Turkey Dries Up the Euphrates

Turkey Dries Up the Euphrates

MOHAMMED SAWAF/AFP/Getty Images

An impending water shortage threatens millions in the Middle East.

The Syrian civil war has once more taken a dire turn for the worse. Turkey has altered its strategy against its opponents, the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Instead of simply aiding the Syrian rebels, Turkey is now also killing them with dehydration. The problem is, this brutal act threatens the lives of millions of Syrian and Iraqi citizens.

The crisis revolves around the Euphrates River, which quickly became the Euphrates Creek when Turkey completely cut off the water flow upstream of Syria, reported Al Akhbar on May 30. The Euphrates originates in Turkey and passes through the Atatürk Dam before flowing into Syria and Iraq. By cutting off the flow and directing it into the reservoir, Turkey has lowered water levels downstream.

Water levels in Lake Assad, Syria’s largest body of water, have dropped by 20 feet since Turkey shut off the water supply. The Euphrates hydrates large parts of Syria.

Middle East expert Daniel Pipes explained the looming disaster as genocide by way of “terminal dehydration.” Cutting off a nation’s water supply is potentially fatal in its severity and indiscriminate in its victims. The dry and arid regions of northeastern Syria will quickly empty if one of the most basic necessities of human life dries up.

The problem extends beyond Syria. Much of Iraq’s freshwater supply originates in Turkey and flows through Syria before it is collected in dams in Iraq. If these dams experience a sharp drop in water and pressure, they could collapse. Daniel Pipes said that if one of these dams, the Mosul Dam, collapsed parts of Baghdad itself would be under water within a few hours. Within two hours, the city of Mosul, home to 1.7 million Iraqis, would be a Mideast Atlantis.

Shutting down the Euphrates and endangering the lives of millions testifies to the brutality of the Syrian civil war. Both sides continue to outdo one another in barbarity. The current death toll stands at well over 150,000, but that number could multiply if the two sides continue to invent new, indiscriminate, extreme ways of killing each other.

The Syrian civil war is engulfing more and more of the Middle East as time goes on. Turkey is supporting the rebels, as are the Sunni Arab nations; Lebanon is heavily involved through Hezbollah; Iran is funding Assad’s regime; and now Iraq may take greater action as its cities are threatened by more than just terrorists.

The civil war is not over yet, and the region has far more blood to spill before the end. Massive shifts are about to occur within Syria and the Middle East. Where will the increasing tensions and brutality lead? Read editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “How the Syrian Crisis Will End.”

Outspoken Reuven Rivlin Elected as Israel’s President

Outspoken Reuven Rivlin Elected as Israel’s President

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Former Speaker of the Israeli Knesset Reuven Rivlin was elected president of Israel on Tuesday, June 10, after a runoff election inside the national legislature, beating out rival Meir Sheetrit 63 votes to 53. The 74-year-old Likud member will begin his seven-year term in July when current President Shimon Peres leaves the post.

Generally, the presidential office of Israel maintains a largely ceremonial role, meeting foreign dignitaries on behalf of the citizenry of Israel. The president is asked to refrain from any intrusion into the domestic politics of the nation, as well as to not express personal issues that would divide the public.

In an interview with the Times of Israel before he was elected, Rivlin promised he would not seek to intervene in the decisions of the country’s elected politicians on peacemaking or other issues. However, if his time in government is anything to go by, Rivlin will have trouble staying quiet.

A long-time right-wing politician, Rivlin is renowned for acting independently on national issues, even if he has to part ways with his party’s leadership. For example, the Likud member readily denounces the plan for a two-state solution, instead calling for one Israeli state where Arabs are given full and equal rights.

Also, in contrast to the current president of Israel who visited the Vatican on Sunday for a prayer meeting with Pope Francis and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Rivlin has not been afraid to speak up against the papacy’s own peace exploits.

In 2009, while speaker of the Knesset, Rivlin refused to welcome Pope Benedict xvi at the Tel Aviv Airport because he “needed to act according to his conscience.” In an interview with Spiegel Online at the time, Rivlin spoke out against the papacy for not doing enough to stop the spread of Holocaust denial.

He stated,

In order to do away with Holocaust denial, not only for the sake of the Jewish people but for the sake of the world, we are asking the pope to show us the Vatican’s archive, which proves that the Shoah [Holocaust] happened and that, to our dismay, the Holy See under Pope Pius xii stood in silence—not only sweeping the facts underneath the carpet, but also to a great extent, through his silence, giving legitimacy to the Shoah.

As the Vatican desires to get more involved in the Middle East peace process, it’s easy to see how the outspoken Reuven Rivlin inhabiting the presidential palace might hinder its progress.

The new president will be sworn in on July 24.

Blessed Is He That Reads the Bible

Here is a way you can develop the habit of daily Bible study.

Believe it or not, the Bible was written for our day—this generation! No book is as up-to-date as the Bible. It explains the causes of present world conditions—it reveals what’s ahead in the next few years. In its pages are the solutions to every problem we face in life—from personal and family relationships to national economics and foreign policy.

Yet, ironically, this incredible book is the least understood of all books. Most people, when they try to read it, find that they simply cannot understand it. Many assume it is irrelevant and out of date for our modern age.

But you can understand the Bible!

Herbert W. Armstrong College has been helping thousands learn the true meaning of current events and the true purpose for life through the Herbert W. Armstrong Bible Correspondence Course. Over 40,000 students from around the world have enrolled in this unique, 36-lesson course of biblical understanding.

Iraq: Mosul Overrun by Al Qaeda

Iraq: Mosul Overrun by Al Qaeda

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

Insurgents seized the city of Mosul in Iraq’s northern region on Tuesday. This is the second major Iraqi city lost to al Qaeda-affiliated groups this year.

During the Iraq War, control for Mosul shifted frequently between the United States and militant forces. It was a costly victory. Sadly, the city was lost without much of a fight.

“When the battle got tough in the city of Mosul, the troops dropped their weapons and abandoned their posts, making it an easy prey for the terrorists, ” Iraqi speaker of parliament Osama al-Nujaifi said.

The insurgents overran the western half of the city almost overnight. By Tuesday morning, airports and numerous government buildings were under the insurgents’ control.

“Everything is fallen,” Nujaifi continued. “It’s a crisis.”

The insurgents are believed to be part of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an al Qaeda-affiliated group.

The Washington Post says, “The speed with which the security forces lost control of one of Iraq’s biggest cities was striking, and it was a major humiliation for the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.”

The fall of Mosul to terrorist forces is an embarrassing loss for Iraq, but even more so for the United States. At the start of 2014, the city of Fallujah fell into the hands of an al Qaeda-linked group. Hundreds of American soldiers had died trying to maintain the city, only to see it fall back into the enemy’s hands a few years later.

And it doesn’t bode well for America’s pending withdrawal from Afghanistan.

With cases like Fallujah and now Mosul, you may be wondering what the U.S. accomplished in this war. If so, you need to watch our video “Where Americans Died in Vain.”

Amid Ukraine Crisis, Russia’s War on Dollar Dominance Intensifies

Amid Ukraine Crisis, Russia’s War on Dollar Dominance Intensifies

CC_BY Kremlin.ru

Russian companies prepare to ditch the greenback to pay for trade in Asian currencies.

Russian businesses are gearing up to change contracts from the United States dollar to the Chinese renminbi and other Asian currencies, according to leading bankers.

“Given the extent of our bilateral trade with China, developing the use of settlements in rubles and yuan [renminbi] is a priority on the agenda, and so we are working on it now,” Andrei Kostin, chief executive of state bank vtb, told Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Since May, we have been carrying out this work,” Kostin said, adding that it is among his bank’s “main tasks.”

Pavel Teplukhin, head of Deutsche Bank in Russia, said: “Over the last few weeks there has been a significant interest in the market from large Russian corporations to start using various products in renminbi and other Asian currencies and to set up accounts in Asian locations.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s central bank has launched measures to establish a national payment system that will reduce Russian reliance on Visa, MasterCard and other Western firms.

Teplukhin is among the many who believe all of Russia’s anti-dollar moves add up to something that will not soon blow over. “It looks like this is not just a blip,” he said, “this is a trend.”

Moscow’s movement away from the dollar and toward Asian currencies underscores the Kremlin’s attempts to pivot toward Asia as its ties with Western powers become strained. The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on some Russians after the Kremlin’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March, and Western banks have reduced their lending activity in Russia.

Russia’s pivot East is, in large part, a response to these punitive Western measures.

Some Russian hardliners are even pushing for Moscow to respond to Western sanctions by entirely “de-dollarizing” its economy, which would represent a stunning blow to the dollar’s international status.

The prevailing view among most Western analysts is that Russia would not go to such an extreme because of the substantial short-term damage it would cause the Russian economy. They believe the economic interdependent relationship between Moscow and Washington will survive the present Ukraine turbulence.

But such a view does not factor in human nature. Human nature can be illogical; the nature of conflict and war often defies basic logic. Nations knowingly inflict harm on themselves as a necessary byproduct of injuring their enemies.

Stephen Sestanovich, a former American diplomat now at Columbia University, explains: “This may be self-defeating for [Russia], but that doesn’t mean it’ll go away. … We may well be getting a glimpse of the future of geopolitics ….”

Read more: Russia’s Euros-for-Oil Plan Threatens Dollar’s Reserve Currency Status

Optimistic Western policymakers believe the leadership in Russia values economic comfort more than it values a chance at undermining America’s global power and influence. But millennia of mankind’s bloody history prove that priorities are not always so ordered. Nations routinely place their own wellbeing at risk and willingly endure suffering if that is what is required for them to inflict harm on enemies.

The bitterness Putin harbors over America’s global hegemony and nato expansion runs deep. He views the U.S. as morally bankrupt and in rapid decline, and seems convinced that America will not be a source of prosperity much longer. For more information on this trend, read “Russia’s Oil-for-Euros Plan Threatens Dollar’s Reserve Currency Status.”

Germany Still World’s Most Popular Nation

Germany Still World’s Most Popular Nation

Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images/Thinkstock

Germany has been voted the world’s most popular nation for the second year running, according to a poll for the bbc World Service, published June 3. Sixty percent of those polled in 24 nations around the world said they had a mainly positive view of Germany’s influence on the world, with only 18 percent saying it was mainly negative.

By way of comparison, 42 percent said they had a mainly positive view of the United States and 39 percent mainly negative. The poll was mostly taken before the recent events in Crimea, so it is somewhat out-of-date.

The poll found that Canada was the second-most popular nation, with the United Kingdom in third place. Germany’s popularity is a sign of the soft power it has, as well as the world’s desire for Germany to exert more leadership on the world scene.

Commenting on this subject six months ago, Trumpet columnist Brad Macdonald wrote:

It’s difficult to find consensus among nations, but on the subject of Germany and its place in the global order, the world is in harmony: Germany, we want you, we need you, please do more!Again, one can understand the logic. Major world problems are mounting. The West’s competitors—Russia, China, Iran and radical Islam—are increasingly belligerent. And the U.S., overwhelmed by domestic crises and led by a foreign-policy introvert, is abandoning the bridge. Meanwhile, Germany has one of the largest and healthiest economies in the world, is responsibly managed both politically and financially, and has the size and military and diplomatic infrastructure to exert leadership. Germany is strong but pacifist, adept but not overtly domineering.It looks like the perfect savior.

The bbc’s poll shows that this is still true today. To learn where this clamoring for Germany is leading, go back to that article: “We’re All Falling in Love With Germany.”