Europe facing migration surge
Syria’s civil war entered a new phase late last year when Bashar al-Assad’s regime ramped up offensives on the northwestern Idlib province. Idlib quickly became the center of one of the worst refugee crises in the entire war, forcing more than 900,000 Syrians to flee to the Syria-Turkey border—the largest single wave of displacement since the war broke out nine years ago. Overwhelmed by the push for these new refugees to join the 3.5 million Syrians already in Turkey, Turkish authorities opened their border with Europe on February 28, allowing thousands of refugees into Greece. The Greeks tried to block the mass migration with barbed wire and tear gas.
The crisis has raised the specter of a return to the 2015 migrant crisis, where Europe was overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of refugees. Many of them refused to integrate, and some even formed migrant gangs, sexually assaulted European women, and plotted terrorist attacks. Enraged Europeans set refugee centers ablaze and attacked incomers.
European leaders clearly don’t want a repeat experience. But to avoid a crisis at home, they risk a humanitarian crisis at Europe’s borders. The EU has offered Turkey more money, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is insisting Europe get more involved in Syria and the Middle East, establishing a “safe zone” in Idlib for the refugees. This would spark a clash with Bashar Assad and, potentially, Russia.
Psalm 83 prophesies that a confederation of moderate Arab nations will align with a German-led European superpower. Among others, the confederation includes the “tabernacles of Edom” (Turkey) and the “Hagarenes” (Syria). “Assur” corresponds to Germany. As Europe faces migration, terrorism, disease, financial instability and other threats, watch for it to form a unified alliance and exert itself aggressively.
EU considering huge facial recognition database
A leaked European Union report seen by the Intercept sheds light on discussions between 10 member nations regarding the creation of a facial recognition database for use by police forces across the EU. Although the Intercept published some details on February 21, the November 2019 report has still not been released to the public.
Though it sounds like something out of a spy movie or George Orwell’s 1984, facial recognition is rapidly becoming one of the most powerful weapons in the arsenal of European law enforcement agencies. A French police officer searching for a thief, smuggler or terrorist would be able to match the suspect’s face to surveillance footage captured in Belgium, Germany, Italy and anywhere else in the EU—possibly even in the United States. European police forces already use facial recognition databases.
Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovenia already use facial recognition technology, and more nations are preparing to deploy it. Current databases can easily be linked using existing technology. The only step remaining is to pass the legislation. If European databases are allowed to link to the Prum database, which facilitates visa-free travel between certain European countries and the United States, then millions of Americans would also be accessible to the EU.
Although this technology is useful for tracking suspects and criminals across national borders, it can easily be used to exert authoritarian control over populations. The government of China has already implemented this oppressive system, using vast networks of facial recognition cameras to institute “social credit” systems.
In London, the average person is caught on camera 300 times throughout the day. European cities have similar systems. Used by undemocratic, dictatorial governments, these systems could be used as part of a powerful security apparatus forcing obedience to draconian measures.
Daniel 8:23 prophesies of a fierce king who will rise up to lead Europe. “This soon-coming ruler could literally be called a king,” writes Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in his free booklet A Strong German Leader Is Imminent. “Even if he is not, the Bible gives him that label. When the Bible talks about a king, in most cases it’s saying that this is not a democratic government.” Europe is already setting up the tools that can easily create an anti-democratic state.
Pakistan enhances nuclear weapons
Pakistan successfully test-fired an upgraded Ra’ad ii nuclear-capable, air-launched cruise missile on February 16. Its military stated that the “high precision” weapon’s range is 375 miles, almost double that of the previous model.
The launch underscores how far Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program has come since 1998 when it became the first Islamic nation to join the short list of nuclear-armed powers.
Meanwhile, parts of Pakistan have become hotbeds of Islamic radicalism, and the Pakistani military routinely works with some of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups. Many fear that Islamic terrorists could gain control over Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
The Trumpet has often warned of this danger. In the January 2008 issue, editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote: “Pakistan also has the nuclear bomb and could be taken over by radical Islam, with plenty of help from Iran,” adding that Pakistan’s military could soon become a “proxy of the Iranian mullahs” (theTrumpet.com/4493).
Whether Pakistan’s nuclear weapons fell under the control of Iran-linked jihadists, homegrown terrorists or some other faction, the results could be catastrophic.
Iran triples reserve of enriched uranium
The International Atomic Energy Agency announced on March 3 that between November and February, Iran nearly tripled its stockpile of enriched uranium from 372 kilograms to 1,021 kilograms. Iran now has five times the limit set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The IAEA also said Iran is refusing to answer questions about three potential undeclared nuclear sites, and denying any international observers access to them. Therefore, Iran could actually have a larger amount of enriched uranium than is accounted for.
The amount of progress Iran has made in less than three months indicates that if it wholly dedicates itself to the task, it can quickly produce a nuclear warhead. Experts say it might take three to four months for Iran to enrich its uranium to weapons-grade level.
Daniel 11:40 states, “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has identified “the king of the south” as radical Islam, led by Iran. He has consistently warned of the danger it is that this power, motivated by radical ideology, is pursuing nuclear weapons.
Israeli leftists embrace anti-Zionist Arabs
On March 16, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin gave Benny Gantz four weeks to attempt to form a coalition government. On March 2, in the third election over the past 12 months, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party won the highest number of votes, but his coalition of right-wing and religious parties consisted of 58 seats, shy of the 61 seats required for a majority in the Knesset.
Gantz’s Blue and White party, which won 33 seats, is attempting to form a coalition along with far-left parties Yisrael Beiteinu and, unexpectedly, the Joint List, a group of anti-Zionist Arab parties. Gantz and party members repeatedly said they would not form a coalition with Arab parties. But the Joint List won 15 seats in the election, and it has offered its support in an attempt to prevent Netanyahu from continuing as prime minister. Its strategy was apparently to block Netanyahu with Gantz, then withdraw its support from the coalition, allowing Gantz to continue as the leader of a minority government. Among other things, this would likely continue the political gridlock that has plagued the country in recent months.
This political maneuvering has exposed Gantz’s and others’ shocking level of hatred for Netanyahu and the Jewish nature of the State of Israel. Of course, there is nothing wrong about welcoming an Arab into your government. Indeed, Likud and others have Arab representation inside their parties. However, the Joint List is made up of leaders whose stated goal is to destroy Israel’s foundational status as a Jewish state.
Israel’s current battle for its identity, as exposed by the recent election, is eerily similar to the battle taking place in the United States and even in the United Kingdom. These three nations share the same roots: the remarkable, civilization-defining promises made to the patriarch Abraham by God Himself. And all three nations, and their leaders, are now under attack by radical leftists.
Wherever the election process and Israel go from here, it is clear that something unprecedented and undemocratic is taking place in the attempt to remove Netanyahu.
To understand these alarming developments in the context of Bible prophecy, including the motivating factor behind the unhinged attempts to take down elected leaders, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s landmark article “Saving America From the Radical Left—Temporarily.”
Russia upgrading nuclear weapons
Russia is replacing older nuclear technology with newer and deadlier options, in a trend that the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said on January 29 has Europeans “very concerned.”
As of December 2018, Russia had produced at least 100 ssc-8 “Iskander” intermediate range, ground-launched cruise missiles. European leaders decried this as a violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. If deployed to Russia’s Kaliningrad territory north of Poland or Crimea, the weapon will have all European nato nations within range.
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in 2004 that Europe’s increasing fear of Russia will “cause 10 leaders in Europe to unite in a sudden and dramatic way” as the only way to safeguard against an aggressive and dangerous Russia. These 10 European leaders are “a resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire,” identified in Daniel 11 as “the king of the north.” Verse 40 says, “tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble” this united European bloc. Europe is being “troubled” right now. Russia’s aggressive nuclear advancements are setting off a chain reaction prophesied in your Bible. Watch for Europe to unite.
Asia suffering four ‘plagues’
Asia started the year 2020 simultaneously suffering the covid-19 coronavirus, bird flu, African swine fever and swine flu. In addition to the illness and panic caused by coronavirus, African swine fever has destroyed about two thirds of China’s pigs. Herds in Cambodia, North Korea and Vietnam have been similarly devastated. At the same time, H5N1 bird flu is rapidly spreading. According to the Daily Mail, “China has reportedly seen an outbreak of a ‘highly pathogenic’ strain of H5N1 bird flu, which has already killed 4,500 chickens.” Chinese authorities have culled more than 17,000 chickens. Unlike African swine fever, H5N1 bird flu can infect humans. Though this is rare, it has a human mortality rate of about 60 percent. (Coronavirus has a mortality rate of 1 to 2 percent or less.) Meanwhile, the H1N1 swine flu has spread to 100,000 people in Taiwan, where 13 infected people died in one week, including one who had been vaccinated.
Revelation 6 contains a prophecy of what are commonly called the “four horsemen of the apocalypse,” representing religious deception, war, famine and disease outbreaks. To learn more about these coming disasters and the only sure way of escape, request your free copy of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Russia’s oil war targets America
With fears about coronavirus affecting demand for oil around the world, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met on March 6 to propose that total oil output be reduced by 1.5 million barrels a day to prevent prices from dropping too quickly. Russia refused to cooperate with OPEC, which prompted Saudi Arabia to also refuse and instead increase production by 2 million barrels per day. In an already oversupplied global market, this caused prices of Brent Crude oil to plunge 31 percent to a low of $31.25 a barrel, its steepest single-day drop since the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
It only costs $9.90 for Saudi Arabia to pump a barrel of crude oil out of an existing oil field, while it takes Russia $17.20 to do the same. So the Saudi government figures it can survive low oil prices far longer than Russia can.
But this dispute actually revolves around American oil and gas companies. Most U.S. oil is far more difficult to extract than that of Russia or Saudi Arabia. This increased difficulty means that few U.S. producers can turn a profit when the oil price drops below $40 per barrel.
Saudi Arabia’s response to Russia’s refusal to cooperate with OPEC probably pushed prices lower than Russia expected. In the long term, the slashed prices may squeeze Russia’s oil-dependent economy more than the U.S.’s diversified economy. But in the short term, the precipitous price drop will likely hurt U.S. oil and gas companies.
In Russia’s geopolitical calculus, anything it can do to prevent America from becoming a net energy exporter strengthens the Kremlin’s influence over energy importers such as Germany. So for the time being, Russia seems willing to suffer through low oil prices to prevent America from developing its oil fields to the point at which it can start offering nations an alternative to Russian energy.