NATO trains Afghan special forces in Turkey: NATO has launched a training program in Turkey for Afghan military personnel. It is intended to be the start of regular training programs outside Afghanistan. It is unclear whether Germany will also be involved in the training. The basis for continued support is the assurance by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of state and government of the other 29 alliance countries that they will continue to provide assistance after the military mission ends.
tagesschau.de, welt.de, businessinsider.de
US President Biden warns of „real shooting war“ as a result of cyberattacks: US President Joe Biden has warned that cyberattacks could escalate into a full-blown war as tensions with Russia and China mounted over a series of hacking incidents targeting US government agencies, companies, and infrastructure. Biden said that cyber threats including ransomware attacks “increasingly are able to cause damage and disruption in the real world.” Cybersecurity has risen to the top of the agenda for the Biden administration after a series of high-profile attacks on entities such as network management company SolarWinds, the Colonial Pipeline company, meat processing company JBS and software firm Kaseya hurt the US far beyond just the companies hacked.
reuters.com, arstechnica.com, cybernews.com
Ukrainian president fires head of armed forces: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy recently reshuffled high-ranking intelligence posts. Now he has also made personnel changes in the military. Without any apparent reason, he surprisingly replaced several leading military and intelligence officers, including the commander of the military operation in eastern Ukraine, the chief of general staff and the chief of airborne troops. Among the reasons given by the president’s office was a more stable and coordinated work of the security bodies. However, there is speculation in the Ukrainian media that Zelenskiy wants to fill the top posts in the security organs with more loyal followers.
nzz.ch, spiegel.de, reuters.com
Amnesty accuses Colombia’s government of using violence against protesters: The practices described in the new report „Cali: In the epicentre of repression“ – which include the use of lethal weapons against protesters, excessive and unlawful use of less lethal weapons such as tear gas, unlawful detentions and torture – are representative of hundreds of reports by protesters and human rights defenders and organizations and illustrate the modus operandi implemented throughout the country, Amnesty International said. “The incidents documented were not isolated or sporadic, but rather reflect a pattern of violence on the part of the Colombian authorities, who have responded to the protest with stigmatisation, criminalisation, unlawful police repression and militarisation,” said the report. Protests in Colombia began in late April, initially against a tax proposal that has since been axed, though they quickly morphed into a nationwide howl of outrage over entrenched economic disparity. Protesters stayed in the streets for nearly two months, with marches taking place almost every day in major cities. Some protesters put up roadblocks, and some private and public property was damaged.
Several dead after shooting on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan: Armenia said on Wednesday that three of its soldiers had been killed in an exchange of gunfire with Azerbaijan. Both countries blamed each other for the flare-up in tension along the border. Armenia’s defence ministry said in a statement that Azeri forces had attacked Armenian positions near the border between the two countries. Two Armenian servicemen had been injured in the same incident, it said. Azerbaijan’s defence ministry accused Armenian forces of what it called provocations in the Kalbajar district and said its army would continue to retaliate. The Interfax news agency later reported that both sides had later accepted a Russian cease-fire proposal to try to calm tensions. The tensions between the two countries over the region have been simmering since the end of a war in the 1990s and last year’s escalation of violence was the deadliest in two decades. More than 5,000 people lost their lives and tens of thousands were displaced.
Firearms: Cuomo declares disaster emergency over gun violence in New York ny1.com
Conference in August: German Defense Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer invites 15 counterparts to Berlin rnd.de
Frigate „Bayern“: German warship sets sail for Indo-Pacific region dw.com
Afghan interpreters: First wave of evacuees fly to Virginia washingtonpost.com
German chancellor candidate Laschet: Afghans convicted of crimes must leave Germany dw.com
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
By the end of last week, nearly 1,400 local Afghan forces of the Bundeswehr and their family members have come to Germany.
The military as an innovation driver and promoter of start-ups: While in many countries the military is a driver of innovation and a promoter of start-ups, German industrial policy supports traditional defense companies with its orders. But an increasing number of people are convinced that the German armed forces could benefit from the innovation potential of start-ups as well. For example, start-ups, venture capital investors, politicians and security authorities met in Königsdorf, Bavaria, at the beginning of July. The Bavarian company Blackned, which was present at the meeting, ensures secure communication between drones and smartphones of the emergency forces via a decentralized 5G network. An artificial intelligence from Spleenlab in Thuringia, on the other hand, immediately began identifying the unknown person in a staged military vehicle theft. Such rapid data evaluation is one of the key future competencies for the Bundeswehr. So far, however, the necessary structures to make the technologies usable for the armed forces are lacking. In other countries, the innovation potential of start-ups for the military seems to have been recognized earlier. Two years ago, for example, France brought science fiction authors into the defense ministry so that they could come up with future threat scenarios and advise on important technologies for the military. In doing so, they collaborate closely with scientists and army representatives. For example, taxpayers‘ money has been used in France to fund laser cannons to defend against drones and artificial intelligence to detect submarines. A program on robotics for the armed forces is also to be launched soon.
Belarus smuggles migrants into the EU in a „hybrid war“: More and more migrants and refugees are arriving in Lithuania via Belarus and the Lithuanian government is making serious accusations against Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko. Lithuania has been struggling with a migration crisis since the spring. While the government in Vilnius registered fewer than 100 people crossing the Belarusian-Lithuanian border illegally last year, by the end of July 2021 already more than 3,000 migrants had crossed the border. Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė therefore speaks of a „hybrid war“ that Belarus is waging not only against Lithuania, but the entire EU. Belarus is accused by the Lithuanian foreign ministry of deliberately sending migrants to the border via a state travel agency. The Belarusian government denies this. Due to the increasing pressure, the Lithuanian government already declared a state of emergency at the beginning of July and also built a wire fence along the 680-kilometer border with Belarus. Illegal migrants who enter the EU through Lithuanian territory must be housed and cared for in the country. If Lithuania denies them asylum, they must be deported to their countries of origin. However, the procedure involved is long and difficult. Since there is not enough accommodation for the detained migrants, empty vacation homes and campsites are now being used and tent camps are being set up. The processing time for asylum applications has also been shortened.
How Turkey hunts down dissidents: Turkey, like many other authoritarian regimes around the world, is following a trend of so-called „transnational repression“ – that is, „repression across borders.“ This refers to attacks on exiles or diasporas by the governments of the countries they have left. This can take the form of assassinations, assassination attempts, kidnappings, illegal renditions, and imprisonment. The United Nations has already documented more than 100 cases in which Turkish citizens have been forcibly returned to Turkey from several different countries. Many cases of transnational repression take place anonymously and go unnoticed by the public. Only a few are prominent. In the persecution of dissidents, accusations of terrorism are often used to suspend rights and track opposition forces to foreign countries.
„The situation in Afghanistan will continue to escalate. Those affected are alarmed and under stress. We don’t have four more months to get them out of there.“
Marcus Grotian, a captain in the German Armed Forces and chairman of the association „Patenschaftsnetzwerk Afghanische Ortskräfte,“ is committed to bringing as many local Bundeswehr forces as possible to Germany.
Bundeswehr uses gender-appropriate language: Germany’s military administration is currently holding an ideas competition to find a new name for the pre-packaged daily rations used on missions. In the future, these will no longer be called „Einmannpackung“ (one man meal packs), but will have a more gender-appropriate name. Some other terms used by the military have already been revised. For example, Bundeswehr personnel officers are no longer looking for „commanders“ but instead for „team leaders“ for the tank force. The revision of the terminology is taking place because women have already been members of the armed forces for several decades and should therefore also be given equal linguistic status.