Current Events

U.S.-Pakistan Relations Suffer Another Set-Back

Reuters reported on November 26:

“NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two military outposts in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing as many as 28 troops and plunging U.S.-Pakistan relations, already deeply frayed, further into crisis. Pakistan retaliated by shutting down vital NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, used for sending in just under a third of the alliance’s supplies…

“Relations between the United States and Pakistan, its ally in the war on militancy, have been strained following the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces in a raid on the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad in May, which Pakistan called a flagrant violation of sovereignty. A spokesman for NATO-led troops in Afghanistan confirmed that NATO aircraft had been called in to support troops in the area and had probably killed some Pakistani soldiers… The Pakistani government and military brimmed with fury…

“The commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, General John R. Allen, said he had offered his condolences to the family of any Pakistani soldiers who ‘may have been killed or injured’…

‘The latest attack by NATO forces on our post will have serious repercussions as they without any reasons attacked on our post and killed soldiers asleep,’ said a senior Pakistani military officer, requesting anonymity…

“The United States has long suspected Pakistan of continuing to secretly support Taliban militant groups to secure influence in Afghanistan after most NATO troops leave in 2014. Saturday’s incident will give Pakistan the argument that NATO is now attacking it directly… Paul Beaver, a British security analyst, said… ‘I’m not sure U.S.-Pakistan relations could sink much lower than they are now…’”

Pakistan’s The International News wrote on November 28, 2011:

“Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani warned the United States that there would be ‘no more business as usual’ with Washington after a NATO attack that killed two dozen Pakistani troops… Gilani said that Pakistan was re-evaluating its relationship with the United States… Gilani highlighted incidents such as the killing of the Pakistani troops and a US raid into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden as violations of the country’s sovereignty. The prime minister also said Pakistan had not yet decided whether to boycott next month’s Bonn conference on the future of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, a top adviser to Afghan President Hamid Karzai warned that Afghanistan and Pakistan could be on a path to conflict.”

Pakistan’s Retaliation

The New York Post wrote on November 29:

“Pakistan on Tuesday decided to boycott a key international conference [in Bonn] on Afghanistan next month, widening its protest over lethal cross-border NATO strikes and exacerbating a deep crisis in US ties…

“Pakistan already closed the Afghan border to NATO convoys, a lifeline for 140,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, ordered American personnel to vacate an air base reportedly used by CIA drones and ordered a review of the alliance…

“US-Pakistani ties have been in free fall since a CIA contractor killed two Pakistanis in Lahore in January. Saturday’s attack raises questions about the extent to which the two terror allies can cooperate with each other.”

Ultimately, the alliance between Pakistan and the USA will end.

The World Will Become More Dangerous

Newsmax reported on November 26:

“’The world will become substantially more dangerous’ if the evisceration of the U.S. military, the undermining of American allies — notably Israel — and the emboldening of its enemies continues under the Obama administration, said Gaffney, the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy… Among his concerns are the establishment of Shariah in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria; the rise of Hezbollah in Lebanon; and the strengthening of Hamas in Gaza… His primary concern remains the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

“’I don’t think anything will dissuade the Iranians from fulfilling their longstanding objective of obtaining nuclear weapons,’ he said. ‘They’ll have to be stopped… My guess is that, if it’s not [a] matter of weeks off, it may be months at most — and the trouble is, we don’t know, and we may not know until either there’s a nuclear test or there’s a nuclear explosion… Sanctions, I don’t think, are going to help… there’s no doubt that the Israelis increasingly recognize that what is happening with ineffective sanctions, with an America that is not taking the lead — or worse, is actually trying to engage the mullahs of Iran — is that an existential threat to the Jewish state is becoming ever more of an imminent peril…  it seems exceedingly unlikely that there will be any kind of [US] support for the Israelis should they decide, actually, to go for it with Iran…”

The prospect of an attack on Iran becomes more frightening. As subsequent articles show, it is certain that Iran would retaliate with terrible cruelty and ruthlessness.

Israel No Other Option Than to Attack Iran?

Israel National News reported on November 25:

“The Begin Sadat Center, a respected think tank based at Bar Ilan University… concluded that the Arab Spring is not going to result in democracy, despite original hopes in the West, and may make things even worse for Israel.

“‘As steep as the price for hitting Iran may be, a military strike on Iran will be less painful than the cost of living with an Iranian nuclear weapons threat,’ argues former Mossad head Maj. Gen. (res.) Danny Yatom. ‘… Israel can’t afford to wonder if Tehran will go crazy and bomb us’… He acknowledged that rocket attacks would likely ensue from Lebanon and Gaza following a Western or Israeli strike against Iran…‘We have only two options: to let Iran get the bomb, or to use military force against their military nuclear program. I think that force will have to be used… should the world stand on the sidelines, Israel will be fully entitled to use its natural right to self-defense. To us, the Iranian nuclear weapons program is an existential threat.’…

“Prof. Gabi Ben-Dor of Haifa University… dismissed the notion that a surge of enthusiasm for Western-style democracy lay behind the recent turmoil [in the Arab world]. ‘Who says that protests against dictatorship necessarily lead to democracy?’ he asked. ‘Democracy is not what emerged from the revolution against the Tsars of Russia 100 years ago, nor has democracy emerged in many CIS states that threw off the Communist yoke. Thus there is no rational, logical or historical basis for assuming that democracy will result from the revolutions underway today in the Arab world’…

“BESA Center director Prof. Efraim Inbar warned of a deteriorating security situation for Israel. ‘States like Egypt are already losing control of their own territory, and Israel can expect increased cross-border attacks and terrorism. The Turks may ignite a confrontation over energy in the eastern Mediterranean. Israel should not be cutting its defense budget now. On the contrary, Israel should be investing more in the military and in the defense industries…’”

The Arab Spring will in fact lead to Israel’s total isolation in the Middle East.

“Iran Threatens to Retaliate in Case of an Attack”

The Associated Press reported on November 26:

“A senior commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard says the country will target NATO’s missile defense shield in Turkey if the U.S. or Israel attacks the Islamic Republic… Tehran says NATO’s early warning radar station in Turkey is meant to protect Israel against Iranian missile attacks if a war breaks out with Israel. Turkey agreed to host the radar in September as part of NATO’s missile defense system.”

Y-Net News added on November 27:

“Iranian Defense Minister General Ahmad Vahidi said Israel would be attacked with 150,000 missiles if it launches any military action against the Islamic Republic… the minister said ‘Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan, if the Americans make the mistake and attack Iran, we will show them how to fight,’ adding ‘Israel has to be punished for what it has done to the Muslims in Palestine and Lebanon.’”

Haaretz wrote on December 1:

“German prosecutors have opened an inquiry into allegations of an Iranian plot to attack U.S. bases on German soil, prosecutor-general Harald Range confirmed in Karlsruhe on Thursday… [German mass tabloid Bild] speculated that Iranian agents were preparing to attack U.S. airbases in Germany if the United States took part in any kind of attack on Iran… On Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle recalled the country’s ambassador to Iran…” It added in an accompanying article that “France recalled its ambassador to Tehran for ‘consultations’ on Wednesday as well, [and that] Italy’s foreign minister said Wednesday that his country is considering closing its embassy in Tehran.”

According to Der Spiegel Online, dated December 1, “German prosecutors said later in the day there was no information suggesting any such attacks had been prepared.” The article continued: “The US operates a number of military facilities in Germany, including the Ramstein Air Base near Kaiserslautern, one of the largest US military bases abroad, and an important hub for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, where wounded soldiers from these conflicts receive treatment, is also located nearby. Both facilities are heavily guarded.”

Time will tell…

Attack on British Embassy in Iran

The New York Times wrote on November 29:

“In the latest sign of deteriorating relations with the West, a group of Iranian protesters stormed the British Embassy compound in Tehran on Tuesday, chanting ‘death to England,’ tearing down a British flag and ransacking offices…

“The episode came a day after Iran enacted legislation to downgrade relations with Britain in retaliation for intensified sanctions imposed by Western nations last week to punish the Iranians for their suspected nuclear development program. Britain promised to respond ‘robustly.’…

“The sanctions imposed by Britain were considered the most severe because they required that all contacts with the Iranian Central Bank be severed, a step that other countries, including the United States, did not take… Iranian anger at the West was also evident in news reports on Monday that Iran’s foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, had been forced to cancel a trip to The Hague because Hungary had refused permission for his aircraft to cross its airspace…

“Concern that Iran may be close to producing a nuclear weapon has grown since the release of the United Nations report, particularly in Israel, which considers Iran its most dangerous enemy. Iranian warnings to Israel against trying a pre-emptive military strike on Iran’s nuclear installations have also escalated in recent weeks.  The heightened sensitivities to the possibility of such a strike were apparent on Monday when a few Iranian news agencies reported on a suspected explosion near the central city of Isfahan, where the Iranians process uranium… It was also the top item on the Web site of Haaretz, a major Israeli newspaper, with the headline ‘Report: Explosion rocks Iran city of Isfahan, home to key nuclear facility.’”

A-7 News added on November 30:

“The explosion earlier this week that Iran said was at a uranium enrichment site actually damaged a nuclear plant and was far from accidental, The London Times reported Wednesday. The newspaper quoted Israeli intelligence officials as saying that satellite photos revealed extensive damage from the explosion at Isfahan, near Tehran…

“Two week ago, an explosion at a military base that killed a top general and 16 others also resulted in extensive damage, according to published satellite images. The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security told The New York Times, ‘It was pretty amazing to see that the entire facility was destroyed. There were only a few buildings left standing.’ The institute’s report author Paul Brannan added that his sources indicated the explosion occurred during work that was supposed to be ‘a major milestone in the development of a new missile.’ One of the casualties was Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, founder of Iran’s missile program, and the explosion appeared to take place at a missile base.”

Sanctions Against Iran

BBC reported on December 1:

“The European Union has agreed to impose fresh sanctions on 180 Iranian officials and firms over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme… The sanctions follow a UN report linking Iran to the development of a nuclear weapon… The EU measures also come two days after hundreds of Iranian protesters stormed the UK embassy in Tehran.

“Britain announced on Wednesday it was expelling all Iranian diplomats from London, after pulling its own out of Tehran… Iran expressed regret for the attack on the UK embassy… and said a number of protesters had been arrested. However, the semi-official Fars news agency said on Thursday that police had freed 11 people held over the attacks. There was no explanation for their release.”

Haaretz added on December 1:

“The storming of the British embassy in Tehran earlier this week was not an improvised student protest but an attack planned and supervised by Iranian authorities, sources told the Al-Arabiya News Channel on Thursday. The attack was planned by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei and supervised by the commander of the Basij paramilitary forces, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqd, the sources said.

“Proof of their involvement was in the media coverage, according to the sources. Photographs of the attack show troops from the Basij forces taking part, as well as members of the al-Quds Brigade. In addition, two official state television channels, directly controlled by Khamenei – Press T.V. and al-Alam News Network – managed to broadcast the attack live. No official news channels are permitted to broadcast life without Khamenei’s permission, the sources told Al-Arabiya.”

The Brits Are To Be Blamed…

The New York Times wrote on November 30:

“…hostility to the British taps a deep vein in the Iranian psyche. The United States may be the ‘Great Satan’ to Iran’s theocratic rulers, but it is Britain — the crafty old colonial power whose designs in Iran go back two centuries — that is still widely blamed for almost every upheaval in the country…

“‘The “British hand” is said to be behind every major event of the past 150 years,’ said Abbas Milani, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at Stanford University. ‘The Americans are seen as naïve malleable tools in the hands of the Brits.’”

The diminishing British influence can also be seen in the next article.

Britain Causes Outrage in Africa

CNN reported on November 30:

“The Nigerian senate has passed a bill banning same-sex marriages, defying a threat from Britain to withhold aid from nations violating gay rights. The bill by Africa’s most populous nation calls for a 14-year sentence for anyone convicted of homosexuality. Anyone who aids or ‘abets’ same-sex unions faces 10 years in prison, a provision that could target rights groups. It goes to the nation’s House of Representatives for a vote before President Goodluck Jonathan can sign it into law.

“‘It would place a wide range of people at risk of criminal sanctions, including human rights defenders and anyone else — including friends, families and colleagues — who stands up for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people in Nigeria,’ Amnesty International said in a statement. The bill passed Tuesday comes nearly a month after British prime minister, David Cameron, threatened to withhold aid from nations violating gays rights, sparking outrage in Africa where leaders interpreted it as ‘colonial’ display of power…

“Last week, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, known for his anti-gay rhetoric, called the prime minister ‘satanic’ for demanding gay rights… Ugandan government spokesman Fred Opolot described Cameron’s remarks as ‘patronizing, colonial rhetoric’… Ghanaian President John Atta Mills, a major western ally, applauded the benefits of foreign aid, but said the nation will not accept money that will undermine its interest. ‘I will never initiate or support any attempt to legalize homosexuality in Ghana,’ he told journalists this month… Tanzanian officials decried the remarks, saying they ‘can lead to broken relations’ between the two nations.”

Muslim Brotherhood’s True Colors

On November 25, y-net news reported the following:

“A Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo’s most prominent mosque Friday turned into a venomous anti-Israel protest, with attendants vowing to ‘one day kill all Jews.’ Some 5,000 people joined the rally, called to promote the ‘battle against Jerusalem’s Judaization.’ The event coincided with the anniversary of the United Nations’ partition plan in 1947, which called for the establishment of a Jewish state. However, most worshippers who prayed at the mosque Friday quickly left it before the Muslim Brotherhood’s rally got underway…

“Speakers at the event delivered impassioned, hateful speeches against Israel, slamming the ‘Zionist occupiers’ and the ‘treacherous Jews.’… Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen, as well as Palestinian guest speakers, made explicit calls for Jihad and for liberating the whole of Palestine. Time and again, a Koran quote vowing that ‘one day we shall kill all the Jews’ was uttered at the site… Throughout the event, Muslim Brotherhood activists chanted: ‘Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, judgment day has come.’”

The Muslim Brotherhood reflects the movement in Middle Eastern countries towards Islamic rule. Europe will soon engage itself with Arab nations to build relationships and alliances—and Israel will be left out in the cold.

Voting in Egypt

The New York Times wrote on November 29:

“The apparent success of the initial voting on Monday surprised the voters themselves. After a week of violent demonstrations against the interim military rulers, many said they had cast their ballots out of a sense of duty and defiance, determined to reclaim the promise of their revolution, even as the ruling generals said they intended to share little power with the new Parliament… The opening appeared to bring the Muslim Brotherhood, a once-outlawed Islamist group, one step closer to a formal role in governing Egypt…

 “‘It is like a play, it is like a sham. We are pretending to be voting,’ said Rabab Abdel Fattah Mohamed, 30, a doctor demonstrating in Tahrir Square. ‘I know these elections don’t mean anything, but I am still going.’

“The military pointed to the seemingly successful vote as validation. Egyptian state television called the turnout a mark of approval for the military’s current transition timetable: transfer to an elected president by July, after the military has had a chance to shape the writing of a new constitution that it has suggested should enshrine its power and autonomy from civilian government… The outcome is not a foregone conclusion and final results remain months away….

“The first round of voting for the lower house — including the major cities of Cairo and Alexandria — continued Tuesday. After a runoff next week, two more rounds will follow, ending in January. The elections for the upper house are scheduled to start in January and be completed by March.  Adding to the uncertainty of the day, the Egyptian authorities suggested that they might fine people about $80 if they failed to vote. Some voters, like Wael Ashraf, 23, said that was why they had come to the polls. ‘The revolution didn’t help — do you think elections will?’ he said…”

Reuters added on November 29:

“Egyptians voted on Tuesday in a parliamentary election that Islamists hope will sweep them closer to power, even though the army generals who took over from President Hosni Mubarak have yet to step aside… The United States and its European allies are watching Egypt’s vote torn between hopes that democracy will take root in the most populous Arab nation and worries that Islamists hostile to Israel and the West will ride to power on the ballot box…

“Some Egyptians respect the Brotherhood for its decades of social welfare work, its opposition to Mubarak and its image of piety and honesty in a country riddled with corruption. Others worry that resurgent Islamist parties may dominate political life, mold Egypt’s next constitution and threaten social freedoms in what is already a deeply conservative nation of 80 million people whose 10 percent Coptic Christian minority complains of discrimination from the Muslim majority.”

Syria’s “Economic War”

The New York Times wrote on November 28:

“The Arab League declared ‘economic war’ on Syria when it leveled broad trade sanctions against it, Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, said on Monday, warning that the country could use its strategic location to retaliate… Many airlines cross Syrian airspace, Mr. Moallem noted. In addition, Syria is part of the main route for heavy trucks heading from Europe and Turkey to the Persian Gulf, where Qatar and Saudi Arabia are among Syria’s harshest critics…

“It was difficult to assess how the new measures might affect the country… because important neighboring states like Iraq and Lebanon said they would not participate… The sanctions include a travel ban against scores of senior Syrian officials, a freeze on government assets in Arab countries, a ban on transactions with Syria’s central bank and an end to all commercial exchanges with the Syrian government…”

Haaretz reported on December 1 that Europe has issued wide-ranging sanctions against Syria, “affecting everything from the sale of computer software and insurance to Syria’s banking and energy sectors. Travel bans and asset freezes would also be applied to 12 people and 11 entities.”

Islamists Win in Morocco

Reuters reported on November 27:

“Morocco’s moderate Islamist PJD party won the most seats in the country’s parliamentary election… in the latest sign of a resurgence of faith-based movements since the Arab Spring uprisings. The victory for Morocco’s Justice and Development Party came a month after Tunisia handed power to a previously-banned party of moderate Islamists…

“PJD, which will get its first chance to head a coalition government, has said it will promote Islamic finance but steer clear of imposing a strict moral code on a country that depends on tourism. The party, whose deceased founder was a physician of King Mohammed’s grandfather, is loyal to the monarchy and backs its role as the supreme religious authority in the country… Morocco has not had a revolution of the kind seen elsewhere in the region. But King Mohammed, has pushed through limited reforms to contain what has become regular protests demanding a British or Spanish-style monarchy.”

One has to wait and see what “moderate” Islamist may mean. The same term was used for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt—which is anything but moderate and peace-loving.

Italy Must Not Collapse

Bloomberg reported on November 25:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed with Prime Minister Mario Monti that Italy succumbing to the region’s debt crisis would lead to the end of the euro, Monti’s office said. Sarkozy and Merkel ‘confirmed their support for Italy, saying that they are aware that the collapse of Italy would inevitably lead to the end of the euro,’ Monti told ministers at a Cabinet meeting in Rome today, according to an e-mailed statement. That ‘would provoke a stalemate in the process of European integration with unpredictable consequences.’”

Italy will not collapse—in fact, it will be one of the central and key players in the revived final resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire—consisting of ten European core nations or groups of nations. In this light, the next article is also very telling.

Now Italy Part of the Triumvirate

On November 25, the EUobserver reported the following:

“At Italy’s first invitation for an audience before the Franco-German duo that powers European decision-making, Prime Minister Mario Monti made it clear that he backs the German position on eurobonds.

“… eurosceptic Czech President Vaclav Klaus… has lampooned the Merkel-Sarkozy duo. ‘Hardly a week goes by without a Sarkozy-Merkel meeting, in which – for us, but without us – with solemn faces and professionally-trained smiles, they make decisions on the future of our continent,’ his [new] book said.”

Der Spiegel Online added on November 25:

“France and Germany have long formed the famous ‘motor’ of the European Union, but seldom has it been so important for their leaders to show unity as now, at the height of the euro crisis… And now that Italy has a new, more reliable leader, the euro zone’s leadership duo looks set to become a trio… Merkel and Sarkozy clearly want to get Monti, as leader of the third-largest euro-zone economy, on board… Hopes are high that Monti and his technocrat government will be able to steer Italy out of the euro crisis…

“Merkel said that the euro-zone countries needed to go further along the road to a fiscal union in order to avoid future crises.. . Merkel stressed that the role of the European Central Bank would not change under the proposed reforms. In doing so, she was pushing back against calls from other EU states — France chief among them — for the ECB to use its money-printing firepower to help solve the euro crisis…

“Sarkozy announced that the three leaders had agreed to hold another meeting in Rome soon in order to continue their discussions. The message the leaders wanted to send was clear: The three largest economies in the euro zone will push forward with their efforts to reform the EU…

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

“‘Angela Merkel is following the proper instinct by insisting on a clear order of events: Europe’s treaties must first be changed before dipping deeper into the coffers to rescue the heavily indebted countries … This is not about German dominance, of which Berlin has been accused. Instead, it’s about European rationality. Those who want to hold the EU together must engage in reforms.

“‘Many critics imply that Merkel has hegemonic intentions. Caught up in their zeal, they overlook the fact that Merkel’s idea won’t make Europe more German but, rather, more European. The new rules would apply not just to Athens, but also to Berlin. However, she is engaged in a race against time. Reforms can’t be implemented overnight, and the financial markets are impatient. Here lies the greatest risk for Merkel. She’s playing a bold game, and it appears that she may yet win. After much indecision, Nicolas Sarkozy came around to her position in Strasbourg. She has also found an ally in new Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti…’

“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

“‘Hopes are high that Monti, whose seriousness is not disputed, will be able to sort out Italy’s finances. In this respect, the meeting of Merkel, Sarkozy and Monti in Strasbourg has a symbolic element. It is high time for Italy, the third-largest economy in the euro zone, to play a sensible role again…  It’s certainly true that, during the crisis, Germany and France do not want to let the reins out of their hands…

“‘Traditionalist supporters of European unification will not be happy about this development. Indeed, the euro crisis, coupled with the Lisbon Treaty, has led to a strengthening of the large member states. Merkel and Sarkozy are now at the center of all attempts to get the crisis under control. Without them, nothing is possible.’

“The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes:

“‘It was not always the case that there was so much unity between France and Germany. The crisis has made it possible. Sarkozy knows that, should discord emerge in the relationship with France’s giant neighbor — seen as the euro zone’s last bastion of stability — then all would be lost…

“‘Merkel, for her part, knows that if the euro and the European project are to be saved, it can only be with France’s help. In the postwar period, Germany has never been so influential and strong. That doesn’t necessarily trigger universal admiration in neighboring France. The nation’s own loss of importance has aroused fears that Germany is striving for dominance. Something similar is happening in the rest of Europe, where the reservations are not only directed against Merkel but, in view of the Franco-German double act, also against Sarkozy. The two leaders are viewed with suspicion…’”

“Only Merkel Can Save the Eurozone Now”

The Daily Mail wrote on November 26:

“…the world waits, dreading the worst, with all eyes on Angela Merkel. For make no mistake: the German Chancellor alone can decide whether the euro limps through this crisis – or breaks up in a rout, bringing the continent’s financial system and the prosperity of millions crashing down with it.

“This is not a power that she or her people sought. Yet the ineluctable fact is that theirs is the only economy in the eurozone strong enough to shore up the currency until a sustainable future can be agreed… the time for wishful thinking is long past. And only Germany is in a position to prevent a calamity… Over to you, Mrs Merkel. The hopes of millions depend on you.”

When even the Daily Mail speaks of Merkel’s needed leadership role—even though they recently compared her with a Gauleiter (a leading position in the Nazi party)–then it is time to wake up. Also note the next articles.

To Save the Euro…

The Economist wrote on November 26:

“Even as the euro zone hurtles towards a crash, most people are assuming that, in the end, European leaders will do whatever it takes to save the single currency. That is because the consequences of the euro’s destruction are so catastrophic that no sensible policymaker could stand by and let it happen. A euro break-up would cause a global bust worse even than the one in 2008-09… The survival of the EU itself would be in doubt…

“Germany’s… chancellor, Angela Merkel, can be ruthlessly efficient in politics: witness the way she helped to pull the rug from under Silvio Berlusconi…”

Germany Only Country Which Can Save the Euro

The Financial Times wrote on November 28:

“Germany is the only country in Europe that can act to save the eurozone and the wider European Union from ‘a crisis of apocalyptic proportions’, the Polish foreign minister warned on Monday in a passionate call for more drastic action to prevent the collapse of the European monetary union.

“The extraordinary appeal by Radoslaw Sikorski, delivered in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate in the German capital, came as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] called on European leaders to provide ‘credible and large enough firepower’ to halt the sell-off in the eurozone sovereign debt market, or risk a severe recession… Yet their calls were met by a stubborn insistence in Berlin that only EU treaty change to forge a ‘stability union’ in the eurozone would revive confidence in the markets… Germany was not big enough to support the rest of the eurozone on its own, Mr Schäuble [German finance minister said]…

“In a startling comment for a senior Polish minister, Mr Sikorski declared that the biggest threat to his nation’s security was not terrorism, or German tanks, or even Russian missiles, but ‘the collapse of the eurozone’. ‘I demand of Germany that, for your own sake and for ours, you help it survive and prosper,’ he said. ‘You know full well that nobody else can do it. I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is: I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity. You have become Europe’s indispensable nation.’

“Yet he backed Germany’s drive for deeper integration in the EU and the eurozone. The member states faced a stark choice between ‘deeper integration or collapse’, he warned, challenging the UK government to support reform, or ‘risk a partial dismantling’ of the union. ‘We would prefer you in, but if you cannot join, please allow us to forge ahead,’ he said. His call for the EU member states to decide whether they wanted to become ‘a proper federation’ is in line with the German government’s insistence that only much closer political integration is essential to underpin the existing rules of the eurozone.

“Mr Schäuble… rejected any suggestion that this was a way of forcing all the EU members to become more Germanic. ‘The Mediterranean countries will not become German,’ he said. ‘And Europe will not be speaking German.’”

Die Welt wrote on November 29:

“Germany is being confronted with unfulfillable demands. On the one hand our fellow Europeans expect Germany to show more leadership in solving the crisis. On the other hand our new power is triggering rejection and resentment. The Germans are the indispensable nation on the continent, and a rescue is inconceivable without them.

“At the same time this dependence triggers defensive reactions — a mixture of hurt national pride and discomfort at the thought that there’s an elephant in the center of Europe that is being forced by the crisis to show its full power… now they’re suddenly realizing that the world is relying on them to save the euro and avert a disaster for the global economy. The Germans are going through a crash course in being a leading power…”

“Dollar Much Worse Than Euro”

In an interview with Der Spiegel Online of November 29, 2011, Romano Prodi, a former Italian prime minister and the ex-president of the European Commission, says that Germany, as the most powerful country on the Continent, must show the courage to resolve the debt crisis:

“‘Why is it that nobody attacks the dollar? Looking at the United States budget, the dollar is in a much worse situation than the euro. The debt state of California is much worse off than the Greek one. But the dollar is defended, also by the Fed. That makes the dollar a big, strong dog. And nobody bites a big dog…

“Germany has a really powerful position right now. Germany is the new China… Chancellor Merkel, in the end, is obliged to dictate the rules… Germany has to take a decision for Europe, or the game is over. But I don’t think there is anyone in Germany who is willing to give up Europe… Germany cannot give up its fantastic economic situation in the world… The return of the deutsche mark would lead to its revaluation and exports would collapse. If the euro really were to break apart, it would be like a volcanic explosion. Nobody knows where the stones would fall…

“Europe has always become stronger through crises. But the next Europe will look different. There will be some states that will collaborate ever more intensely. And there will be states that, step by step, will claim more exceptions for themselves… The core of Europe will take more and more decisions together, while the others will be more and more on the rim of it…’”

Germany Holding Up Well…

The Local wrote on November 30:

“Germany provided a rare ray of light in the eurozone gloom on Wednesday, with record low unemployment and surprisingly good retail data showing Europe’s top economy is holding up well in the crisis… Last week, a disappointing bond auction in Germany fuelled fears that the eurozone debt crisis was seeping from the edges of the bloc to the core…

“However, despite a flood of doom-and-gloom headlines from around Europe, Germany continues to show resilience… On the domestic front, both the closely watched Ifo index of business confidence and the GFK survey of consumer confidence rose this month. And foreign demand for goods ‘made in Germany’ is expected to hold up even during the crisis..”

Faster Option to Resolve European Debt Crisis?

The Wall Street Journal reported on November 26:

“Euro-zone countries are weighing a new plan to accelerate the integration of their fiscal policies… as Europe’s leaders race to convince investors they can resolve the region’s debt crisis and keep the currency area from fracturing. Under the proposed plan, national governments would seal bilateral agreements that wouldn’t take as long as a cumbersome change to European Union treaties… Some German and French officials fear that an EU treaty change could  take far too long. That has prompted the search for a faster option. The plan, which hasn’t been finalized, would allow the euro zone to announce a speedy change to its governance. European authorities would gain tough new powers to enforce fiscal discipline in the 17 countries that make up the euro zone… EU treaty changes could then follow at a later stage.”

Agreement Between Ten Core Eurozone Countries?

Reuters wrote on November 27:

“Germany’s original plan was to try to secure agreement among all 27 EU countries for a limited treaty change by the end of 2012, making it possible to impose much tighter budget controls over the 17 euro zone countries… But in meetings with EU leaders in recent weeks, it has become clear to both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy that it may not be possible to get all 27 countries on board, EU sources say. Even if that were possible, it could take a year or more to secure the changes while market attacks on Italy, Spain and now France suggest bold measures are needed within weeks.

“As a result, senior French and German civil servants have been exploring other ways of achieving the goal, one being an agreement among just the euro zone countries. ‘The goal is for the member states of the common currency to create their own Stability Union and to concentrate on that,’ German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told ARD television on Sunday. Another option being explored is a separate agreement outside the EU treaty that could involve a core of around 8-10 euro zone countries, officials say…”

These plans are of great significance—especially the idea to create an agreement between ten (10) Eurozone countries. Please note the next articles as well.

Treaty Between European “Groups of Nations”?

The Associated Press reported on November 29:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her support for changes to Europe’s current treaties in order to create a fiscal union with stronger binding commitments by all euro countries… Merkel acknowledged that changing the treaties — usually a lengthy procedure — won’t be easy because not all of the European Union’s 27 member states ‘are enthusiastic about it.’ But she dismissed reports that the eurozone, or some groups of nations, might go ahead with a swifter treaty between their governments.”

Notwithstanding Merkel’s dismissal of certain reports, interesting wording is being used regarding a potential swifter treaty between “some groups of nations…” That those concepts are circulating is very telling, as this is exactly what is finally going to happen. added on November 29:

“The world is watching Europe, waiting upon a solution. It’s not just the euro that’s at stake. If the euro fails, so too does the 27-nation European Union. Bank lending would freeze, stock markets would likely crash, and Europe’s economies would follow. Nations in the euro-zone would see their economic output decline, though temporarily, by as much as 50%, according to UBS forecasters. That economic meltdown would then spread to the U.S. and Asia, who would find themselves caught up in the credit freeze while their exports to Europe would collapse.”

Europe Speaks with One Voice?

Deutsche Welle wrote on November 27:

“Europe is a guest in Washington [to] meet with President Obama for the annual EU-US Summit… this marks the first time that the European Union is only represented by European politicians at a summit in the US – and no longer by a country or government leader of one of the EU member states. Europe does in fact speak with one voice now…

“But the Europeans are worried that the US is increasingly orientating itself towards Asia… the Washington mindset is such that Germany is perceived as the center of power in Europe and that the continent is seen as a problem rather than a partner… ”

Even though European countries are still pretty much divided, since they are driven by national self-interests, it is remarkable that the impression is already being conveyed that Europe speaks now with one voice. The prophesied ten European nations will indeed speak with one voice when they transfer their authority to the “beast.”

Ten Days to Save the Euro?

The Associated Press reported on November 30:

“Under pressure to deliver shock treatment to the ailing euro, European finance ministers failed to come up with a plan for European countries to spend within their means… Stock markets fell Wednesday as a top EU official conceded that the future of the euro now rests heavily on the meeting of European heads of state on Dec. 9… ‘We are now entering the critical period of 10 days to complete and conclude the crisis response of the European Union,’ EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said, adding: ‘There is no one single silver bullet that will get us out of this crisis.’

“At a meeting Tuesday night, finance ministers for the 17 countries that use the euro handed Greece a promised euro8 billion ($10.7 billion) rescue loan to fend off its immediate cash crisis and promised to increase the firepower of a fund to help bail out ailing eurozone countries. But they failed to increase the firepower of a European bailout fund to euro1 trillion ($1.3 trillion), as they had hoped to do.

“Wednesday’s meeting in Brussels has brought in the 10 non-euro finance ministers from the 27-nation EU, who have been pressing hard for a swift solution for fear that their economies will suffer… Many economists say the 17 nations that use the euro have little choice but to back proposals for much closer coordination of their spending and budget policies…”

On November 30, the Wall Street Journal added:

“Central banks from developed nations took coordinated action to shore up the global financial system as Europe’s rolling debt crisis continues to trouble markets… The Fed, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank and the Swiss National Bank agreed to lower the pricing on the existing temporary U.S. dollar liquidity swap arrangements by 50 basis points… U.S. stock futures and European indexes jumped on the news and the euro surged.”

No Thanks to God?

The Los Angeles Times wrote on November 24:

“President Obama devoted his weekly radio address to thanking U.S. service members and volunteers at shelters and soup kitchens. But it’s whom he didn’t thank that caused a stir on Twitter: God. ‘We’re especially grateful for the Americans who defend our country overseas,’ Obama said in his Thanksgiving Day address. ‘To all the service members eating Thanksgiving dinner far from your families, the American people are thinking of you today.’… But Thursday morning, Republicans and others tweeted their discontent with the reported omission of God from Obama’s address.

“Comments included ‘So sad!’ and ‘God help us!’ Republicans Abroad retweeted the Fox News headline: ‘Obama Leaves God Out of Thanksgiving Address.’”

Please view our recent StandingWatch program, “How Real Is Your Thankfulness?”

Drastic Changes in Catholic Mass

The Vancouver Sun reported on November 26:

“Are Roman Catholics ready for the biggest change in four decades in their mass? Canada is one of 11 English-speaking countries in which tens of millions of Catholics will begin Sunday to adopt the Vatican’s English translation of the old Latin liturgy, altering what they will hear, recite, sing and do during their main church ritual. The date, Nov. 27, marks the first day of Advent and the beginning of the Christian calendar… Almost every line of the Catholic missal, the book of texts and prayers used in the mass, will be changed in some way from the English-language…

“Most Catholic bishops are excited about the more ‘authentic’ language of the newly translated English-language mass, which is closer to the liturgical Latin that was used for centuries… For instance, when the priest says to the congregation ‘The Lord be with you,’ worshippers have for the past 40 years responded: ‘And also with you.’ They will now be expected to say: ‘And with your spirit,’ which aims to emphasize the priest’s role as a channel of God. Instead of saying Jesus Christ is ‘one in Being’ with the Father, worshippers will be asked to recite the more technical term; that he is ‘consubstantial’ with the Supreme Being…

“The key Gloria hymn, which used to open with, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on Earth,’ has been narrowed to offer peace only for those who have accepted Jesus as the messiah; those who are considered by the Church as ‘people of good will’…”

And so, the religious confusion in the Catholic Church is bound to continue…

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