After Jordan and the Netherlands, the Belgian military campaign in Iraq and Syria is amongst the less transparent in the entire international coalition grouping, led by the US against the the jihadist group, Islamic State (IS). This was confirmed yesterday (Monday) by the NGO, Airwars. It draws comparisons upon the manner of communications around this particular air warfare by various countries.
The combined Airwars research indicated this information in a report presented yesterday (Monday) in Brussels. It said, “By reason of the lack of public information on Belgian operations, it is currently virtually impossible to check whether the Belgian Air Force is responsible for the deaths of civilians in these two countries.”
The Airwars research considered methods used by the anti-IS coalition (alias Daesh, using its Arab acronym). It evaluated so-called “collateral damages” committed by aeroplanes engaged in fighting the jihadists within Iraq and Syria.
Airwars says, “All coalition members understand the systematic deficiencies, concerning the evaluation of potential civilian casualties.”
The NGO describes the evaluation process as “secretive” for coalition members, which are not applying uniform rules or procedures. Except for the US, no other country admits having killed civilians over the last three years.
The report also specifically mentions transparency and the individual responsibility of each coalition member, which has made it possible to discern vast differences.
“Belgium is almost at the bottom of the transparency rankings, with only Jordan and the Netherlands faring worse. Saudi Arabia and Turkey, for example, supply more information than Belgium on military action in Syria and Iraq,” Airwars stressed.
Interviewed by the Belga press agency, the Ministry of Defence stated that it had “taken account” of the Airwars report.
Steven Vandeput, the Minister of Defence, cited here by his spokesperson, said “We are transparent when it proves necessary, within parliament’s monitoring committee, on operations undertaken abroad. As Minister of Defence, I account for our current operations at least once a month.”