World Watch Today

U.S. Buildup in Persian Gulf

The United States has quietly moved significant military reinforcements into the Persian Gulf to deter the Iranian military from any possible attempt to shut the Strait of Hormuz and to increase the number of fighter jets capable of striking deep into Iran if the standoff over its nuclear program escalates to war.

The deployments are part of a long-planned effort to bolster the American military presence in the gulf region, in part to reassure Israel that in dealing with Iran, as one senior administration official put it last week, “When the president says there are other options on the table beyond negotiations, he means it.”

The most visible elements of this buildup are Navy ships designed to vastly enhance the ability to patrol the Strait of Hormuz — and to reopen the narrow waterway should Iran attempt to mine it to prevent Saudi Arabia and other oil exporters from sending their tankers through the vital passage.

The Navy has doubled the number of minesweepers assigned to the region, to eight vessels, in what military officers describe as a purely defensive move.

Since late spring, stealthy F-22 and older F-15C warplanes have moved into two separate bases in the Persian Gulf to bolster the combat jets already in the region and the carrier strike groups that are on constant tours of the area. Those additional attack aircraft give the United States military greater capability against coastal missile batteries that could threaten shipping, as well as the reach to strike other targets deeper inside Iran.

And the Navy, after a crash development program, has moved a converted amphibious transport and docking ship, the Ponce, into the Persian Gulf to serve as the Pentagon’s first floating staging base for military operations or humanitarian assistance.

For President Obama, the combination of negotiations, new sanctions aimed at Iran’s oil revenues and increased military pressure is the latest — and perhaps the most vital — test of what the White House calls a “two track” policy against Iran. In the midst of a presidential election campaign in which his opponent, Mitt Romney, has accused him of being “weak” in dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue, Mr. Obama seeks to project toughness without tipping into a crisis in the region.

At the same time he must signal support for Israel, but not so much support that the Israelis see the buildup as an opportunity to strike the Iranian nuclear facilities, which Mr. Obama’s team believes could set off a war without significantly setting back the Iranian program.

A key motivation for “Olympic Games,” the covert effort to undermine Iran’s enrichment capability with cyberattacks, has been to demonstrate to the Israelis that there are more effective ways to slow the program than to strike from the air.

Political Deal on Banks Heralds New Step Towards A European Federal Government

The deal struck amongst European leaders this past week to support their banks using European Union funds has been covered by the media as a political win for the southern EU nations whose financial institutions are in dire need of help.  Despite this seeming victory for Greece, Spain and Italy, as European Voice reports,  the new deal means that Angela Merkel is now able to set a new policy direction for the entire Eurozone:

….Merkel’s concessions should not be downplayed. Allowing direct recapitalisation of banks to bypass governments and enabling countries to tap rescue funds to lower their borrowing costs are two policies that the German chancellor has opposed for months, both publicly and privately.

However, with a lot less fanfare, Merkel has succeeded in pointing the eurozone firmly in the direction that she desires. The gradual transfer of power from what Merkel considers is inadequate national-level banking supervision to the European Central Bank is a major leap towards eurozone political integration. It will not happen overnight – it needs the European Commission to produce a legislative proposal and for all EU member states to endorse it – but it represents a significant victory for Merkel, and could cause Hollande and other leaders problems when the full significance of loss of sovereignty dawns.”

As noted in a post on this blog recently, it would appear inevitable that the European countries as a whole will have to share the debt of the failing economies in southern Europe and Ireland. However, if this happens, one can expect that the way forward will include a joint surrender of sovereignty in favor of transferring more responsibility for economic  oversight to a European federal government. Last Friday’s deal was just one further step in that direction.

The man tasked with coming up with a Europe-wide financial or banking governance system is Herman van Rompuy, President of the EU Council, whom the EU Observer reported will prepare a plan by October:

“As for the long-term plan for the eurozone, the EU council chief will go back to the drawing board together with the heads of other EU institutions and come back with a “specific timelined roadmap” by October on the banking union, on more sovereignty being ceded to Brussels and on seeking ways to increase “democratic legitimacy and accountability.”

But where will this step towards integration take us? While Angela Merkel may not be a believer in a single European government covering all aspects of policy, she has certainly come some way towards accepting, at least, a pan-European economic government.  Thus it appears certain that this will soon come into form. Nevertheless, others within her own German  government would go much further. Wolfgang Schauble, Germany’s popular finance minister was described in last week’s International Herald Tribune as harboring radical plans for a new European federal government. The IHT piece set forth what the future EU will look like if he gets his way:

“With its popularly elected president and powerful finance minister, the European Union of the future will be more adept at fighting crises – not to mention better equipped to prevent them from happening the first place. Its bicameral legislature, with an empowered Parliament and an upper house like the U.S. Senate, will ensure greater democratic legitimacy among the Continent’s polyglot people. That is how Germany’s … Wolfgang Shauble has laid out his vision for Europe, or at the very least the countries in the Euro currency…”

With the sovereign debt crisis driving politicians into a mad scramble to find ways of shoring up the EU’s economy, it seems that like panicked cattle, they are being stampeded towards accepting a centralized, far-reaching European government. For some, this is being done against their normal political preferences, but for others, like Mr. Schauble, the crisis presents a golden opportunity to usher in a long dreamed of  European super government.

Eye on Europe

Germany Angry Over Debt Crisis

Steven LeBlanc

What is taking place in Europe this week is very important: The EU (European Union) countries, taken together, still constitute the world’s largest economy. If the European economies slide into a depression, America will see higher unemployment numbers. The economy of China is slowing, Europe is slowing: these developments have frightened the world financial markets.

The pivotal reason that the Europeans are stumbling through the crisis with little progress is that the European Union remains divided on how to address the massive debt issues. Some countries, like Germany, the Netherlands and Finland, insist on fiscal discipline, while most of the other countries are calling for financial transfers from the wealthy north to the poorer southern nations. Germany does not believe that giving more money to the debt- ridden nations is the answer, unless these nations do more to restrict government spending.

Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply criticized the idea of Euro bonds as a means of delivering Europe out of its severe debt crisis. The German leader said instruments such as euro bonds, short-term euro bills and a common debt repayment fund would be in breach of the German constitution, and that she regarded them (Euro bonds) as “economically wrong and counterproductive.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel is taking a hard line on the euro crisis this week, insisting that shared debt be avoided at all costs. The German leader said, “the economic motor and anchor of stability in Europe is Germany, but even Germany’s strength isn’t endless”. The German Chancellor went on to say, “Our work must convince those who have lost confidence in the euro zone, not by self-deception and sham solutions but by fighting the causes of the crisis,”. She warned that Germany can’t save the euro on its own.

The feet of the image described in Daniel 2:41-43 reveal an end-time Europe that is a deeply flawed: “And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron …. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay … they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.”

Some nations, like Germany, are strong like iron. Others such as Greece and Spain, like clay compared to iron, are weak and struggling. The European Union is a mix of stable nations and very unstable nations—Before Christ returns 10 leaders in Europe will give their power to an end-time European dictator. See Revelation 17:12-14: The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. 13 They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings —and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

It is extremely important for you to watch closely what takes shape in Europe.

Egyptian Elections Not Good For Israel

Steven LeBlanc

News out of Egypt is not good for Israel. Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi was officially declared Egypt’s first freely elected president on Sunday. Morsi became the first Islamist head of state of the Arab world’s most populous nation.

Egypt receives about 1.3 billion in annual U.S. aid, most of it intended for the military. Whether America continues to give aid to Egypt is an important question. The pivot may be whether Egypt will now go back on its peace treaty with Israel (Camp David Accords).

The Muslim Brotherhood victory has escalated fears in Israel that its strategic 1979 peace agreement with Egypt could be in danger. Israel’s peace agreement with Egypt, its first with an Arab country, is a cornerstone of Israeli security. The agreement ended decades of hostilities including five wars and thousands of deaths.

The cold peace between Israel and Egypt has survived for over 30 years; Egypt has upheld the treaty, keeping its bordering Sinai peninsula largely demilitarized, allowing the Israeli military to focus on other hostile borders with the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon. But now Israel realizes that most likely, sometime in the future, the Camp David Accords will one day die, and Egypt will once again become an enemy.

An end time prophecy found in Daniel 11 clearly states that “the land of Egypt shall not escape” the military invasion by the king of the North (verse 42). An end-time Muslim alliance will be spearheaded by the king of the South (verse 40). This King of the South will be anti Israel, and he may come from the nation of Egypt. Clearly, Egypt will play a more significant role in world affairs as we approach the return of Christ to this earth.

Another Virus Attack Against Iran

Steven LeBlanc

A newly found computer virus is creating trouble within Iran’s nuclear computer network. The Washington Post claims that the United States and Israel collaborated to create the Flame computer virus as part of an effort to slow Iran’s nuclear weapons agenda.

The paper said, “Western officials with knowledge of the effort,” said the sophisticated computer virus was designed to spy on Iran’s computer networks and send back intelligence used for an ongoing cyber warfare campaign.

The Post reported the US National Security Agency and CIA worked with Israel’s military on the project. It is also believed that Israel and the U.S. were the source of the Stuxnet virus that did much damage to Iran’s nuclear equipment.
More reports are linking Israel and the United States to Flame and another virus called Stuxnet, which caused malfunctions in Iran’s nuclear enrichment equipment.

The cyber attacks are intended to slow down Iran’s nuclear work. The European Debt Crisis has dominated world news of late, but we must not lose sight of the impending clash between Israel and Iran. The truth is we only see bits and pieces of the escalating tensions between Israel and Iran.

Prophecy revels that there is an invisible spirit world that often does battle at a level we do not see—a type of parallel world that influences leaders at high levels of government (see Daniel chapter 10). Some international leaders may actually be influenced by lying spirits (see 2 Chron. 18:21).

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