WorldWatch

From the November 2018 Trumpet Print Edition

Revolt against Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced an open revolt on September 25 in an election for the head of the parliamentary group of her Christian Democratic Union party. The vote was considered a mere formality, since incumbent Volker Kauder has been a Merkel confidant for 13 years and received a strong endorsement from her.

Yet Kauder lost against newcomer Ralph Brinkhaus. Many consider the 125 votes for Brinkhaus as less of a demand for new leadership in the parliamentary group and more of a way to express dissent against Merkel.

Merkel plainly admitted that Kauder’s failure to win reelection was a personal “defeat,” and the Financial Times commented that it “was described in Berlin … as a mini-revolution that exposed the depth of hostility toward the chancellor in her own parliamentary party” (September 25).

Merkel’s 13-year chancellorship is about to give way to a leadership vacuum. This is the exact situation theTrumpet.com has predicted will lead to the rise of a German strongman. History has shown that in times of crises, democracies fail and people demand an authoritarian to establish security and strength. This is specifically prophesied for German-led Europe in Bible passages such as Daniel 8. This man will take over Germany’s government and exercise tremendous authority. The stage is being set for this man to rise before our eyes.

Sweden struggles to form government

Sweden is struggling to form a government after inconclusive elections. The populist Sweden Democrats achieved record results in the September 9 vote—5 percent more than in 2014. The Social Democrats, Sweden’s established center-left party, experienced their worst result since 1911.

Results placed the Sweden Democrats third at 17.5 percent, behind the center-right and center-left blocs, which were nearly tied. The center-right alliance of the Moderate Party, Liberal Party, Center Party and Christian Democrats received 40.4 percent of the vote. The center-left, composed of the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Left Party, received 40.7 percent.

With more than 60 seats in parliament, “the Sweden Democrats have reshaped the country’s politics,” wrote Politico (September 10). Some fear that this will cause political paralysis, since both the center-left and center-right blocs refuse to work with the Sweden Democrats. Yet neither the right nor the left bloc can form a coalition without bringing other parties on board.

The mood of Swedish voters has changed, and even the main parties had to address issues they have avoided in the past, such as mass migration and crime. Politico stated that “established parties took a new, hard-line approach on immigration—effectively stealing the Sweden Democrats’ thunder—while still focusing on the traditional welfare issues that appeal to their core voters” (ibid).

Populist parties and populist policies are gaining traction across Europe, even in liberal Sweden. This is the beginning of a political revolution, a revolution that was prophesied in the Bible. Revelation 17 describes modern Europe as being led by “kings,” rather than democracies. The growing support for anti-establishment parties shows major dissatisfaction with the current political system and an openness to something different.

EU president calls for boosting border forces

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said during his September 12 State of the Union speech that Europe must dramatically expand its European Border and Coast Guard. He aims to spend $1.5 billion to add another 10,000 border guards by 2020.

The European Border and Coast Guard was established in 2016 with 1,500 members. Original proposals estimated that the force would increase to 10,000, but not until 2027.

The scope of powers for this proposed force is notable. It will operate with executive powers and its own equipment, including “vessels, planes and vehicles, available to be deployed at all times and for all necessary operations,” Juncker said. The force will operate “wherever and whenever” along the EU’s external borders as well as in non-EU countries.

The border force will also have the authority to conduct identity checks, to allow or deny border entry, to stamp travel documents, and to patrol and intercept illegal border crossings. The force will also have authority to implement the involuntary return of certain individuals.

The EU claims this force will operate under the command of whichever member state it is located in. Yet at the same time, it has said that when the EU’s interests require it, the force can intervene even without the approval of the member state in which it is operating.

This expanding force is establishing some powerful precedents that will be necessary for transforming Europe into a unified superpower, as prophesied in the Bible.

Germany resets relations with Turkey

September 27–29, Germany hosted a state visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said the trip was “extremely successful.” This was a stark change from last year, when Germans were protesting Erdoğan in the streets, and he called German officials “Nazis.”

Many Germans still resent Erdoğan, and many protested the state visit. But the fact that the German government greeted Erdoğan with full military honors shows that German politicians value the relationship between the two countries. Even at the height of recent tensions, the two never broke off relations completely. Now, Erdoğan said, the two countries “need to focus on joint interests, leaving aside some recent differences of opinion.”

This renewed friendship between Turkey and Germany is especially remarkable in light of Turkey’s recent break with the United States. The U.S. has placed economic sanctions on Turkey, but Germany is openly working to help Turkey survive those sanctions and to thwart U.S. policy on Turkey.

The Bible prophesies in Psalm 83 that Germany will ally with Turkey.

Germany to train Iraqi military

The German military officially began its own mission to train the Iraqi Army on August 11. The mission does not have the support of the United Nations, and it overlaps with a similar nato-led mission.

nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg [was] surprised about Germany’s decision,” wrote Der Spiegel on July 6. “At a confidential meeting with German defense politicians, he said that nobody in the alliance understands why Germany wanted to get involved in Iraq, but not in cooperation with the alliance” (Trumpet translation).

The major difference is that nato’s training mission includes pro-Iranian militias that have integrated with the Iraqi Army, but Germany’s mission excludes them. Germany’s aim is to make the Iraqi military stronger, and more independent from Iran.

In addition to training the Iraqi Army, Germany will continue training Kurdish forces in northern Iraq. Germans have been training the Kurds to fight the Islamic State since 2014. The Islamic State is largely defeated, yet they continue to train the largely anti-Iranian Kurds and connect them closer to Iraq’s central government.

The Bible prophesies that Germany will lead a European power that will confront Iranian aggression and terrorism. The Bible also indicates that Germany has a military strategy to contain Iran through various troop deployments encircling Iranian interests. Germany’s new, independent mission in Iraq is thus prophetically significant. To read more about Germany’s strategy to encircle Iran, please read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s booklet Germany’s Secret Strategy to Destroy Iran.

Iran stations more missiles in Iraq

Reports say that Iran is supplying its proxies in Iraq with ballistic missiles to deter attacks on its interests in the region and to threaten regional foes.

“According to three Iranian officials, two Iraqi intelligence sources and two Western intelligence sources, Iran has transferred short-range ballistic missiles to allies in Iraq over the last few months,” Reuters reported on August 31. “Five of the officials said it was helping those groups to start making their own.”

Iranian plans for arming Iraqi militia with ballistic missiles and for helping them produce their own reportedly began in early 2017, nearly a year before the Islamic State was officially defeated. And after the defeat, Reuters reported, “activity had ramped up.”

An Iraqi intelligence official said, “It was clear to Iraqi intelligence that such a missile arsenal sent by Iran was not meant to fight [Islamic State] militants but as a pressure card Iran can use once involved in regional conflict. … We can’t restrain militias from firing Iranian rockets because, simply, the firing button is not in our hands, it’s with Iranians who control the push button. … Iran will definitely use the missiles it handed over to Iraqi militia it supports to send a strong message to its foes in the region and the United States that it has the ability to use Iraqi territories as a launch pad for its missiles to strike anywhere and anytime it decides.”

One of the Iranian officials who spoke to Reuters said, “We have [missile launch bases] in many places, and Iraq is one of them. If America attacks us, our friends will attack America’s interests and its allies in the region.” If short-range ballistic missiles are launched from southern or western Iraq, Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, and the Israeli city of Tel Aviv would fall well within the missiles’ 430-mile range.

“It seems Iran has been turning Iraq into its forward missile base” and is now using the transfer of these missiles to send a warning message to the United States and its allies, the Western source said.

In 1994, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry predicted that Iraq would fall to Iran. It seemed unlikely then, but the Iranians now control Iraq to the degree that they can deploy ballistic missiles and set up missile factories on Iraqi soil, and the Iraqi government will not or cannot stop them. Mr. Flurry based his prediction on Bible prophecy, which indicates that radical Islam, led by Iran, will “push” at its enemies and dominate many nations in the Middle East as the “king of the south” (Daniel 11:40-43). His free booklet The King of the South explains these prophecies in greater detail.

Russia, China hold largest war games ever

The militaries of Russia and China held a large-scale military exercise from September 11 to 17 throughout Siberia and parts of Russia’s Far East. With more than 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 aircraft and 80 naval vessels taking part, the Vostok 2018 drill is believed to be the largest military exercise ever held.

The involvement of China’s People’s Liberation Army included 3,200 troops, 900 combat vehicles and 30 aircraft, making it China’s largest-ever dispatch of forces abroad for military games.

Vasily Kashin, senior research fellow at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, told the Trumpet on September 14 that the drills show how closely the militaries of Russia and China have become, especially as both nations’ ties to the United States are increasingly strained. “[I]f the current trend of deterioration of the Russian-U.S. and Sino-U.S. relations persists,” Kashin said, a “formal military alliance” between Russia and China could emerge.

Herbert W. Armstrong, editor in chief of the Trumpet’s forerunner magazine, the Plain Truth, forecast for decades that Russia and China would form a close military partnership in the end time—just before the Second Coming. The December 1962 Plain Truth listed some specific Bible scriptures that informed Mr. Armstrong’s forecast: “From time to time, news commentators—in describing the coming catastrophic military struggle for world control—use the biblical expression Armageddon found in Revelation 16:16. But what they do not mention is a striking prophecy about ‘Armageddon’ found in Revelation 16:12. In this verse we read that ‘the way of the kings of the east’ is to be prepared!”

To understand how this “kings of the east” refers to Russia, China and other Asian nations, and to see where the rapidly warming relations between Moscow and Beijing are leading, order our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

China’s navy makes advances

The capabilities of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy are continuing to catch up with the United States Navy. The country’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier—the Shandong—set sail for its second set of sea trials on August 27 and is scheduled to enter service sometime next year. Construction has also accelerated on China’s third aircraft carrier.

China’s navy also launched the Nanchang, a Type 055 guided missile destroyer, for its first sea trials on August 24. The Type 055 is Asia’s largest and most formidable noncarrier warship.

These developments are significant because unlike most of the vessels currently in service with China’s navy, these aircraft carriers and Type 055s are capable of operating in the open ocean, well beyond China’s coast.

Meanwhile, China is also tightening its grip on the South China Sea, further developing its first overseas base in the East African country of Djibouti and working toward establishing a naval base in Gwadar, Pakistan. With its aircraft carriers and Type 055s soon entering service, China will be able to defend and increase its number of bases.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has said that China’s expansion of its naval capacity—in the South China Sea and beyond—should alarm the world because it means “China is steering the world toward war.”

India, Pakistan join SCO military drill

India and Pakistan participated in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s biannual anti-terrorism military drill from August 22 to 29 in Chebarkul, Russia, marking the two countries’ first time taking part in an sco military drill since they became full members of the organization last year.

The sco is a political, economic and security alliance led by Russia and China that also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The Peace Mission 2018 military drill was conducted by Russia’s Central Military Commission, with more than 3,000 soldiers from seven sco member states participating.

The entrance of India and Pakistan into the Russia- and China-led sco is significant because Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has identified Russia as the nation that will lead an end-time Asian military bloc referred to in Bible prophecy as “the kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12). Mr. Flurry’s forecast is based on prophecies in Ezekiel 38, Daniel 11 and other chapters showing that a union of Asian nations led by Russia will emerge in the end time. Based on Ezekiel 38:6, Mr. Flurry has also said that India, and perhaps Pakistan, will be part of this Asian alliance.

In The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia,’ he writes: “Ezekiel’s prophecy says the Russian-led army will include ‘Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya … Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people …’ (Ezekiel 38:5-6). Gomer refers to Japan …. Ethiopia and Libya should be translated ‘Cush’ and ‘Phut.’ Some of Cush and Phut migrated to African nations, but the rest settled in parts of India. The context of this passage shows that it refers to modern-day Indians (and perhaps Pakistanis) rather than Africans.”

Russia and China are the main powers driving the biblically prophesied cooperation of “the kings of the east,” and the sco appears to be a major tool they are using to do so. The latest sco military drills help to set the stage for the leaders, economies and militaries of “the kings of the east” to unite. To understand more about this subject, request a copy of our free booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’