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SPOOKYTOOTH

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Germany's new Defense Minister will be announcing a new course of action for his nation at the London conference on Afghanistan on Jan., 28, 2010. Not only does this present a shift away from NATO and the U.S. but also sends a clear message that Germany is ready to begin acting independently of its big brothers.

In addition it may also indicate trouble on the horizon for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is facing a Parliamentary Inquiry in connection with the bombing in early Sept. 2009 of an Afghan fuel truck convoy in which 70 civilians were killed.

Is a change in Germany's leadership on the horizon? Could be, and if so; what does it mean for German - U.S. relations which are already going from cool to cold?

What is clear is that Mr. Guttenberg is talking more like a Leader than a subordinate;

“I am not one to submit to peer pressure," "I also don't need direction from the USA to form my opinion." Guttenberg.

More Here:

January 07, 2010 
Source: Xinhua
http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90853/6861745.html

Germany to announce its new Afghanistan strategy in London

Germany would use a London conference to announce its new strategy for Afghanistan, German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said on Wednesday.

Guttenberg told local daily Leipziger Volkszeitung that Germany would announce its own unilateral strategy for Afghanistan at the London conference, which is due to be held on Jan. 28.

The new strategy was based on Germany's own considerations and could not be influenced by the United States and NATO, Guttenberg said.

"I am not one to submit to peer pressure," he said. "I also don't need direction from the USA to form my opinion." The widely touted figure of 2,500 extra German troops was "not realistic," he said.

Instead of increasing foreign troops there alone, Guttenberg said, Germany puts more emphasis on civilian reconstruction and training Afghanistan's own security forces.

Germany has deployed about 4,400 soldiers, the third largest foreign contingent in Afghanistan after the U.S. and Britain, in the northern part of Afghanistan. It faces considerable pressure from the U.S. and other NATO allies to lift that figure substantially.

And Here:

Germany mulling withdrawal from Afghanistan
Press TV
Mon, 16 Nov 2009 09:47:43 GMT
http://www.presstv.ir/classic/detail.aspx?id=111404&sectionid=351020604

Germany is mulling over a withdrawal from Afghanistan, amid rising differences of opinion among NATO members over handling the Afghan mission.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called on Sunday for preliminary work to lay down the foundations of a withdrawal from Afghanistan in the country's next four-year parliamentary term.

"In the life of this parliament, we have to get sufficiently far with the concept of self-sustained security that a perspective for withdrawal comes into view," Westerwelle told ZDF television.

"We don't want to remain in Afghanistan forever," the minister added.

The newly appointed foreign minister was referring to a NATO strategy, which says a handover could only be carried out after the Afghans are capable of taking control of their country.

He added that Germany would work to see democracy grow in Afghanistan and introduce effective methods for fighting corruption.

Westerwelle's comments come as Germany prepares to send 120 additional troops to Afghanistan, which will boost the total number of the German contingent to 4,365


And Here:

SpiegelOnline
11/30/2009
How Much Did The Chancellor Know?
Pressure Mounts On Merkel Over Afghan Air Raid Debacle
By Florian Gathmann, Matthias Gebauer, and Veit Medick
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,664353,00.html#ref=rss


Warming Up for a Parliamentary Inquiry

The question-and-answer session was like a warm-up session for the coming weeks. Reporters keep wanting to know at what point the chancellor started having doubts about the assurances given by her the defence minister at the time, Franz Josef Jung, that nothing had gone wrong in the Kunduz air strike.
She faces an unpleasant appearance before the parliamentary committee conducting an inquiry into the Kunduz bombing. The SPD said the role of the chancellery needed to be examined. Michael Hartmann, an SPD member of parliament said: "If the reports are correct, the chancellor will have to go before the investigating committee." And Omid Nouripour, a member of the opposition Greens, said: "Everything runs towards Merkel."
Ironically, the basis for the questioning is likely to be one of the speeches for which Merkel won most praise. On September 8, four days after the air strike, Merkel gave a statement to parliament about Afghanistan. In that speech she rejected the fierce foreign criticism of the airstrikes but did not rule out that there may have been civilian victims. "There are contradictory reports about the impact, especially regarding civilian victims," Merkel said.





 
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