Thursday, 8 April 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Starting in June 2014, Coalition airstrikes conducted on positions, vehicles and high-ranking members of the Islamic State have taken a heavy toll on the group. These airstrikes combined with increased bombardements conducted by the Russian Air Force (RuAF) ultimately proved to be decisive in determining the outcome of many of the offensives conducted by and against the Islamic State. The Battle for Kobanî, where Coalition airpower played a decisive role in the defence of the city, first made painfully clear the vulnerability of Islamic State forces to aircraft armed with precision-guided munitions.

Monday, 5 April 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans 
 
Turkish Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world, flying to more destinations than any other carrier in the world. It operates a fleet of more than 350 Airbus and Boeing aircraft that serve some 300 destinations domestically and internationally today, a huge leap from its humble beginning of four domestic destinations in 1933, and just 103 destinations in 2003. Over the past century, Turkish Airlines has operated a wide variety of aircraft that haven't always been in the spotlight as much as their more modern brethrens. One of these aircraft is the German Ju 52, which has long remained elusive in imagery and footage during its years of service in Turkey.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Saturday, the 6th of November 2004. Two Su-25UBs of the Force Aérienne de la Côte d'Ivoire (FACI) strafe a French peacekeeper camp in Bouaké. As sudden as the unprovoked attack had commenced its tragic results would become palpable: the deaths of nine French soldiers and another 31 wounded. This grave provocation would ultimately lead to the destruction of the FACI and have drastic repercussions for Côte d'Ivoire for years to come. Just hours after the attack, all that remained of its fledging air arm was a smoldering heap of junk.
 
The events leading up to this tragedy began to unfold on the 19th of September 2002, when the government of Laurent Gbagbo found itself in a precarious situation after the rebel umbrella organisation Mouvement Patriotique de Côte d'Ivoire (MPCI) took control over much of the northern part of the country, effectively splitting Ivory Coast into two. Also captured was Bouaké airbase, which was home to six inoperational Alpha Jet light attack aircraft. Its confidence bolstered significantly by the capture of the jets, the MPCI boldly threatened to reactivate the Alpha Jets to use them against their former owners which having no combat aircraft of its own could offer little to counter this threat. [1]

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

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We are Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans, two military analysts devoted to investigating and sharing the ins and outs of conflict research, open-source intelligence and the occasional obscure piece of military history. Our independent research allows us to do objective analyses and uncover stories that might be unpalpable to other outlets, without sacrificing detail or accuracy in pandering to a broader audience. 
 
Unfortunately, it is also precisely this format that makes for a very unprofitable model - in turn leading to an inconsistent output of articles. By supporting us on Patreon, you help ensure we can devote more of our time to our blog, and release our articles on a more frequent basis. In the long run, we aspire to write articles about Azerbaijan, Eastern Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam, Turkey, Central and South-East Asia, and expand our coverage on Syria, Iran, Cuba, Africa, the Caucasus and the Gulf region. We appreciate any help that we can get that’ll allow us to stride closer to this goal! 
 
 
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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

A comprehensive catalogue of weaponry and equipment supplied to the LNA can be found further down in this article.
 
Since the renewal of a civil war in Libya in 2014 a slow-burning yet at times surprisingly intense conflict has left its future in doubt, with multiple parties vying for control and their international backers not shying away from investing large sums of money to see a favourable result come about. Although a UN-imposed arms embargo (in place since February 2011) is meant to stop both sides from obtaining weapons and equipment, it has since been blatantly and consistently ignored by their foreign backers. A recently released UN panel of experts report aimed to document transgressions of this embargo since its instatement, primarily focusing on analysis of international shipments of arms and equipment by means of air transport. [1] The resulting body of work although painstakingly detailed in some aspects is a testament to shortcomings of this method, and is wholely lacking in competent imagery analysis, failing to note the delivery of a myriad of weapons systems and munitions, while misidentifying others. Its conclusions therefore are far off the mark essentially throwing Turkey as a foreign power in the region under the bus, while categorically ignoring serial offenders such as the UAE, Russia, Jordan and Egypt. This article aims to function as a counterpoint to UNSC's report not by refuting its contents (though a concise rebuffal can be found here), but by providing an actually comprehensive overview of arms transfers by the aforementioned parties to Libya's LNA since 2014.

Monday, 22 March 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Turkmenistan almost certainly isn't the first nation that comes to your mind when you consider the naval balance in the Caspian Sea. Nonetheless, a continued naval build-up has meanwhile transformed the nation into the strongest naval power in the region, even surpassing Russia in this regard. This is in no small part due to Turkey's Dearsan Shipyard, which has supplied the Turkmen Naval Forces with almost the entirety of its modern inventory of vessels.

Monday, 15 March 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans in collaboration with MENA_Conflict and COIN_TR

Forces loyal to Libya's internationally-recognised government (GNA) captured the city of Tarhuna on the 5th of June 2020, marking the official end of the Libyan National Army's (LNA) 14-month long offensive that aimed to capture the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Tarhuna, located some sixty kilometers south-west from Tripoli's city centre, was the last stronghold of Haftar in northwestern Libya, and by the virtue of its role as a giant supply depot for the LNA also the most important one. 
 
Already shortly after Tarhuna's capture by the GNA it became evident what years of occupation had meant for the city's residents. Under the control of the Kaniyat militia since April 2015, which pledged allegiance to Khalifa Haftar's LNA in April 2019, its men imposed a regime of terror on the local population. Since the Kaniyat militia first took over the city in 2015, local residents reported a total of 338 missing persons cases, the vast majority of which in the period between April 2019 to June 2020. [1] [2] The fate of many of these persons was elucidated after the discovery of some 30 mass graves in and around Tarhuna, including several with the remains of women and children in them. [1] Tragically, new mass graves continue to be found to this day. [3]