A look at the Defence news 13 – 19 January

Dutch military personnel have resumed their activities in the city of Erbil in northern Iraq and in Baghdad, where they are training Iraqi-Kurdish forces. These Peshmerga are fighting on land against IS fighters. Dutch military personnel are also training Iraqi Special Forces.

Koerdische strijders lopen met bewapening in de bergen.
Photo (March, 2018).

The commander of the anti-IS coalition in Iraq announced that the security situation is no longer critical. Earlier, this had been the case due to the rising tensions between the US and Iran. These were caused by an American drone strike in Iraq, which killed the Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Subsequently, all training activities were suspended until further notice and the Dutch military personnel were transferred.

The reinforcement of (maritime) intelligence-driven police operations, the integrity policy and cooperation with partners such as the Ministry of Security and Justice and the national police are some of the spearheads of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard in 2020. Countering drug smuggling and illegal immigration, especially from Venezuela, is a priority, as is the Coast Guard's search and rescue task. In 2020, the Coast Guard will continue to work on the replacement of its shore radar and aerial reconnaissance capability.

This can be found in the 2020 Coast Guard Annual Plan for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean. In addition to proper materiel, the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard should also have a sufficient number of personnel at its disposal. This will allow for 24/7 operational deployability in the future and for intelligence-driven operations in the maritime domain.

The Annual Plan also devotes attention to the sustainable financing of a future-proof Coast Guard. In the meantime, an agreement on the financing of the replacement capabilities has been made in the Long Term Plan 2019-2028 between the four participating countries: the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. The Netherlands has already promised financial means for the collective financing of the replacement investments. The other three countries will also contribute to this via a ‘transitional’ model. This will ensure the continuation of the execution of the Coast Guard's tasks.

The influx of Venezuelan immigrants by sea continues to grow. With its limited resources and personnel numbers, the Coast Guard cannot intercept everyone trying to enter the Leeward Antilles illegally. Last year, the Coast Guard intercepted a record quantity of drugs and thus made an important contribution to the fight against organised crime. It is essential that the four countries in the Kingdom keep investing in the Coast Guard to ensure the quality of law enforcement.