Netherlands/Air Force

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Group.png Netherlands/Air Force  
(Air force, Dutch/MilitaryWebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Royal Netherlands Air Force logo.png
HeadquartersBreda, the Netherlands
Type• Air force
Staff7,000
Other namesKLu, RNLAF
Implicated in war crimes in Yugoslavia and Iraq.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (Koninklijke Luchtmacht or KLu) is the air force of the Netherlands. It was founded in 1913 as the very small "aviation department". It was founded in its current form in 1953. They call themselves a "modern, high-tech armed forces service that contributes to peace and security on a global basis". Over 50% of aircraft are fighter-jets.[1]

Activities

The Dutch Air Force are a fanatic part of NATO and US-led coalitions, having contributed in many wars, including the attacks on Libya, the war in Iraq, the war against IS in Iraq and Syria in the war on terror and the Afghan war. According to multiple former Dutch generals and the Hague Centre of Strategic Studies, the air force is known for their "high accuracy, precision bombing causing almost no collateral damage, that Americans lack". The Dutch were the most active air force with recorded strikes (over 2100) only behind the US, UK and France[2] in Operation Inherent Resolve, better known as the war against IS in Syria and Iraq.[3][4]

Bombing of Yugoslavia

Volkel Air base appeared to have been blacked out in Google image data. This image was deleted in Microsoft's Bing in around 2010. Nuclear weapons upon Germany and NATO's request are still located there, and have been since the 1960s.[5]

During the NATO-allied bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, The Dutch Air Force dropped multiple cluster bombs on the city of Niš on the 7th of May, and "accidentally" killed at least 14 people, injuring 30 others.[6] According to Human Rights Watch the General Dynamics F-16 fighter jets aimed for the airport but missed the target - by 2 miles - hitting the city centre[7] including a market and medical centre.[8][9][10] Four days later, a second bombing occurred - 4,3 miles from the airport, injuring 11 people.[11] When international correspondents visited the city, several cluster bombs were still laying in people's gardens, as injured citizens remarked the city was struck 3 times on that day, and for the 14th time in 35 days, according to Amnesty International. Following these incidents the Dutch became the first NATO country to not utilize cluster bombs and the US released an executive prohibition on the further use.[12]

After reports Dutch F-16s were also responsible for the failed bombing of the RTS TV-station on April 23 1999, The Dutch Union of Lawyers for Peace, several Dutch activists, the legal defence of Slobodan Milošević and a Dutch-Serbian Human rights group sued the goverment of Wim Kok and Foreign Affairs minister Jozias van Aarsen for the attacks in 2001.[13][14] The Dutch Court of Appeal in Amsterdam concluded the Dutch government (and by implication NATO) should've not used "United Nations Security Council Resolution 474 to justify the use of military force against Yugoslavia" and decided the government had violated international law by using force. After multiple district courts had refused to subpoena government officials for financial compensation, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service in The Hague ordered an investigation and send subpoenas for Prime-Minister Wim Kok and Foreign Minister Jozias van Aartsen for joint liability in 2004. Among others Defence Minister Frank de Grave appeared pleading not guilty and no harmful intent.

Van Aartsen defended the bombings by explaining the citizens could've known they were living next to NATO-targets, maintaining the official plausible deniability that the attacks weren't in harmful intent to civilians and blaming "the wind" for the deaths. Wim Kok revealed the bombings were indeed the reasons for immediately halting the use of cluster bombs and urged other NATO-members to follow, but said "you can't conclude we condemned the bombings because of that". Today, hundreds of unexploded cluster munitions can still be found in the Serbian countryside, despite the best efforts of the Serbian government to clear all of the sites of such munitions. [15]

It was the first time a western head of state was publicly questioned in court for the bombings in Yugoslavia. [16]

Bombing of Hawija

After a Dutch FOIA was granted to Dutch newspaper NRC regarding the 2015 Hawija bombing, it was revealed the Dutch Air force was responsible for the most civilian casualties over 2015 from airstrikes in Operation Inherent Resolve, better known as the war on terror against IS in Iraq and Syria, citing to a declassified military study commissioned by the joint chief of staff general Joseph Dunford in 2015.[17][18]

The Dutch Department of Defence acknowledged "the high probability" of at least 74 civilian casualties in November 2019 in at least two separate incidents[19], the events noted a blind rely and put the blame on US intel with in one instance Dutch officers ordering an attack on the "headquarters of IS" in Mosul, which turned out to be a family home, and another air strike where the air force just simply "attacked an empty building".[20]

 

An event carried out

EventLocationDescription
2015 Hawija bombingHawija
Kirkuk province
Iraq
A bombing of an IED plant that was ordered under suspicious circumstances went awry. Dutch Cabinet denied involvement, then denied any knowledge of the casualties until Dutch FOIA requests showed otherwise.

 

Related Quotations

PageQuoteAuthorDate
Jan Peter Balkenende“I don't get why you are so annoying and negative about this. Let's be happy together! Let's say: The Dutch are finally able to do this again, that VOC-mentality, looking beyond borders, dynamic! Right?!”Jan Peter Balkenende
Stef Blok“All parties involved in the conflict are committing crimes. The Netherlands knows that the opposition is committing war crimes. We already wrote that starting in 2013. In fact Karel van Oostrom knew precisely what was written in the reports. He even knew all the details. The Dutch have enough people and info from intelligence agencies. And especially the Dutch and all the other EU countries, because they share all that info. They knew exactly what was happening. (...) Throughout investigation is needed. Not only the Dutch but other nation states supported the Syrian war. Therefore they could be complicit in committing war crimes.”Stef Blok
Carla Del Ponte
9 December 2018
Sigrid Kaag“All parties involved in the conflict are committing crimes. The Netherlands knows that the opposition is committing war crimes. We already wrote that starting in 2013. In fact Karel van Oostrom knew precisely what was written in the reports. He even knew all the details. The Dutch have enough people and info from intelligence agencies. And especially the Dutch and all the other EU countries, because they share all that info. They knew exactly what was happening. (...) Throughout investigation is needed. Not only the Dutch but other nation states supported the Syrian war. Therefore they could be complicit in committing war crimes.”Sigrid Kaag
Carla Del Ponte
9 December 2018
Netherlands/Deep state“After - under your huge pressure - we called 12000 man back from the far east, and 16 warships, and our Air Force, and on top of that our complete administration...... now you want me to appear before Dutch parliament with the announcement:"We've decided to send a battalion of marines to support the Americans in Vietnam?".. The Answer, Mr President, is negative.”Joseph LunsOctober 2014


References

  1. https://nos.nl/artikel/2163157-wat-stelt-onze-krijgsmacht-nog-voor.html
  2. https://www.ad.nl/buitenland/nederlandse-f-16-s-werpen-ruim-duizend-bommen-in-irak~a624aa1e/
  3. https://decorrespondent.nl/10961/wil-je-weten-wat-de-impact-van-nederlandse-bommen-op-syrie-is-vraag-het-de-vluchtelingen-hier/786605204-5a0ee202
  4. https://airwars.org/conflict/coalition-in-iraq-and-syria/
  5. https://fas.org/blogs/security/2013/06/secrecyundersiege/
  6. https://www.theguardian.com/world/1999/may/08/balkans
  7. https://twitter.com/friendsofserbs/status/1239528411363672064?lang=bg
  8. https://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/nato/Natbm200-01.htm
  9. http://www.novosti.rs/vesti/naslovna/reportaze/aktuelno.293.html:546968-Suze-za-16-zrtava-kasetnih-bombi
  10. https://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/nato/Natbm200-01.htm
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ni%C5%A1_cluster_bombing
  12. https://amnesty.no/natofederal-republic-yugoslaviacollateral-damage-or-unlawful-killings
  13. https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/kok-medeplichtig-aan-navo-bombardement~bc48a8cf/
  14. http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/news/smorg-pr010204.htm
  15. http://www.rts.rs/page/stories/ci/story/124/%D0%94%D1%80%D1%83%D1%88%D1%82%D0%B2%D0%BE/63470/%D0%9D%D0%B8%D1%88+%D1%87%D0%B8%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B8+%D0%BA%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%B5+%D0%B1%D0%BE%D0%BC%D0%B1%D0%B5
  16. https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/regering-stond-achter-clusterbom~b9777bd8/
  17. https://www.washingtonpost.com/u.s.-military's-2018-study-on-civilian-casualties/e39c5889-6489-4373-bd8e-ac2ca012e03d_note.html
  18. https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2019/12/19/kolonels-vs-spreken-rutte-tegen-over-70-doden-hawija-a3984440
  19. https://english.defensie.nl/organisation/air-force/news/2019/11/13/a-look-at-the-defence-news-4-%E2%80%93-10-november
  20. https://www.parool.nl/nederland/defensie-bevestigt-doden-in-irak-door-aanval-nederlandse-f-16~b56430ab/