Sunday, 01 May 2016
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Northern Ireland's economy, security and its delicate peace process will be negatively affected should the UK vote to leave the EU, argues a new article published in the Journal of the Royal United Services Institute. As the referendum debate intensifies, it claims that politicians in Westminster and Stormont have failed to address the risks to Northern Ireland associated with Brexit.

'Who Will Speak for Northern Ireland? The Looming Danger of an Ulster Brexit' by Edward Burke, argues that 'Northern Ireland, with its 300-mile land border, its fractured political structures, weak economy and enduring terrorist threat' requires urgent attention in the debate on a potential Brexit. While the debate focuses on trade and English and Scottish issues, 'inattention in the case of Northern Ireland, particularly on Brexit, is complacent and dangerous; Northern Ireland's departure from conflict remains brittle.'

We mark the passing of those who have served this country in its armed forces. Contributions from comrades and families welcome, plus requests for inclusion

Francis Tusa, esteemed editor of Defence Analysis, reviews John Terraine's "Business in Great Waters: The U-Boat Wars 1916-1945".

Apart from being a simply superbly written account of the anti-submarine campaigns on both sides, it has some passages which chime appallingly well to our ears with events that happened close to a century ago in some cases, but which seem to be spring fresh today. Even if one is not that interested in anti submarine warfare, Defence Analysis feels that a few, selected quotes are worth considering ....

"At the root of the matter by the simple fact; the sheer lack of anti-submarine vessels and anti-submarine aircraft; and at the root of that lay the far less simple fact of a two-ocean war, with a second enemy of a totally different kind, who posed no submarine threat to trade but challenged American sea-power with capital ships, and against whom it was not American anti-submarine craft but American submarines that promised to be an effective weapon."

Daesh's evolution and eventual professionalisation are crucial to understanding what its overall strategy represents in its thinking. It can no longer be taken as a coincidence that as it loses substantial ground in Syria and Iraq it has taken to more ravenous attacks outside of its main area of operations. The attacks within Europe and other parts of the globe, from Turkey to Pakistan, represent not an invincible strength, but the true start of Daesh's decline, writes Cory Turner

Before the predatory attack on Charlie Hebdo, Daesh had relied principally on the less direct fear of it and the resultant xenophobia and other social tensions after its attacks. It had allowed its own brand of soft power, not to mention the perception of it being untouchable despite its atrocities, to wage the psychological battle. It is no coincidence that as the group loses ground in Syria and Iraq, it has launched a series of attacks against innocent civilians more intensely than it ever has done before.

With Daesh launching predatory attacks in Europe and across the world more commonly, public opinion understands the militaristic terrorist threat as a fact of modern life. This assumption, however, is mistaken, and misses the entire reason that Daesh has survived for so long, writes Cory Turner. The evolution of its strategy towards mass insurgent attacks signals its inevitable downfall, not its strength.

It is an easy assumption to make that the rise of Daesh is an immovable fact of the international system today. It has, after all, survived for years despite a – albeit slow and reluctant – coordinated effort by a grand coalition led by the world superpower. The continuous attraction of Daesh from a select minority of people breeding its war effort constructed the idea that Daesh is only growing in strength. Foreign fighters continue to feed the group's barbarism, and a string of both symbolic and strategically significant victories in recent years have very effectively imprinted into the public consciousness that it is simply a problem that will refuse to disappear.

In a failed attempt to capture Paris attacker Saleh Abdesalem, investigators in Belgium seized about 10 hours of video footage of the residence of an executive who worked at a nearby nuclear power facility. Belgian experts were able to say with confidence that the footage was taken by a clandestine, unmanned fixed camera hidden in a wooded area near the executive's home, but off his property.

Later investigation after the Brussels bombings determined that the surveillance had been conducted by one or both of Brussels suicide bombers, Khalid and Ibrahim Bakraoui. Some analysts believe the video footage must have been part of pre-operational surveillance for a planned attempt to place the executive under duress in a "tiger kidnapping" scenario to force him to give the terrorists access to the facility or to radioactive materials.

Since its revolution five years ago, Tunisia has experienced political development that might have been considered as a model for democratic evolution in many counties where uprisings occurred in 2011.

However, the spread of protests since mid-January 2016 reveals the depth of its unresolved and festering socioeconomic crisis, and exposes how little has changed in the power structures of Tunisia. Public opinion seems to be that almost nothing has been changed since Ben Ali was ousted. Despair runs deeply in all layers of Tunisian society. And the outlook for changes is bleak, with economic growth not exceeding 1% of the GNP according to the National Bank of Tunisia. As in many other countries of the region political stability runs in parallel with economic growth.

Captain BS Forethought answers the question on every Sgt Maj's lips 'What is the point of officers?'

Officership is dead, long live officers

"All they do is say Go". They say a whining soldier is a happy soldier, but Sgt F_ was laying it on thick. "I mean what do they actually DO? They just waltz around deciding stuff that anyone with half a brain would do anyway, then writing it down in a really long winded way. What is the point of them? F_cking Ruperts."

I had assumed that it was the Horror Bag that had set Sgt F_ off when he was complaining to me on the coach back from Salisbury Plain, but this was deeper, and it set me thinking. What is the point of officers?

One star appointments are on page 2

Air Commodore M Quigley to be promoted Acting Air Vice-Marshal and to be Director Technical in the Defence Equipment & Support organisation with effect from 1 April 2016.

Air Vice-Marshal G M Waterfall CBE to be Chief of Staff (Operations) in the Permanent Joint Headquarters with effect from 16 May 2016 in succession to Air Vice-Marshal S D Atha CB DSO whose next appointment is yet to be announced.

Air Commodore C R Elliot CBE to be promoted Acting Air Vice-Marshal and appointed Chief of Staff Personnel and Air Secretary, Headquarters Air Command in July 2016 in succession to Air Vice-Marshal D J Stubbs OBE, who is retiring from the Service

Air Vice-Marshal S C Gray OBE to be Air Officer Commanding No 38 Group, Headquarters Air Command with effect from 16 June 2016 in succession to Air Vice-Marshal T L J Bishop CB who is retiring from the Service.

Air Vice-Marshal J A Young CB OBE to be promoted Air Marshal and to be Chief of Materiel (Air) in the Defence Equipment & Support Organisation and Chief Engineer (Royal Air Force) with effect from 29 April 2016 in succession to Air Marshal S J Bollom KBE CB who is leaving the Service. In addition, Air Vice-Marshal Young is appointed to the Air Force Board as the Air Member for Materiel on the same date.

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