Iran: The German Solution
Watershed events do not occur often in the ebb and flow of international relations. It’s rarer still for two regions of critical importance to experience watershed events in the same week.
This could be one of those weeks.
EU leaders are meeting in Brussels today for what could end up being a historic summit. Discussions will center on preventing the meltdown of Greece’s economy, and by extension the flailing economies of the other Club Med countries (Portugal, Spain and Italy). But the stakes are far higher than just the future of Greece. This crisis threatens to scuttle the euro, demolish the eurozone and emasculate the European Union politically and economically. It’s no exaggeration to say that today’s summit is about preventing the political and financialmeltdown of Europe.
The most significant angle of the Greek crisis is that it is driving European countries into the arms of Germany. Yesterday, according to reports from the German media, German leaders met to determine some sort of rescue plan for Greece. Berlin is expected to dictate its plan to the rest of the EU at today’s summit. This is huge. As Stratfor noted, should Germany set the precedent of rescuing troubled economies, “there will no longer be anything ‘implied’ or ‘assumed’ about German control of the European Central Bank and the eurozone. The control will become reality, and that control will have consequences. For all intents and purposes, Germany will run the fiscal policies of peripheral member states …” (February 8; emphasis mine).
Germany is using its checkbook to grab more fully the political and economicreinsof Europe!
But that’s not the only set of reins Germany appears to be snatching.
Anxiety is peaking among Westerners today as Iran celebrates the 31st anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution. Earlier this week, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei warned that Iran will use February 11 as an opportunity to “punch the arrogance” of the West in a way “that will leave them stunned.”
Punch or no punch, experts agree that the Iran vs. the West struggle is nearing its climax. U.S.-led efforts to coddle and coerce Tehran into compliance have done nothing but equip Ahmadinejad with time and peace of mind. He has obliged in the only way rogues know how. Last week Tehran launched a new missile into space. On Sunday Ahmadinejad ordered his atomic chief to enrich uranium to a higher, weapons-grade level of purity. On Tuesday, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization announced that he had begun fulfilling his boss’s request.
The West must respond.
But who is going to step up to the plate?
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t mince words Tuesday when he responded to Iran’s decision to enrich purer uranium. “Iran is racing forward to produce nuclear weapons,” he said. “I believe that what is required right now is tough action from the international community. This means not moderate sanctions, or watered-down sanctions. This means crippling sanctions and these sanctions must be applied right now.” It’s no coincidence that Netanyahu delivered those remarks to European diplomats who were visiting Israel. Dialogue between Israel and European countries has increased dramatically in recent weeks and months. Now it is growing increasingly evident that Europe—particularly Germany—is replacing Washington at the vanguard of international efforts to control Iran.
This, too, is huge.
Over the past decade, Germany became one of Iran’s largest trade partners. In 2008, German exports to Iran topped $6 billion. Meanwhile, dozens of German companies have set up offices in Iran. Politically, Berlin’s approach toward Tehran has been pragmatic and cautious. While always careful not to draw too much attention to its economic attachments to Iran, Germany has tried not to jeopardize those interests and has consistently refrained from supporting tough action, including sanctions, against the regime. For years Berlin has backed away from picking a fight with Tehran.
On January 27, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stood alongside Israel’s President Shimon Peres in Berlin and delivered her strongest condemnation of Iran to date. “Iran’s time is up,” she said. “It is now time to discuss widespread international sanctions. We have shown much patience and that patience is up.” Merkel even suggested that Berlin pursue the sanctions path with “a group of like-minded countries” if all UN Security Council members (notably China and Russia) do not go along.
Iran got the message. The deputy minister of intelligence responded to Merkel’s remark by accusing German diplomats of being involved in the Ashura protests. Following his comments, Iranian state television reported that two German diplomats were arrested during the riots in December.
Now it even appears German companies are cutting back on doing business in Iran. On the same day Merkel reprimanded Iran, German industrial giant Siemens announced that it was planning to sever ties with the Islamic Republic. One week earlier, Germany’s Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper reported that the Hamburg-based ports company hhla had decided to trash its planned agreement to work with an Iranian company to modernize the port terminals of Bandar-Abbas. In a recent statement, Ferrostaal, a petrochemical company, stated that it serviced no orders from Iran in 2009 and that all its past contracts “are finished already.”
Notice who else recently jumped into the fray. At the Munich Security Conference last Sunday, German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg responded to Ahmadinejad’s call for higher-grade uranium by instructing the international community to make it clear to Iran that its “patience is at an end.” It may be that the “thumbscrew of sanctions” need to be tightened, Guttenberg warned. His statements were strong, though slightly more nuanced than those of Wolfgang Ischinger, the German politician chairing the conference. Remarking on Ahmadinejad’s demand for purer uranium, Ischinger stated, “I interpret this as a threat.”
Some might say Ischinger’s statement lacked tact—that he was too candid. But he’s right.
Now Germany is showing signs that it is prepared to deal with this threat!
For students of Bible prophecy, Germany’s growing willingness to confront Iran points right to Daniel 11:40-41: “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 …. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown ….”
As we have explained for almost 20 years—and has been borne out repeatedly in real-world events—this “king of the south” is radical Islam, under the leadership of Iran. But if you read this passage carefully, it’s obvious that while the king of the south is a key actor in this end-time drama, it does not play the lead role. Actually, it plays a secondary role—which Iran is fulfilling even now—of aggravating the “king of the north.” Iran pushes, and pushes and pushes, until eventually this great northern combine barrels into the Middle East, smashes the king of the south, establishes itself as the regional hegemon, and then “enters” peacefully into the “glorious land,” a biblical term for Jerusalem.
This prophecy in Daniel 11 is more about the king of the north than it is the king of the south!
Daniel’s towering prophecy informs us that the king of the north actually rises to a great extent out of the actions of the king of the south. When we analyze Germany’s growing willingness to confront Iran from this prophetic perspective, we see through the daily hubris and into the larger, more significant, reality: The King of the north is rising!
Who, precisely, is the “king of the north”? As we have explained extensively, it’s the seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire!