Peter’s Atlantic Round-Up


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Red Arrows.

Red Arrows.


Just when the world thought that Libya’s civil war would drag on beyond the summer, the breakthrough has happened. Rebel forces, including 200 rebels from Misrata arriving by sea, have taken large parts of Tripoli. Sporadic fighting was observed on Tripoli’s seafront and at Moammar Gadhafi’s Bab Al Aziziya compound.

Elsewhere the oil terminal of Ras Lanuf has fallen and fighting was reported in the south of the country. The latest developments leave pro-Gadhafi forces holding out in pockets of resistance. One such pocket is the hotel in Tripoli where foreign press have been billeted since the start of the conflict.

NATO said that its jets were on station in the skies above Tripoli and that the organization itself was now focusing on a post-Gadhafi Libya. Britain, France and the United States have all given the news a cautious welcome and have urged the National Transitional Council to act fast in drawing up plans for the future of Libya.

While there was celebrations across Tripoli and elsewhere, there is also fear of lawlessness.

BAE Systems
More corruption woe this month for South Africa after its top investigative unit recommended to parliament that it be allowed to re-open its inquiry into alleged bribes that secured the sale of 26 Saab Gripen fighters to the South African Air Force in 1999.

Saab has since admitted that the bribes took place, but placed the blame squarely on partner BAE Systems. BAE itself has a long and murky history of bribes and other kinds of subterfuge in order to secure deals. Most notorious were allegations of bribes to Saudi Arabia in exchange for the sale of Eurofighter Typhoons and bribes to Mozambique for a military radar system.

Turkey’s military, already in disarray after being purged of its entire senior command by the current AK-led government, suffers from chronic leadership and training issues and isn’t able to properly take on Kurdish militants in southwest Turkey. This according to former general Işık Koşaner.

While such an admission would usually be an embarrassment to the government, most of the criticism is directed at the Turkish army’s officer corps. “Those in leader positions are nowhere to be found … And what hurts the most is those who drop their weapons and run … We are at fault. There are deficiencies in the training. And then we shot our own soldier thinking he was a terrorist.”

For a military that is meant to be trained to NATO standards, this anecdotal evidence from such a senior source comes as a shock.

Tragedy struck the southern resort town of Bournemouth as Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, 33 and member of the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows air display team, died in an air show crash.

Egging’s Hawk T1A aircraft peeled away from the other eight Red Arrows before crashing in a field near the village of Throop in Dorset. It appears that he had attempted to eject but died in a river adjacent to the field where the plane eventually crashed.

Egging had joined the Red Arrows in 2010 after spending a decade flying Harriers in Afghanistan. He is the first fatality in the team in 30 years and is survived by his wife Emma.


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