Will Germany Intervene in Syria?

Will Germany Intervene in Syria?

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Decision makers in Germany are debating Berlin’s future role in the Syrian revolution.

Early last year, as the West was gearing up to intervene militarily in the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi, Germany made it clear it wanted no part. In March, when America, England, France and a host of other states passed UN Resolution 1973 sanctioning nato intervention in Libya, Germany joined Russia and China in abstaining from the vote.

Germany refused to participate because it believed military action would result in too much violence and bloodshed. “Any military operation brings civilian victims,” explained Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed those remarks in her explanation of Germany’s non-participation. Berlin’s primary concern, the world was told, was that nato intervention would produce too many civilian casualties.

Keep this in mind as you read on.

Last month, German-Foreign-Policy.com reported that “government advisers in Berlin are debating war scenarios for a possible Western military intervention in Syria” (March 6). Citing reports from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (swp), an influential think tank that advises the Bundestag and the German government on foreign policy, German-Foreign-Policy.com reported on the growing discussion in Germany over the need for foreign military intervention in Syria, and the need for Berlin to play a leadership role.

The swp says Syria is descending into a full-scale civil war. This, according to some experts, would undoubtedly demand foreign military intervention. According to the swp’s director of the Security Policy Research Group, “Even though ‘all Western countries show basic signs of war fatigue,’ their ‘readiness’ to go to war could be ‘reactivated’ if the humanitarian situation deteriorates—as the West’s interventionist mood has shown during the war on Libya” (ibid).

This week, German-Foreign-Policy.com cited a German government adviser stating that in the event of military intervention in Syria, “German participation should be assured.”

Note the dichotomy. In Libya, the likelihood that military intervention would worsen the humanitarian crisis was reason for Germany refraining from military action. But in Syria, a nation currently experiencing a humanitarian crisis that would certainly intensify in the event of foreign intervention, Germany favors military action.

According to German-Foreign-Policy.com, the swp has already outlined five scenarios for Western military intervention in Syria. Among them are the deployment of Western special forces to arm and train Syrian protesters and militias; the forced establishment of “safe zones,” areas controlled by foreign troops where Syrian refugees can seek protection and opposition forces can plan assaults; and all-out military assault.

In a recent article at Internationale Politik, swp director of security policy Markus Kaim explained the dilemma facing the United States and Europe. If the ceasefire breaks and civil war continues, the West must either accept “the limits of [its] influence on the Syrian regime”—an improbable admission of Western weakness—or weigh “the options for military engagement to contain the conflict with all the associated risks.”

This is not to suggest Germany plans to dispatch troops to Syria this week. In fact, the public stance reiterated by Germany’s foreign minister is that Berlin does not support military intervention in Syria. But this discussion in Berlin—especially the debate about military strategy and tactics by influential advisers to the government—is evidence that Berlin is keeping an attentive eye on Syria. This is especially noteworthy when you consider Germany’s comparative apathy over Libya’s revolution.

Why does Germany appear so much more engaged with Syria than it ever was with Libya?

Earlier this month, Germany was a key participant, along with the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, at a gathering in Turkey to discuss options for dealing with Syria’s revolution. Foreign Minister Westerwelle announced there that Germany would join the U.S. and double its humanitarian contributions to Syria. In its report on the pledge by the Istanbul coalition to “provide funding and communications equipment to Syrian rebels and opposition activists,” the Associated Press noted that this reflected a “shift toward military options that might oust Syrian President Bashar Assad” (emphasis added).

Together with America, Britain and France, Germany has also established a naval presence off the coast of Syria and Lebanon.

Again, why does Berlin appear substantially more interested in the crisis in Syria than it was with Libya? Because overthrowing the pro-Iranian, anti-Western Assad regime meshes with Berlin’s larger geopolitical and strategic ambitions for the Middle East! As Karsten D. Voigt, the German government’s former coordinator of German-American cooperation, recently explained, the tension between the West and Syria and its international allies is not about “human rights versus dictatorship”—it’s about “geostrategic interests.”

One of Germany’s primary aims in the Middle East is to develop an axis with Middle Eastern states that oppose Iran.

As the Trumpet has long reported, this explains why Germany has for years been stepping up its political, financial and military investment in countries such as Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Berlin has formed solid trade relationships with virtually all these countries, covering every industry from telecommunications to the military. A recent European Commission summary report, for example, showed that the EU, led by Germany, was the world’s largest exporter of weapons to Saudi Arabia and that in 2010 EU member states delivered at least €3.3 billion (us$4.34 billion) worth of military equipment and licenses to Riyadh.

Germany’s interest in Syria’s revolution must be considered in this context. From Berlin’s perspective, the rebellion in Syria is a prime opportunity to transform the country into a pro-German, pro-Arab state. It believes Assad’s downfall would be devastating to Iran and its radical Islamist supporters.

For Germany, Syria’s revolution isn’t about a humanitarian crisis at all. It’s about geopolitics and the advancement of Germany’s strategic interests in the Middle East!

It’s hard to know what exactly will unfold in Syria in the coming weeks. What is certain is that neither Assad nor the anti-government activists are prepared to back down. The ceasefire brokered by the UN last week is already crumbling; violence renewed this week with more deadly attacks by both anti-government forces and the Syrian government. This prompted U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to warn Assad yesterday that the situation is now “at a critical turning point.”

As you continue to watch Syria, it’s vital you pay close attention to Germany. There is no doubt that Berlin in recent years has worked hard to develop allies on the Arabian peninsula, allies that, like Berlin, would like to see Assad’s ouster and Syria’s end as an Iranian proxy. Moreover, don’t be surprised if Germany not only supports foreign military intervention in Syria, but even assumes a leadership role!

The most important reason we need to watch Syria is because of what Bible prophecy says will happen in the end times. You can read the prophecy in Psalm 83. Here is outlined an alliance of Arab nations that in the end time band together with the goal of destroying Israel. This group of nations includes Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan and some of the smaller states on the Arabian peninsula. The prophecy says this unique coalition of Middle Eastern states will form an alliance with Germany and Europe.

Where does Syria fit in this prophecy? Well, as Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry thoroughly explains in The King of the South,Syria is also part of this German-Arab alliance! In practical terms, this means we can expect Syria to leave the pro-Iran camp and join Saudi Arabia and other Arab states in striking a short-term alliance with Germany and Europe. This prophetic understanding makes Germany’s growing interest in Syria thrilling and dramatic!

For more information on the Psalm 83 alliance and why it is a prophecy for the near future, read “A Mysterious Prophecy” by Gerald Flurry.

China and Russia to Conduct Naval Exercises

China and Russia have announced they will conduct joint military exercises in the Yellow Sea starting on April 22. The military drills will focus on joint maritime defense and will involve 16 vessels, including destroyers, frigates and two submarines.

Chen Bingde, the chief of staff for the People’s Liberation Army, said this drill will promote further strategic coordination and mutual trust between his military and Russian forces.

The head of Russia’s General Staff, Nikolai Makarov, said the naval exercise shows that the two countries are conducting strategic coordination at a high level.

Since 2005, China and Russia have conducted several joint military exercises; however, this is the first of such maneuvers that will involve the two countries’ navies.

Continue to watch China and Russia’s military relationship grow. Bible prophecy clearly states that Russia and China will be closely allied in climactic end-time events. To learn about these prophecies and what will lead up to them, read Russia and China in Prophecy, originally printed in 1999.

Catholic Rift Soon to Be Healed?

Catholic Rift Soon to Be Healed?

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The conservative Society of St. Pius X appears to be on the brink of reconciling with Rome.

A letter from the Society of St. Pius x (sspx) that could herald its return to the Catholic Church arrived at the Vatican over the Easter weekend. The content of the letter is secret, but Spiegel Online reports that it indicates the sspx is willing to make the concessions necessary to rejoin the fold.

“The new letter is significant in that it seeks to tone down the conflict,” it writes. “Points of disagreement are no longer to be seen in terms of who is ‘more Catholic’ than the other. The letter makes clear that conflicting positions on Vatican ii are ‘not decisive’ for the future of the Catholic Church. In short, the Society of St. Pius x is no longer demanding that the Vatican ii reforms be repealed.”

Jean-Marie Guenois from the French newspaper Le Figaro said “the final adjustments have been concluded” on an agreement between the Catholic Church and the sspx.

The sspx split off from the Catholic Church in 1969 in response to what it saw as liberalization of the church by the Second Vatican Council, known as Vatican ii. It has tens of thousands of members and several hundred priests.

But if this group rejoins the Catholic Church, the impact will be far greater than just bringing in a few thousand more members. The return of the sspx is part of a deliberate campaign by Pope Benedict xvi and his right-hand men to take the Catholic Church in a more conservative direction. The pope has been slowly replacing key liberal bishops with like-minded conservatives. He has already steered the church in a more traditional and right-wing direction. The return of the sspx takes the church further down that path. It will mean the permanent weakening of some of the church’s more liberal reforms over the past few decades.

The return of the sspx also ties in to a second key aim of the pope: to return the Protestant and Orthodox churches to the Catholic fold. A success with the sspx could give this powerful momentum. This goal doesn’t necessary conflict with the church’s rightward direction. Many of the Anglicans who are dissatisfied with their current church are more traditional and conservative than the Catholics in their countries. Anglicans joining the Catholic Church in Britain, for example, could help push the church in the rightward direction Benedict wants.

The reunification with the sspx is just a small step on the way to the Catholic Church’s ultimate goal—uniting all of Christendom under the papacy.

Snapshots of an Unhinged World

Snapshots of an Unhinged World

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Racial division, Fast and Furious, Secret Service scandal, unwed parents and other explicit scenes of lunacy.

A constellation of unrelated thoughts on recent, unrelated events:

  • George Zimmerman is now in jail and facing second-degree murder charges for killing Trayvon Martin. This case has stoked racial bitterness, fear and antagonism that easily matches the Rodney King and O.J. Simpson trials. Any chance it will be peacefully resolved? A recent Newsweek poll found that 35 percent of white Americans believe Martin’s death was racially motivated—while 80 percent of black Americans do. The people who are using the case for political purposes are playing with open flame inside a gas plant.
  • The more facts that surface about Fast and Furious, the worse it gets. A new book by investigative journalist Katy Pavlich vigorously argues that the Obama administration okayed this evil operation—which resulted in the murder or wounding of some 200 Mexicans and the slaying of an American border patrol agent—simply to try to strengthen their case for tightening gun control. Officials followed that disaster with a scandalous cover-up, shamelessly protecting their own tails rather than holding the guilty accountable. Such brazen criminality among the nation’s leaders is a vile illustration of the hard numbers Rob Morley cited yesterday showing the tattered condition of America’s rule of law. It makes me hot with shame.
  • Two stories have emerged of official misconduct of a more carnal sort. In one, the General Services Administration—an agency established in part to develop cost-saving policies for the federal government—is being probed for hosting a lavish conference in a Las Vegas resort, complete with bribes and kickbacks. The cost was an outrageous $823,000—all billed to American taxpayers. In another, 20 Secret Service and military personnel who accompanied the president on his trip to Colombia last week are implicated in a scandal involving a strip club and prostitutes. Many people say character doesn’t matter—a leader’s private life is his business. Embarrassments like these prove that thinking flawed. Scripture shows godly character is prerequisite to effective leadership (e.g. Deuteronomy 17:14-20; Matthew 20:25-28; 1 Timothy 3:1-7).
  • If you’re curious what happens when the family is destroyed, just watch: Americans are conducting a vast experiment to find out. Washington reported some time ago that 4 in 10 births in the United States are to unwed mothers. Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refined that statistic, revealing that births to unmarried cohabiters are at a record high and rising fast. In 2002 the cdc found that 14 percent of reported births were to unwed couples simply living together. A mere 10 years later, that figure has jumped by two thirds. Now, nearly one baby in four is born to a couple that tacitly believes, “Till inconvenience do us part.”
  • Writing of social problems borne of the sexual revolution, Theodore Dalrymple wrote in Life at the Bottom, “Every liberal prescription worsened the problem that it was ostensibly designed to solve. But every liberal intellectual had to deny that obvious consequence or lose his Weltanschauung [world view]: for what shall it profit an intellectual if he acknowledge a simple truth and lose his Weltanschauung? Let millions suffer so long as he can retain his sense of his own righteousness and moral superiority. Indeed, if millions suffer they are additional compassion fodder for him, and the more of their pain will he so generously feel. And so the prescription is: more of the same.”
  • Charles Murray’s newest book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, measures our breakneck moral decline in a rather precise way. Using thorough research, he focuses on the condition of four pillars of American life: work ethic, marriage, religion and respect for law. He shows how, though these pillars have undergone some drop-off among the educated and prosperous over the past half-century, they have been trashed within the lower and working class. Among 30-to-49-year-old whites with no more than a high school diploma and a blue-collar job, the marriage rate plummeted from 84 percent in 1960—to 48 percent in 2010. This is a historically unprecedented collapse in the central institution stabilizing a society. Similar decay is compromising those other three pillars. You don’t need to believe Bible prophecy to know the fate of a structure whose pillars crumble.
  • After a dry winter, a stunning 61 percent of land in the 48 lower states in the continental U.S. is “abnormally dry” or in drought. That’s especially tough after last year’s dry spell wrought at least $10 billion in agricultural losses. And this past weekend, what would ordinarily be a month’s worth of tornadoes hit in a single day. Six people died. These kind of aberrant events are increasingly becoming the norm. A lot of people want to link this to man-made climate change. I believe there is a far more relevant link with man-made disasters like those discussed in the preceding paragraphs. Scripture shows that God controls the natural elements and uses them to bless for obedience or curse for rebellion. We’re getting a nasty face-full of the latter. It’s not carbon emissions we need to cut—it’s commissions of sin.
  • ted recently posted a lecture by primatologist Frans de Waal. He showed various scientific studies of animals displaying rudimentary “moral” behavior like helping another animal get food, or pitching a fit when another animal unfairly received tastier food. This, de Waal explained, offered proof that the complexities of human morality simply evolved. “We work on these particular issues to see if we can create a morality from the bottom up, so to speak,” he said candidly, “without necessarily God and religion involved.” How much of today’s scientific inquiry is wasted this way? This was an egregious example of a scientist extorting a predetermined conclusion out of a neutral set of data. No matter what scientists scrutinize, they manage to interpret it as proof of what they already “know”: Everything happened without God.
  • Another ted lecture beautifully undermined that notion by showing the monumental superiority of the human mind over any animal. Regina Dugan, who directs an innovation factory called darpa, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, shared some of the extraordinary projects currently in development. Among them: a glider that travels at 20 times the speed of sound (it would cross the U.S. from coast to coast in 11 minutes); a robot that mimics a hummingbird’s ability to fly in any direction; metal lighter than Styrofoam; and a prosthetic arm controlled by thought. The astonishing human capacity for creation and innovation isn’t just the natural outgrowth of chimps using sticks to catch bugs. It was given by God—and for an awesome reason. Read What Science Can’t Discover About the Human Mind if you’re curious why. Far more of those scientists should be.
  • Paganism Taught in Cornish Schools

    Paganism Taught in Cornish Schools

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    Children in Cornish schools are to learn about paganism and witchcraft, alongside other religions, as part of religious education lessons, according to a new syllabus published recently by the Cornwall Council.

    According to the syllabus, 11-to-14-year-olds will have to learn about “the development of modern paganism and its importance for many in Cornwall,” as well as “the importance of pre-Christian sites for modern pagans” and “how modern paganism is diverse and how this diversity is expressed in Cornwall.”

    Religious education is a compulsory subject in England, unless parents opt out. Cornish schools will still teach about Christianity for 60 percent of the time, with Islam, Hinduism, paganism and so on filling up the rest.

    It is bad enough that multiculturalism dictates that British school children have to study other religions while the nation slides in rankings of important subjects like mathematics and the sciences. Now pupils must be taught about a “religion” which has, according to the Cornish Council, around 600 to 750 adherents in Cornwall.

    This may be a small issue—it affects only a handful of lessons in schools in a small part of England—but it is symptomatic of a much bigger problem in British education and British society. Political correctness is put ahead of students’ education.

    Discipline has completely broken down, as punishment is not politically correct. Academic selection has been all but outlawed despite its success in elevating students from poorer backgrounds. The British Empire is portrayed as evil, while schools celebrate lgbt history month. The traditional is banished while the weird is celebrated.

    Six Killed in Two-Day Tornado Outbreak

    More than 75 tornadoes ripped through the central United States on Saturday and Sunday. The storms killed six people and left 29 injured. The fatalities occurred when a tornado touched down in Woodward, Oklahoma, killing three adults and three young girls.

    The outbreak of twisters destroyed homes and businesses and damaged a hospital, a jail, an Air Force base and other structures. Severe storms were also reported in Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, where about 75 percent of the small town of Thurman was destroyed.

    The extreme weather comes on top of America’s worst drought since 2007, with 61 percent of the continental United States in a drought. In 2011, the drought caused at least $10 billion in agricultural losses across Texas and the Southern U.S. As the drought continues, 2012 could bring even greater losses.

    God promised the modern-day nations of Israel that if they obeyed His commandments, He would bless them with “rain in due season.” Leviticus 26 says that this rain would cause the land to yield its increase and the trees to yield their fruit. God also said that He would use His power over the weather to allow devastating droughts and other curses if these nations refused to obey Him. For more information about why we experience weather problems, read “Why Natural Disasters.”