News about ISIS? Skip the social media stuff, please call.

It seems the U.S. (and the U.S. led coalition) against the self-proclaimed Islamic State (or ISIS, ISIL or, more recently, Daesh) is scaling down its actions on a front where it matters most: information. This Friday, U.S. Central Command announced via Twitter that news releases for Operation Inherent resolve will no longer be published by CENTCOM (see tweet above). The same announcement came in CENTCOM’s, well, last release on this issue:

Editor’s note: From this press release going forward, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve will replace USCENTCOM as the public affairs release authority.

The pun? Well, this Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve does not have a Twitter account, or a web site. At least, that’s what CENTCOM makes you think. And don’t even ask:

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This blog is blocked in #Afghanistan.

Etisalat_AG_20140428

Thanks to a reader who sent me a screenshot this morning, I’ve learned that Afghan mobile phone/internet provider Etisalat blocked Augen geradeaus! – especially yesterday’s story on the abducted military observers in Ukraine. The reason  – Etisalat calls it category – given is profanity. Whatever that means in this context. Of course reports on abduction and war can be considered profane anyway…

If other readers in Afghanistan could please check whether this blog is banned by other providers (Roshan?) as well – that would be interesting.

Update: seems the website is no longer blocked by Etisalat:

 

German Navy releases video of Somali pirates hijacking German vessel in 2010

Taipan_highjack_screenshot

Almost to the day four years ago, on April 5, 2010, Somali pirates hijacked the German MV Taipan in the Indian Ocean. A few hours later, Dutch marines boarded the container vessel, arresting ten pirates who in the end faced trial in a German court.

While the role of the Dutch boarding team had been higlighted in news reports (undoubtedly because the Dutch released video footage of the boarding rather soon; see below), the role of a German Maritime Reconnaissance and Patrol Aircraft (MRPA) Orion P-3C, call sign Jester, was rarely acknowledged. Four years after the hijacking, the German Navy has released video footage taken from the aircraft: weiterlesen

For pros: Ukraine NOTAM

ukraine_east_airspace_20140314

Apologies to my readers: This entry serves to make available the current NOTAM (notices to airmen) for Ukrainian airspace, as the server where I found it (http://ibs.rlp.cz/notam.do?id=notam_UKXX&anode=notam_UKXX) seems not easily available. Hopefully, flight & air traffic pros can draw some conclusions from this latest information about regions in Ukraine (besides Crimea) where regular air traffic is restricted…

As my Dutch colleague Hans de Vreij noted, the airspace over Eastern Ukraine seemed pretty empty today. So maybe someone can correlate this to the NOTAMs?

Update: According to Swedish milblogger Wiseman’s Wisdoms there’s a buffer zone in place.

So here’s the copy of above mentioned website as of 18:15 UTC today:

Valid: 2014-03-14 18:15:22 UTC – 2014-03-15 18:15:22 UTC weiterlesen

In farewell address, outgoing German defense minister lashes out at European allies (adding alternative translation)

It was a surprise when German chancellor Angela Merkel last December chose Ursula von der Leyen, up to then minister of labour in her previous conservative-liberal government, as the first female German minister of defense in her new ‘grand coalition’ cabinet. Predecessor Thomas de Maizière (pictured above with von der Leyen and German chief of defense Gen. Volker Wieker) returned to the ministry of interior, a post he had held previously.

On Januar 8, the new minister, the defense ministry and the troops bade farewell to de Maizière with a Grand Tattoo (Großer Zapfenstreich). The speech de Maizière held at the reception prior to the Tattoo can be heard and read in German here; when adressing the international obligations and missions of the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces, the outgoing minister chose to lash out at some European allies. For my international readers, here’s my translation of this paragraph:

As acting minister of defense, I had to be reluctant in my wording sometimes. Today, this is not as necessary as before. So I would like to mention one thing with regard to our missions: Germany does not need any advice from anyone in Europe on the way and the extent of our international missions. Also not from France or the UK. (Applause) In international missions, our engagement is several times larger than that of France. France, however, has other strong obligations, out of national interest. Germany stands to its obligations, even when this might be difficult domestically. No German government has been let down in parliament when asking for parliamentary approval for a mission. Especially in Afghanistan, the most difficult mission, we made clear very early our readiness for a sustainable engagement, more than all our European allies, including the UK. I would not have said this while still being minister of defense. But that’s what I thought.

(Addendum: My English has become a bit rusty since my wire service days with the Associated Press decades ago; so I’m happy to offer an alternative translation by one of my readers that comes closer to the officialness de Maizière conveyed in his speech… weiterlesen

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