Tag Archives: Hamas

RESTORE FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Ed Murrow, the famous CBS reporter who broadcast nightly to the US from the London Blitz, wrote that the most remarkable fact of the war was that Britain kept its basic freedoms even in the face of defeat.   This included freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Both have been increasingly restricted in recent decades, not just in the United Kingdom, but in other western democracies.  Political correctness, together with new laws, have made it difficult for people to express themselves on issues that did not exist before the era of mass immigration and multiculturalism.

Boris Johnson’s comment this week about the burqa being like a “letter box” led to a round of condemnation, until an opinion poll showed he had the support of 60% of the British people, who support a ban on burqas.   At least half a dozen European countries have already imposed a ban on wearing a burqa in public.

The BBC’s John Simpson, reported from Afghanistan shortly after 9-11.   At the time the country was ruled by the Taliban.   The only way he and a colleague could get into the country was by wearing a burqa.   As deeply religious “women”, soldiers and police would not touch them.   They safely returned with excellent coverage on the state of the country, immediately prior to the US led invasion.

Mr. Simpson, without realizing it, showed the security risk posed by people in burqas.   It’s no wonder that 60% of British people want them banned.   And it’s not just security that is compromised by the wearing of the burqa.   Wearing the garment is a constant statement that the wearer has no intention of ever being assimilated into western society, any western society.

It’s likely that Mr. Johnson’s comment was not an error on his part.   He knew what he was saying.   Mr Johnson, a populist, is now leading the charge in defending traditional British values (freedom of speech) against the dictatorship of political correctness, enforced on the population by the liberal-leftist elite.

The liberal elite have only themselves to blame.   They are the ones who have forced multiculturalism on the English English, those who have lived in the country for generations, even centuries; it was forced on them against their will and without any vote by the people, who have seen their country hijacked since World War II.

The liberal elite are not going to give up easily, as we have seen by their under-handed efforts to stop Brexit, eager to overturn the will of the majority to pursue their own globalist dream, which would, in time, wipe out England and all its traditional values.   But their role, similar to that of the “thought police” in George Orwell’s “1984”, needs to end.   The British people need to be free to express themselves on any issue, without the fear of punishment or denigration.

Other prominent people, leaders in the community, need to show support for Mr. Johnson.   One famous person did, today.   His name is Rowan Atkinson, but he’s better known around the world as Mr. Bean or Black Adder.   He’s been making fun of religious beliefs, without prejudice, for decades.   He clearly sees the threat if you can’t describe the burqa as a “letter box.”   Good for you, Mr. Bean!

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Viktor Orban:   The new EU leadership should punish those who let millions of migrants into Europe, by VOICE OF EUROPE, 28 July 2018

“Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Prime Minister, says a new European Commission is needed with a new approach to migration policy, stating that the days of the current EU executive are “numbered” with its mandate expiring next May, Reuters reports.

“He made the comments Friday to state radio and said the next Commission should not punish countries that protect their borders from migrants.   Orban added that the new EU leadership should punish those who let millions of migrants into Europe in violation of the EU’s rules.

“The Hungarian Prime Minister is one of the strongest opponents of the EU’s migration policy.   The European Commission has stepped up a legal battle with Hungary over EU migration rules, claiming a new Hungarian law, criminalising support for asylum seekers, is illegal.

“Orban’s response is that the Commission’s decision was insignificant as its mandate is running out:   “We need a new Commission … with a new approach.”

“European Parliamentary elections will be in May 2019.   Orban’s nationalist Fidesz party polls strongly in the lead after a landslide win in the national election in April, re-elected for a third consecutive term.”

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CANADA’S AMBASSADOR TO SAUDI ARABIA EXPELLED

“Saudi Arabia has given the Canadian ambassador to the kingdom 24 hours to leave after Ottawa criticised the arrest of women’s rights activists in the ultra-conservative country.   The Saudi foreign ministry also said it was freezing “all new business” between the two states.”  (Independent, 8/6) 

Note the following from today’s MEMRI (“The Middle East Media Research Institute”) (#7617):

“Canada’s crude stance on social issues in the [Saudi] kingdom is not new – rather, it has been ongoing for years, despite Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic attempts to act flexibly towards [this stance].   Canada’s actions are nothing but systematic and planned aggression that goes far beyond support for human rights or freedoms and constitutes an attempt to take over and to impose the values of the Canadian left.

“As the racist Canadian government sheds leftist crocodile tears over freedoms, it disregards the true suppression that it [itself] implements against Canada’s original inhabitants.”

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IRAN:   “It’s Trump, Netanyahu and Saudi prince who are ‘isolated,’ not us”

“Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday that the leaders of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel were isolated in their hostility to Iran.

“Today, the entire world has declared they are not in line with US policies against Iran,” Zarif said in a speech, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency. (“The times of Israel”, 8/6)

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HAMAS CONTINUES DESTRUCTION OF LAND IN ISRAEL

Hamas Counts Rewards for Successful anti-Israel Terror Campaign, DEBKAfile Exclusive Report (8/10)

Hamas has burned to a cinder more than 35,000 dunams of flourishing Israeli land – half the area of Tel Aviv, the whole of Beersheba – since March 31.   But if the Palestinian terrorist rulers of Gaza walk off with the $650m aid package the UN, Egypt and Qatar are offering for a long-range truce accord with Israel – with applause from Washington – they will win the biggest prize ever awarded a serial arsonist.   Only a fraction of the billions of dollars of aid poured into Gaza since Hamas seized power 11 years ago ever reached the population; the lion’s share was grabbed by Hamas’ terrorist wing for funding for “resistance, i.e. violence against Israel.   Its arson campaign of incendiary kites and exploding balloons has been so successful that Hamas is being showered with perks, including the lifting of the Israeli and Egyptian blockades on Gaza, without having to reciprocate by, for example, dismantling its military (terror) arm and rocket arsenal, or even handing over the remains of the Israeli soldiers and hostages.

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Hamas launched multiple assault on Gaza-Israeli border amid truce talks

Friday saw a record 30 fires caused by Palestinian balloons from the Gaza Strip and mass riots pushing against the fence, while hurling fire bombs at Israeli troops.   A gang broke through and sabotaged IDF equipment before fleeing back.   The outbreak was quelled only after Israeli forces used tear gas, which left 80 rioters injured and one dead and a tank gun fired at a Hamas position.   Read DEBKA file’s Exclusive Analysis.

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Africans take Germany to court in New York over ‘forgotten genocide’  – July 31, 2018 * USA Today

After people from the Herero and Nama tribes launched a rebellion in 1904 against German colonial settlers in South West Africa, German General Lothar von Trotha issued a written extermination order, saying:  “Within the German borders, every Herero, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot.”

For the last six decades, Germany has atoned and compensated for its historical role in the Holocaust of World War II, paying out an estimated $70 billion to survivors since 1952.   However, a group of determined activists from Namibia has been fighting for recognition of the extermination of their ancestors by the German government in what has been termed the first genocide of the 20th century.

Though often overshadowed by the subsequent Nazi crimes of World War II, Germany’s colonial-era atrocities have recently been put under the spotlight.   Between the 19th and 20th centuries, Imperial Germany administered several parts of Africa including modern-day Togo, Cameroon and Tanzania.   What was then known as German South West Africa (today’s Namibia) is where some of the darkest chapters of Germany’s colonial rule unfolded.   In October 1904, after people from the Herero and Nama tribes launched a rebellion against German colonial settlers in South West Africa, German General Lothar von Trotha issued a written extermination order, saying: “Within the German borders, every Herero, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot.”  The edict goes on to clarify that women and children would not be spared.  Tens of thousands of Herero and Nama were starved to death in concentration camps in the desert or were massacred between the years of 1904-1908.   It has been estimated that 80 percent of the Herero and Nama people were wiped out in the atrocities.

On July 31, representatives of the Nama and Herero people will descend on New York Southern District Court to see if their quest for retrospective justice will be successful.   In pursuing their case, the Namibians have invoked the Alien Tort Statute, which allows for non-US residents to make a claim in a US court for international law violations.

They call for a full, formal apology from the German government, and reparations that could stretch into the billions.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/07/31/africans-take-germany-court-new-york-over-forgotten-genocide/877191002/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#8

The body of a Palestinian baby who died of tear gas inhalation during protests, according to Gaza’s health ministry, is held by her mother at a Gaza City morgue on May 15, 2018 (AFP Photo/MAHMUD HAMS)

Last week, I posted an article showing how decisions made by the Trump Administration are inadvertently leading to the fulfillment of prophesied events.   I listed seven areas where this is happening, including the growing rift between Europe and the US; pressure on Germany to rearm; recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; tearing up the Iran nuclear deal; and the imposition of tariffs that will harm global trade.   Additionally, attacking Syria adds to the growing Shia-Sunni conflict and pulling out of the climate change treaty is separating the US from the rest of the world.

Since I wrote, there have been two other developments.

Number 8 took place on Monday, with the opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem.  Sixty residents of Gaza were killed that day by Israeli troops.   The responsibility for their deaths cannot be blamed on Israel, which is what the world’s press is doing.  The blame goes to Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that runs Gaza. They stirred up the mob and sent people, including young people, to their deaths.

But what happened makes it next to impossible for the US to broker a peace deal between Palestinians and Israelis, as Washington is clearly not even-handed.

The peace process started over forty  years ago.   Since 2003, all efforts toward a “deal” have been based on the “two-state solution.” The American goal has been the eventual establishment of two nations, side by side, living in peace.

This almost happened in 1993 when leaders of Israel and the Palestinians talked peace in Oslo.   The Israelis offered generous terms to the Palestinians, but the process stalled, as it always does, when it became clear that the Palestinians would not recognize Israel, as a political entity.   They want to take over Israel, giving third generation Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, the “right to return” to the lands they occupied prior to the establishment of the nation of Israel.   The “Right of Return” has been a constant stumbling block.

Now that the US cannot be an honest broker in trying to resolve these issues, somebody else will have to do it – and fairly quickly as the situation is deteriorating.

Enter Europe.

Bible students are aware that there is to be a final revival of the Roman Empire, prior to Christ’s Second Coming.   This may sound incredible, but it’s important to understand that a revival of the Roman Empire has been a constant theme throughout European history.   Rome fell in 476.   Less than a century later, Justinian, the Emperor in the East, tried to restore the Empire. In 800, the Emperor Charlemagne established the Holy Roman Empire, which lasted over a thousand years.   It was Napoleon who abolished the H.R.E., but then he himself wanted to revive the Empire, crowning himself a new Caesar and naming his son “King of Rome.”

More recently, Italy’s leader, Benito Mussolini, proclaimed the restoration of the Roman Empire in 1922, while Hitler, a little over a decade later, declared that his Third Reich would last a thousand years, just like the First Reich of the Holy Roman Empire.

Even after these violent attempts to restore the Roman Empire, the dream never died.   Twelve years after the collapse of the Third Reich, the Treaty of Rome brought six European nations together to form what is now the 28-member European Union.   A final union of European nations is prophesied to come together, perhaps out of the rubble of the present EU.   It’s also possible there could be a peaceful transformation from the present conglomeration to something else.

Bible prophecy shows this union will get involved in the Middle East peace process.  This is prophesied in Daniel 9:27, at the end of the Seventy Weeks Prophecy, a prophecy about the future of the Jewish people, written by the prophet Daniel in the sixth century B.C.   The last few verses deal with the coming of the Messiah.   It is a remarkably accurate prophecy about His first coming, even down to the year His ministry would begin and the day on which He would be put to death.   As many Bible commentaries explain, “seventy weeks” equals 490 years (70 x 7 days in a week; each day representing one year).   This period of time began with Persian King Artaxerxes’ decree, authorizing the Jews to rebuild the Temple.

  • The fourth decree was also by Artaxerxes Longimanus, issued on March 5, 444 b.c. (Neh. 2:1-8).   On that occasion Artaxerxes granted the Jews specific authorization to rebuild Jerusalem’s city walls.   This decree is the one referred to in Daniel 9:25. (Old Testament prophecy, Royal decree).

“After the sixty-nine weeks (the 63 + 7), the Messiah would be “killed” (Dan 9:26), an apparent reference to his crucifixion, and “the city and the Temple” of Jerusalem would be destroyed.   The “armies” (9:26) were the Roman people, who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70. There is evidence of a gap between the 69th and 70th week, for what is predicted in 9:27 has not yet taken place.  The “ruler” (9:26) is the Antichrist, who will rise out of what may possibly be a revived type of the Roman Empire (7:8, 24-26)”.   (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, Daniel 9:27, page 319.   Published in 1990.)

Note the following from the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, page 1389 (1994):

“If it was a ruler of the Roman people who was to destroy Jerusalem (in AD 70), then it would be a ruler of the Roman Empire – in its final phase, i.e. the ten-toes phase of chapter 2 and the ten-horned beast phase of ch. 7 – who will conclude this covenant.” “ . . . the latter day ruler over the “Roman” people will “confirm” a “covenant” with the believing Jews for a stipulated period of seven years, permitting them to carry on their religious practices.” (page 1390)

The next paragraph adds:   “After about three and one-half years, the world dictator will break his agreement with the Jews.   Possibly he will feel secure enough in his autocratic position to carry out his original, secret plan to impose an absolute dictatorship on all the peoples of his empire, especially the Jews.   All pretense of religious toleration will be dropped as he aspires to display himself as the incarnation of all divine authority on earth.”   (II Thess 2:4)

Tyndale adds:   “ In the middle of the “one set of seven” (9:27), or “week,” he will take control of the Jewish temple and put a stop to worship, demanding that he be worshipped (cf. Matt 24:15;  II Thess 2:4).   But he will be destroyed at Christ’s second coming.”  (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, Daniel 9:27, page 319, 1990).

Again, it should be noted that this revived Roman system will broker an agreement between the Jews and the Palestinians, solving what has seemed like an insoluble problem.   Of course, it won’t really be resolved, as it only lasts three and a half years.   Clearly, America’s role as honest broker is about to be replaced by active European involvement.

For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.   And they shall not escape.” (I Thess 5:3)

Unger’s Bible Handbook (1966) says this about this time period: “The final week of seven years constitutes the climax of Jewish history prior to the establishment of the messianic kingdom, 27.   It is divided into two half periods (three and a half years each).   During the first half the “prince” (world ruler, “little horn” of 7:8, 24-25) will make a covenant with the Jews, who are restored in Palestine with a resumption of temple worship.   In the middle of the week the covenant is broken, worship for the Jews ceases (II Thess 2:3-4), and the time of Great Tribulation ensues.   The advent of Christ the Messiah consummates this period of desolation, bringing everlasting righteousness for Israel, 24, and judgment upon the “desolator,” the prince, and his hosts (Rev 19:20).”    (page 392)

US recognition of Jerusalem as the “eternal capital of Israel” was the catalyst for this.   Expect more violence, perhaps even threatening the very existence of Israel.   This will then force the Europeans to get involved, leading to “peace” which won’t last.

#9

Another development, on Thursday, may also be a significant development.

EU leaders, meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, agreed that EU based companies will be prosecuted if they go along with the Trump Administration’s sanctions on Iran.   These sanctions follow Mr. Trump’s decision to tear up the Iran nuclear treaty that was agreed between the US, EU, Germany, France, the UK, Russia and China in 2015.

The 28-nation European Union is sending a clear signal that it will no longer be dictated to by the United States.

 

 

FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTING

(Photo: John McCall, AP)

After yet another school shooting in the United States, the 19th this year, Pat Buchanan wrote a brilliant analysis.   The following is a quote from his article, posted this morning.

“Another factor helps to explain what happened Wednesday: We are a formerly Christian society in an advanced state of decomposition.

“Nikolas Cruz was a product of broken families.  He was adopted. Both adoptive parents had died.  Where did he get his ideas of right and wrong, good and evil?   Before the Death of God and repeal of the Ten Commandments, in those dark old days, the 1950s, atrocities common now were almost nonexistent.    (“The Motives behind the massacre,” Pat Buchanan, 2/16)

Deuteronomy 28 is the classic Bible chapter that should help us all think.   In summary, what it says is that the more we obey God, the greater our society will be; the more we turn away from God, the worse it will become.   As Mr. Buchanan points out, “before the death of God and repeal of the Ten Commandments, in those dark old days, the 1950s, atrocities common now were almost nonexistent.”

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RIPPLE EFFECT OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS

It’s not just that US schools are unsafe, it’s clear to the rest of the world that America is a very violent country, with a governmental system that doesn’t work any more.   As one writer put it, the US has an eighteenth century constitution in a twenty first century world.

Most countries already have a bad impression of the current US president.   But, when Mr. Trump spoke following the shootings and talked about mental illness, that impression only worsened.   Mental illness was (and usually is) a major factor, but what differentiates America from other western countries is easy access to weapons. Even the mentally ill can walk into a gun dealer and buy an assault rifle!

Parkland will not be the last school mass shooting.

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ISLAM AND THE WEST

Sheikh “Abu Qusay” delivered a Friday sermon in Jerusalem, in which he said:

“Oh dweller of the White House, let me tell you, from the pulpit of the Prophet Muhammad, that this is the promise of Allah and His Messenger:   Jerusalem is the heart of the land of Islam.   We will storm your White House, stomp on your head, kill your soldiers, and capture your land.   This is the promise of the Prophet Muhammad.” The sermon was posted to the internet on December 22nd.   (MEMRI)

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Nervous Rex?  Tillerson in Turkey

The war in Syria has already tested and destroyed many alliances. Turkey’s relationship with America may be next.   Having launched one army offensive against Kurdish insurgents in north-west Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government says it will soon order another, this time in the north-east.   There, the militants are flanked by American troops, who are supporting them in their fight against Islamic State.   It will be up to America’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who arrives in Turkey today, to calm nerves and prevent the diplomatic row between the two NATO allies from exploding into an armed one.   That will not be easy.   After an American general warned that his forces would retaliate against any attack on their positions inside the Kurdish strongholds, Mr Erdogan said the United States “had clearly never received an Ottoman slap.” Slap or no slap, Mr. Tillerson’s ears will be ringing by the time he gets back to Washington. (Economist, 2/15)

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German government plans massive military expansion in Iraq        By Johannes Stern, 13 February 2018

The new grand coalition in Germany is planning a massive expansion of the German army (Bundeswehr) mission in Iraq. 

This was announced by Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) in the course of her trip to the Middle East last weekend.  Von der Leyen praised Germany’s cooperation with the Peshmerga [Kurdish military forces] during her visit to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region in northern Iraq.   The Bundeswehr has been arming and militarily supporting the Kurdish force for three and a half years.   It was “impressive to see the great success of the Peshmerga training mission,” she said, thanking “Bundeswehr soldiers” on the spot.  Von der Leyen then announced that in future the Bundeswehr would be deployed throughout Iraq.

There will be “another mandate,” she said, “a mandate with a new balance … between Baghdad and Erbil on equal terms on both sides.” The defense minister made no concrete statements about the planned operation, but left no doubt she envisaged a long-term military engagement throughout Iraq.   “Both in Kurdistan, as well as in the central government in Baghdad,” there is “a request above all to help in the implementation of reforms, in the construction of ministry structures,” the minister said.   In Erbil, for example, “the construction of an entire sanitary unit is necessary,” but this also involved “of course the entire planning, organisation, recruitment and training.”   There is also “considerable demand” for logistics. Germany wanted to “make its contribution” to provide Iraq with “independent, loyal operational forces for the long term.”

The Socialist Equality Party rejects the coalition pact, which focuses on the return of Germany to an aggressive foreign and great power policy, and calls for the disclosure of all the talks.   Under conditions of escalating warfare in Syria and Iraq, and US preparations for war against North Korea, which threaten to provoke a Third World War, this demand, along with the demand for new elections, is becoming increasingly urgent.

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Special Dispatch No. 7339

Hamas, Palestinian Factions In Response To Israel’s Airstrikes In Syria:   ‘Any Israeli Attack, On Any Front, Will Be Answered With A Comprehensive War On All Fronts’ (MEMRI 2/15)

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Macron Vows to Reform Islam in France
“It is time to bring in a new generation”

by Soeren Kern, February 13, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • The overall objective of President Macron’s plan is to ensure that French law takes precedence over Islamic law for Muslims living in the country.
  • The plan, as currently conceived, is vague and short on details, but appears to involve three broad pillars: determining who will represent Muslims in France; delineating how Islam in France will be financed; and defining how imams in France will be trained.
  • “It is time to bring in a new generation.   We have seen fifteen years of debate to defend the interests of foreign states.” — Hakim el-Karoui, a French-Tunisian expert on Islam who is advising Macron on the reforms. (Gatestone)

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EUROPEAN UNITY

A New Élysée Treaty – Berlin and Paris are seeking a “new Élysée Treaty.”   On the 55th anniversary of the original 1963 Élysée Treaty, in which the Federal Republic of Germany and France committed themselves to hold “consultations” on major political issues, Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron announced the drafting of a new treaty aimed at “deepening” cooperation between the two countries and “strengthening” the EU.   In a declaration, the parliaments of both countries called for harmonizing almost the “complete range of policy issues.”   This would amount to massively enhancing the “German-French axis.”

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US/EU

Transatlantic Rivals

(Own report) – In Washington serious warnings are being raised against an independent German-European military policy aimed at weakening NATO.   The militarization of the EU is being supported as long as “it is complimentary to NATO,” a senior Pentagon official was quoted.   However, Washington would intervene if Berlin and the EU were to pull military resources away from NATO and use them for their own wars.   This statement was made in light of the NATO defense ministers’ meeting that begins today, which will include a decision on the establishment of two new NATO headquarters.   One will be established in the United States, to secure the military supply routes from North America over the Atlantic to Europe.   A second will be established in Germany, to optimize rapid redeployments of West European troops eastwards across the continent.   At the current stage of planning, this will be under German sovereignty and available also for use outside of the NATO framework.

More… https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/news/detail/7531/

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TRADE WAR

Despite its loss in U.S. trade court against Bombardier, Boeing believes 2018 will be a turning point in its lengthy WTO challenge to Airbus over government subsidies.   The threat of hefty tariffs could redraw the playing field — or trigger a trade war among traditional allies.   (Dominic Gates,The Seattle Times 2/10)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday rejected the sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange to a group that would have included Chinese investors, capping a two-year battle over a deal that sparked political opposition in Congress, reports the WSJ’s Dave Michaels. (2/16)

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US ECONOMY

Some like it hot:   America’s economy

The White House will announce its infrastructure plan today.   It is expected to call for $200bn more in government spending to encourage private investment, hoping for a total of $1.5trn towards spending on roads, bridges, ports and more.   Were Congress to pass such a plan without cutting spending elsewhere, it would be the third recent salvo of fiscal stimulus.   Last week lawmakers passed a budget that will raise spending by $143bn (0.7% of GDP) this year; in December President Donald Trump signed into law tax cuts worth about $280bn in 2019.   America’s budget deficit will probably reach $1trn (5% of GDP) that year.   All this will stimulate an already hot economy.   Unemployment is just 4.1%, and real-time estimates of GDP growth in the first quarter of 2018 are as high as 4%.   The natural question is:   when will inflation take off?   This strangely timed fiscal experiment will reveal the answer.   (Economist Espresso, 2/12)

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 ASIA

China, Maldives: Beijing’s Boats Send a Message to India — China’s increased military presence in the Indian Ocean gives the country more options to respond to the crisis in the Maldives, in addition to challenging New Delhi’s influence in the region.   (Stratfor, 2/16)

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AFRICA

Finally, Mo Ibrahim has found an African president worthy of the $5 million prize the Sudanese billionaire offered to any leader who would step down after losing an election.   The prize goes to Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.   It’s been eleven years since the prize was established.   “Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took the helm of Liberia when it was completely destroyed by civil war and led a process of reconciliation that focused on building a nation and its democratic institution,” said the head of the prize committee.

Liberia’s gross domestic product was only $550 million when Mrs. Sirleaf became president in 2005.   At the end of her tenure in office it had increased to $2.1 billion.   (Wall Street Journal, 2/14)

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COMMENT ON OXFAM CHARITY SCANDAL

Can charities be truly bad?   It seems perverse to say that they are, but the Oxfam abuse scandal has revealed a sinister side to international aid — and about time, too.   In our cover package this week, Harriet Sergeant argues that, in Africa and elsewhere, NGOs often do more harm than good.   Mary Wakefield, meanwhile, who wrote about rapist aid workers in the magazine a fortnight ago, well before the Oxfam story broke, asks why polite society prefers to ignore scandals which relate to organisations that people want to believe are good.   (The Spectator, UK, 2/15)

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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils — Berlioz

PEACE IN OUR TIME

obama+chamberlain

President Obama’s peace deal with Iran brings to mind Neville Chamberlain’s visit to Munich in 1938.   That was when he met with “Herr Hitler” and came back waving a piece of paper, proudly proclaiming “peace in our time.”   One year later he had to declare war on Hitler.   A broken man, he died a few months after that.

When hearing assurances of peace in our time, I am not only reminded of Neville Chamberlain.  I also remember the words of the Apostle Paul in I Thessalonians 5:3.  “For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.   And they shall not escape.”

Whether or not this verse is applicable specifically to the Iran peace treaty remains to be seen.  The Middle East is a very volatile region and the West seems unable to keep its collective nose out of it, so further conflicts are inevitable.

However, involvement by the West is not an essential component of any Mideast conflict.  Regional powers are quite capable of warring amongst themselves.

A root cause of conflict in the region is the Sunni-Shia divide within Islam.  Iran is the leader of the Shi’ite camp, fighting ISIS in Iraq, which is now ruled by Shia Muslims, thanks to western intervention in the country.   Syria’s Assad is another proxy of Iran. Tehran is also supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen against the Saudi backed Sunni Muslims.

The fear of Iran amongst the Sunnis is palpable.   Fear of an Iranian nuclear bomb is inevitably going to lead to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey trying to acquire the same.   Turning to al-Qaeda for help against ISIS is another.  Yes, that’s right – these three countries, allies of the US, are now backing al-Qaeda against the Islamic State! The British  Spectator  magazine has a really good article on this latest development in the current issue.   (“The enemy’s enemy:  how Arab states have turned to al-Qa’eda” by Ahmed Rashid, 18th July).

The other major conflict in the Middle East is the more familiar one between the Jews and the Palestinians.   In modern history this predates Israel’s independence in May, 1948.   The never-ending conflict saw its latest flare up last year when Hamas (supported by Iran) lobbed thousands of missiles at Israeli settlements.   When Israel retaliated to defend itself, world opinion inevitably turned against Israel.

The dispute is not over.  It will flare up again.   As will problems with Lebanese based Hizbollah (also Iranian backed) and the Palestinians on the West Bank.

This can also escalate into a religious dispute.   According to the Israeli Video Network, the Israeli Minister of Housing and Construction, Uri Ariel, called on Friday for the construction of a Third Temple in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which sits on the Temple Mount.

“The first Temple was destroyed in 586 BCE, the second Temple in 70 CE, and ever since the Jewish People have been mourning its loss.”

“‘He then went on to say “Al-Aqsa Mosque is currently in place of the temple, despite the temple being much holier than it.   Al-Aqsa Mosque is only the third most holy mosque in Islam.”   “Now that Israel has once again become a Jewish sovereign state, the desire to rebuild the Temple is growing stronger and stronger”, he added.”

Excavations under the Al-Aqsa led to violent demonstrations by Palestinians a few years ago.  Any attempt to replace the Al-Aqsa with a new Temple building would likely provoke World War III!

This does not mean to say that nothing will happen.   As Mr. Ariel said, “the desire to rebuild the Temple is growing stronger and stronger.”

Jerusalem has been fought over more than any other city.   It’s not over yet.   ”When you shall see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that it’s desolation is near” (Luke 21:20).   Jesus said this in response to His disciples asking about future events that would precede His second coming.

These two disputes go back centuries.  Nothing we do today is going to resolve them.   Between them, they daily threaten Mideast peace. If both flare-up at the same time, the whole world could be engulfed in a never-ending conflagration.

A further potential conflict, made more likely by the peace deal with Iran, is a war between Israel and Iran.  Israel’s prime minister has reacted very negatively to the peace treaty.  He is now working on the US Congress to try to get that body to reject the peace treaty.  If that fails, his last option will be to bomb Iran.  An alternative to that is to wait until Iran actually has the bomb and can then attack Israel.

In addition to the three major conflicts that can quickly escalate, there are “minor” conflicts like the civil war in Syria, continuing anarchy in Libya and the possibility of war between Turks and Kurds.

World leaders should be careful proclaiming “peace and safety” (“peace in our time”), lest “sudden destruction “ should come upon them.