Islamist Party Dominates Morocco Vote

Islamist Party Dominates Morocco Vote

Abdelhak Senna/AFP/Getty Images

Islamism’s power in the Middle East continues to grow.

An Islamist party won the most seats in Morocco’s parliamentary election on Friday in the latest sign of a Middle Eastern swing toward Islamism.

The election was Morocco’s first since a new constitution came into effect in July which transfers some of King Mohammed vi’s almost absolute power to parliament and to the prime minister. The king proposed these changes to the constitution in response to pro-democracy protests in Morocco and regime changes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The new constitution says the king, the latest ruler of a monarchy that has led Morocco for 350 years, must now select a prime minister from the winning party rather than naming whomever he pleases.

That party, the Islamist Justice and Development Party (pjd), is the political wing of Morocco’s Uniqueness and Reform movement, which represents the Muslim Brotherhood. The party won 107 of the 395 parliamentary seats, which grants it its first opportunity to lead a coalition government. Party spokesmen have said the pjd will promote Islamic finance but will not impose a strict Islamic moral code on Morocco, which is economically dependent on tourism.

Morocco’s youth unemployment is at 31 percent and almost a quarter of its 33 million people live in severe poverty, which means the nation is primed for radical change.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s victory in Morocco comes only a month after the Brotherhood’s Ennahda party dominated elections in Tunisia. The Muslim Brotherhood is also poised to win elections in Egypt beginning this week.

To understand the significance of the transformations under way in the Middle East, and of Islamism’s mushrooming power, read “Egypt and Libya to Join Iran’s Terror Network.”

Germany Mulls War With Iran

Germany Mulls War With Iran

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Germany’s foreign policy toward Iran is garnering teeth.

This week, the European Union’s Foreign Ministry will table measures for acting against Iran’s aggressive pursuit of nuclear power. Berlin is the power pushing the EU to impose heavy sanctions.

This is one of the strongest indications to date that Germany is beginning to react against the effects of the prophesied “push” by the “king of the south.” That push is prophesied to end with Germany descending on Iran suddenly, as a whirlwind, to destroy Iran’s national infrastructure and totally remove its nuclear armed threat to the world (Daniel 11:40).

Integral to Berlin’s, and hence the EU’s, foreign-policy reaction to Iran’s taunting foreign-policy push is access to Middle Eastern oil.

“In reality it’s a hegemonic conflict, where the West [German-dominated EU] tries to defend its dominating position in the Middle Eastern resource region with all its might. The voices that demand military interventions for the next year in order to subdue the rising Iran are getting louder. In Berlin the controversy over whether the nation should participate in a possible war is heating up” (German-Foreign-Policy.com, November 25; translation ours; emphasis added throughout).

With the continual weakening of American influence in the region, EU elites are seeking to increasingly fill the developing Western leadership vacuum. As a consequence, with an appeasing U.S. especially losing its taste for engaging in conflict in the Middle East, war against Iran is being more closely considered as an option behind closed doors in Berlin and Brussels.

As German-Foreign-Policy.com also reports, “The present general developments in the Middle East are likely to favor supporters of military attacks, possibly in a significant way” (ibid).

This turn of events involving Germany’s reaction to Iran’s obvious policy of nuclear empowerment is a tremendous sign of just how close we are to the fulfillment of Daniel’s great prophecy for our time, and the earthshaking events it triggers.

How did Germany evolve from the ashes of abject surrender in defeat and total enforced disarmament less than 70 years ago, to be virtually calling the shots mulling over whether EU forces should attack an imminently nuclear-empowered Iran? It’s been an interesting transition from that point in 1945 when the Allied leaders declared that Germany would never be permitted again to pose a military threat to the world to its current status with the Bundeswehr deployed in 10 foreign theaters.

Following Germany’s 1945 defeat, within barely the space that separated World Wars i and ii—just 20 years—Germany commenced rearming with the full endorsement of its former Anglo-Saxon enemies. A nato view of the subsequent history of German militarization stated: “In 1955, few people would have imagined that the Federal Republic would build the largest army on the European continent. And no French official intent on circumscribing German potential power would in his wildest dreams have imagined that 40 years later German units would be marching in a July 14 parade on the Champs Elysées as part of the Eurocorps” (NATO Review,Summer 2005).

Who, indeed, would have thought that in just another 16 years from that parade in Paris, Germany would be considering initiating combat with a European force in an act of aggression against the Middle East’s leading Islamic nation—Iran!

Well, one lone voice did not only think of that but loudly declared it way in advance of its present-day reality: Herbert W. Armstrong!

Much maligned by his enemies even to this day, a quarter of a century following his death, this farsighted man of God had, as early as 1934, prophesied that a 10-nation European combine under the combined leadership of Rome and Berlin would arise as a powerful military force in our time and attack the biblical “king of the south,” ultimately sweeping through Palestine into the Middle East!

Mr. Armstrong wrote, “For 39 years now, I’ve been telling our radio audience and Plain Truth readers that a political union of 10 nations in Europe would rise, resurrecting the Holy Roman Empire of the Middle Ages. I was predicting this even before World War ii. Of course, almost no one believed me, then” (Plain Truth, March 1973).

And the marvel is, with that union of 10 being even talked about in elitist European circles today, so many still disbelieve it!

Yesterday we received from our man in Cyprus a report that a local Greek news source has indicated that “There are moves by Merkel, Sarkozy and Monti to move ahead with 9 or 10 countries in the EU to band tightly together. … They hope to present this to the meeting December 9.” That is when the EU summit will consider major changes to Europe’s present makeup, largely per German diktat.

With Germany closely considering enacting war against Iran amid such other tectonic international events as we reported last week on this website, any enlightened watcher of these startling and rapidly forming current events can see that we are fast reaching the prophesied climax at the close of this age.

There is good news in all that is happening in Europe, the Middle East and across an increasingly disrupted and confused globe, as our editor in chief so recently asserted: “The resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire that Revelation 17:10 says ‘is’ was there during Mr. Armstrong’s ministry. Now, the empire that ‘is not yet come,’ is come! A man is about to unify that power and restore the final head of the Holy Roman Empire!

“What does this mean foryou? It means that these prophecies are being fulfilled, and Jesus Christ is about to return to this Earth! This is the news of the century! It is the greatest news in human history. What could be more alarming than this? And yet what could be more wonderful, when you realize it’s all tied to the Second Coming?”

Steve Jobs and His Burning Passion to Be Perfect

Steve Jobs and His Burning Passion to Be Perfect

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Lessons from the greatest CEO ever
From the January 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

At the time of his death last October, Steve Jobs was overseeing the most valuable corporation on Earth. He was the primary author of the spectacular success of Apple Inc., which is why many say he was the greatest ceo ever.

There is a lot we can learn from Mr. Jobs. In fact, many of his most exceptional traits are endorsed in God’s Word.

Perhaps his most distinctive and empowering quality, as well as his most important, was that he was a perfectionist. In a world that tolerates and even exalts imperfection, the success Mr. Jobs achieved because of his quest for perfection is worth pondering.

The Case of the Imperfect Case

In every detail of creating computers and gadgets—even in building the Apple empire and its distinct, almost mesmerizing culture—Steve Jobs wanted everything to be perfect. This desire for the perfect gadget, the perfect product launch, the perfect Apple store, propelled him to unrivaled success more than anything else.

Just six weeks before the iPod was scheduled to be unveiled in 2001, it had a plastic screen. Suddenly Jobs became convinced that plastic would scratch too easily and that the screen should be glass. His decision to make the change sent shock waves through the company: Designers, engineers and technicians were sent scrambling to redesign the casing. “No other ceo on Earth would have made that call,” wrote Time magazine (Oct. 17, 2011).

Steve Jobs didn’t care about the added cost or how the media would react. His primary focus was on releasing the most perfect product possible!

During the creation of the Apple ii computer in the late 1970s, Jobs had to choose the color of the casing and was given 2,000 shades of beige to choose from. Not one was good enough for Jobs. He wanted to create his own perfect shade of beige.

Even as a boy watching his father work on cars, Steve, writes Walter Isaacson in his book Steve Jobs, was “fascinated by the need for perfection.”

Jobs demanded the highest-quality screws be used on components inside the computer. He even insisted on beautiful finishes inside, even though only repairmen would ever see it. “Jobs … always indulged his obsession that the unseen parts of a product should be crafted as beautifully as its facade, just as his father had taught him when they were building a fence,” Isaacson writes.

What a unique way of thinking: creating a product that is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. No wonder Apple products are in such high demand!

The determination to reach perfection is a remarkable quality. In a very real sense, it points us to God! In Matthew 5:48, Jesus Christ commands His followers, “Be [or become] ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This is a profound scripture. It really encapsulates the gospel of God! It is all about human beings actually becoming like God Himself! God is a perfectionist!

Being a perfectionist is a godly quality—which is why it works.

Steve Jobs embodied this quality in his pursuit of the perfect gadget, and look at the success he attained in that arena. Christ challenges us to apply it in the areas of our life that really matter most!

How much of a perfectionist are you? Do you strive for the perfect marriage, the perfect children? Do you labor to produce the most perfect product possible at work? If we do this, good things will happen. God tells us to develop that quest for perfection in everything we do!

Vision

Proverbs 29:18 says that “where there is no vision, the people perish.” Whether we apply this spiritually or even to our physical life—our job, our marriage, our family—it remains true: People need vision. In order to truly succeed, we need to have our mind fixed on the goal—something big, something important to pursue and aspire to.

Steve Jobs was always fixated on his ultimate vision.

In 1983, Jobs was searching for a ceo to run Apple. He approached John Scully, who was working at Pepsi-Cola at the time and seemed uninterested in the position. Finally, after months of unsuccessfully petitioning Scully to join the Apple team, Jobs told him flatly: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water? Or do you want a chance to change the world?

This man wasn’t in the computer business simply to create gadgets, or build a global corporation, or even to transform the computer industry. His ultimate ambition was to “change the world.”

Jobs has often been quoted as telling his co-workers, “We’re here to put a dent in the universe.” That was his goal for Apple, and he did his best to make it the goal of every employee working at Apple.

How far-reaching is your vision? God has given human beings a potential that will stretch your imagination to its limits! He wants that vision to propel us onward and upward, to motivate us to seek greatness! You can learn about that vision in our book The Incredible Human Potential. We will send you a copy for free.

Steve Jobs had a novel way of recruiting employees in 1981. During the interview process he would bring the candidate into a room where a prototype of the Mac was covered by a cloth. Then, with great drama, he would rip the veil from his creation—and then watch their reaction. “If their eyes lit up, if they went right for the mouse and started pointing and clicking,” recalled Andrea Cunningham, “Steve would smile and hire them.”

Jobs surrounded himself with people who loved Apple. He only wanted to work with people who had the same vision, the same hopes and dreams for Apple’s products and services. When asked what he looked for when hiring a senior executive, Jobs responded, “They have to be really smart. But the real issue for me is, are they going to fall in love with Apple?

This too is a biblical principle. God is building a team of people who are united in their enthusiasm for His plans and His way of life. Above all He wants men and women “after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will” (Acts 13:22). He tells us, through the Apostle Paul, to “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God,” and to “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

One of the greatest challenges in creating an Apple product was striking the balance between aesthetic appeal and engineering. Steve Jobs didn’t just want the best product technologically: He also wanted it to be visually appealing, as simple and pure as possible.

From an engineering standpoint, this was never easy. Often, the engineers or manufacturers would tell Jobs that he was demanding the impossible, and style would simply have to be compromised. Jobs would always fire back, We are going to do it! An employee who continued to fail to believe would be fired.

Jobs couldn’t stand to work with naysayers, people who were negative and hadn’t fully bought into his vision. He knew that such people would drain him and the rest of his team of optimism and energy.

Even this principle has a biblical corollary. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” the Prophet Amos wrote. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). In 1 Corinthians 15:33, Paul wrote: “Make no mistake: ‘Bad company is the ruin of a good character’” (New English Bible).

Focus

Steve Jobs’s clear vision of what he wanted enabled him to have a laser-like focus on what he wanted to accomplish. He often told his executives that deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.

Though he had co-founded Apple in 1976, Jobs was fired in 1985. When he returned to the company in 1997, it was a mess. Jobs immediately undertook a survey of the company, its employees and its products—and what he discovered infuriated him. There were too many products, too many versions of software, too many competing visions for the company.

He spent months working to sort through the morass. Finally, in a product strategy session, Jobs yelled “Stop!” This is crazy, he said. He went to the whiteboard and drew a horizontal line and a vertical line to make a four-squared chart. Here’s what we’re going to do, he explained: Apple is going to makeone productfor each quadrant. Instead of developing multiple different products and even expanding into other industries, he wanted Apple to focus on one industry, and on three or four products.

Within months of his return, Apple had cut 70 percent of its models and products, and was devoting all its resources to a handful of projects. This new, acutely focused strategy paid off, and soon the company was growing again.

According to Isaacson, Steve Jobs’s ability to focus—and to force those around him to focus—“saved Apple.”

Once again, Jobs was employing a spiritual principle. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus told His followers, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” God knows that if our lives are scattered in too many directions, we will fail at everything. The truly important things will get crowded out by trivialities. “When thine eye is single,” Jesus said, “thy whole body is also full of light” (Luke 11:34). God demands that we maintain our focus on what really matters.

The Missing Component

Like all men, Steve Jobs had his share of flaws. Steve Wozniack, his partner at Apple and the man largely responsible for the engineering behind the empire, said he could “never trust his [Jobs’s] integrity.”

This great computer magnate was self-centered, highly combustible and often brutally honest with his criticisms. Early in his career he had a child out of wedlock. Although he was a millionaire and powerful man at the time, he rejected his daughter and humiliated her mother in the national press.

Despite all his material success, Steve Jobs was constantly searching for spiritual enlightenment. As a young man, this search led him to some pretty intensive drug use. He went to college for six months, where he became interested in Zen Buddhism. He grew close to prominent spiritual gurus and would regularly participate in bizarre rituals.

In 1974, Jobs told his bosses at Atari that he was quitting his job and going to India in search of a religious guru who could help him find himself. About his jaunt to India, Jobs later said: “For me it was a serious search. I’d been turned on to the idea of enlightenment and trying to figure out who I was and how I fit into things.” Daniel Kottke, a friend of Jobs at the time, recalled that “there was a hole in him, and he was trying to fill it.”

That hole stayed with Jobs his whole life. After returning from India, he continued his search for enlightenment. Despite his intellectual and creative brilliance, spiritually he was a deeply confused man. “I think different religions are different doors to the same house,” he said once. “Sometimes I think the house exists, and sometimes I don’t. It’s the great mystery.”

A few months before he died, Jobs was talking with Isaacson about the meaning of life and the existence of God. “I’m about 50-50 on believing in God,” he said. “For most of my life, I’ve felt that there must be more to our existence than meets the eye.”

Isn’t that sad? This man had spent a lifetime searching the planet for a Higher Authority, and the best conclusion he could draw was there is “more to our existence than meets the eye.”

This brilliant, highly educated man transformed the world with his dazzling gadgets. He was rich and powerful. He could pick up the phone and talk to presidents and prime ministers, to ceos and scientists. He received private concerts from world-class artists. He could go anywhere and do anything, no matter the expense. He had everything!

Everything, that is, except what he wanted most: spiritual enlightenment.

Jobs revolutionized the computer industry, the movie industry, the cell phone industry, the music industry—and really the world—with his technology. Yet he never discovered the answers to life’s most basic and important questions. During one of his last conversations with Isaacson, Jobs mused about how he’d like to believe something great was in store for humans after they die. Then again, he stated, “perhaps [life] is like an on-off switch. Click! And you’re gone.”

He even joked that “maybe this was why I never liked to put on-off switches on Apple devices.”

Sad, isn’t it? Steve Jobs transformed human existence with his technology, but he never figured out why humans exist. He never figured out whether there is a God. Or if man was put on Earth for a specific reason. Or if there is life after death. This brilliant man died ignorant. Even Steve Jobs himself knew there was a missing component to his extraordinarily successful life.

What was it?

Put simply, this man lacked a relationship with the one omnipotent, all-powerful, living God!

What about you? Do you have a vibrant, active,productive relationship with God? You can!

The moment God created man is recorded in Genesis 1:26. Notice, God says “let us make man in our image, after our likeness ….” Have you ever wondered why God would create man after the image and likeness of God? In The Incredible Human Potential, Herbert Armstrong explains this stunning little verse: “But man was made in the form and shape of God, to have a special relationship with God—to have the potential of being born into the Family of God.”

Do you have a “special relationship with God”?

There are literally hundreds of verses in the Bible like Genesis 1:26. Short verses with profound, life-changing meaning. Verses that prove God exists, that explain why man was put on Earth, that explain God’s plan for man, that explain if there is life after death. Verses that provide riveting, practical knowledge that will transform your life.

If you would like to learn the answers to these questions, to find out why you were put on Earth, and how you can have a fresh, sincere relationship with God, then you need to study these Bible passages. To help you with that, we’d like to send you a free copy of Herbert Armstrong’s book The Incredible Human Potential.

Steve Jobs pursued the knowledge contained in this book all his life. Now you can have it free.

Violence Mars Black Friday

Violence Mars Black Friday

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Black Friday sales across the United States were marred by violence as crazed shoppers literally fought over the best deals. Several incidents occurred at Wal-Mart stores as millions of Americans loaded up on holiday purchases.

One disturbed female shopper at a Los Angeles, California, Wal-Mart—desperate to get her hands on some discounted electronics—actually pepper-sprayed an entire crowd of people in an attempt to keep them away from the merchandise she wanted. According to witnesses, shoppers-gone-wild were tearing down video game displays, trampling merchandise and shoving each other as they tried to get at the deeply-discounted goods. Then, the above-mentioned woman filled the whole area with pepper spray. At least 20 shoppers were injured.

Chaos also erupted at a Wal-Mart in Rome, New York, as several fights broke out in the electronics department. Two shoppers ended up in hospital for minor injuries, according to Oneida County sheriff’s deputies.

One of the most climactic parts of the Friday shopping experience in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, was a fistfight that broke out at Victoria’s Secret, where a deal on yoga pants had some women fuming. “Literally, girls were punching each other,” said shopper Liz Wentling. “They threw little bags in baskets and they were just like, ‘Here.’ Girls were literally shoving each other, moms were getting into it.”

A discount-seeking shopper was shot and critically wounded during a robbery outside a Wal-Mart in San Leandro, California. Police said the victims were returning to their car with their purchases when they were approached by multiple suspects demanding their merchandise. In the ensuing fight, one suspect allegedly pulled a gun and shot one of the victims.

Similar shootings occurred at holiday discount sales in Fayetteville, North Carolina; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Des Moines, Iowa.

These incidents bring back memories of the 2008 Black Friday atrocity, when a frantic crowd of shoppers trampled a Wal-Mart employee to death when he unlocked the store door that morning.

It is astonishing how violent and self-centered human beings can be when a materialistic craze comes over them. If people will explode like this over discounted plasma tvs, imagine what will happen when America starts to experience food shortages.

For more information on violence and civil unrest in America, read our October articles “Blood in the Streets” and “Brace Yourself for Food Scarcity.”

Sound familiar? Germany working on a 10-nation euro core

“Germany and France are exploring radical methods of securing deeper and more rapid fiscal integration among eurozone countries,” Reuters reported today.

In an effort to strengthen the European Union’s defenses against the ballooning debt crisis, Germany has been leading the charge to create new budget controls for the 17 eurozone countries. But according to EU officials, Germany’s original plan to get all 27 nations to agree on an amended Lisbon Treaty by the end of 2012 may no longer be possible.

“As a result,” Reuters continued, “senior French and German civil servants have been exploring other ways of achieving the goal, either via an agreement among just the eurozone countries, or a separate agreement outside the EU treaty that could involve a core of around 8-10 eurozone countries, officials say” (emphasis added throughout).

The idea of a smaller union within Europe—one with Germany at the top and consisting of a possible 10 nations—is not new.

“We know how the United States of Europe will be used by [Germany] to attempt world domination,” a pamphlet Herbert W. Armstrong published over 50 years ago said. “Prophecy shows 10 kings—10 dictators—will arise in Europe and give their power to Germany.”

A reunited Germany rising from the ashes of World War ii to dominate the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire was the signature prophecy of Mr. Armstrong’s 50-year ministry.

“Remember that there must be 10 nations or groups of nations to comprise the final resurrection of the modern ‘Holy Roman Empire,’” Mr. Armstrong said in 1963.

That Germany is leading the way in this emerging union of European elites is clear. One EU official told Reuters: “The Germans have made up their minds. They want treaty change and they are doing everything they can to push for it as rapidly as possible. Senior German officials are on the phone at all hours of the day to every European capital.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has already publicly acknowledged the possibility of an emerging “two-speed” Europe. Now France and Germany are working overtime to put together a “radical” proposal by early December. Reuters wrote:

“The options are being actively discussed as we speak and things are moving very, very quickly,” a European Commission official briefed on the discussions told Reuters.One source said the aim was to have the outline of an agreement set out before December 9, when EU leaders will meet for their final summit of the year in Brussels.Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, which represents EU member states, is supposed to deliver a preliminary report on treaty change at the summit. He has held extensive talks with EU leaders in recent weeks to gauge the feasibility of bringing about rapid treaty changes.

As the European economy crumbles and only Germany stands ready to pick up the pieces, watch for things to continue to move “very, very quickly” into a two-speed Europe, with Germany and its 10 nations leading the way.

The Week in Review

The Week in Review

PT/Getty Images

Arab League threatens Syria, Russia threatens U.S. missile defense, hunger threatens Zimbabwe, and bacteria threatens Europe.

Middle East

Deadly clashes in Egypt: Some 41 people have died and more than 2,000 wounded in violent protests in Egypt since Saturday, according to the country’s Health Ministry. The protesters believe the ruling military council—the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces—isn’t doing enough to hand power back to the people. On Friday of last week, the Muslim Brotherhood kicked off the wave of protests when tens of thousands of Islamists marched through Tahrir Square. A few remained overnight in tents, and when police tried to remove them the next day other protesters supported them, leading to fights between police and protesters that spread to other cities. The clashes continued despite the ruling military council promising to speed up the transfer of power to civilian rule. On Tuesday, a deal was struck between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military that would allow the transition to civilian rule to occur on a timetable favoring the Islamist group. This is precisely why the military had sought to hold on to power—to prevent an Islamist takeover. It was agreed that presidential elections will be held by July, six months earlier than originally planned by the army, and a new government formed. A truce between security forces and protesters brought some calm to the streets on Thursday, but a “million-man march” is planned for Friday, which is likely to see a resumption of violence. The clashes have jeopardized parliamentary elections due to begin Monday, but if the elections do go ahead, “the new crisis will benefit the Islamists, possibly widening their projected margin of victory,” Real Clear World reports. Whatever the immediate outcome, expect the Muslim Brotherhood to come out on top.

Muslim Brotherhood on the rise in Egypt and Libya: On Sunday, the Jerusalem Post reported on a survey showing that Islamist parties are the most popular in Egypt. According to the unofficial poll, conducted on the social-networking website Facebook, in parliamentary elections 38 percent of Egyptians will vote for the Freedom and Justice Party, which is the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party and the largest and best organized of all political forces in Egypt. An additional 12 percent said they will vote for the Al-Nour party, a Salafi Islamist party. The poll indicated that secular and liberal parties are the least popular in Egypt. The most popular secular party was projected to receive only 2 percent of votes. In Libya, after being outlawed for decades, the Muslim Brotherhood conducted its first public meeting on Libyan soil on November 17 and called for a sweeping national reconstruction effort. Reuters reported on the landmark conference, saying, “As Libya emerges from a bloody civil war, many observers believe the next elections could pit religious political groups against secular parties, with better-organized Islamists such as the Brotherhood having a tactical advantage.” Islamists are the most popular and best-organized political force in both Egypt and Libya, and their power in both nations is poised to rapidly increase.

Iran makes strides toward diplomatic relations with Egypt and Libya: Senior Iranian officials have made it known that Tehran is ready to resume full diplomatic ties with Cairo as soon as Egypt is ready. “Resuming relations would allow the Iranian government to grant aid in tourism and all other fields,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said during a meeting with an Egyptian Sufi delegation on a mission to bridge gaps between Islamic sects in Iran. “The Mubarak regime prevented Iran from establishing relations with Egypt, creating a gap between the two peoples and tarnishing the image of Iranians and Shiites.” Iranian officials have been just as bold in regards to Libya. Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi sent a message to the head of the Libyan transitional government on Sunday renewing a previous offer to assist the North African nation with reconstruction projects. Earlier this month, Vice Chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council Abdel Hafiz Ghoga expressed his appreciation to Iran for the supports it has already given to Libya. He announced that a delegation of Libyan officials will visit Tehran in the near future to discuss expansion of ties and cooperation between the two Islamic states. It is clear the Iranian regime is intent on fully exploiting the “Arab Spring” toward its own ends.

Radical Islamists plot to turn Ethiopia into Islamist state: A group of Wahhabi Muslims is plotting to turn Ethiopia into an Islamic country governed by sharia law, according to plans recently discovered by the Ethiopian government. “We have found evidences and pamphlets [which] were publicly distributed during the month of Ramadan calling on the Muslim community to stand up against all non-Wahhabi Muslims and followers of other religions,” said Mersessa Reda, the director general at the Ministry of Federal Affairs of Ethiopia. In a recent press conference, the Ethiopian government expressed concern over the increasing incidence of violence against moderate Muslims and Christians by radical Wahhabi Muslims. Now that both Egypt and Libya are moving into the Islamist camp, expect Iranian-backed radicals to make a move for control of Ethiopia.

Arab League threatening sanctions on Syria: As violence escalates in Syria, the Arab League has turned against the ruling Assad regime and said it is prepared to adopt sanctions against the country. Syria was suspended from the Arab League earlier this month. Saudi Arabia and Qatar—which fear Iran’s growing power in the region and its alliance with Syria—are leading the Arab League efforts against Syria. “Saudi’s problem is Iran. Going after Syria today ensures you remove Iran from the picture. There is an attempt to create a new Sunni bloc in the region,” said analyst Safwat Zayaat. We can expect Saudi Arabia’s efforts to split Syria’s alliance with Iran to be successful, as Bible prophecy indicates that Syria will join an Arab coalition in the end time.

Yemen’s president promises to quit: Violence in Yemen continued on Thursday after President Ali Abdullah Saleh pledged to step down a day earlier. Tens of thousands took to the streets to protest the promise of immunity from prosecution that Saleh obtained and questioning whether the president would really step down, after saying on previous occasions that he would and not following through. Under the agreement, Saleh has apparently agreed to transfer power to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi within 90 days, within which time an election will also be held. Amir Taheri, writing for the New York Post, says that further political chaos in the country “would only suit al Qaeda and the pro-Iran Houthi group, which both wish to divide Yemen into two halves. The northern half would become part of Iran’s hoped-for ‘Islamic’ empire, while the south would make up for the bases that al Qaeda lost in Afghanistan and Iraq. Plunged into chaos, Yemen could become a second Somalia, just across the water in the Horn of Africa” (November 24).

Italy may court Israel: There are signs that committed papist Mario Monti, Italy’s interim prime minister by appointment of the nation’s president, is keen to step up Rome’s diplomacy in Israel. The technocracy that has taken over the governing of Italy in the hope that it can last till official elections in 2013 has made an interesting choice for the head of its Foreign Ministry. Frankfurter Rundschau reported last week that “The career diplomat Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, who will be foreign minister for the new Italian government under Premier Mario Monti, was ambassador of his country in Israel between 2002 and 2004. In this function he was contributing significantly to better the relationship between the EU and Israel” (November 17; translation ours). Terzi di Sant’Agata was also directly involved in opening doors for right-wing Italian politician Gianfranco Fini and an entourage of right-wing Italian bedfellows for a high-profile visit to Israel in 2003. Fini, with the aid of Ambassador Terzi di Sant’Agata, is well capable of massaging relations with any future leaders of Germany and Israel to gain papal access direct to Jerusalem in the future.

Europe

Leaked: Germany’s latest plan to dominate Europe: Germany wants highly indebted eurozone countries to be subject to automatic sanctions and a European Monetary Fund to manage the bailouts, according to a German Foreign Office memo leaked to the Telegraph. Germany is plotting to make these changes in such a way that they don’t trigger a referendum in the UK. Under the proposal, nations that violate the Stability and Growth Pact could be taken before the European Court of Justice. If a nation receives a bailout, the European Union should have the power to veto its budget before it is presented to the national parliament, the document says. If that nation cannot stick to the terms of the bailout, “it can have concrete budgetary measures imposed upon it.” The memo also says that Germany wants the changes to EU treaties to affect mainly the eurozone in order to try to prevent the changes triggering a referendum in the UK.

German government receives Irish budget: Another leak appears to demonstrate the power over national budgets that Germany has already. Reuters reported November 17 that the Bundestag budget committee received details of Ireland’s budget before the Irish Parliament did. The possibility that Germany gets to see the Irish budget before the elected representatives of the Irish people raises important questions about who really runs Ireland. “The old EU is finished,” writes Der Spiegel. “Old Europe, that construct of unity housed in imposing buildings in Brussels, that visionary collection of ideas about peace, freedom and prosperity, the Europe of big words and impenetrable treaties, the Babylonian monster that spits out tons of paper in 23 languages every day, meddles in everything and tries to spoon-feed its citizens. That Europe no longer exists. There are many other big thinkers in the most influential nations of the European Union, people who are hard at work developing plans for a European house, one that will be better, more democratic, more unified and more impervious to crises than today’s Europe.” It is right in many ways. The big thinkers of Germany and the Catholic Church are hard at work developing plans for a new Europe. It will be bigger and grander, in its way, than the EU. But look at its beginning. It will not be democratic.

France has de facto lost its AAA rating: France’s cost of borrowing has risen to the point that it has effectively lost its triple-A rating, even if the ratings agencies haven’t downgraded it yet. “France isn’t trading like a aaa,” said strategist for Newedge Group in London, Bill Blain. “The market has made its judgment already.” Glendevon King Asset Management’s Nicola Marinelli agreed. “France is not a aaa at all,” he said. “French banks are very exposed to eurozone periphery. If they were to market these loans at current levels, there would be huge losses.” On Tuesday, the interest rate on a 10-year government bond was 3.5 percent—around halfway between fellow aaa country the Netherlands and Aa1-graded Belgium. French borrowing costs are about 1 percentage point higher than in the UK and over 1½ percentage points higher than in Germany. Rates may climb above 5 percent, said analysts at Credit Suisse Group AG. Ratings agency Moody’s warned that the rising interest rates and slow growth threatened France’s credit outlook and that the nation faces “significant downside risks.” France’s economic woes show it is not in the same economic league as Germany. If France loses its aaa rating, the crisis will get much worse.

Belgium moving toward danger zone: Belgium’s cost of borrowing rose to its highest level for nearly 10 years after the latest coalition talks failed. Belgium continues to set new records for the longest a country has gone without being able to form a government, and it is making the markets nervous. Its debt level is about the same as its gdp—the third highest in the eurozone. Without a government, it can’t do much to solve its problems. The euro crisis continues to affect more and more nations.

Hungary asks for IMF loan: Hungary asked the EU and the International Monetary Fund for a “precautionary” rescue, the two organizations reported November 21. Hungary already entered into a €20 billion imf bailout program in 2008.

European Commission plans for great integration: The European Commission presented its proposed solution to the eurozone crisis on November 23: more integration and a common European government bond. Eurozone members would have to submit their budgets to the EU for approval. The Commission would have the power to cut off funding to nations that break the rules. It would even be able to send inspectors to nations “experiencing severe difficulties”—even if the nation hasn’t asked for them. “National parliaments should know that when they take a decision they are also responsible for the consequences of these decisions on others …. In a monetary union we need to acknowledge this level of interdependence,” said Commission President José Manuel Barroso. Germany, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker all criticized the plan. European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn looks forward to having the power the new plans would give him. “Rest assured, I will make full use of all these new instruments from day one of their entry into force,” he said.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria spreading through Europe: The world could soon be faced with the “unthinkable scenario of untreatable infections,” warned the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ecdc) on November 17. Around 25,000 people in the EU die each year because of bacteria resistant to antibiotics. In some countries, half of all blood poisoning caused by K. pneumonia was resistant to their most powerful antibiotics. Across all of Europe, 15 percent of K. pneumonia is resistant to carbapenem. “The situation is critical. We need to declare a war against these bacteria,” the ecdc’s director said. E coli is also growing resistant in some places. In Italy and Spain, between a half and a quarter of all E coli infections are resistant to fluoroquinolones—a key antibiotic in treating the disease. Bacteria that carry an enzyme for destroying carbapenems are also spreading. The problems caused by overuse of antibiotics could potentially reach devastating proportions.

Asia

Medvedev says Russia might target U.S. missile defense sites: Russia will station new missiles aimed at American missile defense facilities in Europe if the U.S. ignores Russian protests and proceeds with its planned shield, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday. Even though Washington insists that the purpose of these defense systems is to ward off potential attacks from Iran, Russia views them as a threat to the Kremlin’s nuclear forces. In a bold statement apparently designed to rally nationalistic votes in upcoming elections, Medvedev said Russia will deploy missiles in its westernmost region and other locations if Moscow and nato fail to reach an agreement concerning the U.S.-led missile defense plans. “The United States and its nato partners as of now aren’t going to take our concerns about the European missile defense into account,” Medvedev said, adding that if the Western powers continue to “stonewall,” Russia will retaliate. As the U.S. continues to succumb to financial and moral ailments, Russia and other Eastern giants will become increasingly bold in their defiance toward Washington.

Russia hopes India will “soon” become SCO member: Moscow hopes India will soon gain full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (sco), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on November 17, after meeting with his Indian counterpart. The sco is an Asian security bloc led by Russia and China, which also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. “Russia supports the resolution of the issue of India’s transfer from observer status to full membership in the sco as soon as possible. We have expounded on this position repeatedly and expect to achieve progress in the issue soon,” Lavrov said. Since its inception in 2001, the sco has fostered significant unity among its member nations, but the years ahead will prove even more significant for the Asian bloc if it adds India and its 1.17 billion people to its roster.

Next man on the moon may be Chinese: Since its genesis in 1992, China’s manned space program has grown with breathtaking speed. On Tuesday, analyst Kate Lanau said, “If all goes according to plan, the next astronaut on the moon will be Chinese.” In 2003, China launched its first astronaut into space, becoming one of only three nations capable of human space flight capabilities. In 2007, China came under international criticism after shooting down one of its orbiting satellites as a demonstration of its powerful anti-satellite technology. In 2010, Beijing launched more satellites than the U.S. for the first time. Then, in September of this year, China crossed another milestone by launching the Tiangong-1, or “Heavenly Palace,” space module into the night sky. International space politics expert Michael Sheehan explained the launch, saying the Chinese are “trying to place themselves in the category of superpower. The Tiangong-1 launch is a step in that direction.” On November 3, an unmanned spacecraft successfully docked with Tiangong-1, making China the third nation after the U.S. and Russia to demonstrate independently developed space-docking capabilities. China claims that its space program is peaceful, but because the program is operated by the nation’s military, many analysts are skeptical. Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, said, “If there’s a [Chinese] satellite in orbit, it’s hard to tell whether it’s taking imagery for crop rotation or targeting.” China’s space program is rapidly rising as nasa trudges through a long period of inactivity and transition. The contrast will hasten the decision of smaller Asian nations to abandon the sinking U.S. ship and begin to look to Beijing.

Africa/Latin America

One million need food assistance in Zimbabwe: One million Zimbabweans, a full 12 percent of the nation’s rural population, will not be able to meet their minimum cereal needs during the 2011/12 season, according to a report by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (zimvac), a government-led consortium of UN agencies, official bodies and non-governmental organizations that conducts annual food security assessments. The report notes that the drought-prone southern and western regions of the country have been hit the hardest, particularly the Masvingo and Matabeleland North and South provinces, where subsistence farming is the sole source of income for most rural households. The World Food Program says about $42 million is needed to get people through the lean season until the March harvest begins.

European and Latin American leaders agree to strengthen ties: European and Latin American leaders met in Brussels this week and agreed that the two continents should continue to strengthen links in spite of ongoing financial trouble. “I think that this moment is crucial for Europe and Latin America and more cooperation is needed between Europe and Latin America; we must work jointly for economic growth in both continents,” said Antonio Tajani, vice president of the European Commission. Tajani reminded Latin American officials of just how important EU investments are to their countries and then dogmatically stated that Europe would emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. “Currently in the midst of the crisis some countries look upon us with certain arrogance, thinking the European Union is over. I disagree profoundly. Europe will emerge differently but stronger, with greater cohesion, and even more competitive,” he said. Tajani is right in this regard. Europe will emerge stronger from this crisis, and Latin America will stand at its side in the new world order. Herbert Armstrong long prophesied that the alliance between Europe and South America would grow strong. The most significant factors that will cement this connection are religion and language.

Anglo-America

Budget cuts leave British frigate almost armless: The British Frigate hms Westminster had only four missiles when it was sent to patrol the area close to Benghazi in March, according to Royal Navy officers. The ship, they say, was “dangerously under-defended.” It had just two rounds of Seawolf missiles—missile interceptors that are fired in sets of two. Britain’s budget cuts continue to leave the nation at risk.

Super committee fails to agree on deficit reduction plan: Officials from the congressional super committee charged with finding ways to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next decade announced on Monday that they would not be able to make any proposals before their Thanksgiving deadline. Democratic officials were unwilling to cut entitlements in the run-up to 2012 federal elections and Republican officials were unwilling to raise taxes. As a result, the Dow Jones industrial average lost almost 250 points as investors despaired over debt problems both at home and abroad. This failure may expose the U.S. sovereign rating to more downgrades, with ratings agencies saying they will wait till the end of the year to make their review. “It is just a matter of time before the government’s rating is cut,” Steve Ricchiuto, Mizuho Securities’ chief economist, said in a report. The American people lack the political will to make the budget cuts necessary to get their economy back on track. Expect the United States to soon enter a time of unprecedented economic turmoil.

Rate of STD infection up: Cases of sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in the U.S., according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday of last week. More than 1.3 million cases of chlamydia were reported last year—the largest number ever reported. The number of new gonorrhea cases also increased to a total of 300,000.

America’s declining spycraft leads to public humiliation: Terrorist group Hezbollah has captured several American spies and disrupted the cia’s operations in Lebanon, writes the Associated Press, citing current and former American officials. In June, Hezbollah’s leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah claimed they’d uncovered two American informants who had infiltrated the terrorist group. The U.S. Embassy in Lebanon denied this, but the officials who spoke to AP this week said that this did happen. The officials said the cia’s counterintelligence abilities has been eroded as the agency shifted from outmaneuvering rival espionage agencies to rooting out terrorists. “We were lazy and the cia is now flying blind against Hezbollah,” abc’s Good Morning America quoted an anonymous source as saying. “We’ve lost the tradition of espionage,” it quoted a former official still consulted by the U.S. intelligence community as saying. “Officers take short cuts and no one is held accountable.” The decline of the cia is just another part of America’s decline in the Middle East and around the world.