Russia’s Stranglehold on European Energy

Russia’s Stranglehold on European Energy

Reuters

Meet Rosneft—Russia’s third-largest oil conglomerate that is about to buy out tnk-bp. This strategic move will not only propel Rosneft to the top of Russia’s oil industry, but it will also make both of the nation’s largest oil and gas companies state owned.

tnk-bp is currently co-owned by British oil firm BP and a Russian group of billionaire investors called aar. According to Marin Katusa of Casey Research, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s oil company Rosneft is about to purchase BP’s 50 percent stake in tnk-bp. The move will cost Rosneft approximately $27 billion in cash and stock. At the same time, Rosneft is trying to purchase the other 50 percent stake from aar, although this deal is yet to be finalized. In the end, according to Reuters, the deal as a whole will be worth $55 billion.

If the deal succeeds, it will be the largest purchase since Exxon bought out Mobil over a decade ago.

Even though the terms of the agreement dictate that BP will retain a 19.75 percent share in Rosneft, it is clear that Putin is seeking to nationalize Russia’s oil production through this acquisition. Rosneft is already Russia’s largest oil producer. With this merge, Putin will have even more influence over Europe’s energy needs. According to Katusa, “If Rosneft does buy tnk-bp, the state oil giant will pump almost half of the barrels of oil produced in Russia.”

Leaving a small percentage to BP will also allow Rosneft to maintain a choke hold on its oil supply to Europe. Europe’s reliance on Russia for oil and gas may prove to further the influence of Rosneft and Russia as a whole in the near future.

As of October 2012, Russia is the number one oil producer in the world, just ahead of Saudi Arabia. Russia currently supplies 34 percent of Europe’s gas needs through its other state-owned gas giant, Gazprom. With Putin at the helm of both Gazprom and Rosneft, it is easy to see how Russia could soon wield its power and withhold its supplies of oil and gas at will.

Watch for Putin to continue to work behind the scenes to build up his nation into an energy-rich superpower through the privatization of its major exports and industries.

To better understand the future role Russia will play on the world scene, read “The Key to Understanding Russia,” and request our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

Petraeus Resigns as Questions Remain About Benghazi

It’s been two months since the terrorist attack in Benghazi and still many questions remain unanswered. The big news this weekend has been the sudden and shocking resignation of cia director David Petraeus because of marital infidelity. According to some reports, fbi agents are furious that the decision to remove General Petraeus was delayed until after the U.S. presidential election. Many others are also wondering why the resignation happened just one week before Petraeus was scheduled to testify before Congress about the Benghazi cover-up.

Election Day and the Timing of Hurricane Sandy

One of the most interesting things about Hurricane Sandy was the timing of the storm. After the hurricane hit, it was the president—not Mitt Romney—who made headlines, particularly after his response to the hurricane received high praise from a Republican governor. Romney lost to the president by about 3 million votes overall. And according to exit polls from the election, 42 percent of voters said the president’s response to the hurricane played an important role in their decision.

Can the New Coptic Pope Save Egypt’s Christians?

Can the New Coptic Pope Save Egypt’s Christians?

MAHMUD KHALED/AFP/Getty Images

As violence against Christians intensifies in Egypt, many Coptic Christians will start looking for a new type of Pope to protect them!

As the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood makes demands for Sharia law, the Coptic Christian community is growing fearful about its future. Already opponents of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi are being crucified on trees and Christians are being denied permits to build new churches. It is in this environment that thousands of Copts met last Sunday to name a Pope charged with protecting the largest Christian community in the Middle East.

At an elaborate ceremony in Cairo’s St Mark’s Cathedral, a blindfolded boy pulled a ballot out of a crystal chalice revealing that Bishop Tawadros, 60, will now lead the flock of approximately 10 million Egyptian Coptic Christians.

A former pharmacist, Tawadros has a reputation for being open, organized and in favor of integrating Egypt’s Christian minority into public life. The Muslim Brotherhood dominated government, however, has already proposed a new constitution that would subject not only the Muslim majority but also non-Muslim minorities to Islamic law.

As such, Bishop Tawadros is set to have a much harder time guaranteeing the rights of Coptic Christians than his predecessor. The previous Coptic Pope, Shenouda III, who died last March, managed a delicate balancing act by strongly supporting former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in exchange for government protection. Now that the Muslim Brotherhood has come to power, however, many Egyptian Islamists are eager to break with the traditions of Mubarak and exclude Christians from having a role in the government.

According to the Financial Times, 26 Christian demonstrators were killed by army bullets or crushed to death by military vehicles last year when they protested against the destruction of a local church by Muslims extremists.

As such violence intensifies, many Egyptian Christians are bound to start looking to another type of Pope for protection. Just after Pope Shenouda died last March, Pope Benedict XVI of Rome offered up prayers for him and spoke warmly of the closeness he felt with the Coptic Church. The Roman Pontiff has also recently condemned attacks on unarmed Christians in Egypt and called on the new Egyptian government to do more to guarantee the rights of minorities.

The Prophet Isaiah wrote of time when a great, false church would wield supreme power, boasting that she will not know “the loss of children,” or daughter churches. This prophecy prompted Herbert W. Armstrong to state, with absolute certaintyand more than 40 years ago—that the Protestant churches would gravitate toward unification with mother Rome. For a further description of this prophecy, please read our June 2005 Trumpet article, Returning to the Fold.

As Islamist governments take root across the Middle East, the regions Christians will soon turn in mass, not to God, but to Rome and the European countries dominated by the Vatican!

Merkel: EU Will Become a Superstate

Merkel: EU Will Become a Superstate

GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

The German chancellor outlines her plans for the European Commission to transform into an EU government.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel outlined her vision of Europe in a speech to the European Parliament November 7. But it was when she stepped away from her prepared notes to respond to a statement by parliamentary leaders that she revealed most about the future she sees for the European Union.

The EU will transform into single nation—a superstate—“otherwise it will not work in the long term,” she said. Here is Merkel’s full statement:

I’m sure the Commission will become a government one day. I’m sure that the Council will become a second chamber one day. And I’m sure the European Parliament will take European responsibilities otherwise it won’t work in the long term. But today we must save the euro and create the basis properly. And we must give people a little bit of time so that they can come with us.

This is probably the clearest any European leader has been in showing what they want the EU to become. Last September in his state of the union speech, José Manuel Barroso made similar calls for the EU to become a “a federation of nation-states.” He gave the caveat that he wasn’t calling for a “superstate.”

Chancellor Merkel gave no such caveat. An EU with its own government, complete with a two-chamber system—a congress and a senate—is exactly the kind of thing we envision when we say that it will become a superstate.

Merkel admitted that this superstate wasn’t yet the will of the electorate. She pointed out that European leaders tried to set the groundwork for this with the European constitution, which was rejected, but that she plans to push ahead anyway and hopes that after the financial crisis the voters will come along.

Guy Verhofstadt, head of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, who is one of the most outspoken parliamentary leaders, disagreed with part of what Merkel said—the need for time. “Our point of view in the parliament is that you need it now” he said. “You don’t solve the problem around the euro crisis if you don’t put in place these things and these reforms.”

The Trumpet has long said that European insiders knew that creating the euro would bring about something like the current crisis—forcing Europe to become a superstate, against the will of most Europeans. This is exactly what we are seeing happen right now. Merkel’s statements show how Europe’s leaders see the EU. They want it to become a superstate, and the euro crisis gives them the chance to “create the basis properly.” And Mr. Verhofstadt is undoubtedly right. The euro crisis will force the EU to go through this metamorphosis more quickly than Merkel’s statements suggest.

The Promise of Real Hope and Change

Many people are discouraged about the U.S. presidential election. But they need to look at the bigger picture.