Posts Tagged ‘north korea’
- Afghanistan – No s**t, Sherlock (1). “The army’s new training mission in Kabul is not without risk, Canadian commanders said over the weekend as they took stock of the potential threats that face their troops. Their point was underlined by the recent shooting death of a U.S. soldier in a usually placid region of the volatile country. The biggest hazard facing Canadian troops in their new role will come from the possibility of some Afghan students going rogue, or an insurgent slipping into their camps, said the mission’s deputy commander ….” More from CTV.ca here.
- Afghanistan – No s**t, Sherlock (2). “There’s no guarantee a NATO-trained army in Afghanistan will succeed in helping to stabilize the nation once the military alliance pulls out, says one of the commanders of the Canadian training mission. In an interview Sunday, Col. Peter Dawe, deputy commander of the Canadian contingent training mission, told CBC News the very least NATO can do is try to leave behind a professional, self-reliant Afghan security force. Dawe said a big part of this will be to increase the literacy levels of soldiers being trained, with more than 100,000 members of the Afghan national security force expected to receive literacy training by the fall ….”
- Afghanistan (2) “…. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on stabilizing and rebuilding Afghanistan. Yet the electrical system here in the country’s second-largest city is on the verge of collapse, leaving people like Mr. Ahmad puzzled and frustrated. “First they should have paid attention to electricity,” he said. “Where there is electricity, there is life. There is security.” It is now 10 years since the world started pouring money into Afghanistan. Much of the largesse came to Kandahar, the Taliban heartland. The largest part of the spending has been driven and delivered by the military, pushed into what commanders call “hot” areas where Taliban influence is strong and the Afghan government is weak ….”
- Afghanistan (3) One columnist’s view. “With the final handover to American forces last week, the Canadian combat mission in Kandahar has officially concluded. While the mainstream media did their level best to mark the significance of our military ending the nearly decade-long counterinsurgency campaign, it was pretty difficult to generate much emotion. Unlike the heady news of Germany and Japan surrendering at the end of the Second World War, which set service members rejoicing in the streets and kissing strangers, the close out in Kandahar was spectacularly anti-climactic. The reason for this is that we did not actually achieve any concrete objective ….”
- Afghanistan (4) Another view. “…. For Canada, Kandahar has been the first chapter in a new book or the last chapter in an old book. To have had a ringside seat for much of this journey was a privilege.”
- Senator: time to get more mileage out of senior officials the CF spends so much to train and groom. “…. the Canadian Forces also needs to get longer tenure from people in whom it has invested mightily – top-ranking officers. Of course nobody wants desks filled with generals doing nothing. But there are plenty of ways to use top brass in their early 50s, many of whom have built up superb tactical and strategic thinking capacity. The private sector certainly knows that – it has shown itself to gobble these people up after Canadians have paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop their skills. So why isn’t our military doing more to reap the rewards of our investment in them for as long as it can? ….”
- What’s Canada Buying? “Political stakes are high as Ottawa prepares to pore over bids later this month for $35 billion worth of navy shipbuilding contracts that would lift the economic sails of the winning province. And perhaps no politician has more riding on the outcome than Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, who has lobbied vigorously in an attempt to boost the case for the Irving-owned shipyard in Halifax. Dexter’s efforts to win the lucrative deal began in May, when he launched a campaign so carefully choreographed that it fell on the same day two economic studies were released that sang the praises of Nova Scotia’s bid ….”
- “Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is set to announce Monday that Canada is boycotting the United Nations Conference on Disarmament over North Korea’s involvement, a senior government source told Postmedia News. So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador, was named chair of the Geneva-based group dedicated to promoting global nuclear disarmament last week. Canada does not believe North Korea is a “credible leader” and believes the appointment “undermines the UN process,” the source told Postmedia News on Sunday evening. During North Korea’s term as chair, Canada will not “engage”in the conference, the source said Baird will announce Monday ….” Here’s what the Minister said on 30 June about the appointment.
Written by milnewsca
11 July 11 at 7:45
- Here’s what Canada’s PM has to say about the latest North Korean attacks: “This is the latest in a series of aggressive and provocative actions by North Korea, which continue to represent a grave threat to international security and stability in northeast Asia. Canada will continue to condemn all acts of aggression by North Korea in violation of international law. On behalf of all Canadians, I extend my condolences to the families of those who were killed and injured as a result of this unprovoked attack. Canada reiterates its firm support to the Republic of Korea, and urges North Korea to refrain from further reckless and belligerent actions and to abide by the Korean Armistice Agreement. Canada remains committed to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula ….”
- On Afghanistan, let’s start with the scummiest news, shall we? “Quebec military police are after a prankster preying on families of soldiers deployed to Afghanistan by calling them in the middle of the night to say their loved one has died. The relatives of at least three soldiers currently serving in the war-torn country have been targeted by the prank, a spokesman at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier said Tuesday ….” WTF? The last time something targeted this specifically against families of troops living in and around Valcartier was when letters showed up in troops’ homes from groups opposing the war as part of this campaign. It makes me wonder how easy it is to spot soldiers’ homes in the area if one can mass mail or phone them. Nobody’s saying anything about who did this, but IF this is some joker’s idea of expressing dissent, this is just vile.
- Remember Daniel Ménard, the General who was fired from his job in Afghanistan because of an affair? Next step: A court martial: “Brigadier-General Daniel Ménard will face a Court Martial in relation to charges of inappropriate conduct. Charges were laid in July 2010 following allegations made in May 2010 while Brig.-Gen. Ménard was the Task Force Commander in Afghanistan …. The charges facing Brig.-Gen. Ménard are: two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline, laid in the alternative, contrary to section 129 of the National Defence Act (NDA), related to alleged inappropriate conduct as outlined in the Canadian Forces Personal Relationships and Fraternization directives; and four counts of obstructing justice contrary to section 130 of the NDA, pursuant to section 139(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada ….”
- An interesting question from the National Post‘s Full Comment: “With the recent NATO summit in Lisbon, the media have been filled with stories about Afghanistan. Stories about tactics, training, troop levels and timelines. Stories about governance and corruption. Stories about the hard slog of fighting a war that has gone on longer than both world wars and almost as long as the failed Soviet effort to do what NATO is failing to do now. But in all those words, there was almost nothing in response to the only question that matters: Why are we there? …. I’d like to support the war. I admire our soldiers. And I’m happy to see the facile myth of “peacekeeping” in the dustbin. But try as I might, all I can see is an expensive, pointless and endless conflict. And NATO isn’t helping me see anything else.”
- Don’t know if it’s a good thing, but Afghanistan’s ambassador to Canada makes a good point: “Afghan Ambassador Jawed Ludin said he felt once the training mission begins, it will become less of a front-page item for Canadians because media reporting tends to focus on negative developments. “This means it won’t be so highly reported on, which is a good thing because it means nothing bad is happening,” he said.”
- A little bit more on those mysterious Russian helicopters Canada’s reportedly buying for use in Afghanistan, from Laurie Hawn, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, during Question Period in the House of Commons: “…. The request came directly from the Canadian commanders in Kandahar as an urgent operational requirement for an increased troop movement capability to augment Griffon and Chinooks ops. The contract process, which followed all Government of Canada contract rules and guidelines and all Treasury Board guidelines, was very competitive, although it was not posted on MERX for security reasons. Several companies submitted bids and a decision was taken on the best value bid. This contract will end when the combat mission ends in 2011. …. This contract is temporary. Several companies bid on it. It followed all Treasury Board guidelines and all Government of Canada contracting guidelines. The contract will end in 2011, when the combat mission ends. It has nothing to do with future Chinook contracts at all ….” That last bit was in response to a question from the NDP’s defence critic, Jack Harris: “Did the government need to make this secret arrangement because the Chinook helicopters are five years late? Should we just add the cost of these helicopters onto the Chinooks, which are already 70% over budget?”
- At this point, it appears, the only “hush-hush” element of the recent Russian chopper “mystery” is who’s doing the work, and for how much – this time. When the idea of leasing Russian-made choppers was out there in 2008 (CTV.ca here, Toronto Star here, the Canadian Press here), there was even a name publicly attached to the idea. At that point, Sky Link Aviation (priding itself on providing “hundreds of air charters to destinations across Afghanistan on behalf of governments, commercial clients, and NATO forces since 2002″ on its web page) leased out six smaller Mi-8 helicopters for a year.
- A alternative explanation for the mystery surrounding the Russian helicopters, via Thomas Rick’s “The Best Defense” blog at Foreign Policy: “My guess is that because both the Afghan and Pakistani militaries use the Mi-17, this makes it more convenient to fly NATO forces across the border and into the FATA as necessary, with lots of plausible deniability, especially if they are flown at night and no one gets around to painting a lot of markings on the aircraft. That would explain why, as the Canadian report puts it, “details were kept off the MERX web-site, which formally lists government procurement competitions, and no news release was issued about the new choppers, which have been in use since the spring.” “ Even if you factor in how Canada is apparently having the private sector collect and share signals intelligence in the area, I’m going to go with Mark Collins on this one – faaaaaaaaaar too risky for an already Afghanistan-message-averse government like ours.
- QMI’s David Akin shares the Bloc Quebecois’ motion to be debated in the House of Commons tomorrow: “That this House condemns the government’s decision to unilaterally extend the Canadian mission in Afghanistan until 2014, thus denying two promises made to the people, one made in the House May 10, 2006 and reiterated in the Speech from the Throne from 2007 to present a vote of Parliament and that any military deployment made January 6, 2010 to the mission in Afghanistan a strictly civil mission after 2011, no military presence other than the care necessary to protect the embassy.” Read on for a comprehensive summary of what the PM’s said in various venues about the mssion – good reading.
- Here’s more on the cabinet minister who suggests Canada’s not at war. According to Hansard, here’s what John Baird had to say in response to questions in the House of Commons this week on the mission from Jack Layton: “Mr. Speaker, our government has been very clear that if we are going to put troops into combat, into a war situation, for the sake of legitimacy we are going to bring it bfore Parliament. That has been our practice as a government. What we are talking about here is a technical and a training mission. Our recent deployment of military personnel to Haiti following the recent earthquake is a perfect example of troop deployment in a non-combat role ….” I’ll bet a loonie the bit I’ve highlighted in red will come back to haunt the Minister, given that, unlike the Taliban and their allies, Haitians weren’t intent on blowing up people coming to help out.
- Remember way back, when Canadian politicians complained about European countries imposing caveats on their forces in Afghanistan, preventing their armies from contributing to the fight if it was at all risky? Well, according to Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno (who has spent a fair bit of time in Afghanistan), let he who is without caveat cast the first stone: “Make no mistake. Dress it up as both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff might like: If this new stay-in plan is put to effect as advertised — and I have my doubts about that — Canadian troops, highly valued for their combat skills in everything from reconnaissance to sniper proficiency, will be little more than decorative tassels on the Afghanistan uniform, their primary value to pick up the mentoring slack left behind by other bolting allies so that Americans can carry on their terrorist-tracking pursuits.” Ouch!
- Taliban Propaganda Watch: Bad guys allege blowing up a “tank” in Zabul.
- What’s Canada Buying? Pouches, corrosion protection for subs and sword knots.
Written by milnewsca
24 November 10 at 7:45
Tagged with Afghanistan, Bloc Quebecois, Canada leasing Russian helicopters, Canadian mission in Afghanistan, caveats in Afghanistan, CH-47, chinook, chinooks, Dan Gardner, Daniel Menard, David Akin, Foreign Policy, Gilles Duceppe, Haiti, Jack Harris, Jawed Ludin, John Baird, Laurie Hawn, Mark Collins, Mi-7, Michael Ignatieff, military news, milnews.ca, north korea, Rosie DiManno, Russian helicopters, Stephen Harper, Thomas Ricks, Valcartier2007.ca
- No Canadian reaction yet, but this is scary enough to include: North Korea has shelled a South Korean island, killing and wounding people living there. More here – something to keep one’s eye on.
- Postmedia News is starting to share some details about what Canadian trainers could end up doing in the newly-announced-but-not-publicly-fleshed-out training mission in Afghanistan: “Canada’s war-hardened soldiers are going back to the basics for a three-year Afghan training mission. Up to 950 soldiers who would normally have been facing combat in Kandahar will now be dispatched to walled-off bases around Kabul to lead Afghan soldiers in basic training exercises between 2011 and 2014. Jogging, marching, push-ups and firing weapons will replace Taliban hunting in the Canadian playbook, under a plan rolled out Tuesday by the ministers of foreign affairs, defence and international development ….” So, what type of troops does Canada send to train the Afghans? How do you prepare those troops being sent to train? Where previous rotations prepared by training to fight and work with Afghan forces in battle, should future trainers be taught how to set up schools and training systems before being unleashed on the Afghans? Who trains the Afghan troops? Their junior leaders? Their officers? Outstanding discussion under way on this, including commentary from them that’s been there, at Army.ca – well worth the read.
- One tool Canada appears to be unleashing to help train Afghan cops, who are notorious for their less-than-stellar reliability and integrity: a TV show. More from the Toronto Star: “Canada is underwriting a propaganda campaign to transform the image of the notorious Afghan national police in the hearts and minds of the country’s television viewers. The half-million dollar initiative casts Lt. Humayun as a dedicated, incorruptible Afghan National Police officer trolling the streets of Kabul to settle tribal disputes and put drug traffickers and warlords out of business. The popular Saturday evening television series, Separ, is sort of an Afghan version of Paul Gross’s Mountie in the popular Due South series. The two dozen planned episodes of the show are intended to educate the country on the roles and duties of the Afghan National Police (ANP), a force that is hardly better trusted than thugs and terrorists it is meant to be targetting ….”
Canada’s development agency CIDACanada’s Foreign Affairs Ministry is pumping more than $400,000 into this one. (Correction based on Toronto Star correction of original version of story)
- United Press International says we will be hearing more details (eventually) about Canada’s mystery purchase of Russian Mi-17 helicopters for use in Afghanistan: “…. A Canadian Forces officer says the Department of Defense might release more information about the helicopters at a later date. The Defense Department acquired the MI-17 helicopters for combat use in Afghanistan but has refused to provide details about how much the deal cost taxpayers or how many aircraft are operating, Postmedia News reported ….” Kinda harkens back to summer 2006, when Russia tried selling some helicopters to Canada, which was then in a bit of a rush to buy helicopters for the troops.
- One senior Canadian officer says the victory he’s seeing in southern Afghanistan is not the fleeting kind: “Some people say it is only because the Taliban have gone back to Pakistan because it is the winter,” said Col. Ian Creighton, in charge of the operational mentor liaison team (OMLT) that has gone to war alongside the Afghan army as advisers. “And, you know, it is the truth. Some have. But others have died or given up” ….”
- Back here in Canada, the Bloc Quebecois is pushing for a vote in Parliament on the new Canadian mission in Afghanistan (more from Postmedia News here). And the Liberals? Well, shortly after the 16 Nov 10 announcement, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff was OK with the plans for a training mission: “We could conceive of a training mission …. What are we there for, anyway? …. We’re not there to run the country. We’re not there to take it over. We’re there to enable them to defend themselves.”. His foreign affairs critic, Bob Rae, even went as far as saying, “We obviously want to see what the detailed mandate for the mission is, but a non-combat mission would not normally require a parliamentary vote.” And now? This, from the Globe & Mail: “…. “We’ve never ducked a democratic debate on Afghanistan,” (Ignatieff) told reporters in Montreal on Monday after addressing college students. The Liberal Leader said he would not propose a vote himself but that, if there is one, “we have no problem with that.”….” I’ll say he’s being squeezed from all sides, including from within his own caucus – more on Ignatieff as wishbone from the Canadian Press here.
- The Ottawa Citizen points out how a Conservative cabinet minister speaking in the House of Commons this week doesn’t seem to consider Afghanistan to be at war. Reminds me of a bit of debate in the House in October 2009, where then-parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs Deepak Obhrai expressed a similar sentiment (Hansard here, more here): “This is not a war. We are providing a secure environment in a country in which there was a complete loss of security. Let us get it very clear so the NDP can understand what a secure environment is and what a war is. A war is between two nations; a war is between two parties. There are not two parties there. This is a different kind of war. We are facing a terrorist organization that does not respect any rules of engagement.”
- One American soldier’s memories of his colleagues seeing Canadian tanks in Afghanistan, via a New York Times blog: “One of the most memorable moments during our 12 month tour was arriving on FOB Wilson in Zhari, Kandahar, for the weekly district security shura and watching the tanker half of my platoon swoon over the troop of Canadian Leopard 2A6Ms parked in the motor-pool. Memories of past I.E.D.s and firefights flowed through our heads. And of course, we couldn’t help but wonder, “What if…” ….” They won’t have to wonder for much longer.
- Blog Watch: Gotta love the “Compare and Contrast” dare Terry Glavin puts out, asking folks to compare the Taliban’s latest statements and those from people and groups opposed to Canada’s continued presence in Afghanistan.
- Taliban Propaganda Watch: Almost 30 claimed killed, wounded in alleged attacks across Kandahar.
- In case you haven’t heard, there’s a significant outbreak of cholera in Haiti. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff says Canada should go check things out and see how we can help: “…. “We just think the Canadian government cannot stand by while cholera ravages Haiti,” the Liberal leader told reporters in Montreal on Monday. “This is a country that has been in the inner circle of the damned for the past year.” …. Ignatieff says Ottawa should send “a strategic evaluation mission right away” to take a closer look at the situation in the Caribbean country. “Once we’ve done an evaluation around what’s needed, it may be necessary to send the DART team or maybe even some element of a military mission to basically help these cholera hospitals get this thing under control,” he said ….”
- Finally, this, buried in an American tender award announcement: “The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $7,625,501 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract (N00019-09-D-0010) to exercise an option for in-service support for F/A-18 aircraft of the governments of Switzerland, Australia, Finland, Canada, Kuwait, Malaysia and Spain. Services to be provided include program management, logistics, engineering support, and incidental materials and technical data. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., and is expected to be completed in December 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the governments of Switzerland ($2,461,884; 32 percent); Finland ($1,702,014; 22 percent); Canada ($872,514; 12 percent); Kuwait ($874,264; 12 percent); Malaysia ($864,264; 11 percent); Australia ($464,714; 6 percent); and Spain ($385,847; 5 percent), under the Foreign Military Sales program. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.”
Written by milnewsca
23 November 10 at 7:45
Tagged with Army.ca, Bloc Quebecois, Bob Rae, Boeing, cholera, CIDA, DART, David Pugliese, Deepak, Deepak Obhrai, F/A-18, Haiti, Humayun, John Baird, Mi-7, Michael Ignatieff, military news, milnews.ca, Naval Air Systems Command, north korea, Russian helicopters, Separ, South Korea
North Korea on Tuesday fired dozens of artillery shells at a South Korean island, in one of the heaviest bombardments on the South since the Korean War ended in 1953. Skip related content
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who has pursued a hard line with the reclusive North since taking office nearly three years ago, said a response had to be firm following the attack on Yeonpyeong island, just 120 km (75 miles) west of the capital Seoul.
The two Koreas are still technically at war — the Korean War ended only with a truce –and tension rose sharply early this year after Seoul accused the North of torpedoing one of its navy vessels, killing 46 sailors.
“Houses and mountains are on fire and people are evacuating. You can’t see very well because of plumes of smoke,” a witness on the island told YTN Television.
“People are frightened to death and shelling continues as we speak.”
YTN said at least 200 North Korean shells hit Yeonpyeong, which lies off the west coast of the divided peninsula near a disputed maritime border. Most of the shells landed on a South Korean military base there.
South Korea’s military said one soldier was killed and three seriously injured in the attack. South Korean military returned the fire and sent a jet fighter to the area.
YTN showed pictures of plumes of smoke pouring from the island and quoted a witness as saying fires were burning out of control ….
I won’t be adding much more to this until there’s some sort of Canadian response, but if you want to follow the news on this, here’s some links (I’ll add to these as I find decent sources):
- South Korean Yonhap news agency
- Official North Korean news service
- Google News: “North Korea”
- EMM Explorer: “North Korea”
- EMM Explorer: “South Korea”
- NewsNow: “Korea”