Stepping Stone to Mideast

Europe is about to engulf Cyprus. What do present events and the ongoing war against terrorism portend for Europe, Cyprus and the Middle East in the years ahead?

At the Copenhagen Summit in December 2002, Cyprus was one of 10 countries invited to join the European Union. A treaty confirming this will be signed in Athens, Greece, on April 16 and will be ratified and implemented after the full application of the European political process by May 2004.

Europe, as an emerging superpower, will prosper geopolitically with the addition of Cyprus. Europe’s eastern flank will acquire high-tech military bases (with extended airport runways for large military aircraft) close to the Middle East and Persian Gulf.

History shows that Cyprus has long been an attractive piece of real estate for Europe. Cyprus offers a political vantage point and a military stepping stone, for influence and campaigns respectively, as the rising European phoenix once again spreads its wings to expand into the Middle East and beyond. In this vein, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has stated publicly that Europeanization may not end in Cyprus, but extend into Israel to be welcomed even by the Israelis.

So, we may ask, what are the broader strategic geopolitical implications of the European superpower beginning to engulf the Middle East again? Winston Churchill said, “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” So let us take a look at the history of the geopolitical expansion of Europe as it relates to Cyprus today.

European Religious Traditions

Well before the last century, when Germany twice attempted through brute force to forge an empire, the Roman Empire and successively the Holy Roman Empire (generally a German empire) went through periods of expansion and decline. This magazine has consistently maintained that what we see developing in Europe is the newly forming seventh resurrection of that Holy Roman Empire with a German head, in the guise of the European Union. This is consistent with the biblical prophecies of Daniel 2, 7 and 8, and Revelation 17 and 18. The EU is well-oriented toward its impending expansion, as it now beckons 10 new countries to its family from Eastern Europe. This will stretch the European economic and political empire from the west coast of Ireland to east of the Bosporus (the Turkish Straits)—that is, to Cyprus in the Middle East.

What will be the philosophical underpinnings of this new emerging superstate? The historical and philosophical backdrop of these developments is largely rooted in European Christendom, with its epicenter in the Vatican. This backdrop has its detail etched in some of the bloodiest events in history. Witness the Crusades, in which Rome jockeyed for supremacy, often translating into geopolitical expansion across Europe and the Middle East.

Following its well-worn trail, the Vatican in this post-modern era has encouraged Europeans to discover and nurture their glorious religious traditions. This is shocking, when any novice of history knows such traditions really leave no room for Judaism, Islam or even relatively benign Protestantism. However, contingencies are well under way to mop up aberrant Protestantism. The Anglican Church leads the way, having already accepted the pope as the primate of Christendom worldwide. Other Protestant denominations are lining up to mount this bandwagon to the Vatican.

Within this scenario, not surprisingly, the Vatican—with the enlisted support of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, former president of France and now head of the European Convention, and many other Catholic supremos in public life—is attempting to have a Christian (de facto Catholic) presence written into the European constitution.

Recently I asked Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission, what the function and role of the Vatican would be in the new Europe. He sidestepped the issue, replying that the topic did not come up when he was having dinner with the pope the previous evening. Notwithstanding his declaration of innocence to this question, events continue to declare that the Vatican plays a dynamic role behind the scenes in the emerging European superstate.

Cyprus’s Historic Significance

Cyprus is an important linchpin as Europe expands toward the Middle East, particularly to sustain its entrenched interests in Jerusalem and Israel as it has previously done in the Crusades.

Various military campaigns or crusades in history have been launched by Europe from Cyprus into the Middle East. In 168 b.c. Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria was about to mount a third military campaign into Egypt when a Roman fleet from Cyprus cut him off and ordered him to withdraw. Defeated and dejected, he returned to Judea.

Moving forward to the Crusades, history records that more than one crusade was launched from Cyprus into the Middle East. In a.d. 1171, for example, the self-declared supreme ruler of Islam, Saladin, mounted a jihad to recover Jerusalem from the European Christian infidels. In a.d. 1187, he crushed the European military, and, after a two-week siege, Jerusalem fell to the Muslims. This sent shock waves through Christendom. The European powers mounted the third crusade and used Cyprus as a supply bridge to support their military campaigns in Israel against Islam.

Europe Confronts Terrorism

The interesting point here is that Cyprus has typically been used for Europe to make military thrusts into the Middle East.

Could an event or series of events ignite a Vatican-inspired European push to confront Islam again? The escalating menace of terrorism, largely hatched and incubated in the Islamic world, has not only struck in “the Great Satan” (an extreme Islamic term for the United States), but intermittent terrorist strikes have also peppered the recent years of European history.

It is well known among intelligence and diplomatic circles that official sectors in Iran bankroll and give ideological support to much of the terrorism in the world. In the Middle East, Iran financially supports Islamic terrorist movements and fuels their machinations through countries like Syria. These forces have been pushing, for decades, to bulldoze Israel and Western influence (mainly American) into the Mediterranean Sea and bury it for good. In the same vein, just as Islamists have been pushing against Israel and the U.S., they may increase their activities against Europe as this looming Western and Christian superpower intrudes into the Middle East region in a substantial way.

Will history repeat itself as the Islamic regimes of the Middle East become more overt in their efforts to occupy and administer Jerusalem and Israel? Will these oil-rich countries, in an attempt to force their expansionist will against Catholic Europe, suspend their oil trade to energy-hungry Europe?

Bible prophecy indicates that the “king of the south” will push at the “king of the north” (a Vatican-inspired and German-led Europe), and this will provoke a blitzkrieg response from Europe to devastate this Islamic foe, at which time Europe will set up a powerful presence in Israel (Dan. 11:40-43).

In these events, soon to occur, Cyprus as the European high-tech military outpost, with military bases and installations in proximity to the Middle East, will be indispensable, as it so often has been throughout history.

Europe Enters Israel

The Middle East is a time bomb with a short fuse. Events in Israel will develop simultaneously in a parallel buildup to the clash of European Christendom and Middle East Islam.

Bible prophecy reveals that the new German-led European superstate, in one final crusade against Islam, will occupy Israel and conquer Jerusalem again (Luke 21:20). The Vatican will move its headquarters to Jerusalem (Dan. 11:45). All this will trigger the worst suffering mankind has ever seen in titanic worldwide nuclear warfare. This brief period of the greatest suffering ever within which God will protect His loyal and faithful people (Rev. 3:10; 12:14), is known in the Bible as the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21).

In the short term, the years ahead will be traumatic. Yet it is always darkest before the dawn. These events all portend the most incredible event in the history of the universe, the return of Jesus Christ to establish a kingdom based on God’s loving law and government, in a utopian paradise that will never end (Dan. 2:44).