am reminded of an episode of the West Wing and Toby Ziegler reviewing Will Bailey’s thoughts on foreign policy for a passage in President Bartlet’s forthcoming inauguration speech before he demands Bailey re-write it:

This language proposes a new doctrine for the use of force. That we use force whenever we see an injustice we want to correct. Like Mother Theresa with first-strike capabilities.

There is a time and a place for humanitarian military intervention, for acting like Mother Theresa with first-strike capability.  Syria is not it.

Syria is not, despite the efforts of sections of the media to paint it as such, a genocide.  It is not another Rwanda where a one-sided slaughter of one tribe is being conducted by another.

Syria is a brutal civil war being waged between the vicious regime of a devil we know and an assortment of equally vicious groups of devils that we don’t.  Getting involved in this conflict would be a madness that will assure only one thing, that at some point in the future it will work out badly for the UK – be it through the loss of life of British servicemen in action, or innocent citizens in terrorist reprisals, or simply through the waste of yet more of our treasure on a campaign that is none of our business.

With remarkable and curiously convenient timing, the suspected chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus crosses the so called ‘red line’ and opens the door to Barack Obama, Cameron (who is exhibiting yet more hypocrisy) and Francois Hollande (who particularly seems to have a disturbing appetite for getting his guns out) to initiate missile strikes against the al-Assad regime… just as the Syrian military and Hezbollah militia are gaining the upper hand in the conflict. There is a nasty stench surrounding this.

For Hague to argue that there is ‘no other plausible explanation‘ than al-Assad’s forces being guilty of using chemical weapons, is ludicrously disinegenuous.  Numerous Syrian army establishments have been over run during the conflict, there have been defections, and the media has rarely tired of saying that with the exception of Damascus and some other urban pockets, the whole country is under ‘rebel’ control.  So surely the chance of al-Assad opponents capturing some of the country’s chemical stocks is fair to good.  But it seems the political elite has an agenda and nothing will be allowed to get in their way.

There is a real risk that the kind of murderous assault by Hezbollah terrorists that has been previously reserved for Israelis and Jews, could soon be directed against British citizens should we take part in a strike against Syria.  If you think the staggering brutality exhibited by the two cowardly Islamist murderers of Lee Rigby was shocking, wait until you witness the imaginative ways of terrifying and brutalising a population and killing defenceless people Hezbollah has in its playbook.

There is a wider political agenda being pursued here that goes well beyond removing al-Assad from the board.  Getting entwined in Syria with a military intervention is not in Britain’s interest.  Doing so without even having the issue debated and voted upon in the House of Commons underlines the death of democracy and accountability in this country.  Cameron needs to pull us back from the brink.  It’s time to put the dogs of war back in the kennel and stay out of matters that are none of our business.  Send humanitarian aid, medicine, food and shelter to the region to help those forced to flee the fighting, but keep the missiles locked in their magazines.

Syria providing another example of never letting a crisis go to waste?

It is generally accepted that military powers like to test out their capabilities in a genuine theatre of war, and Syria would represent the first proper opportunity since David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy signed an agreement for greater military co-operation, for French and British ground forces in particular to operate as a unit within a combined logisitics and joint command structure in live operations.

So it was interesting to learn that according to the website DEBKAfile, a joint NATO-Arab military intervention force is being readied for offensive action in Syria [H/T Nourishing Obscurity]. This part of their story particularly stood out:

In the second and third weeks of November, British and French naval forces, plus 2,600 special ops combatants from both nations, performed landing-and-capture exercises against fortified locations on the coast and mountains of Albania as practice for potential operations against similar terrain in Syria, where the Alawite Mountains loom over the coastal towns of Latakia and Tartus.

There remains significant consternation about the nakedly political decision to create an EU-wide military force, initially by tying together the two most effective armed forces in the bloc, by making British military capability dependent on active French support.  The future state would see Britain incapable of conducting combined operations using air, sea and land forces without French involvement and advance the military ambitions of the EU.

Syria would provide Britain and France with an essential testing ground for interdependent military operations – and provide the politicians with the opportunity to declare the wisdom and effectiveness of the tie-up.  What odds this motivation is a significant driver in what DEBKA report is happening?  It could be that in typical political fashion another crisis has emerged bringing with it the imperative not to let it go to waste.

We’ve already seen the first step towards an EU army taken by the UK.  No doubt this next possible next step means the supposedly EUsceptic Tories will be delighted.

Hiding away the consequences to spare their own shame

It is easy to feel contempt for the political class and the establishment. It is also quite understandable to feel dislike for such people who do things to suit themselves and disregard the wishes and interests of the general population.

But when reading the comments of the Under Secretary of State for Defence, Andrew Robathan, a former British Army Officer in the Coldstream Guards and the SAS, one can be excused for feeling a simmering hatred.  Formerly the Queen’s man, Robathan has sold out to the political pygmies in return for a career in Parliament.

This has been demonstrated by the words Robathan used to explain why the repatriation of British soldiers, slaughtered in Afghanistan for reasons passing understanding, will be hidden away from the general public when the inbound flights cease to land at RAF Lyneham and instead land at RAF Brize Norton. When our dead soldiers land at Brize the Sunday Fail explains that they will be driven through the back gate and then down side roads, neatly avoiding the nearby town of Carterton, as they make their way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Robathan said:

The side gate was seen by the Ministry of Defence and the police as the most appropriate way to take out future corteges.

I am not sure taking coffins in hearses past schools, past families, past married quarters is necessarily the thing that everybody would wish to see … the focus must be on the families of the dead service personnel. They are the people who care most. That is where our focus is.

No, instead Robathan and his ilk would prefer to keep the human impact of their completely mismanaged adventurism in Afghanistan a dirty little secret.

They know that news broadcasts informing the public of yet more young men who have been sacrificed needlessly to prop up a sick illusion do not have a fraction of the psychological impact of seeing coffins containing the remains of those poor lads being driven to Oxford.  Why should the reality of the consequences of the politicians sending these young men to their deaths be hidden away from the people they stepped up to serve?

This isn’t about looking out for emotional wellbeing of the families of servicemen.  This is about the MoD and the politicians not wanting to feel the pressure of public opinion weighing down on them as the bodies of young men whose lives have been snuffed out fighting to defend a corrupt, untrustworthy and backward regime that is incapable of securing the support of its own people.

When Robathan spins the line he did he erases the respect he earned through his previous service. All the good that went before is cancelled out. But most importantly he lets down those who have followed him into the armed forces and who should only been sent into harm’s way with very good reason.

Afghanistan is nothing like a good reason and Robathan is now nothing more than a self serving turncoat. He is a coward for toeing the party line in this way.

You do the fighting, I’ll do the talking

Every time he opens his mouth David Cameron reveals a little bit more of the idiocy within.

His latest comment, an attempt to stem criticism from senior members of the armed forces, underlines Cameron’s stupidity.  How exactly does Cameron expect the military to do the fighting when the size of the armed forces is being pared back, equipment that is essential for independent operations is being decommissioned at break neck speed and certain personnel have little time for training and recovery between deployment to theatre?

Yes, the Ministry of Defence has squandered billions on ludicrous procurement decisions. Yes, the Defence Chiefs have failed their commands by setting their hearts on equipment designed for use in conventional warfare while all our operations since the Falklands have been asymmetric. But this has been allowed to happen by the utter failure of the politicians to control that for which they are responsible.

In a way Cameron is being honest when he says he will do the talking.  Talk is all he is good for.  Cheap talk and empty rhetoric.  But he is fundamentally dishonest when he tells the armed forces to get on with the fighting because the defence policy of his band of traitorous quislings is eviscerating the British military and neutering its ability to function independently. It is not even an accident, it is being done by design as part of a bigger European plan to create an EU army that leaves member states reliant on interdependency.

Perhaps the Defence Chiefs could restore some semblence of honour if they admit they have been wrong to go along with the EU’s grand plan, discovered their backbones and oaths to defend this country’s interests and told Cameron what he can do with his words.

Parliament deceived about EU plans for sharing of military assets

To quote what Michael Fallon MP once said in a Parliamentary committee about former City Minister Lord Myners during the ‘Fred the Shred’ furore: ‘Misleading Parliament is a serious offence; misleading the public is even worse. The honourable thing to do now would be to resign.

The same comment should now be directed at the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (International Security Strategy) at the Ministry of Defence, Gerald Howarth MP for misleading Parliament and the public.  To set the scene, consider this Parliamentary written answer by Howarth published in Hansard on Thursday:

Military Alliances

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on the pooling and sharing of military assets.

Mr Gerald Howarth: The Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox), has regular discussions with his European counterparts on pooling and sharing. We believe that it is important that the UK seeks and exploits all opportunities to promote greater burden sharing and increased cooperation, in order to optimise capability development in Europe.

More specifically, I attended the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Defence Ministers’ formation on 24 May 2011, which included pooling and sharing as a topic for discussion. The UK took the opportunity at the discussions to re-emphasize the point that national commitments to any pooling and sharing initiatives must be voluntary, consistent with the fact that each member of the Council is a sovereign nation state.

The meeting at which pooling and sharing of military capabilities was discussed actually took place on 23rd May, but that is not how Gerald Howarth misled Parliament and the public. It was Howarth’s omission of important details about the meeting which Parliament should have been told and the public made aware that is the issue.

The fact of the matter is pooling and sharing initiatives in the military context here are not voluntary. They are being directed by the European Union. The matter is voluntary in so far as the EU will operate at arms length to provide support and foster pooling and sharing only as long as the member states actually get on with the business of carrying it out. Couched in the flowery diplomatic language of garblespeak this message is made clear in the adopted conclusions of the meeting:

(NB. This was split across two pages and has been merged for ease of reading)

If pooling and sharing of military assets was a matter purely for member states to engage in voluntarily, which Howarth wants Parliament and the public to believe, then what business does the Council of the European Union have setting best practice, scoping models for cooperation, defining success criteria, providing supporting tools and encouraging the European Defence Agency to help member states identify where assets can be pooled and shared?  These are the actions of programme directors, not observers. The EU is in the driving seat.

So where does this square with Howarth’s alleged emphasis that national commitments to any pooling and sharing initiatives must be voluntary, consistent with the fact that each member of the Council is a sovereign nation state?  His comment is utterly meaningless.  In choosing to omit the information from the conclusions of the meeting as shown above, Howarth was deliberately engaged in an effort to deceive MPs and voters.

The reality is clear. The EU is – to coin David Cameron’s phrase – ‘nudging’ the member states into a position that makes it easy for EU-wide command and control to be implemented. The member states know this but are comfortable with it as it fits their aim of ever closer union, regardless of what their people may think.

One final point needs to be made here.  Where is the media?  What, for example, is the point of the Telegraph conducting an interview with the head of the French Navy to splash a story about the UK and France sharing an aircraft carrier, when it misses or ignores the real story behind it that the public must be told?  Useless is a word that doesn’t come close to describing our national press.

EU plan for UK-French military merger inches closer

In September 2010 this blog explained to readers how plans for a Royal Navy aircraft carrier share with French Navy is nothing more than an element of a much bigger Tory idea dating back 14 years. We posed a question:

But what will be Cameron’s excuse when the deeply unpopular plan for the Royal Navy and French Navy to share aircraft carriers and integrate operations is confirmed?  After all, as EU Referendum reminds us, this is nothing more than the realisation of a long standing European military cooperation agreement signed by the Conservatives under John Major in 1996.

The Barclay Brother Beano, for reasons passing understanding, is still the Tories’ rag of choice. And it is there that the latest instalment in the drip feed of confirmation has been positioned…

(Note the date of the piece – 6 June – a typo error, or carefully timed release to fit with an announcement that has gone pear shaped?)

It has long been the EU’s plan for the UK and France to share military hardware in this way.  The article is a measure of the contempt in which the political class treats us, and an underlining of the ignorance/complicity of a fawning media that props up this worthless parasites.

What we are seeing is the end game, the execution of a long standing plan to bring about interdependence between the UK and French armed forces, which means Britain’s capability to undertake unilateral military operations will no longer exist.  We can only act militarily with the permission and active cooperation of others. The next stage will be the gradual assimilation of other elements of armed forces from other EU member states, operating under the blue banner and gold stars of the EU, giving Brussels its dream of a military capability under a unified command structure taking orders from the unelected and unaccountable mandarins who rule over us.

All this has been planned and delivered, hidden in plain sight of the electorate and the media, yet even now many in the media are still unable or unwilling to connect the dots and explain to our population what our political class has done. They are sickening quislings to a man and a woman.

Typhoon v Raptor = UK taxpayer being failed again

On Wednesday the UK National Audit Office published a detailed report on the current status of the infamous Eurofighter combat jet – nowadays officially known as Typhoon.  Lewis Page at The Register has taken a look and points out:

UK taxpayers will have shelled out no less than £215m for each of our 107 jets – that’s $350m at today’s rates, rather more than the US taxpayers have been made to pay for each of their 185 Raptor superfighters2, almost all of which will be used operationally. And the Raptor has third-generation Stealth: the Eurofighter has no stealth features at all. The Raptor has thrust vectoring for unbeatable manoeuvrability in a dogfight: the Eurofighter doesn’t.

The Raptor is a hugely more sophisticated and powerful aircraft, and is actually – astonishingly – somewhat cheaper, despite the fact that it is being made in much smaller numbers than the Eurofighter!

That’s a really astonishingly bad bit of value for money on our part.

1That was the original order when the project kicked off, and the price has not gone down – just the numbers of jets.

2Development and procurement cost of the Raptor for 183 useable jets is stated at approximately $62bn by the US air force, putting each jet at $339m.

I’m not the first, but allow me to add my sarcastic congratulations to the Labour government and the MoD for putting ‘European’ dogma ahead of value for money and getting the best equipment available.  Also to the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition for eviscerating our armed forces instead of merely fixing the problems associated with procurement; and furthering ‘European’ aims of forming a common EU military force at the expense of our own capability.

You politicians and civil servants are truly the most worthless, incompetent and contemptible scum of the earth.

If you read one blog post today, make it this one

We are seeing here structural cuts which remove the UK’s ability to act independently as a nation, and to project our foreign policy. We have moved from independence to a transitional stage where our capabilities have been removed and there is no replacement.  The agenda unfolds.

The cost of tackling a handful of Irish Republican terrorists

On this blog and elsewhere I have spent several years arguing that the threat from republican terrorists in Northern Ireland was being systematically downplayed to give a false impression that all in the province was well.

Despite repeated assurances from the Stormont administration that the ‘dissidents’ are only few in number; and a shocking refusal on the part of some media outlets to report some terror incidents over the last couple of years, both now seem to have come to an reluctant acceptance of the true state of affairs.

And that reality is borne out by the request from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) for an extra £245m over the next four years to combat ‘dissident’ republican violence.  An extra £61m per year is a huge some of money for a minor problem.  Clearly the number of terrorists involved with these groups, their increasing capability and enhanced reach can no longer be swept under the carpet and dismissed as a little local difficulty.

The breakneck effort to drawdown security forces in Northern Ireland and decommission assets necessary to combat terrorist activity has given the republican groups the space to recruit, train and carry out attacks.  The pandering to IRA/Sinn Fein by the Labour government, which is carrying on under the faux Conservatives, has increased the threat in Northern Ireland and restored a threat to mainland Britain.

Giving us yet another reason not to trust anything the political class say, it is clear weapons we were assured by terrorists and politicians had been put beyond use, under independent scrutiny, are being used having been transferred to these groups by the IRA.  Maybe now the political class will be hauled back into the real world to deliver on the obligations they have failed to fulfil as they engaged in spin and self congratulation. Hopefully not too many more lives will be lost while the security forces try to get hold of what they were instructed to let go of.

France’s latest justification for selling warships to Russia

An interesting follow up to a story this blog ran in January last year, when France confirmed it had done a deal to sell the Mistral class amphibious warship to Russia, along with advanced military technology.

The ¡No Pasarán! blog makes us aware that in an interview about the trouble in Tunisia, France’s new foreign minister, Alain Juppé, justified France’s sale of Mistral warships to Russia thus:

In Lisbon, I heard Barack Obama tell Dmitry Medvedev: “You’re not just a partner but a friend.” You can not blame France for delivering boats to a friend.

These are not merely ‘boats’.  These are command and control centres providing a helicopter borne and landing craft based amphibious assault function that fills a large gap in Russia’s military capability, enabling troops and tanks to be deployed from the sea.  The original deal was for one vessel, but now it seems to have grown to four.

As far as friend goes, what kind of friend feels the need to regularly probe our airspace with long range bomber and reconnaisance aircraft?  What kind of friend prevents suspects in the case of poisoning a dissident with radioactive material in this country from being brought to justice?  What kind of friend makes nuclear threats towards a peaceful European country?

Presumably France does not see Georgia as being as valuable a ‘friend’ as Moscow.  Having been invaded by Russia, which contrived a crisis in two breakaway regions in Georgian territory, Mamuka Kudava, Georgia’s ambassador to France, said last March that it would be “incomprehensible” if France were to sell the Mistral to Russia. It is an understandable view given that Russia’s senior naval officer Vladimir Vyssotski said last year that the Georgia conflict could have been resolved in ’40 minutes and not 26 hours’ if his forces had had the ships at the time.

Perhaps for the likes of Sarkozy and Juppé friends are determined by the size of their wallet and willingness to buy French equipment. One wonders how long it will be before Barack Obama revises his assessment that France is the US’ strongest ally as it helps re-arm the Russian military.

EU Air Force takes shape thanks to Tories

The long planned European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) draws closer to its fruition. In the 1990s, under the last Conservative government, the plan was hatched. Then under Labour in 1998 London and Paris agreed to jointly and actively work to make the European Union ‘able to carry out some security tasks on its own’.

It is against this backdrop that Air Vice-Marshal Greg Bagwell, commander of the RAF’s No 1 Group, which controls all Britain’s fast jet combat aircraft, has said that Britain was likely to end up with only six fighter and bomber squadrons – half its current number. Air Vice-Marshal Bagwell said that one way around the shortages was to collaborate more with the French:

“It looks like we are going to twin 3 Squadron [a Typhoon squadron] with one of the [French] Rafale [fighter-bomber] squadrons. I’ll make a prediction we will have British officers flying Rafale from a carrier within a few years. I’m quite sure of it.”

That was always the intention since the Tories signed the policy. With the UK and France effectively forming a twinned military, the EU can assume control giving it that coveted ability to ‘to carry out some security tasks on its own’. It gives the EU a military force to go with its new legal personality as part of the step change to eradicating nation states.

It seems strange that senior officers of the RAF are not aware of what the politicians have agreed and the agenda to which they are working. It is no surprise that the media has been in complete ignorance, but surely the senior ranks of the armed forces should already know how they are expected to operate in the future.

All the pieces of the jigsaw are on the table waiting to be put together. When they are assembled, thanks to David Cameron, Liam Fox and William Hague, the picture will be a British soldiers, sailors and airmen ‘harmonised’ with the French, being part of an EU military force operating under Brussels’ control into which the smaller armed forces of the other member states can be inserted one by one until all of them operate under the blue flag and gold stars of the illegitimate articifical construct. Instead of focusing on the comparison between an eviscerated RAF and Belgium’s ‘air component’ the media should be focusing on the bigger picture which explains why this is being done.

Because of clueless reporters relying on press releases rather than investigating to uncover the facts of what this supposedly Eurosceptic Prime Minister and his people are doing, the country will remain in ignorance as the EU completes its aims. It’s enough to make one think they are in on the plan and deliberately keeping people in the dark…

Fighting the Islamist onslaught

A healthy dose of realism from the head of our rapidly dwindling and increasingly ineffective armed forces. General Sir David Richards has said that the West cannot defeat al-Qaeda and militant Islam. Well, yes and no.

Fighting a conventional campaign against an opponent that by necessity uses unconventional methods will result in the failure we are seeing. And it is pointless talking about defeating militant Islam when the politicians and judiciary in this country indulge their agents, and kid themselves that by appeasing them or showing benevolence we can convince them to turn their attentions away from us to something else.

The Islamists sneer at such weakness and draw strength from it because it convinces their warped minds that their aims are righteous and favoured by Allah. The only thing they understand is strength. Anything else spawns their contempt. As such we must be uncompromising in our fight against them. Our politicians do not understand this enemy. They do not understand that there can be negotiation because the only thing the Islamists want is our defeat and fealty to a global Islamic state.

We are engaged in asymmetric warfare with this aggressor. Until the politicians accept the reality and stop trying to fight symmetric battles against them, even mere containment cannot be assured. Our politicians seem incapable of learning the lessons of the past, therefore condemning us to repeat the mistakes of yesteryear. We cannot buy these Islamists off. All we can do is keep killing them so their capability is limited.

Royal Navy nuclear submarine navigation problems?

A written answer in the House of Commons from the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff, suggests there is a problem with Royal Navy submarine navigation systems or crew training.

Luff was asked by Angus Robertson MP how many collisions involving a UK nuclear-powered submarine and (a) another submarine, (b) another naval vessel, (c) a private vessel and (d) a merchant vessel there have been since 1979; and how many grounding incidents involving UK nuclear-powered submarines there have been since 2008. The response showed there have been four serious incidents in the last two years after a period of five years where no incidents were reported. Luff replied that:

The full list of incidents of collisions and groundings involving Royal Navy nuclear powered submarines for which the Royal Navy holds records is as follows:

HMS Astute grounded off the Isle of Skye in October 2010.
HMS Torbay grounded in the Eastern Mediterranean in April 2009.
HMS Vanguard collided with FS Le Triomphant in February 2009.
HMS Superb grounded in the Red Sea in May 2008.

HMS Tireless struck an iceberg while on Arctic Patrol in May 2003.
HMS Trafalgar grounded on Fladda-chuain in November 2002.
HMS Triumph grounded in November 2000.
HMS Victorious grounded, while surfaced, on Skelmorlie Bank in November 2000.

HMS Trenchant grounded off the coast of Australia in July 1997.
HMS Repulse grounded in the North Channel in July 1996.
HMS Trafalgar grounded off the Isle of Skye in July 1996.
HMS Valliant grounded in the North Norwegian Sea in March 1991.
HMS Trenchant snagged the fishing vessel Antares in the Arran Trench in November 1990.

HMS Spartan grounded west of Scotland in October 1989.
HMS Sceptre snagged the fishing vessel Scotia in November 1989.
HMS Conqueror collided with the yacht Dalriada off the Northern Irish coast in July 1988.

Despite Luff’s answer to a separate question about training to avoid collisions and groundings that courses are comprehensive, complex and demanding it seems the problem is getting worse. Perhaps the UK strategy is that Britannia should give up pretending to rule the waves and rule the seabed instead.

Cameron’s defence deal fuels sense of betrayal

A fine post worthy of your time on England Expects as Gawain dissects the Anglo-French defence treaty and goes on to pose this question:

Who voted for this? Did anybody? Did any man or woman put their cross in a Tory box on election day and imagine that all this would come about?

Let the soul searching and recriminations commence.

Cameron and Sarkozy complete phase one of building an EU Army

Listening on BBC Five Live to David Cameron’s comments during his joint statement with Nicolas Sarkozy on UK-French military cooperation underlines just how slippery and untrustworthy he is.

Cameron stated that Britain and France would remain sovereign nations with their own independent military capabilities. He said that in recent history there have only been two occasions when Britain has launched a fully independent military campaign, the Falklands War and Sierra Leone. Cameron then went on to point out France and Britain’s joint involvement in theatres such as the Balkans and Kosovo (of course he did not mention the French officer who passed NATO military plans to Serbia).

But deliberately missing from Cameron’s little speech was the word interoperability. Also deliberately avoided during his high speed pass over recent military history was any mention of the invasion of Iraq. yet this is where the risks of Anglo-French military ‘cooperation’ exist.

Interoperability in the context of this treaty means certain capabilities will be provided by Britain and others by France. It makes the two countries reliant upon each other and unable to operate independently.

Interoperability only works when the partners in a cooperation pact share a common aim. During the Iraq campaign where we supported the Americans, this was not the case as France refused to take part in the invasion. The UK was unhindered by interoperability constraints because we possessed the independent capability to put our troops, tanks and aircraft into theatre to invade southern Iraq. We didn’t need the French.

The Anglo-French treaty signed today by Cameron and Sarkozy makes Britain reliant on France in military matters because Britain will no longer retain the necessary capability to operate alone. They claim this reduction in capability is designed to save money. But what happens when Britain needs the French in order to be able to deploy the necessary men and materials to protect British interests overseas and the French refuse to provide the capability because they disagree with the action? It is an unacceptable and short sighted risk and Cameron’s assertion that Britain will retain a sovereign capability is a lie.

There is only one way to be certain that France and Britain will deploy together for military action – that is if the order comes from their government, the EU. There is ample evidence that this is the plan. As EU Referendum reminds us:

This is a continuation of the Maastricht Treaty agenda, as this briefing note makes clear. Agreed by the Tories under John Major, this set up the parameters for the development of a European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). The process continued with the Franco-British meeting in Saint-Malo (France) in December 1998. That was when London and Paris agreed to jointly and actively work to make the European Union “able to carry out some security tasks on its own”.

With the two largest military powers in the EU brought together by this treaty it is much easier to subsequently add the armed forces of other EU member states to the mix, piece by piece. It is through this phased approach that the EU will achieve its ambition of being a military power and the federal superstate will boast its own army, navy and air force.

Cameron and Sarkozy have just concluded phase one.

UK takes first step into EU Army

‘Anyone who thinks that Anglo-French military “co-operation” isn’t a Trojan Horse for the EU Army needs their brains examined.’

That is the simple fact reiterated on EU Referendum earlier today.  And it’s not like the discussions and the warnings of this huge step towards a federal superstate have not been there for years. The political class and the media have been teeing this up for a long time. Here’s just a random sample of reports on the subject:

2005 – The next step will be to form a Europe-wide foreign policy and merge the armed forces into a single EU army.
2006 – The President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, has proposed the creation of a 100,000-strong EU army designed to work with NATO.
2007 – “We need to get closer to a common army for Europe,” Merkel last week told German daily Bild.
2007 – David Miliband yesterday called for greater military cooperation between European countries – fuelling fears of a possible EU army to rival Nato.
2008 – In a little-reported speech on May 6, Germany’s Foreign Minister Steinmeier called for greater efforts to create a common EU army.
2008 – Slowly but surely, the hidden agenda of the European Union’s foreign policy elite, led by France, becomes clear. They want an EU ‘army’, ‘hard power’ and a grand new military headquarters.
2008 – The freshly appointed UK defence secretary has publicly supported on Monday the idea of a European army.

The problem seems to be ordinary people thought this was something that simply could never happen. They saw the reports of an EU Army, figured these were the pipe dreams of self important windbags, and returned to the more serious business of deciding who to vote for on X Factor and which EastEnders character would be next to be run over in Albert Square. Or perhaps some thought a Conservative like Cameron would be elected and stop it happening – not reckoning on the fact the man as heir to Blair and his ‘progressive’ ilk is fully signed up to selling the UK out.

In their distracted state what most people did not realise or did not care was that these windbags were working unchecked to award themselves the power to carry out their plans. The salami tactics of seizing power slice by slice did not register with many, but they have brought us to this defining moment in our history – a moment when the UK completes the surrender of itself to the bureaucracy.

Those who saw it coming shouted from the rooftops but were told to stop ‘banging on’ about Europe by the very man who will move the first piece on the board to make the dream a reality by signing a ‘cooperation’ agreement with the French that signals the end of British military independence. Perhaps this was what Cameron had in mind when he spoke of ‘letting sunshine win the day’.

There is a word that fits Cameron perfectly. Collaborateur.

Missing the point of military cooperation with France

Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, ventures forth in the Sunday Telegraph today to set out his view that a closer alliance with France will be good for Britain. In doing so he intentionally attempts to mislead the public about the long term direction of Britain’s defence policy.

But his derisory effort to give the impression that Britain’s interests come first, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is worthy of scorn. It is a disgraceful attempt to deceive the British public. If you are not sure what I mean, try to make sense of Fox’s opening sentence:

Too often, the debate on defence within Europe has been focused on what the EU should or should not do. Yet it has always been my view that defence must be a sovereign, and therefore an inter-governmental issue.

The visions are mutally exclusive. You cannot have sovereign defence and make defence an inter-governmental issue. Fox continues:

When nations can benefit from co-operation without losing sovereignty, they should aim to do so – which is why this week will mark the beginning of a long-term commitment to closer defence and security links with France.

This is delusional rubbish. It doesn’t stand up to even cursory scrutiny. Any national defence capability that is dependent on the active cooperation and involvement of another nation before it can be deployed is, by definition, not sovereign. The Fox rationale of ‘cooperation’ being important in saving money is a red herring. The problem with our defence spending has not been the amount spent, but how it has been wasted on the procurement of the wrong equipment, usually at grossly inflated prices.

Let us be clear, Fox is not talking about international cooperation – a good example of which is NATO. Cooperation equates to the sovereign and independent defence capabilities of a number of countries coming together to achieve specific operational goals of mutual interest. What Fox is describing is interdependence – where the military force of a country (in this case Britain) is incapable of acting unilaterally and can only be deployed if another country provides the missing elements required to conduct operations.

This is not good for Britain.

As a number of people commenting on Fox’s Telegraph piece point out, everyone can think of conflicts in recent years where France would have refused to allow its assets to be deployed to enable British operations, because involvement in such actions would have a negative impact on French trade or financial interests. We know that even the closest of friends and allies sometimes oppose actions undertaken in our self interest – America during the Suez crisis anyone? We know that the interests of our friends and allies often conflict with our own wishes – France selling warships to Russia anyone?

But the observations of nearly all the commentators on Fox’s essay fail to make the final step on their journey. For any number of reasons they fail to recognise what the end game really is, perhaps because the destination is such anathema to them they could not conceive our government would work towards such an outcome… namely that defence is being readied to become an EU responsibility.

The goal is that the defence of the United Kingdom will cease to be the sovereign responsibility of the British government and that it will be, at some point in the future, managed by the EU. The goal that the most essential pillar of self determination of a nation state will be removed as a part of the objective of ever closer union on the path to full federal governance from Brussels.

No matter how close our friends and allies might be the United Kingdom absolutely must maintain an independent and sovereign military capability that can be deployed unilaterally to protect this country and defend this country’s interests overseas. Liam Fox, David Cameron, the coalition government and the rest of the political class are not serving Britain’s interests, but serving the wishes of the EU. And yes, the Tories with their weasel words and attempts to wrap themselves in the flag are complicit in this and have actively driven this forward.

Without being melodramatic there is only one word for such behaviour and that is treachery. When are people going to shake themselves out of their slumber and stand up against the dismantling of this country? How fitting it is that the word treachery comes from the Old French trecherie, from trechier, meaning to cheat, compare or trick.

Battle of Britain series culminates

One of the finest undertakings by any blog, the Battle of Britain series of posts by Dr Richard North on EU Referendum, has reached a natural finale today. If you’ve not read the series I wholeheartedly commend it to you.

The series of posts, with at least one published on the anniversary of each of the 114 days of the ‘Battle of Britain’ represents a masterclass in historic research and analysis. It has been a fascinating examination of those events during 1940 and the spin, disinformation and interpretation not only during the war but in the construction of the subsequent narrative.

We have to wait until next September for North’s compilation of the blog posts to be expanded upon and published in book form. But the endeavour promises to be an essential and enjoyable read for anyone with an interest in military history. Congratulations to Dr North on such a magnificent achievement.

Britain is now the punchline for an international joke

  • Can you imagine, just for a second, the US Navy or Russian Navy putting an aircraft carrier to sea with no aircraft?
  • Can you imagine France scrapping the Charles de Gaulle without immediate replacement and giving up its strike capability for a whole decade?
  • Can you imagine India putting its forthcoming Vikrant class carrier to sea, but with Thai rather than Indian owned aicraft?

The questions should be seen as preposterous because they are. But these are the scenarios facing our senior service, the Royal Navy, thanks to a government that is determined to make much needed spending cuts, but refusing to make them in those areas that have been soaked in additional or wasteful spending by the profligate Labour administration.

Either the government is serious about the defence of the United Kingdom and its interests overseas, or it isn’t.

The threat to this country, while recognising there are homegrown terrorists eager to attack us, originates overseas. The people who wish to harm this country and its people train overseas. Therefore we need to be able to act to defend ourselves overseas and air power is an important element in such actions.

There is no middle ground here. The government must retain a maritime strike capability until HMS Queen Elizabeth II and HMS Prince of Wales are fully operational with the proper complement of strike/fighter aircraft. HMS Ark Royal should not be retired early. And it is ridiculous that we might only have an intermittent nuclear deterrent in future because the plans for reducing the submarine fleet mean at times we will not have an attack submarine at sea.

Billions of pounds have been swallowed in welfare overpayments and the errors have still not been fixed. Billions have disappeared into the black hole of PFI projects where the taxpayer has been fleeced. Billions have been wasted on idiotic defence procurement flights of fancy. The list continues. These things should be fixed instead of degrading our military capability. Perhaps we can copy the Russians and fill the flightdeck with inflatable decoy aircraft to give the impression we are serious about defence.

Hey, heard the one about the country that had a defence strategy that allowed it to build two supercarriers but didn’t budget for the planes they’re supposed to carry…?


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