Wednesday, 20 August 2014
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Marking the passing of those who served this country with honour. Contributions from relatives and friends are welcome. See the next page for details.

The Royal Tank Regiment: Back in the CBRN game . Jiesheng Li describes why, but questions remain.

The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review envisioned a clear role for a Chemical, Biological, Radiation and Nuclear (CBRN) unit as part of a future high readiness force. The Joint CBRN Regiment would cease to be a joint unit. Instead, the 1st Royal Tank Regiment would transfer all CBRN authority, tasks and equipment to the RAF Regiment's 27 Squadron, formally announced by the Royal Tank Regiment in August 2011.

27 Squadron is backed up by an RAF Reserve Regiment, 2623 (East Anglian). Together, they make up the "Defence CBRN Wing", or 20 Wing RAF Regiment.

A new RUSI study argues that relocating Trident out of an independent Scotland would be both financially and technically feasible, adding between £2.5 and £3.5 billion to the cost of retaining the UK's nuclear forces. But it would take more than a decade to do so, rather than the four years to which the SNP is currently committed.

'Relocation, Relocation, Relocation: Could the UK's Nuclear Forces be Moved after Scottish Independence?', by Hugh Chalmers and Malcolm Chalmers tackles the financial and political hurdles of relocating Trident, and provides a detailed analysis of how these hurdles might be overcome in the event of separation.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has agreed to step aside, ending political deadlock in Baghdad as the government struggles against insurgents. His replacement, Haider al-Abadi, has already been asked by Iraq's president to form a new government. Mr Maliki was under intense pressure to make way for Mr Abadi, a deputy speaker of parliament, who has won broad international support to form the next Cabinet in Baghdad. Nehad Ismail charts the rise and fall of Iaq's political thug.

Up until 2011, Hamas enjoyed a welcome in many capital cities of the Arab world, from Tehran through Damascus, in Cairo, in Ankara and in Doha, where Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal is now based. The situation changed radically after Hamas came out against President Assad, offending Damascus, Tehran, and their allies and satellites - including Hamas's former partner and mentor, Hezbollah. Elayne Jude, Senior Research Associate, U K Defence Forum, reviews the relationship.

The demand for cocaine in Europe has doubled over the past decade, triggering a rise in interdiction and law enforcement operations that have made it increasingly difficult for Latin American traffickers to export their product directly to the continent. To resolve this issue, smugglers have used a number of West African states as hubs to transport the drug before smuggling north to Europe, writes N.J. Watts.

The existence of weak and politically unstable states, widespread corruption, porous borders, poor law enforcement practices and capacity, existing networks for trafficking a variety of illicit substances, and a ready and inexpensive workforce have resulted in an estimated 30-35 tons of cocaine being moved through West Africa annually. Valued at $1.25 billion, this dwarfs the annual budget of a number of countries in the region and plays a direct or indirect role in political upheaval in countries such as Guinea-Bissau and Mali, contributing to the funding of extremist groups in some of the most marginalised areas of West Africa. 

Spies: Horrible History you don't learn in school is at the Imperial War Museum, London, until January 4 2015.spy unnamed

Elayne Jude was escorted by her godson (disguised, right) to view it 

Camel poo that kills. Exploding rats. Itching powder in submariners' uniforms. Secret messages on the washing line.

Mid-August. Sweltering London seem deserted. But check out the newly refurbished Imperial War Museum on Lambeth Road, and you'll discover Londoners en mass; wriggling, giggling, talking 'Allo 'Allo, dressing up in outsize greatcoats, stamping on hologram rats, crawling through escape hatches, bicycling furiously to power a crystal radio set, and incidentally learning tons about the history of Allied espionage in the second World War.

Editor's Note: The following is an internal Stratfor document produced to provide high-level guidance regarding the conflict in Ukraine. This document is not a forecast but rather a series of guidelines for understanding and evaluating events, as well as suggestions for areas of focus. (c) www.stratfor.com All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission
 
With 20,000 troops positioned on its border with Ukraine, Russia has all the pieces in place to launch a direct, limited ground intervention in eastern Ukraine without having to make any additional preparations. Of course, that kind of military invasion would cost Moscow a lot of political capital, but Russian policymakers may believe the high price of intervention is justified in certain scenarios. Those scenarios are on the next page.

Iraq Bulletin for July 2014 is compiled by Elayne Jude for Great North News Service

Arms imports from USA and Russia, Iran opens more border posts, UN extends mandate, tomb of Prophet Jonah destroyed by Islamic State, on next page. Good news in short supply.

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