Tuesday, 16 August 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Mali has been in a near constant state of conflict since 2012, when the Tuareg rebellion prompted an Islamist insurgent advance that soon threatened to put the whole country under Al-Qaeda control. The French military intervened in early 2013 in order to halt their advance towards the capital Bamako and to bring back northern Mali back under government control. The French Army, with the support of Malian forces, quickly reversed the enemy's gains and secured much of the country with the exception of the Kidal region, to which Al-Qaeda (and later Islamic State) retreated. In recent years, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State have attempted to further expand their areas of operation by carrying out numerous attacks on Malian and U.N. forces, which remain deployed to Mali. The primary objective of U.N. forces is to combat the extremist groups, cut off their supply routes and prevent them from creating safe havens to which they can retreat training security forces in the region to handle these threats in the future.

Monday, 15 August 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

As much of Europe has rallies behind Ukraine to help it in its fight against the Russian military, plenty of attention has been devoted to the endeavours of the UK and Germany to keep Ukraine in the fight. Far less coverage has been given to the efforts of countries such as Norway, Sweden and Finland in providing Ukraine with military aid. Though this is partly the result of the decision by some governments not to disclose details of arms deliveries to Ukraine, a more general lack of focus in the news cycle on the contributions of these countries cannot be denied.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Libya's aerial refuelling programme has only been rarely reported on since its inception in the late eighties, and suffered from a series of setbacks that ultimately led to the abandonment of the programme in the following decade. Nonetheless, this ambitious project has definitely left its traces within the Libyan Air Force, and aircraft once playing a key role in the in-flight refuelling programme are still flying inside the country today.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Support for Ukraine has come from far and wide. Yet while some countries are able to back up their support with military aid or by opening their borders to Ukrainian refugees, others are unable to follow suit because of politics or simply because of their distance to Ukraine. One such nation is the Republic of China, more commonly referred to as Taiwan, which despite not being officially recognised as a country by Ukraine, has delivered humanitarian aid, funds and even small drones to Ukraine. Much of this support has come from private citizens and companies – a clear sign of sympathy for the Ukrainian people and an acknowledgment of the parallels between Ukraine and Taiwan, which is claimed by Beijing and has faced its own fears of a foreign invasion over the years.

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
France has been a major source of military support for Ukraine. Like most European nations, France has opted not to disclose details of its arms deliveries to Ukraine with the exception of the Caesar SPGs, the disclosure of which also served the purpose of publicly reaffirming France's support to Ukraine and sending a message of deterrence to Moscow. Though France has delivered far less in materiel support than Germany at this point in the conflict, it has come under less scrutiny than Berlin. Of course, this has much to do with Germany's self-inflicted public communications disaster regarding its support for Kyiv.

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are not new to Southeast Asia. Thailand acquired an unmanned reconnaissance capability already in 2001, when the Royal Thai Army purchased four IAI Searcher Mk. II reconnaissance UAVs from Israel. Several more drone acquisitions would follow (mainly from Israel) in the following decades, ultimately resulting in the expansive unmanned arsenal in service with the Royal Thai Army, Air Force and Navy today. This meanwhile also includes an increasing number of locally-designed UAVs or types produced under license from China.

Monday, 11 July 2022

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Hellenic Army continues to face great difficulties in replacing its aging inventory of armoured fighting vehicles and other equipment types. Hit especially hard by the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the government-debt crisis that followed, Greece had to cancel or postpone a number of acquisition projects. Although the Hellenic Armed Forces was spared severe budget cuts as a result of rising tensions with Türkiye, the lack of funds led to the curious situation where civilians had to pay for the fuel needed in order for Greece's annual independence parade to take place.