German government wobbles

Germany’s coalition government came close to collapse in early July, just 3½ months after it was finally sworn in. The issue was immigration.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer demanded tighter restrictions against immigration. He wanted to set up checks at the German border and return migrants who had claimed asylum in other European Union countries to those nations.

Seehofer’s demand was symbolic. It was Chancellor Angela Merkel’s suspension of this rule that had opened the floodgates to 1 million migrants in 2015.

With Seehofer close to open rebellion against her, Merkel resisted his demand. Seehofer threatened to resign. His resignation would have pulled his Christian Social Union (csu) out of the government, depriving Merkel of her majority and bringing down her coalition government. It would also have caused a major split between the csu and its sister party, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (cdu). This would significantly alter Germany’s postwar political order.

After hours of negotiations, Merkel and Seehofer agreed on a deal that allows both parties to claim victory. According to the agreement, Germany will establish “transit zones” on its southern border. Migrants who enter these zones will technically be considered to be on German soil only after they have passed border checks. Those who have already claimed asylum in another EU nation will be detained and deported to that nation. Migrants who have made no previous asylum claims will be allowed to seek refuge in Germany.

Crisis averted—for now. The other EU nations have not agreed to take migrants back, so political conflict inside and outside Germany could break out again soon.

“The dispute illustrated the degree to which many in Merkel’s alliance, including a sizable number of Christian Democrats, are unhappy with her leadership,” wrote Politico. “While Merkel survived, she suffered another close call, underscoring her vulnerability. What’s more, her harshest internal critics will remain” (July 2).

“Increasingly, the chancellor looks a fading beacon of the postwar order, unable to respond strategically to the many challenges facing her and what she stands for—even if tactically she is capable of muddling through,” wrote the Financial Times on July 3.

Merkel’s fragile coalition government has already weathered several storms in its short existence. Each assault on her leadership leaves her position a little weaker. This situation could open the door for a new, stronger leader to take control of Germany.

Prophecy shows that there will be a political challenger in Germany, a strongman who will take the lead in Europe and provide the solutions that unhappy Germans are looking for. Request our report A Strong German Leader Is Imminent for more information.

Nine countries unite under European defense system

Nine European countries have agreed to join a new military coalition specializing in rapid deployments in times of crisis. France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Spain, Portugal and Britain signed a letter of intent on June 25 to get the project started.

The European Intervention Initiative will launch with meetings as early as September. It is open to European Union members and nonmembers. It will operate outside the framework of the EU and will not be subject to protracted debate and votes within the bloc.

The initiative was first proposed last September when French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of the need for an efficient force capable of deploying last-minute aid to unforeseen emergencies.

There were complaints from several nations over the EU’s lack of action and “inability to make foreign-policy decisions and military intervention” (Times, June 26).

“The deadlines and decisions in the EU are still much too long compared to the urgency that can arise from a critical situation in a country where Europeans would consider that there is a strong stake for their security,” said French Defense Minister Florence Parly.

This nine-country force demonstrates Europe’s desire for fast-acting, united military power. The European Intervention Initiative is the latest effort to forge this power.

The late Herbert W. Armstrong forecast such a European ambition decades ago. In May 1953, he wrote that “10 powerful European nations will combine their forces.”

S. African politician threatens race war

South African firebrand politician Julius Malema told trt World in an interview published on June 9, “[W]e’ve not called for the killing of white people, at least for now. I can’t guarantee the future.”

Malema, who leads South Africa’s third-largest political party, made the statement during a discussion on the legality of the South African government sanctioning the seizure of farmland owned by white citizens.

When South Africa ended institutionalized racial segregation in 1994, white farmers owned 85 percent of the nation’s privately held farmland. Over the next 24 years, the government purchased and redistributed 5 million acres of farmland, and black South Africans purchased more than 12 million acres on the open market. But white South Africans still own an estimated 72 percent of the nation’s farmland.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged to accelerate land redistribution by abandoning his government’s “willing buyer, willing seller” principle. Instead, he wants the government to forcibly confiscate land owned by white people without paying them for it.

A Constitutional Review Committee is still examining whether the governing party’s land seizure policy would be legal. Land redistribution seems to be happening too slowly for Malema. “If things are going the way they are, there will be a revolution in this country,” he said. “There will be an unled revolution, and an unled revolution is the highest form of anarchy.”

An estimated 3,000 farmers have been murdered in South Africa since independence in 1994. The rate of these farm murders, according to an AfriForum study, jumped 92 percent in December 2016, one month after Malema told his supporters to occupy any white-owned farmland they desired.

Inflammatory rhetoric “could prompt citizens to disregard the rule of law,” wrote researchers at South Africa’s Agricultural Business Chamber. “As a result, incidents of illegal land occupation will escalate, coupled with farm invasions, subsequently making the agricultural sector nonfunctional and unproductive.”

Such a chain reaction of bloody violence involving seizing people’s homes and racial conflict is prophesied in the Bible. A prophecy in Ezekiel 7:23-24 that applies to the modern descendants of ancient Israel, including many South Africans, reads: “Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence. Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses ….”

Taliban fighters train in Iran

Iran is training and arming the next generation of Taliban fighters on an “unprecedented” scale, according to a July 2 report by the Times of London.

One trainee told the Times that Iran currently has up to 600 Afghani Taliban recruits at a camp in the Iranian province of Kermanshah. Inside the camp’s gym, rifle range, mess halls, classrooms and mosque, Iranian special forces officers train the Taliban fighters in firearms, bomb-making, leadership, tactics, recruitment and Islamist ideology. After completing their training, the militants receive modern Russian weaponry before heading home to Afghanistan.

Iran offered to train these fighters on two conditions, according to a political adviser to the Taliban who spoke to the Times. First, the militant group was required to “put more focus on attacking American and nato interests in Afghanistan and devote more forces to attacking [the Islamic State].” The focus on attacking the U.S. is expected to increase as the Trump administration’s economic sanctions hit Iran harder.

“The scale, quality and length of the training is unprecedented and marks not only a shift in the proxy conflict between the [U.S.] and Iran inside Afghanistan, but also a potential change in Iran’s ability and will to affect the outcome of the Afghan war,” the Times reported.

The proxy war highlights the prophesied increase in Iranian belligerence and America’s diminishing influence. It also foreshadows another proxy war: between Iran and Europe. Iran is training Taliban fighters to attack the interests of nato, an alliance of two North American nations and 27 European states. The Afghan war is part of the front line in this brewing conflict prophesied in Daniel 11:40-43 to pit Catholic Europe against an Iranian-led Islamic power.

Europe gets tougher on migrants

European leaders at a June 28 summit agreed in principle to set up camps for migrants. Newly arrived migrants will be held in secure camps. Officials will determine if they are genuine asylum seekers and allowed into Europe. If they do not merit asylum, they will be deported.

Much remains to be done before the plan is put into action. EU states will have to volunteer to host camps, for example.

The new agreement also calls for Europe to get much more involved in North Africa. The EU pledged to do more to support the military and border forces of countries in the region. It also called for “regional disembarkation platforms” to be set up in cooperation with North African countries. This way, migrants rescued at sea would not be taken to Europe, but returned to one of these centers in North Africa.

Though nothing practically has changed, the agreement is a major shift in Europe’s approach to migration. Countries are closing the floodgates, and Europe is moving toward confronting the problem in North Africa.

Erdoğan claims new autocratic powers

Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won his nation’s June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections and likely cemented his control over Turkey for the next decade.

Turkey’s election authority reported that Erdoğan won an absolute majority, garnering 52.5 percent of the presidential vote. His nearest challenger received only 30.6 percent of the vote—a difference of 13 million Turks. In the parliamentary elections, Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party and its coalition partner won more than half of the seats.

Erdoğan’s victory grants him new executive powers, including power over the judiciary, thanks to a change in the Turkish constitution that Erdoğan advocated last year. He will be able to run for two more terms, likely extending his rule to 2029.

The victory culminated a 15-year transformation of Turkish politics, overseen and largely orchestrated by Erdoğan himself.

In the article, “Exiled Journalist: Beware Turkey’s Authoritarian Shift,” Trumpet managing editor Joel Hilliker wrote, “This transformation in Turkey … is part of a trend that is affecting other major nations. For nearly two centuries, democratic, free societies—led by the British Empire and the United States—have flourished. But modern, sophisticated, wealthy and well-armed nations are now reverting to authoritarianism.”

Erdoğan is a major part of a prophetic trend you can read about in “The New Strongman Age.”

China’s interest in Middle East grows

Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke in Beijing on July 10 at the eighth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. Xi told representatives from 21 Arab nations and the secretary general of the Arab League that “Arab states and China are natural partners” and said China seeks to play a greater role in the affairs of the Middle East.

Xi emphasized the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative, an enormous Chinese infrastructure project that aims to create a modern version of the ancient Silk Road trade route that connected China to Europe. The project spans thousands of miles, including a segment through the Middle East. “Belt and Road cooperation has energized every dimension of Sino-Arab relations and propelled Sino-Arab all-around cooperation into a new phase,” Xi said.

Announcing that a China-Arab cooperation statement will be signed to accelerate progress on the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi said, “This marks a new historical starting point of Sino-Arab friendship and cooperation.”

Xi said he will invite hundreds of Arab scientists and political and religious figures to visit China over the next three years and promised to give $15 million in direct aid to the Palestinian people and $20 billion in loans to help Arab states in economic reconstruction. He also said, “China is determined to become the keeper of peace and stability in the Middle East.”

China’s efforts in the Middle East and beyond are increasing cooperation between China and Europe and several regions in between. These efforts are also fulfilling specific Bible prophecies. Isaiah 23 describes a gigantic “mart of nations” economic partnership including Chittim (an ancient name for modern China) and Tyre (an ancient city representing modern European commerce.) Combined with other Bible passages, this prophecy shows that these economic powerhouses will work together to control global trade for a brief time, at the expense of the United States and Britain.

To understand these prophecies and the hope that is tied to them, request a free copy of Gerald Flurry’s book Isaiah’s End-Time Vision.

Facing U.S. tariffs, China embraces German business

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met in Berlin on July 9, where business leaders from both countries signed $23.5 billion in deals. The efforts to boost German-Chinese trade came as United States President Donald Trump intensified America’s trade dispute with China by announcing a 10 percent tariff on Chinese imports worth $200 billion annually. To offset this increasing pressure from Washington, Chinese leaders hope that Europe, which is also being subjected to American tariffs, will side with China.

China is already Germany’s largest trade partner, exchanging goods worth $230 billion last year. This volume could grow considerably. During the meeting in Berlin, top German companies including Volkswagen and bmw signed investment contracts with China that include plans to produce electric cars with Chinese companies and move some automobile production facilities from the U.S. to China. PJ Media wrote, “[T]he German-Chinese realignment is a warning that not everything would go America’s way if things get nasty” (July 10).

The Prophet Isaiah prophesied of a massive global trade network in the end time, including Germany, China and a number of other important nations. The Bible shows that this “mart of nations” will intentionally exclude America and Britain.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry explained in the July 2016 issue: “The United States and Britain … are going to be literally besiegedeconomically frozen out of world trade!”