When Families Disappear

When Families Disappear

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From the May 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Can a nation survive without strong families? You need to know, because strong marriages and families are disappearing.

Take Britain, for example. The marriage rate in England and Wales is at its lowest point since records began in 1862. In 2008, for the first time, fewer than 2 percent of women over the age of 16 got married over the course of the year as the marriage rate for women fell from 20.2 women marrying per 1,000 the previous year to 19.6, the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics (ons) has reported.

ons figures also show that the percentage of Britons getting married for a second time is falling. It’s not because marriages are lasting any longer; marriages are still breaking up at record rates. It is just that now fewer people are choosing to remarry following a divorce.

Britain has become a world leader in cohabitation. And now, the new trend is single mothers choosing to live alone on state benefits. New research by sociologist Geoff Dench shows that these premeditated single mothers believe they have no need for a spouse, and their children have no need for a father.

Of the one in four mothers who currently live without a man in their house, half have made the conscious determination to live alone.

Britain’s record breakdown of the traditional family coincides with several other dubious distinctions: Britain also leads in rates of obesity, public drunkenness, drug use, and sexually transmitted infections. It is also a leader in illiteracy, crime and teenage pregnancy. Yet despite this list of disturbing accomplishments, many people remain blind to the looming social and national disaster facing the country.

Divorcing in Order to Marry

History shows that once national family life breaks down, societies are on the downhill slide. “[T]he strength of any nation depends on the strength of its families,” Gerald Flurry wrote in the March 2009 Trumpet. “Family is the rock-solid foundation on which a country’s superstructure is erected. That was the case for both America and Britain.” Note the past tense.

Strong families were also the concrete foundation of the Roman Empire during its heyday. “Back then, when people talked about Rome falling, they were scoffed at and scorned,” noted Mr. Flurry. “When Seneca, the famous Roman, warned that Rome would fall—even telling people why it would fall—the people ignored him. In the words of Seneca, one of the foundational reasons Rome would fall was the fact that ‘they divorce in order to remarry. They marry in order to divorce.’”

Seneca warned that family breakdown would destroy the Roman Empire—and it did! And it is destroying Britain (and America) today.

In his masterpiece History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbons identified five major causes that contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. First on the list was breakdown of the family. The other factors included increased taxation, an insatiable craving for pleasure, an unsustainable buildup of armaments, and the decay of religion.

Doesn’t Rome before the fall sound like today’s United Kingdom? The looming disaster is hard to miss.

“The Best Country in the World”

Some few in Britain acknowledge something is wrong. But the will to act is conspicuously lacking. Even those politicians who publicly support traditional families have shown through decades of inaction that they don’t have the will to stop the downhill slide and make the controversial changes necessary to help get families back on track.

Writer Melanie Phillips suggests things are to a state now that the government should give dowries to men who get married for the first time. This would “increase their worth to women” and “send a powerful signal that men are not worthless creeps but are essential to family life” (Daily Mail, March 1).

Wow. How the British man has fallen since the feminist revolution—to think that state-funded dowries are needed to show that men are not worthless in family life, of all things!

A real man should have his own career and be able to provide for his own—before getting married. And he should be the solid core of that marriage and family for the rest of his life!

Yet according to some, British family life is not in crisis. “[T]his country has never been broken by anyone or anything,” said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in September 2008. “[F]or all the challenges, I don’t believe Britain is broken—I think it’s the best country in the world. I believe in Britain.”

Sounds just like something Seneca’s countrymen might have said. All the while, nationwide collapse is thundering closer as the bulkheads snap under the pressure.

Cause and Effect

The evidence is clear. A host of studies have shown that stable families result in children who are less prone to violent crime, better educated, less likely to take drugs, healthier physically, healthier mentally, and less likely to have teenage pregnancies.

Why do we have children today who publicly harass and denigrate their teachers? Why does London have a higher crime rate than Istanbul? Why do government officials feel the need to hand out morning-after pills to 11-year-olds? Why are British girls having up to four abortions by their 18th birthday?

Because there has been a serious breakdown, of one kind or another, in those children’s families.

And because nothing is changing, Britain as a nation will—just like its families—fall apart. History provides no examples of societies that remained viable without viable families. Even the mighty Roman Empire fell.

It is cause and effect.

God says that when you break His laws on marriage and family life, He will send curses as correction. Through the Prophet Jeremiah, God says, “For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right” (Jeremiah 23:10).

In this verse, God says there is a direct connection between marriages and escalating national problems. The phrase “their course is evil” implies aggressively running after evil ways like runners in a race. As Melanie Phillips pointed out, British society is totally geared toward not only promoting single motherhood, but toward denigrating fathers. Britain is steaming full-speed ahead contrary to God’s laws.

Therefore curses are inevitable.

Jeremiah says the land will mourn and the pleasant places will be ruined. Britain is suffering intense natural disasters. Over the past few years it has suffered devastating crop failures and cattle diseases. Flooding has taken huge tolls. Severe snowstorms have blanketed the nation. Economically, its place as the world’s financial capital is gone, the pound is under attack, and the nation is on the brink of financial collapse.

The phrase “their force is not right” implies a failure in military action. The Hebrew word for “force” means valor, victory, mastery, might, mighty (act, power), power, strength. It’s a military word. God warns us that national sins destroy military might. Today, British troops are worn down and short on equipment. Troops are heading home from failures in Iraq and will probably come home from a failure in Afghanistan soon as well. In February, the Daily Mail lamented that if Argentina were to take the Falklands, the bitter truth is that Britain doesn’t even have the resources to send a task force to retake the islands. That is a far cry from the nation that once boasted the world’s largest empire backed by its most powerful navy.

But that is the thing with curses; eventually they result in destruction. Family breakdown in Britain is breaking the nation. And worse is yet to come. If you don’t believe it, just ask Rome—or the now largely vanished British Empire.

Where Did Christ’s Apostles Go?

After Acts 11, little is mentioned about their whereabouts. But the truth about their travels unlocks a marvelous mystery!
From the April 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Most people misunderstand prophecy because they can’t identify the modern-day descendants of ancient Israel—the 10 tribes that revolted against King Rehoboam’s burdensome regime.

When the 10 northern tribes seceded, they selected Jeroboam as their king, moved their capital from Jerusalem to Samaria and retained “Israel” as their namesake. The two southern tribes, headquartered in Jerusalem, became known as Judah.

During Shalmaneser’s three-year siege of Samaria in the eighth century b.c., the Assyrians uprooted the Israelites from their homeland and deported them as slaves into the land of Assyria, then located between the Euphrates River and the southern shores of the Caspian Sea (see 2 Kings 17:23-24).

After this event, many historians and scholars lose track of the Israelites. Some assume that the 10 tribes vanished from off the Earth!

But they didn’t disappear. They just lost their identity, as Jesus plainly confirmed a full eight centuries later.

“The Lost Sheep of Israel”

As a direct descendant of King David, of the tribe of Judah, Jesus had been born in a Jewish colony that was subordinate to the Roman Empire. “He came unto his own,” it says in John 1:11, “and his own received him not.”

The Jews rejected Jesus and so He turned to the Gentiles instead, some assume. But he didn’t! Notice what Jesus said to a Gentile woman in Matthew 15:24: “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (New King James Version).

What an illuminating scripture! In one simple verse, Jesus said His mission was to reach the house of Israel (not the house of Judah) and that Israel’s identity (obviously not Judah’s) had become lost.

How then—since Christ’s life was cut short soon after He made that statement—was that divine mission fulfilled? Read it yourself in Matthew 10:5-6. In that account, Jesus commanded His disciples not to preach the gospel in Gentile regions (Paul would take care of that—see Acts 18:6), but to go instead to the “lost sheep” of the house of Israel.

In Jesus’s stead, all the original apostles were sent to the lost sheep of Israel.

This is why, after Acts 11, you read very little about the original 12. Once they went to the lost sheep of Israel, history lost sight of them.

And that’s the way God wanted it! It wasn’t time for Israel’s identity to be revealed to the world.

“The Twelve Tribes, Scattered Abroad”

Notice the way the Apostle James introduced his epistle: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” James didn’t even address the Gentiles. Nor is his letter exclusively directed at the house of Judah. His target audience was primarily the tribes of Israel that had been “scattered abroad” during their Assyrian captivity eight centuries earlier!

God could have easily inspired James to include more details about the whereabouts of the lost sheep. But He didn’t want their identity revealed yet. So the book of James ends without any closing salutations about the people he was writing to. It’s one of just three New Testament books (the others are Acts and 3 John) that abruptly finishes without so much as an “Amen”!

In the content of James, however, there is one important clue that sheds light on the location of the lost sheep during the first century. It’s in James 4:1: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” While this passage has a spiritual application that applies to God’s people today, in James’s day, he was speaking about literal wars that were raging in the areas where Israelites had been scattered.

James wrote his book around a.d. 60, about 10 years before the Roman Empire sacked Jerusalem. It was a relatively peaceful time in the world, with Rome towering above regional powers. At the time, Rome was engaged in just two major skirmishes—one in Britain and the other in Parthia, located around the southern shores of the Caspian Sea!

These were the wars going on “among” the Israelites James addressed. What a fascinating bit of evidence as to Israel’s whereabouts!

“An Immense Multitude”

Parthia has an intriguing history. The Parthians suddenly appeared around the Caspian shores soon after the people of Israel had been exiled there as slaves in the eighth century b.c. According to historian George Rawlinson, the name Parthia means “exile.”

In fact, these exiles who rose to power and prominence in the land of Parthia around 250 b.c. were none other than the “lost” tribes of Israel! They remained in the land of their captivity until the early part of the third century a.d., when the Persians drove them northwest into what is Europe today.

Josephus, the prominent first-century Jewish historian, was well aware of Israel’s settlement into the land of Parthia. In his history about the days of Ezra and the construction of the second temple, Josephus declared, “But then the entire body of the people of Israel [the lost sheep] remained in that country [they never returned to Samaria]; wherefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the 10 tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers” (emphasis mine).

So much for disappearing! Evidently, the multitude of scattered Israelites was so immense that Jesus commanded Peter, James, John and the rest of His disciples to go to these “lost sheep.” If you have a collection of maps at the back of your Bible, look at the one that illustrates Paul’s territory. He was the apostle in charge of the Gentile region. His area basically covers northern Palestine and every region that touches the northern border of the Mediterranean Sea, including what is today southern Turkey, Greece and Italy. He also pastored congregations on the islands of Malta, Crete and Cyprus. And in Romans 15:24, Paul said he intended to visit Spain as well.

That is a huge territory! But not as large as the regions the “lost sheep” of Israel had been scattered into. Those territories, remember, had been reserved for the original 12. And there was very little territorial overlap, as Paul confirmed in Romans 15:20. Paul worked in his assigned territory—and the other apostles worked in theirs.

“Strangers Scattered”

Now consider Peter’s jurisdiction. One of his regions, judging by the opening remarks in his first epistle, was northern Turkey. “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” Peter didn’t use the word “strangers” in the sense that they were Gentiles. It comes from a Greek word that means resident foreigner or alien.

Peter was fulfilling his Christ-given commission. He was addressing Israelite “strangers” who were dwelling in Gentile lands. And where? Throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia (see map). Whereas Paul was expressly forbidden to enter the northern half Turkey (Acts 16:6-7), Peter was commanded to reach the multitude of “lost sheep” that had been scattered in that area.

Just as there was an immense multitude of “lost sheep” to be reached beyond the Euphrates in the land of Parthia, so there was another multitude—one that Josephus was unaware of—that had migrated northwest of Samaria into the region of northern Turkey.

And these are the territories we can pinpoint after examining just two epistles, one of them written by one of the original 12 disciples.

Think how far the others must have gone. And what about the other war that was raging as James wrote his epistle—the one in Britain? Could it be that some of the apostles made it as far as the British Isles?

It all makes for a fascinating study that can’t possibly be concluded in one short article. That’s why The United States and Britain in Prophecy is an absolute must-read.

Now is the time that God has chosen to reveal Israel’s true identity!

Much more of this fascinating history can be found in Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. Request a free copy today.

The Ratlines

Adolf Eichmann, “the architect of the Holocaust,” escaped from Europe after World War II and remained hidden for 15 years before being captured. Germany holds a cache of sealed files detailing this history and is fighting to keep it secret despite critics’ objections. Some observers believe the documents would shed embarrassing additional light on German-Vatican collusion on the “ratlines,” an already proven postwar operation to protect Nazi leaders.Following are a few excerpts from the 1992 book Unholy Trinity, written by Mark Aarons and John Loftus, describing this important chapter in German-Vatican history.
From the May 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

It is absurd to believe that 30,000 fugitive Nazis escaped to South America on the few U-Boats remaining at the end of the war, or that they all made their own travel arrangements. Modern popular culture has presented the escape of the Nazis in an adventurous, almost romantic light. The most popular Nazi smugglers are odessa and Die Spinne, although other mysterious groups are also mentioned from time to time. But in the main these stories owe more to the fertile imagination of scriptwriters and novelists than to historical research and accuracy.

The truth is much more ordinary, almost mundane. It is all the more shocking as a result. For whatever successes odessa achieved, they were mere amateurs at Nazi-smuggling when compared with the Vatican. Draganovic’s Ratline [the name given to the Vatican’s smuggling operation] was truly professional, ensuring that many guilty war criminals reached safe havens. Often they did not end up in the remote jungles of South America, but settled instead in Britain, Canada, Australia and the United States. …

The Vatican has consistently claimed that they were unaware of the identity of those who were undeserving of their humanitarian assistance. But some influential priests not only knew who the Nazis were, they actively sought them out and provided extra-special treatment. …

In 1948 Franz Stangl wearily trudged along the road to Rome. Three years earlier he had been an important man: Commandant of the Treblinka extermination camp. He was meticulous in his work. When the boxcars crammed full of deported men, women and children arrived … Stangl insisted on order. The passengers were told to disembark for a routine rest stop and showers. … It was all so swift, so organized, so deadly. The showers were actually a gas chamber where 900,000 people, mostly Jews, were murdered immediately upon arrival. Unlike Auschwitz, no work was done here. Treblinka existed for one purpose only: mass murder of human beings. Franz Stangl had commanded the Third Reich’s most efficient death factory. …

Stangl said that when he came to Rome he was in fact looking for [Roman Catholic] Bishop Alois Hudal, rector of the Pontificio Santa Maria dell’Anima, one of three seminaries for German priests in Rome. It was Hudal’s name that had been whispered throughout the Nazi underground: “The bishop came into the room where I was waiting and he held out both his hands and said, ‘You must be Franz Stangl. I was expecting you.’”

Stangl described the power and influence of Hudal’s extensive smuggling network for fugitive Nazis. It was Hudal who arranged “quarters in Rome where I was to stay till my papers came through. And he gave me a bit more money—I had almost nothing left.” After several weeks, Hudal “called me in and gave me my new passport—a Red Cross Passport … [he] got me an entrance visa to Syria and a job in a textile mill in Damascus, and he gave me a ticket for the ship. So I went to Syria.” …

[Monsignor Karl Bayer, Rome director for Catholic relief organization Caritas] admitted, “Perhaps Hudal did get batches of passports for these particular people.” Finally he conceded that the money Hudal gave Stangl would certainly have come from Vatican funds. “The pope did provide money for this; in driblets sometimes, but it did come.”

Was Stangl an isolated case, a regrettable but unavoidable accident by a legitimate Catholic charity? Or was he one of many who escaped via Hudal’s secret church connection? Simon Wiesenthal, who was responsible for Stangl’s eventual recapture in Brazil in 1967, believes that a sophisticated Vatican network was involved. …

Wiesenthal is convinced that Hudal was also responsible for smuggling the most infamous war criminal of them all: Adolf Eichmann, the chief architect of the Holocaust. As head of the SS Department for “Jewish Affairs,” Eichmann’s careful supervision ensured that men like Brunner, Stangl and Wagner ran the machinery of death at peak capacity. Wiesenthal believes that Hudal equipped Eichmann with a new identity as a Croatian refugee called “Richard Klement,” and sent him to Genoa. There Eichmann was apparently hidden in a monastery under Archbishop Siri’s charitable control, before finally being smuggled to South America.

Someone so notorious could not be protected forever. Eichmann was eventually tracked down in Argentina by Israeli intelligence, kidnapped, tried and executed in Jerusalem in 1962. What angers Wiesenthal is that a Catholic relief organization, Caritas, “paid all of the traveling expenses for Eichmann” to reach South America.

Official Vatican historian Father Robert Graham admits that Hudal might have helped “a handful, a mere handful of Nazi war criminals to escape”: “When Eichmann was arrested it was alleged he passed through Rome and got some help from Bishop Hudal. Hudal was asked about this and said, ‘I don’t know, I helped a lot of people and Eichmann may have been among them.’” …

If Eichmann was a case of unauthorized assistance, he was certainly not the only instance. Hudal seemed to make mistakes with frightening regularity. Wiesenthal recalls, “During my search for Eichmann I found out that many [war criminals] were living in monasteries, equipped by Hudal with false documents,” showing they were refugees. One point is certain: Many war criminals who escaped to South America have gratefully acknowledged that they owed their freedom to the Austrian-born bishop. …

It is not surprising that Wiensenthal accuses Hudal. The bishop’s pro-Nazi views were well known. Even Father Graham concedes the point: “Hudal was rather notorious in Rome for being openly philo-Nazi. He had this idea that it was his divine call to settle relations between the Nazis and the Catholic Church.” By the early 1930s, Hudal openly supported Hitler, traveling widely through Italy and Germany to address large crowds of German-speaking Catholics. From the very beginning of Nazi rule, he warmly embraced the new government as his own. …

Hudal gave a speech at the Anima in Rome. Among the invited guests were members of the German Diplomatic Corps, as well as local representatives of various Nazi organizations. The bishop [Hudal] told his approving audience that “in this hour of destiny all German Catholics living abroad welcome the new German Reich, whose philosophies accord both with Christian and national values.” … In 1936 he published a “philosophical” treatise, The Foundations of National Socialism. … [T]he book was fulsome in its praise for the ideas, program and actions of the Nazis …. Hudal was not the only cleric to hold these views. The primate of the Austrian Church, Cardinal Theodore Innitzer, was at that time strongly pro-Nazi. It was natural, therefore, that he gave Hudal’s book an “imprimatur,” or official church permission for publication. The cardinal glowingly endorsed it “as a valuable attempt to pacify the German people’s religious situation.” …

Apparently Hudal’s high Nazi profile did not harm his Vatican career. Since 1930 he had been a consulter in the Holy Office, a senior Vatican tribunal working “in the most rigorous secrecy,” as U.S. intelligence reported. … [A]s Hudal’s views grew more stridently and publicly pro-Nazi, nothing was done either to discipline or remove him from this powerful post. Instead the Vatican promoted him in June 1933 from priest to titular bishop, an extremely rare honor for a relatively lowly rector of a teaching college. …

Father Jacob Weinbacher … has no doubt that “Hudal was very close to [Pope] Pius xii … they were friends.” … Far from being just another anonymous cleric on the fringes of the Vatican, “Hudal may well have been the sounding board for the pope in the German-speaking countries.” …

By early 1944 when the Allies landed in Sicily, even Hudal could see that Hitler’s “Thousand Year Reich” was doomed. As long as the Nazi armies were winning, he had proudly driven around Rome with a “Greater Germany” flag on his car ….

Hudal had nothing but contempt for the American victors who helped him: “… I felt duty bound after 1945 to devote my whole charitable work mainly to former National Socialists and fascists, especially to so called ‘war criminals.’”

Hudal’s self-confessed activities are all the more controversial because he operated with the full authority of the Vatican.

Who’s Insulting Whom?

The America-Israel alliance has never looked so shaky.
From the May 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

A historic alliance is taking some severe punishment. The relationship between America and Israel was rocked by diplomatic crisis in March, and by all indications will never be the same.

It was triggered by an ill-advised announcement about a new housing complex in Jerusalem. In early March, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden landed in Israel supposedly to reignite peace talks between Palestinians and Jews. As it turned out, the Obama administration used Biden’s visit to trigger a diplomatic assault against Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

During the visit, Israel’s interior minister announced that plans had been approved for 1,600 housing units to be built in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. Netanyahu immediately apologized to Biden for the awkward timing of the announcement and Biden graciously accepted the apology. He left Israel on March 11 calling his trip a success.

The next day, however, the White House went ballistic. An enraged President Barack Obama ordered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to upbraid Netanyahu, which she promptly did during a much-publicized, 43-minute phone call. Later, a Clinton spokesman publicly questioned Israel’s seriousness with respect to the peace process. On March 14, senior White House adviser David Axelrod decried the housing announcement as “an affront” and “an insult” aimed at the United States.

The incident illustrated a significant trend we began to forecast in our March/April 2004 issue: America’s eventual abandonment of Israel. “For many Arabs, the number-one reason to hate America is its support for Israel,” we wrote. “As the U.S. war against terrorism continues to yield high bills, a steady body count and a booming crop of anti-Americanism worldwide, is it possible that Americans will begin to think, Why are we making ourselves such a target over that little country? Prophecy suggests such an eventuality.”

No Pictures, Please

After the vicious White House response, Netanyahu apologized again—profusely. He said he knew nothing about the announcement and ordered an investigation into the matter.

The context of the announcement, however, is significant. Even if Israel wanted to embarrass Vice President Biden, perhaps because of America’s failure to confront Iran, the housing plan in no way represented a policy change. In all probability, if the construction announcement hadn’t come during Biden’s visit, it wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow. Why? Simply because Israel has never stopped building in Jerusalem. As Netanyahu noted on March 15, “No government of Israel for the last 40 years has agreed to place restrictions on building in Jerusalem.” In November, Netanyahu’s administration ordered a freeze on construction plans in the West Bank. But that 10-month moratorium specifically excluded Jerusalem. Why, then, would Washington shriek as if Israel is grabbing more territory?

Netanyahu visited the U.S. later in the month to try to mend the diplomatic breach between the two countries. The trip, however, only further highlighted just how strained relations between the U.S. and Israel have become. The Israeli prime minister maintained his stance on the issue of “settlements,” getting a cold reception from Washington that included no photograph opportunities and no official statements.

The snub was even worse than the one we reported last November: Then, when Netanyahu visited the White House, he was brought in under cover of night in an unmarked van, forced to leave through a side exit alone and ordered to keep quiet about what was discussed.

Ramat Shlomo, the northern Jerusalem neighborhood at the center of the recent diplomatic storm, is populated by religious Jews. It’s adjacent to other Jewish neighborhoods. But because it happens to be on the wrong side of the 1967 Green Line, barely, the Obama administration speaks of this 15-year-old neighborhood as a “settlement” and is treating it as the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

Never mind the fact that by demanding a freeze on construction in Jewish neighborhoods east of the Green Line, the White House is simultaneously maintaining that for a Palestinian state to ever work, the territory in question must first be ethnically cleansed of Jews.

It’s not unlike the vision Palestinian leaders have for a future Palestinian state, except that theirs includes a Jew-free Israel as well.

Actual Provocations

Meanwhile, even as Washington condemned Israel’s ill-timed announcement as being injurious to the peace process, it seemed utterly unconcerned about the Palestinians dedicating a town square to a terrorist who killed more than 30 Israelis—a move that happened right after Biden left the region.

Dalal Mughrabi, a Fatah woman, spearheaded a massacre in 1978 in which 37 Israeli civilians and an American were killed and 71 wounded in a bus hijacking on Israel’s Coastal Road. At that time, the attack was carried out for the very purpose of shutting down peace talks between Israel and Egypt.

On March 11, a square in el-Bireh was named in honor of Mughrabi, who is responsible for the deadliest terrorist attack in Israel’s history. While the Palestinian Authority said the inauguration of the square had been postponed, presumably to avoid offending Vice President Biden, Fatah (the Palestinian faction that the U.S. and Israel actually recognize) went ahead with an official naming ceremony the day of Biden’s departure.

Not to stop there, on March 14 the Palestinian Authority launched a four-day seminar named after the notorious terrorist—the “Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Camp”—purportedly to discuss PA legislative and local elections. Being held as it was on the 32nd anniversary of the 1978 terrorist attack, the Jerusalem Post said it was “seen more as a rally in honor of Mughrabi than as an academic seminar” (March 15).

If the timing of these undeniably provocative acts by the Palestinian Authority was an “affront” to the peace process, you’d never know it from the angry remarks made by the White House. Those were reserved for America’s closest, most dependable ally in the Middle East.

A Prophecy Being Fulfilled

America’s treatment of Israel given the circumstances is truly extraordinary.

Israel has been looking for peace, “literally dying for peace,” as columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote, since 1947 (March 19). Back then, like today, the Palestinians rejected a two-state solution and opted for war. They rejected Israel’s offer for peace in 1967—and again in 1978. They rejected Ehud Barak’s Palestinian statehood proposal in 2000—then Ehud Olmert’s in 2008.

Last year, Prime Minister Netanyahu reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to create an independent Palestinian state. Then, in November, he became the first Israeli prime minister to temporarily freeze construction in the West Bank.

The Palestinians, who have made no concessions, have flatly rejected Netanyahu’s gestures and have refused to join Israel at the negotiating table. Yet, in the minds of White House officials, it’s Israel that’s holding up the peace process.

What an insult to Israel.

And what a fulfillment of Bible prophecy!

“Manasseh shall devour Ephraim,” the Prophet Isaiah wrote, “and Ephraim Manasseh; Together [the United States and Britain] they shall be against Judah [Israel]” (Isaiah 9:21, New King James Version). The band that once joined these three brothers together has been shredded.

As we wrote in March/April 2004, “In Zechariah 11:14 is a prophecy that God would ‘break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.’ This may well refer to a future rift between America (biblical Israel) and the Jewish state (Judah). If America turned its back on the Jews, it would leave little Israel isolated and vulnerable.”

Carefully watch as America’s relationship with Israel continues to deteriorate—and take note of who Israel turns to for help. That, too, is prophesied.

How Russia Outmaneuvered America

How Russia Outmaneuvered America

VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images

The fascinating power politics behind an overlooked coup in Central Asia
From the May 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

This tiny Central Asian state had witnessed street protests before. Discontent and restlessness were widespread: The president had promised political freedom, democratic reform and transparency—but he turned out to be even more despotic and corrupt than the man he replaced in a revolution five years earlier. Public demonstrations against his regime, however, had always fizzled.

This time was different. Very different. Within a blur of 24 hours, Kyrgyzstan was transformed. On April 7, the capital erupted in bloody riots, the president fled, the deputy prime minister was taken hostage, the interior minister was killed, and the government fell. A new chief executive assumed power and quickly appointed defense, finance and interior ministers. Within days, it appeared the nation’s security services were firmly under the control of the new interim government.

Apart from some 79 deaths, several hundred injuries and some property damage, it was remarkably seamless for a revolution.

In fact, there is little reason to believe it erupted spontaneously. All the evidence points to a well-orchestrated, well-planned and -executed operation—and much of that evidence points to Russia.

While a stunned United States and Europe were scrambling to formulate a diplomatic response to the coup, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin enthusiastically became the first world leader to recognize the new government—within hours of it taking power. Russian Federal Security Service agents were reportedly present during the riots. Asia Times reported on rumors that emissaries from Russia’s foreign and military intelligence “played a significant covert role in neutralizing Bakiyev’s military and security power base by persuading senior Kyrgyz officers to keep most of their forces off the streets” (April 13). Immediately after the takeover, Russia had 150 more paratroopers on the ground, joining the forces it already had on its five military bases in the country. Russian offers of political and financial support soon followed. And Russian agents had apparently persuaded the Kyrgyz High Command to back the new government.

What this means is that, by all appearances, Kyrgyzstan is just Russia’s most recent conquest in its near abroad, after having secured Ukraine just months ago by influencing elections there, and practically taking Georgia by force in 2008.

It also means that America’s foothold in strategically crucial Central Asia has been significantly pried loose.

Central Asia is a strategic battleground—particularly for Russia, China, Europe, Iran and America. Its location as a crossroads between Asia and the Middle East—combined with its energy wealth—make it central in the region’s balance of power.

While Kyrgyzstan doesn’t have the resources that other Central Asian countries do, it is extremely valuable real estate. Russia views it as an important buffer against Islam’s northward push. Radical Islamists exploit it as a transit route. China has commercial interests there, and eyes it as posing a potential threat to its own missile sites, situated near the two nations’ shared border. nato considers it pivotal to its designs on expanding its presence into Central Asia. As Stratfor wrote on April 9, “The country lies in a key geographic location nestled against China and Kazakhstan, and surrounds the most critical piece of territory in all of Central Asia: the Fergana Valley. Whoever controls Kyrgyzstan has the ability to pressure a number of states, including Kazakhstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.”

Kyrgyzstan has also grown in significance because it hosts America’s only remaining military base in Central Asia. Manas air base, just outside the country’s capital, is now the main supply base for U.S. troops in what has become America’s chief theater of war, Afghanistan. Each month, 50,000 American troops pass through there.

So crucial is this base, that Washington has gotten its hands filthy in order to hang on to it, propping up and enriching a patently crooked government. Amid the series of “color revolutions” in the former Soviet and Balkan states in the early 2000s, the U.S. encouraged and celebrated the apparent surge in democracy. In Kyrgyzstan, it backed Kurmanbek Bakiyev in ousting the nation’s president in the “Tulip Revolution” of 2005. But Bakiyev has proven himself a tyrant—and Kyrgyzstan has suffered terribly for it. In five short years, the nation has gone from relative stability to basket case, a nearly failed state plagued by cronyism and economic mismanagement. A U.S. State Department report last year accused Bakiyev’s government of pervasive corruption, judicial abuses, bullying of media, arbitrary arrest and detention, child abuse and child labor, trafficking in persons, killing and torture. Yet Washington—supposed defender of democracy, human rights and the rule of law—stood by him, paying millions (which many say he personally pocketed) to continue leasing Manas. In 2006, Bakiyev threatened to evict the U.S. if Washington didn’t pay more rent. The U.S. subsequently upped its annual payment from $80 million to $150 million.

Russia has always hated America’s presence in its backyard. All the Central Asian countries besides Afghanistan were once a part of the old Soviet Union; for years now, Russia has been on a mission to haul those states and its other Soviet-era satellites back under its umbrella of influence. Along with China, it has worked hard to dislodge America’s presence from the region entirely. In 2005, it successfully pressured Uzbekistan to evict the United States from its air base in the country, leaving Kyrgyzstan with Central Asia’s last remaining U.S. military base.

“America’s presence in Moscow’s and Beijing’s backyard has gone a long way in keeping these two nations in check—even curbing their efforts to dominate the surrounding regions,” we wrote at the time. “The eviction of America from Central Asia will constitute a severe geopolitical defeat for the U.S. and significant win for Russia and China. … We can expect Russia and China to succeed in evicting America from Central Asia” (theTrumpet.com, Aug. 8, 2005).

In February of last year, Russia focused on finishing the job. It offered several lollipops including over $2 billion in aid to President Bakiyev, who—in a display of the shallowness of his loyalty to anything other than himself—promptly announced plans to close Manas. The U.S. responded by offering this scoundrel more than triple the original rent, and Bakiyev flip-flopped again, agreeing to keep the air base open. The Kremlin, which had already supplied over $400 million of its pledge, was furious.

Washington’s policy of trying to secure a place in Central Asia by purchasing a self-interested despot was always flimsy stuff. Now, we see Russia’s cagey, and deadly effective, countermove. Analysts can connect a series of dots showing how the Kremlin stirred up the Kyrgyz public’s agitation with Bakiyev—and prepared pro-Russian, virtual puppet leadership to replace him.

How long do you suppose it will be now before the U.S. gets bounced?

Kyrgyzstan’s new interim leader, Roza Otunbayeva, has said America can stay in Manas, but Russian officials reveal they’re going to urge her to shut the base down; the current lease expires in June. The U.S. says it can find other ways to supply its war effort, but reality is that the alternatives would all depend even more on Russia.

Bottom line: Russia successfully schemed to overthrow a U.S.-supported government. Through canny manipulation, it fortified its power position over the U.S. considerably and could now seek to tighten the screws on America’s supply lines to Afghanistan. Washington got badly outmaneuvered. (And, heightening the humiliation, this is the nation with which President Obama just signed a new nuclear disarmament treaty that will save the Russians hundreds of billions of dollars.)

Watch. This summer, we may see Russia allow the U.S. to continue using Manas to fight the Taliban (one of its own enemies, after all) in order to extract even-more-precious concessions from a weak-willed White House, such as in Eastern Europe. Whichever way it chooses to do so, expect Moscow to exercise its increased leverage against America to accelerate its former archenemy’s already rapid loss of influence in the world.

WorldWatch

From the April 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Europe

Europe is waiting for a decisive answer from Germany on what to do with Greece. On February 3, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia announced that he would take the unprecedented step of monitoring the Greek government’s spending. However, apart from issuing vague promises that Greece will not go bust, Europe has not revealed its plan of action. The European Union, however, has jumped on the chance to give itself more powers. It took the unprecedented step of denying Greece its right to vote at an EU meeting in March as a show of disapproval. It has also threatened to invoke Article 126.9 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would force Greece to follow the EU’s program of taxation and spending in order to cut its deficit.

The Dutch government collapsed on February 20 over a disagreement within the ruling coalition over the country’s participation in the Afghanistan war. The Labor Party wanted to keep its campaign promise and bring all Dutch troops home; its coalition partners, the Christian Democrats in the cda and cd, wanted to leave 500 to 600 soldiers in the country as per nato’s request. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands ordered a new election for June 9. One of the biggest beneficiaries will probably be Geert Wilders and his right-wing anti-Islamic Freedom Party. Opinion polls indicate the Party for Freedom would increase its number of seats in the 150-strong parliament from 9 to 24—making it the second-largest party after the Christian Democrats. During local elections at the beginning of March, Wilders’s party came first in one of the two cities where it fielded candidates, and second in the other. Wilders could well be a member of the next government. Watch for more such successes as Europe’s citizens turn further against Islam and immigration.

The Catholic and Orthodox churches must unite in order to defend Europe’s Christian roots, Pope Benedict xvi told a group of Romanian bishops on February 12. As the bishops concluded their regular consultation with the pope, Benedict emphasized the need for them to work with their Orthodox counterparts. This came less than a fortnight after the pope admonished English and Welsh bishops to be generous toward any Anglicans wishing to return to Rome. The Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches are all coming together.

The Catholic Church has been hit by another massive sex scandal, this time in Germany. Around 100 priests and members of the laity are suspected of abuse. “[T]he wall of silence is coming down here in Germany,” wrote Spiegel Online. “It started when Berlin’s Canisius College, an elite Jesuit high school, recently disclosed the sordid past of a number of members of the order who had abused students at the school in the 1970s and 1980s. After that, new victims began coming forward on a daily basis. … A tremor is currently passing through the Catholic Church in Germany” (February 8).

Mideast

Iran celebrated the 31st anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution on February 11, with large-scale rallies in Tehran and across the country. At the same time, security forces cracked down on anti-government protesters holding opposition rallies.

Meanwhile, on February 7, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered his atomic chief to enrich uranium to a higher, weapons-grade level of purity. Tehran says it is now enriching uranium to 20 percent.

Additionally, Japanese intelligence sources have revealed that a North Korean shipment of 45 tons of yellowcake—enough for several nuclear bombs—that was originally bound for Syria before Israel struck a plutonium plant under construction there in 2007, was reshipped to Iran two years later. debkafile said this revelation suggests Tehran may be secretly hoarding even more enriched uranium from black-market sources.

President Ahmadinejad and other Iranian officials met with Syrian and Hezbollah leaders in Damascus on February 25. Ahmadinejad also had a meeting with leaders of Palestinian terrorist organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Iran and the Persian Gulf state of Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding for defense cooperation on February 24. The fact that Qatar, an ally of the U.S. in its war on terror, is actually strengthening defense ties with the biggest state sponsor of terror demonstrates the unreliable nature of America’s “moderate” Arab allies.

Iran continues to interfere in Iraq. On February 16, America’s commanding general in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, revealed that the two politicians who organized the banning of about 500 Sunni candidates from running in Iraq’s March 7 elections were linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. Earlier in the month an appeals panel lifted the ban, a decision that was subsequently overruled by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, despite U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urging Iraqi officials to reconsider. The Maliki government blasted the U.S. for interfering, illustrating just how weak America’s influence in Iraq has become—and how strong Iran’s. As a result, a major Sunni political bloc, the National Dialogue Front, said it would boycott the election.

On the economic front, Iran is seeking to double its trade with Iraq to $8 billion this year, an Iranian official said February 21. Iran is Iraq’s largest trade partner, and has been the biggest investor in its Shiite neighbor since 2003.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has stated that the Lebanese government will officially support Hezbollah in any future conflict with Israel. “I think they’re betting that there might be some division in Lebanon, if there is a war against us,” Hariri said in an interview with the bbc, published on February 10. “Well, there won’t be a division in Lebanon. We will stand against Israel. We will stand with our own people.” Hariri has been considered a moderate in the past—before capitulating to Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian sponsors.

Just two days after Hariri’s statement, the U.S. announced a boost in military aid to Lebanon. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. would provide Lebanon $267 million in military aid. Of course, as U.S. think tank Stratfor points out, “If the United States were to train and equip the Lebanese military, it would run the very real risk of having those trained individuals and all that equipment fall into the hands of one of the many militant groups operating out of Lebanon” (February 17). To avoid this scenario, the U.S. offer reportedly included the development and training of an elite army unit separate from the main Lebanese military, specifically to combat Hezbollah. However, there is no guarantee that Hezbollah would not be able to infiltrate such a force, just as it has the Lebanese Army. The U.S.’s desperation in trying to undercut Hezbollah is evident in that to do so, it is increasing military aid to a government that is openly promising to support the terrorist group in any conflict with Israel.

Asia

Thousands of angrycitizens from across Japan marched through the streets of Tokyo on January 30 to protest the continued U.S. military presence on Okinawa. At present, around 47,000 U.S. soldiers are stationed throughout Japan, more than half of them at the Futenma Air Station on Okinawa. Claiming the U.S. military base is a major source of noise, pollution and crime, a growing number of Japanese are demanding it be removed. In 2006, Tokyo and Washington agreed to relocate the facility to a less-populated area on Okinawa, but polls show a majority of Japanese want a total end to the U.S. military presence in Japan. The pressure on Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is not just coming from the public. Mizuho Fukushima, who leads Hatoyama’s coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (sdp), said her party may quit the coalition if Japan allows the U.S. to stay in Okinawa. Without the sdp, Hatoyama would be unable to pass legislation. This protest was just another of many indications of a change in the relationship between the U.S. and Japan. The U.S. can no longer count on Japan’s support.

The new leader of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, has begun the process of rebuilding Kiev’s relationship with Moscow. Even before he was sworn in on February 25, Yanukovych announced several pro-Russian defense policies and said nato integration would no longer be a goal for Ukraine. He declared his support for the Kremlin’s plan to create a post-nato European security treaty and renewed a call for a Russian-led consortium to take ownership of Ukraine’s strategic gas transit pipeline network. In response, Russia announced a resumption of diplomatic ties with Ukraine. The message is clear: Yanukovych owes his power and position to the Kremlin, and Moscow expects Ukraine to begin cooperating more wholeheartedly. Rather than launching a “hot” war, Russia has clearly waged a campaign of intimidation, subversion and propaganda. The more pro-European western part of Ukraine may still give the Kremlin some trouble, but the east (and the national government) is now firmly in Russia’s grasp.

China expanded its lead as the world’s foremost agricultural producer in 2008 with its food production jumping 30 percent, according to a February 23 note by the World Trade Organization (wto) secretariat. It is another sign of an unmistakable trend: China continues to grow as an economic powerhouse.

China and Russia spoke out in early March against levying harsher United Nations sanctions on Iran, maintaining that negotiations are the best way to resolve concerns over Tehran’s nuclear program. France, Germany, the U.S. and the UK have presented China and Russia with a proposed set of sanctions targeting Iran’s banking, shipping and Revolutionary Guards Corps. In the coming months, China and Russia are sure to continue to complicate the West’s plans with their reluctance to support any substantial action against Iran.

Beijing and Moscow arrived at an initial agreement on March 4 for a pricing formula for the supply of Russian natural gas to China whereby the price of the gas will be connected to oil prices. Some of the details of the agreement are still undetermined, but talks are progressing quickly. The Xinhua News Agency reported on shortages of fuel used for heating in several Chinese cities during last year’s especially cold winter; the shortages ended after China imported natural gas from Central Asia. Beijing wants to ensure it has sufficient supplies throughout the country this year. Watch for Russia and China to continue to cozy up together economically as a precursor to military alliance.

Latin America/Africa

Argentina is once again pushing its claim to the Falkland Islands. British firms have begun exploring for oil around the Falklands, prompting an angry response from Argentina. The drilling is “illegitimate” and a “violation of our sovereignty,” said Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana, promising that “we will do everything possible to defend and preserve our rights.” On February 11, Argentine authorities boarded a ship they claimed was transporting pipes to the Falklands for the oil excavations. On February 16, the government announced it would prevent ships from traveling through Argentine waters to the Falklands, prompting the Royal Navy to stand by to protect ships traveling there.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton handed Argentina a major diplomatic victory on March 2 by backing its demands for negotiation with Britain over the Falklands at the UN. This was a major insult to Britain, and further proof of what the Trumpet has been writing for some months now: that the British and American “special relationship” is over. “This was a spectacular slap in the face for America’s closest ally,” wrote the Telegraph, “at a time when thousands of British troops are fighting alongside the United States on the battlefields of Afghanistan” (March 3). “British possession of these islands has meant British control of one of the great sea gates of the world,” wrote Herbert W. Armstrong in 1982. “God prophesied that, because of disobedience, we should lose these islands in this end time. All have been lost except these Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong and some other incidental islands” (member and co-worker letter, April 21, 1982). Now Hong Kong is gone. The EU threatens Gibraltar. Watch for Britain to lose the Falklands soon—either to Argentina, or the EU.

The EU plans to restart talks with Mercosur, the Latin American trade bloc, this year to cement a free-trade agreement. Mercosur, led by Argentina and Brazil, was engaged in talks with the EU for such a deal in early 2008, but the discussions stalled. The Plain Truth magazine forecast in May 1962, “[T]he United States is going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Latin America, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce.”

Few nations would celebrate the birthday of despot-extraordinaire Robert Mugabe. Yet on February 21, China threw the Zimbabwean president a party at its embassy in Harare to celebrate his 86th birthday. China is hungry for resources and has no qualms about dealing with genocidal dictators to get them. Chinese troops have been seen walking the streets of one of Zimbabwe’s biggest cities. Asia and Europe are destined to become locked in a fierce competition over Africa’s resources.

All companies operating in Zimbabwe that have over $500,000 worth of assets must be at least 51 percent owned by “indigenous” Zimbabweans—or blacks—by 2015, according to a law that went into force March 1. The companies affected have 45 days to send the government a plan of how they will accomplish this. Violently removing farm owners from their land has led to catastrophic famines in Zimbabwe. Doing the same thing to business will make things even worse.

The South African anc-led government continues to show solidarity with Iran even as the West grapples with trying to stop the Islamic Republic from becoming a nuclear threat. South Africa’s Speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu met with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Larijani, in Tehran on January 23. Additionally, South Africa has been cultivating a close relationship with Russia. These two countries together possess most of the world’s strategic minerals—some 90 percent of them. Back in 1997, we wrote in our booklet South Africa in Prophecy, “[I]f an African National Congress (anc)-South African Communist Party (sacp)-dominated government in South Africa forges links with the Islamic-Arab crescent in consortium with Russia, only those who bow to radical Islam and a Communist-led anc may get their raw materials!” The relationship between South Africa and Iran is one to watch.

Anglo-America

On February 1, the U.S. Defense Department officially scrapped its two-war doctrine. In the past, the United States military has been prepared to simultaneously fight two major conventional wars single-handedly. However, the new Quadrennial Defense Review focuses on non-state threats and reliance on allies, stating, “The United States cannot sustain a stable international system alone.”

Also in early February, Congress approved the federal government to go into debt by $1.9 trillion more. The vote increased the notional cap on federal debt to $14.3 trillion.

On February 18, a Texas man intentionally crashed his single-engine airplane into a government building in Austin, Texas, killing an employee of the Internal Revenue Service, which he was targeting. Less than a month later, a California man dressed in a suit and carrying two semiautomatic weapons calmly walked up to two police officers at the Pentagon and shot them both before being killed in return fire.

News sources reported in February that American forces in Iraq will cease all combat operations on September 1 and transfer all operations to Iraqi forces. Although last year was the third-deadliest for U.S. troops in Iraq, the war has slipped from headlines and from the president’s priority list. President Barack Obama, who campaigned on a promise to pull U.S. troops from Iraq, has only mentioned the war, in passing, three times in his formal speeches, focusing instead on domestic issues such as health care. As the Trumpet has long forecast, America’s involvement in Iraq—and its withdrawal—will only lead to a takeover by Iran.

The Canadian press reported that a new study revealed the average Canadian family’s debt climbed to can$96,100 in 2009. The survey found the average debt-to-income ratio at 145 percent, the highest ratio recorded by the 11-year-old study.

A February Ofgem report estimated that although energy bills for British consumers have doubled over the past six years, they could rise another 25 percent by 2020. The survey also revealed the nation’s energy security situation is deteriorating as fast as its North Sea reserves. By 2015, Britain will be importing three quarters of its gas, which it relies on to generate 40 percent of its electricity and to heat almost every British home.

A February poll found that most British voters believe they are living in a “broken Britain.” Nearly three out of five said they hardly recognize their country, and are deeply pessimistic. The survey showed that 42 percent admitted they want to emigrate.