“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that it’s desolation is near” (Luke 21:20).
Special Dispatch No. 7328
Pro-Hizbullah Lebanese Website: “Hizbullah Has 70,000 Iranian Missiles Across Syria Ready To Launch Into Israel; In A Year It Will Have 500,000” (MEMRI, 2/12)
Iran has 10 military bases in Syria, two near Israel border — analyst
Up to 20,000 fighters trained by Tehran are in country, now focused on Israel, after neutralizing IS threat, NY Times reports Times of Israel * 19 Feb 2018
Iran operates 10 military bases in Syria and is training militias loyal to President Bashar Assad’s regime for a possible battle with Israel, with two key facilities located near the border with Israel, an analyst for an American think tank said in an article published Monday. Up to 20,000 fighters from various militias throughout the war-torn country have been trained by Iranian military personnel, giving Tehran its “true muscle” in Syria, according to the Monday report in The New York Times. Israel has been warning for years that Iran is seeking to entrench itself militarily in Syria. According to Israeli political and military assessments, Tehran, which has shored up Assad in the Syrian civil war, has been working to create air and naval bases in Syria, from which it can arm the Lebanon-based terror organization Hezbollah and other Shiite groups, as well as carry out attacks of its own against the Jewish state. Monday’s report said hundreds or thousands of Iranian military officials are in Syria and that about 6,000 of the Iran-trained combatants in the country are members of Hezbollah, with the rest coming from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries. Most of them view the battle against non-Shiite Muslims and against non-Muslims in the region in religious terms, the report added.
EXTREME RIGHT CONTINUES TO RISE IN GERMANY
DW remains an excellent source of European news. The German news program is shown on PBS on weekday evenings.
On Monday it reported the appointment of Chancellor Merkel’s “heir apparent”, Annegret Kram-Karrenbauer, as General Secretary of the conservative Christian Democrats. This is a role that Mrs. Merkel had before becoming Chancellor – the same development could happen again. Already, the media has dubbed her “Mini-Merkel”.
On the same evening news program, it was reported that the latest polls show support for the left-wing Social Democrats is plummeting. At the same time, the “extreme right wing party, AfD, continues to rise dramatically. DW’s Oliver Sallet commented that “this is unheard of. It has never happened before in (the Federal Republic of) Germany. The general trend continues, which is the rise of the Right in Germany.”
RENEW LAUNCHED IN UK
Prior to the above news item, the program reported the launch of a new party in the United Kingdom. “Renew” is dedicated to reversing the Brexit decision.
Britain remains very divided on whether the country should restore its independence, or further immerse itself in the German dominated European Union.
It’s also reported that the American billionaire George Soros has donated 600,000 pounds to try to ensure Britain does not go ahead with Brexit; at the same time, the CEO of Bank of America is speaking out against it. Neither of these men is British. In the US, the nightly news frequently brings up Russian interference in the last US election. It’s time the British government condemned outside interference in Brexit. This is a British matter for the British people to decide.
TRADE WAR GETTING WORSE
Chart du jour: Donald Trump, look away now
The EU’s trade surplus with the US jumped in 2017 and Donald Trump won’t be happy about it. Having already dubbed Germany a potential “currency exploiter,” the White House will be wincing at new figures which show EU exports to the States jumped 3 per cent last year to €375bn. Bloomberg reckons the figures could further strain trans-Atlantic trade ties between the two economic giants. (FT 2/16)
RECOMMENDED FAMILY SHOW
Friends recommended “When Calls the Heart,” which is available on Netflix. The show is now in its fifth season on Hallmark.
It centers on the development of a small town “the other side of the Rockies” and the relationship between a Canadian Mountie and an adventurous school teacher from a wealthy family. It’s a very good family show.
Prior to watching it, I was saying to my wife that we have watched good programs from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, but nothing from Canada. Now, finally, here’s a series set in Canada. That’s not the same as being “Canadian.” Hallmark, a US based channel, has left its prints all over it. Even the Mountie is an import from Australia!
King Edward VII conferred the title “Royal” on the Mounties in 1904, six years before the series is set. At the time, all outposts of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) would have displayed a photo of the King in their office. Schools would, too, as any reader of “Anne of Green Gables” knows. (Perhaps, we can overlook this as the school in the series meets in a saloon!) The government is referred to as “the federal government,” whereas Canadians refer to the government in Ottawa as the “Government of Canada.” Additionally, the only time any political subject has come up in the series, it’s been about US presidents. Also, New York, San Francisco and Hollywood have received special mention, as if they are a part of the same province.
In other words, a very uplifting series is slightly marred by historical error, which could have been avoided. Hallmark missed an opportunity to teach Americans about their bigger neighbor to the North.
It’s not very often that Philippians 4:8 comes to mind when watching a television series. But it did with this one:
Philippians 4:8 NKJV – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”
There is no bad language in this series, no sex and minimal violence. My wife and I recommend it as good family viewing, suitable for our grandchildren.
One final comment: famously, Mounties always get their man, but the Mountie in this series is taking a very long time to get his woman! It’s sometimes painful watching what must be one of the slowest courtships in dramatic history. It’s good, though, for teens today to see how people used to court the opposite sex.
Watch it and see for yourself.