WorldWatch

From the September 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

Bastille Day showcases European military cooperation

France commemorated Bastille Day on July 14 with a major military parade, involving 4,300 armed forces personnel, 196 vehicles, 69 airplanes, 39 helicopters and 237 horses. Though it recalls a key event of the French Revolution and honors the French military, this year’s parade celebrated not just the French military but also the armed forces of Europe.

Also marching in the parade were personnel from 10 European nations: France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Portugal and Finland, and was observed by leaders from seven of those nations, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

These nations are all members of the European Intervention Initiative, an exclusive European military alliance operating outside of European Union rules yet benefiting from shared EU military projects.

In “France Is Betraying America and Fulfilling Bible Prophecy!Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote, “We must see what is now rapidly building in Europe. This push for a united European army is nothing less than an effort to resurrect the old Holy Roman Empire! That empire has risen up within Europe repeatedly throughout history.”

German police, army becoming far right

German police officers are turning to the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, the head of Germany’s largest police union told the Rheinische Post on June 24. Jörg Radek said that many police officers “have faced difficulties” after Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the door to migrants in 2015. This “has been expressed in sympathy with the right-wing nationalist political spectrum,” he said. Merkel’s decision to open the door to migrants “has developed sympathy for the AfD in the federal police. The political aftermath of this is that today federal police officers vote for the AfD.”

Germany’s mainstream parties are worried about the trend. One senior Christian Democratic Union leader warned: “We are clearly losing parts of the military to the AfD. We are losing parts of the federal police to the AfD.”

One of the AfD’s leaders has said that Germany should be “proud” of its “accomplishments” in both world wars and that Germany should stop being afraid of its history. The party also criticizes Germany for memorializing the Holocaust.

Many of those voting for the AfD may not share these extreme views. But the refusal of mainstream politicians to address the migrant crisis is pushing many to support this party. They may soon start to conclude that since the AfD is right about migrants, maybe it is right about the Nazis as well.

EU weaponizing its Internet laws

The European Union promoted its data privacy rules to nations attending a G-20 meeting in Japan on June 8 and 9. EU delegates led the push for greater taxes on companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, which profit greatly from the large EU market. The G-20 agreed to take action. The EU said it will also pursue stricter regulations on cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

“Europe may not have an Apple or a Facebook, but it does have one killer export when it comes to technology: regulation,” wrote Politico on June 7. “The EU’s first line of attack is to push data protection rules in upcoming trade deals, as well as in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements across the globe.”

The EU has become the world’s leader in setting global rules for digital privacy. Now it intends to export those rules, pushing them upon more nations by including them in trade deals. This has come to be known as the “Brussels effect.”

“Europe wants to conquer the world all over again. Only this time, its killer app isn’t steel or gunpowder. It’s an EU legal juggernaut aimed at imposing ever tougher privacy rules on governments and companies from San Francisco to Seoul,” Politico wrote.

Bermuda, Colombia and South Korea have been forced to reword their national data privacy laws to conform to the EU’s stricter standards, so their businesses can keep interacting with European customers.

The EU’s rules have “long tentacles,” John Giles, an attorney in South Africa, told Politico. “Any country that’s not working toward these standards is left out in the cold.”

Meanwhile France is moving fast in the attack on American tech firms. France’s lower house of Parliament approved the creation of a 3 percent tax on multinational technology companies on July 4. Any company making more than $847 million in global revenue and more than $28 million in French revenue will have to pay. It is expected to bring more than half a billion dollars a year for the French government.

Many take for granted their freedom to use the Internet without being censored. But this freedom is starting to disappear. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry warned against Europe’s effort to control the Internet in the July issue, in “Germany Is Taking Control of the Internet.”

Will Germany lead Europe’s air defense?

Defense ministers of Germany, France and Spain signed up to participate in Europe’s Future Combat Air System at the International Paris Air Show on June 17.

The program will design and construct Europe’s sixth-generation stealth fighter jet and its weapons, which include new cruise missiles and drone swarms controlled from the cockpit of the aircraft.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen called it a “big day for the European defense union.”

Dassault and Airbus are currently developing the fighter, with more European companies expected to join. Leaders hope the project will unify Europe’s military power.

One of the main reasons for its development is to give Europe greater military independence from the U.S. and to guard against emerging stealth technology in hostile nations like China.

The Bible forecasts exactly the rise of this kind of military union in Europe.

Crimea ‘bristling with missiles’

Satellite imagery published by Defense One on June 12 shows that during the preceding 18 months, Russia deployed additional aircraft, warships, troops and advanced missile systems to locations across the Crimean Peninsula.

The buildup continues a pattern that began back in 2014 when Russia illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine. Since then, Russian President Vladimir Putin has doubled the number of soldiers there to about 32,000 and has deployed 680 armored vehicles and about 100 aircraft.

Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies told Defense One that the peninsula is now “bristling with missiles like a hedgehog.”

The Middlebury Institute said this buildup communicates Russia’s desire to hold Crimea and to project power well beyond its immediate environment. This puts nato “under increasing pressure from allies in the region to show that it’s able to push back against Russian attempts to gain greater control of the Black Sea.”

Shortly after Putin annexed Crimea, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote “The Crimean Crisis Is Reshaping Europe!” Based on prophecies in Daniel and Revelation, he forecast that Russian aggression would force Europe to unite. “The fear you see in Europe because of events in Crimea is going to cause 10 leaders in Europe to unite in a sudden and dramatic way—and in precise accordance with the Bible’s description of that European empire!” he wrote.

In the five years since that article was written, Russia has become more aggressive, militaristic and provocative, including with its ongoing buildup on Europe’s doorstep in Crimea.Mr. Flurry makes plain that these developments will soon escalate into worldwide conflict. For insight into what the future holds for Russia and Europe, order your free copy of Mr. Flurry’s booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’

Russians in the Caribbean

A fleet of Russian warships traveled through the Caribbean Sea and docked in Cuba from June 24 to 26 in the latest example of Russia’s increasing military activity near the United States.

The four-vessel fleet—led by one of Russia’s most advanced and modern warships, the Admiral Gorshkov—sailed through the Panama Canal on June 17 and entered the port of Havana, just 90 miles from the Florida coast. If fired from that location, the ship’s nuclear- capable Brahmos missiles could strike targets on the U.S. mainland in just six seconds.

Russia’s port call in Havana is only the latest instance of the nation boosting its military power close to America’s shores. Not only in Cuba, but also in Venezuela and Nicaragua, Russia is forging military relationships with unstable, anti-U.S. nations run by Communist or socialist governments.

Few realize it, but the region is becoming a staging ground for a future besiegement of America. About 2,700 years ago, God inspired the Prophet Isaiah to write about a trade alliance—“a mart of nations”—that would form in the end time (Isaiah 23:3). The Bible shows that this alliance will be led by European and Asian powers. The influence Russia, China and Europe are now building in Latin America will facilitate this prophesied besiegement. To learn more, request Isaiah’s End-Time Vision.

Putin and the pope keep meeting—why?

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on July 4. This is his third meeting with the pope, a high number for a leader who is not only a dictator but also closely allied with the Orthodox Church, which split from the papacy almost 1,000 years ago.

Little is known of the agenda of the nearly hour-long meeting, but a Vatican statement said the two discussed Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela, and “the life of the Catholic Church in Russia.”

After the meeting, Putin met with Italy’s president and prime minister. He asked Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for help in improving relations between Russia and the European Union, especially to end EU and United States sanctions that have cost his country $50 billion since 2014.

The Trumpet has long expected Russia and a German-led Europe to make some kind of a deal. The Vatican, which often plays a very public political role, could be a big part of making that happen.

Iraq builds military with Iranian terrorists

On July 1, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi gave Shiite militias 30 days to close their bases, end their political associations, change their names and fully integrate with Iraqi Armed Forces. Otherwise, their 140,000 fighters will have to disarm and transform themselves into benign civil organizations or regular political parties.

These militias, called Popular Mobilization Units, were established in 2014 to fight Islamic State terrorists. But they have since been blamed for terrorist acts and human rights violations of their own.

Most of these militias are backed by Iran. If this integration into the Iraqi military proceeds, Iran may lose some of its influence in Iraq—or it may be able to increase its influence over all of Iraq’s armed forces. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy wrote on July 3, “The plan has the potential to either reduce the risk from militias or dangerously consolidate their power, depending on how it is implemented.”

“Although the new policy mandates that the [Popular Mobilization Units] integrate with the Iraqi state, it does not require their subordination,” observed Foreign Policy on July 9. “If anything, the risk may be that the state is subordinating itself to the paramilitary groups, not the other way around.”

Militias that integrate with the Iraqi military will also gain access to more advanced matériel, some of which is American-made.

Iran has influence in Iraq not only through these militias, but also through its connections to the Iraqi military itself. The two nations have discussed holding joint military, air defense and missile defense exercises. One Iranian commander said in June, “[Iranian] forces are at the highest level of combat readiness and are ready to transfer experiences in the field to the Iraqi Army.”

This is a trend the Trumpet has followed closely since the 1990s. In the December 1994 Trumpet, editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote, “Such a takeover [of Iraq] by Iran would shock the world.” In June 2003, he wrote: “Now that Iraq has been taken out of the picture, Iran is even closer to becoming the reigning king of the Middle East. It may seem shocking, given the U.S. presence in the region right now, but prophecy indicates that, in pursuit of its goal, Iran will probably take over Iraq. At least, it will have a heavy influence over the Iraqi people.”

The prophecy Mr. Flurry was referring to is Daniel 11:40-43. You can study it yourself. For a study guide, request Mr. Flurry’s free booklet The King of the South.

Iran breaks agreement, exceeds uranium limit

Iran officially broke the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on July 1 when its uranium stockpile exceeded the 660-pound limit outlined in the nuclear deal.

Signed by Britain, China, France, Germany, Iran, Russia and the United States in 2015 and implemented on Jan. 16, 2016, the agreement required Iran to reduce its stockpile of 22,046 pounds of 20 percent enriched uranium to a maximum of 660 pounds of 3.67 percent enriched uranium. The 3.67 percent enriched material can be used for civilian nuclear reactors but not for weapons. Uranium that is enriched 20 percent can quickly be enriched to 90 percent, which can be used in nuclear weapons.

United States President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions against Iran’s vital banking, oil and shipping sectors. Crude oil accounts for about 72 percent of Iran’s total exports. After a year of sanctions, oil shipments have dropped from 2.5 million barrels per day to only 400,000.

Iran’s increased uranium production is its latest retaliatory response against the U.S. In May, Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq allegedly fired a rocket that landed near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. They also allegedly used drones to fire at a Saudi Arabian oil pipeline. Sea mines believed to have been planted by Iran blasted four oil tankers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Norway, which were anchored in the Gulf of Oman.

In June, explosions set off by alleged Iranian sea mines in the Gulf of Oman damaged a Japanese-flagged vessel and a Norwegian-owned tanker. A few days later, Iran’s Popular Mobilization Units purportedly fired rockets and mortar shells at three Iraqi bases where American military personnel are stationed and at the edge of a compound housing employees of American oil company ExxonMobil. Iran also shot down an American military drone that it claimed had intruded into Iranian airspace. President Trump approved a U.S. military counterstrike, but then canceled it at the last moment.

When Iran announced its breach of the nuclear deal uranium limit, it also threatened to leave the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would cast off any remaining restrictions on its nuclear weapons program.

Daniel 11:40 prophesies of an end-time “king of the south” that has a foreign policy with “push.” For over 25 years, Gerald Flurry has pointed to Iran fulfilling this prophecy. In these latest provocations, Iran is showing its character in a way that underscores this truth.