A fighter pilot, well versed with media and politics: Meet the new ISAF spokesperson

German brigadier general Günter Katz took over as ISAF spokesperson today – the third German in a row to take this position, but the first German Air Force officer serving as a spokesman for the international forces in Kabul. He’s off to a bumpy start, with the much noted Taliban attack on a hotel outside the Afghan capital, and he’s off to a tough year with troop drawdowns and the logistic nightmare of transporting thousands of tons of military material[…]

weiterlesen …

ISAF engages in another Twitter war

Here we go again: It’s not the first time that ISAF tries to counter insurgents‘ claims by responding to them – on Twitter. There have been a few engagements been already, quickly dubbed Twitter war by the media. Today’s encounter is another example: [View the story „ISAF engages in another Twitter war“ on Storify]

weiterlesen …

UK revised rules for private armed guards vs pirates: Don’t wait for the aggressor to strike

While in Germany the rules on the use of private armed guards to fight pirates from German-flagged ships are still unclear (obviously due to a lacking agreement between the Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of the Interior), the United Kingdom has revised it rules on private security company on British ships. Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham explained this yesterday: Following the Government’s announcement last autumn that we would allow the use of privately contracted armed guards on board UK[…]

weiterlesen …

Surprise: I’m on the shortlist for the Defence IQ Blogging Awards

Now that’s really a surprise. Augen geradeaus! has made the Defence IQ Blogging Awards shortlist – if I’ve read it correctly, that’s the only non-Anglo/US blog – in other words, the only blog not originating in the English language sphere – on this shortlist. (Correction: now I see there’s at least one blog from India and one from Eastern Europe, but it seems they are published in English completely.) Something I would never have expected. And when I see the[…]

weiterlesen …

Audio file: Merkel/Karzai presser in Berlin (in English)

For my (few?) international readers: Here’s the audio file of the press conference given by German chancellor Angela Merkel and Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai on Wednesday in Berlin. Most important remark by Merkel: Germany will contribute 150 million Euros annually after 2014 to support the Afghan security forces. (I choose the English version throughout to be prepared for possible questions and remarks in Dari, so also the Chancellor’s remarks are dubbed in English.) listen to ‘Merkel Karzai presser 16may2012’ on[…]

weiterlesen …

EUNAVFOR’s Potts: Put pressure on the pirates everywhere (Audio)

British Rear Admiral Duncan Potts, operations commander of EUNAVFOR, the European Union’s anti-piracy operation Atalanta off Somalia, was in Berlin today to brief members of the German parliament on the planned expansion of the Atalanta mandate: as decided by EU defense and foreign ministers last week, EUNAVFOR’s warships will soon have permission to attack the pirates‘ logistics ashore in Somalia. Germany is one – and not the only – country weary of this expansion, so Potts had a tough job[…]

weiterlesen …

U.S. Congressmen meet Afghan Northern Alliance reps in Berlin (update)

Now that’s something I’m not sure what to make of: The German foreign ministry confirmed today that U.S. Congressmen and representatives of the Afghan Northern Alliance have met in Berlin. As a foreign ministry spokesman officially said (here’s my quick&dirty translation, see original in German below): The foreign ministry (Auswärtiges Amt) is aware that yesterday and today, on invitation by the Aspen Institute, representatives of the U.S. Congress and representatives of the Afghan Northern Alliance have met in Berlin. This[…]

weiterlesen …

A journo’s question: Reports on post-2014 Karzai still single source, right?

I have to admit that I really have no idea which version is the correct one. Is Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai ready to retire after 2014, as he told Spiegel magazine? Or is he willing to use tricks to extend his grip on power as a leaked documents by Germany’s intelligence service Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) allegedly suggests? But there’s one thing I know from a journalist’s point of view: When the German tabloid Bild reports on the secret BND document, and[…]

weiterlesen …

Angela Merkel’s government jet now flying in Iran

A former German government jet used by German chancellors and ministers for the last 20 years is now flying in Iran after it had been taken out of air force service and sold by the German government, according to an airline industry website. The Airbus 310, former Luftwaffe tail no. 22+10, had been Chancellor Angela Merkel’s means of transport until the Luftwaffe upgraded its fleet of government jets this year. The website skyliner-aviation.de which is monitoring sales of airliners around[…]

weiterlesen …