Radical Islam Conquering Egypt

Egypt’s new Islamist-backed constitution passed with a 63.8 percent majority in a referendum, it was announced Tuesday. The Election Commission rejected opposition allegations of significant vote fraud.

Turnout for the vote was much lower than expected. Only 32.9 percent of Egypt’s nearly 52 million registered voters cast a ballot.

The low turnout reflects boycotts by opposition groups—which claim the new constitution will usher in dictatorial Islamic rule in Egypt.

During the lead-up to the vote, opposition group protests resulted in massive street violence that sometimes turned deadly.

Following the approval of the new constitution, angry anti-government protesters again took to the streets in Tahrir Square.

Egypt’s new constitution, which is based on sharia law, was the big goal of the Muslim Brotherhood. Notice what Stephen Flurry said on a December 12 Trumpet Daily.

Now that Egypt has gone Islamic, this will have huge and rapid consequences for the Middle East. Gerald Flurry explains what this means for America, Europe, Iran and Israel on his September 9 Key of David program, “Daniel 11:42 and 43 Now Fulfilled.”

America Is Losing the Battle of the Caribbean

America Is Losing the Battle of the Caribbean

Katie Shrieves/Flickr

U.S. leadership has largely ignored Latin America while Europe and China have made inroads. Such negligence may prove to be a great strategic blunder.

The dynamics of world trade are changing. A consortium of European companies is deepening and expanding the Panama Canal in a project that may trigger a once-in-a-century shakeup of maritime commerce.

Once this expansion is complete, the canal will have a third lane capable of accommodating megaships nearly three times larger than any vessel that has thus far transited the isthmus. Transoceanic freighters from China will have enhanced access to the coalfields of Colombia, the soy plantations of Brazil and the ports of the American East Coast. Transoceanic freighters from Europe will have enhanced access to the copper mines of Chile, the ports of the American West Coast and even to consumers in the Orient—should the route through the Suez Canal prove treacherous.

Already, ports throughout the Americas and the Caribbean are rushing to get ready for the post-Panamax future. The port of Buenaventura in Colombia is just one of many that are being dredged deeper in preparation for the influx of megaships that will soon be flowing through the Panama Canal.

The Brazilian government invested $400 million to deepen and expand the port of Mariel in Cuba. Even though Cuba is currently under a U.S. trade embargo, shipping analysts believe this port may soon become a key hub for Asian cargo. China is helping Cuba’s commercial shipping fleet build ten 45,000-ton ocean vessels over the next several years.

While all of these developments sound well and good for world trade, the disconcerting part for America is that the United States is absent. It is a European consortium of companies that is expanding the Panama Canal. It is a Chinese company that is operating the ports on both ends of the Panama Canal. It is Chinese investment that is expanding the Cuban merchant fleet. On top of all this, the overall percentage of trade between the largest Latin American economies—Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina—and the U.S. has decreased dramatically in the last 10 years.

According to Stratfor global affairs analyst Robert Kaplan, U.S. leadership has largely ignored Latin America, while leaders in Europe, China and other parts of the world have made big inroads. Such negligence may yet prove to be one of America’s greatest strategic blunders.

The Battle for the Caribbean

One of the lesser known battles of the Second World War was the Battle of the Caribbean. During this 1942 naval campaign, German U-boats and Italian submarines attacked coastal targets in the Antilles Islands and sank Allied ships in the Caribbean Sea. The strategy was to blockade the Panama Canal and cut off the flow of oil from Venezuela to the United States. If Hitler could wrestle control of these strategic sea gates away from Washington, a Nazified Europe hoped to besiege the U.S. into a forced armistice.

After months of fighting, Allied naval forces were able to drive the Axis powers from the Caribbean, but a strategic weakness was spotlighted. The U.S. economy could have been severely crippled if American ships had been denied passage through the Panama Canal Zone.

The U.S. government used to be acutely aware of this threat, and cultivated a strong military presence in the Caribbean Sea. During World War ii, the U.S. government stationed 65,000 troops in the Panama Canal Zone and cooperated closely with Cuban President Fulgencio Batista for the defense of the Caribbean. The entire area of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea was even referred to as the “American Mediterranean” during this period.

In the almost seven decades since World War ii, however, American influence in the Caribbean Sea has dramatically fallen. After the U.S. government relinquished control of the Panama Canal Zone in 1999, one of America’s most strategic assets was left wide open to foreign control. This situation was further exacerbated by the fact that Cuba broke its alliance with America after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959 and by the fact that American-Venezuelan relations went sour after authoritarian strongman Hugo Chávez came to power in 1999.

Currently, the U.S. government is relying almost solely on the U.S. Fourth Fleet to protect Caribbean security. However, both European and Asian powers are quickly moving in to cultivate strong relationships with Cuba, Venezuela, Panama and other strategically located Latin American nations.

Colonies of the Holy Roman Empire

While successive U.S. presidential administrations have been ignoring Cuba for decades, Pope Benedict xvi and his Vatican hierarchy have been working behind the scenes to collaborate with Havana to combat the U.S.-led embargo and to support the Cuban government’s incremental economic reforms. This strategy is now paying off for the Vatican, as the Castro regime has recently come to recognize the Catholic Church as a legitimate interlocutor between the government and the Cuban people. Given this new recognition and the advanced age of both Castro brothers, Archbishop of Havana Jaime Ortega may soon emerge as a major power broker shaping the post-Castro destiny of the island.

Germany seems to recognize this fact and has set up a special seminar to cultivate German-Cuban relations via the Catholic Church. The last session of the seminar, held in November, was titled, “The Catholic Church as a Facilitator of Engagement and Social Life: Cuban and German Experiences.” It was at this meeting in Germany that Archbishop Ortega officially announced the Cuban Catholic Church’s new role as official recognized interlocutor of the Cuban people.

So, as America remains bogged down in the Middle East, Germany and the Vatican are working together to reshape the destiny of the most strategic island in the Caribbean—an island only 90 miles away from the U.S. mainland. This development holds the potential to completely recalibrate the balance of power in the region in the future!

In Venezuela, the impending death of cancer-stricken leader Hugo Chávez could soon kick off a Roman Catholic spring wherein national power shifts to opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski and the Venezuelan Bishops Conference. As with Cuba, the primary beneficiaries of such a Roman Catholic spring would be the Vatican State and its European allies!

Germany and the European Union are also dramatically increasing their involvement with the nation of Panama itself. During a visit to Europe last October, Panama President Ricardo Martinelli told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that his country would soon like to introduce the euro as legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar. Considering the new influx of trade that Panama is likely to receive as the result of an expanded Panama Canal, its proposed introduction of the euro as official currency is a massive vote of confidence in the German-dominated economic system.

When all these developments are considered together with recent inroads made by Germany and the Vatican, it becomes evident that Catholic-led European investors are the rising stars of the Caribbean region.

God promised Abraham, way back around 1800 b.c., that his descendants would “possess the gate of his enemies” (Genesis 22:17; 24:60). Herbert W. Armstrong’s classic book The United States and Britain in Prophecy shows how God fulfilled this promise by blessing the modern-day nations of America and Britain with almost every strategic sea gate on the planet—Panama included.

God further forewarned in Deuteronomy 28:52 that all these gates, along with world dominance, would be stripped away from end-time Israel if its people were disobedient to His laws.

America and Britain have already lost the Suez Canal and the Strait of Hormuz to radical Islamic powers. They have already lost Hong Kong and the Straits of Malacca to a resurgent China. Now they are on the cusp of losing the Straits of Gibraltar and the Panama Canal to a rising European superpower!

The loss of all these sea gates puts America in a very precarious position. If the looming American economic crisis starts to eat away at U.S. naval power, the governments in London and Washington will not be able to protect America’s economic interests in the event of trade war. Instead, European and Oriental nations would be able to utilize their close alliances with Latin American states to reshape a new world order.

This is exactly what Bible prophecy predicts! Please reference the March 2006 special edition of the Trumpet magazine for a more detailed analysis of how global resource wars will play out.

Agriculture 2012: Good News for China, Bad News for Anglo-America

China’s State Council Information Office said on Tuesday that the country’s grain production has increased for nine consecutive years. China’s grain output reached 650 million tons in 2012. That figure is up more than 18 million tons from last year.

Chinese agricultural production is increasing in other areas too. According to official statistics, all of China’s major farm products have increased in volume over recent years. The government credits science and technology advancements for the increase.

Incomes for Chinese farmers have also been on the rise. For the last three years, farmers’ incomes have exceeded those of urban residents.

Meanwhile, the United States endured its most severe drought in 25 years this year. About 80 percent of its agricultural land continues to suffer drought conditions. As a result, prices for food are expected to jump 3 to 4 percent in 2013.

Britain is suffering from the opposite weather extreme. Many areas were under a flood alert on Tuesday. Hundreds of homes and businesses have already been inundated, and meteorologists are expecting more rain to fall on the saturated ground. The flooding punctuates one of the wettest years on record in Britain.

There is a reason China is flourishing while the Unites States and Britain deal with drought and floods. The Bible says we are living in the times of the Gentiles.

In Luke 21:24 Christ showed that the times of the Gentiles will continue until He returns to establish the Kingdom of God. China’s rise and Anglo-America’s fall is a great sign that this day is coming close.

To understand the biblical identity of America and the UK, request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

The Truth About Suicide

The Truth About Suicide

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Some call it self-deliverance. Others call it murder. Survivors know it as a nightmare that haunts them forever. Here’s the truth about its cause—and ultimate solution.
From the February 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

Getting over the loss of a loved one who intentionally takes his own life is close to impossible. “When Mom told me Dad was dead, I was shocked. When she told me he had killed himself, I was horrified. My brain went numb,” a young friend of mine, Dawn, explains, with tears flowing.

“It took about four months before I didn’t think about what he did every day—four months before the pain began to dull. My dad hung himself; trying to escape his problems, I guess. But I couldn’t escape what he had done. For four months I dealt with constant mental torment and agony. I was scared to be alone. I tried to keep myself occupied so I wouldn’t think about it. Anything was better than thinking of what he had done. Why did he do it? That question always comes back into my mind. I still don’t like to tell people how he died.

“For over a year, I struggled with feelings of guilt. I thought that I wasn’t a good daughter. My dad loved me so much, but I was too busy for him. The last time I saw him was two days before Father’s Day. We had dinner together. He wasn’t doing too well then. He had some financial problems. But I never thought he would kill himself.

“I never spoke to Dad after that. I was going to call him … always going to call him, yet I never did. I still wonder if I could have helped him had I called him. I get melancholy every year around the anniversary of his death, Father’s Day and his birthday. I guess I will always wonder, Would he still be here if I had called?”

Dawn’s tragic story is only one of multiple thousands of similar tales told each year. Thousands of loved ones suffer crushing heartbreak on hearing the news that a father, brother, sister, mother, wife or friend committed suicide.

Even you may share Dawn’s experience or know someone like her. More Americans now die by suicide than by car crashes. A study published in the November 2012 American Journal of Public Health showed that the number of people who commit suicide has dramatically increased. The suicide rate in America rose a shocking 15 percent from 2000 to 2009.

There is a trend in society to make suicide an acceptable and legal choice for people suffering from terminal illness. Advocates of terminally ill suicide, using political correctness as a cloak, call it self-deliverance. Several pro-suicide authors have even published “how to” manuals giving instructions—with illustrations—on ways to end your life.

Suicide Manuals

Derek Humphry, author of Final Exit, writes, “All I ask of persons to whom any form of euthanasia is morally repugnant is tolerance and understanding of the feelings of others who want the right to choose what happens to their bodies in a free society. To every person their own way of death.” When first published in 1991, Final Exit stunned the nation. It also became a number one bestseller. The book is now in its third edition. Final Exit’s popularity indicates that a large number of people do not consider suicide morally repugnant. Many now see it as a quick fix for unwanted personal problems.

There is no doubt that proponents of suicide for the terminally ill are sincere in their beliefs. They emphasize the need to help those considering such an act to do so in a dignified way, making their death a “good death.” Those who have written books want to inform people how to get the proper equipment, including drugs, in order to carry out the quickest, most peaceful way to make a “final exit.” Yet, the books have become a real problem.

“In its first 10 years this book was occasionally used by persons for whom it was not intended—the deeply depressed and the mentally ill,” Humphry wrote. “This misuse I regret but can do nothing about. Suicide has always been endemic in mankind; some of us do not have the emotional and intellectual equipment to cope with a lifetime of troubles—real and imagined—and elect to die. Self-destruction of a physically fit person is always a tragic waste of life and hurtful to survivors, but life is a personal responsibility. We must each decide for ourselves.” This is quite a revealing statement. Let’s look at it closely.

The word occasionally means happening from time to time but not regularly or frequently. Let’s talk reality. Over a million copies of Humphry’s book have been purchased. To say that Final Exit was misused only occasionally appears to be wishful thinking.

Coroners around the U.S. are discovering that many others besides the depressed and mentally ill are taking advantage of the “help” provided in the book—including teenagers and young adults! Although we may never know exactly how many, what is certain is that Humphry and other authors like him are helping many people without terminal illnesses to end their lives.

Last July, a 24-year-old woman packed her car full of dangerous chemicals, drove to a public park, mixed the chemicals together and allowed the reaction to snuff out her life. The chemicals in the car were so dangerous to responders that they had to wear hazmat suits to clean up the scene. Investigators remarked that it was like a page right out of Final Exit. This happened right here in the Trumpet’s hometown of Edmond. A spokesperson for the Oklahoma State medical examiner’s office said they had reviewed 12 recent deaths related to Final Exit. Oftentimes, the book is found with the deceased.

Teen Suicide Skyrockets

Humphry attempts to excuse any responsibility for the tragic waste of life outside the scope of his intended audience by saying that suicide has always been common in man’s history. But someone must take responsibility and recognize that suicide is rapidly growing dramatically out of control for all age groups—especially the young.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reported in 2012 that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 5-to-14-year-olds. Suicide manuals like Final Exit are not causing all these deaths, but they do encourage teen suicide. How? All suicide manuals highly romanticize the death of terminally ill patients as being brave, courageous, dignified and inspiring. They make suicide more visible and more acceptable. This has a huge impact on impressionable minds. Teens readily accept the open-mindedness toward and encouragement of this tragic act.

“Research describes how adolescents become curious and even excited when suicide is talked about in heroic ways as opposed to being characterized as a result of mental illness,” Carla Fine writes in No Time to Say Goodbye. “This romanticizing of death often accounts for copycat suicides among young people and outbreaks of cluster suicides in schools and communities.”

Incidents of teen cluster suicides are rising throughout the U.S. In mid-summer 2012, Delaware Online reported that the Centers for Disease Control (cdc) was called on to investigate the cause of a dramatic rise in teen suicides in Kent and Sussex counties. In the first four months of 2012, 11 young people under age 20 hung or shot themselves—and a stunning 116 others attempted to commit suicide. Three of the teenagers from Polytech High School in Woodside killed themselves within two months of each other. Two of the students were friends and died within the same week.

Dr. Alex Crosby, medical epidemiologist with the cdc, said that statistically he’d expect to see seven suicides in this age group throughout the entire state in a year; this high rate of suicide attempts is shocking. The communities, local government officials, school and health officials were stunned. They are at a loss to understand why such waste of young, talented, vibrant life. Even more, they want to know how to stop the problem from growing worse.

Fine writes, “The suicide of a student touches everyone—students, teachers, administrators and support staff—stirring up the same kind of emotions and conflicts that affect all survivors of suicide.” She emphasizes that nothing should be done to glamorize or dramatize a suicide. Yet, doing nothing is as dangerous as doing too much. She suggests that the school faculty be thoroughly counseled about suicide before attempting to help students.

Top Killer of Americans

These Delaware communities are not the only places rocked by suicide. Suicides are now the number one cause of injury-related deaths in the U.S.

“Suicides are terribly under-counted,” Ian Rockett, the author of the American Journal of Public Health study about the rise in suicides, told Mail Online. “I think the problem is much worse than official data would lead us to believe. We have a situation that has gotten out of hand.”

Rockett has more grim statistics. He believes there may be an additional 20 percent or more unrecognized suicide deaths. For example, poisoning deaths rose 128 percent in the same time period, a portion of which were most likely intentional. Deaths from falls rose 71 percent. It is likely that a portion of those falls were not accidental either.

The failing U.S. economy may have contributed to the spike in American suicides. Suicides reached a record high of 22 people per 100,000 in 1932, during the Great Depression. By contrast, in the economically prosperous year 2000, only 10 per 100,000 people took their lives—less than half of the 1932 figures.

Suicide is not just an American problem; international data show it rising around the world. The suicide rate in Greece has skyrocketed. Before its economic crises, Greece had the lowest rate of suicide in Europe.

The nations having the most trouble with suicide are those of the affluent Western world. Suicide rates appear to be lowest in Muslim countries—the Koran forbids suicide. So does the Bible, but most Westerners have a loose relationship with their Bibles, at best.

Facing Down Suicide

Alarmed by the rising number of suicides in the U.S., Congress established a $56 million suicide prevention program in 2004 under the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act. The goal to save lives is laudable, but it can only be achieved if we face the truth about the real cause of suicide.

Pouring money into suicide education and prevention programs will not stop this tragedy. Expensive prevention programs have not stopped alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse, crime, illiteracy, poverty, spousal abuse or violence. Even with our intellectual and creative abilities, we have proved incapable of solving our really tough problems. We need the truth.

The truth is this: Suicide is a spiritual problem. To eradicate suicide, we must confront it spiritually.

Suicide advocates are anti-God. They have to be in order to recommend that someone take his own life. Derek Humphry writes, “If the reader of this book is deeply religious and takes all guidance from a divinity, then there is no point reading further.” Wow! That is a very blunt but true statement. When a person has a close relationship with God, suicide is off the table.

In a similar vein, most experts who want to stop suicide are not comfortable bringing God into the picture either. They try to teach others to look for signs of a potential suicide, but fail to teach people how to eliminate the cause of suicide.

How does God look at suicide? To God, suicide is not brave, courageous or romantic.

Suicide is not self-deliverance. Suicide is murder!

The Bible forbids this evil act, but few today live according to the Bible. Our loving and living God calls suicide a heinous sin—a violation of the Sixth Commandment—which not only brings a life to a tragic end, but also spreads indescribable suffering to those left behind.

“When my dad committed suicide, I felt betrayed,” Dawn told me. “He was supposed to love me and always be there for me, but he abandoned me instead. Dad was supposed to walk me down the aisle. I wanted to have a baby boy and name him after my dad—it was going to be a surprise. I was excited to introduce him to my friends and—one day—to my husband. I wanted them to see how cool and fun he was. But I never got the chance.”

A survivor told Carla Fine, “When someone says to me that my husband must have been very brave to take his own life, I get furious. The real heroes of this drama are those of us who are trying to put our lives back together, piece by piece. We are the ones who have to face straightening up the mess and making sense of the insanity. We cry, we laugh, we hang on to each other for dear life, but we do survive, thank God.”

Even the loved ones of terminally ill patients find it difficult to cope with self-inflicted death. Those who have experienced a loss to suicide want to stop it so no one else suffers its emotional wake.

God cares about the gut-wrenching grief caused by suicide!

There IS Value to Human Life

To solve our national suicide epidemic, we must turn to God. We have to put our spiritual lives back together—piece by piece.

Even those most religious have drifted so far from God and His instruction book for happiness—the Holy Bible—that few know God’s purpose for creating human life. Most of the world’s educated do not believe there is a God. Few believe there is purpose for human beings beyond this material life. They accept evolution as the truth about the origins of the universe and man. Believing this fable, they are blind to the fact that there is a transcendent purpose for the universe and for mankind—a purpose that includes you!

Let’s be honest. Belief in evolution is the foundation of the pro-suicide philosophy infesting our world.

God has an awesome purpose for mankind. He spells it out clearly in the Bible for everyone willing to read and believe. In fact, God gave us the Bible so every man, woman and child can attain that purpose. A thorough study of the Bible reveals that God is the great giver. When He created the Earth, He provided every good thing for each of us to become a sensational success—not a failure. Suicide is the ultimate failure.

“What is the most necessary of all knowledge to know?” Herbert W. Armstrong asked in his fantastic book The Incredible Human Potential. “It is the knowledge of what man is; the knowledge of why he is—the purpose for which humanity was put on Earth; the knowledge of the way to achieve that purpose—of the way to world peace, peace between individuals, groups and nations; the knowledge of the cause of all the world’s troubles and evils; the knowledge of the solution to all these problems; the knowledge of the true values—what is important and what is worthless. That is the missing dimension in knowledge.”

Jesus Christ revealed this knowledge in His gospel message. His Father sent Him to Earth to be an example of achieving God’s purpose for man. Even though He was God in the flesh, Jesus nobly faced trials, tests and life’s problems—even a torturous death at the hands of others—as a human being (Hebrews 4:15).

When we know God’s purpose for us, we become willing to work through anything life throws at us—even a painful death caused by terminal illness. Knowing our purpose brings us into a working relationship with God, which ensures our success. Who wouldn’t want to know what God has in store for us?

“Put together all these scriptures … and you begin to grasp the incredible human potential. Our potential is to be born into the God Family, receiving total power! We are to be given jurisdiction over the entire universe! What are we going to do then? These scriptures indicate we shall impart life to billions and billions of dead planets, as life has been imparted to this Earth. We shall create, as God directs and instructs,” Herbert Armstrong wrote. At first glance, this truth is unbelievable (John 3:3-13; Hebrews 2:5-13; Revelation 20:4). However, when we keep an open mind, it makes logical sense. How awesome is God! He gave us life so we can impart life.

The truth of God shows us the insidious side of suicide advocacy.

Choose to Live

Derek Humphry is correct on one point: Man does have a choice—we can choose to live or die. We can choose to sin or obey. God gives us that right. Yet, God encourages us to choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19). Why do some men encourage us to choose death?

It is not fashionable today to believe that Satan exists. Yet, an integral part of Christ’s gospel reveals that Satan is real and influences mankind to reject God’s truth—especially the knowledge of man’s glorious purpose. Christ warned us about this failed angel: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). Of all things, Satan wants us to fail. He wants to murder us. His plan is to ensnare us in a life of sin that leads to confusion, depression, hopelessness, sorrow, unhappiness and, ultimately, eternal death if not repented of. It is Satan who encourages people, weakened by the overwhelming effects of sin, to commit suicide.

To prepare for our incredible eternal opportunity, man has to choose to go the opposite way of Satan and sin and build the very character of God. We build God’s character by overcoming the problems, trials, tests and evils injected into this world by Satan the devil. Never forget, man was created to be a success—not a failure. To obtain our incredible potential, each human being must be willing to live God’s way of life, which is outlined by the Ten Commandments.

Suicide is not a disease or physical illness. It is a weakness of mind and character. Suicide will not stop until mankind experiences a spiritual renewal of mind and character.

There is way of life that produces true happiness, peace and lasting success. There is a way of life that teaches us how to face and overcome problems rather than resorting to suicide.

The Incredible Human Potential will provide you the solution and inspiration you need to make it through life’s tough times. In particular, this scintillating book will prove to you that Jesus Christ will return shortly and establish a new world order that will open the way for every human being to live a life filled with unparalleled happiness, health and lasting success.

Did Syria Use Chemical Weapons Against Rebels?

Did Syria Use Chemical Weapons Against Rebels?

JOSEPH EID/AFP/GettyImages

Unconfirmed reports could give the West a reason to invade Syria.

Syrian rebels claim they were attacked with poison gas, December 23. Six rebels died after breathing white smoke from shells in the city of Homs, activists told the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“This weapon is unidentified and has not been used before,” the Observatory wrote in a statement on Facebook. “Activists reported that whoever inhaled this type of gas suffered from severe dizziness and headaches, some even suffered from epilepsy.” The Observatory is a UK-based rights group with links to activists in Syria.

The Syrian American Medical Society (sams) claimed that use of the gas was “probable.” It reported that seven died because of it. sams is an organization of medical professionals of Syrian descent who aim to provide medical care to those in Syria, among other things.

It reports that the gas is probably “Agent-15,” also known as “3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate” or “BZ.” It said the victims reported symptoms such as “severe shortness of breath, loss of vision, inability to speak, flushed face, dizziness, paralysis, nausea and vomiting, and increased respiratory secretions.”

Israel urged caution in responding to these reports. It is not the first time the rebels have reported the use of poison gas, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said. “The opposition has an interest in drawing in international military intervention,” he continued.

He warned that Israel does “not have any confirmation or proof” that chemical weapons were used, “but we are definitely following events with concern.” Reuters notes that the “reports are difficult to verify, as the government restricts media access in Syria.”

Agent-15 is nowhere near as lethal as some of the other gases the Syrian government owns. Business Insider reports that in “military circles” it is referred to as an “incapacitating” chemical.

The reports could be fabricated and spread by activists and governments eager for Europe and America to get involved in Syria. Or Bashar Assad could have used one of the less effective chemical agents to test the waters and gauge the West’s response.

The claims come after reports in several different news outlets that Syria has begun preparing its chemical weapons for use, based on statements by anonymous sources. Sarin gas is usually stored as two separate chemicals, which are mixed together shortly before it is used. Syria is said to have mixed the chemicals, and built trucks that can mix them while moving it. “Physically, they’ve gotten to the point where they can load it up on a plane and drop it,” said an “American official with knowledge of the situation” (Wired, December 3).

Other reports cite worries that Hezbollah will get control of chemical weapons, either by theft or by Syria handing them over.

The presence of chemical weapons in a country that is falling apart is scary. But even if these reports are false, they could still radically change the Middle East.

The Trumpet has long forecast that Syria would emerge from this crisis an ally of Europe, not Iran. Reports of chemical weapons could provide Western forces the excuse they need to intervene. Just like in the Balkans, even if America takes the lead in such an invasion, Europe will end up controlling the territory.

For more information on what is playing out in Syria, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “How the Syrian Crisis Will End.”

Christianity to ‘Disappear’ From Middle East

Christianity to ‘Disappear’ From Middle East

kharps/iStockphoto

A new report highlights one of 2012’s most important underreported stories: Islam’s attack on Christianity.

Islam is on the brink of destroying Christianity in the Middle East, according to a study published by UK-based think tank Civitas on December 23. Rupert Shortt writes that “there is now a serious risk that Christianity will disappear from its biblical heartlands.”

Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers.
Christianophobia By Rupert Shortt
“It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree,” he said. “A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers.”

Pope Benedict xvi also drew attention to this in his Christmas Eve address. Benedict called on Catholics to pray that “Christians in those lands where our faith was born may be able to continue living there.”

Shortt’s study charts the treatment of Christians in several nations across the Middle East and Asia. While Christian persecution is a problem in all the countries he examined, he concluded that “the lion’s share of their problems arise in Muslim-majority societies.”

He warns that “the early 21st century has seen a steady rise in the strife endured by Christians.” Half to two thirds of all Christians in the Middle East have been killed or forced to leave, he writes. One of the most dramatic drops in number comes from Iraq. In 1990 there were 1.2 to 1.4 million Christians. By the start of the second Gulf war, that number had plummeted to 500,000 fewer. Now there are under 200,000.

But the crisis has not gained the attention it should have because “[p]arts of the media have been influenced by the logical error that equates criticism of Muslims with racism, and therefore as wrong by definition,” he writes.

Shortt said he isn’t necessarily endorsing “talk about a supposed clash of civilizations.” But he says that many Muslims see it that way. He writes that “many Egyptian Muslims think that Copts are implicated in what they see as a Christian assault on the Muslim world.”

Shortt is also the author of the book Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack, published last month.

Little of Shortt’s report is new information, but it is a timely reminder of one of the great underreported stories of the year: Christian persecution is a regular occurrence. Here’s a smattering of news reports on the subject from the past few days alone.

Only 7 percent of Christians turned out to vote in Eygpt’s constitutional referendum in some areas due to intimidation from Muslims, church officials in Egypt reported. In the city of Assiut, men on horseback armed with swords led 50,000 Islamists through Christian districts. Egypt will be “Islamic, Islamic, despite the Christians,” they chanted. Some in Egypt told the Associated Press that Christians were pelted with stones as they tried to reach polling stations.

In Syria, Christians fear the Islamists who are taking the lead in the fight against President Bashar Assad. “As the fight to overthrow Assad drags on, the rebels’ ranks are becoming dominated by Islamists, raising concerns that the country’s potential new rulers will marginalize them or establish an Islamic state,” the Associated Press wrote on Sunday.

“Al Qaeda-inspired groups have become the most organized fighting units, increasingly leading battles for parts of Aleppo or assaults on military installations outside the city,” it warns.

Shiite Ayatollah Ahmad Al Baghdadi Al Hassani proclaimed a fatwa against Christians on Egyptian television on December 13, Jewish News One and AsiaNews report. Al Baghdadi said Christians must choose “Islam or death.”

“Their women and girls may legitimately be regarded wives of Muslims,” he reportedly said. Al Baghdadi is an Iraqi ayatollah who is currently in Syria supporting the opposition.

Meanwhile, in Nigeria, Christians fear a repeat of last year’s Christmas Day bombing when Islamist terrorists from Boko Haram drove a car full of explosives into a church, killing 44. On Christmas Eve the year before, over 40 were killed in Islamist attacks.

“This Christmas, the police and military are expecting more trouble in the north,” reports Reuters.

“The fear for many is that more Christmas Day attacks could spark the sort of tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south, which has claimed thousands of lives in the past decade,” it writes.

No wonder the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem (part of the Roman Catholic Church) Fouad Twal used his Christmas message to highlight the plight of Christians. He complained that despite “many inter-religious initiatives,” there was still “an increase in a certain religious radicalism.”

“I reiterate my dismay at the desecration of churches, convents, synagogues and cemeteries that offends everyone,” he said. “We must take out the evil at its root by educating our youth in all schools.”

Twal also dedicated a large portion of his speech to “ecumenism,” which to the Catholic Church means gathering all other Christian groups under Rome.

The fact that these stories didn’t feature prominently in the news isn’t the only reason Shortt gave for the lack of awareness about Christian persecution. He wrote that “young Christians in Europe and America do not become ‘radicalized,’ and persecuted Christians tend not to respond with terrorist violence.”

But this patience will not last forever. This world’s Christians aren’t immune to anger and retaliation. In fact, in Nigerian Christians have retaliated to some of the Islamist attacks.

Historically, Christianity has struck back at Islam when provoked. Anciently the Catholic Church led the Crusades, in part based on reports of Islamic brutality against Christians. These Crusades were also a chance for the church’s “ecumenism.” In them, the pope demonstrated that he spoke for and defended most Christians.

A clash of civilizations is brewing. Islamists are fighting it already, persecuting Christians as if they are one common enemy united with the West. As Europe, rather than America, becomes more involved in the Middle East, the Europeans will become closely associated with the Christians.

Geopolitics comes first. Europe is backing the rebels in Syria, while the Christians tend to favor the current regime. But the persecution will force Middle East Christians to seek a strong champion in Catholic Europe.

The persecution will aid the Catholic Church in “radicalizing” Europe. At the moment, Christianity is taking Islam’s attacks lying down. That will soon end. Both history and Bible prophecy tell us the Catholic Church will play a key role in driving Europe to confront radical Islam.

Already Europe is taking the lead in the Middle East. Britain and France persuaded a reluctant America to get involved in Libya. Europe is leading in Syria. Europe wants to send troops into Mali, while America wants to back off and wait.

How different that is to the situation 10 years ago, where America led Europe into Afghanistan and Iraq.

Europe is now very concerned at the threat posed by radical Islam. And while America spends its strength in vain—funneling weapons to Egypt and Saudi Arabia in exchange for very little—Europe, and especially Germany, is far more strategic about its involvement. Its targeted weapons sales and military presence is part of a calculated opposition to radical Islam.

This shift will soon be obvious in Europe’s religion. No longer will Europe tolerate vast Islamic migration. Already right-wing parties have pushed governments to push back against Islam.

The attack against Christians will add an emotional fervor to what is now a calculated opposition to radical Islam.

As the Catholic Church rises in Europe, watch for these attacks to receive more publicity. They are part of the clash between the king of the north and the king of the south.

The worst inter-religious violence the world has ever seen is coming. Catholicism’s response to these attacks may be taking time to build, but when it comes, it will be brutal.

The good news, however, is that this will be the last religious fighting the world will ever see. For more information on what is coming, and the hope beyond, read our free booklet The King of the South.