Europe’s Mali Dilemma

Europe’s Mali Dilemma

HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images)

Europe is facing a major dilemma with the radicalization of Mali. Will sending troops there really be a viable solution?

Mali is yet another anarchical, deeply divided African state whose continued instability is increasingly posing a security threat to Europe and presenting an international dilemma on intervention.

On Thursday, a French-sponsored resolution to send international troops to intervene in Mali was unanimously approved by the oft-divided United Nations Security Council. Under the resolution, 3,300 combat troops will be deployed by a bloc of West African nations to regain the northern part of Mali that fell to radical Islamist groups in April. The European Union will be responsible for training the 5,000 remaining frail Malian forces.

The EU, particularly France, is deeply concerned about Mali’s political and security crisis. Europe fears northern Mali will be the newest hotbed for international terrorism and crime that could hit the Continent, which is just 900 miles away. While visiting Mali, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said, “It is our own security that is at stake.” The EU’s head of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, said that “the presence of terrorist groups and the oppression of local populations in the north of Mali, as well as human rights violations, not only pose a grave threat to the Sahel region, but also to North Africa and to Europe.”

Impoverished Mali fell into turmoil when a military coup in March created a power vacuum that allowed terrorist groups to take over the north of the country, a chunk of territory about the size of France. One of these groups, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (aqim), is linked to the Benghazi terrorist attacks in Libya. Already, hostages have reportedly been seized, including six French nationals. Parts of this region are firmly now under sharia law, with mass rape, amputations and killings. The Observer noted that families are being coerced to give their children over to the militia in northern Mali. A former Malian teacher testified, “Families are being forced to give up their children. They [the children] are told to kill, rape. Children do whatever they are told.”

France had been hoping for a swifter intervention, but the approved military force may not be operational until September 2013. Mali needs first of all to ensure that there is a clear contact person for international allies. Mali’s coup leaders have continued to meddle in the transitional government that has been set up. On December 10, for example, at around 11 p.m., the military coup leaders arrested interim Prime Minister Modibo Diarra and apparently forced him to resign on national tv about two hours later. The UN resolution is demanding political stability first in Bamako, then transparent elections, perhaps in April 2013, before any intervention. Political dialogue with some of the separatist movements is also a prerequisite.

Meanwhile, France fears “the terror cells now occupying Mali’s north will use any delay to further embed themselves in the vast territory, and use it to recruit and train foreign fighters for global jihad,” wrote the Associated Press. Their forces number an estimated 10,000. The whole situation in Mali is complex and dire, and possible scenarios are bleak.

Mali is presenting Europe in particular with a serious dilemma, and Europe is taking this seriously. With radical Islam raging in nearby North Africa and the Middle East, Europe will soon be forced to intervene and deal with radical Islam. The United States is bogged down and reluctant to commit troops on the ground in another North African country; the onus is on Europe to deal with Mali.

Bible prophecy reveals that Europe is destined to become much more involved in the Middle East, while America is set for a rapid exit. For more information on these prophecies, study The King of the South.

Herbert W. Armstrong Presented With Cross of the Veterans of King Leopold III

Herbert W. Armstrong Presented With Cross of the Veterans of King Leopold III

PT

Belgium’s Princess Lilian’s surprise presentation in the library of Chateau d’Argenteuil

At midday on Sunday, May 5, 1985, Herbert W. Armstrong arrived in Brussels, Belgium, for meetings with publication staff of the French-language version of the mass-circulation Plain Truth magazine, Pure Verite.

Thereafter, he drove to Chateau d’Argenteuil for a special luncheon with Princess Lilian, the widow of his longtime friend King Leopold iii, whom he had first met in 1968 seeking use of the king’s extensive color photograph collection in editions of the Plain Truth.

Seventeen years later, after collective global humanitarian endeavors between Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, which Mr. Armstrong had founded, and the King Leopold iii Foundation, this friendship had built into a powerful partnership in the pursuit of peace by the king and unofficial ambassador.

Upon arrival, Mr. Armstrong, who was accompanied by Colonel Von Cauberg, was greeted near a sitting room by the princess and her youngest daughter, Esmeralda. For the next half hour they conversed, before adjourning to the dining room.

During lunch, Princess Lilian complimented the close friend of her husband, who at 92 years of age maintained a strenuous travel schedule. Largely, the topic of conversation centered upon Outrageous Fortune, the new book authored by Roger Keyes. Relying upon documents obtained from the Second World War, the book exonerated King Leopold’s decision to stay with his troops as their chief commander and surrender to the invading troops on May 28, 1940, and as such save approximately half a million of his countrymen from slave labor in Germany.

The king was repudiated by Belgian government officials, who by the time of the invasion had fled to the safety of Britain. King Leopold iii was held in Belgium until 1944 as a prisoner by the occupying Nazis, after which he was transferred to Austria until hostilities ceased and he was freed to return to Brussels.

However, controversy at home led him to renounce the throne on Aug. 11, 1950. “The king did not speak in his own defense, but instead suffered with dignity the politically expedient abuse heaped on him by others in England, France and Belgium,” wrote Mr. Armstrong’s personal aide in the May 13, 1985, edition of the Worldwide News.

Reflections of his father, King Albert, impacted Leopold. In the wake of the savagery of World War i, Albert toured the battlefield of his tattered realm. In dismay at the images of waste and carnage, he directed an iron shell casing from these grounds cast into four watch cases. His desire was to award each watch to the person who had made the most notable efforts toward peace.

One was given to the head of the Allied Supreme Command, Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch. Another was given to Commander in Chief of the Third Expeditionary Force Gen. John J. Pershing. The third was awarded to France’s Premier Georges Clemenceau in recognition of his wartime leadership. During his lifetime, Albert found no one of his estimation worthy of the last remaining prize. After his death, the fourth watch was passed on to his son King Leopold iii.

In 1970 the king presented the last of these special watches to the internationally recognized unofficial ambassador for world peace. In acceptance, Mr. Armstrong stated, “I feel it was the highest honor the king could have paid anyone. Whatever contribution to world peace I may be making is not through war, but through education, teaching millions worldwide the way to peace!”

At the conclusion of lunch the ensemble repaired to the relaxation of the royal library. Surprisingly, the princess then excused herself for a few minutes, leaving the group to reflect upon the meaningful mealtime conversation. When she returned, Mr. Armstrong made a point of telling her that he felt the king was “a courageous man and a dear and affectionate friend,” adding that an article featuring him would appear in a future edition of the Plain Truth.

In response and to Mr. Armstrong’s amazement, Lilian reached into her pocket and pulled out a small box, opening it to expose a beautiful medal covered in white enamel, featuring in its center a gold portrait of Leopold.

Then, with the small assembly gathered, she officially presented to this special friend of Belgium and its regal house, the Cross of the Veterans of King Leopold iii.

“She said that her husband intended to confer this decoration to him earlier because of his friendship to the king and the Belgian people, but he died before he could present it,” wrote the Worldwide News. Thereafter, she presented Mr. Armstrong with a signed copy of Outrageous Fortune, adding her desire to accept his previous invitation for her to tour the Ambassador College campus in Pasadena, California.

Belgian and all readers of our French-language edition of our magazine, La Trompette Philadelphienne—Été, need to request their free copy of He Was Right, Il avait raison, for a recounting of over 50 years of prophetically accurate fulfillment of biblical prophecies impacting Belgium. In 1934, Mr. Armstrong declared, via the Plain Truth, that one last time the Continent would be in the grip of German dominance amid its pursuit of regional and global ambitions as the final resurrection of the beastly medieval church-state combine of the Holy Roman Empire.

Hamas Sets Its Sights on the West Bank

Hamas Sets Its Sights on the West Bank

SAIF DAHLAH/AFP/Getty Images

Palestinians in the West Bank are taking note of what Gazan rulers have achieved by attacking Israel.

Last week, thousands of Hamas supporters waving green flags marched through Hebron and Nablus in what some called an outbreak of the Arab Spring in the West Bank. During this peaceful but powerful show of force by Hamas, Palestinian security forces simply stood by.

On December 9, the Associated Press reported that Israel is concerned a third intifada might soon erupt in the West Bank. A quick review of the more recent developments in that region proves that its concern is not without cause.

First, there was the eight-day war between Israel and Hamas in November. Hamas not only survived that battle with its infrastructure intact, it emerged from the war with newfound clout across the region and more popularity than ever before within the Palestinian community.

Then on December 7, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians swarmed the streets of Gaza in celebration of Hamas’s 25-year anniversary. During the celebration, Hamas welcomed home its exiled leader, Khaled Mashaal. It was the first time Mashaal had ever been to Gaza, which in itself shows how confident and strong Hamas now is.

As Stratfor wrote December 13, “The most telling sign of Hamas’s new confidence is Mashaal’s visit to Gaza. It was the leader’s first visit to any Palestinian territory since he left the West Bank after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, and it was his first ever visit to Gaza. … A sympathetic administration in Cairo and the ceasefire that ended the Gaza war in November created the right conditions for Mashaal to visit. The visit follows Hamas’s attainment of recognition from regional players, including Qatar, Jordan and other Arab capitals, after the group decided to end its relationship with Syria.”

In several speeches over the course of that weekend, Mashaal praised Hamas militants for standing up to Israel and repeated the movement’s founding goal of wiping Israel off the map. “God willing, we shall liberate Palestine together, inch by inch,” Mashaal said. “We started this path and we are going to continue until we achieve what God has promised.”

In the West Bank, controlled by the supposedly more moderate Palestinian Authority, there was no public condemnation of Mashaal’s diatribe. In fact, the Palestinian Authority allowed a Hamas rally in Nablus on the anniversary day.

Then there was the scary moment in Hebron earlier this month when Israeli soldiers on routine patrol had to seek refuge inside a butcher’s shop, of all places, to avoid confrontation with an angry mob of Palestinian protesters. After showing footage of the incident, an Israeli news station asked if Israel might be in the early stages of a third intifada.

Add all of this to the United Nations’ recent decision to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority to a “non-member observer state,” and it makes for a dangerous mixture of events.

The bottom line, as Israel Hayom’s editor in chief Amir Mizroch wrote on December 9, is that things in the West Bank are changing—and fast! According to Mizroch, the Palestinians have seen what Gaza’s rulers have achieved by standing up to Israel and now they want change too.

The Jerusalem Post recently reported that Hamas is working to reactivate its sleeper cells in the West Bank. That was followed by a report the Sunday Times released this weekend warning of a Gaza-style Hamas takeover of the West Bank. According to Israeli military intelligence, Hamas political chief Mashaal has called upon his supporters in the West Bank to prepare for a takeover.

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been warned by his intelligence services that the Islamist group Hamas could seize power in the West Bank, just as it did in Gaza five years ago,” the Times wrote. “According to military intelligence, there are strong indications that Iran is encouraging Hamas to replace Fatah, the more moderate party led by Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian National Authority.”

Senior Fatah member General Tawfiq Tirawi told the Times, “We’re on the verge of catastrophe. Hamas wants intifada (an uprising) and now only a spark is needed to light the inferno. Hamas will take over the West Bank.”

The Times of Israel wrote, “A source close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the paper that the prime minister is maneuvering to halt Iran and Hamas from gaining dominion of the territory.”

To make matters worse, according to a recent survey by Jerusalem-based pollster Khalil Shikaki, 48 percent of people in the West Bank back Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, while only 45 percent support Mr. Abbas.

Stratfor wrote, “In the West Bank there is a general disappointment with Fatah and its governance. There are signs of frustration and of a loss of faith in Fatah, and the West Bank Palestinian leadership is seen as geriatric, corrupt and ineffective. This creates an opening that Hamas can exploit.” Due to the religious and political alignment of many people in the West Bank, Stratfor goes on to point out, there is plenty of political space for Hamas to exploit in the West Bank.

Now notice what we wrote at theTrumpet.com back in August of 2008: “The Arabs of the Fatah party currently control the West Bank. However, Hamas terrorists (and weapons) are present throughout the West Bank and there is little doubt that they are working toward getting control of this strategic region of Israel.”

And looming behind all of these proxies, as we have said all along, is the head of radical Islam, Iran. Our article continued: “Iran’s ultimate goal is to overrun Jerusalem. The West Bank adjoins the city. The Iranians believe that if they can conquer Jerusalem, they can unite the Arab world under their control.”

If you haven’t done so already, make sure you read online or request The King of the South.

Islamist Tremors Continue to Shake Ethiopia

Back in January 2011, Gerald Flurry prophesied that Ethiopia would eventually turn radical and ally itself with Iran—this despite the fact that the majority of Ethiopia is Christian. Today, tensions in Ethiopia between the Muslim minority and Christian majority have greatly escalated since the death of Ethiopia’s last prime minister and strongman, Meles Zenawi.

Russia and Europe Moving Toward a Deal on Syria?

Russia and Europe Moving Toward a Deal on Syria?

JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

With Assad’s regime ready to topple, Russia and Europe are moving closer to making a deal on Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin distanced his country from Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, after talks with EU leaders in Brussels on December 21. His statements indicate that Europe and Russia may have come to some kind of agreement over Syria’s future.

Russia, he said, is not “a defender for the current Syrian leadership.” Instead, he said there is a “need to agree how Syria is to be governed.” Mr. Putin said he would support a democratic regime there. But he made clear that he still does not support military action or increased sanctions.

The Associated Press notes that “Putin’s statement reflected attempts by Russia to distance itself from the Syrian regime.”

Last month, Andrew Miiller wrote that “with Russia funneling cash to the Assad regime and Germany giving politico-military support to the rebels, the entire Syrian civil war can be viewed as a proxy war between Moscow and Berlin.”

Mr. Putin’s comments could be the first indications that this war is coming to an end.

Something like this is to be expected. Though German and Russian relations are on a short-term dip at the moment, overall the two countries remain close. They have a lot of common interests. To really be powerful on the world scene, Germany has to be sure Russia isn’t working against it behind its back.

That doesn’t mean some kind of deal was made at the summit. The EU officials present aren’t the big players in this game. Germany is Russia’s closest and most important partner in Europe. The German-Russian relationship is the one to watch. Putin’s statements indicate he is at least leaving the door open for a deal with Germany.

What happens in Syria is very important for the Middle East. But it also reflects on relations around the world. Bible prophecy shows us that the Syrian government will end up an ally of Germany. Russia could try and fight that. It’s more likely that the two sides will come to an arrangement.

Watch German-Russian relations to see if this will happen. If Russia gives way easily, watch for it to receive something in return: less opposition to Russian energy companies in Europe, or a blind eye turned to Russia’s attempts to regain control of former Soviet countries, for example.

Ultimately, the German-Russian relationship is vital for world stability. Historically, Germany secures assurances from Russia before going on the offensive. As Germany grows more powerful, watch for it to seek the same assurances.

For more information on this history, see our article “A New Strategic Partnership Emerges.”

Kings of the North and South Battle in Jordan

Jordan has invited the European Union to monitor its upcoming elections. The request was made by Jordan’s independent election commission, and the EU said on Thursday that it will fulfill the request. The EU will send 140 observers from its 27 member states to monitor both the vote itself and the pre-election campaign, which starts on Saturday.

It will be the first time that the EU has monitored Jordan’s parliamentary vote.

The EU’s election observer chief, David Martin, said on Thursday that he hopes the elections on January 23 will contribute to Jordan’s democratic development. “We have never observed Jordanian elections before,” said Martin. “This is the first time that the European Election Observation Mission has felt that the conditions were right to come and observe elections here in Jordan.”

“The agreement is to give us the space to work, but not to work with the government, so we are completely independent of the government structure,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood is boycotting the vote.

Both Iran and Europe are interested in Jordan’s elections. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote earlier this year that radical Islam is plotting to take over Jordan, which is a comparatively small and weak nation. He also pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to hijack the king’s effort to reform his country.

Jordan’s invitation to the European Union to monitor its elections is probably an effort to win support in its battle against the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Bible prophesies that Jordan will not be taken over by the EU or by Iran and radical Islam. The presence of EU observers will not skew the election, but it shows who Jordan will turn to in order to combat radical Islam.

God has a special plan for modern Jordan. To understand this nation’s future, read Jordan and God’s Church in Prophecy.