Thursday, 21 January 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Libyan Civil War has had a devastating impact on the country's civilian aviation sector, and its two giant An-124 cargo aircraft have not eluded their fair share of suffering. Libya's aviation industry came to a near standstill during the 2011 revolution, and even after the cessation of hostilities it took Libyan airline companies anywhere from months up to a year to restart their operations, while some never flew again. Those that did in doing so expressed their renewed confidence for the future, but insecurity and political turmoil in the wake of the civil war ultimately brought an end to any optimism, and soon the Libyan aviation industry was fighting for its very survival.
 
As the civil war ravaging Libya continued with no prospect of relative stability in sight, the threat of extinction loomed large over the An-124s. At a time when the single aircraft that was still present in Libya was dodging artillery fire left and right, the other An-124 was facing the possibility of being auctioned off by Ukraine in 2017 if the Libyan government failed to pay the $1.2 million it owed to Antonov for storage and routine maintenance of the aircraft since 2009 at the Antonov facility in Kiev.

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

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By Stijn Mitzer
 
What do you acquire when you want a weapon system to deter your neighbours without plunging the region into an unnecessary arms race at the same time? That is the question the leadership of Kuwait must have asked itself somewhere in the 1970s. In 1977 Kuwait eventually found an answer to this query in the form of the Soviet 2K92 Luna-M 'FROG-7' artillery rocket system, the acquisition of which for Kuwait marked the start of a number of major arms deals concluded with Eastern Bloc countries.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

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By Stijn Mitzer
 
The Caspian Sea is well known for being the world's largest inland body of water, its vast oil and gas reserves and, of course, the Caspian Sea Monster... Wait the Caspian what!? The Caspian Sea Monster! A ground-effect vehicle (known as ekranoplan in Russia) that puzzled Western intelligence agencies until even the Russians themselves came to the conclusion that while inherently cool, it in no way presented a feasible project for any military or civilian adaption.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

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By Stijn Mitzer

A video uploaded by the National Front for Liberation shows off spectacular drone footage as fighters of the National Front for Liberation (NLF) and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) fight their way to the regime-held town of Abu Dafna located to the northeast of Maarat al-Numan, Idlib Governorate, on the 19th of January 2020. The attack offers a glimpse into the attacks that government forces have been facing ever since launching the Idlib offensive in April 2019, and clearly shows some of the strengths and weaknesses of the parties involved during the battle. This video doesn't offer the whole story however, and because the early stages of this attack are documented extremely well, we will attempt to break down the footage released and paint a clearer picture of these attacks using Abu Dafna as an example.

Monday, 30 November 2020

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By Stijn Mitzer
 
Transnistria, or the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) as it is officially called, is a breakaway state situated between Moldova and Ukraine that has largely escaped the world's attention ever since its self-proclaimed independence as a Soviet republic in 1990 and subsequent violent secession from Moldova in 1992. Despite having ended armed conflict in 1992, the situation in Transnistria remains just as complicated as it was in the 1990s, with the ephemeral nation wishing to join the Russian Federation while continuing to remain heavily reliant on Moldova for exporting the limited produce its economy outputs.

Monday, 23 November 2020

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By Stijn Mitzer

The following photos were taken during a visit of a Russian journalist to a small armour repair facility in the suburbs of Damascus in June 2017. While already several years old with several of the armoured fighting vehicles pictured likely having been lost to combat damage since the images nevertheless provide an interesting insight into the inner workings of a small Syrian tank workshop.

Monday, 16 November 2020

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By Stijn Mitzer
 
Guinea-Conakry, officially the Republic of Guinea, is a French-speaking country located in West Africa. Although plagued by poor economic prospects, Guinea has a rapidly growing population of some 12.4 million that inhabit an area slightly larger than that of the United Kingdom, yet remains an underdeveloped nation. Guinea is a Muslim-majority country, with Muslims making up roughly 85% or more of the population.