Sunday, 25 August 2019
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This year in British politics has been dominated exclusively by the spectre of the Northern Irish Backstop and the dilemma of two juxtapositions. As much as there is nothing more pressing than the 'here and now', and the not-so-distant-future, history is ever pertinent and will forever raise its ugly head, writes Tom Spencer.


In April this year, the notion of history's reach was brutally illustrated by the murder of the aspiring Northern Irish journalist Lyra Mckee in Derry. Given a failure to anticipate the influence of legacy in our country's future, this article seeks to illustrate how past events have far reaching ramifications – as seen in the Northern Irish Troubles.

The crisis in Kashmir is probably one of the most significant international political events in recent years. It has parallels with the unrest in Hong Kong. It is in essence about one nation two systems with the exception that the majority population in Kashmir was only subjected to this condition on a temporary basis, having been promised a plebiscite to determine their own future – a promise that has not been fulfilled in 70 years. The crisis is receiving relatively little news and political attention, writes Professor Afzal Ashrad. This indicates a selective approach by the UK and other Western countries to championing democracy and human rights. Unlike Hong Kong, where the international community is calling for restraint in dealing with protesters, there is a complete clampdown on democratic freedoms and restriction of basic human rights including free-speech in Kashmir. The region has been described as one big prison camp, yet there is little in the way of an outcry from the international community.

USA00000IMG 00000 BURST20190107130637518 COVERA spokeswoman for the EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, quoted in The Guardian on May 27, 2016, asserted: "There is absolutely no plan to set up an EU army with the global strategy.": A denial qualified by the words "with the global strategy."

In that same news article, "Is there a secret plan to create an EU army?", The Guardian also cited Nick Witney, writing the "former chief executive of the European Defence Agency, said no one took the idea of an EU army seriously."

Joe Fallon explores the idea further on the next page.

nickwattsIMG 20170907 0924504Figures released on 30th July by the UK's Defence Export Sales Organisation (UKTI DSO) indicate that on a rolling ten-year basis, the UK remains the second largest global defence exporter after the USA. Nick Watts took a look for Defence Viewpoints.

In 2018, the UK won defence orders worth £14bn, up on the previous year (£9bn) and illustrative of the volatile nature of the global export market for defence. The UK share of the global defence export market was estimated at 19% in 2018. The UK's largest defence export markets were the Middle East, North America and Europe. In 2018, the value of UK Security export sales was £5.2bn, an increase from 2017 (£4.8bn), maintaining the UK at 4th place in the rankings. The UK's largest Security export markets were Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America, of which there are more details on the next page.

MoDIMG 20181218 1521345 2Following the sacking of short-serving - 84 days - Secretary of State for Defence Penny Mordaunt (a reservist Royal Navy Lt) by new Prime Minister Johnson, the ministerial team now seems to be;

Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP - Secretary of State (formerly Security Minister. MiD as a Lt with Scots Guards, subsequently worked for Qinetiq before becoming an MP)

Rt Hon Mark Lancaster MP - Minister for the Armed Forces (continues in position. Mark is a reservist Lt Col)

Baroness (Annabelle) Goldie - Minister of State (answers on defence in the Lords. Unpaid)

Anne Marie Trevelyan MP - Minister for Defence Procurement (Junior minister, previously a PPS at MoD)

Johnny Mercer MP - Minister for Defence People and Veterans (Junior Minister. Retired Aremy captain who srved 3 tours in Afghanistam)

Immediate issues facing the team :

* Protecting UK shipping in the Gulf

* Shortage of escort ships (long term - short term maintenance issues)

* Warrior capability update and other capital programme delays and overspends (is there another Black Hole in the budget?)

* Manpower shortages/ non-recruitment

* Prosecution of Northern Ireland veterans

* Leaving the EU - EDA and participation in EU operations

This post wil be updated if/when more info published.

Major social media companies should seek to remove extremist groups from their platforms despite the risk of groups migrating to more permissive spaces.

This is the main recommendation from the latest paper by Global Research Network on Terrorism and Technology after studying the case of Britain First, which collapsed from over 1.8 million followers on Facebook to around 1,100 on an alternative platform. See more on the next page.

memorial2 nWe mark the passing of those who have served this country on the next page. Contributions from families and colleagues welcome

USA00000IMG 00000 BURST20190107130637518 COVERDespite its radical rhetoric, Tehran is a practitioner of Realpolitik, says Joe Fallon. Not unlike North Korea, its foreign policy centres on two fundamental pillars: preservation of the regime and preservation of the state. Because of its experience with the West, these two goals define Iran's actions, past, present, and future, writes Joe Fallon.

Iran and Turkey were the only two major Islamic States that preserved their political independence in the "Age of European Imperialism" (1870-1914). Three times Iran had to defend its independence and territorial integrity in the 20 th Century from foreign powers seeking to partition the country. In 1907, Russia and the United Kingdom sought to carve out "spheres of influence". The Russians occupied the north, Azerbaijan, while the British occupied the south, Baluchistan.

HMS NclunnamedOn 23rd November last year HMS Tyne returned to her river. On a wet and cold evening, then Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that a future Type 26 City Class destroyer would be named HMS Newcastle – the ninth of that illustrious name.

There's going to be a new Geordie Gunboat.
Our editor has been telling people about the long history of her predecessors, so we're publishing his notes on the next page.

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