France Prepares for War in the Central African Republic

France Prepares for War in the Central African Republic

ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images

The Central African Republic teeters on the brink of becoming the next Mali. Is it the next front in Europe’s battle with radical Islam for control of North Africa?

As the Central African Republic faces an Islamic takeover, France is planning to send more troops in and is pushing for United Nations intervention in its former colony.

Since the Islamic Seleka rebels took over in March, conditions have deteriorated rapidly, with Muslims and Christians fighting each other. The special report from France 24 graphically portrays the tragedy. (The report begins 2 minutes 30 seconds into the video.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxdsVBcF4gE&feature=youtu.be&t=2m30s

Islamic attacks on Christians are increasing. In response, Christians have banded together and been accused of attacking Islamic civilians. As the France 24 report shows, whole villages have been abandoned or destroyed. Rape, murder and machete attacks have become common.

Human Rights Watch confirmed the deliberate destruction of over 1,000 homes between March and June. Boris Heger, one of the two journalists that put together France 24 report, warned that “it will probably take months of investigation to get some credible figures” on how many villages and homes have been destroyed.

Only 15 percent of the country’s population is Muslim, but the Islamic Seleka took control in March, putting President Michel Djotodia into power. He replaced François Bozizé, who came to power in a coup in 2003, but went on to win presidential elections, and even received military support from France over the years.

The Seleka rebels include many fighters from Chad and Sudan, so are seen by many in the Central African Republic as a foreign force. Sudan has long links to Chad’s rebel groups, making it the major foreign power behind the takeover. President Djotodia ordered the disbanding of the Seleka groups last month, but only after absorbing many of their fighters into the army.

France now fears that the Central African Republic could become a terrorist breeding ground, allowing radical Islam a safe haven in the heart of Africa. Sudan is currently Iran’s most important African partner. Iran’s Islamists could easily cross the border into the Central African Republic and set up shop there, giving them easy access to oil and other resource-rich parts of Central Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. This also would bring them into contact with military groups in the area.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius held a meeting with European Union and UN humanitarian officials on September 25, where he warned that the Central African Republic “has become a lawless state and in a lawless state, the exactions increase and without any action it can become the refuge of all terrorists.” He said that the Lord’s Resistance Army from Uganda and the Islamist Janjaweed militia from Sudan had already moved into the area. Fabius warned that the terrorist groups from Mali and Libya and the al Qaeda-aligned Boko Haram from Nigeria could have also already moved into the area.

The EU’s Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, warned that the country could turn into “another Somalia.”

France has submitted a draft resolution to the Security Council, which will probably discuss it on October 10. The resolution would give UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 30 days to submit a report with details of a possible intervention. The Security Council has already approved a request for logistical, technical and financial support from the African Union.

Reuters also reports that France is considering several ways to increase the number of troops it has on the ground. Citing an anonymous diplomatic source, it reports that France may seek a UN mandate to boost its troop numbers to 1,200, or have 750 of its troops work with the surrounding African nations, or replace the soldiers it already has in the country with a rapid reaction force.

France has roughly 450 soldiers stationed there, but their role revolves around protecting the airport; they have done little to intervene in the crisis so far.

France, and all of Europe, is seriously concerned with the spread of radical Islam in North Africa. But Europe is also seriously concerned about national budgets, which is why France hasn’t become involved already and why it is trying to work with the UN and African Union as much as possible. With the French presence in Mali winding down, perhaps it feels it can afford another intervention.

This campaign in the Central African Republic is part of a much broader war between Europe and Iranian-led radical Islam throughout North Africa. “Northern Africa is turning into a battleground with enormously important prophetic implications,” wrote Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in the April print edition.

“Iran has designs on being the strongest power throughout the region,” Mr. Flurry wrote, “and is extending its reach throughout North Africa. But Iran isn’t the only one interested in Africa. Germany is making strong inroads as well. Both of these powers are racing to get as much control of North Africa as they can.” Since that writing, North Africa has made bigger and more frequent headlines.

Watch for the clashes between Europe and Iran to increase. It is all part of a conflict that will soon see Europe confront Iran head on.

For more information on the battle playing out in North Africa, read our recent article “Iran’s Battle for Africa.”

China Plans to Rebuild British Landmark

China Plans to Rebuild British Landmark

Getty Images

The Crystal Palace, once a display of Great Britain’s prominence, now displays China’s.

The Crystal Palace, a symbol of British power in the early- to mid-1900s, was the largest glass structure ever built. In 1936, the massive glass edifice was destroyed due to a fire. Now, over 70 years later, the Crystal Palace is in the planning stages of being reconstructed, but not by Britain.

Chinese investment firm Zong Rong Group is planning to fund the project to reconstruct this icon of Britain’s former greatness. The chairman of Zong Rong, Ni Zhaoxing, plans to spend over £500 million (us$810 million) to rebuild the great British landmark. Ni says that he desires to “rebuild the splendid glory of the past.”

“What does it mean when a Chinese billionaire plans to rebuild a central symbol of an empire that did its best to conquer and dominate China?” questions David Davies, writer for MuseumFatigue.org. He goes on to speculate that China may be attempting to display its economic dominance over Western nations, or that China wants to showcase itself on the global scene.

It is a sad day for Great Britain when a foreign nation rebuilds a structure that once showcased the British Empire’s splendor and ingenuity. The Crystal Palace project displays just how powerful and dominant China has become. While many nations are struggling to finance basic infrastructure, China is going into another country to build a nearly $1 billion tourist attraction.

The Trumpet wrote in 2010 that “China’s ascendancy as a world power over recent decades has been a globally celebrated story of success.” China has quickly risen through the ranks of economic turmoil to emerge as one of the top two economies in the world.

Herbert W. Armstrong forewarned of the decline of the British Empire as a result of its disobedience to God. One of the curses mentioned by Mr. Armstrong to befall Britain is the loss of its vital sea gates. Many of these gates are falling into the hands of China. China now relies on those gates to regulate its trade. The financing of the Crystal Palace is like the icing on the cake of the Chinese takeover of British wealth. China doesn’t need to build it, but rebuilding a prominent British icon does make a strong statement.

To understand more about how Britain is losing its many blessings and how China is rising on the world scene, request our free booklet He Was Right.

Spending Our Strength in Vain in Afghanistan

Spending Our Strength in Vain in Afghanistan

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Why the hard work and sacrifices made in Afghanistan are being reversed.

The Afghan presidential election scheduled for next year is already drawing some dangerous candidates. Abdul Rassoul Sayyaf—the man who brought al Qaeda to Afghanistan—announced on October 3 that he would be running for office.

Before registering, Sayyaf proclaimed, “Today, I nominate myself in order to serve my countrymen and my nation. I want to stand alongside the true servants of Afghanistan.” His brief speech did little to ease the concerns of Western diplomats and those looking for the upcoming election to effect positive change for the Afghani people.

Sayyaf has deep ties to militant Islam, is firmly grounded in conservative Islam, and was even mentioned in the 9/11 reports as being the “mentor” to Khalid Sheikh Muhammed, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. He was a known associate of Osama bin Laden, and established numerous paramilitary camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 1980s and ’90s. There are even Islamic groups named after him.

If a man such as Sayyaf can run for president, what state is the nation really in?

Look at Afghanistan. After 12 years of occupation, the loss of American lives, billions spent on the offensive, more on aid and propping up the new administration, and still, the democratic dream is feeble at best. Even with the death of Osama bin Laden, terrorism was not routed from the country. On the contrary, the Taliban is back stronger than ever. With no lasting changes having been made despite the massive expenditures over the last 12 years, wouldn’t you say America’s strength has been spent in vain?

As the Trumpet has said from the beginning, America’s campaign in Afghanistan was doomed to fail from the start. It was war aimed at the wrong target, gone about in an unwinnable way. And trying to solve that nation’s problems through democracy has been a fool’s errand. As Trumpet columnist Joel Hilliker wrote, “The bottom line is, democracy is an impossible fit in Afghanistan. The nation’s history of ethno-regional warlordism is simply too strong.”

How true that was—and is. That election was rampant with corruption and ended with Mohammed Karzai winning and paying off all the warlords who supported him. Back then, despite copious evidence that the U.S. was losing the battle for Afghanistan, diplomats and the media and diplomats continued trumpeting the success of democracy.

In October 2008, Mr. Hilliker wrote a separate article titled “Afghanistan: Back to Where We Started,” linking Afghanistan’s return to its former ways to the weakening of America. It explained the real cause—the spiritual cause—for America’s failings. He wrote:

Consider. To the ancient nation of Israel, God promised manifold blessings for obedience to His laws. Among these was the promise of security through supernatural protection … (Leviticus 26:7-8). Clearly the U.S. is not receiving this blessing today.The counterpart to the promised blessing of victory over enemies is God’s warning about terrifying curses for disobedience. The idea of being under a curse may seem ancient and superstitious in this modern, scientific age. But if you believe the Bible, you know that curses are real—even today. To rebellious Israel and its descendants (which include the United States), God warns, “And I will break the pride of your power … And yourstrength shall be spent in vain (Leviticus 26:19-20). Consider the staggering implications of these scriptures. They imply that these modern nations would have power, and pride in that power—they would have military strength. … But—because of these nations’ disobedience—God would break that pride, and thus—as a curse—all that power would be wasted, squandered!Is America now under this curse?Absolutely. There could be no more perfect description of the U.S. today—still far and away the greatest military power on Earth—than to say that the pride in its power has been broken, and that it spends its strength in vain.

As columnist Ron Fraser put it: “The reality is that, in keeping with its consistent, misguided policy practiced since the Korean War, the U.S. simply refused to vanquish the enemy in Afghanistan ….”

Abdul Rassoul Sayyaf’s candidacy is one more testimony to the fact that the pride of America’s power in Afghanistan is broken and its strength has been spent in vain.

The results of America’s international decline will be hard. After all, failing to turn to God brings curses. But there is still hope—these curses are designed to turn people back to God, not push them further away.

And the ultimate end is actually good news. As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in “Why We Cannot Win the War Against Terrorism”:

[E]ven if we don’t change our evil ways, this is all leading directly to the return of Jesus Christ. That is the best possible news this world could ever hear! This evil world of terrorism and war is about to end forever. It will soon be replaced by a world full of prosperity and peace. Then all mankind will understand and be fulfilling their incredible human potential.

Germany—the Middle East’s Middle Man

Germany—the Middle East’s Middle Man

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Syria and Iran have both called for Germany to mediate in their conflicts. Germany is now the Middle East’s intermediary of choice.

Syrian President Bashar Assad invited Germany to act as a mediator in his country’s civil war. He did so during a lengthy interview with Der Spiegel magazine, published October 7.

The same day, Iranian President Hassan Rowhani called on Germany to play a “positive and constructive role” in next week’s negotiations in Geneva.

Germany has already turned down Assad’s invitation, but these calls demonstrate a dramatic development in foreign policy: Germany has emerged as the Middle East’s mediator of choice.

During his interview, Germany was the only country other than Russia that Bashar Assad had kind words for.

“Does Germany play a special role for you?” asked Spiegel.

“When I think of Europe, I ask myself who is closer to the reality in my region?” replied Assad. “Every European position is still far from our reality. Germany and Austria have the most objective and closest position to reality. The German position is the closest.”

“Could Germany take on the role of intermediary?” continued the interviewer.

“Of course,” said Assad, “I would like to see envoys from Germany come to Syria to see and discuss the reality. Coming here doesn’t mean you support the government. But if you come here, you can do, you can talk, you can discuss, you can convince.”

Iran’s calls were less equivocal. Asking for Germany to be “positive” and “constructive” is not quite the same as calling on them to be an intermediary. But Germany already plays a special role in Iran’s nuclear negotiations.

The discussions that will take place next week are part of the “P5+1” talks—so called because they’re held by the five nations with permanent seats on the UN Security Council, plus one. Who is the “plus one”—the nation so important and so highly valued as a mediator that they’re asked to come along despite the fact they don’t belong to this group? That would be Germany.

In a world still split between East and West, Germany has emerged as one of the few independent voices.

Germany is close to the West, but not in lock-step with America. When Britain, France and America began military action in Libya, Germany sat it out—siding instead with Russia and China. In certain Middle Eastern eyes, it is not viewed as a lackey to the Great Satan the same way that France and Britain are.

Meanwhile, Germany has a solid working relationship with Russia. That relationship is strained at times, but even at its weakest, it is still far stronger than the one between the U.S. and Russia. Germany also works hard to maintain good relations and strong trade ties with China. At the same time, it is close to Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Arab powers.

As the de facto leader of Europe, Germany’s voice also carries weight. More than anyone else, the chancellor of Germany speaks for the whole EU.

If there is a middle ground in geopolitics, Germany has come closer than any other major nation to claiming it.

What bearing does this have on Syria and Iran? Perhaps none—but it is part of a far more important trend.

The Trumpet has long forecast that Syria would emerge from its civil war allied with Germany. Germany maintains links with Syria’s rebels. They may prefer Assad’s ouster to trying to influence Syria through the role of mediator. Outgoing German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle rejected Assad’s invitation the same day it was made, saying “We have Lakhdar Brahimi acting as UN special envoy, and we fully support his efforts to mediate a political solution.”

But the Bible also prophesies that another nation will look to Germany: Israel.

Israel will come under attack from radical Islam. It will turn to Germany in search of peace. European troops will probably be invited in to maintain that peace.

According to the chronology of biblical prophecy, this is the beginning of a chain of events that will lead to World War iii—and we can see already that Germany has gained that mediator role. The Middle East is already looking to Germany to provide peace. This chain of events is almost ready to begin.

This is a major trend to be attuned to in Germany’s rise on the world scene. Watch for it to become more involved in the Middle East peace process.

For more information on the sequence of events that the Bible says will lead up to World War iii, and the great hope at its end, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “Watch Jerusalem!

U.S. Debt Ceiling Battle Threatens World Economy

The International Monetary Fund is warning that if the United States fails to raise its debt limit, it will harm the world economy.

That may be an understatement.

The IMF forecast assumes that the U.S. government shutdown will last only a brief period. However, it warned that failing to raise the debt limit later this month could lead to a default on U.S. debt. This could cause interest rates to spike, stock and bond markets to crater, and possibly push the U.S. economy further into recession.

SOUNDBITE: IMF Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard:

“Now the shutdown is yet another bad outcome, although one which, if it doesn’t last too long, will have limited macro [-economic] implications. Failure to lift the debt ceiling would, however, be a major event. Prolonged failure would lead to an extreme fiscal consolidation and almost surely derail the U.S. recovery. But the effects of any failure to repay the debt would be felt right away, leading to potentially major disruptions in financial markets, both in the United States and abroad.”

China also gave America a warning on October 7. China’s vice foreign minister told reporters that the U.S. must work earnestly to resolve its political issues to prevent a default. He said it is America’s responsibility “to ensure the safety of Chinese investments in the United States.”

Leviticus 26 details the curses God will bring upon the modern nations of Israel because of disobedience to His laws. Notice the financial curse prophesied in verse 16: “Ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.”

America’s debt and deficit are the biggest threats to America’s economy. It has few choices left. The U.S. can try to push back the day of reckoning by borrowing and printing more money. Or it can cut spending and raise taxes to pay the bills. The only other alternative is default. None of these options are painless—and all come with serious consequences for our debt-addicted economy.

Read The United States and Britain in Prophecy to see where this is heading.

Drug Cartels Contracting U.S. Soldiers

Drug Cartels Contracting U.S. Soldiers

SIMON LIM/AFP/Getty Images

With the war in Afghanistan coming to an end, the cartels are welcoming the troops home with open arms.

Rich Mexican drug cartels can pretty much buy anything they want: private jets, helicopters, rifles, grenades and bazookas. They can also buy influence and loyalty, spies and assassins—and on either side of the border. Their latest market for the latter is the expertly trained U.S Army.

Last month, 22-year-old Michael Apodaca, a former private first class at Fort Bliss, Texas, was sentenced to life in prison for a $5,000 contract assassination he conducted in 2009. Both the victim and the contractor were members of the Juarez Cartel in Mexico who also were, to some extent, informants for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Last November, 29-year-old Army 1st Lt. Kevin Corley, based at Fort Carson, Colo., agreed to a $50,000 assassination contract for hits in Laredo, Texas. Corley had to recruit his own team of assassins for the job. He even offered the cartel tactical training and stolen U.S. weaponry.

These examples show how easily military personnel can be lured to use their expertise on behalf of drug cartels. “We have seen examples over the past few years where American servicemen are becoming involved in this type of activity,” observed Stratfor’s Fred Burton. “It is quite worrisome to have individuals with specialized military training and combat experience being associated with the cartels.” The fbi noted that the Los Zetas—perhaps the worst of Mexico’s fanatically vicious cartels—“continues to recruit law enforcement, military and public officials to facilitate drug trafficking operations.”

The lure of money and the threat of death make it easier for cartels to appeal to military servicemen, especially those who may struggle to obtain civilian jobs after serving in combat zones. Corley, for example, received his assassination contract not long after returning from Afghanistan.

Rogue elements from the military have always been known to pose a security threat to the United States. In 2011, the fbi National Gang Intelligence Center identified members of at least 53 gangs who had ties to the U.S. military. This threat increases if these gang members form affiliations with barbarous Mexican cartels.

Imagine a powerful, brutal drug cartel embroiled in turf wars with an equally powerful rival cartel. Now, imagine that cartel deciding to recruit a special ops team from the military to beef up its security, offering remuneration much higher than the Army could. That shouldn’t be too difficult to imagine because that’s exactly what Mexico’s Gulf Cartel did in the late ’90s—only back then the Gulf Cartel was recruiting Mexican ex-military. The soldiers it recruited became its military arm, and called themselves Los Zetas. When the Gulf Cartel’s boss was arrested in January 2007, Los Zetas decided that it would be more lucrative for it to turn against its employers and start calling the shots.

Today, Los Zetas is one of the prominent cartels in Mexico. It is well established in the United States, and as Fred Burton noted, it has more capability than al Qaeda does to operate inside the United States. Today, cartels like Los Zetas are recruiting U.S. soldiers in a manner reminiscent of how its original members were recruited from the Mexican Army.

Mexican cartels are becoming a major threat to America. But in many ways, it is a self-inflicted threat.

In 2009, Trumpet columnist Brad Macdonald quoted a warning from 2008 by the U.S. Joint Forces Command: “[A]n unstable Mexico could represent a homeland security problem of immense proportions to the United States.”

In another article titled “Beheading Mexico,” Mr. Macdonald explained the primary reason the illicit drugs trade poses a security threat to us. It’s ultimately America’s love for drugs, he wrote, that finances and sustains Mexico’s drug cartels, and “America’s cultural acceptance of illicit drugs is a function of its overall rejection of absolute law and morality.”

The ultimate cause of drug violence reveals the ultimate solution. Some experts believe there’s no solution to the drug war—that it’s a conflict that can only be managed. But Mr. Macdonald explains the ultimate solution and the hope amid the seeming hopelessness in dealing with drug wars. It’s a simple solution that could work if implemented now; it’s a solution that will work when God forcibly implements it.

For more, read “Beheading Mexico” and “Mexico: Bordering on Collapse.”