Europe’s reluctant new colony
Cyprus “will effectively lose its sovereignty,” Spiegel Online said after a somber announcement from Cypriot President Demetris Christofias on December 4. Christofias said the Mediterranean island nation has no choice but to submit to the European Union and request a bailout.
“I need to make it clear that it was not our choice to resort to the European Stability Mechanism,” President Christofias told the nation in a televised address. But Cyprus’s “dire situation” forced him to turn to Europe with “heartfelt pain,” he said. Christofias told fellow Cypriots that Europe’s terms will cause pain for them too, and he exhorted them to face it with the same stoicism “as we did after 1974, when our country was almost completely destroyed by the Turkish invasion and occupation.”
But this time, it’s the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund that will be in control of the island. The infamous troika plans to dictate Cyprus’s tax rates, working hours for civil servants and even how officials travel internationally (economy class from now on).
Christofias’s speech indicated that his government is ready to sign the troika’s memorandum of understanding. But the EU is moving at its usual glacial pace and has yet to make up its mind on the terms to which Cyprus will sign.
Economists had been expecting Cyprus to ask for a bailout. Unlike the Greeks, however, the Cypriots had another place to look for aid: Russia. With Europe and Russia both competing for influence, it appeared Cyprus could negotiate a better deal. It did—but just barely.
Unlike Greece, Cyprus will not be forced to sell off government assets, unless things get worse. It will also probably retain control of oil and gas reserves, with a portion of the revenues going to pay off its debt. Yet because it is so tiny, it has been forced to yield sovereign power to Brussels. The estimated €17.5 billion it needs is roughly equal to its annual economic output.
Yet to Europe, that sum is little more than pocket change, especially compared with what Spain and Italy might require. It’s a good investment, buying off a nation’s sovereignty for less than a sixth of Daimler AG’s annual sales.
The Cypriots know that their nation is doomed to follow Greece into the status of European colony, beholden to Berlin to keep the funds coming.
With radical Islam on the march, European strategists are more interested in Cyprus than ever. Under Britain, the island was a strategic base for projecting power into Egypt and the Levant. But Cyprus was used as a military asset long before the British Empire. In the 1300s, King Peter i of Cyprus used his fleets to lead European armies to victory in Egypt and Lebanon.
As radical Islam is now rising in these same areas, Europe is once again eyeing Cyprus as a way to leverage influence in the region. The island is a key listening post with surveillance technology that has allowed Britain to monitor communications traffic for decades.
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has often pointed out the geographic importance of Cyprus. “More than one crusade has been launched from Cyprus,” he wrote in January 2011. “Will we see the last crusade launched from there as well? Is history about to repeat itself?”
“Cyprus is now a member of the EU,” he continued. “Are European leaders already thinking about Cyprus as a launching pad from which to protect their Jerusalem interests? You can be certain that they are thinking about how to protect the holy places in and around Jerusalem. The Europeans have thought like this for almost 2,000 years!”
It is now common knowledge that EU elites created the euro knowing it would cause a crisis. This crisis, they hoped, would force Europe to integrate further—something that had, until quite recently, been unacceptable to Europe’s public.
Now, however, we see their plan coming to fruition. EU elites are talking about creating a European federation, and even a “United States of Europe.” Greece has become a German protectorate, and now so has Cyprus—just as radical Islam takes over Egypt a mere 300 miles away.
Mr. Flurry has also shown how Iran’s strategy revolves around controlling the Red Sea and pushing at Europe in the Mediterranean. Where better to push back from than Cyprus? It is the best place from which to project power around the eastern Mediterranean.
Watch for the European Union to take full advantage of its newly acquired real estate.
Coordinated unrest spreads
Hundreds of thousands of workers took to the streets on November 14 as part of a “European day of action and solidarity” organized by the European Trade Union Congress. The etuc claimed the action was the first time that four European countries have held coordinated strikes. Some sectors in Spain saw more than 85 percent of employees walk off the job, according to unions. In Madrid, 80 people were arrested after protests turned violent. In Lisbon, protesters threw rocks at police outside of Portugal’s parliament building. In Italy 17 police officers were wounded. Twenty activists in Turin beat an officer with baseball bats. The economic crisis is putting huge social pressures on southern Europe.
MP: Jews are ‘potential danger’
Hungary should create a list of Jewish politicians who are a “threat to national security,” and all Jews in Hungary should be registered, Marton Gyongyosi said on November 26. Gyongyosi is the deputy parliamentary floor leader for the far-right Jobbik party, which received nearly 20 percent of the vote in 2010. He called for “Jews, particularly those in parliament and the government,” to “be evaluated for the potential danger they pose to Hungary.” The government condemned the statements; even Gyongyosi backed away from them the next day. Yet the more anti-Semitism emerges in Europe, the less shocking it becomes. Put this trend in context of Gerald Flurry’s feature article (page 4) to understand its significance.
We need a new superpower: the EU military
Five EU nations called for a new European military structure on November 15. Foreign and defense ministers from France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain published the joint communiqué after a meeting in Paris, to “confirm our readiness to foster an ambitious European policy in the field of security and defense.” Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski was more blunt. “If the EU wants to become a superpower, and Poland supports this, then we must have the capability to exert influence in our neighborhood. … Sometimes we must use force to back our diplomacy,” he said, according to the EU Observer. The Polish foreign minister is admitting outright what the Trumpet has warned for years: EU leaders want to create a superstate with a military to match.
Saudi Arabia, Algeria getting made-in-Germany hardware
Saudi Arabia has officially requested Germany’s permission to buy several hundred Boxer armored vehicles, Der Spiegel reported on December 2. It described the Boxer as one of the most modern battle vehicles in the world, able to support remote-controlled weapons or a surgical suite or to serve as an armored personnel carrier.
Spiegel also said that a Rheinmetall subsidiary plans to build 1,200 Fuch armored personnel carriers in Algeria over the next 10 years. These deals are forging strong links between Germany and Saudi Arabia, which are also planning a deal for 270 German Leopard A7 tanks—one of the most advanced tanks in the world.
Meanwhile, Germany’s arms trade with Algeria has also exploded. In 2010, Germany sold under €20 million in military equipment to Algeria. In 2011 and 2012, it sold €400 million worth and underwrote a €2.13 billion sale of two warships. Germany is using its arms industry strategically to build up the enemies of Iran and to create an alliance for itself in the Middle East.
Far right going further right
The number of east Germans with far-right or xenophobic views has increased dramatically over the past two years, according to a report published by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation on November 12. The study found that 20 percent of those in the west are considered xenophobic, along with nearly 40 percent in the east. Just over 56 percent of those polled in east and west completely or mostly agreed with the statement “Islam is an archaic religion, unable to adapt to the present.” The study also examined both “traditional” anti-Semitism and “secondary” anti-Semitism. Nearly 32 percent of respondents agreed with “secondary” anti-Semitic statements like, “Jewish people use the memory of the Holocaust to their own advantage.” Watch for east Germany and the rest of the nation to adopt an increasingly strident devotion to Deutschland—Deutschland above all.
Expect flight delays
Intense clashes between Syrian rebels and Bashar Assad loyalists near Damascus International forced the airport to close for a couple days in November, leaving Assad’s regime weaker than ever. The closure affected flights by Emirates and EgyptAir, two of the few airlines still operating in Syria after almost two years of civil war. Disruption at Syria’s main airport chokes the flow of supplies, weapons and money to Assad’s government and gives its global image a black eye. Stratfor called jeopardizing the airport “a symbolic success for the rebels” (Nov. 30, 2012). Soon after the airport shut down, the Internet went down in Syria for two days, apparently blacked out by Assad’s forces. Assad’s power is weakening, and it appears to be only a matter of time before Syria gets a regime change.
United Nations elevates Palestinians’ status
An overwhelming majority of the United Nations General Assembly upgraded the status of the Palestinian Authority from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” on November 29. The UN scheduled the vote on the 65th anniversary of when it recognized the State of Israel. The majority included France, Italy, Russia, China and New Zealand. The United Kingdom, Germany and Australia abstained. The United States, Canada, the Czech Republic and some Pacific Island nations stood with Israel. The final vote was 138-9. While the resolution does not grant statehood or independence to the Palestinians, it is a significant diplomatic score. The group can now take part in UN debates and even potentially prosecute Israel for war crimes in the International Criminal Court or seek to resolve territorial disputes through the International Court of Justice.
One day after the UN elevated the Palestinians’ status, Israel retaliated by announcing plans to build settlements in East Jerusalem. The move provoked international condemnation, with critics saying the move complicates the so-called peace process. Britain, France, Spain, Denmark, Egypt and several other countries summoned Israeli ambassadors to their respective countries for rebuke and to demand explanations. Though Germany did not follow suit, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman said her administration is “worried” about the plans. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Germany in December, but so far Israel has resisted the international pressure. Reuters reported that Germany is considered Israel’s closest ally in Europe.
After ceasefire, Hamas scorns negotiations
Hamas’s second in command has insisted that fighting, not talking, is the way forward in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Moussa Abu Marzouk’s statements came just days after Hamas agreed to a ceasefire with Israel on November 21. “Occupation needs resistance, not negotiations,” Marzouk told the Associated Press. Hamas’s actions are true to his words. As it celebrated its 25th anniversary in December, the terrorist organization continued its warlike rhetoric—and its stockpiling of weapons from Iran. Though Israel’s heart is set on more negotiations, Hamas is making clear its preference for bullets and rockets.
‘Strategic arm’ of Iran
Israeli defense and intelligence sources say that missiles striking its cities from the Gaza Strip come from Iran via Sudan. The report came from the Sunday Times (Nov. 25, 2012). The sources say Tehran is building a “strategic arm” swinging at Israel from the south. Satellite photos showed a shipment of missiles being prepared for delivery to Gaza, even as Israel and Hamas were negotiating a ceasefire. The shipment included Fajr-5 rockets, which can hit Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem from Gaza. It also contained 54-foot Shahab-3 missiles with an 800-mile range—capable of hitting Israel from Sudan. Israeli officials believe the missiles were to be dismantled, smuggled through Egypt and delivered through underground tunnels across the Gaza border. Israel also believes Iran is building another weapons factory in Sudan to replace the one the Israeli Air Force is thought to have destroyed in October.
Aircraft carrier deploys jets
China’s military has conducted its first successful jet landings on its first aircraft carrier, enabling it to deploy fighters on the ship, a senior navy officer said on November 25. People’s Liberation Army Navy Vice-Adm. Zhang Yongyi said J-15 pilots had mastered takeoff and landing, including during unfavorable conditions such as unstable airflow and poor visibility. Zhang compared landing on the narrow, short seaborne runways at several hundred miles per hour to “dancing on a knifepoint.” China continues to make military advancements. Watch for weaker Asian states to start rallying behind Beijing.
Turning a ‘new chapter’
The Russian defense minister’s visit to China in November wrote “a new chapter of mutually beneficial cooperation” between Beijing and Moscow, the People’s Daily Online said on November 28. Sergey Shoigu met with Qian Lihua, the director-general of the Foreign Affairs Office at China’s Ministry of National Defense.
According to the People’s Daily, enhancing Russo-Chinese trust depends on the two militaries’ “cooperation mechanism.” In recent years, the Moscow and Beijing general staffs have held 15 rounds of strategic consultation and three bilateral joint military exercises.
Russia and China are global titans in terms of population and territory and are also permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. For these reasons, Europe is warily watching the Russo-Chinese strides toward economic, political and military cooperation. European states know that in order to counter this forming Asian bloc, they themselves must be united. And European integration is not lost on Asia. Bible prophecy shows these developments will ultimately lead to a colossal confrontation between these blocs.
Ready to share secrets
China’s fifth-generation J-20 stealth fighter jet program may soon get a huge boost. Until recently, Beijing’s newest fighter seemed to be very much a work in progress, dependent on how much technology Chinese engineers could copy from Russian designs or could steal from Lockheed Martin’s databases. But Defense News reported on November 25 that everything is about to change, because Beijing is negotiating a deal with Moscow to purchase the twin-engine Sukhoi Su-35 multi-role fighter. Russia’s Su-35 uses a powerful Saturn AL-117S engine, which can easily be modified into a fifth-generation engine. Previously, Moscow denied a Chinese request to buy 48 Su-35s (with the 117S engine). The Su-35 was marketed exclusively within Russia. But the terms of the new deal say Russia will sell Beijing 24 of the Su-35 units with 48 brand-new 117S engines.
Connecting Central Asia
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made a push for increased connectivity within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (sco), which includes China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Wen’s remarks came at the 11th sco prime ministers’ meeting on December 5.
Wen said Beijing would invest $10 billion in key projects, including a railway that would join China with Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, a land route all the way from western Russia to China’s east coast, and a road network that would link sco nations and allow low-cost access to the sea. This infrastructure will represent a major enhancement for Central Asia, most of which is landlocked.
Such developments between these six Asian states is particularly important in light of Bible prophecies. The prophecy of “the kings of the east” found in Daniel 11:44, Revelation 9:13-16 and elsewhere says an enormous Asian power bloc will form, amassing the largest army ever assembled in mankind’s history. This staggering 200-million-man military is prophesied to travel westward into modern-day Israel (e.g. Revelation 16:12, 16; Daniel 11:44). The Trumpet has said for years that these kings would be led by Russia and China. The railways and roadways that sco leaders are laboring to build could be instrumental in transporting these great hoards of soldiers to the Holy Land.
UNASUR summit promotes South American citizenship
Leaders at a Union of South American Nations summit in Peru in late November called for creating a single South American citizenship. The bloc includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay, Venezuela and Paraguay. This call for regional citizenship is based on the European Union model. Watch for South America to unite into a more cohesive regional power bloc, and expect this bloc to negotiate a close alliance with the EU. The Plain Truth magazine predicted in May 1962: “[T]he United States is going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Latin America, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce. The United States is going to be literally besieged—economically—frozen out of world trade!”
Drug cartel network spreads
The Sinaloa Cartel, one of Mexico’s largest and most dangerous drug trafficking networks, is extending its activities throughout the world. Journalists in Brussels now confirm that in addition to running billions of dollars’ worth of illegal drugs into the United States, the cartel is now trafficking primarily cocaine into Spain, Italy and the western Balkans. Police forces in Melbourne, Australia, confirm that the Sinaloa cartel has also been caught working with local biker gangs to smuggle illegal drugs into the city. Cash from America’s out-of-control drug addiction is feeding a monster of global proportions.
The nation’s riskiest job
Amid hearty renditions of apartheid-era songs and wails from vuvuzelas, South African President Jacob Zuma was swept to victory on December 18 in his party’s leadership contest. The move effectively secures Africa’s most powerful office until 2019.
Zuma’s imminent reelection has sobering implications for South Africa because he has repeatedly condemned the white minority’s control of the country’s economy and has long called for a widespread transfer of wealth to the nation’s black majority, including the redistribution of white-owned farms.
At present, only 8 percent of South African farms are owned by blacks, a number far short of the 30 percent goal by 2014 proposed by former President Nelson Mandela. This discrepancy has rendered it even more dangerous to be a white farmer than to be a policeman—and South Africa is awash with violence and crime.
The dangers to South Africa’s ever-dwindling number of white, mostly Afrikaner landowners have become so serious that a group of activists and farmers marched to the capital of Pretoria in December to demand state protection of their lives and property. “Farm murders are not only a crisis,” said AfriForum Deputy ceo Ernst Roets. “They are a catastrophe.” The Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa says nearly 1,600 farm murders have been reported since 1990; think tanks place the number closer to 3,000.
With Zuma’s office secured for six more years, the situation for South Africa’s white farmers is not likely to improve anytime soon.
Cooperation increases with Germany
Nigeria and Germany issued a statement in early December announcing a commission to promote bilateral relations. This commission will explore possible political, trade, energy, education and migration cooperation. The agreement comes after talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan last July. Foreign affairs analysts rank Nigeria as one of Africa’s three most geopolitically important nations. Egypt’s fate determines the stability of Northern Africa, South Africa’s fate determines the stability of sub-Saharan Africa, and Nigeria’s fate determines the stability of the oil-rich nations surrounding the Gulf of Guinea. This fact is not lost on Germany’s political leaders, who have already taken great pains to develop bilateral relations with Nigeria through arms exports and military training programs.
The ceiling that keeps going up
President Barack Obama is demanding that Republicans allow his administration to raise the debt ceiling once again. In addition, the president has asked for a new wave of stimulus spending and for a round of tax hikes on the richest 2 percent of Americans. However, these taxes will not even make a dent in America’s enormous budget deficit, and the new wave of stimulus spending will likely increase the deficit even more—hence the call for the debt ceiling to be raised. There is even a distinct possibility that the tax increases on America’s richest job creators will eventually depress gross domestic product to the point where total tax revenues actually decrease.
Terrorizing gas stations
A group of robbers wielding AK-47s hit two gas stations in Detroit on December 5. It is believed the group is responsible for several similar crimes across the city. After robbing a BP station, the four suspects went on to rob a Mobil station. The suspects were described as black males in their 20s wearing dark clothing and black masks. As economic conditions in Detroit and the rest of America deteriorate, robbery and looting is becoming more common—and gaining more firepower.
Sandy’s costs worse than expected
The damage from Hurricane Sandy is more extensive and will be longer-lasting than initially anticipated, Federal Reserve official William Dudley said on November 29. Increases in jobless claims coupled with manufacturing losses indicate the damage could be worse than feared. Weather-related curses are compounding the effects of America’s reckless fiscal policy and forcing the nation into an ever deepening economic recession. Expect these curses to continue.
Is Iran infiltrating the U.S. with terrorist sleeper cells?
A November report from the House Homeland Security Committee warns that Iran may be working with Mexican drug cartels to smuggle Hezbollah operatives into the United States. The committee also found that Iranian-backed terrorists and Latin American drug-traffickers are developing a growing rapport.
North Carolina Rep. Sue Myrick issued a similar warning earlier in 2012 in the wake of an Iranian plot to assassinate a Saudi diplomat in Washington, d.c., using a hired gun from a major Mexican drug cartel. Last June, the Homeland Security Committee reported that there are hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of Iranian or Hezbollah agents in America. One law enforcement official said the New York Police Department believes there are somewhere between 200 and 300 Hezbollah sympathizers in New York City alone.
Federal authorities have brought numerous criminal cases against these alleged Hezbollah operatives, but so far most of their activities have been limited to surveillance missions and fundraising. They have been observed examining sensitive U.S. targets such as subway systems, bridges and nuclear power plants.
It is alleged that Hezbollah funds itself by collecting donations from Islamist sympathizers across the Western Hemisphere and by taking commissions from Latin American drug traffickers. One South American drug smuggler investigated by Colombian officials in 2008 admitted that his traffickers gave 12 percent of their annual profits to Hezbollah in return for its support. Iranian-backed Hezbollah operatives spread out across the U.S., Mexico and Latin America are using the money that Americans spend on drug addiction to fund terrorism in the Middle East.
Several U.S. officials have warned that, in the event of an Israeli or U.S. strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Hezbollah could quickly move from surveillance and fundraising in North America to launching terrorist attacks. Hezbollah will be in a prime position to unleash chaos if so directed by Iran.
Anciently, the Prophet Ezekiel foretold of a day when end-time Israel would be beset by terrorism, rioting and societal collapse. This time is prophesied to result primarily from a great economic siege against America, but it could be enhanced by violence caused by foreign terrorists.