Current Events

Obama: Muslim Rights

The Washington Post wrote on August 13:

“President Obama said on Friday that he supports the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero in New York, saying that opposing the project is at odds with American values. ‘Let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,’ he said at a White House ceremony marking the traditional breaking of the daily Ramadan fast, according to prepared remarks. ‘That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.'”

Obama: Muslim Wisdom

Politico wrote on August 14: 

“The White House on Saturday struggled to tamp down the controversy over President Barack Obama’s statements about a mosque near Ground Zero… Obama’s comments placed him squarely in the middle of the controversy over a Muslim group’s plans for a mosque near the site of the 2001 attack – and in turn, transformed an emotion-laden local dispute in New York into a nationwide debate overnight.

“Republicans pounced, amid early signs that the issue would seep into some state and congressional contests… And Democrats – at least the ones willing to comment at all — could barely contain their frustration over Obama’s remarks, saying he had potentially placed every one of their candidates into the middle of the debate by giving GOP candidates a chance to ask them point-blank: Do you agree with Obama on the mosque, or not? That could be particularly damaging to moderate Democrats in conservative-leaning districts…

“Adding to the political problem for Democrats were the mixed messages out of the White House. Obama’s comments Friday night… were widely reported as offering support for the specific mosque project in question near Ground Zero.

“But on Saturday, Obama seemed to contradict himself, telling reporters at one point, ‘I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about…’

“That impromptu answer to a TV reporter… prompted a second attempt to clarify his initial statement, this time from spokesman Bill Burton. ‘Just to be clear, the President is not backing off in any way from the comments he made last night,’ Burton said. ‘…What he said last night, and reaffirmed today, is that if a church, a synagogue or a Hindu temple can be built on a site, you simply cannot deny that right to those who want to build a mosque.’

“White House officials later said that Obama was simply saying that since there was no local ordinance that would prevent construction of the mosque, he believed local officials made the right decision to allow it to go forward… The Friday statement and Saturday clarification were consistent in a literal sense, but they sent sharply different signals that called into question how clearly the president thought through his intervention in the controversy or how his words would echo.

“The legal right to build the mosque is one even many critics of the mosque have not contested—claiming mainly that the project was inappropriate on grounds of taste and local sensitivities and therefore should be strongly discouraged.”

Obama Nationalizes the Debate

The Wall Street Journal wrote on August 16:

“The dispute over the mosque is just the most prominent in a series of debates around the country where Muslim groups have sought to build mosques. In the community of Temecula, Calif., where a proposed mosque has sparked an intense dispute, Mr. Obama’s comments spurred a surge of letters to local newspapers decrying his statements. Pastor William Rench of Calvary Baptist Church, next door to the proposed mosque site, said he now expected opposition to the mosque plan to harden.

“‘It will galvanize their desire for resistance to the mosque,’ he said. ‘It confirms in their minds the idea that Mr. Obama seems to be more accommodating to the Islamic world than he is for the Christian representation in America.’ Mr. Rench said former President George W. Bush, who also spoke of Islam as a peaceful religion, might have made similar statements, but Mr. Rench said he disagreed with those views…

“In Tennessee, where the growing Muslim community wants to build a larger mosque in Murfreesboro, Darrel Whaley of Milton said the president’s remarks angered him. A local pastor at Kingdom Ministries Worship Center, Mr. Whaley has spoken at county meetings against plans for the mosque and recreational facilities.

“Asked how the president’s comments might influence the local debate over the Islamic center, Mr. Whaley said Mr. Obama ‘didn’t help it any, that’s for sure.’ Mr. Whaley said he was concerned that ‘if Islam comes in with the Sharia law, there’s not going to be any such thing as religious freedom’…

“On the national political stage, Mr. Obama’s comments drew fire from Republicans… Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.)… said the president was ‘insensitive’ to what Americans feel on the issue… Mr. Berntsen, a former senior Central Intelligence Agency officer who served in Afghanistan, said a mosque near Ground Zero would become a national security risk. ‘He missed the point that people found this offensive because it’s very, very close to Ground Zero,’ he said. ‘That mosque will become a magnet for militants. They will be drawn there in large numbers, and they will seek to impose themselves on that mosque, regardless of who the leaders are.'”

Obama Divides the Nation

AFP wrote on August 13:

“US President Barack Obama’s endorsement of a controversial plan to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero poured fuel Saturday on a raging debate over religious freedom and sensitivities over the 9/11 attacks… On Saturday the group 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America, which represents some relatives of attack victims, said it was ‘stunned’ by the president’s remarks. Obama ‘has abandoned America’… Building the mosque ‘is a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah,’ the group claimed…

“A CNN/Opinion Research poll earlier this month showed that 68 percent of Americans opposed the Islamic center plans, while only 29 percent favored them… Self-described ‘liberal Muslim’ Farzana Hassan, a Canadian, told Fox News on Saturday that she believes the Islamic center’s location is ‘provocative. This is highly insensitive to the sentiments of the people who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks,’ said Hassan, who has written books on Islam.

“Obama said the Al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks do not represent Islam. ‘It is a gross distortion of Islam,’ the president said late Friday… The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a US advocacy group, said it welcomed Obama’s ‘strong support for Muslim religious rights’… One of those reacting Saturday was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. ‘I applaud President Obama’s clarion defense of the freedom of religion,’ Bloomberg said in a statement. The proposed site ‘is as important a test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime,’ he said.

“Passions over the issue run high across the country. A Florida church has already said it will hold a ‘Koran-burning’ on September 11 — which this year coincides with Eid al-Fitr, the end-of-Ramadan holiday.”

“Muslim Power Over the West”

The British paper, Daily Express, published the following opinion by Leo McKinstry, August 16:

“The proposal is a deliberate act of provocation against America and Judaeo-Christian civilisation. The reason that the hijackers were determined to destroy the Twin Towers was because they were seen as a graphic symbol of American enterprise. Once the mosque is erected, it will become a symbol of Islamic triumphalism, an assertion of Muslim power over the West….

“Tolerance is a one-way street when it comes to Islam. Muslims constantly demand that our society respects their sensitivities… Yet, as the Ground Zero controversy shows, there is no reciprocal concern shown by Muslims for indigenous cultures.

“For all President Obama’s blather about bridge-building, the fact is Islam is an ideology that spells misery, oppression and misogyny wherever it gains power….

“The Ground Zero mosque is indicative of a climate of appeasement and self-loathing that has gripped the political class in the West. It is grotesque that, in the name of freedom, our leaders refuse to challenge a doctrine that would destroy our freedoms. Here in Britain, the supine state has allowed domestic terrorism, forced marriages, child sex trafficking, immigration abuses and honour killings to flourish for fear of being labelled ‘racist’.

“In America, the results have been just as deadly, as shown by the case of Major Nidal Malik Hasan. Despite his declared support for Islamic terrorism, US army top brass refused to act against him. Then, in November last year, he shot dead 13 of [his] colleagues. None of those men would have died if the destructive creed of multi-culturalism had not been so strong. Tolerance in the face of extremism is killing our society. The  9/11 attacks should have galvanised the west. Instead, 10 years later, it is looking like our death knell.”

Obama Hosts Ramadan Meal

The Hill reported on August 13:

“President Obama will host an iftar — the special evening meal observed during Ramadan — on Friday night in the White House dining room. Obama participated in a similar gathering last year.

“Celebrations like iftar dinners ‘remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings,’ Obama wrote in a statement Wednesday. ‘Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity and racial equality … a reminder that Islam has always been part of America and that American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country.'”

Ramadan–Peace and War

Foreign Policy wrote in its July/August 2010 edition:

“Although not quite the global consumer behemoth that is Christmas, Ramadan comes in a respectable second… Today, in Aceh, Indonesia, failure to observe Ramadan is punishable by flogging; in 2009, Egypt’s Interior Ministry began enforcing edicts that made daytime eating during the holy month a misdemeanor offense… The Prophet Mohammed waged the Battle of Badr, the very first Muslim war against Meccan ‘infidels,’ during Ramadan in 624. The 1973 conflict that Israelis call the Yom Kippur War is known to Egyptians, Jordanians, and Syrians — who launched their surprise attack while fasting — as the Ramadan War. More recently, in Iraq, the month of Ramadan has seen dramatic upticks in sectarian violence and attacks on U.S. troops, reaching a high of more than 1,400 incidents in 2007. But Ramadan has also complicated military maneuvers: During the battle of Tora Bora, some of the Afghan fighters closing in on Osama bin Laden insisted on going home at dusk to break the fast…

“Secular dictators have long used the holiday to shore up their sagging religious legitimacy. Turkmenbashi, the late neo-Stalinist ruler of Turkmenistan, pardoned 8,145 prisoners during Ramadan in 2005; autocrats from Damascus to Algiers have followed the same playbook. Saddam Hussein, who cynically tried to style himself an Islamist during his regime’s latter years, twice made Ramadan cease-fire offers to Tehran during the Iran-Iraq War. And in 2008, when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Libya during Ramadan, Muammar al-Qaddafi refused to shake her hand, citing Muslim strictures against touching women while fasting — all the while surrounded by his cohort of amazonian female bodyguards. It highlighted, once again, how the Islamic holy month has always been a mix of the sacred and the profane.”

Obama’s Upbringing in Islam

The Drudge Report re-published on August 16 an interesting piece by the New York Times, dated March 6, 2007, focusing [supportively] on Mr. Obama’s upbringing and explaining, to an extent, his apparent fascination with and support of Islam.

The article stated:

“‘I was a little Jakarta street kid,’ [Obama] said… He once got in trouble for making faces during Koran study classes in his elementary school, but a president is less likely to stereotype Muslims as fanatics — and more likely to be aware of their nationalism — if he once studied the Koran with them.

“Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated… Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as ‘one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.’

“Moreover, Mr. Obama’s own grandfather in Kenya was a Muslim. Mr. Obama never met his grandfather and says he isn’t sure if his grandfather’s two wives were simultaneous or consecutive, or even if he was Sunni or Shiite…”

Interestingly, it was just published by Time magazine that about 25% of Americans believe that Mr. Obama is a Muslim…

Muslim Watch?

AFP wrote on August 10:

“Muslims around the world could be setting their watches to a new time soon when the world’s largest clock begins ticking atop a soaring skyscraper in Islam’s holiest city of Mecca.

“Saudi Arabia hopes the four faces of the new clock, which will loom over Mecca’s Grand Mosque from what is expected to be the world’s second tallest building, will establish Mecca as an alternate time standard to the Greenwich median.”

Hispanics Feel Betrayed by Both Parties

Newsmax reported on August 15:

“Hispanic voters largely supported Barack Obama in the 2008 election after he vowed… that he would draft an immigration reform bill during his first year in office.

“More than a year has come and gone, no immigration bill has been forthcoming, and Obama is increasingly coming under criticism from Hispanic media figures…

“Members of the Obama administration ‘know they are in trouble with the Hispanic community, and the problem in November is the Hispanic vote may be up for grabs again,’ [Univision anchor Jorge] Ramos told Politico. ‘My fear is they might not vote. They don’t feel protected or supported by either party.’”

California–Only a Short Sigh of Relief?

The Associated Press reported on August 16:

“A federal appeals court put same-sex weddings in California on hold indefinitely Monday while it considers the constitutionality of the state’s gay marriage ban. The decision, issued by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, trumps a lower court judge’s order that would have allowed county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Wednesday… The court plans to hear the case during the week of Dec. 6…

“A different three-judge panel than the one that issued Monday’s decision will be assigned to decide the constitutional question… Currently, same-sex couples can legally wed only in Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C.”

Euro vs. Dollar

Bloomberg reported on August 16:

“China, whose $2.45 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves are the world’s largest, is turning bullish on Europe and Japan at the expense of the U.S… The nation has been buying ‘quite a lot’ of European bonds… China’s position may make it harder for the greenback to rebound…

“Concern the U.S. economy is faltering was underscored by the Federal Reserve on Aug. 10…

“Asian central banks holding some 60 percent of the world’s foreign-exchange reserves are turning away from the dollar. Concerned about weakening U.S. growth and the Treasury’s record borrowing, they are switching toward euro assets to safeguard reserves…

“The Dollar Index’s 5.2 percent drop in July, the biggest decline in 14 months, failed to dissuade most foreign-exchange forecasters from predicting the greenback will strengthen against the euro and yen by December…

“‘China has confidence in Europe’s economy, in the euro, and the euro area,’ Yu said [Yu is a member of the state-backed Chinese Academy of Social Sciences].”

A Two-Speed Europe

The Wall Street Journal wrote on August 16:

“A two-speed Europe has always been unacceptable to advocates of the European project. Insistence on a one-speed Europe might, only might, prove to be a feasible political policy. But when it comes to economics, a two-speed Europe is here, and is here to stay for a long while.

“Germany is in the midst of an export-led boom that saw its economy grow at an annual rate of over 8% in the second quarter, the fastest pace since reunification in 1990. Profits are good and employers are hiring or adding hours to those working part time… Opponents of further fiscal and monetary stimulus are saying that Germany’s rather spectacular performance is due at least in part to the budget-balancing policies initiated by Chancellor Angela Merkel—no Obama-style borrow-and-spend for Europe’s new Iron Lady.

“But Germany is not euroland. It is easy to dismiss what we have come to call the periphery countries (Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal), but their combined GDP almost equals that of Germany. And they are in trouble. Greece is in recession: its economy contracted at a rate of 6% in the second quarter, while both Spain and Portugal grew at annual rates of less than 1%.”

International Business Times added on August 16:

“‘The recovery in core Europe [particularly Germany and France] is happening quickly and at a fast pace,’ Guillaume Menuet and Silvia Ardagna, European economists at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch… said. But they clarify that Germany and France did not experience recessions due to home-based problems nor did they experience a collapse of housing bubbles. ‘Recessions in these countries were triggered by the U.S. financial crisis,’ they stated.

“For example, Germany’s economy suffered directly from the collapse of global growth and trade. Then, as effective economic policies started having an effect on the economies across the globe, world demand and trade picked up and Germany was positioned to benefit from it. In addition, the depreciation of the euro further boosted German exports.

“The peripheral nations of Europe, which are in much worse shape than the ‘core’ countries of the euro zone, had a different path into and out of the recession. ‘Peripheral countries had their own domestic imbalances that were exacerbated by the global crisis,’ Menuet and Ardagna said. ‘So they have to work hard to solve their structural issues, and economic recovery will come later and at a slower pace.’”

For more information on Europe’s future, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

A Nation on the Way Out

On Friday 13, Pat Buchanan wrote on humanevents.com:

“A nation whose national debt is approaching the size of its gross national product, that goes abroad to borrow money to keep non-essential workers on government payroll is a nation on the way down and out… As long as this Congress and White House remain in power, a U.S. default on its national debt is inevitable. The only question is when…

“We have a situation where private sector workers in Middle America are being taxed, their children being driven ever deeper into debt to China, so government employees who have greater job security than they do, and earn more in pay and benefits than they will ever earn, can stay in Fat City. And folks wonder why so many Americans detest government…

“U.S. government workers, who enjoy the greatest job security of any Americans, now earn twice as much in pay and benefits as the average American. This is not the D.C. some of us grew up in. Nor is this all Obama’s doing. For most of the fat years of the federal work force came while Washington was being run by a Congress of Big-Government Conservatives and a White House of Bush-Cheney Republicans. No wonder the tea party is targeting both parties.”

Afghanistan–and No End in Sight

Der Spiegel wrote on August 17:

“General David Petraeus… has suggested that Barack Obama was too optimistic in setting a 2011 withdrawal date. German commentators argue that Petraeus is simply being realistic… Observers have interpreted Petraeus’ remarks as something of a broadside aimed at Obama… In a further sign of what may turn into an intense political battle in the US over the future of the Afghanistan war, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Los Angeles Times there was ‘no question in anybody’s mind’ that the US would begin reducing troop levels in 2011. Gates also suggested in a separate interview with the magazine Foreign Policy that he would leave office in 2011…

“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘The White House is unlikely to find Petraeus’ comments amusing. The new commander in Afghanistan doubts whether the withdrawal can start next year. … The general has taken a stance in direct opposition to the president… In the struggle for power within the US administration, he will take advantage of the fact that Obama can not afford to lose another commander in Afghanistan — especially not one of Petraeus’ stature.’

“The conservative Die Welt writes: ‘The timeframe originally set by Obama was unrealistic and overly ambitious…’

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘Petraeus has his own interests which are totally reasonable. He does not want to leave Afghanistan as the commander of an unsuccessful force. He wants a military victory… But Petraeus will not succeed with his strategy. The withdrawal will begin, because the voters want it. That may be unwise, but it’s too late to change the general public’s opinion. Mistakes were made in Afghanistan over a period of years. It’s now time to pay the price.’

“The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘… The war in Afghanistan doesn’t just reveal the impotence of the Americans — It also shows the impotence of President Obama.'”

For more information on the future of the USA, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

Israel’s Attack on Iran Imminent?

Newsmax wrote on August 13:

“News that Russia will load nuclear fuel rods into an Iranian reactor has touched off a countdown to a point of no return, a deadline by which Israel would have to launch an attack on Iran’s Bushehr reactor before it becomes effectively ‘immune’ to any assault, says former Bush administration U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton. Once the fuel rods are loaded, Bolton told Fox News on Friday afternoon, ‘it makes it essentially immune from attack by Israel. Because once the rods are in the reactor an attack on the reactor risks spreading radiation in the air, and perhaps into the water of the Persian Gulf.’

“Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared in March that Russia would start the Bushehr reactor this summer. But the announcement from a spokesman for Russia’s state atomic agency to Reuters Friday sent international diplomats scrambling to head off a crisis. The story immediately became front-page news in Israel, which has laid precise plans to carry out an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities while going along with President Obama’s plans to use international sanctions and diplomatic persuasion to convince Iran’s clerics not to go nuclear…

“Bolton cited the 1981 Israeli attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor outside Baghdad and the September 2007 Israeli attack on a North Korean reactor being built in Syria. Both of those strikes came before fuel rods were loaded into those reactors…According to Iran’s ISNA news agency, IAEA inspectors will be on hand to observe the fuel-rod loading process that is now scheduled to begin Aug. 21.”

The Jerusalem Post added on August 17:

“Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton said he didn’t see ‘any signs whatsoever that President Obama would make the necessary decision’ to strike Iran’s nuclear reactor, speaking in an interview with Israel Radio Tuesday. Bolton claimed Israel has only three days to strike before Russia ‘begins the fueling process for the Bushehr reactor this Friday,’ after which any attack would cause radioactive fallout that could reach as far as the waters of the Persian Gulf.”

The German magazine, Focus, wrote on August 17 that Bolton said he was very skeptical that Israel would indeed attack Iran within the next few days. He was fearful that the opportunity to do so had already passed.

Will Israel Attack Iran Without a Green Light from USA?

Haaretz reported on August 10:

“Israel might attack Iranian nuclear sites within a year, if Iran stays the current course and the U.S. administration doesn’t succeed in persuading Israel’s leadership that U.S. President Barack Obama is ready to stop Iran by force if necessary, so argues Jeffrey Goldberg in Atlantic magazine’s September cover story, obtained by Haaretz ahead of publication.

“Based on dozens of interviews the Atlantic correspondent conducted in recent months with Israeli, American and Arab officials, Goldberg came to the conclusion that the likelihood of an Israeli strike has crossed the 50 percent mark. And Israel might not even ask for the famous ‘green light’ from the U.S. – or even give couple of false pre-attack alerts, so that Washington won’t try to stop the unilateral operation…

“The repercussions of such a strike, which could include the bombing of the Iranian facilities in Natanz, Qom, Esfahan, and maybe even the Russian-built reactor in Bushehr, are less than clear… The results might be dire: It’s likely that the Israeli air force won’t have much time to waste in Iran, as Hezbollah will probably retaliate against Israel in the North and the fighter jets will be needed there. The unilateral operation might throw relations between Jerusalem and Washington into an unprecedented crisis, and might even unleash full-scale regional war with possible economic repercussions for the whole world, not to mention the cost of human lives.

“According to Goldberg, for Israel the red lines are clear. The end of December is Netanyahu’s deadline to estimate the success of ‘non-military methods to stop Iran’…  For Netanyahu, it’s clear the bomb will not only strengthen Iran’s proxies, but will undermine Israel’s status as a safe haven for Jews, embolden terrorists all over the word, and make the Arab countries more reluctant to make peace with Israel.”

For more information on the future of the state of Israel, please read our free booklet, “The Book of Zechariah–Prophecies for Today!”

Iraq’s Uncertain Future

Deutsche Welle reported on August 19:

“Iraqis have been looking forward to the day when United States forces pack up and go home ever since the 2003 invasion led to 150,000 US soldiers being deployed in their country. They’ve been living with an occupying army for over seven years. Even after sovereignty and the responsibility of governance were returned to Baghdad, US forces remained. Many Iraqis who were happy to have seen the dictator Saddam Hussein removed by the Americans soon came to resent the continued US presence. Many blamed them for the instability which followed Saddam’s demise. To this day, most hold Washington largely responsible for the lack of basic services and the insecurity that continues to make everyday life in Iraq a dangerous struggle.

“Strangely enough there is a growing chorus of voices being raised in concern now that the Americans are actually leaving. The United States has been slowly withdrawing its forces from Iraq for months as part of President Obama’s commitment to bring US combat troops home by 2011. With the last combat brigades crossing into Kuwait on Thursday, 50,000 troops will remain behind in 94 bases. With just a third of the invasion force left and with only a year to go before the US ‘status of forces’ agreement with Iraq runs out, Iraqis should be planning their street parties. And yet, there is a growing air of trepidation as the troops leave and an even more concerned eye looking toward the final pullout date in 2011.

“With the political situation in Iraq still unresolved some six months after disputed presidential elections paralyzed the country’s government and with terrorist and insurgent attacks making the July 2010 death toll of 525 the highest in two years, the thought of a dramatic reduction in US personnel is making some Iraqis nervous.

“‘US combat troops leave Iraq in a state of political paralysis following the March 2010 parliamentary elections, and a precarious and fragile ‘stability’ predicated more on an uneasy maintenance of a status quo than on any durable or sustainable gains in security,’ Dr. Kristian Ulrichsen, an Iraq expert at the London School of Economics and Political Science, told Deutsche Welle.

“‘In this sense both the political and security situations are extremely fragile and could be reversed by any number of issues which remain unresolved…’

“Nadim Shehadi, an Iraq expert at the Middle East programme at Chatham House, believes the US withdrawal may create a new power struggle in Iraq… ‘There is only one thing worse than having the US as your enemy and that is to have the US as your friend – this will be the scenario when the US withdraws’…

“Even the country’s military leaders are concerned that the 2011 end date is coming too fast for Iraq’s security forces. Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari, Iraq’s most senior military commander, has even mooted the possibility of US forces staying on until 2020, a date when Iraqi forces are expected to be fully ready.

”The main calls for continued US troop deployment in Iraq have come from Kurdish officials such as Zebari who have many reasons for wanting the US military to remain in position,’ Ulrichsen said. ‘Regular clashes between Kurdish Peshmerga militia and the Iraqi military have occurred. In almost every instance, the US has sided with the Kurdish Regional Government in political and military affairs, and Kurdish leaders fear that the loss of their powerful external protector will leave them alone to face the Iraqi central government which may attempt to reassert centralized political and military control throughout all Iraqi territorial boundaries. That could threaten civil war.’

“‘There’s a risk of fighting between Shia and Sunni factions restarting when the US leaves but probably the single biggest concern is violence between the Arabs and the Kurds,’ Richard Gowan, an Iraq expert with the European Council for Foreign Affairs, told Deutsche Welle… ‘The most worrying scenario is that rising violence could lead Turkey to intervene militarily, given its own concerns over Kurdish separatism.’

“US commanders and strategists have also privately considered the possibility of staying on in Iraq, especially when the Iraqi Army is so obviously incapable of repelling an external attack, battling the Kurds in the north or keeping al Qaeda or other militant groups from taking advantage of sectarian rivalries and over-running the country.

“Despite this, it is unlikely President Obama will sanction any extension to the deployment of US troops in Iraq. There is far too much at stake politically for the US president to renege on one of his strongest promises. Obama’s credibility is at stake not only over the assurances he made to US citizens to bring the troops home but also to the agreement he made with the people of Iraq… However, by committing to his own deadlines and fulfilling his promises, some experts say Obama is cutting out of Iraq with the job unfinished and that the US is leaving Iraq in such a parlous situation that the country could destabilize the wider region, making it a state of concern much like in the days of Saddam Hussein…

“‘The US has been unable to resolve deep political tensions inside Iraq. In part that reflects the very naive and ill-informed attitude to Iraq adopted by the Bush administration, which thought expelling Saddam was 90 percent of the job,’ [Gowan said].” 

Self-Inflicted Worldwide Sickness?

NewsDaily wrote on August 11:

“A new superbug from India could spread around the world — in part because of medical tourism — and scientists say there are almost no drugs to treat it.

“Researchers said on Wednesday they had found a new gene called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase, or NDM-1, in patients in South Asia and in Britain… who received recent medical care in India, a country where people often travel in search of affordable healthcare.

“NDM-1 makes bacteria highly resistant to almost all antibiotics, including the most powerful class called carbapenems. Experts say there are no new drugs on the horizon to tackle it… ‘India also provides cosmetic surgery for… Europeans and Americans, and it is likely NDM-1 will spread worldwide,’ the scientists wrote in the study.”

Wildfires–Russia’s Cover Up

Der Spiegel Online reported on August 16:

“As the Russian wildfires continue to burn, the Kremlin’s spin machine is in high gear, as the government attempts to cover up the true scale of the disaster. The country’s leadership duo, Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, have been using the same PR stunts and propaganda gimmicks they have relied on in the past…

“A total of 505 existing wildfire hotspots were still blazing on Friday. While the Emergency Situations Ministry was already announcing that the fires were being brought under control, the heat had sparked new fires at 245 new locations. To make matters worse, it is primarily in areas contaminated with radioactivity that firefighters still have to battle the flames.

“It was only last week that the government admitted that fires have been burning since mid-June in the very districts that were contaminated with radionuclides following the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986.

“…the lies, cover-ups and manipulation will continue in Moscow. Nobody actually knows how many victims have succumbed to the fires and the smog over the past weeks. Hospital physicians have been banned from diagnosing ‘heatstroke’ as a cause of death…

“Russia is burning… it appears that Russia, which is supposedly becoming strong once again, has no firetrucks, no firefighting aircraft, no forestry workers and no geographical maps to locate the areas that require extinguishing. These are essentially consequences of Putin’s policies. It was the former KGB colonel who… abolished governor elections.

“Since 2004, in order to ‘more effectively’ deal with emergency situations, the governors have all been handpicked. The most important thing is that they should be loyal and do what Moscow says… Russian governors are not primarily concerned about their subjects, because the people don’t elect them and, of course, cannot remove them from office. Instead, the governors’ main objective is to make a good impression with the Kremlin.”

Pakistan–Unprecedented Disaster

The Los Angeles Times reported on August 16:

“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Sunday that the floods ravaging Pakistan are the worst disaster he has witnessed… The Pakistani government and international relief organizations have been overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster, which has killed more than 1,600 people and damaged or destroyed more than 722,000 houses…

“The United Nations has said that $460 million is needed to supply displaced Pakistanis with shelter, clean drinking water and emergency healthcare, but only $93 million has been raised so far. According to the U.N., as many as 6 million flood victims have yet to get access to food and drinking water.

“Ban surveyed flood-damaged regions of the country Sunday, and afterward said the destruction he saw eclipsed the scale of ruin he witnessed in natural disasters with far higher death tolls: the Asian tsunami of 2004, the 2008 earthquake in China and the earthquake in Haiti in January…

“Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gilani said this weekend that as many as 20 million people have been left homeless by the floods, regarded by Pakistani leaders as the worst disaster to strike the country…

“Fueled by record-breaking monsoon rainfall, the floods washed away homes, roads, bridges, hospitals and schools in the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, then moved south into Punjab and Sindh provinces, destroying millions of acres of farmland and wiping out entire villages. Over the weekend in Sindh province, officials evacuated 300,000 people from the city of Jacobabad, about 60 miles west of the Indus River.

“The government has been harshly criticized for what many flood victims say has been a sluggish response.

“With the disaster now in its third week, the threat of waterborne disease has become a major concern. U.N. officials on Sunday said Pakistan’s Health Ministry has yet to confirm any cases of cholera, backtracking from statements Saturday that one cholera case had been confirmed in the northwest. Left untreated, cholera can lead to severe dehydration and death.

“However, outbreaks of cholera are common in large floods. Guido Sabatinelli, the World Health Organization’s representative in Pakistan, said the massive scale of the disaster makes it possible that health workers could encounter thousands of cases. ‘We could have up to 140,000 cases of cholera,’ Sabatinelli said. ‘We are preparing ourselves for that.'”

The Bible prophesies the increase of worldwide disasters. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation.”

Germany’s Poor State of Moral Affairs

On August 13, Der Spiegel Online published the following commentary, giving testimony to the lack of upholding Christian standards within large portions of Germany’s population:

“Germans have many things they can be proud of. One is the fact that the mayor of Berlin is openly gay. And so is the current foreign minister.

“Anyone who remembers… the words the conservative Bavarian politician Franz-Josef Strauss uttered in 1970, when he said ‘I’d rather be a cold warrior than a warm brother’ (in German, the term ‘warm brother’ is slang for ‘gay man’), knows that a society’s stance toward homosexuals is a measure of how civilized it is…

“Most Germans couldn’t care less whether a politician is gay, straight, a vegetarian or an avid cyclist. Guido Westerwelle, the leader of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), wasn’t voted into office and appointed as the country’s foreign minister because he’s gay, nor is he in his current position despite his homosexuality. Voters simply didn’t care about his sexual preference one way or another. And that — one would hope — won’t change until the day he is voted out of office again…

“But now Westerwelle has outed himself, not as a gay man, but as a diplomat. He has announced that he will not take his partner with him on trips to countries where homosexuality is a crime. Why? Because ‘we want to promote the concept of tolerance in the world. But we also don’t want to achieve the opposite by behaving imprudently’…

“Westerwelle’s words are an example of moral hara-kiri in slow motion, and they’re a disgrace for Germany. Homosexuality is a statutory offence in at least 75 countries, but the penalties for being gay run the gamut from the mild to the severe. The love between two men is punishable by death in Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Mauritania, Somalia, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia…”

On August 18, Der Spiegel Online reported the following, quoting just one sensible voice (of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) within the midst of confusing nonsense:

“Germany’s highest court has ruled that gay couples in civil partnerships are entitled to the same inheritance tax rights as married couples. Most of the German press welcomes the ruling, with many editorials arguing that the next step is full income tax equality…

“The conservative daily Die Welt writes: ‘… Rather, reforms like this are a way of implementing the equality principle in our constitution, which forbids treating people worse because of their sexual orientation. It is good when people are there for each other. When homosexuals do this in committed partnerships, they should be treated as married partners and have the same right to benefit from the assets of the deceased in cases of death.’

“The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘… There is no reason why lesbians and gay men should not be taxed together with their partners just like heterosexual married couples, instead of being treated as single people… Regardless of whether one considers the institution of marriage to be modern or outmoded, as long as there are marriages, then there should be no difference made between homosexuals and heterosexuals.’

“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘The convictions of the majority are decisive in a democracy — except when the Constitutional Court speaks. It has now decided that homosexual partnerships should have the same inheritance rights as marriages. It was particularly easy for the court to brush aside a constitutional principle that for decades had privileged marriage… It looks like marriage will gradually really need that “particular protection of the state”‘…

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘… The lawmakers have to differentiate between couples with and without children. Not, however, whether the couple is made up of a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and a man.'”

The Bible is clear: The Christian marriage between a man and a woman is sanctified in God’s eyes, and every other sexual relationship is not. The Bible speaks with godly authority. You can prove that the Bible is God’s Word, which is in force and effect for you. Please read our newest free booklet, “The Authority of the Bible.”

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