Current Events

Iran’s True Intentions?

In a highly revealing article by Amir Taheri, a former Executive Editor of Kayhan, Iran’s largest daily newspaper, who now lives in Europe, The Telegraph in Great Britain stated the following on April 16:

“Last Monday, just before he announced that Iran had gatecrashed ‘the nuclear club’, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad disappeared for several hours. He was having a khalvat (tête-à-tête) with the Hidden Imam, the 12th and last of the [Imams] of Shiism who went into ‘grand occultation’ in 941. According to Shia lore, the Imam is a messianic figure who, although in hiding, remains the true Sovereign of the World. In every generation, the Imam chooses 36 men, (and, for obvious reasons, no women) naming them the owtad or ‘nails’, whose presence, hammered into mankind’s existence, prevents the universe from ‘falling off’. Although the ‘nails’ are not known to common mortals, it is, at times, possible to identify one thanks to his deeds. It is on that basis that some of Ahmadinejad’s more passionate admirers insist that he is a ‘nail’, a claim he has not discouraged. For example, he has claimed that last September, as he addressed the United Nations’ General Assembly in New York, the ‘Hidden Imam drenched the place in a sweet light’. Last year, it was after another khalvat that Ahmadinejad announced his intention to stand for president. Now, he boasts that the Imam gave him the presidency for a single task: provoking a ‘clash of civilisations’ in which the Muslim world, led by Iran, takes on the ‘infidel’ West, led by the United States, and defeats it in a slow but prolonged contest that, in military jargon, sounds like a low intensity, asymmetrical war.

“In Ahmadinejad’s analysis, the rising Islamic ‘superpower’ has decisive advantages over the infidel. Islam has four times as many young men of fighting age as the West, with its ageing populations. Hundreds of millions of Muslim ‘ghazis’ (holy raiders) are keen to become martyrs while the infidel youths, loving life and fearing death, hate to fight. Islam also has four-fifths of the world’s oil reserves, and so controls the lifeblood of the infidel. More importantly, the US, the only infidel power still capable of fighting, is hated by most other nations. According to this analysis, spelled out in commentaries by Ahmadinejad’s strategic guru, Hassan Abassi, known as the ‘Dr Kissinger of Islam’, President George W Bush is an aberration, an exception to a rule under which all American presidents since Truman, when faced with serious setbacks abroad, have ‘run away’. Iran’s current strategy, therefore, is to wait Bush out. And that, by ‘divine coincidence’, corresponds to the time Iran needs to develop its nuclear arsenal, thus matching the only advantage that the infidel enjoys.”

The article continued:

“While Bush is determined to create a Middle East that is democratic and pro-Western, Ahmadinejad is equally determined that the region should remain Islamic but pro-Iranian. Iran is now the strongest presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, after the US. It has turned Syria and Lebanon into its outer defences, which means that, for the first time since the 7th century, Iran is militarily present on the coast of the Mediterranean. In a massive political jamboree in Teheran last week, Ahmadinejad also assumed control of the ‘Jerusalem Cause’, which includes annihilating Israel ‘in one storm’, while launching a take-over bid for the cash-starved Hamas government in the West Bank and Gaza. Ahmadinejad has also reactivated Iran’s network of Shia organisations in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Yemen, while resuming contact with Sunni fundamentalist groups in Turkey, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. From childhood, Shia boys are told to cultivate two qualities. The first is entezar, the capacity patiently to wait for the Imam to return. The second is taajil, the actions needed to hasten the return. For the Imam’s return will coincide with an apocalyptic battle between the forces of evil and righteousness, with evil ultimately routed. If the infidel loses its nuclear advantage, it could be worn down in a long, low-intensity war at the end of which surrender to Islam would appear the least bad of options. And that could be a signal for the Imam to reappear. At the same time, not to forget the task of hastening the Mahdi’s second coming, Ahamdinejad will pursue his provocations.”

One Year of New Papacy

Der Spiegel Online reported on April 18, 2006, about the first year of Benedict XVI’s rule as Pope. The article was titled, “Ratzinger’s Quiet Non-Revolution.” It introduced the article as follows: “A year into his papacy and the radical shift many had expected when Pope Benedict XVI  [formerly known as Cardinal Ratzinger] became pope last spring has yet to arrive. Instead, he has chosen discretion.”

Still, the article portrays the Pope as an extremely intelligent and talented man with a vision and an agenda. It speculates that no liberal reforms can be expected under his rule; that he wants to increase the influence of the Catholic Church in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and China, by somewhat downplaying the Roman Catholic’s position that the Pope is understood to be the “father of princes and kings, ruler of the world and representative of Christ on earth”; and that his goal is to leave behind a “dogmatically and organizationally strengthened Vatican” for his successor.

The article pointed out:

“It’s difficult to love a German pope, but the Romans like him… Ever since April 19, 2005, the date of Pope Benedict’s election, Ratzinger has been treated in the curia — often something of a hotbed of intrigue — with distanced and amazed admiration, says [Notker] Wolf [an Abbot Primate of the Order of St. Benedict]. It’s a demeanor that Italians often reserve for Germans, but it shouldn’t be confused with affection… Since February, he says, things have begun speeding up. The reform of the curia has been decided. The encyclical has been published, and one and a half million copies have already been sold. The number of members of the papal council was reduced, a high-ranking member of the curia was sent to Egypt as Nuntius, and 15 new cardinals were appointed, including — to the horror of the papal bureaucracy — only three veterans from the curia. ‘Reform,’ says Ratzinger, ‘consists in the removal of the unnecessary.’…

“Benedict wanted the ‘tiara’ — the triple-layer papal crown in the coat of arms — replaced by a mitre, the headwear worn by bishops… It’s a heraldic shift that points to an agenda. The three rings of the tiara originally represented the pope’s universal claim to power, as ‘father of princes and kings, ruler of the world and representative of Christ on earth.’ Benedict wanted it one size smaller, as a sign of good will toward the Orthodox Church. Indeed, this pope seems to be seeking out dialogue with the East. As an icebreaker, he sent Cardinal Walter Kasper — who is not only head of the papal committee responsible for relations with Judaism, but who also helps look after the Church in the Orient — to Moscow as his personal representative…

The article continued that “omens and miracles are daily bread in the Catholic realm. March 24, the day that chief herald Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo was elevated to cardinal by Ratzinger, a former member of the Hitler Youth, was also the anniversary of a massacre in the Ardeatine Caves, in which the SS murdered Corderos’s father after days of horrific torture. A coincidence? Not likely… [The cardinals] believed that no one but a professor from the land of Martin Luther could be trusted to focus attention on the church once again in a Europe of transcendental illiteracy… Pope Benedict XVI writes and writes and writes. Letters, sermons, speeches, circulars and books. He is already the most-published pope in church history. This supreme shepherd is even capable of inserting a fundamental theological thought into the accreditation of the ambassador of Andorra… He writes all of his major sermons himself, and he completely rewrites prewritten speeches in his tiny academic handwriting, dubbed ‘picture books’ by his office staff… It’s no secret that Ratzinger regrets the disappearance of Latin from the mass, and that the mere thought of guitars being played in the church gives him hives… He wants to leave a dogmatically and organizationally strengthened Vatican for his successor, as long as he has enough time left to achieve his goals. In other words, anyone still hoping for a papal shift on issues such as contraception, ordination of women or granting Holy Communion to those who have been remarried will have to wait for Ratzinger’s successors.”

What does the future hold for the Catholic Church? And how will it effect the rest of the world? Please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

President Bush and the Catholic Church

Zenit reported on April 7, 2006, that “President George Bush spoke on the [Catholic] Church’s contribution to freedom, defending life, and immigration in his address to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in the U.S. capital. The Catholic Church, the president said today, ‘offers a vision of human freedom and dignity rooted in the same self-evident truths of America’s founding. This morning we ask God to guide us as we work together to live up to these timeless truths,’ he added. ‘Freedom is a gift from the Almighty,’ continued Bush, ‘and the Catholic Church and its institutions play a vital role in helping our citizens acquire the character we need to live as free people.’ Bush also recalled the role of Pope John Paul II in fighting for freedom in Europe… ‘Like his predecessor,’ continued Bush, ‘Benedict XVI understands that the measure of a free society is how it treats the weakest and most vulnerable among us.’ The president also expressed gratitude for the ‘leading role that the Catholic faith-based organizations play in our nation’s armies of compassion,’ especially for their work to welcome newcomers to the country. Bush then commented on immigration: ‘An immigration system that forces people into the shadows of our society, or leaves them prey to criminals is a system that needs to be changed.'”

More Murder in Israel

On April 18, 2006, Der Spiegel Online reported about the most recent suicide attack in Israel; Hamas’ approval of the same; and the reaction of the German press. It was stated:

“One day after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed nine people in front of a Tel Aviv fast-food restaurant during the Jewish holiday of Passover on Monday, the prospects for peace in the Middle East look bleaker than ever. It was the deadliest bombing in over a year and the first since the radical Islamic group Hamas took over the Palestinian government after elections in January. But instead of condemning the attack, a representative of Hamas said it was a legitimate response to Israeli ‘aggression.’ The comment has sparked outrage in Israel and throughout the international community… The escalation comes as a number of major international donors have cut their financial aid for the Palestinian Authority. The refusal to condemn the latest suicide bombing will certainly make it unlikely that many will resume supporting the cash-strapped Palestinians. But there is a risk that Hamas will turn towards Iran — which backs Islamic Jihad and recently pledged $50 million in aid to the Palestinians…

“[Most German] commentators… consider the group [Hamas] to have now put itself beyond the pale, boding ill for the Middle East. The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung believes that the latest tragic events in the region make clear that the Palestinian Authority is being led by a terror group… The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [states that the] Palestinian territories appear more likely to descend into chaos — with all the side-effects for Israel… The centrist Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel focuses on Iran’s dangerous influence in the region… [It suggests that] Europe should… keep its nerve and stick to its demand for the recognition of Israel. Anything else would be unthinkable to ask of Europe’s taxpayers.”

On April 14, Iran’s highly controversial leader had stated that “Israel was heading toward annihilation,” according to a press release of The Associated Press. He added that the “Zionist regime will be eliminated by one storm.” On April 16, according to CNN, “Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres responded to threats made by Iran’s president against Israel, saying Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ‘will end up in the same way as [Saddam] Hussein… Ahmadinejad represents Satan, not God,’ said Peres, who shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with the late Palestinian and Israeli leaders, Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin… Peres, a leading figure in Israel’s ruling Kadima Party, previously has called Iran ‘the greatest danger’ to the world and urged the international community to stop the Islamic republic from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

Israel and the entire Middle East will be facing more and more violence in the years to come. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Record Flooding in Southeast Europe

Der Spiegel Online reported on April 18 about yet another “unprecedented century flood” in Southeast Europe, stating: “Record flooding along the Danube River continued to wreak havoc with residents of southeastern Europe on Tuesday, disrupting ports, destroying farmlands and sending people fleeing from their homes across the Balkans. The flooding continued after a weekend which saw the Danube rise to its highest level in 111 years, forcing the emergency evacuation of thousands in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria as the waters breached dams along the fabled river. Heavy rain and melting snow from Central Europe has contributed to record water levels along Europe’s second-longest river, where the water volume is double what it was at this time a year ago… For the people of Romania, the floods have evoked painful memories of deadly flash floods that hit the country last year. Those floods killed 74 people and caused €1.5 billion in damage.”

Another Blow to U.S. Reputation?

AFP reported on April 16 about another potentially devastating development regarding the reputation–or the lack thereof–of the United States in the rest of the world, especially in Europe and the Middle East. According to news reports, the USA had been planning to invade Iran before the invasion of Iraq–and before the election of Iran’s current radical leader.

The report stated:

“The United States began planning a full-scale military campaign against Iran that involves missile strikes, a land invasion and a naval operation to establish control over the Strait of Hormuz even before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, a former US intelligence analyst disclosed. William Arkin, who served as the US Army’s top intelligence mind on West Berlin in the 1970s and accurately predicted US military operations against Iraq, said the plan is known in military circles as TIRANNT, an acronym for ‘Theater Iran Near Term.’ It includes a scenario for a land invasion led by the US Marine Corps, a detailed analysis of the Iranian missile force and a global strike plan against any Iranian weapons of mass destruction, Arkin wrote in The Washington Post. US and British planners have already conducted a Caspian Sea war game as part of these preparations, the scholar said… preparations under TIRANNT began in earnest in May 2003 and never stopped, he said. The plan has since been updated using information collected in Iraq…

“The US military has been involved in contingency planning against Iran since at least the presidency of Jimmy Carter, who undertook a failed commando operation to rescue US hostages in Tehran in 1980. Following the 1996 bombing of an apartment building used by the US Air Force in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, which was reportedly traced to Iranian agents, the administration of then-president Bill Clinton considered a bombing campaign, according to Richard Clarke and Steven Simon, who held at the time high-level counterterrorism positions at the National Security Council. ‘But after long debate, the highest levels of the military could not forecast a way in which things would end favorably for the United States,’ the two experts wrote in Sunday’s New York Times. They warned Iran could retaliate against the United States by using its terrorist networks ‘that are far superior to anything Al-Qaeda was ever able to field.'”

The United States of America will be facing more and more political isolation from the rest of the world. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

Blair vs. Bush?

 According to an article in the Scotsman of April 16, 2006, “Tony Blair has told George Bush that Britain cannot offer military support to any strike on Iran, regardless of whether the move wins the backing of the international community… Amid increasing tension over Tehran’s attempts to develop a military nuclear capacity, the Prime Minister has laid bare the limits of his support for President Bush, who is believed to be considering an assault on Iran… While the sense of crisis over Iran has been escalated by the fiery rhetoric between Tehran and the West–particularly Washington–many within the British government are now convinced that the impasse can be resolved by repeating the same sort of painstaking diplomatic activity that returned Libya to the international fold. However… [U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice reiterated that President Bush has not taken any option off the table, including a military response, if Iran fails to comply with the demands of the international community.”

No More “Islamic Terrorism”?

The EUobserver reported on April 13, 2006, that “The EU is working on a public communication lexicon which blacklists the term ‘Islamic terrorism.’ The ‘non-emotive lexicon for discussing radicalisation’ should be submitted to EU leaders who will meet in June, according to press reports. EU officials drafting the guidelines hope that the European Commission and the European Parliament will also endorse the linguistic code of conduct, which will be non-binding. ‘Certainly “Islamic terrorism” is something we will not use … we talk about “terrorists who abusively invoke Islam”,’ an EU official told Reuters.The aim of the guidelines is to avoid the use of words that could unnecessarily offend Muslims and spark radicalisation. ‘Jihad’ is another term under review…'”

Persecution of Christians in Turkey

On April 12, 2006, Der Spiegel Online reported about ongoing persecutions of Christians in Turkey. The magazine stated:

“Christians are a vanishing minority in predominately Muslim Turkey. The murder of a [Catholic] priest in February shows that the situation has become precarious — both for Catholics and for Turkey’s EU bid… Christians are a tiny, tolerated minority in Turkey, a country which is 99 percent Muslim, and [a] Catholic priest even advises the members of his congregation not to wear any visible symbols of their faith, such as a cross dangling on the outside of a blouse or shirt… There are many churches and monasteries dating from centuries of Byzantine Christian rule, although most have since been converted into mosques. During the great population exchange between Turkey and Greece in 1923, almost 1.5 million Orthodox Christians were expelled from Asia Minor and replaced by 356,000 Muslims from Greece. As a result of the mass murder and expulsion of the Armenians in World War I, the country had already lost almost a million Christians. The result was an almost entirely Muslim state.

“Turkey is still home to about 100,000 Christians. Their status is one of the barometers being used to determine Turkey’s suitability for European Union membership, making the murder of Father Santoro especially inconvenient for the administration in Ankara, which is rooted in Islam but is doing its utmost to portray Turkey as tolerant and liberal-minded… Turkey’s Christian minorities had hoped that reforms introduced by the administration of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan — as part of its effort to gain EU membership — would not just lead to a few improvements, but to complete religious freedom. Although Christians are permitted to practice their faith freely, in many cases their churches have practically no rights and often have no claim to the property they stand on… ‘The basic level of anti-Christian sentiment has increased,’ says Felix Körner, a German Jesuit whom the Vatican sent to Ankara to encourage a Christian-Islamic dialogue. Turkey’s efforts to enter the EU have triggered nationalist counter-reactions, says Körner. ‘Even in educated circles, people are saying that Turkish unity and national sovereignty are in danger.'”

Even though the Bible foretells that Turkey–which is Biblical “Edom”– will cooperate with Europe, it appears unlikely, because of Turkey’s religion and heritage, that Turkey will become a full member of the EU.

Immigration Problems in the USA

Der Spiegel Online reported on April 12 about the growing problems which the US government is facing regarding its immigration policies. The magazine paints an interesting picture which is reminiscent of Germany’s past and present immigration situation, and which is sometimes overlooked in the USA:

   “The marches prove that immigrants are not alone. They have families — and they’re woven into America too deeply to tear out. The crowds parading up the streets of America on Monday, and for the last two weeks, have been telling us with their bodies, if not always in English, that illegal immigrants are not alone in the United States of America. Indeed, illegal immigrants, who were supposed to live a shadowy existence, belong to neighborhoods and to church congregations that were willing to stand alongside them. And most important: Many millions of illegal immigrants have U.S. relatives, sons and daughters, in-laws, cousins, grandchildren. That family tie is the lesson of these parades. In Houston and Boston, in Phoenix and in San Jose, Calif., what we saw were not exactly ‘protests,’ nor were they political demonstrations, primarily. We were seeing huge family gatherings, celebrations of the clan… In generations past, for example during the Depression,… there were mass deportations. Send the Mexicans back! But now, how do you deport so many millions who belong to even more millions?…

“The giant was sleeping in Phoenix and Chicago and throughout North Carolina. And the Democrats were just as happy to leave the snoring undisturbed, because of the unhappiness of trade unionists and of the complaints of African-Americans against illegal migrant workers who undercharge America for their labor, then work with third-world fury. Some Republicans, including the president, saw signs of the giant stirring. George Bush is the first American president to speak Spanish and to run a reelection ad in which he is pictured waving a Mexican flag… But then there is the Republican Party of Pat Buchanan and Tom Tancredo — a party that now mixes hysteria with patriotism and wars against any notion that America exists within the Americas… No other children in America hear what the children of illegal immigrants now regularly hear on angry-white-guy talk radio… From the Congress came daily calls for a vast new Wall of China, mass deportations. And a litany of complaints: Illegal immigrants take, take, take from America. They pose a burden, a drag on the country; they are welfare cheats, criminals, drug dealers, thieves. No one in public mentioned to their children what their parents and grandparents have done for America for over a century — and at what a cheap price.”

The Bible contains many warnings against mistreating our strangers, fatherless and widows. A country which engages in such unbiblical conduct cannot count on God’s blessings.

Global Warming–It’s Real!

The New York Daily News reported on April 17, 2006, about a surprisingly effective and scary movie, which was produced by Al Gore, about the real and devastating effect of Global Warming. The article explained:

“… you will be captivated, then riveted and then scared out of your wits. Our Earth is going to hell in a handbasket. You will see the Arctic and Antarctic icecaps melting. You will see Greenland oozing into the sea. You will see the atmosphere polluted with greenhouse gases that block heat from escaping. You will see photos from space of what the icecaps looked like once and what they look like now, and, in animation, you will see how high the oceans might rise. Shanghai and Calcutta swamped. Much of Florida, too. The water takes a hunk of New York. The fuss about what to do with Ground Zero will turn to naught. It will be under water. ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ is a cinematic version of the [free] lecture that Gore has given for years warning of the dangers of global warming. The case Gore makes is worthy of sleepless nights: Our Earth is in extremis. It’s not just that polar bears are drowning because they cannot reach receding ice floes or that ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’ will exist someday only as a Hemingway short story. It’s rather that Hurricane Katrina is not past, but prologue. Katrina produced several hundred thousand evacuees. The flooding of Calcutta would produce many millions [of evacuees]… the film leave(s) no doubt of the peril we face.”

Babylon Being Rebuilt?

The Belfast Telegraph reported on April 17 about Babylon’s recent destruction through the American and Polish troops and its possible restoration under German leadership: 

“For more than a millennium, Babylon was one of the great cities of antiquity. It reached its greatest glory in the early 6th century BC, as the capital of Nebuchadnezzar…, builder of the celebrated Hanging Gardens. Babylon declined and fell into ruin after it was conquered by the Persians under Cyrus the Great in around 538 BC. But no devastation seems to have matched that inflicted by US troops and their Polish allies after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein… after entering Babylon in April 2003, coalition forces turned the site into a base camp, flattening and compressing tracts of ruins as they built a helicopter pad and fuel stations. The soldiers filled sandbags with archeological fragments and dug trenches through unexcavated areas, while tanks crushed slabs of original 2,600-year-old paving… After US and Polish troops left in 2004, the first restoration plans for Babylon were drawn up. Last November Unesco, the United Nations’ cultural and scientific organisation, said it would be carrying out some initial repair work, and setting up a photographic registry of the site. The work, in which France, Britain, Poland, the US, Iraq, Japan, Italy and the Netherlands are also involved, is being co-ordinated by the German Archaeological Institute, under the direction of the Iraqi authorities and Unesco.”

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