This blog is blocked in #Afghanistan.

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[…]

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

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[…]

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For pros: Ukraine NOTAM

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[…]

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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[…]

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ArcticWatch: Russia flexing its muscles

Not even a week ago, I chaired a panel discussion in Berlin on the Strategic Challenges of the Arctic Sea. All panelists – a Danish military, a Canadian researcher, a British researcher and the Head of Strategic Planning for NATO – were pretty adamant about their impression that all nations with interests and stakes in the Arctic were willing to resolve disputes in the region peacefully. (Regretfully, no Russian representative had been found to take part in this panel.) A[…]

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The High North: Strategic Challenges in the Arctic

The Strategic Challenges in the Arctic Sea were the topic of a panel discussion at the Conference on Security Policy and Defense Industry, organized by the German daily Handelsblatt, in Berlin on December 4. I had the privilege to host the discussion with Stefanie Babst, Head of Strategic Planning at NATO Headquarters; Colonel Steffen Qvist Wied, Defense Attaché at the Danish embassy in Berlin; Whitney Lackenbauer from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada; and Duncan Depledge from the Royal[…]

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While waiting for the new figures, find the old ISAF statistics here

Over the last year, ISAF had provided each month statistics on security related incidents in Afghanistan, called Monthly Trends. In January this year, these statistics disappeared from the ISAF website, leaving no explanation but just a This page is not available. note (see above). And yesterday, the AP reported that there indeed had been a reason to pull the metrics from ISAF’s internet presence – in a nutshell: the figures were wrong. Taliban attacks not down after all, the wire[…]

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After two years‘ trial, Somali pirates get prison sentences in Hamburg

It should have been an easy case. More than two years ago, a gang of armed robbers captured a merchant vessel in the Indian Ocean. Before they could take the crew hostage, the seamen hid in a safe room, stopped the engines and called fort help. And help came swiftly: a few hours later, heavily armed soldiers fast roped from a helicopter, re-took the vessel and arrested the pirates. What happend on Easter Monday, April 5, 2010, on the German-flagged[…]

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Meet a juicy story: The German Spy Ship off Syria

We journalists know what it takes to write a juicy story. Use strong words, like spy ship. Combine them with ongoing events the world is looking at, like what is going on in Syria. Include German intelligence services aiding the Syrian rebels, and here it is: Germany is helping Syrian rebels by providing them with information gathered by a German navy vessel off the coast of Syria, a newspaper said on Sunday, without citing sources. Now,there are some minor flaws[…]

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