The Week in Review
Saudi security sources revealed that Germany has agreed to sell 200 new Leopard battle tanks to Saudi Arabia, according to reports published July 3. The deal, which has not been officially confirmed by the German government, marks a major change in Germany’s arms export policy. The agreement to buy the most modern Leopard tank, the 2A7+, was approved in principle by the German security council last week, according to Der Spiegel. The tanks are built by German companies Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall. The deal has stirred much controversy in Germany, with Green Member of Parliament Katja Keul saying the sale should not be approved because it goes against Germany’s policy of not exporting weapons to regions in crisis. Despite the controversy, however, based on biblical prophecy we can expect relations between Saudi Arabia and Germany to grow stronger.
New forensic evidence proves that weapons being used by Iraqi insurgents against U.S. troops are being supplied by Iran. According to senior U.S. officials, Iranian-backed militias in Iraq are using more sophisticated weapons than in the past to target U.S. troops and military bases. James F. Jeffrey, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, said Tuesday that forensic testing on weapons used in recent attacks in the country provides further proof that Iran is supporting Iraqi insurgents with new weapons and training. “There is no doubt this is Iranian,” Jeffrey said in an interview. “We’re seeing more lethal weapons, more accurate weapons, more longer-range weapons. And we’re seeing more sophisticated mobile and other deployment options, and we’re seeing better-trained people.” June was the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Iraq in the past two years, with 15 being killed in a wave of Iranian-backed attacks. Three Shiite militia groups, which have been trained and supplied by Iranian Revolutionary Guard special forces, are mainly responsible for the violence, according to U.S. officials. Michael Eisenstadt, director of military studies at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Iran has little reason to hide its support for groups attacking Americans in Iraq. “They’re feeling a lot more confident now, as the supreme leader is not worried about an American attack” on Iran, he said. As the Trumpet pointed out back in 2007, “America isn’t fighting Iran directly. But Iran is fighting America directly. With deliberate intent, Iran supplies and stokes the chaos in Iraq in order to break what the U.S. is trying to fix” (February 2007).
The Taliban conducted one of their most bold terrorist attacks to date in the Afghan capital on June 28 when nine heavily armed suicide bombers stormed the Intercontinental Hotel, battling security forces and targeting foreign hotel guests. It took some eight hours for Afghan security forces, assisted by the International Security Assistance Force (isaf), to clear the hotel of attackers. While just 12 people were killed by the attackers, the incident highlights the fact that the Taliban can strike anywhere in Afghanistan. The hotel was considered by many as being a safe fortress. “Ascending to the hilltop hotel is a solitary road protected by a number of fortified checkpoints manned by Afghan police and security forces,” writes correspondent Scott Taylor. “Knowing the lay of this land makes it difficult to understand how nine, heavily armed, suicide bombers were able to penetrate that many layers of security before entering the hotel—unless there was collusion with the guards” (TheChronicleHerald.ca, July 4). Stratfor points out that “the Taliban have shown that they like to use such attacks at strategic times to make sure the threat they pose is not forgotten” (July 7). This attack came during a conference on the transfer of security authority from the isaf to the Afghan government. We can expect such attacks to continue as the United States draws down its forces in Afghanistan.
Imperialist, Roman Catholic to the core, ever the supporter of pan-Germanism and European union, Otto von Habsburg, the last official emperor of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire before he renounced all titles after World War ii, died on July 4. Habsburg settled in Bavaria after the war, joined the Christian Social Union and—following encouragement to do so by former strong man of Europe, Franz Josef Strauss—became a member of the European Parliament. He was the only serving member of that body to have been born prior to World War i. He thus was able to see the dream of German and European union in a uniquely historical context. This drove him to strive for a personal goal: to see every country in Europe, east and west, that had been headed by a royal dynasty pre-World War i, become part of the European Union. He lived to see that goal fulfilled. In this sense at least, Otto von Habsburg was instrumental in setting the scene for a biblical prophecy that is even now taking place before our eyes—the division of an east-west union of European nations into 10 specific regions ruled by 10 kings (Revelation 17:12-13).
“The sovereignty of Greece will be massively limited,” Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker said in an interview with the German Focus magazine published July 3. The interview was published just after eurozone finance ministers agreed to give Greece the next part of its bailout—a loan of €12 billion. In order to get this money, Greece had to agree to sell €50 billion worth of state assets by 2015. The EU will be sending “large-scale technical assistance” to make sure this gets done, finance ministers said last Saturday. “A kind of protectorate is now in place,” said Greek newspaper To Thnos, “with representatives whose first job will be to supervise the application of the privatization program.” Presseurop wrote that Juncker’s comments “leave no room for doubt: Both Greece’s economy and its budgetary decisions are now under supervision.” Greece is now a European protectorate.
Croatia officially concluded negotiations over an accession treaty to join the EU on June 30. Now the treaty must be approved by all 27 EU nations and by Croatian voters in a referendum. If everything goes according to plan, Croatia will join the EU on July 1, 2013. Germany facilitated the breakup of Yugoslavia so it could extend its influence into the area. The fact that Croatia is preparing to join the EU shows it has succeeded.
Moody’s credit rating agency downgraded Portugal’s debt rating to Ba2—junk status—on July 6. It gave Portuguese debt a negative outlook, meaning it may downgrade the debt further in the future. Portugal will have “formidable challenges” in cutting spending and may need another bailout, it said. Ireland is now worried that it too will have its rating cut to junk status. Europe plainly has not solved its economic problems. The EU’s response to this downgrade has revealed its natural anti-democratic instincts. Upset that the rating agencies are critical of their precious project, EU leaders are trying to punish the agencies. “We must break the oligopoly of the rating agencies,” said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. “It’s quite strange that the market is almost dominated by only three players. It seems strange that there is not a single rating agency coming from Europe,” said head of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. “It shows that there may be some bias in the markets when it comes to the evaluation of the specific issues of Europe.” He’s not telling all the truth—Fitch is in fact owned by Fimalac, a French company. “The EU authorities are attempting to muzzle free opinion, first by threatening Fitch, Moody’s, and S&P with vague retribution, and then by drafting restrictive laws to prevent them from publishing unwelcome messages,” warned the Telegraph’s international business editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. In taking up this cause, the EU is on “a slippery slope,” he warned.
The German Constitutional Court began hearing a case on July 5 over whether Germany’s bailout of eurozone countries is legal. A group of Euroskeptic politicians and professors claim that the bailouts violate the German Constitution, which states that the Bundestag must have main oversight over Germany’s budget. The court’s decision is not expected for a couple months, but it could rule that all future bailouts must be approved by the German parliament. This would give the Bundestag veto power over the EU’s bailout mechanism
The European Parliament said that by 2015, 30 percent of top managers at EU listed companies must be women, rising to 40 percent in 2020, in a non-binding recommendation passed on July 6. However, it warns that if companies ignore these voluntary quotas, then next year the European Commission will introduce legislation to make it compulsory. This is exactly the type of anti-business social engineering that is typical of the EU.
Italy unveiled a new austerity package on July 6 that it says will save the country €40 billion and balance its budget by 2014. There is some speculation that Italy’s economy could go the same way as Greece’s and Portugal’s. The new measures aim to stop that and fight off rumors of the economy’s pending collapse. Lawmakers hope to get the budget through parliament by the end of the month.
The founder of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb program said on Thursday that North Korea bribed top Pakistani military officials in the late 1990s in order to obtain access to sensitive nuclear know-how and equipment. Abdul Qadeer Khan produced documents supporting his claim that he personally transferred over $3 million worth of payments from Pyongyang to top officials in Pakistan’s military. Khan also said authorities in Islamabad sanctioned his sharing of technologies with scientists in North Korea. Pakistan says Khan’s document is fake, but many in the West believe it to be authentic. Khan’s claims come amid rising tensions between the United States and Pakistan after U.S. troops killed al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden outside of Pakistan’s capital without informing authorities in Islamabad. If substantiated, Khan’s claims may increase the growing rift between Washington and its ally Pakistan, and drive Islamabad toward Tehran or Beijing.
Moscow’s supply of high-tech weaponry to the Russian Army for 2011 to 2015 will increase, as compared to the 2010 quantities, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on July 1. The defense minister also said Russia’s sea-based Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile, which the Russian Army successfully tested recently, is now ready for mass production. Expect Russia to continue to bolster its military might.
Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan created a single customs region on July 1 by doing away with the customs controls on the borders between the three nations. Movement of goods and work forces are no longer delayed by administration controls, taxes or other duties. Cancelling the customs controls represents a victory for Moscow, which desires to expand its sphere of influence and power in its satellite nations.
After singing along to the Zulu militaristic anthem “Dubuli ‘Bhunu” (Shoot the Boer) on Tuesday, firebrand South African anc youth league leader Julius Malema launched into a tirade against the U.S. government and nato. “We are here to confront the imperialists—the bloodthirsty imperialists who did not get tired of bombing other countries every day,” Malema said in regard to the current military campaign against Muammar Qadhafi in Libya. He called on America and nato to leave the African continent to find peaceful solutions to its own problems. Gone are the days when South Africa worked together with the Western world as an ally of Britain and the U.S. Now the leaders of South Africa chant racist anthems as they denounce their former allies.
A devastating war with local drug cartels is weakening the Mexican government and creating opportunities for Hezbollah to join forces with Latin American drug lords, according to Sue Myrick and other U.S. congressional representatives. In a special meeting on Thursday of last week, witnesses from public policy groups met before a House Homeland Security sub-committee to testify on Hezbollah’s growing Latin American connections. These testimonies outlined how both Iran and Hezbollah are taking advantage of friendly relations not only with the leaders of Mexican drug cartels, but also with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, who heads U.S. military operations throughout Latin America, described Iran’s growing influence as a “potential risk” to the region. Tehran is increasing the number of Iranian embassies throughout Latin American and has made an effort to teach Islam to impoverished residents in the region. Expect the terrorist threat to America to intensify as radical Islam forges alliances close to the U.S.’s porous southern border.
Britain’s anti-discrimination laws are causing “erosion of religious liberty,” Britain’s chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, told the House of Commons public administration select committee June 30. “I share a real concern that the attempt to impose the current prevailing template of equality and discrimination on religious organizations is an erosion of religious liberty,” he said. Director of the Christian Legal Center, Andrea Minichiello Williams, agreed. “These days, you can lose your job if you have ‘incorrect’ views. At the Christian Legal Center we have 50 cases and have seen a number of Christians sacked or disciplined because of their beliefs,” she said. Equality legislation in Britain often means persecuting anyone with strong moral principles.
British local government minister Eric Pickles criticized the EU for fining local councils, museums, universities, travel firms and business groups nearly half a million pounds for not displaying the EU flag after receiving grant money from the EU. “It defies common sense that the EU can hammer public bodies with huge fines for merely not flying their flag,” he said June 5. “This is a prime example of bureaucracy taking over, with organizations being hit for the most minor breaches for over-complicated rules. The end result is British taxpayers’ money being wasted on design guidelines, form-filling and millions of pounds of red tape. These fines should be axed.” This is just another irritation for Britain, causing the EU to become even more unpopular with the general public.
Violence broke out in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, over the Fourth of July weekend as a group of African-Americans attacked and taunted a group of passersby. Though Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn noted Tuesday that crime is colorblind, he called the Sunday night beatings of a group of people who had gone to the park disturbing, outrageous and barbaric. One of the victims, Shaina Perry, remembers being punched in the face before having her debit card and cell phone stolen. “They just said ‘Oh, white girl bleeds a lot,’” said Perry, age 22. As the economy worsens and tempers flare, expect crime and racial violence to increase all the more.
In the Chatham neighborhood of Chicago, a concerned citizen has put out a notice for people to keep an eye on their air conditioners. According to the notice, thieves have been sneaking into backyards and crawling onto rooftops to steal entire central air conditioning units. Police have said this type of theft is an ongoing problem that’s affected the whole city for a while now. Bernard Azrikam of The Price is Right Heating and Cooling said he has seen a spike in such thefts of late and believes it is a sign of tough money times. Without a strong sense of national morality, hard times will produce social breakdown.