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British Military Current Events

daftandbarmy

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Nice of them to remember the Reg in Andytown... that photo should bring back some hard memories!

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Army set to axe £5.5billion Ajax 'light tank' - which could not be fired on the move or go faster than 20mph​

  • In tests, the Ajax could not be fired on the move or go faster than 20mph
  • It also caused crews to suffer acute hearing loss, nausea and spinal injuries
  • The Ministry of Defence has already spent £4billion on Ajax
  • Defence minister Jeremy Quin told admitted it may be cancelled
By MARK NICOL DEFENCE EDITOR FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 17:53 EDT, 20 July 2021 | UPDATED: 17:56 EDT, 20 July 2021

The Army is set to scrap a £5.5billion 'light tank' before it has entered service.
In tests, the Ajax armoured vehicle could not be fired on the move or go faster than 20mph. It also caused crews to suffer acute hearing loss, nausea and spinal injuries.
The Ministry of Defence has already spent £4billion on Ajax but only 26 of the 589 ordered in 2014 have been delivered.
Yesterday defence minister Jeremy Quin told MPs an independent expert is being sought to evaluate the project and admitted it may be cancelled.
Major General Timothy Hodgetts told the defence select committee the Army was now looking at alternatives.
Cancellation could spark a legal battle between the MoD and makers General Dynamics (UK) over compensation. ...


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Oh My God Reaction GIF by Friends
 

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This should end well....


Gurkha veterans start relay hunger strike in London​


In what appears to be sheer ignorance to address their demands, ex-Gurkhas have resorted to launching a relay hunger strike in the United Kingdom to put pressure to address their demands. The British Gurkha Satyagraha United Struggle Committee started a relay hunger strike before the office of the British Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street from 1 pm on Wednesday (local time).

Campaigner Gyan Raj Rai shared that they were forced to stage a hunger strike when their demands were not heeded despite several attempts from their end.

Rai further informed that the relay hunger strike would continue for 13 consecutive days since Wednesday. The hunger strike will be undertaken on a rotation basis with one campaigner in the strike each day, he further clarified.

Struggle Committee’s member Krishna Bahadur Rai warned to launch fast-unto-death if the British Government did not make any effort to initiate dialogue within 13 days.

It may be noted that several organizations concerning the demands of Gurkhas, including NRNA-UK, had sent a letter in writing to both UK and Nepal governments last month calling for their efforts to address the issue.

The letter was dispatched urging the governments to initiate dialogue on the demands of ex-Gurkhas, including pension.

However, the GAESO has not lent its support to the agitation launched by the Gurkhas struggle committee putting forth 12-charter demands.

Earlier the committee had postponed its hunger strike scheduled to be staged in London until July 21.

In a statement, the committee had said that the decision was taken following an assurance from the Nepal government mentioning that it will take a firm step to start a direct table talk with the British government within two weeks to resolve the outstanding Gurkha issues.

Rai had warned that they will not postpone the strike again if both sides fail to take an action timely. Gurkha veterans are not fighting for something we did not earn or deserve. We just want what we are denied by the British government, he added. “Gurkha veterans are not fighting for something we did not earn or deserve. We just want what we are denied by the British government.”

Gurkha veterans have been protesting putting forth different demands including an equal pension on a par with their British counterparts. Earlier on June 16, a protest rally was staged in London to press the British government to address demands.

The committee had appealed to the British people to encourage their government to take the Gurkha issues extremely seriously and hold a government-to-government meeting immediately.

Earlier, the British Ministry of Defense had said that the Nepal government can communicate with the British government to address the grievances of Gurkha veterans.

The UK Ambassador in Nepal is in contact with the Minister of Foreign Affairs on a regular basis and should the Nepal government wish to communicate on the matter of Gurkha veteran grievances, they may do so, the Ministry had said in a formal response to a joint letter sent by six Gurkha organizations.

 

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The Ajax saga continues: The British Army’s Greek Tragedy
The British Army’s Greek Tragedy Jack Watling
22 July 20219


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The British Army has spent £3.2 billion on its Ajax family of vehicles, but as major problems beset the programme and its role in the force remains poorly defined, the Army faces a stark choice between doubling down or moving on.
Speaking at RUSI’s Land Warfare Conference on 2 June, Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin stated that the British Army’s Ajax vehicles were ‘bringing a step change in versatility and agility’ and that while ‘there are issues that need to be addressed, they are being addressed, in partnership with industry’. The Ministry of Defence was adamant that Initial Operating Capability would be declared at the end of the month.
Within weeks all trials on the vehicle had been halted after crews reported injuries due to excessive noise and vibration. The programme is now in crisis, with ministers briefing that they had not been informed about the problems by senior officers and Mr Quin telling the House of Commons Defence Committee that ‘we cannot be 100% certain that’ the salvation of the programme ‘can be achieved’. The two fundamental questions are whether the vehicle can be fixed, and whether it is worth saving. With the Army in the midst of working out how it will fight following the Integrated Review, the consequences of the decision to proceed with or cancel Ajax will be far-reaching.

Can Ajax be Saved?​

The two greatest problems afflicting Ajax are noise and vibration. Ajax has long been recognised as a noisy vehicle. However, tests on the sound produced by the vehicle demonstrated that it was within useable limits. Subsequent investigation following loss of hearing by crews trialling the platforms has concluded that the issue arises from the integration of the Bowman headsets for the crew radios, which were picking up engine noise, amplifying it as the vehicle accelerated, and putting the sound directly into the crews’ ears. This raises serious questions about how tests on British Army vehicles are carried out, but is also fundamentally resolvable through the procurement of new headsets.
The vibration issues are more problematic. In testing it has been reported that excessive vibration is preventing the main armament from stabilising on the move, damaging the electronic systems that make Ajax a step-change in capability and leading to a high rate of component failure, with the idler and rear road wheels sheering off with concerning regularity. Crews meanwhile have suffered from symptoms that could indicate a risk of prolonged use of the platform leading to Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome. These problems must be overcome before the vehicle can be viable as a fighting platform.
Senior personnel within General Dynamics Land Systems UK (GDLUK), the prime manufacturer of Ajax, as well as British Army personnel responsible for trialling the vehicles, noted that GDLUK has had significant difficulties with quality control in the fabrication of the vehicle hulls. The company has so far produced 270 hulls from an overall contract to deliver 598 vehicles. Quality control is understood to be especially poor throughout the first 100 hulls manufactured in Spain, but the issue has not been entirely eliminated in subsequent batches. Problems have included sections being inconsistent lengths, the sides of the hull not being parallel, and substandard welding. Fittings and furnishings have not had their attachment points drilled using jigs, resulting in the spacing of holes being uneven. GDLUK has expended significant efforts in trying to repair hulls that have been manufactured to an unsatisfactory quality. .....

See rest of article here:


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daftandbarmy

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The Ajax saga continues: The British Army’s Greek Tragedy


See rest of article here:



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I assume they've still got thousands of these things they can pull out of the knacker's yard and upgrade:... if the tail between their legs doesn't get in the way of course :)

The Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) —or CVR(T)—is a family of armoured fighting vehicles (AFV)s in service with the British Army and others throughout the world. They are small, highly mobile, air-transportable armoured vehicles designed to replace the Alvis Saladin armoured car.[2]


The need to upgrade the FV432 to extend its service life further led the MoD to sign an £85m contract with BAE Systems Land Systems to update over 1,000 FV 432s to Mark 3 standard. Major changes include a new diesel engine and braking system. Initially, only FV432 and 434 models were converted, but other variants are being considered. The first 500 of the batch were handed over to the British Army in December 2006.[1] For service in Iraq and Afghanistan, air-conditioning, enhanced reactive armour and IED jammers have been added. Initially, only these further enhanced versions were known by the name Bulldog; but the term now appears to be applied to all Mark 3 vehicles.[

 

daftandbarmy

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I say chaps, care for a spot of proper tea?

Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group have entered the South China Sea, a region largely claimed by China.​


The aircraft carrier and her escorts were recently in Singapore before entering the South China Sea.

China claims almost all of the 1.3 million-square-mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory, and it has denounced the presence of foreign warships there as the root of tensions in the region.

China say that its claim to the sea is based both on the Law of the Sea Convention and its so-called ‘nine-dash’ line. This line extends for 2,000 kilometers from the Chinese mainland, encompassing over half of the sea. However in an historic decision in 2016, the international tribunal in The Hague ruled against part of China’s claims to the sea. The US, UK and Australia routinely conduct freedom of navigation operations (or FONOPs) to challenge what Washington calls “attempts by coastal states to unlawfully restrict access to the seas”.

 

daftandbarmy

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In a heartbeat, mate ;)

Dumfries: Iraq War Veteran sells medal for £140,000 to fund family home

A Scottish Veteran recently sold his ‘Iraq 2003’ C.G.C. (Conspicuous Gallantry Cross) medal for what amounts to nearly $200,000. He says he sold it in order to secure his family’s future.

Shaun Garry Jardine of Dumfries, Scotland, sold his award at Dix Noonan Webb’s auction of Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria, last Wednesday, July 21, 2021.

The C.G.C. is second only to the Victoria Cross, the highest honor available to members of the British Armed Forces.

While it seems surprising that Jardine’s medal fetched such an enormous price from a private collector, it did so for a reason.

Jardine’s C.G.C. is the only one ever to have been awarded to any Scottish Regiment. And a brief rundown of his story will explain why that is.

Back in 2003, Jardine was only 21-years-old and a Quick Reaction Force fire-team leader. After being pinned down with no reinforcements in an unsafe position near Al-Uzayr security base, Maysan Province, Jardine took action.

He ordered covering fire and assaulted three enemy positions in sequence, allowing his men to move forward and force the enemy to withdraw.

Jardine, who left the army this year after over two decades of service, sold the medals to help procure a house for his family.

Jardine’s Story​

In his own words, the Veteran describes the events that led to his award as follows:

“I started running across the bridge and they had seen me immediately. They were lying down, prone position, and firing at me as I ran; I saw their fingers on the triggers, then the muzzle flashes and then I could hear the rounds zipping past. I remember thinking, Why are they not hitting me?… I got to within 15 or 20 meters of them and just thought, I’m going no further, here. I dropped to one knee, aimed, fired one round, quickly moved onto the second, and fired again… I just aimed at the body and in both cases my rounds went into the chest, under the arm, and came out the back of the neck. Both guys were instantly dead.”

Continuing to suppress the machine gun, Jardine called his team forward and, after identifying a third enemy position, ordered heavy fire to be laid down on both positions until the enemy disengaged.

Jardine’s instantaneous courage in the face of a driven enemy attack unquestionably prevented casualties among his own team and supporting units.

After the sale, Jardine remarked: “I am very happy with the result and what Dix Noonan Webb have done for me to get such a good price for my medals. It will really help towards securing a new home for my family.”

Dumfries: Iraq War Veteran sells medal for £140,000 to fund family home
 

daftandbarmy

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Oh my aching everything....


The Overburdened Infantry Soldier

Since there were first soldiers the weight they have carried has been subject to cyclical variation and much discussion. The upward trend that saw its zenith during operations in Afghanistan is now subject to a realisation that it is both unsustainable and undesirable.

The excellent UK Land Power blog collated a list of current infantry loads recently, click here to read it, broken down by category and in four groups;

On the Soldier, 18.96kg

Assault Order, additional 12.55kg

Patrol Order, additional 16.26kg

Marching Order, additional 16.17kg

On the Soldier and Assault Order together weigh 31.5kg, marching order tops out at just under 64kg. This is with the latest Virtus load carriage equipment ECBA plates and represents a ‘standard rifleman’. As noted in the linked article, absent from the list are radios beyond the Personal Role Radio, support weapons, ECM, weapons other than SA80, breaching equipment, Vallon detector, the Underslung Grenade Launcher (including FCS), 7.62mm link and various items of ISTAR equipment. It is therefore on the light side of what will actually be carried. So no matter what the weight reductions of some parts of Virtus, it is still some way off the accepted maximum of 40kg and target of 25kg for the ‘Energy Efficient Soldier’



The Overburdened Infantry Soldier - Think Defence
 

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Oh my aching everything....


The Overburdened Infantry Soldier

Since there were first soldiers the weight they have carried has been subject to cyclical variation and much discussion. The upward trend that saw its zenith during operations in Afghanistan is now subject to a realisation that it is both unsustainable and undesirable.

The excellent UK Land Power blog collated a list of current infantry loads recently, click here to read it, broken down by category and in four groups;

On the Soldier, 18.96kg

Assault Order, additional 12.55kg

Patrol Order, additional 16.26kg

Marching Order, additional 16.17kg

On the Soldier and Assault Order together weigh 31.5kg, marching order tops out at just under 64kg. This is with the latest Virtus load carriage equipment ECBA plates and represents a ‘standard rifleman’. As noted in the linked article, absent from the list are radios beyond the Personal Role Radio, support weapons, ECM, weapons other than SA80, breaching equipment, Vallon detector, the Underslung Grenade Launcher (including FCS), 7.62mm link and various items of ISTAR equipment. It is therefore on the light side of what will actually be carried. So no matter what the weight reductions of some parts of Virtus, it is still some way off the accepted maximum of 40kg and target of 25kg for the ‘Energy Efficient Soldier’



The Overburdened Infantry Soldier - Think Defence


Our strategy should therefore be;

  • Empower leaders to make informed risk-based decisions about protection levels - (Yes!)
  • Training - (Yes!)
  • Exploit immediate and incremental opportunities by purchasing reduced weight components that are readily available -(Meh!)
  • Continue with existing research programmes and systems architectures like GSA, keep a watching brief on systems like polymer cased ammunition for medium-term weight reductions - (Meh!)
  • Accept that until the higher technology systems mature, invest in carriage support for individual and platoon stores - (Yes!)

If we know increasing carried weight is a Bad Thing™ how can the problem be solved?

Quite simply there are four general approaches;
  • Carry less stuff - (Yes!)
  • Make stuff easier to carry - (Meh!)
  • Make stuff lighter - (Meh!)
  • Get someone or something else to carry the stuff - (Yes!)

I am not a believer in making things lighter or making carrying systems better. They only encourage people to carry more stuff, just in case. And the loads continue to rise until the soldiers collapse.

Whilst there is an ongoing debate about the validity of light role infantry in the contemporary operating environment, the fact remains that historical evidence and a reasonable look at the future informs a viewpoint that there is an enduring role for light infantry (Emphasis added). We cannot assume support helicopter availability or that patrolling at short distances from operating bases will be the norm, and neither can we assume that vehicles will always be operable in the terrain where our enemy is. So if we are at all interested in winning the close battle we must take note of the issue of overburdened infantry soldiers because whatever the next conflict might be, there is a very real danger we will be punished badly for not addressing it. Against a well organised and well-equipped enemy, dismounted infantry may well be subject to significant amounts of observation and detection with a likelihood of accurate indirect fire soon after. As the BAR article described above noted, excess weight leading to decreased mobility is a tactical matter above all else.

But balancing protection and mobility is far easier said than done.

The amount of research that goes into protection is enormous, just as one example, this one looks at neck protection on Osprey and the requirements for Virtus, click here to read. The amount of protection has gone up and up and whilst some individual systems might be lighter than earlier generations, they still represent a significant percentage of the carried weight. There is continuous and ongoing work to reduce weight, some technologies may not mature for decades so the risk question has to be addressed.

But fundamentally, the key issue is not one of weight, it is the inability to take a risk-based decision without defaulting to turning infantry into tanks. (Emphasis in the original)

Get Someone or Something Else to Carry Stuff​



The British Army has a preponderance of light role infantry and there is certainly an argument for greater mechanisation but assuming light role infantry endures, using lightweight vehicles to carry collective and personnel stores is a tried and tested solution. One of the issues with using vehicles to carry light role infantry stores and equipment is they would absorb finite personnel and increase the support burden, thus reducing the very high ‘bayonet count’ in light role infantry battalions. They also have to get to the battlefield and be sustained themselves whilst there. Many terrains will be completely unsuited to a vehicle, even a quad, so the concept of providing vehicular assistance can be easily stretched to breaking. But if we accept these limitations, quad and ATV type infantry support vehicles would seem to offer a great solution that can be obtained quickly and cheaply. Quad bikes and trailers are therefore tried and tested, and there is still growth potential and additional capability, especially with trailers. These are detailed in a separate long read here. A more recent long read on Helicopter Portable Vehicles details the full range of ultra-lightweight crewed and uncrewed vehicles, all of which would provide support to dismounted infantry.
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All of these would be excellent means of helping dismounted forces to carry less weight, approximately 750kg across a typical platoon (Emphasis Added).

Perhaps more esoteric systems like powered exoskeletons and delivery drones might be the answer but again, there are downsides to technology maturity and tactical applicability.

Drone deliveries might look great but a competent enemy would simply use them as a very handy means of determining the next mortar aiming point (something I think we forget in our rush for technology). There is still self-evidently a lot of potential with some interesting solutions in advanced testing. The most prominent in UK terms is the Malloy Aeronautics (makers of the Hoverbike) T-80 and T-150 which can lift 30kg and 68kg respectively. These are impressive machines with excellent performance, currently being tested by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in various roles.

Interesting solutions aside I favour existing solutions and simplicity. The issue, IMO, is, simply, getting as much gear as far forward as possible with the least amount of effort. Some effort is always going to be required. The win will tend to go to the side that focuses that effort most efficiently.

If the issue is ultimately about moving Platoons and their gear, and that gear weighs 750g then the Canadian Army's Light Force Enhancement Programme Tactical Mobility Platform should focus on supplying sufficient light vehicles to accomplish that objective and disregard the "road move" requirement. The road move requirement increases the size and number of the vehicles, the number of drivers at the expense of rifles, and, the amount of support required.

This may make more sense

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Instead of

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Or this

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Leave the road move requirement to the Transport Platoon and/or the Service Battalion and/or the Brigade helicopter squadron.

And, for the Field Service Marching Order Loads and Support Weapons Loads, following the notion of availability and simplicity, I really like this idea from the article.

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Every soldier gets one with their duffel bag/hold-all.
 

daftandbarmy

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United we Conquer! It's an impressive statue. If you ever get a chance to visit, do.

Famous Commando Memorial set for improvement work​


Scotland's famous Commando Memorial is set for almost £100,000 worth of improvement works.

The memorial was built at Spean Bridge near Fort William in the 1950s.

It is dedicated to Allied troops who trained for covert operations in the surrounding Lochaber hills and glens during World War Two.
It has also become a place of remembrance for Royal Marines who have served around the world since the end of the war.

Plans have been submitted with Highland Council to create an improved space in the site's memorial garden where tributes can be left.

 

OldSolduer

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I am not a believer in making things lighter or making carrying systems better. They only encourage people to carry more stuff, just in case. And the loads continue to rise until the soldiers collapse.
It`s not the individual soldier who gets to choose what they carry. The ones that tell soldiers what they MUST carry are the ones who need the education.

The priority should be ammo, water, rations. And I like the idea of ATVs transporting section and platoon stores.
 

daftandbarmy

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It`s not the individual soldier who gets to choose what they carry. The ones that tell soldiers what they MUST carry are the ones who need the education.

The priority should be ammo, water, rations. And I like the idea of ATVs transporting section and platoon stores.

This x 1000. Commanders need to tailor the loads based on a solid estimate and plan.

One of my favourite quotes from someone I can't remember:

"Infantry may carry Swiss Army knives but they shouldn't be loaded up like one."
 

OldSolduer

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This x 1000. Commanders need to tailor the loads based on a solid estimate and plan.

One of my favourite quotes from someone I can't remember:

"Infantry may carry Swiss Army knives but they shouldn't be loaded up like one."
I forgot to include the respirator- oops.
 

Grimey

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Good point... in NI, during riots etc, we never carried respirators. We didn't use CS gas, so no need.

On the other hand what the troops did alot of was sprint after rioters to arrest them, and they were (lightly) equipped accordingly :)
How did Boots, Combat, High hold up to sprinting after Paddy, or was it still DMS and puttees when you were doing it :)?
 

daftandbarmy

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How did Boots, Combat, High hold up to sprinting after Paddy, or was it still DMS and puttees when you were doing it :)?

I'm old enough to have worn DMS boots in NI. I liked them because they were tough as hell and had great ankle support for rural patrols through blackthorn and barbed wire strewn hedges etc. They also issued us with 1 pair per lifetime of 'cowboy' boots, as we called them. They were a high top lightweight combat boot to facilitate faster running, but they didn't last long.

Overall though I preferred the good old Canuck Mk III Black Cadillac. Good thing I had a couple of pairs with me when I went over there. I put hundreds of miles on those things.

Also, the best way to avoid having to run far in a riot is to have a couple of good baton round gunners in the baseline. That way you only had to go as far as the prone, screaming miscreant before dragging them back for further 'processing' :)
 

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Hot washup says....

Twelve Dilemmas Behind the UK’s Afghan Defeat​


Despite good intentions, the UK’s campaign in Afghanistan has ended in failure. Military deficiencies, a lack of a clear purpose and mission creep all had adverse effects on the British mission.

There is anxiety in Whitehall about an Afghanistan inquiry. But this inquiry will not be like the 12-volume Chilcot report on UK involvement in Iraq. Nobody is alleging malign intent but there is a need to learn the lessons of failure and to rectify deficiencies before the UK next intervenes overseas, as it surely will.

The recent notion that the War on Terror is over and has been replaced by threats from state actors is both misleading and dangerous. Events in both Afghanistan and Mali demonstrate that the threat from Islamist extremism is far from over. Furthermore, Russia and China have learned from observing the West fail against the asymmetric threats posed by determined insurgencies. Russia’s actions in the Donbas, Syria and Libya and China’s in Hong Kong and the Himalayas have been informed by Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the daily turbulence of managing the campaign (and the simultaneous operation in Iraq) some of the following dilemmas were visible – but are naturally clearer in hindsight.

Clarity of purpose. I recall being dumbstruck when the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked her officials in London in 2008, ‘Remind me. Why are we in Afghanistan?’, and then understood as they floundered in their response. Perhaps British officials should have asked themselves the same question once a month. After 9/11, the UK was right to support its US ally. But by mid-2002, there should have been a formal decision about whether to leave or to stay and, in the latter case, with what purpose, under what conditions and for how long.

 
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