The Fall of the USA
We begin with a series of articles on America’s role in the Middle East. The articles show the helplessness and diminishing influence of the USA in that part of the world, as well as the disappointment and anger building up against the USA. At the core of the problem is America’s desire to buy allies for itself—and sadly in far too many cases, no matter what the costs. Our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America,” shows you what is in store for the USA, and why we are observing more and more the demise and fall of two countries which were at one time the greatest powers in the world.
America’s Losing Presidents
The Jewish paper, Haaretz, wrote on January 31:
“Jimmy Carter will go down in American history as ‘the president who lost Iran,’ which during his term went from being a major strategic ally of the United States to being the revolutionary Islamic Republic. Barack Obama will be remembered as the president who ‘lost’ Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt, and during whose tenure America’s alliances in the Middle East crumbled.
“The superficial circumstances are similar. In both cases, a United States in financial crisis and after failed wars loses global influence under a leftist president whose good intentions are interpreted abroad as expressions of weakness. The results are reflected in the fall of regimes that were dependent on their relationship with Washington for survival, or in a change in their orientation, as with Ankara.
“America’s general weakness clearly affects its friends. But unlike Carter, who preached human rights even when it hurt allies, Obama sat on the fence and exercised caution. He neither embraced despised leaders nor evangelized for political freedom, for fear of undermining stability.
“Obama began his presidency with trips to Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and in speeches in Ankara and Cairo tried to forge new ties between the United States and the Muslim world. His message to Muslims was ‘I am one of you,’ and he backed it by quoting from the Koran… Obama apparently believed the main problem of the Middle East was the Israeli occupation, and focused his policy on demanding the suspension of construction in the settlements and on the abortive attempt to renew the peace talks. That failure led him to back off from the peace process in favor of concentrating on heading off an Israeli-Iranian war…”
Obama Failed in the Middle East
On January 31, the German magazine Der Spiegel published a guest editorial by David J. Kramer, who served under George W. Bush as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor. Today he is executive director of Freedom House in Washington. The organization’s research director, Arch Puddington, also contributed to this article:
“Of the people living in the region [of the Middle East] , 88 percent live in countries that lack honest elections, a free press and rule of law. A few months into his presidency, Barack Obama delivered what still ranks as the most ambitious foreign policy address of his administration. Presented at Cairo University, the speech set forth the outlines of a ‘new beginning’ between the United States and the Muslim world… He said the United States would support ‘elected, peaceful governments’ and endorsed democratic values like free expression, honest government and ‘freedom to live as you choose’…
“By his words, the president demonstrated that he, like President George W. Bush before him, understood that the Middle East’s ‘democracy deficit’ contributes in important ways to the strategic problems that feed regional instability and pose threats to the rest of the world… Unfortunately, President Obama’s subsequent actions have failed to fulfill the promise of his Cairo vision, especially when it comes to confronting concerns over repression when committed by autocracies of the Middle East, to say nothing of China or Russia.
“This pattern was established during the protests over the 2009 Iranian elections when the administration mustered little more than a pro forma objection to the suppression of the opposition movement. It continued with the administration’s non-response to last November’s sham elections in Egypt, in which the ruling party orchestrated results comparable to those in such obvious dictatorships as Syria and, until recently, Tunisia. And we witnessed it in the initial reactions to the latest developments in Tunisia and Egypt…”
Egyptian Wrath Turns on USA
The Jerusalem Post wrote on January 31:
“The protests [in Egypt] have lacked a clear leader to unite them and provide an alternative to Mubarak, and demonstrators are beginning to focus their wrath not just on Mubarak and the country’s widespread corruption, but also on the United States and, to a lesser extent, Israel. They blame Israel and the US for supporting a government because it is convenient for them, not because it is good for the Egyptian people.”
ElBaradei Attacks USA
The French news agency, AFP, reported on January 30:
“The United States is ‘losing credibility by the day’ in calling for democracy in Egypt while continuing to support President Hosni Mubarak, leading dissident Mohamed ElBaradei said Sunday.”
USA Dubious and Helpless?
The Jewish news agency, A-7 News, reported on January 30:
“The United States in the past last three years supported ‘democracy activists’ who planned to overthrow the Mubarak regime, according to leaked cables quoted by the London Telegraph…
“‘The harsh reality of events in the Middle East have all decisively proven that the assumptions that underpinned President Obama’s Middle East policy initiatives were wrong,’ wrote Foreign Policy.com’s Peter Feaver Saturday. ‘The foreign policy team seems to be quite uncertain how to proceed and with good reason: our ability to predict what will happen is probably even less than our ability to shape what will happen.’”
USA Can’t Do Much…
Deutsche Welle reported on January 29:
“After the fall of the regime in Tunisia and with mass protests sweeping across many other Middle Eastern countries, most notably Egypt, the US has been conspicuously tight-lipped… The US has to tread carefully in a region where Washington while calling for democratic reforms and respect for human fights for decades, has supported and stabilized some of the same authoritarian regimes that are now being challenged. Egypt, for instance is the second-biggest recipient of military aid from Washington after Israel.
“The US has been supporting its staunch ally with $1.3 billion (0.9 billion euros) in military assistance per year for decades, strengthening not only its military’s capabilities as a potential fighting force in the region, but also its role inside the regime… even if it wanted to, the US has little it can do to influence the outcome in Egypt or elsewhere in the region where it is viewed negatively by many…
“Whatever the ultimate outcome of the events in the Middle East, the one thing Washington definitely doesn’t want to happen to the region is its descent into chaos. A prolonged phase of instability and tumult could threaten US economic and political interests…”
Egyptians Want “Freedom”—But What Kind?
The following articles discuss the uncertain future of Egypt and the Middle East, and the incredible blindness of some liberal and conservative U.S. politicians and commentators, when trying to “analyze” the current situation, the chances for democracy in Egypt, and the nature of radical Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Der Spiegel Online wrote on January 31:
“The demonstrators have dismissed Mubarak’s appointment of a new cabinet and prime minister. His promises of economic reform to address rising prices and unemployment appear to be too little too late… The hope for change has been coupled with fear of anarchy and chaos. The population was largely left to protect itself over the weekend as the police force, which had been involved in clashes with protestors during the week, disappeared. Neighborhood vigilante groups formed over the weekend, setting up checkpoints and patrolling the streets to defend their homes as thugs roamed the streets. Gangs have looted supermarkets and stores as well as homes, and there were breakouts from at least four prisons in Cairo in recent days, adding to safety concerns… The unrest is having an impact on the economy… with shops and businesses closing and tourists fleeing the country in droves. Tourism is vital to the Egyptian economy…
“Center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘… The pharaoh in the Führerbunker: If he has to go down, he’ll take his country and his people down with him…’
“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘… An “Iranian solution” in Cairo would disqualify Egypt as a partner in the West…’
“Conservative Die Welt writes: ‘Chaos and anarchy are mounting… There are signs that the chaos wasn’t just caused by gangs of criminals and plunderers from the slums, but also by parts of the security forces. That happened in Tunisia too. That is what the regime is banking on: the worse the situation becomes, the more people will wish for the return of the strong arm of the law… The regime is waiting for the demonstrations to lose momentum and for the situation to calm down. But the more damage is done in the cities, the less the military will be able to remain passive.’
“The left-wing Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘… Washington lacks what Mubarak’s repressive policy has been fighting for years: a direct link to a democratic opposition — to people who could emerge from the democracy movement as an alternative to the dictator. In this atmosphere, which is marked by fears of a deja-vu of the Iranian revolution of 1979 and concern about the future neighbourhood of Israel, there’s a fierce dispute going on in Washington between the advocates of stability and those who are banking on democratic reform… it’s clear that the days of the Mubarak regime are numbered. And that the other authoritarian rulers and kings face turbulent days. The domino that fell in Tunisia has long since touched all the others.’
“Mass-circulation Bild writes: ‘We have reason to be worried. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians or more want a different kind of freedom from the freedom we mean. They want to be free to turn their country into a fundamentalist theocracy. They want the freedom to declare Israel as an enemy again after decades of peace. They want the freedom to tear down the solid bridges to America. That cannot be in our interest. We need Egypt as an ally in this chronically warlike corner of the world. We can only hope that the people in Egypt will take the right decisions in the coming weeks. For themselves and for peace in the region.’”
Will Radical Islam Overtake Egypt?
Haaretz reported on January 31:
“What happened in Iran could happen in Egypt, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel… Netanyahu said he feared that a radical Islamic regime like the one in Iran could also come to power in Egypt…
“Senior officials in Merkel’s office have said recently during closed door briefings that the chancellor will be very tough with Netanyahu and will use the meeting as a chance to tell him that it is his responsibility to renew the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.”
Is the Muslim Brotherhood a Peace-Loving, Harmless Organization?
WorldNetDaily wrote on January 31:
“Islamists, in particular the anti-Western Muslim Brotherhood, seem poised to take power throughout the Middle East as a result of riots that have already toppled one Arab regime and are threatening others, in what some are calling only the latest wave of an Islamic ‘tsunami’ sweeping the globe…
“In fact, some Muslim clerics are already calling the riots in Egypt simply an extension of 1979’s Islamist conquests… The leader of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, Hammam Saeed, warned that the unrest in Egypt will spread across the Mideast until Arabs succeed at toppling leaders allied with the United States… Salafi cleric Abu Mundhir Al-Shinqiti issued a fatwa… encouraging the protests in Egypt, claiming Islamist jihadis are now on the verge of a historic moment in the history of the Islamic nation, an ‘earthquake’ he likened to the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City.
“As clerics are accurately noting, Egypt is only one of many recent cases where Islamic unrest has surged in the Middle East and North Africa. In Tunisia, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled following rioting and street protests and widespread looting. In Yemen, last week witnessed the largest protests in years against Yemen’s leader, Ali Abullah Saleh, who is considered a crucial ally in the U.S. fight against al-Qaida in his country and in the Middle East. The protests further escalated yesterday…
“Egyptian officials speaking to WND… warned the Muslim Brotherhood has the most to gain from any political reform… Hamas and al-Qaida are violent Brotherhood offshoots. An Egyptian security official noted the Muslim Brotherhood was directly involved in protest organization. Similarly, it is Islamists allied with the Muslim Brotherhood who stand to gain in Pakistan, Jordan, Tunisia and Yemen. Already, the Shiite fundamentalist Hezbollah organization is poised to exert enormous influence over Lebanon…
“A senior Egyptian diplomat told WND the regime of Mubarak suspects the U.S. has been aiding protest planning by Mohamed ElBaradei, who is seen as one of the main opposition leaders in Cairo. ElBaradei, former International Atomic Energy Agency chief, has reinvented himself as a campaigner for ‘reform’ in Egypt. He is a candidate for this year’s scheduled presidential elections. Last week, ElBaradei gave an interview to Der Spiegel defending the Brotherhood… the Muslim Brotherhood said it was in talks with other anti-government figures, including ElBaradai, to form a national unity government without Mubarak.
“David Rubin, former mayor of the Israeli town of Shiloh and author of the book ‘The Islamic Tsunami,’ however, warns that the Obama administration cannot continue to ignore the Muslim Brotherhood’s and other Islamist groups’ greater goals. ‘There is a plan to take over Western civilization,’ Rubin told The Washington Times…
“Multiple prominent U.S. commentators have… been claiming the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate organization and denying any Islamist plot to seize power. On Friday, President George W. Bush’s former press spokeswoman, Dana Perino, told Fox News, ‘Don’t be afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. This has nothing to do with religion.’ Bruce Reidel, a former CIA analyst and advisor to President Obama, penned a Daily Beast article in which he claimed, ‘The Egyptian Brotherhood renounced violence years ago’… Reidel’s assertion the Brotherhood renounced violence, however, is contradicted by the Brotherhood’s own statements in recent months, including a call to arms against the West…”
Choice Between Pro-Western and Anti-Western Dictatorship in Egypt
Der Spiegel wrote on January 28:
“Israel is watching developments in Egypt with concern. The government is standing by autocratic Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, out of fear that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood could take power and start supplying arms to Hamas…
“Egypt was the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel, in 1979, but the relationship between the neighboring countries remains delicate. Good relations are limited to government circles… Even 30 years after the peace agreement, annual trade between the neighboring countries only amounts to a value of $150 million (€110 million). (For comparison, Israel’s trade with the European Union was worth around €20 billion in 2009.)
“A recent incident involving the vice governor of the Sinai Peninsula reveals how many Egyptians think about Israel. After a shark attack off the coast, the official said that it could not be ruled out that the deadly fish had been released by Israeli intelligence to harm Egypt’s tourism industry. After the bloody attack on a church in Alexandria on Jan. 1, a spokesman for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood speculated that Israel could be responsible for the attack, with the intention of sowing discord between Christians and Muslims.
“Indeed, the Muslim Brotherhood is one of the main reasons why official Israel seems to support Mubarak so keenly. It is considered the most popular political movement in Egypt, and its position regarding the peace treaty with Israel is clear: They want it revoked immediately…
“For Israel, more is at stake than the current so-called ‘cold’ peace with Egypt and a few tens of millions of dollars in trade… Much of the Arab world, and especially Mubarak, sees Shiite Iran and its allies, such as Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon, as an existential threat, just as Israel does…
“The Israeli government has noted with concern the fact that, even after 30 years of peace, Egypt’s army is still equipped and trained mainly with a possible war against Israel in mind. A cancellation of the peace treaty would open up a new front with the 11th largest army in the world, which is equipped with modern American weapons. But what Israel fears more than [an] armed conflict with Egypt is an alliance between an Islamist regime in Cairo and Hamas, which considers itself an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. An Egyptian regime that opened the border with Gaza for arms deliveries would pose a serious danger to Israel.
“[Some commentators consider] the West’s demands for more openness and democracy in Egypt to be a fatal mistake… It is an illusion to believe that the dictator Mubarak could be replaced by a democracy… The Muslim Brotherhood is the only real alternative… which would have devastating consequences for the West… Ultimately the choice is between a pro- or an anti-Western dictatorship…”
Egypt Becomes More Violent
Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 3:
“The crisis in Egypt took a sharp turn for the worse Wednesday almost immediately after 82-year-old President Hosnai Mubarak rejected calls for him to give up power and leave the country. Violent clashes on Wednesday and Thursday between opponents and supporters of his rule have left at least five dead… Although the army has struggled to maintain a neutral stance since the protests began 10 days ago, most observers still believe it will ultimately decide the country’s fate.
“On Wednesday, soldiers stood back and watched as things turned very ugly with pro-regime supporters attacking anti-Mubarak demonstrators. While some threw rocks from rooftops, others charged the crowds on horses and camels. The clashes continued into the early hours of Thursday, with automatic weapons fire pounding the anti-government protesters in the square. Egypt’s health minister said on state-run Nile TV that the number of injuries at Tahrir Square had reached 836 — including 200 within a single hour on Thursday morning. Later Thursday, Al-Jazeera reported that army tanks had created a buffer zone between the two sides to protect the pro-democracy camp from the carloads of regime loyalists seen heading toward the square…
“In Thursday’s newspapers, German commentators criticized the escalating violence and examined how events in Egypt have left the West in a conundrum.
“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘Mubarak is inciting the political camps against each other and looks on as Egyptians attack Egyptians… How are the Americans and Europeans supposed to continue working with their long-time partner in Cairo?’
“The center-right Die Welt writes: ‘The fighting makes clear that the transition to a new era will be anything but smooth. And that the regime has not given up yet… Those on camels and horses who suddenly attacked the regime opponents were almost certainly not normal citizens who had spontaneously decided to launch a counter-demonstration. … It seems that many were members of the security forces. They were thugs mustered and paid by the regime to help foster the widespread impression that there is a civil war… After Mubarak’s offer not to contest the presidential elections in September, the military had made it clear that the demonstrations should end. The opposition doesn’t want to accept that…’
“The business daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘The political powder keg of the Middle East is facing a very dangerous period of instability. Given these circumstances, it is all the more important to avoid chaos and anarchy… The Europeans and Americans have done little in these days of fury to present themselves as partners in a time of need. They were not prepared for the transformation, backed the wrong forces and underestimated the rage of the people. Neither the US nor the EU has the power or means to have any far-reaching influence on the developments in these states. The transformation has to be carried out by the states themselves. However, the Europeans could back the democratic forces, help economic development through investment projects and enter into a closer political partnership with North Africa and the Middle East. In the process, Turkey could serve as a valuable mediator.’
“‘The US has to work hard to prevent the peace process from being buried in the ruins of the old power structures, and active involvement on the part of Israel is essential. The Netanyahu government is stuck in a bunker mentality. It has obviously not understood that nothing will be as it was before in the Middle East. Neither peace nor democracy nor a civil society can be achieved overnight. But if the region is to be freed of dictators and not fall into the hands of anti-Western Islamists, the right signals have to be sent. The EU has an opportunity to do just that right now.’
“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘At the moment, Washington, Jerusalem and Berlin are primarily concerned with the issue of Islamists, and correctly so. It’s clear that Mubarak has to go. But, at the same time, the West must do everything it can to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from taking a leadership role in the freedom movement and then later taking power through free elections… The threat of anarchy is dangerous for the entire region. Yet just as dangerous is the prospect of allowing Egypt to stagger uncontrolled toward freedom after three decades of autocracy. The most radical solution — immediate free elections — is not the best one. The transition to a functioning democracy has to be mediated in a measured way.’
“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘(Egypt) has played and still plays a key role in the efforts to prevent a region that is becoming more radicalized, that is riddled with seemingly unsolvable conflicts and that the world depends on for its oil from descending into chaos and war. The fact that Israel has stuck with Mubarak speaks volumes… However, the examples of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories do not exactly increase the hope that everything will turn out well…’”
Israel in Strategic Distress… in Search of New Allies
Haaretz wrote on January 29:
“The fading power of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s government leaves Israel in a state of strategic distress. Without Mubarak, Israel is left with almost no friends in the Middle East; last year, Israel saw its alliance with Turkey collapse… Israel’s increasing isolation in the region, coupled with a weakening United States, will force the government to court new potential allies…
“After Israel’s war against Egypt in 1956, David Ben-Gurion attempted to establish alliances with non-Arab countries in the region, including Iran, Turkey and Ethiopia. The Shah of Iran became a significant ally of Israel, supplying the country with oil and money from weapons purchases…
“Israel’s next alliances were forged with Jordan’s King Hussein and Morocco’s King Hassan. These ties were operated in secret, as well as ties with leaders in Lebanon’s Christian community. The late 1970s saw the fall of the Shah of Iran, with an anti-Israel Islamic republic created in his stead. Around the same time, Egypt and Israel broke their cycle of conflict by signing a peace agreement. Egypt positioned itself on the side of Saudi Arabia, as head of the pro-American camp. Mubarak inherited the peace agreement after President Anwar Sadat’s assassination… Egyptian public opinion was openly hostile towards Israel and anti-Semitic terminology was common.
“Despite all of this, the ‘cold peace’ with Egypt was the most important strategic alliance Israel had in the Middle East… The friendship between Mubarak and Netanyahu is based on a mutual fear over Iran’s strengthening and the rising power of Islamists, as well as over the weakening and distancing of the U.S. government with Barack Obama at its head.
“Now, with Mubarak struggling over the survival of his government, Israel is left with two strategic allies in the region: Jordan and the Palestinian Authority… But Israel’s relationship with these two allies is complicated… Jordan’s King Abdullah refuses to meet Netanyahu, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is waging a diplomatic struggle against Israel’s right-wing government…”
Demonstrations in Jordan…
The apparently not-so-peace-loving Muslim Brotherhood is also trying to gain power and influence in Jordan:
AlJazeera wrote on January 29:
“Thousands of people in Jordan have taken to the streets in protests, demanding the country’s prime minister step down, and the government curb rising prices, inflation and unemployment… In the third consecutive Friday of protests, about 3,500 opposition activists from Jordan’s main Islamist opposition group, trade unions and leftist organisations gathered in the capital… Another 2,500 people also took to the streets in six other cities across the country after the noon prayers…
“Members of the Islamic Action Front, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood and Jordan’s largest opposition party, swelled the ranks of the demonstrators, massing outside the al-Husseini mosque in Amman and filling the downtown streets with their prayer lines.”
Jordan’s Government Dismissed
The Associated Press wrote on February 1:
“Jordan’s King Abdullah II fired his government Tuesday in the wake of street protests and asked an ex-prime minister to form a new Cabinet, ordering him to launch immediate political reforms…
“When he ascended to the throne in 1999, King Abdullah vowed to press ahead with political reforms initiated by his late father, King Hussein… But little has been done since. Although laws were enacted to ensure greater press freedom, journalists are still prosecuted for expressing their opinion or for comments considered slanderous of the king and the royal family. Some gains been made in women’s rights, but many say they have not gone far enough.
“Abdullah has pressed for stiffer penalties for perpetrators of ‘honor killings,’ but courts often hand down lenient sentences. Still, Jordan’s human rights record is generally considered a notch above that of Tunisia and Egypt. Although some critics of the king are prosecuted, they frequently are pardoned and some are even rewarded with government posts.”
It was pointed out in the press that the dangers are enormous for Israel, as Jordan is the only Arab country—besides Egypt—which has signed a peace treaty with Israel. It was also reported that massive demonstrations are planned this weekend in Syria and Algeria.
EU and USA Divided on How to Proceed in Egypt
The Associated Press reported on February 2:
“EU leaders urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday to respond quickly to pro-democracy protests but stopped short of calling for him to resign before elections scheduled for September.
“President Barack Obama said he had told Mubarak the transition must begin at once and must include opposition parties. On Tuesday, the 82-year-old Mubarak rejected protesters’ demands that he step down immediately, ending nearly 30 years in office, but said he would not seek re-election in the fall…
“The European Union has had close relations with Egypt as part of its partnerships with other Mediterranean nations and tens of thousands of EU citizens flock to Egyptian beaches in wintertime. In recent days, the EU has been criticized for being too timid in supporting pro-democracy demonstrations and for trailing behind the U.S. in distancing itself from Mubarak’s regime.
“Unlike the United States and a number of other countries, the EU has not called on its citizens to leave Egypt. But a number of European tour operators have started carrying out plans to evacuate their clients. About 50,000 Europeans — mostly tourists — are believed to still be in Egypt.
“In Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy…has been criticized for failing to strongly back the Egyptian protesters and for appearing to support the regime of former Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was toppled by mass protests last month.
“German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called Mubarak’s announcement that he would not run for a new term ‘a step that clears the way for a new political beginning…’ He did not, however, call for Mubarak to resign, saying only: ‘Who leads Egypt in future will be decided in Egypt by the Egyptian people.’”
Europe’s Dubious Role
The EUObserver wrote on January 29:
“Tony Blair, former UK prime minister and envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East – comprising the EU, the US, Russia and the United Nations – warned of the danger of ‘extremists’ taking advantage of the situation. ‘The danger is that when you open up a vacuum, anything can happen,’ he told the BBC…
“The EU is… a major donor to Egypt, with €449 million in the Egypt kitty for the next two years… Some of the weapons and vehicles such as helicopters, tanks and anti-riot trucks that may be used against the Egyptian people are sourced from the US and EU. US weapon sales to the country include Black Hawk helicopters, Abrams tanks and Humvees, while Egyptian anti-riot vans are supplied by Italy’s Iveco SpA… 18 EU member states sold a total of €75.7 million worth of arms to Egypt in 2009.”
Europe has deep-rooted interests in Egypt, and it will not sit idly by when it sees the threat and danger that those vested interests may disappear…
Will Europe Intervene?
The EUObserver wrote on January 28:
“Italy has said the EU should send a crisis mission to north Africa… Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said the EU should send a high-level ‘political support team’ to calm tensions in Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and other countries in the region hit by deadly civil unrest in recent days.
“’The European mission … [should make] contact with the highest levels… I do not think this can be dealt with by sporadic initiatives of this or that country in Europe, but only by a European initiative.’”
The Euro’s Survival… WITHIN a Core Europe
The following articles are quite remarkable. They do not only totally debunk the short-sighted and ill-conceived notion that the euro will fail, but they also show how the fight for the euro will contribute to the creation of a Europe of two speeds or a core Europe WITHIN the EU. This is exactly in line with biblical prophecy, and all other concocted scenarios show a terrible misunderstanding or ignorance of Scripture. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy,” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on January 31:
“According to the plan [of German Chancellor Angela Merkel], the euro-zone countries would coordinate their economic policies far more closely in the future, thus playing a leadership role within the entire EU. What Merkel has in mind is essentially nothing other than the ‘two-speed Europe’ that her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, similarly proposed many years ago… Merkel has made a political U-turn that is virtually as dramatic as the change in course made by her predecessor in office, Gerhard Schröder, when he introduced his radical — and hugely unpopular – ‘Agenda 2010’ reforms of the labor market and welfare system… Merkel has discarded a number of her fundamental convictions about Europe.
“Until recently, the chancellor had strictly opposed any closer cooperation among the 17 countries in the euro zone. She wanted to include all 27 EU member states. Her concern was that this would otherwise lead to a union within the Union. Her fear was that countries that are not members of the euro club, such as Poland, could be sidelined… Now it’s a different story altogether. Now Merkel wants to make the center of the current crisis, the euro zone, into the focus of efforts to combat the common currency’s woes. That notwithstanding, the pact is intended to be open to all EU countries, not just the members of the euro zone…
“Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will present the rough outlines of the plan at the EU summit in Brussels this Friday. The proposal is not on the official agenda. The 27 heads of state and government will confidentially and informally discuss the issue over lunch. Then it will primarily be up to Germany and France to hammer out the details of the plan. But other governments will also participate in the process. The plan is to be discussed in detail at the next regularly scheduled EU summit in late March. The chancellor, however, is also considering calling a special summit before then. Sarkozy is Merkel’s most important partner on this issue.
“The French president has long advocated intensifying cooperation among euro countries… If the chancellor manages to push through her plan, it would send a strong signal that the Europeans are really prepared to pursue a common approach, each in their own area of responsibility… The Chancellery estimates that 23 EU countries will go along with it. Denmark and Sweden are said to be on the fence, while the UK and the Czech Republic are reportedly reluctant…
“To foil France’s ambitions, Merkel long opposed a special role for the euro zone within the broader European Union. But since the onset of the financial crisis, Germany’s resistance has been crumbling. At first, Berlin was generally opposed to special summits for the euro-zone countries. Later, the German government agreed to meetings of national leaders in the event of particularly sensitive issues. Now such summits will be held on a regular basis. Just how often this will occur is something that Merkel and Sarkozy will have to agree to over the coming months. The French president would prefer to have the euro-zone leaders reach agreements ahead of each EU summit. Then the 27 members of the broader EU would, in principle, merely rubber stamp what the 17 euro-zone members had already decided… EU member states like Poland, the UK and Sweden… would be excluded, as they don’t have the euro…
“Merkel has been pushing for every EU member to be allowed to attend the euro summits. She also wants to prevent these events from being held too often. Ideally, she would like the euro meetings to take place after the regular EU summits. Then the euro-zone countries could not make any pre-arrangements that would affect the entire Union…
“But Merkel is not about to let such objections put the brakes on her plan. At the World Economic Forum in Davos last Friday, she made a plug for her plan in front of top business and political leaders from around the world. In order to protect the euro, new approaches must be adopted, she said. Merkel added that nothing less than Europe’s position in the world is at stake. The often hesitant chancellor appeared highly determined. She said the euro was ‘the embodiment of Europe today’… ‘We will defend the euro,’ she said. ‘There can be no doubt about it.’”
The Euro Will Never Fail
BBC News reported on January 27:
“French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said France and Germany will never let the euro fail… ‘Whether it be [German] Chancellor Merkel or myself, never will we turn our backs on the euro. Never will we abandon the euro,’ he said. He added that those who bet against the euro should watch out for their money.
“‘The euro spells Europe. The euro is Europe and Europe has spelled 60 years of peace on our continent, therefore we will never let the euro go or be destroyed,’ he insisted.”
Guttenberg Under Attack
The Local wrote on January 29:
“Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg this week angrily dismissed criticism of his handling of several military scandals, but newspapers in The Local’s media roundup wrote he risks losing control of his ministry.
“The popular and aristocratic Guttenberg relieved the commander of the Gorch Fock navy training ship from his duties over the weekend, as embarrassing details about conditions leading up to and after the death of a woman cadet in November continued to emerge. The minister is also under fire for two other military scandals, including the accidental shooting death of a soldier in Afghanistan and the unexplained opening of soldiers’ mail from the Afghan front.
“Opposition leaders have accused the minister of scapegoating the Gorch Fock commander Norbert Schatz to distract from his own failure to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the sailor’s death, while also allowing misinformation about the shooting death in Afghanistan to spread. Guttenberg responded angrily on Monday, calling his critics ‘clueless.’ But on Tuesday some commentators warned that such disdain would create enemies, while others said they saw signs that the slick Guttenberg may be acting out of self-preservation as he loses control of his ministry… Guttenberg… could be accused of… ignorance for not first summoning Gorch Fock commander Norbert Schatz to Berlin to hear his side of the story before relieving him of duty…
“Right-wing daily Die Welt said that while the recent scandals in the military reveal communication failures within the Defence Ministry, Guttenberg risks losing his authority if he admits this… It was also clear that he was not in control of his ministry, it added…
“Meanwhile financial daily Handelsblatt criticised Guttenberg for doing little to quell rumours about the different scandals within the German military as anger grows in parliament… ‘Guttenberg was either falsely briefed or didn’t concern himself with the bad news.’ Guttenberg has also kept officials on staff who have shown themselves to be untrustworthy in the past, the paper said… ‘his indifference over the frightful conditions behind the false messages will soon catch up with him. Because on his hardest front, the parliament, resentment over his behaviour is growing immensely.’
“… Guttenberg runs the risk of relying too heavily on his popularity to get through the current scandals… The centre-left Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote that… Guttenberg showed signs that he was interested only in protecting himself…
“The left-wing taz concluded that a particularly troubling revelation from the affair was Guttenberg’s closeness to the tabloid Bild, to whose Sunday edition he gave the story that he had dismissed the captain and ordered a review into military behaviour… Guttenberg decided to fire him on Friday night and immediately called the paper, it said. ‘Two days later the tabloid praised the minister’s decisiveness and denounced critics from the (pro-business coalition partners) Free Democratic Party and the socialist Left party as small-minded grumblers,’ taz wrote. ‘The question is not only what Guttenberg knew when, but also, to whom is the minister beholden: the parliament or Bild?’”
This article shows that we must be careful not to concentrate too quickly on one particular individual. There have been speculations being circulated over the Internet to the effect that Mr. Guttenberg is the “beast,” mentioned in the book of Revelation. Some even have proclaimed this quite dogmatically. Such premature pronouncements by self-appointed “prophets” are just plain foolish. God tells us to watch the news events and in His due time, He will reveal to His true servants what must be revealed and announced (compare Amos 3:7).
Watch Donald Trump!
Newsmax wrote on January 30:
“Donald Trump [says:] ‘We have a very weak policy. Whether it’s China, or the horrible agreement just signed with South Korea, or any of the other horrible deals that we make, we don’t have the ability to make good deals with other countries. We’re like a whipping post for other countries. We are standing there and being beaten by South Korea, by Mexico, by China, by India. If you have a problem with a credit card and you call somebody up, that person is based in India. And then they wonder why we’re not going to have jobs for another five or six years…
“‘All our jobs are going to China. We’re rebuilding China and other places… If we ever taxed Chinese products coming into this country, we would pay off the debt so fast. More importantly, we would start creating jobs in our country. They cheated at the Olympics with their gymnasts, they’re cheating us with their manipulation of the currency. They’re not our friends. I know them very well. I do business with them. I’m not angry at them. I just can’t believe that they can get away with it. My friends from China said to me just recently… we cannot believe how stupid your politicians are to allow us to get away with what we’re getting away with…’
“Trump says [about President Obama’s State of the Union Address:] ‘He didn’t talk about the deficit, he didn’t talk about how to pay off all the debt that we have. Instead he’s telling everybody what a great country China is, that China has the fastest computer in the world… Unless we get tough, and smart, and unless we stop having dinners for people that are destroying us… we’re going to have big problems.’
“Trump has a surprising response to speculation that the turmoil in Egypt and other countries in the Middle East could push oil prices to as high as $200 a barrel. ‘…the Middle East is a tinderbox. It’s going to explode. OPEC will probably be destroyed if it explodes… and that could have a positive impact on oil prices…’
“Trump has especially harsh words for OPEC and its grip on oil prices… ‘I think it’s unfair. I think it’s illegal… Here you have 12 men, in this case all men, they sit around a table and they set the price of oil. We have so much oil. There’s so much oil out at sea… We have more natural gas than anybody. Why we not using it is an amazing thing. Abu Dhabi, which has plenty of oil, just went to all natural gas for transportation because they want to sell us the oil at exorbitant prices… We have to do something about OPEC because that’s the life blood of the country. Right now, until we get on natural gas and other things, they really have us, and they’re sitting around inflating the price… I give a lot of the credit for the almost collapse of this country to the price of oil. It’s going to be up there again very soon and you’re going to have another catastrophic problem…
“Turning to Afghanistan and the timeline President Obama has proposed for withdrawal of American troops, Trump [says:] ‘We should be out of there as soon as possible. At the same time, when Obama announced that he’s going to be out at a certain date, these militants are just sitting back saying, “He gave us a specific date. This is fantastic. We’ll just sit back and then we’ll take it over the minute they leave.” So for him to give a date was a very dangerous, stupid, and foolish thing to do.’”
Donald Trump also announced that he is seriously considering running for the office of President in 2012. If he does and if he should be elected, his political stance and actions, based on his comments, would in all likelihood be quite different from those of some of the former U.S. presidents.
Florida Federal Judge Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional
Newsmax reported on January 31:
“A federal judge ruled Monday that the Obama administration’s health care overhaul is unconstitutional, siding with 26 states that sued to block it. U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson accepted without trial the states’ argument that the new law violates people’s rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties… The next stop is likely the U.S. Supreme Court. Two other federal judges have upheld the insurance requirement, but a federal judge in Virginia also ruled the insurance provision violates the Constitution. In his ruling, Vinson went further than the Virginia judge and declared the entire health care law unconstitutional…
“At issue was whether the government is reaching beyond its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce by requiring citizens to purchase health insurance or face tax penalties. Attorneys for President Barack Obama’s administration had argued that the health care system was part of the interstate commerce system. They said the government can levy a tax penalty on Americans who decide not to purchase health insurance because all Americans are consumers of medical care…
“Other states that joined the suit [in Florida] are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.”
The Washington Post added on January 31:
“In ruling against President Obama‘s health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obama‘s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, when the then-Illinois senator argued there were other ways to achieve reform short of requiring every American to purchase insurance. ‘I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that, “If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,”’ Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of his 78-page ruling Monday…
“The footnote was attached to the most critical part of Judge Vinson‘s ruling, in which he said the ‘principal dispute’ in the case was not whether Congress has the power to tackle health care, but rather whether it has the power to compel individual citizens to purchase insurance.”
The Curse of War
Good Culture reported on January 27:
“For the second year in a row, more American soldiers—both enlisted men and women and veterans—committed suicide than were killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Excluding accidents and illness, 462 soldiers died in combat, while 468 committed suicide. A difference of six isn’t vast by any means, but the symbolism is significant and troubling. In 2009, there were 381 suicides by military personnel, a number that also exceeded the number of combat deaths.
“Earlier this month, military authorities announced that suicides amongst active-duty soldiers had slowed in 2010, while suicides amongst reservists and people in the National Guard had increased. It was proof, they said, that the frequent psychological screenings active-duty personnel receive were working… This new data, that American soldiers are now more dangerous to themselves than the insurgents, flies right in the face of any suggestion that things are ‘working.’…
“One of the problems hindering the military’s attempt to address soldier suicides is that there’s no real rhyme or reason to what kind of soldier is killing himself. While many suicide victims are indeed afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after facing heavy combat in the Middle East, many more have never even been deployed. Of the 112 guardsmen who committed suicide last year, more than half had never even left American soil.”
The above-described cases of suicide are apparently linked to fighting in war or to the prospect of having to fight in war. Our eye-opening free booklet, “Should YOU Fight in War?,” shows you why God calls war a curse, and not a blessing.
Australian Cyclone Yasi Hits
The Associated Press wrote on February 3:
“Residents and officials were amazed and relieved that no one was reported killed by the monstrous Cyclone Yasi, which roared across northern Queensland with winds up to 170 mph (280 kph). Tidal surges sent waves crashing ashore two blocks into seaside communities, several small towns directly under Yasi’s eye were devastated and hundreds of millions of dollars of banana and sugarcane crops were shredded.
“Officials said lives were spared because, after days of increasingly dire warnings, people followed instructions to flee to evacuation centers or bunker themselves at home in dozens of cities and towns in Yasi’s path…
“Yasi crossed the coast around midnight at the most-destructive Category 5 rating and then immediately began to weaken. Still, it was strong enough to hold a Category 1 cyclone rating about 500 miles (800 kilometers) inland, where it was threatening to cause flooding late Thursday in the Outback town of Mount Isa. It was a terrifying night for thousands who waited out the storm in their darkened houses…
“The disaster zone was north of Australia’s worst flooding in decades, which swamped an area in Queensland state the size [of] Germany and France combined and killed 35 people during weeks of high water until last month. But the storm added to the state’s woes, and was sure to add substantially to the estimated $5.6 billion in damage since late November. The government has already announced a special tax nationwide to help pay for the earlier flooding…
“Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts said initial assessments were that more than 280 houses were damaged in the three hardest-hit towns, and crews were unable to reach at least four others, so the tally would certainly rise. Australia’s huge, sparsely populated tropical north is battered annually by about six cyclones — called typhoons throughout much of Asia and hurricanes in the Western hemisphere. Building codes have been strengthened since Cyclone Tracy devastated the city of Darwin in 1974, killing 71 in one of Australia’s deadliest natural disasters. ‘This was the worst cyclone this country has experienced, potentially, for 100 years, and I think that due to very good planning, a very good response … we’ve been able to keep people safe,’ Roberts said.
“Still, signs of devastation were everywhere. The main coastal highway was a slalom course of downed trees and power lines, fields of sugar cane and banana were shredded and flattened, and lush hillside forests were stripped of every leaf.”
Hard to Believe—Global Warming Causing Snowfalls?
On February 1, 2011, Al Gore posted the following comments on his blog:
“As it turns out, the scientific community [says] that increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming:
“In fact, scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe. Snow has two simple ingredients: cold and moisture. Warmer air collects moisture like a sponge until it hits a patch of cold air. When temperatures dip below freezing, a lot of moisture creates a lot of snow.
“A rise in global temperature can create all sorts of havoc, ranging from hotter dry spells to colder winters, along with increasingly violent storms, flooding, forest fires and loss of endangered species.”
Cloning a Mammoth
CNN reported on January 17:
“A team of scientists from Japan, Russia and the United States hopes to clone a mammoth, a symbol of Earth’s ice age that ended 12,000 years ago… The researchers say they hope to produce a baby mammoth within six years. The scientists say they will extract DNA from a mammoth carcass that has been preserved in a Russian laboratory and insert it into the egg cells of an African elephant in hopes of producing a mammoth embryo.
“The team is being led by Akira Iritani, a professor emeritus at Kyoto University in Japan… who successfully cloned a mouse from cells that had been frozen for 16 years… The U.S. researchers are in vitro fertilization experts.
“’If a cloned embryo can be created, we need to discuss, before transplanting it into the womb, how to breed [the mammoth] and whether to display it to the public,’ Iritani [said…] After the mammoth is born, we’ll examine its ecology and genes to study why the species became extinct and other factors.’”
What will be next? Will scientists, in their idle and vain endeavor to play God, attempt to clone flesh-eating predatory dinosaurs and other vicious animals? Will Jurassic Park become a frightening reality? We should be able to see more and more clearly WHY God has to intervene soon to put an end to man’s madness (compare Matthew 24:22).
The Designed Human Brain
Pravda wrote on January 18:
“The brain has for a long time been compared to man-made computers in its astounding ability to process, store, and route information. But a new imaging technique has revealed that just one brain’s connections and capacities far outnumber and outpace those of all the world’s computers. And this makes the question of the origin of brains that much more difficult for naturalistic explanations… New computer software processed all the data to produce stunning three-dimensional images of never-before-seen brain cell connections…
“‘[The researchers] found that the brain’s complexity is beyond anything they’d imagined,’ according to an article appearing in the Health Tech section of the online news source CNET. For instance, they found that the total number of synapses in a brain roughly equaled the number of stars in 1,500 Milky Way galaxies! And memory patterns and tiny on/off switches, which were long thought to reside in the larger neuron cell bodies, were instead found to be smaller than the tiny synapse connections. Each of the neurons imaged in the study serves thousands of synapses.
“Stanford University professor and senior study author Stephen Smith said that ‘one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth.’ This research multiplies the brain’s overall computing power far beyond what was previously known.
“The more complicated a system is, the stronger it argues for having been intentionally designed. And brains certainly qualify, despite assertions that random-acting natural processes somehow assembled them. In these cases, the burden of proof lies heavily on those who insist that such systems are not in fact what they plainly appear to be: the products of intentional ingenious design.
“The God of the Bible stands as the most tenable source of the specified complexity of interconnected neurons upon which human and much animal life depends. Until a naturalistic alternative can explain how a self-healing, adaptive, cosmic-sized internet of connectivity has been shrunk down to the size of a brain, then it is best to identify this hyper-tech design as being the product of a real Designer. And until an objective body of evidence can legitimately debunk the Bible’s historicity and proven accuracy, then it is best to identify this Designer as the Creator and Sustainer revealed in Scripture.”
Why can’t we just accept godly-inspired truth, as written down in the Bible? If you want to learn more about the reality and veracity of God’s Word, please read our free booklet, “The Authority of the Bible.” Also, if you want to learn the scientific and biblical proofs for man’s creation, please read our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution—a Fairy Tale for Adults?”