“All the Services’ charities are precious, but I am especially full of admiration for the work of Combat Stress and am tremendously honoured to be invited to join the list of distinguished speakers who have stood at this lectern…
Reflecting on reconciliation, everyone in the audience who supports veteran’s charities will be acutely aware not only of some of the challenges of care, but also the wider issues of human resilience. I know as we approach the Centenary of the Armistice many people’s thoughts turn to the symbolic poppy, but I hope that you will also remember the leading veteran’s mental health charity, which is particularly busy in the run up to Christmas.”
I was delighted to meet the generous sponsor of the event at RUSI, Hilary Meredith and the Chief Executive of Combat Stress, Sue Freeth:
Mitiga Airport has been closed due to the advance of the Tarhuna 7th Infantry Brigade and the spread of fighting from southern Tripoli to the northern part of the city.
Mitiga is the most important air base in Libya. It was the only safe landing zone when the International Airport was closed for four years and the Foreign Secretary flew there for his Libyan visits last year.
This shows that the current crisis is more than just a “turf war” and could cause the downfall of the US backed Serraj government. Look out for pre-emptive retaliation!
See Chapter 6 of Belfast to Benghazi for my arrival at Mitiga and our meeting in Tarhuna where Libya’s famous wine used to be made.
As one of the closest British peacekeepers to Srebrenica in July 1995, I always felt the UN in New York could have done more to prevent the genocide. It is clear that Kofi Anan learned a similar lesson because he sent a much stronger capability into Eastern Slavonia six months later and said: “We went in with such strength that we didn’t have to use force and we successfully fulfilled the mandate”.
Although his time as Head of Peacekeeping coincided with the low point of the UN, his record as Secretary General was bettered only by Dag Hammarskjold. The adoption of the Eight Millenium Development Goals, the reform of UN Peacekeeping and the endorsement of the Responsibility to Protect by all member states at the 2005 Summit are testament to his diplomatic leadership of the highest order. We have lost a good man.
See Chapters 3 and 4 of Belfast to Benghazi for UN Peacekeeping in Bosnia and the British work to reform the UN in 2001.
I am looking forward to joining the distinguished authors during the War and Peace Revival at The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood next week. It will be another fantastic celebration of military history and vintage re-enactments. My first talk about the Allied Intervention in Siberia 1918-1920 is on Tuesday 24th July at 1230 in the Authors’ Pavilion.
Yet again, we read misleading articles about the Defence budget in the news today. We are not spending 2% of GDP on our Armed Forces as reported in many newspapers and media outlets. A huge amount of Defence money has been siphoned into the domestic security silo.
As a result, our soldiers, sailors and air-people are suffering from a lack of modern equipment and realistic training. This reduces morale, harms retention, alarms our Allies and supports our adversaries.
See Chapter 2 of Belfast to Benghazi for the last time that a Government properly supported the Armed Forces.