Europe’s shady migrant deal with Libya
The number of migrants crossing from Libya into Italy dropped dramatically in August, after Italy reached deals with Libyan militia groups.
Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti told the Guardian in an interview published on September 7, “The crucial point for me had been to go to Libya to find a solution. In Turkey, with its migrant crisis, there was a strong leader with which to work—perhaps too strong. In Libya, it was the opposite.”
Minniti personally traveled to Libya in July to deal with individual groups that hold power in key cities along the migrant routes and promise cash. While most of this money is handed out to the internationally backed Government of National Accord (GNA), some is flowing directly from the European Union to Italy to the hands of local leaders.
“We discussed a pact,” Minniti said. “It was quite simple: Engage yourself against the trafficking of human beings and we will help you build an alternative economy.”
This means Italy has begun to pay off the very groups responsible for smuggling people through Libya and onto boats in the first place.
This is how Europe has chosen to deal with Libyan migrants and is why so many fewer migrants made it to Italy in August.
While this pay-off scheme seems to be working, it certainly undermines Libya’s sovereignty.
Local militias and tribal leaders have been gaining income from smugglers, but now their business model will be conditional upon the continued flow of European cash—and thus, in a sense, beholden to European wishes. Libyans have already begun to distrust the GNA for compromising its sovereignty by allowing Europeans to travel around paying people off and by inviting Italian warships into Libyan territorial waters without consulting other Libyan leaders.
Libya losing sovereignty to Europe resonates with historic associations and has powerful prophetic implications.
Since 2011, editor in chief Gerald Flurry has pointed to Libya as a flashpoint between radical Islam led by Iran and Catholic Europe. This is based on the prophecy in Daniel 11:40-43, which clearly states that Europe will retaliate against the push from radical Islam by taking over Libya, among other nations.
For more about Europe’s long-standing strategy in Libya, please read “Mediterranean Battle Escalating Into World War III!” from our July 2016 issue.
Extending Europe’s borders to Africa
European leaders devised yet another plan to stem the flow of migrants from Africa during a summit in Paris on August 28.
Officials from France, Germany, Italy and Spain met with leaders from three countries through which most migrants travel: Chad, Niger and Libya. The seven nations agreed to set up pre-asylum hubs in Africa to vet migrants before they attempt to journey to Europe. For those who are granted asylum, the facilities will coordinate migration to Europe. Those who are denied asylum will be redirected back to their home countries.
French President Emmanuel Macron called the summit the most effective and far-reaching meeting of its kind in months.
German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote that the agreement essentially expands Europe’s borders to Africa. Eva Ottavy, of the French charity Cimade, told Agence France-Presse: “We’re extending the European border farther and farther away.”
North African transit routes are busy with human trafficking and terrorism that is increasingly crippling Europe. They also are regions where Europe had strong colonial influence before World War II, and strong imperial influence in the times of the Holy Roman Empire.
Intentionally or not, Europe’s leaders are extending its borders back to Holy Roman Empire territory.
Austrian election shakes Europe
A far-right party won one out of every four votes in Austria’s elections on October 15. The Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) was founded by former members of the Nazi SS. The party, which won 26 percent of the vote, will almost certainly be part of Austria’s new coalition government.
The main winner, the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) also raised eyebrows. Its new leader, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, dramatically improved the party’s fortunes. Before last May, the party had been losing voters and was the junior coalition partner to Austria’s main left-wing party. The party became so desperate that it agreed to grant Kurz unprecedented powers if he took over leadership. A year and a half later, the 31-year-old is now on his way to becoming the youngest leader of any developed nation.
How did the ÖVP become the most popular party in Austria? Kurz shifted it to the right—so much so that the far-right party complained he was stealing its ideas. The success of the ÖVP and the FPÖ, along with Kurz’s pending chancellorship, shows that Europe’s shift toward the right continues.
Record wildfires torch Western U.S.
Wildfires have scorched more than 8.78 million acres of the United States so far in 2017, according to data collected from the National Interagency Fire Center on October 18. The destruction has affected nine American states and puts the nation on course for one of its worst wildfire seasons on record.
California suffered its deadliest wildfires in history. At least 31 people were killed and hundreds missing in blazes that burned an area the size of New York City—roughly 190,000 acres. Los Angeles experienced its worst fire ever, and the state’s renowned wine-growing industry was battered.
Some fires burned for months. One in southern Oregon has raged since July, burning 180,000 acres, and Montana is fighting its worst fire season in at least 20 years and possibly in history.
The United States Forest Service has spent around $2.4 billion fighting fires so far in 2017—the most ever shelled out for fire suppression in one year. And it is running out of money.
The rise in environmental disasters we are seeing was prophesied in your Bible thousands of years ago. Jesus Christ forecast that natural disasters would increase because of rebellion against God (Matthew 24:7-8; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11).
America pours more strength into Afghanistan
United States President Donald Trump announced on August 21 that the U.S. would continue troop deployments to Afghanistan for the foreseeable future. The U.S. plans to add 4,000 more troops to the 12,000 already there in order to combat territorial gains made by the Taliban and al Qaeda.
“We are not nation-building again,” he said. “We are killing terrorists.” President Trump stated that he had now changed his mind from his pre-election position, which opposed continuing America’s presence in Afghanistan.
The Taliban has now consolidated more than 10 percent of the country and is currently contesting about 30 percent more. According to a watchdog report, the Afghan government now controls less than 60 percent of the country. The Islamic State is also growing more active in Afghanistan.
President Trump stated that “the American people are weary of war without victory.” Leviticus 26:16, 19-20 describe this situation: “I will even appoint over you terror … I will break the pride of your power … [a]nd your strength shall be spent in vain.” America has lost 2,500 lives in Afghanistan, $800 billion and 17 years to the longest war in its history. It has nothing to show, and the end is nowhere in sight.
New Royal Navy ‘frigate’ is undersized, underpowered
Britain announced plans to build a new frigate on September 7. Yet the new Type 31e frigate will probably be smaller, less powerful and less effective than the warships it is designed to replace. Early designs indicate the vessels will lack some of the traditional capabilities of frigate-class ships, including close-range sonar and anti-submarine weapons.
The Royal Navy wants the first Type 31e completed by 2023, but some analysts say this time line is unrealistic and that the warships will either miss the deadline or resort to inferior designs.
Meanwhile, in 2018, the Royal Navy will retire its current anti-ship missiles. Replacements for those missiles will not arrive until “around 2030.” Until then, Britain’s warships will have no missile capability and will struggle to sink enemy ships.
Israel bombs Syrian weapons facility
On September 7, Israeli missiles struck and destroyed a Syrian military site known for its production and development of chemical weapons.
Experts had reported that the site was frequented by Iranian chemical weapons specialists and Hezbollah operatives. A United Nations commission had just released a statement citing extensive evidence that Syrian forces had used chemical weapons 20 times during the Syrian civil war. This included the Sarin gas attack on Khan Sheikhun in April, which killed 83 Syrians.
These are chemical weapons that Syria supposedly destroyed or relinquished in 2014 under Russian supervision.
In August, an independent panel of UN experts submitted a report to the UN Security Council exposing ongoing chemical weapons cooperation between North Korea and Syria and reporting that two North Korean shipments en route to Damascus had been intercepted in the first half of this year.
On Sept. 6, 2007, Israeli jets covertly flew into Syria and destroyed a secret nuclear facility used for the production of plutonium. The reactor had been built with the aid of the North Koreans and the Iranians.
The international community continues to willfully overlook such dangerous collusion, leaving Israel alone to deal with such threats. Bible prophecy makes clear that the Jewish state will be unable to single-handedly manage these threats for much longer.
Will North Korea force South Korea to oust the U.S.?
North Korea carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3. The country’s five previous nuclear detonations tested weapons that use uranium or plutonium or both. The latest detonation reportedly could have been from a far more powerful thermonuclear hydrogen bomb. Such weapons could potentially be small enough to mount on North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile and yield enough explosive power to destroy a city.
The message the North Korean test sent to America was clear, Geopolitical Futures wrote: “The United States will either have to accept North Korea as a nuclear power, or it will have to destroy North Korean nuclear facilities while it still can. … At stake is nothing less than the regional balance of power for decades to come” (September 5).
Most analysts believe South Korea would support a U.S. strike against North Korea. But Geopolitical Futures speculated that it might oppose it: “What if a U.S. attack is predicated on South Korean involvement? What if the U.S. can’t attack if Seoul doesn’t participate? If this is the case, then the U.S. is simply going to have to accept North Korea as a nuclear power.”
In such a scenario, Geopolitical Futures said the North Korean regime in Pyongyang could use its nuclear power to pressure South Korea into ending its alliance with the U.S. and ousting the 28,500 troops America has stationed in South Korea. “As far-fetched as it might seem,” it wrote, “it is a viable scenario if Pyongyang possesses a nuclear deterrent.”
The ramifications of such an ouster would go far beyond the Korean Peninsula. “[I]t is a scenario that would profoundly change the balance of power in East Asia. It would undermine the credibility of U.S. security guarantees, forcing countries such as Japan to reconsider the terms of their alliance” (ibid).
For decades, the Trumpet has expected the balance of power in Asia to shift away from the U.S. and toward China and Russia. In our January 2014 issue, we wrote: “The scenario of an America-free Asia will not remain hypothetical for much longer. We can already see tectonic geopolitical shifts that are rapidly turning it into a reality.”
United Nations passes weak sanctions against North Korea
The United Nations Security Council passed a unanimous resolution on September 11 to increase sanctions against North Korea. However, due to Russian and Chinese influence, the measure is much weaker than the United States had hoped.
Donald Trump’s administration had proposed a total ban on exporting oil to North Korea, which would have significantly affected the country’s economy in an effort to change the status quo. But Russia and China opposed the idea.
The U.S. watered down its proposal and passed Resolution 2375, which merely caps North Korean oil imports at current levels. This resolution is unlikely to make much of an impact on Pyongyang. South Korean lawmaker Lee Soo-hyuck said on September 11 that the cap was “meaningless.”
Writing for Quartz, Steve Mollman said: “[T]he resolution basically bans or caps what China and Moscow permitted to be banned or capped.”
On September 2, during statements delivered at Armstrong Auditorium, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry emphasized that the world should be concerned about Russia and China, and that those two nations enable the North Korean regime to behave as dangerously as it does. The United Nations resolution that was approved just a few days later supported his Bible-based analysis.
Facing a North Korean threat, Japan accelerates remilitarization
Millions of Japanese citizens awoke early on September 15 to the wail of emergency sirens, warning that a North Korean missile was flying toward them. A text message was sent to residents of Hokkaido saying, “Missile launch!” as loudspeakers warned them to “take cover in a building or underground.” It marked the second time in a month that Japan’s emergency alert system was activated due to a North Korean weapons test.
The North’s increasingly provocative behavior is prompting the Japanese to build up their military. Prime Minister Shinzō Abe said Japan could “never tolerate” North Korea’s “dangerous provocative action that threatens world peace.”
Japan’s current defense plan establishes a 0.8 percent increase in defense spending for each year from 2014 to 2018. But due in large part to North Korea’s overt threats, the government now says this amount needs to increase to 2.5 percent in order to develop more powerful, longer-range missiles.
The Japanese public have resisted previous attempts by the government to boost military spending. But now, with alarms literally going off in Japanese cities, and with the United States showing itself to be an unreliable ally, this resistance to remilitarization is weakening.