Current Events

Will Israel Strike Iran This Fall?

Times of Israel wrote on August 11:
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have ‘almost finally’ decided on an Israeli strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities this fall, and a final decision will be taken ‘soon,’ Israel’s main TV news broadcast reported on Friday evening. Channel 2 News, the country’s leading news program, devoted much of its Friday night broadcast to the issue, detailing the pros and cons that, it said, have taken Netanyahu and Barak to the brink of approving an Israeli military attack despite opposition from the Obama administration and from many Israeli security chiefs.
“Critically, the station’s diplomatic correspondent Udi Segal said, Israel does not believe that the US will take military action as Iran closes in on the bomb. The US, the TV report said, has not provided Israel with details of an attack plan. President Obama has not promised to attack Iran if all else fails. Conditions cited by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for an American attack do not calm Israeli concerns. And Obama has a record of seeking UN and Arab League approval before action. All these factors, in Jerusalem’s mind, underline the growing conviction of Netanyahu and Barak that Israel will have to tackle Iran alone, the TV report said.
“Israel’s leaders have also noted that president George W. Bush vowed repeatedly that North Korea would not be allowed to attain a nuclear weapons capability — a vow that proved empty.
“Obama does not want to intervene militarily before the presidential elections in November, and it is doubtful that he would act afterwards, runs the Israeli assessment, the TV report said. Obama may believe that the US can live with a nuclear Iran, but Israel cannot, the report quoted those in ‘Netanyahu’s circle’ as saying.
“As for presidential challenger Mitt Romney, he takes a more forceful position, but would probably not have the domestic support necessary to act in the first year of his presidency, if elected, and after that it would be too late… Netanyahu, for his part, ‘is convinced that thwarting Iran amounts to thwarting a plan to destroy the Jewish people,’ Channel 2’s Segal said. The prime minister considers Iran’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to be acting rationally in order to achieve ‘fanatical’ goals…
“The TV report cited intelligence information suggesting that Iran ‘is much further ahead’ than previously thought in its uranium enrichment and in other aspects of its nuclear weapons program…
“Militarily, an Israeli strike would prompt missile attacks on Israel, attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah from the south and the north, and upheaval on the Arab street…The assessment is that Syria’s President Bashar Assad would not get involved, since this would finish him off, the report said. But if Iran got the bomb, the missile threat would be escalated, Hamas and Hezbollah further empowered, and there would be a danger of any crisis escalating into a nuclear crisis.
“Diplomatically, an Israeli strike would prompt a confrontation with the US, global protests, international isolation for Israel, delegitimization, and a situation in which Israel was seen as the aggressor. But if Iran got the bomb, Israel would be defeated and humiliated diplomatically…
“Economically, an Israeli strike would deepen the economic slowdown and lead to a suspension of foreign investment. An Iranian bomb would end foreign investment in Israel, however, and prompt an exodus of Israel’s best brains…
“The TV report made much of a recent speech by Netanyahu, at the scene of Sunday’s terror attack thwarted by Israel at the Gaza-Egypt-Israel border. Visiting the area on Monday, Netanyahu said Israel ‘must and can’ only rely on itself to safeguard its security…’No one can fulfill this role except the IDF and different Israel security forces of Israel, and we will continue to conduct ourselves in this way,’ Netanyahu said.”
The German paper, Die Welt, added on August 10 that the Jewish papers, “Jedict Achronot” and “Maariv” also reported on the same TV report, and stated that, according to “Maariv,” 40 percent of the Israelis would support an Israeli strike without support or assistance from the USA. Only 35 percent would prefer a strike by the USA. The report stated that “Maariv” concluded that Netanyahu has received  a “green light” for a strike. Notice the next articles as well:

When Is Israel Expected to Strike?

The New York Times wrote on August 12:

“Amid intensifying Israeli news reports saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is close to ordering a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, his deputy foreign minister called Sunday for an international declaration that the diplomatic effort to halt Tehran’s enrichment of uranium is dead… Asked how long the Iranians should be given to cease all nuclear activity, Mr. Ayalon said ‘weeks, and not more than that.’

“The comments came after a frenzy of newspaper articles and television reports over the weekend here suggesting that Mr. Netanyahu had all but made the decision to attack Iran unilaterally this fall. The reports contained little new information, but the tone was significantly sharper than it had been in recent weeks, with many of Israel’s leading columnists predicting a strike despite the opposition of the Obama administration and many military and security professionals within Israel. Articles in Sunday’s newspapers also examined home-front preparedness for what experts expect would be an aggressive response not just from Iran but also its allies, the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas…”

The Times of Israel wrote on August 13:

“The US would not necessarily join in were Israel to launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, an unnamed source in the Obama Administration told Israel’s Channel 2 News on Monday… A second Israeli TV report on Monday night went so far as to specify the ostensible timeframe for a possible Israeli attack, based in part on a tentative meeting scheduled between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama.

“Netanyahu is set to meet the president — in Washington, rather than as previously thought at the UN General Assembly in New York — between September 28 and October 1. The prime minister, Channel 10 News reported Monday, could not possibly order an Israeli strike on Iran prior to that meeting, where the Iranian threat would presumably be the main subject of discussion. Neither could he order an attack before his tentatively scheduled address to the General Assembly a few days earlier, on September 27 — his last appeal to the international community for firmer action to thwart Iran, according to Channel 10.

“The timeframe for an Israeli attack, the report suggested, would thus be sometime between October 2 and the presidential elections on November 6. Immediately after the US elections, Israel could presumably not defy a newly elected president. And fairly soon after that, it might be too late for Israel to stop Iran because of the Iranians’ progress and the limitations of Israel’s military capacity.

“Channel 10 went on [to] predict the likely consequences of an Israeli attack in terms of retaliatory missiles fired by Iran and its allies such as Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. While Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah in 2006 saw 4,500 rockets and missiles fired into Israel, an Israeli attack on Iran would prompt the firing of 50,000 missiles into Israel…

“The Maariv daily reported on Monday morning that, were Israel to attack Iran, Washington would provide Israel with an air defense ‘umbrella’ against the anticipated retaliation by Tehran and its proxies. Messages passed from Republican and Democrat policy makers in Washington to Israeli counterparts suggest that should Israel decide to bomb Iran in advance of the US presidential elections in November, Obama would order the American armed forces to join in the military effort, the paper said. Such an intervention, the sources explained, would all but guarantee Obama a second term in office. If he chose not to act, the president would likely be handing the office over to the Republicans, they said.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s concern that Iran wants to acquire the bomb in order to annihilate the state of Israel was confirmed by Hezbollah MP Walid Sakariya, and, again, by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as the next two articles report.

Hezbollah Leader Admits: Iranian Bomb is to Annihilate Israel

Times of Israel reported on August 9:

“Hezbollah MP Walid Sakariya told Lebanese television this week that the nuclear weapon Iran is allegedly developing is intended to annihilate Israel. In a segment recorded and translated by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute), Sakariya, also a retired general, told his interviewer on Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV Tuesday that should Iran acquire a nuclear weapon it would serve Syrian as well as Iranian interests, namely the eradication of the Jewish state.

“‘This nuclear weapon is intended to create a balance of terror with Israel, to finish off the Zionist enterprise, and to end all Israeli aggression against the Arab nation,’ Sakariya said. ‘The entire equation in the Middle East will change,’ he asserted.”

Ahmadinejad Repeats His Plea for Annihilation of Israel

On August 2, the Daily Israel Report added:

“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has once again called for the annihilation of Israel, which he labeled ‘the axis of unity of the world hegemonic powers.’… Ahmadinejad repeated his annual litany of hate for the Jewish State in a meeting with ambassadors and embassy personnel of Islamic nations in Tehran, according to the official state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), quoting from a statement posted on the website of his presidential office.

“‘It has now been some 400 years that a horrendous Zionist clan has been ruling the major world affairs, and behind the scenes of the major power circles, in political, media, monetary and banking organizations in the world, they have been the decision makers…’ the Iranian president claimed… ‘any freedom lover and justice seeker in the world must do its best for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the path for the establishment of justice and freedom in the world,’ he declared.”

Major Earthquakes Strike Iran

Deutsche Welle reported on August 12:

“Two powerful earthquakes, registering 6.4 and 6.3 on the moment magnitude scale, killed over 200 people and injured hundreds more on Saturday (11.08.2012). Most of the damage centered on the rural villages of Ahar, Varzaghan and Harees, near the city Tabriz, according to Iranian media.

“German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle was quick to offer his country’s help to Iran. ‘I extend my deep sympathies to the people who have lost their loved ones and belongings during the holy month of Ramadan,’ Westerwelle wrote in a message to his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi. ‘I wish the injured a quick recovery. Rest assured that Germany stands ready to help your country in this difficult time.’

“But such offers of international aid and help caring for survivors and the homeless have been turned down by Iran. The Iranian Red Crescent also has not accepted help from its sister organizations…

“A report by an Iranian news agency… cited the head of the Iranian Red Crescent, Mahmud Mosafar, as saying there was no access to several villages. The Fars news agency reported that a crisis center for 16,000 people had been established and that mobile hospitals had been brought to the crisis area.

“Sitting above an area where several tectonic plates meet, Iran is often subjected to earthquakes. The last strong quake to hit Iran occurred in Bam in December 2003 when some 31,000 people died. Such devastating earthquakes cannot be predicted, Rainer Kind, a seismologist at the German Research Center for Geosciences in Potsdam, told DW. ‘In countries like Iran, houses are often poorly built out of air-dried clay bricks – especially in villages’ Kind said, adding that such buildings collapse easily during even a minor earthquake.”

Tense Relations Between Egyptian Military and Muslim Brotherhood

BBC News reported on August 12:

“Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi has ordered the retirement of the powerful head of the country’s armed forces, Field Marshal Mohamad Hussein Tantawi, a presidential spokesman has said. He also said a constitutional declaration aimed at curbing presidential powers had been cancelled. Mr Mursi, who was elected in June, is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Relations between Islamists and the military have been increasingly tense since the fall of President Mubarak…

“BBC Middle East correspondent Kevin Connolly says the dismissal of senior military officers will be seen by Egyptians as a decisive move in a struggle for real power between the country’s newly elected politicians and the generals who have exercised power for many years.”

Israel National News reported on August 12:

“Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has sacked the entire leadership of the country’s defense establishment… Morsi also cancelled all constitutional changes that gave the military enlarged powers… The Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi appears to be wasting no time in consolidating his hold over power at the expense of the military, which many hoped would be a moderating power over him… Al Jazeera said the president’s spokesperson made the surprising announcement on state television. ‘All of this has happened very fast, and it was unexpected,’ said the station’s correspondent… Channel 2’s Middle East analyst Ehud Yaari said that the move places the Muslim Brotherhood solidly at the helm of power in Egypt.”

Morsi’s New Dictatorship

Haaretz reported on August 15:

“Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi said on Wednesday that it is of utmost importance that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran work together to solve the ongoing crisis in Syria. Speaking at the Islamic Solidarity Conference in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Morsi said that it is time for regime change in Syria. He quoted the Prophet Mohammed who forbade war among Muslims and criticized those who allowed for the situation to deteriorate and for ‘blood to have been spilled during the holy month of Ramadan.’ Morsi stressed however that for Egypt and Arab Muslim countries, the Palestinian issue remains the most urgent, and called on the Palestinians to unite their ranks.

“On Tuesday, Egypt’s Information Minister Salakh Abd al-Maksud, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, said that ‘Egypt will not normalize relations with Israel until occupied Palestinian land is freed.”’ He… also said that Israel ‘stole Palestinian lands, and for this reason we will not normalize relations with it until those lands are freed.’ …

“Following Morsi’s decision to appoint 53 new government-run newspaper editors, the new editor of Al-Akhbar newspaper refused to publish an article critical of the Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday, according to reports. Author Youssef al-Qaeed told al-Ahram newspaper that Al-Akhbar’s new editor, Mohamed Hassan al-Banna – who was appointed by the Brotherhood – was the one who banned the article… Earlier this week, an Egyptian court ordered a ban on all Saturday editions of Al-Dustour newspaper, claiming it had insulted Morsi. According to reports, the editions of the privately-owned newspaper were confiscated as part of an investigation into suspected subversion against Morsi.

“In the Saturday edition of the newspaper, the first page featured articles warning of a takeover of the Brotherhood Islamic rhetoric. This case is not an isolated one: A few days ago a television network was closed down for allegedly inciting to murder Morsi.”

Radical Islamists Move to Egypt

The Local wrote on August 12:

“German security services have recorded a leap in the number of radical Islamists traveling to Egypt, according to a report [by] Der Spiegel magazine. Radical Salafists considered violent by Germany’s security services have been leaving Germany in droves in the past weeks, wrote the magazine. But rather than traveling to the conflict zone in Pakistan and Afghanistan, they are increasingly heading for Egypt, a high ranking security official told Der Spiegel…

“In Egypt they are hoping to live ‘the true Islam’ or fight in a ‘Jihad against infidels,’ wrote the magazine… Officials are concerned that terror organisations such as Al-Qaeda are planning to exploit the power vacuum in Egypt following the Arab Spring to build up their own structures there, wrote the magazine.”

Arab World Divided

Deutsche Welle reported on August 16, 2012:

“The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s early Thursday… decision to suspend Syria’s membership in the 57-nation group appeared geared at presenting a united front against sectarianism in the Muslim world. But during the build-up to the vote in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, resistance from Iran and Iraq seemed to show how divided the body really is. The conflict in Syria is increasingly turning into a religious one. Shiite-dominated Iran opposed the move to suspend Syria, while Sunni-dominated states were for it. Shiite-ruled Iraq did not even take part in the Jeddah conference. Though the Assad regime still holds power, evidence points to the Sunnis having considerably more influence there than before in determining Syria’s destiny. Apart from Iran, Russia and China have also shown some support for the Assad regime.

“In this sense, OIC’s conference reflected the increasingly sectarian nature of the Syrian civil war – something that some of those gathered in Jeddah actively promoted, especially those from Saudi Arabia itself. It is generally agreed that a wide range of private Saudi institutions promote Sunni extremists who are fighting in Syria not for democracy, but for the triumph of their faith. In other words, they mainly fight against Syrian Shiites…

“But neither Syria’s neighbors nor the neighbors’ western allies have any interest in an increasingly sectarian conflict… none of the states involved would benefit from the religious tensions. Currently Iran, which as a Shiite state is being put on the defensive, is noticing this most clearly. If Assad falls, Iran will lose its direct contact with Lebanese Hezbollah, to which it currently maintains close relations. This will also weaken its reputation as a steadfast opponent of Israel.

“If the Assad regime falls, Iran would lose a great deal, Iran expert Walter Posch said… [The Iranians] are worried that their contact with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Sunni Islamist groups, which are in the majority, would be interfered with, and they would then lose all contact with the Syrians. That would also make it difficult to contact the Lebanese Shiites.’ But above all, Posch said, Iran fears that religious unrest could also spread to its own territory. There the Sunnis form the second largest religious group in the country after the Shiites.

“But Sunni states also have reason to be worried about the development of the Syrian violence toward a religiously dominated conflict. The religious tensions could also spill over to their nations, which are also home to Shiite populations. In Saudi Arabia, Shiites constitute nearly 15 percent of the population, while they are 35 percent in Kuwait and as much as 60 percent in Bahrain. The Saudi Shiites are also geographically a challenge for the royal family: they live mostly in the east of the country, where the giant oil fields are. If they were to rebel, it could easily have economic consequences…”

Syrian Rebels Feel Abandoned by USA

The Washington Post wrote on August 7:

“As the Arab world’s bloodiest revolt continues to maim, kill and ravage lives on an ever-escalating scale, anti-American sentiments are hardening among those struggling to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, in ways that could have profound consequences for the country and the region in a post-Assad era.

“America, once regarded by the Syrian opposition as a natural friend in its struggle for greater freedoms against a regime long at odds with the West, increasingly is being viewed with suspicion and resentment for its failure to offer little more than verbal encouragement to the revolutionaries.

“In the nearly 17 months since Syrians joined the clamor for change that swept the Middle East last year, Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans have voted in elections, chosen new leaders and embarked, however messily, on democratic transitions.

“Syria, by contrast, is hurtling ever deeper into an all-out conflict with no end in sight, ‘and all we get is words,’ said Yasser Abu Ali, a spokesman for one of the Free Syrian Army battalions in the town of al-Bab, which lies 30 miles northeast of Aleppo.

“The rebels say they don’t want direct military intervention in the form of troops on the ground. But they have repeatedly appealed for a no-fly zone similar to the effort that helped Libyan rebels topple Moammar Gaddafi last year and for supplies of heavy weapons to counter the regime’s vastly superior firepower, say rebels and opposition figures.

“When the regime falls, as the rebel battalion spokesman assumes it eventually will, Syrians will not forget that their pleas for help went unanswered, he said. ‘America will pay a price for this,’ he said. ‘America is going to lose the friendship of Syrians, and no one will trust them anymore. Already we don’t trust them at all.’

“It is not entirely accurate that the United States is doing nothing to help the Syrian opposition, nor is it clear what more it usefully could or should be doing, analysts say… But the assistance has been small-scale, intermittent, and dwarfed by the demands of an expanding battlefield that now covers all corners of the country and has escalated to include the use of air power by the government…

“But at a time when al-Qaeda-influenced jihadis are trying to establish a presence in Syria, there is a risk that a virulently anti-American form of Islamism could take hold among disillusioned Syrians, said Andrew Tabler of the Washington Institute of Near East Affairs… If Washington continues on its current path, ‘ultimately the political entity that comes to power is not going to be in U.S. interests,’ he said.”

The “Arab Spring” movement will become more and more hostile to the USA.

Mitt Romney Selects Running Mate Paul Ryan

BBC News reported on August 11 (note also our added comments in italics throughout the article):

“US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has named fiscal conservative Paul Ryan as his running mate in November’s election. Mr Ryan, 42, is a [practicing Catholic, pro-choice and anti-abortion, anti-gay marriages, and an ardent supporter of gun possession, as well as a] Wisconsin congressman and chairman of the House of Representatives budget committee.

“BBC North America editor Mark Mardell says the decision is a bold and ideological choice. Obama campaign said Mr Ryan stood for ‘flawed’ economic policies that would repeat ‘catastrophic’ mistakes…

“In a slip of the tongue, the former Massachusetts governor introduced Mr Ryan as ‘the next president of the United States’, before correcting himself to say he meant vice-president.

[Our comment: Mr. Obama made the same mistake almost four years ago when he introduced Mr. Biden as the next president of the United States, before correcting himself.]…

“Mr Ryan told the crowd that he and Mr Romney would ‘restore the greatness of this country’.

[Our comment: According to the Bible, this won’t happen, neither under an Obama-Biden or a Romney-Ryan leadership.]…

“Prompting one of the loudest cheers from onlookers, he said: ‘Our rights come from nature and God, not from government.”

[Our comment: Sadly, our God-given rights have been disregarded by the governments of this world, and until Jesus Christ returns to establish righteous rule and government on this earth, no human leadership will guarantee their people the establishment and enforcement of the laws of God.]

“Mr Ryan is best-known for a controversial alternative budget which he produced to counter President Obama’s plans in 2011 and 2012. Known as the Path to Prosperity, it delighted the Tea Party, an anti-tax, limited-government, grassroots Republican movement. The plan proposed reducing taxes, pensions and food aid, and overhauling government-funded healthcare. In all, it projected spending cuts of $5.3 trillion (£3.4 trillion) over a decade.”

The Catholic Church condemned Mr. Ryan’s plan as unchristian. At the same time, they condemned Mr. Obama’s and Mr. Biden’s stance on homosexuality and contraceptives as unchristian. In any event, it is not anticipated that Mr. Ryan’s original controversial plan will be accepted and approved—even high ranking Republicans have voiced their disapproval. Now, as USA Today reported on August 12, 2012, “Ryan also has a different Medicare plan that he crafted with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and introduced in December. The key difference is that it would give seniors the choice of staying in Medicare as it is currently configured or getting health insurance through private companies.” At the same time, no plan has been forthcoming so far from the Obama Administration. See also the next article on Paul Ryan.

Who is Paul Ryan?

The Washington Times wrote on August 12:

“Rep. Paul Ryan, Republicans’ presumptive vice presidential nominee, has amassed a very conservative voting record during his seven terms in Congress, including repeated votes against spending bills, unemployment benefit extensions and most of President Obama’s agenda. But he also voted for some of the major parts of the Bush administration that have drawn fire, including the No Child Left Behind education bill, and the 2003 Medicare prescription drug law that added a new entitlement to the government’s books without finding a way to pay for it. He also voted for the Wall Street bailout in 2008, which has become a flashpoint for both ends of the political spectrum.

“His chief breaks with most Republicans usually came on spending bills, where he regularly voted against his party leadership when they controlled the chamber before 2007. In 1999 he voted against expanding the Peace Corps, and voted against expanding debt relief to impoverished nations. Mr. Ryan voted for the Patriot Act and later voted to preserve federal authorities’ ability under that law to seek library records in their investigations — a major test point for the legislation.

“But he’s also had some more pointed dissents, including being one of relatively few House Republicans to vote for a bill that would have outlawed workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. And he has voted to halt some of the strict U.S. sanctions against Cuba, siding with many Democrats… On social issues, he voted to end federal funding for both NPR and Planned Parenthood as part of the GOP’s spending fights last year.

“He maintains an A rating from the National Rifle Association, which backs Second Amendment rights… He has signed Americans for Tax Reform’s pledge, which commits him to opposing any legislation that increases taxes… He voted against expanding embryonic stem-cell research, and has amassed a decidedly pro-life record…

“On jobs and labor, he voted against extending unemployment benefits without offsetting their costs, but he also was one of the relatively few Republicans to vote to preserve the Davis-Bacon labor rules in military construction spending earlier this year, which gives preference to unionized labor. He has a 90 percent lifetime rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with most of his mark-downs coming because he voted against government spending as a way to produce jobs — including opposing Mr. Obama’s 2009 stimulus. He was also one of less than three dozen Republicans who in 2007 backed Democrats’ plan to require at least 15 percent of electricity in each state come from renewable fuels — a program the Chamber called unworkable.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 13:

“Despite his popularity among Republicans, newspaper editorialists in Germany argued on Monday that choosing Ryan could backfire on the Republican presidential candidate. Many believe he is a more solid choice for the Republicans than Sarah Palin was back in 2008, but they similarly conclude that he may drive swing voters to the center and help secure Obama’s re-election in November.

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘…The country will experience a bloody duel that will pit Obama, a self-proclaimed defender of the middle class, against Romney, a staunch believer in the markets and archetypal capitalist. It’s the kind of sharp contrast that the Republican candidate has so far tried to avoid. Romney wanted to win by denouncing Obama’s weaknesses and miserably high unemployment levels. But he avoided showing clear political platforms or nuances. That’s why, to many in his party, he had come to be seen recently as a figure … who stood for nothing. Now Romney is borrowing a political face: Paul Ryan, a 42-year-old spitfire of the right, who will sharpen Romney’s profile and push the candidate to the right. That may please the party base, but it also entails risks…’

“The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘…Romney is putting all his eggs in one basket… Ryan is popular with the party base, but his ability to attract swing voters is likely to be limited. Although they may be dissatisfied with the current situation, it is unlikely that a radical restructuring of the social system will warm their hearts, either…’

“The business daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘Risky, surprising and courageous: The choice of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential candidate is all of these things. But it is also an act of desperation. He is currently trailing significantly behind Obama in the polls and his chances of winning the election this fall might have been better if he had gone with a certain ticket… Paul Ryan is a politician who divides people… Romney’s strategic calculus is clear. He, himself a procrastinator, dawdler and notorious opportunitist [sic], is viewed by the conservative wing of his party as being too liberal. During his time as governor of Massachusetts, he passed… a health care reform there that looks a lot like Obama’s, and Romney lost credibility with the Republican Party basis. And that has changed little despite his claims that he will roll back Obama’s health care reform if he is elected. With Ryan, who has the support of the Tea Party, he is hoping to at least offset this deficit…’

“The leftist Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘More than anything else, Ryan is a radical ideologue who has never changed his platforms. By selecting Ryan, the Republican candidate has taken one step closer to clarifying his ideological position.’

“Ryan has a reputation as a hardliner… Ryan wants to lower taxes (also for the highest earners), he wants to further cut social benefits (including food stamps for the needy and government healthcare for pensioners), he wants to limit the authority of environmental protection agencies, he disputes the existence of climate change, he is against abortion, opposes same-sex marriages and he would like to increase military expenditures…’”

Some Members May Leave the Eurozone

BBC News reported on August 8:

“Some members of the eurozone may have to leave the bloc as the debt crisis continues, according to one of the architects of the euro. ‘Everything speaks in favour of saving the euro area,’ said Otmar Issing, a former European Central Bank chief economist. ‘How many countries will be able to be part of it in the long term remains to be seen,’ he added…

“The central bank highlighted the fall-off in money being lent across borders between the 17 countries that share the euro, saying the eurozone is becoming increasingly fragmented… ‘Its banking and money team have highlighted how the weaker eurozone economies – Spain, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece and Ireland – have been progressively starved of credit as banks in the bigger, stronger economies of Germany and France have stopped lending to them,’ the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston said…

“Mr Issing was a member of the German Bundesbank until 1998 and then worked at the ECB, during the introduction of the euro in 1999 until 2006… He added that it was not true that Germany would be better off returning to the deutschmark, saying the euro had been more stable than the mark… The UK is not in the Eurozone.”

The Bible predicts that ultimately, ten nations or groups of nations will run Europe. They will be the core members of the Eurozone. Some members will apparently indeed leave the Eurozone, but it appears to be certain that countries like Italy or even Spain will not exit and abandon the euro.

Will Britain Leave EU Soon?

The EUObserver reported on August 10:

“The prospect of Britain leaving the European Union is increasingly likely according to a leaked strategy paper by banking giant Nomura. The Asian bank, which is drawing up contingency plans for a ‘Brexit,’ said that ‘a referendum on EU membership without first securing significant concessions from EU partners would result in the UK leaving the European Union.’ The paper, written by Alastair Newton, a one-time British diplomat and advisor to former prime minister Tony Blair, added that ‘the British government’s response to the crisis of encouraging eurozone integration while looking for a looser UK relationship with the EU appears to be fanning the Eurosceptic flames’…

“The eurozone debt crisis has led to increasing euroscepticism among back-bench Conservative MPs, who are urging Prime Minister David Cameron to use potential changes on further integration to the EU Treaty to re-negotiate Britain’s terms of membership… Meanwhile, an opinion poll for YouGov taken last month indicated that only 15 percent of Britons would vote to remain in the EU as it is, while 50 percent would vote to leave the EU if other countries refused to re-negotiate Britain’s terms of membership.”

Coming—a European “Defense” Force

WorldNetDaily wrote on August 12:

“France once again is pushing the notion of a common European defense force. Three countries – Poland, Germany and France – are often referred to as the Weimar Triangle nations…

“The call for a common European defense comes as Europeans see the United States shifting its emphasis more toward the Asia-Pacific region. Until now, the U.S. has been the lead country in maintaining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But many now are questioning whether it needs to exist.

“While Europe still relies on NATO primarily for its defense, the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty in 2009 allowed for creation of an independent course of action. [French Defense Minister Jean] Le Drian said that the Weimar Triangle, a political cooperation forum set up in 1992, should lead the effort.

“The three countries are working to set up a tactical military group by 2013 to be used as an example for wider E.U. participation and cooperation.”

Revisited: “There’s Little Germany Can Do About Circumcision Ban”

Times of Israel reported on July 9:

“[The] German parliamentary system won’t allow for unambiguous legislation affirming [the] right to Jewish ritual… While some German lawmakers are considering drafting legislation that would enshrine parents’ rights to circumcise their children, there is little else the German government can do about last month’s decision by a local court that effectively outlawed the procedure, Berlin’s ambassador to Israel said Monday. ‘I ask for your understanding that the federal government — I represent Germany’s federal government here in Israel — respects the independence of the German judiciary. That is no different by us than it is with you. Therefore, my abilities to comment on this judgment are limited,’ Ambassador Andreas Michaelis told the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee…

“While at least three parties in the Bundestag are considering drafting legislation that would allow religious groups to perform circumcisions, Michaelis said it was not clear that this would be possible. Some German lawmakers pointed out that the German legal system is based on a ‘principle of prohibitions’ — as opposed to laws permitting certain actions — he said. That means that complete legal certainty regarding the performance of circumcision might remain elusive, he added.”

The persecution of religious minorities in Europe will continue. As Satan is the deceiver, the destroyer and the accuser of the brethren, we can expect that very soon, members of the true Church of God will be increasingly targeted by the governments and the public for their “unique” beliefs, including the observation of the Sabbath and the annual Holy Days, their rejection of Christmas, Easter and the atheistic Evolution hypostasis, their upholding of God’s dietary laws, and their biblical belief in a God Family and their rejection of the unbiblical concept of the Trinity.

Raccoons Overrun Germany

Der Spiegel Online reported on August 3:

“Germany is being invaded by what is estimated to be over a million raccoons. Worried residents have been driven to take extreme measures to deter or eradicate the furry pests, but experts fear the nocturnal marauders are here to stay… These predatory mammals originally from North America can weigh over 10 kilograms (22 pounds). They’re known for their intelligence, and many Native American legends assign raccoons the trickster role that Germans associate with Reynard the Fox in European fables…

“The first raccoons were brought to Germany in around 1920 to be bred in captivity for their pelts. Their controlled introduction into the wild occurred on April 12, 1934, when Prussian hunting and game authorities released two pairs of raccoons near the Edersee, a reservoir near Kassel. Their stated purpose was to ‘enrich the fauna’ of the area.

“A persistent rumor has it that Hermann Göring, one of the Nazi party’s most powerful figures, personally ordered that raccoons be released into the wild. The fact that this isn’t historically accurate didn’t stop British tabloid newspaper The Sun from running an article in 2007 entitled ‘Nazi raccoons on warpath.’ The article warned that they ‘are just across the Channel from Britain after marching through France, Belgium, Holland and Denmark in a furry blitzkrieg’ and that they ‘are invading new territory — just like the Nazis did.’

“Competition for habitat space is so high in the raccoons’ main population centers — in the German states of Hesse, Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt — that young male raccoons have started migrating to other parts of the country… Statistics kept by the German Hunting Association (DJV) offer proof of a downright invasion. It calculates that 67,700 raccoons were killed in Germany last season, a new record…

“There’s no law against trapping raccoons — in fact, quite the opposite is true… Hunters complain that raccoons kill partridges and pheasants, devour bats and steal eggs from wild ducks’ nests… there is the potential danger to humans from rabies spread by raccoons…

“In cities such as Dresden and Bielefeld, the animals have started banding together to harvest entire cherry or plum trees. Another problematic occurrence is when these marauding gangs make their homes in building attics, where they tear the insulation to bits and leave their droppings everywhere.”

When man tries to fool around with or “improve” nature, unpredictable consequences are the results. The Bible shows that God will use wild animals to punish disobedient mankind.

West Nile Virus on the Rise

Reuters reported on August 15:

“The mayor of Dallas declared a state of emergency in the ninth largest U.S. city on Wednesday to combat the spread of West Nile virus infections, which have been more prevalent than usual in Texas and other states this year. There have been more cases of West Nile virus reported so far this year than any year since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999, the Centers for Disease Control said on its website.

“Nearly half of the 693 human cases of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus infections reported this year to the CDC have been in Texas, along with 14 of the 26 deaths confirmed by the federal agency as of Tuesday… It is not clear why the number of West Nile cases in Texas is so high. It could be related to a warmer winter and rainy spring that has contributed to an increased mosquito population…

“West Nile virus usually flares up in the summer because it is most often transmitted by mosquito bites. People infected can suffer fever and aches that can become severe or even cause death, especially of the elderly, children and other at risk groups. There is no specific treatment for the West Nile infection.”

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