Guess who’s not leaving Afghanistan
Much publicity is being given to the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Yet we ought to remember that there are other nations that have also committed troops there out of strategic interests of their own. Take Germany, for instance, the third-largest contributor of troops to the Afghanistan war.
Germany has been busy for some time building an alliance with the less militant Arab states on Iran’s western flank. From the Mediterranean to the Gulf, it is cementing an alliance to counteract the further spread of Iran’s influence over key oil states.
This is a powerfully prophetic development, a fulfillment of the alliance between Germany and certain Arab states that is prophesied in Psalm 83.
With this bastion of resistance to Iran’s westward spread of its influence now consolidating, those who seek to contain Iran just need to shore up its eastern flank. This is where the outcome of the Afghanistan war becomes crucial.
U.S. withdrawal from Iraq has left that benighted nation at the mercy of Iran. In essence, Iraq is speedily becoming a vassal state to Iran. This leaves Afghanistan as the only outpost remaining between Iran’s eastward expansion and its linkage with Islamic states to its east and south. Thus it is crucial for those nations dependent on Middle Eastern and Caucasus oil supplies to stop Iran’s eastward expansionist goals at its eastern flank. And America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan risks creating a repeat of the Iraqi episode, with that Eurasian nation falling under Iranian imperialist dominance.
This is why Germany is so concerned. It has a vital interest in securing vital oil supplies on which the EU nations depend, including diversifying away from the risky source of Russia. Restraining Iran is central to this effort.
It is for this reason that the Trumpet has consistently maintained that Germany cannot afford to leave Afghanistan in the wake of American drawdown.
A quick review of Germany’s strategic commitments in the region reveals that it has positioned itself to fill the gap created by U.S. withdrawal from this region. In fact, the militarily strategic deployment of the Bundeswehr to the Middle East and the Eurasian periphery indicates just how vital such deployment is to Germany’s imperialist goals.
Germany has quietly encircled the oil golden triangle in the Middle East. Its navy is deployed in the Mediterranean, thus securing Suez, and patrolling off the coast of Lebanon, securing the Levant. Its navy sits off the Somalian and Yemeni coastlines, securing the Persian Gulf. Add to that the German military’s presence in Sudan and its active role in Afghanistan, and Germany is well stationed to present itself in the role of an in-area peacekeeper in this hottest spot on the planet.
Thanks to its strategic deployment in these localities, Germany also retains a prime bargaining position for access to Mideast oil as an offset to dependence on Russia. It maintains an actively deployed strategic readiness to secure future Middle East oil assets and guarantee safe passage to Europe via the Suez (protected by German naval deployment securing the Mediterranean) and the Adriatic Sea (by virtue of an implicit alliance with Albania, one of Germany’s Balkan proxies).
Soon to be most important of all, Germany’s deployment in Afghanistan gives it a prime strategic location from which to press the inevitable attack on the one nation that threatens the overall stability of the Middle East and, through its terror-sponsoring activities, the rest of the world—Iran.
Germany’s ambivalence to any moral standard in its conduct in Afghanistan—or any other theater vital to its national interest—is apparent in the strategy it has adopted in the Hindu Kush. In this situation, as in the Balkan Peninsula wars of the 1990s, it is not the moral argument so much as the strategic imperialist/military reason that dominates.
German-Foreign-Policy.com wrote about this on November 1: “To vanquish its enemy, Germany has regularly cooperated with forces which were powerful enough to win wars, but whose social qualities are diametrically opposed to a humane development in the region targeted by German interventions. This had been the case in Afghanistan in the 1980s when, within the framework of the Western alliance, the Federal Republic of Germany helped support the Afghan Mujahedeen fighting pro-Soviet forces in Kabul and the Soviet Army. The consequences are well known. … A similar outcome can be expected from Berlin’s current cooperation with Afghan warlords to maintain control at the Hindu Kush …. This brutalization of social relations corresponds to the logic of warfare, in as much as, not the most humane, but the most barbaric forces are the more promising allies, who, in the long run, become the most influential forces shaping the future.”
Request a free copy of our booklet History and Prophecy of the Middle East for deeper insight into Germany and the Middle East and the final dramatic outcome to current events surrounding this region. And keep watching for Germany to strengthen its encirclement of Iran, the biblical king of the south, and to close in on Jerusalem, surrounding it with armies (Luke 21:20). This is a most powerful sign of the imminence of Jesus Christ’s return.
Draghi supports German plans for super-commissioner
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s radical plan for a financial super-commissioner has won another powerful ally: European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. Schäuble’s plan, supported by Chancellor Angela Merkel, calls for a European currency commissioner who would possess the power to veto national budgets. He would be one of two EU commissioners authorized to act without the agreement of his colleagues. When asked about the proposal during his interview with Spiegel, Draghi announced, “I am fully in favor of it. … Governments would be wise to seriously consider it. I firmly believe that, in order to restore confidence in the euro area, countries need to transfer part of their sovereignty to the European level.” This endorsement comes from the man Spiegel asked: “Would it be wrong to call you the most powerful man in Europe?” As a Jesuit-educated son of Rome, Draghi represents the view of the Catholic Church in Europe. If both Germany and the Vatican support this new super-commissioner, there’s a good chance that the rest of Europe will in fact surrender that sovereignty, and this radical, “unlikely” proposal will become law. Schäuble’s description of the super-commissioner would indeed be fitting: “feared around the world.”
Reformation in reverse
After about half a millennium apart, Lutherans could be re-joining the Catholic Church soon. Since 2009, Anglicans have been able to re-join the church through groups called ordinariates, which allow them to keep many of their traditions, such as married bishops, while being absorbed into the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said on October 29, “If similar desires are expressed by the Lutherans, then we will have to reflect on them. However, the initiative is up to the Lutherans.” In other words, if the Catholic Church thinks it can convince enough Lutherans to sign up, it will proceed.
“One of the most under-reported religious stories of the past decade has been the movement of Lutherans across the Tiber,” the National Catholic Register said in March 2011.
The Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church, a small group of conservative Lutheran-like churches, has already begun negotiations with the Catholic Church about joining as part of the Anglican ordinariate.
The larger Lutheran community has also been moving toward Rome. Back in Oct. 31, 1999, the Lutheran World Federation signed a Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, with the Vatican saying that the two groups “are now able to articulate a common understanding of our justification by God’s grace through faith in Christ.” The doctrine of justification was at the heart of Luther’s disagreement with the Catholic Church that led to his excommunication. The signing of this document means that the greatest obstacle between Lutherans and Catholics has already been overcome. Although some Lutherans disagree with the declaration, the Lutheran World Federation represents over 70 million of the world’s 73.8 million Lutherans.
Two years ago, the president of the Lutheran World Federation said he wanted to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017 by signing an agreement with the Vatican that allows Lutherans to receive communion at Roman Catholic Mass, and vice versa. Although the re-absorption may come in stages, watch for the Vatican to bring a significant number of Lutherans back under its authority. Biblical prophecy tells us to watch for this to happen as the Catholic Church rises in power.
Merkel: EU will be a superstate
German Chancellor Angela Merkel outlined her vision for Europe in a speech to the European Parliament on November 7. But her most revealing statement about Europe’s future came when she stepped away from her prepared notes. As she responded to a statement by parliamentary leaders, Merkel revealed her vision for the European Union: a superstate. “I’m sure the Commission will become a government one day. I’m sure that the Council will become a second chamber one day,” Merkel said. “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, most prominent example of any European leader admitting the grand scheme for the European Union. A European superstate with its own administration and legislature is precisely what the Trumpet has forecast for decades.
Tied with North Korea!
A poll measuring public opinion of several different countries released by the bbc ranked Israel’s popularity lower than ever. The lowest ranked nation was Iran, followed by Pakistan. After that, it was a tie between North Korea and Israel.
The Country Ratings Poll, which has been conducted annually since 2005, has shown a continued decrease in Israel’s popularity. Of all nations surveyed in 2012, only three had a majority that viewed Israel positively: the United States, Kenya and Nigeria.
While the world’s overall negative view of Israel is a bad sign for the small nation, even more concerning is the trend in its neighbor to the south. Egypt’s recent radicalization has drastically affected its opinion of Israel. Eighty-five percent of Egyptians polled viewed Israel negatively. This should sound alarm bells throughout Western nations. Egyptian positive opinion of Israel has fallen a significant 7 percent since 2011—a clear indication that its longtime peaceful relationship with Israel is in jeopardy.
The 2012 poll also revealed that Israel’s popularity took a big hit among European nations. Negative views of Israel in Spain and France were up 8 and 9 percent respectively since last year. Negative views in Britain and Germany remained steady, but high, coming in at around 70 percent.
Post-World War ii Europe has been tolerant of the small Jewish nation until recently. Increased anti-Semitic rhetoric and demonstrations in Europe show a dangerous new trend among European nations.
Weapons factory reveals connection with Iran
Israel allegedly bombed a weapons factory in Khartoum on October 24. Its Mossad intelligence agency reportedly found that Sudan had allowed Iran to build and operate a weapons factory there. Israel has not officially confirmed or denied that it was behind the attack. The bombing, more than 1,000 miles away from Israel, represents its air force’s deepest strike ever. It may have also been intended as a warning to Iran, whose nuclear facilities are roughly the same distance from Israel.
However, the attack also risks accelerating Sudan’s shift toward Iran. Five days afterward, a group of Iranian Navy ships docked in Sudan. Sudan’s military said the ships’ presence represented the strong ties between the two countries.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi also spoke out in vehement support for Sudan against Israel. Other reports suggest that Egypt is maintaining a close alliance with Sudan so that it can keep maximum pressure on Ethiopia. Bible prophecy says Sudan-Iranian and Sudan-Egyptian ties will evolve into a regional alliance between North African nations and Iran. This alliance will ultimately, and perhaps violently, draw in Ethiopia.
Seeking greater trade
Sanctions against Iran are causing hyperinflation, but that has not stopped the nation’s nuclear program. Meanwhile, Tehran is countering its isolation by increasing trade with Egypt. Egypt is shipping foodstuffs to Iran, while the Iranians are looking to sell it crude oil. This will offset the loss of crude sales to the European Union, which banned such deals in July. The Tehran Times said in late October that trade between Egypt and Iran is estimated to increase fourfold by 2013. While America is trying to weaken Iran through sanctions, it is actually helping to tighten an extremist Middle-Eastern axis.
America’s defeat deadline
After 11 years of war against radical Islam, American losses are now piling high. With Saddam Hussein and U.S. forces long gone in Iraq, that nation has now fallen to Iran, as the Trumpet predicted as early as 1994. The United States is following a similar path in Afghanistan. Since its troop surge in 2009, the U.S. military has suffered a dramatic rise in U.S. casualties. Of the more than 2,100 U.S. service members who have been killed in Afghanistan, about 70 percent have died under the current administration’s watch.
Despite many setbacks, President Obama has actively peddled a “mission accomplished” theme for Afghanistan. But according to cbs reporter Lara Logan, the administration is misleading the American people with this “major lie” in order to justify its exit strategy. During a 60 Minutes episode on September 30, Logan interviewed Gen. John Allen, the commanding officer of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a Taliban commander who had been trained by al Qaeda. All said al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are now returning to the country. They are not the ones on the path to defeat in Afghanistan.
China Military modernizing
China’s rising military capabilities made recent headlines in two notable areas. First, photos and video of its new stealth fighter became available on the Internet on November 1. Developing a stealth intercept fighter was a milestone, and it appears that Beijing was eager to show off the technology. “The technical barriers and development costs for such aircraft are enormous,” the Associated Press said. Wired reported the development as “a huge leap forward for China’s ambitious stealth warplane program.” China remains largely reliant on Russia for engines for its latest J-10, J-11 and J-15 models, but Moscow is happy to supply Beijing with this technology.
In addition, Beijing is less than two years away from equipping its subs with nuclear weapons, according to a draft report released on November 8 by a congressionally mandated U.S. commission. The report said China is “on the cusp of attaining a credible nuclear triad of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and air-dropped nuclear bombs.” China has possessed ballistic missile submarine capability for years, but it has been largely symbolic. Now it is poised to establish a “near-continuous at-sea strategic deterrent,” the paper said. The Chinese have already deployed two out of an estimated five new nuclear-powered ballistic missile subs, which give Beijing its “first credible sea-based nuclear capability,” according to a separate report by the U.S. Defense Department.
Expect Beijing to concentrate even harder on building military muscle—with continued cooperation from Russia—as it grows to dominate East Asia.
A stranglehold on Europe’s energy
Rosneft, Russia’s third-largest oil conglomerate, is working to buy out oil company tnk-bp. This strategic move will not only propel Rosneft to the top of Russia’s oil industry, but will also make both of the nation’s largest oil and gas companies state-owned. Rosneft is purchasing BP’s 50 percent stake in tnk-bp for about $27 billion in cash and stock, and trying to buy the other 50 percent stake from aar, a group of billionaire Russian investors. In the end, the whole deal will be worth $55 billion. If it succeeds, it will be the largest purchase since Exxon bought out Mobil over a decade ago.
Though the terms of the agreement say BP will retain a 19.75 percent share in Rosneft, it is clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking to nationalize Russia’s oil production. A consummated deal would mean that state-owned Rosneft would account for nearly half the nation’s oil production.
This merger would give Putin increased influence over Europe’s energy needs. Russia, the top oil producer in the world, 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. Europe’s reliance on Russia for oil and gas may prove to boost Russia’s influence in the near future.
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.
Grab gold, dump dollars
Central banks in China and Russia are building up their gold reserves and dumping their holdings of U.S. dollars and dollar-denominated debt, according to a Global Research report published November 11. Beijing and Moscow’s official gold acquisition figures omit secret deals undertaken through third-party companies, so the exodus from the dollar into gold is substantially larger than it appears. China and Russia are both boosting domestic production of gold, and their central banks are snatching up a large share of the yields, often surreptitiously. The report said many central banks in the Middle East are also boosting gold reserves while reducing dollar forex holdings. Expect this dollar-dumping trend to accelerate.
Latin America, Africa
Linking with Europe
On November 16, Latin American leaders met with their Spanish and Portuguese counterparts in Cadiz, Spain, for the annual Ibero-American summit. The main topic on the agenda was Europe’s desire to enlist Latin American nations in helping Europe overcome its economic maladies.
The economic downturn in both the eurozone and the U.S. has decreased demand for goods from Latin American countries, but European states are determined to reverse course—not only by soliciting help from Latin American nations, but also by making strides toward unification among themselves.
Decades ago, educator Herbert W. Armstrong predicted both of these trends. As early as May 1962, the Plain Truth magazine issued this warning: “Germany’s plans in South America were temporarily halted by its defeat in World War ii. … ‘South America will be conquered by business agents, not by guns!’” (quoting T.H. Teten’s Germany Plots With the Kremlin; emphasis added). Herbert Armstrong knew far in advance that communism would fail to entice the Latinos and that British and American influence would dwindle. He knew it was Europe that would ultimately achieve its long-term goal of economic and religious domination of Latin America. Today, Europe is making strides toward that goal.
At the summit in November, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garca-Margallo explained the other facet of the solution to Europe’s problems: “The European crisis is not an economic crisis but a political one. If we compare our public debts to those of the U.S., ours are better. But the investors prefer to invest in the U.S. and not in the eurozone, because they don’t trust our will to stay together (in Europe).”
The foreign minister’s assessment is eerily similar to a forecast Mr. Armstrong made in a July 22, 1984, co-worker letter. He wrote that a massive banking crisis in America “could suddenly result in triggering European nations to unite as a new world power larger than either the Soviet Union or the U.S.” The U.S. has already suffered a banking crisis to some extent, and the EU sees that political union among its members is the remedy for Europe’s economic trouble, as evidenced by Garca-Margallo’s statement.
Expect Europe to continue making inroads into its former Latin American colonies, and to maintain its quest for unification.
After a powerful 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Guatemala in November, at least 52 people were left dead, and thousands more without power. The Guatemalan president visited the affected area to declare three days of mourning. Earthquakes are increasing in both frequency and severity across the globe. Christ told His disciples in Matthew 24 that earthquakes in diverse places would be one of the signs of the last days.
Banks forced to buy debt?
Zimbabwe plans to force banks operating within the country to buy treasury bills after it failed to sell central bank securities. In October, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe offered its first treasury bills since the country abandoned its currency and adopted the dollar in a bid to curb 500 billion percent inflation. However, the treasury auction failed. Details of the planned coercion of the banks are unclear, but Zimbabwe continues to serve as a prime example of what happens when a nation uses “quantitative easing” to deal with its financial problems.
Grapes of wrath
One person died in clashes between farm workers and police in South Africa’s vineyard region in November. The clashes started when agricultural workers started protesting in demand of more pay. Police then started firing rubber bullets as protesters blocked roads, set fields alight, overturned vehicles and destroyed equipment. This violence is but the latest episode of civil disruption in South Africa. Back in August 2012, 34 people died when police fired at a violent crowd of striking miners. Expect a deteriorating economy and escalating racial tensions to make episodes like this more common.
How to celebrate election win: Raise debt limit
November 7, the day after Barack Obama was reelected U.S. president, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that if the government needs to borrow more money, Congress will raise the federal debt limit from $16.394 trillion to $18.794 trillion. Congress and President Obama reached a deal to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion in August 2011, but that additional borrowing authority has been almost exhausted after only 15 months. The next increase in the notional “debt ceiling” is planned for early in 2013. Reid said his party would find a way to bypass any opposition by the Republican Party, which holds a majority in the lower house but is a minority in the Senate. It is becoming increasingly clear that the American government has passed the point of no return and will plummet over the fiscal cliff immediately ahead of it.
NYPD officer plots cannibalism
A shocking case appeared in court in October when a New York City police officer was arrested and charged for plotting to kidnap, rape, torture, then cook and eat female victims. Twenty-eight-year-old Gilberto Valle reportedly used his access to police files to gather detailed information on potential victims. Valle’s wife alerted the fbi after she discovered chats and e-mails about Valle’s plans. fbi officials found more than 100 profiles of female targets on his computer. Valle, who has been an officer in the New York Police Department for six years and has a 1-year-old daughter, was allegedly commissioned to kidnap a woman for someone else last February. He responded: “$5,000 and she’s all yours.” This story is only the tip of the iceberg. In an increasingly sexualized society rife with pornography, drug usage and the glorifying of evil, we can expect such unbelievably barbaric acts to multiply.
Roll out red carpet for Islamists
The Obama administration has played host to “scores of known radical Islamists” who “made hundreds of visits” to meet with top administration officials, according to a year-long investigation publicized by Arutz Sheva in October 2012. After combing through millions of visitor logs, investigators from the Investigative Project on Terrorism “identified many of these visitors as belonging to groups serving as fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and other terrorist organizations,” Arutz Sheva wrote. The report detailed dozens of specific personalities and representatives from extremist groups who have graced the White House steps over the past few years, and clearly outlined their radical connections. The list includes individuals representing groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, members of groups that have obstructed terrorist investigations, and other persons connected to money-laundering scandals involving terrorists. Since the start of his presidency, President Obama has worked hard to reach out to the Muslim community. This open-door policy to known extremists is one of the uglier aspects of that effort.
The man to bring Anglicans to Rome?
The bishop of Durham, Justin Welby, will be the next archbishop of Canterbury, it was announced November 9. The archbishop has strong links with the Catholic Church, and as leader of the Anglican Communion, he could bring that church closer to Rome.
All Church of England clergy have a spiritual director. But Welby’s director is Catholic. A person will usually stick with the same spiritual director for years, meaning Welby’s religious thinking will have been heavily shaped by the Catholic Church. During his press conference after the announcement of his appointment, Welby singled out the Catholic Church, mentioning no other groups. Welby has said the greatest influence over his moral thinking was RerumNovarum—a letter by Pope Leo xiii.
Underscoring the close ties already in place between the Church of England and the Church of Rome, the announcement of Welby’s appointment was delayed so both the Queen and the pope could be notified.
But Welby isn’t completely Rome’s man. He supports the ordination of women bishops and is reexamining his thinking on homosexuality. Whether Welby’s strong links to the Catholic Church will mean that the bulk of the Anglican Church is returned to Rome peacefully, or if Rome will need to apply force, remains to be seen. But prophecy indicates that eventually the Anglican Church will return to Rome.
General under fire for adultery
Only two months after the cia was drawn into the limelight concerning its response to the September 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, cia Director David Petraeus resigned due to marital infidelity. Petraeus’s affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, was discovered by the fbi back in May, but only became public after the U.S. presidential election. As this situation plays out, it is becoming increasingly evident that America lacks the moral leadership necessary to provide its citizens with true security.