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World News Report: January-February 2013

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World News Report: January-February 2013

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Conditions are ratcheting up around the world so quickly now that more happens in a day than happened in a month in the past. It was not long ago that the comparison was a day versus a week. One wonders how long before we will hear bad news in the morning and then more in the afternoon—and then more every hour.

Recently in the Middle East, Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi declared a state of emergency (with curfew) to quell protests from opposition groups. Over 60 have been killed. Egypt’s head of the army warned of national collapse if the rival factions do not settle their differences with the new administration.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won in recent elections, and is now close to forming a coalition government. He told his cabinet that he intends to create “‘the broadest and most stable government as possible in order, first of all, to meet the significant security threats that face the State of Israel’” (Reuters). Within these threats, Mr. Netanyahu’s chief goal continues being to stop Iran’s nuclear program. But Israel is now seeing tensions rise with Syria. Recently, Israeli officials stated they were contemplating a preemptive strike on Syria’s chemical weapons to prevent them from reaching radical Islamist groups in Lebanon. News reports later revealed the Israeli Air Force hit a Syrian military research center, although some sources claim Israel destroyed a Syrian arms convoy. Of course, there is now spin and deceit in virtually every report of any kind.

Meanwhile, the Syrian civil war grows worse by the day, with no end in sight. While the official death toll has exceeded 60,000 people, many sources claim the number is above 80,000—and rising ever faster. Also, reports are that a vast number of cities and villages now look as bombed out as did German cities near the end of World War II.

As unrest tears through the Middle East, more are asking who has the military power to keep these conflicts at bay.

Multiple articles now detail the dramatic ramp-up of Europe’s military, like a long-dormant but powerful engine coming back to life. The following article described how Europe may be the last remaining superpower that can “police” the world: “‘A decade of war is now ending,’ President Obama declared…Maybe that’s true in America, but it isn’t true anywhere else. Extremists are still plotting acts of terror. Authoritarian and autocratic regimes are still using violence to preserve their power. The United States can step back from international conflicts, but that won’t make them disappear. Fortunately, there is another power that shares our economic and political values, that possesses sophisticated military technology, and is also very interested in stopping the progress of fanatical movements, especially in North Africa and the Middle East. That power is…Europe” (Slate).

Combining the militaries of the European Union would make it the world’s second largest military power. The article added, “The European Union has authorized funding to train African troops who will assist [in North Africa]…European Union forces, operating far beneath the publicity radar, attacked pirate bases on the Somali coast last spring—successfully. ‘They destroyed our equipment to ashes,’ a man described as a ‘pirate commander’ told the Associated Press. All told, the European Union has intervened militarily in more than two dozen conflicts” (ibid.). The author goes on to discuss how Germany must “overcome their post-Second World War abhorrence of soldiers” (ibid.). Notice this from a recent article about Germany’s military expansion: “A document obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE indicates the German government is preparing to procure armed drones for foreign combat. Opposition politicians are outraged by the development and note that the use of weapons-equipped unmanned aircraft is legally dubious and possibly unethical.”

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