Britain Tries to Go to War—and Fails

Britain Tries to Go to War—and Fails

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Why Monday was a sore day for Britain’s pride.

Britain was the first nation to step up and help France fight in Mali, British Prime Minister David Cameron proudly announced January 14. And then nothing happened. The two C17 transport planes Mr. Cameron promised both broke down. No help came from Britain until the next day.

Mr. Cameron praised the C17 as Britain’s “most advanced and capable transport plane” on bbc Radio 4’s Today program Monday morning. He announced Britain would be sending two of them to help, proud that Britain could respond so quickly. “So we were first out of the blocks, as it were, to say to the French ‘we’ll help you, we’ll work with you, and we’ll share what intelligence we have with you and try to help you with what you are doing,’” he said. Moments later, it all went wrong.

The first C17, in Paris, developed a problem, and needed a new wheel. So the Royal Air Force (raf) loaded a wheel on a second C17, to fly from Oxfordshire to France. But this plane also developed a fault and was delayed.

Maj. Marc Locqueville, a French officer who serves alongside the raf, vented his frustration about the first breakdown to the Times’s Tom Coghlan. But, he said, “this is normal in aircraft.”

“The aircraft was not broken, but there was a problem with the wheel, and it could have broken on landing in Bamako and created a real problem,” he said.

In the grand scheme of things, a day’s delay doesn’t matter much—this time. But it dents Britain’s prestige and reputation as a reliable ally. As Oscar Wilde nearly wrote, To lose one plane may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

“They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof” (Ezekiel 7:14). The fiasco of the planes is an example of this verse in action, in a small way. Britain sounds the alarm, announces it’s ready to fight, and then nothing happens.

There are other possible causes for this prophesied scenario to unfold. A massive cyberattack could be one. But it doesn’t bode well for Britain’s military when it can’t even get two planes in the air in a hurry.

For more information on this sad decline, see our article “Want to Know What a Former Superpower Looks Like?

National Flu Outbreak

A nationwide flu outbreak is sweeping across the United States. Forty-seven states have reported cases of the flu, and at least 18 people have died.

Boston is the center of one of the most severely affected regions. City officials announced a public health emergency there on January 9.

So far, Boston has reported over 700 cases this flu season, 10 times more than last season. The outbreak is so serious that the city’s mayor has offered free vaccinations to city residents. Hospitals have simplified vaccine procedures to encourage more people to get one. The city’s public health department has also opened several free-vaccination sites.

The Bible foretells a deadly increase in sickness and disease in the near future. For more information, read Chapter Four of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

French Intervening in Mali

French Intervening in Mali

ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images

Desperate times in Mali: France is taking desperate measures, several months ahead of schedule, to save Mali.

French forces hurriedly swept into Mali last Friday after the acting government in Mali came under a surprise attack by the coalition of radical Islamist rebels the day before. The rebels already control the greater part of Mali, and their attack prompted interim President Dioncounda Traore to call for emergency intervention.

France had always favored swift intervention in Mali in its current crisis because of its deep economic interests there, the potential for significant political benefits, and grave security concerns. The European Union had already agreed on December 10 to send a team of experts in to help train Mali’s frail army, and the Economic Community of West African States (ecowas), had already committed to sending 3,300 combat troops. But various challenges had forced the international community to push back intervention until around September 2013.

This delay was meant to allow the international community to be better prepared for intervention. But at the same time, delayed intervention would allow the Islamist militias to carve out their own autonomous area in northern Mali, as the Associated Press reported. Stratfor wrote on December 11 that this holdup would provide space for the Islamist rebels to beef up their arsenal and prepare for attacks. And this is exactly what has been happening.

Instead of waiting defensively for international intervention, the Islamists went on the offensive, with about 900 fighters and 200 vehicles, and seized control of the town of Konna. The French then swiftly responded to the distress calls from the Mali government and quickly intervened to drive back the invading Islamists. But holding off the Islamists “is a far cry from retaking the north,” said the New York Times. According to Agence France-Presse, ecowas rushed to send its 3,300 troops on Sunday, to try to retake the north. Islamic radicals are now deeply entrenched in a part of Mali that’s almost twice the size of Germany. Retaking the north will not be easy. The Times quoted an anonymous Western diplomat affirming, “What’s sure now is that things will not happen as we thought they would a month ago.” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton encouraged an “accelerated international engagement” for intervention.

France has taken the lead in Mali, but Germany is not opposing the mission the way it did in Libya. Far from it - their promise to provide logistical support for France, as well as medical and humanitarian aid, caught Spiegel Online by surprise. They also said they would speed up plans to create a training program for Mali’s army.

Even today, a German troop deployment attracts more attention than a similar deployment from another nation. German troops in Mali would be controversial at home and abroad. But Germany is doing all it can short of invading. They’re certainly worried about Mali, but they don’t want to expend the political capital necessary for an invasion right now.

Islamist rebels in northern Mali pose a grave threat to North Africa and Europe, and the onus is clearly not on a reluctant America, but on France and the EU to lead the intervention in Mali. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s free booklet The King of the South explains the Bible prophecies that foretell a European empire confronting radical Islam in the Middle East and North Africa. The Mali crisis is a preliminary stage toward the fulfillment of those prophecies. It clearly shows that Europe is taking the lead in pushing back against radical Islam. If you would like to learn more about these rapidly accelerating events, download or request The King of the South.

Will Iran Get Syria’s Uranium Stockpiles?

Will Iran Get Syria’s Uranium Stockpiles?

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Syria’s chemical weapons and uranium stockpile may be falling into Iranian hands very soon.

As war continues to rage in Syria, regional and international governments are growing increasingly concerned with the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons. The concern is that the deadly weapons will find their way into the hands of terrorists or terrorist-sponsoring nations, particularly Iran. But it is not only chemical weapons that could fall into terrorist hands. The Financial Times reports that Syria may hold a large stockpile of unenriched uranium.

Syria’s uranium stockpile first became an issue in 2007. Israeli satellite photos had revealed a facility on Syrian soil capable of producing weapons-grade nuclear material. Upon reviewing the reactor design, Israeli intelligence officials determined that the reactor was similar in design to those made by North Korea. Israeli intelligence determined that with the amount of uranium already obtained, Syria could potentially build five nuclear bombs. In September 2007, an Israeli airstrike destroyed the suspected nuclear facility in the northern Syrian town of Musalmiya. Israel claimed the facility was being used for nuclear purposes, despite Syria signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In 2008, the International Atomic Energy Agency visited the site, but only found trace amounts of uranium—no stockpiles. Where did the rest of the uranium go?

This is a question that haunts many in Israel and the West. With no reactor to use the uranium, Syria can continue to hide it until it has a new reactor, or it can sell it. With the country engulfed in political and social upheaval, the option of selling the stockpile would look ever more appealing to a weakening, cash-starved government.

During the August 1990 Gulf War, many analysts worried about what Saddam Hussein would do with his biological and chemical weapons. Stockpiles were eventually found in Iraq, but not to the extent that Western intelligence agencies expected. At the time, analysts puzzled over where the stockpiles disappeared to. As it turned out, they went to Syria.

This time it may be Syria doing the selling. But who would be interested in such a vast stockpile?

Enter Iran. Iran would clearly jump at the chance to obtain Syria’s stockpile. Iran already struggles to find the uranium needed for its supposedly peaceful purposes.

Iran is a close ally to the current Syrian government. Should Iran purchase the uranium, it could easily be transported to Iran by air—or, since Iraq is already acting as a conduit for Iranian arms transfers to Syria, the uranium could even be transported via the overland route through Iraq.

The amount of potentially deadly weaponry in Syria is a great cause for concern.

If Iran gained control of the uranium stockpile, it would further crush any hopes the Obama administration holds for curbing Iran’s nuclear program. The Trumpet has long forecast that Iran would continue its ongoing quest for nuclear arms, despite international pressure. As Brad Macdonald wrote back in the December 2004 print edition of the Trumpet magazine, “Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons is essentially a push to establish itself as the preeminent nation in the Islamic world …. Its drive for nukes is simply a drive to become the dominant Islamic nation.” Should Iran get its hands on Syria’s uranium, it would signify another step forward on Iran’s path to fulfilling its ambition as the king of the south.

China: Our Anti-satellite Weaponry Is a ‘Trump Card’ Against the U.S.

China: Our Anti-satellite Weaponry Is a ‘Trump Card’ Against the U.S.

STR/AFP/Getty Image

China is using anti-satellite weaponry as a “Trump Card” against a vulnerable and satellite dependent United States.

Amid reports on January 7 that Beijing is preparing to carry out another anti-satellite weapons test, China’s state media said Beijing has the right to conduct the test because the technology represents a “trump card” against American power.

In both 2007 and 2010, Beijing carried out anti-satellite weapons tests, and some U.S. analysts suspect that the next test will see China aiming for higher altitudes than in the previous ones—targeting an object around 12,000 miles above Earth’s surface. A report on Space.com said a test at such a level would place the constellation of America’s Global Positioning System (gps) at risk.

China’s state-run Global Times said Washington’s worries that the test could damage the U.S.’s gps are “over blown,” but fell short of any real reassurances, saying only that the test would “not strike down satellites, but invalidate them.”

Why does China need to develop the anti-satellite weaponry that it is testing? The state-run Times explained:

The U.S. advantage is overwhelming. Before strategic uncertainties between China and the U.S. can disappear, China urgently needs to have an outer space trump card … China and Russia jointly initiated a program to avoid an arms race in outer space in 2008, but this proposal was refused by the U.S. Against this background, it is necessary for China to have the ability to strike U.S. satellites. This deterrent can provide strategic protection to Chinese satellites and the whole country’s national security.

China’s planned test comes as Beijing is rapidly assembling its own “gps,” called the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. China’s military and many official bodies are already using this system. In the years ahead, Beijing plans to launch 20 more satellites to improve its functionality.

America’s space power gives it great advantages, but also creates dependence. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has pointed to America’s reliance on technology as the country’s Achilles’ heel. The U.S. is vulnerable not only to cyberattacks, but also to electronic attacks on its satellite or related systems. A successful attack on these systems could take out Washington’s smart bombs, guided missiles, satellite maps and photos or navigation.

For half a century, America reigned as the world’s dominant superpower. But evidence abounds in the U.S.’s foreign policy, economy, military and elsewhere that this era of supremacy is rapidly coming to a close. Space technology is another arena where America’s decline has set in as nations such as China speedily close the gap.

This shift brings the world into a perilous new age—but it is all in perfect alignment with trends the Trumpet has forecast for decades. For more information on the source of our forecasting, request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

Report: UK Military Could Be ‘Fatally Compromised’ by Cyberattack

Report: UK Military Could Be ‘Fatally Compromised’ by Cyberattack

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The UK is ‘extremely vulnerable,’ says House of Commons Defense Committee.

The British military is heavily dependent upon technology and could be brought to a halt by a cyberattack, according to a report by the House of Commons Defense Committee, published January 9. The committee warned that cyberthreats can evolve “with almost unimaginable speed and with serious consequences for the nation’s security.”

It said it was “concerned that with the armed forces now so dependent on information and communications technology, should such systems suffer a sustained cyberattack, their ability to operate could be fatally compromised.”

The committee fears that the government is not preparing properly for such an attack.

Maj. Gen. Jonathan Shaw, former head of cyber security at the Ministry of Defense, wasn’t very comforting as he defended the government on bbc Radio 4’s Today program. Britain is “extremely vulnerable” to cyberattacks, he said—adding that the government was working hard to counter them.

He warned that the threat changes so quickly that it’s hard for the government to develop contingency plans.

He also said that ultimately, the government alone cannot ensure Britain is secure from this type of threat. Attacks on civilian infrastructure can hamper or halt the military, but in a free society it is hard for the government to defend this infrastructure.

General Shaw called for a “cyber hygiene campaign” to get companies and individuals to do their part in defending the nation from cyberattacks.

“There is no such thing as absolute security in cyberspace,” he warned. “What we need to do is make ourselves as safe as we possibly can be.”

This is the problem with cyberwar. It is much harder to defend against a cyberattack than it is to carry out one. An attacker just needs to find one weakness. A defender needs to eliminate them all.

The select committee’s report highlights the problem any hi-tech nation has defending against these threats. Even if the army does its part perfectly, the company that manufactures its electronic equipment could make a mistake. The national grid or water system could be hit.

No nation has experienced a crippling cyberattack yet. This makes such an attack very hard to prepare for. Throwing a lot of money at the problem won’t fix it. A cyberattack is one of Britain’s and America’s biggest weaknesses.

For more information on this threat, see our article “The Invisible War.”