Tuesday, March 22, 2016


From July 1, 2016 on, the Belgian Air Force will resume bombardments against IS targets "in the Middle East".

From September 2014 till summer 2015, a small detachment of six F-16 fighter bombers operated from a Jordanian AFB, conducting some 700 airstrikes with in excess of 100 IS targets destroyed. The detachment was then withdrawn, a move for which budget reasons were cited.

Belgium and The Netherlands being neighboring countries with a high degree of cooperation in numerous fields including defense, will from this summer on switch roles in the bombing campaigns.

For the Belgian component, the key difference may well be that this time, airstrikes on IS targets in Syria are not excluded:

Via Expatica.com:

"Belgium mulls Syria IS airstrikes

2nd March 2016

Belgium is considering extending its F-16 airstrikes against Islamic State jihadis in Iraq into Syria as part of stepped up efforts by the US-led anti-IS coalition, Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said Wednesday.

"I think you cannot just limit your actions to Iraq without pursuing these actions across the border when these terrorist groups cross the border" into Syria, Reynders told Bel-RTL radio.

"The Netherlands has come to the same conclusion and the Danes, and I think we are in the same position," he said.

Belgium launched its first attacks against Islamic State (IS) targets in Iraq in late 2014 but, like several other countries in the coalition, it decided against extending the air campaign into war-torn Syria amid public fears over getting dragged into a wider conflict.

 photo f16florennes_zpsup1cbu6k.jpg

However the bloody Paris attacks in November, which were claimed by IS, radically changed sentiment in favour of strikes in Syria.

As well as the Netherlands and Denmark, Britain has also changed tack and launched its first sorties against IS targets in Syria in December.

Reynders said that against this backdrop, the government would take the matter to parliament where many MPs want to go further, perhaps even to involve Libya where IS has made recent inroads.

He gave no timetable.

Washington has pushed its allies hard to step up the campaign against IS. The Belga news agency said US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter had written to his Belgian counterpart Steven Vandeput urging him to support airstrikes in Syria."

I offer my heartfelt condolences to the relatives of the deceased today, victims of callous islamic terrorism.

I encourage all the people of good will to pray for the dead, the wounded and their families, at this very moment undoubtedly torn with grief.


No comments: