Russia leads ten nations at four war drills in two months

Russian President Vladimir Putin has staged four sets of military drills with China, Belarus and other partner nations since September.

From Sept. 14 to 25, 2020, 900 Russian and Belarussian troops participated in “Slavic Brotherhood 2020” drills in Belarus’s southwestern city of Brest, and Russian pilots flew two supersonic, nuclear Tu-160 bombers along the border with the European Union.

Meanwhile, President Putin personally supervised elements of the largest exercises, “Caucasus 2020,” which took place from September 21 to 26 in southern Russia and in the Black and Caspian seas and involved 80,000 personnel from Armenia, Belarus, China, Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan and Russia.

From October 12 to 16, all members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization held a separate set of drills in Belarus. This bloc brings the former Soviet states of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan together under Russian leadership.

From November 8 to 22, Russia and Pakistan held their fifth annual iteration of the “Druzhba” joint war drills in Tarbela, Pakistan, with special operations units practicing optical surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare.

Revelation 9:16 foretells an Asian army at the end of this age that will field an army of 200 million soldiers. Ezekiel 38 specifies which nations will make up this confederacy and shows that it will be led by Russia.

To understand the role of Russia and Vladimir Putin in end-time events, order your free copy of The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia’ by Gerald Flurry.

Japan has enough plutonium for 6,000 nuclear weapons

The Japanese government pledged on Oct. 21, 2020, to move forward with a nuclear energy policy that extracts plutonium from used material. “The government will firmly promote our nuclear energy policy and fuel cycle programs,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said.

Critics point out that since Japan already has a massive stockpile of plutonium and extracting more plutonium to use for energy makes no sense economically, there must be a different reason to extract the additional material.

Japan already has 46 tons of weapons-usable plutonium, more material than is in the nuclear arsenals of China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United Kingdom combined. Should Japan choose to weaponize that 46 tons, it would be able to produce 6,000 warheads. And now it will spend money and resources to extract even more of the world’s most potentially dangerous material.

Meanwhile, Japan’s military has requested a record budget of $51.9 billion for this year, its ninth consecutive annual increase. With this amount of money and a highly advanced industry and economy, Japan could quickly build a huge arsenal of nuclear warheads and the missiles to carry them almost anywhere.

America’s alliance with South Korea is unraveling

The United States may soon remove troops from South Korea. South Korean media noted on Oct. 27, 2020, that the phrase “keeping the current level of U.S. military personnel in Korea” was omitted from the communiqué published after the latest Security Consultative Meeting between South Korean and American officials. South Korea’s Dong-A Ilbo wrote that this is the first time South Korea’s military has hinted at a reduction of U.S. forces in the country.

The news came just two weeks after South Korea’s ambassador to the U.S., Lee Soo-hyuck, addressed the South Korea National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, saying: “Just because Korea chose the U.S. 70 years ago does not mean it has to choose the U.S. for the next 70 years, too.”

One week before Lee’s comments, the chairman of South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff told the nation’s parliament that wartime operational control of South Korea’s forces must be rapidly transferred from the United States to South Korea.

Meanwhile, a special adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the nation should not join the Quad, a military alliance consisting of Australia, Japan India and the United States designed to counter Chinese aggression.

For seven decades the U.S.-South Korea alliance has enabled America to project power into East Asia; currently 28,500 American troops are stationed on the Korean Peninsula. Eliminating this alliance would drastically weaken U.S. power and further empower the Asian economic and military behemoths of China and Russia. The Trumpet continues its decades-long prediction that such a power shift will take place.

Iran takes nuclear development underground

Recent satellite images from Planet Labs Inc. and inspectors from the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency show that Iran has started constructing an advanced centrifuge assembly facility underground in the mountains around Natanz. It will replace the facility that exploded this summer in what Tehran called a sabotage attack.

A senior diplomat told Reuters, “They finished installing one of the three cascades and they have started installing a second cascade.” A cascade is a cluster of centrifuges that combines to purify uranium. Each of the three cascades being installed in the new facility is increasingly advanced and, presumably, able to enrich uranium faster.

This move is Iran’s newest flagrant violation of the 2015 international Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, which expressly forbids it from installing advanced centrifuges underground.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that Iran now holds 12 times the legal amount of low-enriched uranium allowed by the nuclear deal, enough to produce two nuclear weapons and reduce Iran’s nuclear breakout time to two to three months: If it ignores remaining restrictions and purifies its existing uranium to weapons-grade, it can test—or use—its first nuclear bomb by the end of January.

The International Atomic Energy Agency also reported that Iran still has not provided a believable explanation for the discovery of uranium at a site close to Tehran. After Israel exposed the existence of the uranium last year, Iran barred United Nations inspectors from the site for months, during which it would have been able to remove all signs of uranium from the area. Yet the inspectors still discovered traces of nuclear material. These are just Iran’s most recent nuclear violations that have come to light—all in the space of a week. Despite the nuclear deal—and in some ways, due to it—Iran has continued building a robust nuclear weapons program.

Historic Maritime Talks With Israel Show Hezbollah’s Weakened Grip on Lebanon

Israel and Lebanon began negotiations on Oct. 14, 2020, to end a 30-year dispute over their maritime borders. The Lebanese government insists that these negotiations do not signal warming ties between the two nations, but the fact that they are taking place at all indicates a shift underway in Lebanon’s power balance.

In 1982, following Israel’s invasion of Southern Lebanon, a group of Lebanese Shiite clerics formed Hezbollah, a militant group and political party, with the goal of ousting Israel. After the war ended, Hezbollah was one of few militia groups not disarmed by Syria. It remained in the nation, backed by Iran, and continued defending against Israeli attacks.

But after years of Hezbollah’s mismanagement and corruption, the group is no longer viewed as Lebanon’s defender. Though it remains the most influential power in the nation, its sway is waning. Thus Hezbollah had to let Lebanon negotiate with Israel to prove that it is not limiting Lebanon’s access to Mediterranean gas fields in disputed areas.

Based on Bible prophecy, the Trumpet has been expecting Lebanon to pull free of Iranian domination at the hand of Hezbollah. The talks between Israel and Lebanon represent a step toward this prophesied divide. To understand where these events are leading, order your free copy of The King of the South.

Weapons embargo on Iran ends

The weapons embargo imposed on Iran five years ago as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (jcpoa) ended Oct. 18. 2020. Iran can now legally buy and sell conventional armaments, including missiles, helicopters, tanks and fighter jets. Iran’s foreign minister characterized it as “a momentous day for the international community … in defiance of malign U.S. efforts.”

The United States sought to preserve the embargo, arguing that even though it withdrew from the jcpoa nuclear deal in 2015, it could call for restoration of snapback sanctions under United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231. But France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, Iran and other jcpoa signatories and Security Council members rejected the move as having no legal basis.

Iran has a long history of supplying money and weapons to tyrants and terrorist proxies. Now it can again supply these groups not only with weapons it produces, but also with those it buys in the global market.

The Trump administration has warned that the U.S. will penalize countries that buy or sell weapons with Iran. Yet Turkey and Russia have openly negotiated arms sales to Iran, China is working on a possible 25-year strategic and military partnership, and North Korea has reportedly renewed its cooperation on ballistic missiles. America’s enemies are growing bolder and more willing to work openly against American interests.

U.S. trusts Germany with space war, nukes and rapid deployments

On Oct. 22, 2020, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization agreed to establish a new space center at Allied Air Command in Ramstein, Germany. The center could be used to gather information on possible threats against satellites and could later expand into a command center for space defense. This comes after Germany was chosen in 2018 as the location for a new planning and command center for rapid troop and supply deployment.

Meanwhile, the United States is in the process of upgrading its B-61 nuclear bombs that are deployed in Europe. Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey have access to these weapons under a nato agreement. In October, Germany and other European countries are believed to have held their latest annual military drills in which they practice using fighter-bombers to use these bombs against enemy targets.

More and more nato operations are taking place in Germany, meaning that the U.S. is trusting the German military with more and more of nato’s plans, strategies, intelligence and fears. Bible prophecy specifically warns Britain and America, the modern descendants of ancient Israel, not to trust foreign allies. But American trust in Germany appears total.

Read “Europe’s Nuclear Secret” by Gerald Flurry.

Pope urges Europe to ‘rediscover’ Catholicism

In an open letter on Oct. 22, 2020, Pope Francis called on Europe to view its Catholic past not as an “album of memories” but as “a window open to the future more than the past.”

Vatican Foreign Minister Pietro Parolin was scheduled to meet with European Union officials to celebrate three anniversaries of the Vatican’s ties to the EU. The meeting was canceled due to covid restrictions, and Francis responded with this open letter. In it he wrote: “Europe, find yourself. Rediscover your most deeply rooted ideals. Be yourself! Do not be afraid of your millenary history ….” He wrote that “a divided Europe, made up of insular and independent realities, will soon prove incapable of facing the challenges of the future” and that the solution was “a Europe that is a united and fraternal community.”

Francis said he dreamed of “a Europe marked by a healthy secularism” but also the end of “a certain laicism.” This seeming contradiction, simultaneously advocating and opposing the separation of church and state, makes sense in light of Europe’s history and its prophesied future. Europe’s “millenary history” has been marked by empires guided by the Catholic Church. Prophecy shows that Europe will indeed “rediscover” the Catholic Church and unite with it in the next and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire.

Fearful of Russia, Sweden boosts military spending

Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist introduced a historic defense bill on Oct. 14, 2020. The bill would increase military spending by 40 percent ($3 billion) over the next five years, double military personnel to 90,000, provide the air force with improved fighter jets, equip the navy with new submarines and warships, and make other upgrades that would equate to Sweden’s largest military expansion in 70 years. The military recently reintroduced conscription, and it looks to reestablish five northern regiments to increase military cooperation with Norway and Finland.

These proposals come in response to an increase in Russian aggression in Europe. In 2014, it invaded Ukraine and placed Crimea under Russian control. It has repeatedly violated Swedish airspace, and in September 2020, two Russian warships made unauthorized entry into Swedish waters.

“[T]he Russian side is willing to use military means to achieve political goals,” Hultqvist said. “Based on that, we have a new geopolitical situation to deal with.” The new defense bill “is a signal to the Swedish people and our neighborhood that we are taking the security situation extremely seriously.”

In his 2004 article “Russia Frightens Europe—and Fulfills Bible ProphecyTrumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote that Europe’s fear of Russia “gives us a flash of light into a terrifying Bible prophecy. It is building now—at this moment—to a spectacular fulfillment! All of these events in Russia and Europe are working out according to God’s master plan.”