Der Spiegel Online published this week a thought-provoking article on Europe, the United States, Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Iran. This article is almost prophetic. It addressed the continuing downfall and defeat of the United States of America and Israel, as well as the growing influence of Muslim nations and Europe’s goal to create “peace” in the Middle East.
In referring to Iran, the article was titled, “The Spider’s Web.” It stated:
“More people than ever are dying in Iraq while the United States looks on powerlessly. In the wake of its invasion of Lebanon, Israel is riven with self-doubt, while Europe tries to establish peace. But there is one country that is benefiting from every crisis in the region: Iran… Thousands have died in Iraq in recent weeks, far more than those killed in Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, which has dominated this summer’s headlines. The world seems to have grown weary of the misery, the mounting death toll and the bad news constantly coming out of Baghdad or the Sunni triangle, which has been poisoning the Middle East since the spring of 2003. Amr Mussa, Secretary General of the Arab League, once warned that a war in Iraq would open ‘the door to hell.’ Who would disagree with him today?… Meanwhile, Washington continues to indulge in rosy rhetoric about the ‘new Middle East’ it claims to have created… ‘I’m confident in our capacity to leave behind a better world,’ announced US President George W. Bush, sounding more defiant than triumphant…
“Nothing seems to be going well at the moment for the United States, the superpower with its vastly superior military might. The Taliban is on the rise again in Afghanistan, Iraq is in the throes of civil war and Washington’s reputation in the region has plunged to [an] historic low, its authority as a broker in the region’s conflict frittered away for now — and probably for a long time to come… Israel, the US’s staunchest ally in the region, isn’t faring any better. Far from achieving any of its war objectives, the country has only managed to bomb Lebanon’s remarkable ‘Cedar Revolution’ into distant memory. Israel seems determined to repeat the Americans’ mistakes. It became involved in an asymmetrical war against [the] terrorist organization Hezbollah, and its bombardment of areas filled with civilians has done nothing but strengthen the adversary it tried to destroy. In Lebanon, an international force numbering several thousand, initially under French leadership, will be expected to secure the peace, apparently with a far-reaching mandate, the details of which are being worked out.
“But everything seems to be going well at the moment for America’s greatest foe, the government of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It has crafted a finely woven web of relationships stretching from Ankara in Turkey to the Gulf and on to Russia, India and China. And what the regime hasn’t developed itself seems to be falling into its lap. The United States has done Iran a favor by eliminating its two worst enemies, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam in Iraq. The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, jokes that he’ll send Tehran the bill one day. Iran has also emerged as a winner in the Iraq war, without having fired a single shot. Whether in Baghdad, Beirut or Kabul, everything is going according to the Iranians’ wishes — badly, that is…
“Iran, like a spider in a web, [is] steadily collecting its prey, and has become astoundingly weighty in the process. Despite a general lack of clarity over its domestic situation, the regime deals with the rest of the world with the gravitas of a major power… The Islamic Republic has established itself as a regional power, even without nuclear weapons. According to a recent report by Chatham House, a British think tank, Iran has more influence in Iraq than the United States does. Although the Americans have 135,000 troops stationed there, Iran controls the Shiite militias, whose membership numbers in the hundreds of thousands. ‘The debate is over,’ says Kenneth Pollack, a Middle East expert who once supported the war. ‘By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war.’ … One hundred thousand Arabs have fled from the Kurds in northern Iraq, 200,000 Sunnis from war-torn regions in the west, and between 50,000 and 100,000 Shiites from mixed districts in central Iraq… Now more than ever, Iran, 17 years after the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, is the opinion leader in the anti-American and anti-Israeli discourse raging in the Islamic world…
“It appears that President Bush is now ready to listen. Iranian-born Vali Nasr, who teaches political science at the Naval Postgraduate Academy in Monterrey, California, recently explained the situation to Bush… According to Nasr, America, by marching into Iraq, destroyed the Sunni wall that had kept the mullahs in check. ‘This genie won’t go back into the bottle,’ he told the US president, adding that the old allies of the US have lost control of the region. How can America regain control?”
America’s military and political influence is shrinking–in spite of a German press release that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld allegedly said on August 29 that America would be capable, militarily, to deal with Iran. America’s declining role in the world is just the beginning of prophetic developments which will surely come to pass. For more information, please read our free booklets, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” and, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”
U.S. Plains Withering in Drought
UPI reported on August 29:
“Five U.S. Plains states are experiencing a drought that has been setting records, decimating crops and careers for ranchers, The New York Times reports. The drought affecting North and South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming is the result of several years of dry conditions and a winter with little snow, climatologists with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln told the newspaper. South Dakota Gov. Michael Rounds has requested 51 of the state’s 66 counties be designated a federal agricultural disaster area, as sunflower, corn and pasture grasses have withered and died.”
Iran Won’t Concede!
On August 26, The Associated Press reported:
“An Iranian plant that produces heavy water officially went into operation on Saturday, despite U.N. demands that Tehran stop the activity because it can be used to develop a nuclear bomb… Mohammed Saeedi, the deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the heavy water plant is ‘one of the biggest nuclear projects’ in the country… He said the plant will be used in the pharmaceutical field and in diagnosing cancer…”
On August 29, Der Spiegel Online reported about Iran’s most recent defiance, showing that Iran will not concede. Will the world respond to Iran’s relentless search for power? And if so, how? The magazine stated:
“At a wide-ranging press conference only two days ahead of a United Nations deadline calling for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment for its controversial nuclear program, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made clear that Tehran would not ‘bow to threats and ultimatums’ made by the international community… Prior to Ahmadinejad’s press conference, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said on Monday that Iran’s efforts to master the nuclear fuel cycle were ‘irreversible’ — similar to previous comments made by the country’s supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Washington is pushing for quick action at the Security Council if Iran fails to comply with the UN deadline. However, it remains to be seen if the world body can stick to a unified line, since both China and Russia are seen as being reluctant to harm their considerable economic interests in Iran by slapping harsh sanctions on Tehran.”
The German daily, Die Welt, wrote this week: “Washington will have a difficult time taking unilateral action if the Council shies away from imposing sanctions. The only thing that remains to be negotiated — that has become clear after the verbal muscle-flexing and theatrical self-portrayal — is whether and how the international community will accompany Iran’s genesis as a nuclear power while exerting some control. The alternative is war.”
Will America Have to Go Alone Against Iran?
The LA Times reported on August 26:
“With increasing signs that several fellow Security Council members may stall a United States push to penalize Iran for its nuclear enrichment program, Bush administration officials have indicated that they are prepared to form an independent coalition to freeze Iranian assets and restrict trade. The strategy, analysts say, reflects not only long-standing U.S. frustration with the Security Council’s inaction on Iran, but also the current weakness of Washington’s position because of its controversial role in a series of conflicts in the Middle East, most recently in Lebanon.
“Despite assurances from Russia and China in July that they would support initial sanctions against Iran if it failed to suspend aspects of its nuclear program, Russia seemed to backtrack… Under U.S. terrorism laws, Washington could ramp up its own sanctions, including financial constraints on Tehran and interception of missile and nuclear materials en route to Iran, [U.S. Ambassador John] Bolton said, and the U.S. is encouraging other countries to follow suit… He said Washington was focusing on European and Japanese banks to restrict business with Iran, because most of Tehran’s transactions are done in U.S. dollars, euros, British pounds and yen.”
America’s Options for Iran — “All of Them Bad!”
On August 24, David Horovitz wrote the following in “the Jerusalem Post”:
“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, if he ever became the supreme decision maker in his country, would ‘sacrifice half of Iran for the sake of eliminating Israel,’ Giora Eiland, Israel’s former national security adviser [said]. At present, Eiland stressed, the ultimate decision maker in Iran was Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 67, whom he said was ‘more reasonable.’ But, Eiland went on, ‘if Ahmadinejad were to succeed him–and he has a reasonable chance of doing so–then we’d be in a highly dangerous situation.’ The 49-year-old Iranian president, he said, ‘has a religious conviction that Israel’s demise is essential to the restoration of Muslim glory, that the Zionist thorn in the heart of the Islamic nations must be removed. And he will pay almost any price to right the perceived historic wrong. If he becomes the supreme leader and has a nuclear capability, that’s a real threat.’
“In facing up to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Eiland said the United States had three possible courses of action, ‘all of them bad,’ and that a decision could not be postponed for too long, ‘since delay, too, is a decision of sorts.’ The first option was ‘to give up’–to accept that Iran was going nuclear and try to make the best of it… Washington’s second option was to launch a last-ditch effort at diplomatic action, he said… The third option, said Eiland, was a military operation… this would be action that would have to be taken within months…”
German Troops in Southern Afghanistan?
Der Spiegel Online reported on August 29 about the German reaction to pressures from its allies to send German troops into southern Afghanistan:
“With growing unrest and fighting in southern Afghanistan, a major debate is shaping up in Germany over whether Bundeswehr army soldiers should be dispatched to the region… The conservative Die Welt writes that current developments are ‘forcing Germans to face a reality about the Bundeswehr’s foreign deployments that they didn’t take seriously before.’ And that’s that deployments aren’t just simple peacekeeping operations — they could put soldiers in harm’s way at any time. ‘If German soldiers are deployed to southern Afghanistan, they could face Taliban fighters,” the paper writes. “The perils facing German troops in Congo, where they are providing election security, was demonstrated a few days ago by a shootout in Khinshasa.’…
“The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung uses the debate over a southern Afghanistan deployment as the jumping off point for a bigger issue: the lack of a vision for the Bundeswehr. Since 1992, a total of 150,000 German soldiers have participated in missions abroad — sometimes for humanitarian reasons, at times for combat. But it is still unclear under what criteria Germany sends troops abroad. ‘There is no recognizable strategy whatsoever,’ the paper complains. ‘What German interests are represented in Afghanistan, in Congo and, in the future, in the Middle East?’ The paper says its almost laughable that a country with Germany’s economic might has already reached its military limit with less than 10,000 of its 260,000 troops being deployed abroad. ‘If Germany is going to have an army that gets its orders from parliament,’ the paper argues, ‘then parliament is going to have to take its job seriously. It has to provide a definition of the Bundeswehr’s actual role: It’s obviously no more than an army of self-defense at the moment. But should it become an army of intervention?’ The paper then calls on the government to develop a clear German policy that can determine whether a deployment of troops makes sense or not.”
As Biblical prophecy reveals, Germany will soon have a powerful army, and it will be used as an “army of intervention”–not only as an “army of self-defense.” For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”
“More France Means Less Europe”
On August 25, Germany’s conservative daily, Die Welt, published a guest commentary by Dominique Moisi, one of the founders of the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI). According to Der Spiegel Online, summarizing the editorial, “Moisi argues that the conflict in Lebanon has ‘widened the emotional gap between Europe and the United States that began to open up with the beginning of the war in Iraq.’ The United States ‘may not be convinced of the tactical choices made by Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his administration,’ Moisi writes, ‘but the Americans still believe that there was no choice but to conduct this war — just as with the 1982 war in Lebanon.’ On the other hand, the ‘majority of Europeans’ view the war ‘as an operation that was useless from Israel’s point of view, and which could trigger a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West.’…
“[According to Moisi] ‘Spain and Italy have become more critical of Israel, and they’ve also moved closer to France.’ That this last country should be playing an increasingly central role in the debate over the UN peacekeeping mandate in Lebanon is not a good thing, in Moisi’s view: France’s decisions are dictated less by a clear strategy than by the country’s need to retain political ‘credibility’ and its ‘reputation for being a country that doesn’t shy from military intervention.’ Moisi also suggests that ‘more France’ means ‘less Europe,’ or that France’s tendency to take over the reins when it comes to intervention in the Middle East reflects the absence of a consistent EU policy.”
Europe Asked to Act More Decisively!
The EUObserver reported on August 28:
“The Middle East crisis has exposed weaknesses in EU foreign policy with the 25-member bloc reacting too slowly to stop the destruction of Lebanon, president Jacques Chirac said at an annual gathering of top French diplomats in Paris on Monday… ‘The future of the European project is today predicated on Europe’s ability to be a leading political player,’ the president added… The EU’s so-called high representative on foreign affairs, Javier Solana, flew to Lebanon at the height of the conflict in July but the Finnish EU presidency all-but-ignored Mr Chirac’s 20 July plea to give the unofficial EU foreign minister special powers in this case. Speaking at the time, EU diplomats said the UK was unwilling to let Mr Solana negotiate for the whole bloc because there was no unanimity on how to handle the crisis, while other EU states were afraid of losing control in foreign policy areas… ‘In a few short days we saw Lebanon laid to waste, its people battered, 15 years of [diplomatic] effort laid to waste,’ Mr Chirac said.”
European Policy Needs Cohesiveness!
Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 28 about the German perception that Europe’s and Germany’s foreign policy flip-flops. The magazine pointed out:
“The EU has long indicated it wants to play a larger role in world events. But this episode [pertaining to Lebanon] shows Europe still lacks the cohesion and decisiveness in foreign policy, German commentators [said] on Monday.
“Business daily Financial Times Deutschland… singled out France for its waffling on the number of troops it was going to send… In short, the paper writes: ‘The EU has taken on a big responsibility with its participation. Now it must show that it can live up to it.’ Left-leaning Berliner Zeitung says Germany is making itself part of the problem in the Middle East conflict by first rejecting any deployment that could bring its troops into confrontation with Israeli soldiers and then stressing that its navy will use force to stop arms shipments to Hezbolla.'”
Terrorists in Turkey
Der Spiegel Online reported on August 29 about the most recent horrible terror attacks in Turkey by Kurdish extremists, suggesting that more terrible attacks will follow. The magazine stated:
“Several bombs rocked Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and Istanbul late Sunday and Monday, causing at least three deaths and injuring many more. But the toll could have been even higher: Police have reportedly foiled another attack in the western port city Izmir after arresting a member of the banned Kurdish Workers Party (PKK)… The Kurdistan Liberation Hawks (TAK), believed to be tied to the PKK, claimed responsibility for the bombings… The TAK made clear that it was targeting Turkey’s tourist industry to further its separatist cause for the country’s sizable Kurdish minority. ‘We have warned the public of Turkey and the international public before, Turkey is not a safe country, tourists shouldn’t come,’ the group said in a statement on its Web site… The TAK tactic of trying to damage Turkey’s tourist industry, an important part of the country’s economy, could have serious repercussions for the number of foreign visitors… Turkey’s tourist industry, which brings in $18 billion each year, has already been hit this year by other militant attacks and a bird flu outbreak.”
Catholic Church Questions Theory of Evolution
The Guardian Unlimited reported on August 28 about a remarkable development within the Catholic Church, which is apparently willing to review its stance regarding creation and evolution. For decades, the Catholic Church followed the influence of intellectual science to postulate that the concept of evolution was more than a hypothesis. But this erroneous position might perhaps be revised. The article stated:
“Philosophers, scientists and other intellectuals close to Pope Benedict will gather at his summer palace outside Rome this week for intensive discussions that could herald a fundamental shift in the Vatican’s view of evolution. There have been growing signs the Pope is considering aligning his church more closely with the theory of ‘intelligent design’ taught in some US states. Advocates of the theory argue that some features of the universe and nature are so complex that they must have been designed by a higher intelligence. Critics say it is a disguise for creationism.
“A prominent anti-evolutionist and Roman Catholic scientist, Dominique Tassot, told the US National Catholic Reporter that this week’s meeting was ‘to give a broader extension to the debate. Even if [the Pope] knows where he wants to go, and I believe he does, it will take time. Most Catholic intellectuals today are convinced that evolution is obviously true because most scientists say so.’… The Pope also raised the issue in the inaugural sermon of his pontificate, saying: ‘We are not the accidental product, without meaning, of evolution.'”
For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution–a Fairy Tale for Adults.”
Europe Needs Christians!
On August 27, the Catholic news agency, Zenit, published an interview with Hans Maier, retired professor of Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians University. Maier was minister of Education and Culture in Bavaria from 1970 to 1986, and president of the Central Committee of German Catholics from 1976 to 1988. He has written some 30 books, including “Democracy in the Church?” (1970), in which he collaborated with Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI.
In the interview, Maier advocated the concept that Europe needs united and active Christians, and that Europe does not need the import of Arab Muslims. He stated:
“… there are common foundations and principles, manifested in the cultural specificities of each nation. And these unifying principles are Roman law, which led Europe to develop an efficient juridical culture; the Judeo-Christian belief in one God, which has imprinted itself on institutions and thought… We cannot say that Europe is only Christian, but the Judeo-Christian heritage profoundly influenced its cultural and political soul. To import in Europe the same Islam that has been structured in Arab countries would mean the suppression of present-day Europe to create another, radically different continent. This does not mean that we cannot have a Euro-Islam, an Islam adapted to Europe. But it presupposes on the part of Muslims respect for religious freedom, pluralism of thought and the distinction between religion and politics. It requires that the mullahs accept to live their faith along with the Jewish synagogues and Christian cathedrals. It is a process of transformation and maturation to which we must call Muslims, if they wish to be part of this Europe of ours…
“Freedom is something typically European, and I would also say, typically Christian. The contribution made by Christianity to the development of freedom as well as of democracy, is very strong. As for the rest, the totalitarianisms of the 20th century, Communism, and Fascism especially in their National-Socialist expression, are the substitute introduced when there was an attempt to suppress [the Judeo-Christian] religion in Europe… the roots of modern democracy [are] not by accident… Christian roots… Christians are called to unite, to seek ties with others. It must never be forgotten that one of the factors that led to the affirmation of Nazism in Germany was the division between Catholics and Protestants, who were unable to form a common front.”
A Christian European Constitution
Bild Online reported on August 29 about a formal visit between Pope Benedict XVI and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, daughter of a Protestant minister. During the visit, Merkel promised that she would strongly advocate that Christianity is firmly rooted in the European Constitution, as “Christianity has formed essentially our European history.” The Pope is scheduled to visit Bavaria on September 8.