Home Page | Calendar | Forums | Login | Turn Images On |
Home > Christian Life > Current News
Breaking News | Editor's Update | Topical Item | They said it

Stratfor free reports for 2012

Subsequent to a hacker attack on the organisation's website, Stratfor the respected intelligence agency has made some of its high-value reports freely available. The following is a summary of the situation around the world as we head into 2012.
 


Ed preface: The following report is from Stratfor, a secular but well-informed source of intelligence on geo-politics from around the world.

Contents:
 
Overview
Europe

Former Soviet Union:

(Russia's Challenges Russian Resurgence Russia and the West Central Asia)

Middle East
(Iran and the Saudi Dilemma; Turmoil in Iraq and Syria; Turkey's Struggles; Egypt's Political Transition; The Hamas Agenda)
East Asia
South Asia
Latin America
(Mexico; Brazil; Venezuela; Cuba)
Sub-Saharan Africa
(Somalia; Nigeria; Sudan; South Africa)
-------

Overview
 
There are periods when the international system undergoes radical shifts in a short time. The last such period was 1989-1991. During that time, the Soviet empire collapsed. The Japanese economic miracle ended. The Maastricht Treaty creating contemporary Europe was signed. Tiananmen Square defined China as a market economy dominated by an unchallenged Communist Party, and so on. Fundamental components of the international system shifted radically, changing the rules for the next 20 years.
We are in a similar cycle, one that began in 2008 and is still playing out. In this period, the European Union has stopped functioning as it did five years ago and has yet to see its new form defined. China has moved into a difficult social and economic phase, with the global recession severely affecting its export-oriented economy and its products increasingly uncompetitive due to inflation. The U.S. withdrawal from Iraq has created opportunities for an Iranian assertion of power that could change the balance of power in the region. The simultaneous shifts in Europe, China and the Middle East open the door to a new international framework replacing the one created in 1989-1991.
Our forecast for 2012 is framed by the idea that we are in the midst of what we might call a generational shift in the way the world works. The processes are still under way, and we will therefore have to consider the future of Europe, China and the Middle East in some detail before drawing a conclusion. The 2012 forecast is unique in that it is not a forecast for one year in a succession of years, all basically framed by the same realities. Rather, it is a year in which the individual forecasts point to a new generational reality and a redefinition of how the world works.
2012 may not be the conclusion of this transformative process. Neither was 1991 the conclusion. However, just as 1991 was the year in which it became clear that the old world of the Cold War no longer functioned, 2012 is the year in which it will become clear that the Post-Cold War world has come to an end, being replaced by changed players and changed dynamics.
<top>
Europe

The European Union and eurozone will survive 2012, and Europe's financial crisis will stabilize, at least temporarily. However, Stratfor expects Europe to continue its long, painful slide into deepening recession. We expect accelerating capital flight out of peripheral European countries as investors in Europe and farther afield lose confidence in the European system. We expect financial support measures to be withdrawn on occasion to maintain pressure on governments to implement fiscal reforms, which will lead to financial scares.
However, the driving force behind developments in Europe in 2012 will be political, not economic. Germany, seeing an opportunity in the ongoing financial crisis, is using its superior financial and economic position to attempt to alter the eurozone's structure to its advantage. The core of this "reform" effort is to hardwire tight financial controls into as many European states as possible, both in a new intergovernmental treaty and in each state's national constitution. Normally, we would predict failure for such an effort: Sacrificing budgetary authority to an outside power would be the most dramatic sacrifice of state sovereignty yet in the European experiment -- a sacrifice that most European governments would strongly resist. However, the Germans have six key advantages in 2012.
First, there are very few scheduled electoral contests, so the general populace of most European states will not be consulted on the exercise. Of the eurozone states, only France, Slovakia and Slovenia face scheduled national elections. Out of these three, France is by far the most critical: The Franco-German partnership is the core of the European system, and any serious breach between the two would herald the end of the European Union. If Germany is to compromise on its efforts for anyone, it will be for France, and if France needs another country in order to secure its own position in Europe, it needs Germany. Consequently, the two have chosen to collaborate rather than compete thus far, and we expect their partnership to survive the year. Luckily for the German effort, French elections will be at the very beginning of the ratification process, so any possible modifications to the German plan will come early.
Second, Germany only needs the approval of the 17 eurozone states -- rather than the 27 members of the full European Union -- to forward its plan with credibility. That the United Kingdom has already opted out is inconvenient for those seeking a pan-European process, but it does not derail the German effort.
Third, the process of approving a treaty such as this will take significant time, and some aspects of the reform process can be pushed back. European leaders are expected to sign the new treaty in March, and the rest of the year and some of 2013 will be used to seek ratification by individual countries. Amending national constitutions to satisfy Germany will be the bitterest part of the process, but much of that can be put off until 2013, and judgment by European institutions over how the revision process was handled comes still later. Such delays allow political leaders the option of pushing back the most politically risky portions of the process for months or years.
Fourth, the Germans are willing to apply significant pressure. Nearly all EU states count Germany as the largest destination for their exports, and such exports are critical for local employment. In 2011, Germany used its superior economic and financial position as leverage to help ease the elected leaderships of Greece and Italy out of office, replacing them with unelected former EU bureaucrats who are now working to implement aspects of the German program. Similar pressures could be brought to bear against additional states in 2012.
Those most likely to clash with Germany are Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands and Spain. Ireland wants the terms of its bailout program to be softened and is threatening a national referendum that could derail the ratification process. Finland's laws require parliamentary approval by a two-thirds majority for some aspects of ratification. The normally pro-European government of the Netherlands is a weak coalition that can only rule with the support of other parties, one of which is strongly euroskeptic. Spain must attempt the most painful austerity efforts of any non-bailout state if the reform process is to have credibility -- and it must do so amid record-high unemployment and a shrinking economy. Also, if Greece decides to hold new elections in 2012, European stakeholders will attempt to ensure that the new government in Athens does not end its collaboration with the European Central Bank (ECB), European Commission and International Monetary Fund. None of these issues will force an automatic confrontation, but all will have to be managed to ensure successful ratification, and the Germans have demonstrated that they have many tools with which to compel other governments.
Fifth, the Europeans are scared, which makes them willing to do things they would not normally do -- such as implementing austerity and ratifying treaties they dislike. Agreeing to sacrifice sovereignty in principle to maintain the European economic system in practice will seem a reasonable trade. The real political crisis will not come until the sacrifice of sovereignty moves from the realm of theory to application, but that will not occur in 2012. In many ways, the political pliability of European governments now is all about staving off unbearable economic catastrophe for another day.
The economic deferment of that pain is the sixth German advantage. Here, the primary player is the ECB. The financial crisis has two aspects: Over-indebted European governments are lurching toward defaults that would collapse the European system, and European banks (the largest purchasers of European government debt) are broadly insolvent -- their collapse would similarly break apart the European system. In December, the ECB indicated that it was willing to put up 20 billion euros ($28 billion) a week for sovereign bond purchases on secondary markets to support struggling eurozone governments, while extending low-interest, long-term liquidity loans to European banks in unlimited volumes. The bond program is large enough to potentially purchase three-fourths of all expected eurozone government debt issuances for 2012, while the first day of the loan program extended 490 billion euros in fresh credit to ailing banks.
Together these two measures make a eurozone financial meltdown highly unlikely in 2012, but they will greatly degrade European competitiveness and efficiency. That will be a problem for another time, though. For now, ECB actions are buying economic and political breathing room: economic in that austerity efforts can be somewhat softer than they would otherwise need to be, and political in that there is a feeling that Germany is willing to compromise somewhat on the issues of budgetary discipline today in order to achieve its broader goals of budgetary control tomorrow. Therefore, while the financial support is not exactly buying good will from other European states, it is certainly buying time.
As the ratification process proceeds, European hostility toward Germany and Brussels will increase. Internationally, the key theme will be states attempting to protect themselves from what they see as a growing -- and unwelcome -- German intrusion into their internal affairs. At the national level, the deepening recession will translate into general anger toward the government's announced austerity measures. The relative dearth of elections will deny that anger its normal release valve of centrist opposition parties, emboldening nationalist and extremist movements and leading to social unrest.
Political and financial turbulence will persist within this framework as Germany negotiates the new treaty with other eurozone countries. Though the core of these negotiations is a highly contentious abdication of national fiscal sovereignty, Europe is highly likely to adopt the new treaty since a perceived failure would dramatically accelerate the collapse of EU political structures and implementation will not happen in 2012.
<top>
Former Soviet Union

Russia's Challenges

In 2012, the Kremlin will face numerous challenges: social unrest, restructuring Russia's political makeup (both inside and outside of the Kremlin) and major economic shifts due to the crisis in Europe. The social unrest seen at the end of 2011 will continue festering throughout the presidential elections in 2012. Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin will have to reshape the political landscape from one dominated by his party to one that accounts for the increasing support for the nationalists and a new class of young, liberal activists. Simultaneously, Putin will restructure his inner circle of Kremlin loyalists, who have allowed infighting to divert their attention from their roles in tackling Russia's social unrest and financial problems. None of this will significantly diminish Putin's authority. The Kremlin will also have to adjust its economy in 2012 to accommodate changes in previous plans involving billions of dollars in investments from Europe in some of Russia's most strategic sectors. The crisis in Europe means any such investments will be significantly reduced, so the Kremlin will have to restructure the economic plans for its modernization and privatization programs and fund many of the projects itself. Putin will be able to navigate through these obstacles, though they will take up much of the Kremlin's attention. None of these factors will fundamentally change Russia's direction either domestically or in its foreign policy.
 
Russian Resurgence
Russia will continue building its influence in its former Soviet periphery in 2012, particularly by institutionalizing its relationships with many former Soviet states. Russia will build upon its Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan as it evolves into the Common Economic Space (CES). This larger institution will allow the scope of Russia's influence over Minsk and Astana, as well as new member countries such as Kyrgyzstan and possibly Tajikistan, to expand from the economic sphere into politics and security as Moscow lays the groundwork for the eventual formation of the Eurasian Union, which it is hoping to start around 2015.
As Ukraine's chances to grow closer to the European Union decrease, Kiev will realize that Moscow is the only outside power it can turn to. Russia will be able to take advantage of Ukraine's inability to maneuver and will gain access to strategic Ukrainian assets, possibly including minority control in its natural gas transit system. However, Ukraine will continue to resist the institutionalization of Russia's influence via the CES by maintaining a degree of cooperation with the West.
In the Baltic countries -- which, unlike other former Soviet states, are committed members of NATO and the European Union -- Russia's ultimate goal is to neutralize the countries' pro-Western and anti-Russian policies, a goal it will make progress toward in Latvia in 2012. It will face setbacks in Lithuania, but Lithuania will not be able to seriously challenge Russia's maneuvers in the region because of ongoing difficulties for its primary supporters: NATO and the European Union.
 
Russia and the West
Russia will continue managing various crises with the West -- mainly the United States and NATO -- while shaping its relationships in Europe. Moscow and Washington will continue their standoff over ballistic missile defense and U.S. support for Central Europe, and Moscow will react to the ongoing row by increasing security pressure on Central Europe and bolstering its economic presence in the region. Russia will use these crises as an opportunity to deepen divisions among the Europeans, between the Europeans and the United States, and within NATO while promoting the perception that Russia is being forced to act aggressively. The security situation will become tenser, and Russia will attempt to push these crises with the United States to the brink without actually rupturing relations -- a difficult balance.
Russia will also use the financial and political crises in Europe to bolster its influence in strategic countries and sectors. Moscow and Berlin will continue their close relationship, especially in economic matters and security, but Russia will focus more on Central Europe in areas of security and energy and in picking up assets. There is no real counter to Russia in Europe, as the Europeans will be absorbed with domestic and EU issues. But this does not mean Russia has a free pass, as it must still manage the domestic effects of its neighbors' crisis.
 
Central Asia
Numerous factors will undermine Central Asia's stability in 2012, but they will not lead to a major breaking point in the region this year. Protests over deteriorating economic conditions will occur throughout the region, particularly in Kazakhstan, though these will be contained to the region and will not result in overly disruptive violence. Serious issues in Kazakhstan's banking sector could lead to a financial crisis, though the government will be able to manage the difficulties and contain it during 2012 by using the oil revenues it has saved up.
The more pressing problem is the rising Islamist militancy in the region. Sporadic attacks will continue in Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan could see an increase in attacks. However, these attacks will not achieve their strategic goal of overthrowing regimes or coalesce into a transnational movement capable of destabilizing the region. In addition to these security tensions, looming successions for the longtime leaders in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will create political tensions, but barring the death of either leader, no major political upheavals are expected.
<top>
Middle East
 
Iran and the Saudi Dilemma
Iran's efforts to expand its influence will be the primary issue for the Middle East in 2012. The U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq has rendered Iran the pre-eminent military power in the Persian Gulf, but Tehran cannot count on the United States being as constrained beyond this year, and Turkey, Iran's natural regional counterweight, is rising steadily, albeit slowly. Iran's efforts to consolidate and extend its regional influence must therefore accelerate this year before its window of opportunity closes. Iran will still be operating under heavy constraints, however, and will therefore be unable to fundamentally alter the politics of the region in its favor.
Iran's regional expansion will be felt most deeply by Saudi Arabia. The Saudi royals now doubt that the United States has the ability or the willingness to fully guarantee Riyadh's interests. Adding to Saudi Arabia's vulnerabilities, the Gulf Cooperation Council states fear that if Iran is not contained within Iraq, it will exploit continued Shiite unrest in Bahrain and in Saudi Arabia's Shia-concentrated, oil-rich Eastern Province. In 2012, Saudi Arabia will lead efforts to shore up and consolidate the defenses of Gulf Cooperation Council members to try to ward off the threat posed by Iran, but such efforts will not be a sufficient replacement for the United States and the role it plays as a security guarantor. A critical part of Iran's regional agenda for the year will be to force Riyadh into an accommodation that benefits Iran and allows Saudi Arabia some reprieve. This could lead to temporary truces between the two adversaries, but given Iran's constraints and limited timetable, Saudi Arabia is more likely to stay committed to the U.S. security framework in the region -- for lack of better options.
 
Turmoil in Iraq and Syria
The effects of Iran's expansion efforts will be most visible in Iraq and Syria. In Iraq, Iran's main challenge is to consolidate Shiite power among several competing groups. As Iraq's fractured Shiite leadership tries to solidify its influence with Iranian support, Iraq's Sunni and Kurdish factions increasingly will be put on the defensive. This ethno-sectarian struggle and the security vacuum created by the U.S. withdrawal will degrade Iraq's overall security conditions. Meanwhile, Turkey will attempt to contain the spread of Iranian influence in northern Iraq by building up political, economic, military and intelligence assets.
In Syria, the ultimate goal of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States will be to disrupt Iran's Shiite arc of influence by trying to crack Syrian President Bashar al Assad's regime. However, without direct foreign military intervention, the Syrian regime is unlikely to collapse. Al Assad will continue to struggle in trying to stamp out domestic unrest. The regime's limited options to deal with the crisis will force Syria to further rely on Iran for support, which will allow Tehran to reinforce its presence in the Mediterranean.
Stratfor cannot rule out the remote possibility that the al Assad clan will be coerced into a political exit. Such an outcome would risk inciting a sectarian struggle within the regime. Iran's goal is for Syria to maintain a regime -- regardless of who leads it -- that will remain favorable to Iranian interests, but Iran's ability to influence the situation is limited, and finding a replacement to hold the regime together will be difficult. It should be noted that the battle for Syria cannot take place without spilling over into Lebanon. In that regard, Lebanon faces a difficult year as proxy battles intensify between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the Levant.
 
Turkey's Struggles
Overwhelmed by instability in its periphery, Turkey will continue to face significant challenges to its regional ascendency. Despite its rhetoric, Turkey will not undertake significant overt military action in Syria unless the United States leads the intervention -- a scenario Stratfor regards as improbable -- though it will continue efforts to mold an opposition in Syria and counterbalance Iranian influence in Iraq. Ankara will thus work to maintain a decent bilateral relationship with Tehran despite growing tensions between the two. Economic conditions in Europe will slow Turkey's economic growth, Kurdish militancy in Turkey will remain a significant threat, and concerns over Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's health could turn the government's focus inward as it tries to work through a contentious set of proposed constitutional changes. On the foreign policy front, Turkey will try to influence the rise of political Islamists, particularly in Egypt and Syria, but Ankara's own constraints will prevent it from taking meaningful steps in that regard.
Egypt's Political Transition
Egypt's turbulent political transition likely will give rise to a parliament with a significant Islamist presence, thereby complicating the ruling military elite's hold on power. However, the democratic transition will be a partial one at best; the country's fractious opposition and impotent parliament will continue to suffer from internal divisions and will be unable to overrule the military on issues of national strategic importance. Thus, the military will remain the de facto authority of the state.
Concerns over the country's struggling economy will outweigh the military's concerns over its political opposition. Egypt's preoccupation with its economic and political issues will undermine its ability to patrol its Sinai buffer, leading to increased tensions with Israel. However, both sides will continue to maintain the peace treaty that has been the foundation of Israeli-Egyptian relations for the past generation.
 
The Hamas Agenda
Hamas will take advantage of the slowly growing political clout of Islamists throughout the region in hopes of presenting itself to neighboring Arab governments and the West as a pragmatic and reconcilable political alternative to Fatah. These moves will help protect Hamas from the potential regime crisis in Syria (where its politburo is based) and bolster its relationships with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. At the same time, Hamas will be on alert for tactical opportunities to undermine security in the Sinai Peninsula with the hope of creating a crisis between Egypt and Israel.
Egypt's preoccupations and Hamas' expanded room to maneuver will incentivize the Jordanian leadership to strengthen its ties with Hamas. It will also allow Jordan to manage its own unrest by building more credibility among Islamists, leverage its relations with Fatah and keep a tab on Hamas' actions as the Jordanian monarchs adjust to changing regional dynamics.
 <top>
East Asia

Three things will shape events in East Asia: China's response to the economic crisis and possible social turmoil amid a leadership transition; the European Union's debt crisis and economic slowdown sapping demand for East Asia's exports; and regional interaction with the U.S. re-engagement in the Asia-Pacific region.
The 2008 financial crisis exposed the inherent weaknesses of the Chinese economy, which, like its East Asian powerhouse predecessors, largely was based on a growth model driven by exports and government-led investment. While Beijing had been aware for some time of the need to shift toward a more balanced economic model, the continued slump in Europe and fears of another global slowdown have forced the government to face the challenges of economic restructuring now, rather than constantly staving them off. Even in the best of times, the redirection of an economy the size of China's would be difficult, but the pressure for change comes amid a leadership transition, when Beijing is particularly sensitive to any disruptions. With the politburo lineup changing in October and the new state leaders taking office in early 2013, the Communist Party of China (CPC) is focused on maintaining social stability to preserve the legacy of the outgoing leadership and solidify the legitimacy of the incoming leadership.
A rapid drop in economic growth poses a serious threat to China in 2012; a modest slowdown is widely expected this year due to the weakening export sector, a slump in the real estate market, and investment and risks to the banking system. Beijing is betting the decline will remain at a manageable level -- at least for a year of transition. The sharp drop in demand from Europe will harm the export sector in particular, with growth likely reduced to single digits. This declining external demand will threaten the already weakened export-oriented manufacturing industry, which has experienced rising costs in labor, raw materials and utilities as well as appreciating currency on top of its already thin-to-nonexistent profit margins. China will seek to compensate in part by refocusing on exports to the United States and expanding in emerging markets in Southeast Asia, Latin America or Africa, though this will not fully make up for the drop-off from Europe. Moreover, growing trade protectionism because of the economic downturn and political considerations -- especially the upcoming U.S. election season -- will likely put Chinese manufacturers at the center of trade frictions, making their position even more vulnerable. Beijing will employ traditional tools including targeted credit, tax reductions and direct subsidies to mitigate the risks of rising unemployment and bankruptcy in the financially strained manufacturing sector.
While Beijing knows that rolling out another massive fiscal stimulus and bank loans as it did in 2008-2009 is unsustainable and would put the economy at risk, it sees few other short-term options and thus will use government-led investment to sustain growth in 2012. Beijing will resume and launch a number of large infrastructure projects even at the expense of overcapacity and lack of productivity. However, accounting for around 10 percent of gross domestic product and a quarter of fixed investment, the decline in the real estate sector due to Beijing's tightening measures since 2010 represents one of the largest threats to Beijing's effort to stabilize growth. With affordable housing projects -- Beijing's plan to offset the negative consequences from falling real estate prices and weakening investment -- unlikely to reach their designated goal, Beijing may have to selectively relax its real estate tightening policy in 2012 while trying to avoid overcompensating by causing a sharp market rebound or property price inflation. The ruling Communist Party had promised it would bring these issues under control; its failure to do so could undermine the Party's credibility.
The continued high-level credit boom combined with the need to work out nonperforming loans (NPL) from the 2008-2009 stimulus will bring China into heightened NPL risk. The actual NPL ratio may rise as high as 8-12 percent in the next few years. At least 4.6 trillion yuan ($729 billion) out of a government-estimated local debt of 10.7 trillion yuan is set to mature within two years, and Beijing expects 2.5 trillion to 3 trillion yuan of the total risk to turn sour. The NPL risk, the 2.1 trillion-yuan debt from investment in the railway system and the massive informal lending from the shadow banking system that grew significantly during Beijing's credit tightening pose a systemic risk to the banking sector. Beijing may have to take some pre-emptive actions, such as refinancing measures or capital injections, in 2012 to ensure Chinese banks are able to maintain confidence in China's financial system. China's leaders, faced with near-term stabilizing options and long-term deep reforms, will choose the former, postponing the crisis but amplifying it when it becomes unavoidable in the future.
Given the economic uncertainty and political sensitivity surrounding the leadership transition, political elites in Beijing will attempt consensus at the highest levels. As it learned from the Tiananmen Square incident, CPC factional infighting exploited at a sensitive time is a serious risk, and we expect to see measures to ensure ideological and cultural control throughout the Party and down through the rest of society. Meanwhile, the priority to ensure a smooth transition means Beijing will be much less tolerant of actions that could spread instability, though Beijing is also cultivating pre-emptive methods for social control, such as community-level management or providing carefully controlled outlets for expressing grievances to better manage the country's social frustration, which will likely be exacerbated by the deteriorating economic situation.
Internationally, China will continue to accelerate its resource acquisition and outward investment strategy. As domestic problems mount, China may use external disputes to ease public dissatisfaction. Anticipating U.S. economic and trade pressure due to the electoral season and strategic encroachment in China's periphery, Beijing will focus its attention on reducing miscalculation and stressing interdependence in its relations with Washington while clarifying its response to the U.S engagement. Meanwhile, China will balance nationalistic initiatives with maintaining neighborly relations -- particularly with the South China Sea claimant countries, India and Japan -- and countering perceived moves by the United States to constrain China's economic influence in the region and lines of supply. The South China Sea claimant countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, will respond by accelerating their military purchases, taking advantage of the U.S. re-engagement efforts to hedge against China.
Most Asian countries -- which showed a strong economic recovery throughout 2010 and early 2011 -- will experience reduced growth amid the global economic slowdown. As the most important economic partner to many countries, China will increase its economic assistance and trade to Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries to leverage its influence. Beijing hopes to again project economic power in the region through aid, the import of consumer goods, currency swaps and regional trade agreements, but Beijing's role may also face challenges by renewed interest from other nations -- for example, the United States and Japan.
The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has increased uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula. The first six months of the year will be critical as the unity of the regime is tested amid the leadership transfer. The leadership structure between civilian and military elements was established in recent years to strengthen the role of the Workers' Party of Korea as one of the pillars of power and to rebalance the military's role, but the process was not yet complete at the time of Kim's death. North Korean leaders are unlikely to fundamentally change the direction of Pyongyang's foreign policy in the near term. Their attention initially will be focused internally, and they will seek to avoid any sudden shift in policy that could destabilize the regime or significantly increase foreign pressure. China will look to make a push to ensure even greater influence on the Korean Peninsula during the transition period. In addition, bilateral discussions with the United States on resuming the six-party nuclear talks were showing progress before Kim's death, and Pyongyang is likely to restart these discussions sometime during the year.
 <top>
South Asia

The U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan will not maintain sufficient force levels long enough to militarily defeat the Taliban -- and their various factions -- or pacify the country. But the Taliban will not be in a position to drive the United States and its allies from the country by force. Force structure choices must be made in 2012 to define the war effort through 2014, but the United States and its allies will continue to combat the Taliban in 2012 even as Afghan forces increasingly bear the brunt of the war effort. The United States will continue to consider a political accommodation with the Taliban, but such accommodation is unlikely to be reached this year.
The most important development in South Asia is Pakistan's ongoing political evolution. While other states, including Iran, are interested in shaping the future political landscape of Afghanistan, Pakistan continues to be at the heart of the Afghan war. As such, U.S.-Pakistani tensions will intensify in 2012 as the United States reaches an understanding with Pakistan, which will have to deal with the situation in the region after the United States leaves. Political, religious, ethnic and ideological tensions will intensify inside the country, and these will affect Pakistan, Afghanistan and U.S.-Pakistani relations moving forward.
 <top>
Latin America
 
Mexico
Through the first half of 2012, Mexico will be enmeshed in campaigning for its July 1 presidential election. The country faces the possible end of what will be 12 years of rule by the National Action Party (PAN). Faced with public condemnation of rising violence, the PAN has lost a great deal of credibility over the past five years, something likely to benefit the Institutional Revolutionary Party and the newly unified Revolutionary Democratic Party. We expect no major legislative action under the administration of outgoing President Felipe Calderon as the three main parties compete for public approval. The new president takes office Dec. 1, meaning most of the new administration's major policy moves will not occur until 2013.
Regardless of any change in party, Mexico's underlying challenges will remain. The country's drug war rages on, with Los Zetas having consolidated control over most of Mexico's eastern coastal transportation corridor and the Sinaloa cartel having done the same in the west. Both cartels have a significant, growing presence in Central America and relations with South American organized crime. We expect the cartels to intensify their efforts to extend control over regional supply chains in 2012, although the Mexican cartels will remain dependent on relationships with local organized crime in other transit and producing countries. Despite significant territorial control in Mexico by Sinaloa and Los Zetas, numerous smaller criminal entities are still struggling for access to key transport hubs such as Acapulco. Meanwhile, the two main cartels will continue to attack each other in critical transit cities such as Veracruz and Guadalajara.
Continued inter-cartel competition among Mexico's diverse criminal groups will prevent any kind of alliance between Los Zetas and Sinaloa that allows them to abandon violence in favor of more profitable smuggling conditions. Similarly, the government faces severe constraints on its counter-cartel activities. It cannot afford to be seen publicly backing away from attempts to rein in violence. At the same time, any significant uptick in military offensives against the cartels carries the risk of intensifying the violence. The government will therefore attempt to emphasize social and economic policies while maintaining its current, high-tempo counter-cartel strategy.
 
Brazil
Brazil will spend 2012 focused on mitigating shocks to trade and capital flows from the crisis in Europe. However, with only 10 percent of Brazil's gross domestic product dependent on exports, Brazil is much less vulnerable than many other developing countries. In politics, Brazil will remain focused on trying to strike a balance between growth and inflation during the expected slowdown with judicious fiscal outlays and monetary expansion. Brazil will thus remain primarily focused on domestic issues through 2012. Trade protectionism will play a strong role in efforts to shield vulnerable industries. With global trade slowing, China will look for alternative export markets; these two trends will drive increased bilateral tensions between China and Brazil over the next year. Key Brazilian domestic issues will include ongoing city and border security initiatives; social welfare programs; infrastructure construction; and the development of, and politics surrounding, Brazil's petroleum reserves.
Venezuela
Uncertainty surrounding the health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez makes it difficult to forecast the precise direction of Venezuelan politics in 2012. There will certainly be continued speculation about a potential successor from the Chavista elite, and growing dissatisfaction with the status quo among Chavez's base will be a prominent political force. Meanwhile, the political opposition parties -- which at this point appear prepared to unite behind a single candidate to be selected in February -- will make their most credible play for power in a decade. Under these conditions, the 2012 election will serve as a disruptor of Venezuelan politics. While the exact details of the outcome are unpredictable, 2012 will likely see some sort of power transition away from Chavez.
Regardless of who holds power at the end of the year, 2012 will continue to be characterized by growing domestic economic uncertainty, periodic infrastructure failure and poor distribution of basic goods. Dissatisfaction with these and other socio-economic issues will drive further protests, but the majority of political action will be centered on the election.
 
Cuba
Cuba's slow and cautious transitional measures can be expected to continue in 2012. Key reforms such as making credit and private property available to individuals are under way, and similar reforms, including attempts to loosen travel restrictions, can be expected in the next year. Cuba's ultimate international challenge is to balance the liberalization demands of the United States with its need for subsidized Venezuelan oil. A sudden disruption of these shipments is unlikely, but a political shift in Venezuela could force Cuba to reach out to the United States as a much more powerful -- but also more politically invasive -- economic partner.
 <top>
Sub-Saharan Africa
Somalia
In 2012, a containment strategy will solidify against Somali jihadists -- both the transnationalist group al Shabaab and its nationalist rival, the Somali Islamic Emirate. This strategy will have three elements. The first will feature African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces consolidating their presence in Mogadishu. These forces include peacekeepers from Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti, and additional forces from Sierra Leone will be deployed soon.
In the second part of the strategy, Kenyan troops will strengthen the cordon along the Kenyan border with southern Somalia. The 4,000 Kenyan troops there, nominally part of AMISOM, will hold territory and interdict Somali jihadists moving about the area. Lastly, Ethiopian forces will fortify a cordon along Ethiopia's border with central Somalia, also attempting to hold the territory and interdict jihadists.
To deny the Somali militias propaganda material, AMISOM, the Kenyans and the Ethiopians will not push deep into Somali territory to engage the jihadists. Instead, local militias employing guerrilla tactics will fight the jihadists within the containment zone. The combined efforts will successfully disrupt the jihadists' lines of supply, but they will not bring about their defeat. The United States will continue covert action in the Somali theater. U.S. special operations forces and unmanned aerial vehicles will collect and share intelligence with the Somali government and its allies. Additionally, U.S. forces in East Africa and the Horn of Africa will remain poised to strike high-value Somali jihadists or senior al Qaeda targets, should the opportunity arise.
 
Nigeria
Nigeria will see sustained militant violence in its northern region. Aggrieved political elites in the north, believing the government of President Goodluck Jonathan stole political power from them, will seek to use the Boko Haram militant group to their advantage. As part of their campaign to regain political power in 2015 national elections, these northern politicians will provide Boko Haram with arms and funding while protecting it politically.
This will enable the group to carry out frequent attacks on Nigerian government and civilian targets in its core area of operations in the country's northeast and northwest. Boko Haram will also conduct operations in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, but these will be rare. Boko Haram's statements will be jihadist and fierce, but the nature of its support will prevent it from carrying out attacks that would trigger an international response and result in a loss of leverage for northern Nigeria's political elite, such as transnational operations or attacks against foreign political or commercial facilities in Nigeria.
The Niger Delta in the south will also see a slow but steady return to militant violence. Though the Jonathan administration has stated that it will serve only from 2011 to 2015, divisions will start to emerge within the Jonathan camp over whether a single term is sufficient. Like their peers in northern Nigeria, political elites in the Niger Delta region, including Jonathan, will start reactivating alliances with regional militant groups such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
Attacks by MEND or other Niger Delta militants in 2012 will be infrequent and ultimately will not threaten oil production. However, they will form the basis for a counter-campaign by the Niger Delta political elite to demand political patronage while the region's elite decides whether to run for the ruling party's nomination for the presidency in the next elections.
 
Sudan
Domestic opposition in Sudan and South Sudan will prevent both governments from signing a legally binding oil revenue-sharing accord. Instead, they will accept the continuation of ad hoc agreements regarding the distribution of oil revenues. Additionally, U.N. peacekeepers will maintain their deployments in South Sudan and Darfur to respond to border clashes between militias on both sides of the Sudan-South Sudan border. It will take much of the year, but Khartoum and Juba will settle into an informal understanding over border demarcation.
 
South Africa
South Africa will remain focused on internal rivalries that will inhibit its ability to consolidate its influence in the southern African region. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) will contend with internal rivalries as it moves toward a leadership convention and election in December 2012. South African President Jacob Zuma will be working to secure a second term as ANC president, a post that would effectively make him the party's candidate for South African president in 2014 elections. Simultaneously, the Zuma camp will work to ensure that no rival faction in the ANC gains enough momentum to challenge Zuma.
<top>


(Author: Stratfor)

See feedback for this article


Articles in this group

Berlin fears Court's threat to European Union
Back channel discussions reveal the extent to which Angela Merkel fears that the German's constitution could threaten her position and the Eurozone's future (Author: Marc Lanthemann/Stratfor)

Loss of the Ukraine: Russia examines its options
If Russia loses Belarus or Ukraine, it loses its strategic depth, which accounts for much of its ability to defend the Russian heartland. (Author: George Friedman / Stratfor)

Ukraine and the 'Little Cold War'
Stratfor quotes from some of George Friedman's earlier writings regarding Ukraine, and Russia's strategic strengths, chronic insecurities and recovering military might. (Author: Stratfor)

Ukraine Turns From Revolution to Recovery
Stratfor's George Friedman asks whether the Ukraine will unite, and even if it does will that unity hold? (Author: George Friedman)

Women bishops; and the art of completely missing the point
The current shambles within the Church of England regarding women Bishops derives from failings to understand more fundamental issues. (Author: Christians Together)

Obama's Bluff
When Barak Obama declared his 'Red Line' regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria he thought Assad would never cross it. So what will the US President do now? Stratfor outlines the hard choices. (Author: George Freidman / Stratfor)

Highland pastor writes of God's miracles
Samuel McKibben who is well known throughout Scotland, the UK and ministers internationally is launching his book 'God of Miraculous' at a book-signing in Inverness on Saturday. (Author: Christians Together)

Judgment; cause and effect
At a prayer conference in the summer of 2010 a Christian leader spoke of the UK coming under judgment. We are now seeing these things in our daily newspapers and in the church. (Author: Christians Together)

Senior minister takes the Kirk to task on sexuality issue
Rev. David Randall a senior (retired) Church of Scotland minister who spoke at the General Assembly in May in defence of the traditional view on marriage and sexuality exposes the confusion in a letter to Church members. (Author: David J. Randall)

Kirk confirms its spiritual demise
In a debate where ‘unity’ trumped ‘Truth’ on all sides of the debate the Church of Scotland meeting in General Assembly voted to allow congregations to call gay ministers. (Author: Christians Together)

The Church of Scotland: 1560 - 2009
In a dramatic climax to an issue that has been rumbling for 50 years the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has finally surrendered on a key issue of appointing an openly gay minister. (Author: Watchman)

The Acute Jihadist Threat in Europe
Stratfor suggests that a timeline of terrorist plots and attacks within EU countries suggests a growing threat from those who feel disadvantaged and accordingly prone to radicalisation. (Author: Stratfor)

Christians Face Persecution and Extinction in Islamic Lands
With the rise of violent Islamic regimes, Clare M. Lopez writes on the dire situation facing followers of Christ across the Middle East and North Africa. (Author: Clare M. Lopez)

Halal or Horse: what are we eating?
With the recent scandal surrounding the unwitting purchase of horsemeat in food products, the issue of food labelling is again on the agenda. (Author: The Editor)

New Moderator-designate for FC Continuing
The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) has appointed Rev. Warren Ewing Gardner as the denomination's moderator for the forthcoming 2013 General Assembly. (Author: Free Church of Scotland (Continuing))

Police chaplain forced out over same-sex views.
A Christian minister and police chaplain has been forced out of his position and he expressed his views on same-sex marriage. (Author: Christian Concern)

Death for Preaching Christ in 'Liberated' Libya
Raymond Ibraim writes of four Christians in Libya who are facing a possible death sentence following 'missionary' activities in the newly-liberated North-African state. (Author: Roymond Ibraim)

An earnest call
With the Catholic Church in the headlines over the Pope's demission Scott Brisk expresses his concerns regarding underlying issues within the Church of Rome. (Author: Scott Brisk/Moriel Ministries)

Pakistani girl raped and her family threatened.
A Christian advocate tells the story of a young Pakistani girl who was raped and her family threatened when her father went to the police. (Author: Sardar Mushtaq Gill)

Aberdeen church leaves the Church of Scotland
Believers from within Gilcomston South Church in Aberdeen's Union Street is the latest congregation to leave the Church of Scotland. (Author: Dominic Smart / Christians Together)

Algeria: Islamists a 'large and existential threat'
Patrick Sookhdeo of Barnabas Fund writes "the world needs to come together to deal with the present threat in North Africa. (Author: Patrick Sookhdeo)

EA responds on Steve Chalke on homosexuality
The Evangelical Alliance (UK) has issued a statement in response to an article on homosexuality written by Steve Chalk in Christianity magazine. (Author: Steve Clifford / Evangelical Alliance)

Training Event for Pioneer Mission
A 3-day training conference is schedule for the last weekend in January designed around the means of expressing the Great Commission in our contemporary world. (Author: Guy Pembroke)

Christianity being wiped out in the Middle East
A new report entitled 'Christianophobia' and published by Westminster think-tank Civitas 'lays bare the scale of the vendetta against Christians'. (Author: Christians Together)

School massacre and a call to repentance
Joel Rosenberg reports on the tragic killings at a Connecticut school and summons preachers to call the United States to repentance in the face of demons of violence. (Author: Joel Rosenberg)

Tron Congregation Leaves Church Building
Following the dispute with the Church of Scotland over the denomination's stance on sexuality the congregation of St. George's Tron church are to leave their Buchanan St. building. (Author: Tron Church)

Remarkable Pictures
Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep. For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, Which lifted up the waves of the sea. (Ps. 107:23-25) (Author: Christians Together)

Jordan next?
As Syria heads for an end-game and regime change, the 'Arab Spring' has now reached Jordan. Israel could again end up surrounded by countries hell-bent on its destruction. (Author: Christians Together)

French marching against same-sex marriage
Over 100,000 marched in France in protest over plans by the French Government to legalize same-sex marriage next year. (Author: Christians Together)

Israel and Hamas Pause for Negotiations
In the current escalating conflict between Hamas and Israel reports state that an un-named Israeli official has travelled to Egypt for talks aimed at forestalling a ground invasion of Gaza. (Author: George Friedman - Stratfor)

Israel Ambassador thanks UK church leaders
In the midst of current and escalating crisis in Israel, Daniel Taub who is Israel's Ambassador to the UK has written to Christian leaders in the UK to thank those who have been expressing their support. (Author: Daniel Taub; UK Israeli Ambassador)

Potential for war in Israel
The escalating rocket attacks from the Gaza has put both Hamas and Israel into a difficult position. Neither is looking for a full-blown war; but both are having their arms twisted. (Author: Stratfor/Christians Together)

Reality in the Highlands to close
The Highland branch of Reality Adventure is to close at the end of November. A warm invitation is extended to interested parties to a 'farewell bash' on 27 Nov. (Author: Reality Adventure Works)

America: what now?
In the immediate wake of the presidential election in the US two believers give their thoughts. While writing about America their words speak to the nations. (Author: John Terry / Christians Together)

Benghazi attack: the Set-Up and the Cover-Up
The attack on the US mission in Benghazi; the unexplained stripping of security prior to the attack and the alleged refusal to send help during it. (Author: Clare M. Lopez)

Cameron warns of nuclear-armed Iran
Last Friday it was reported that UK Prime Minister David Cameron is considering stationing Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes in the Persian Gulf. (Author: Christians Together)

Worldwide body expresses its concerns to the Kirk
An international grouping of evangelical denominations, ministries and academics has written to the Church of Scotland expressing its deep concern for the situation surrounding the Tron Church. (Author: Christians Together)

CARE tackles Government on broken promises
A Christian social policy group is challenging the UK Government in its failure to uphold promises on consultation and legislation regarding abortion counselling issues. (Author: Christians Together)

It’s the Tron today: but what next?
The current upheavals within the Church of Scotland rumble on with implications for the wider presbyterian body. (Author: Christians Together)

Are You a Member, And a Member of What?
Christians Together site member John Miller gives a background, overview and comment on the actions of the Glasgow Presbytery of the Church of Scotland to evict the congregation of St. George's Tron Church in Glasgow. (Author: John Miller)

Why Global Blasphemy laws would be a mistake
In the context of current, violent and international Muslim 'rage' Patrick Sookhdeo of Barnabas Fund writes that calls for a global blashemy law must be resisted. (Author: Patrick Sookhdeo / Barnabas Fund)

Europe Bows to Muslim Demands to Limit Free Speech
In the present round of 'outrage', Muslims are now pressing governments to outlaw any expression of opinion which is deemed to be insulting to Islam. (Author: Soeren Kern)

Christians facing backlash from Anti-Islam Film
Christians in countries rocked by violent demonstrations over a film deemed offensive to Islam are concerned that Muslim anger could turn against them. (Author: Barnabas Fund)

War and Bluff: Iran, Israel and the US
Tensions in the Middle East are running very high as the Syrian crisis degenerates into civil war and the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran draws evermore real. (Author: Stratfor)

Down's Syndrome girl charged with Blasphemy in Pakistan
A young Christian girl with Down’s syndrome has been detained by police in Pakistan, falsely accused of blasphemy; hundreds of Christian families have fled their homes amid a violent Muslim backlash. (Author: Barnabas Fund)

Visions and Dreams awakening Muslims
A missionary who was skeptical about reports of God speaking to Muslims in supernatural ways is now planning to publish a book on amazing stories about how Muslims are coming to faith through dreams and visions. (Author: Christianity Today)

Christians crucified in Egypt
Reports state that Muslim Brotherhood supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi are crucifying opponents of the new regime. (Author: CP Africa)

Why does the BBC ignore Usain Bolt's God?
Alongside media coverage of Mo Farah's faith in Islam, the BBC stands accused by one writer of deliberately failing to acknowledge Olympic hero's Christian belief. (Author: Cranmer)

War of words over Dawkins visit to the Hebrides
Following the reaction Richard Dawkins forthcoming date at a Lewis book festival, the scientist has ducked a challenge to debate his beliefs in what has become a war of words. (Author: The Editor)

Pentecostals and Presbyterians get together
Two local churches which sit at opposite ends of the theological spectrum have recently held a joint service in their local town. (Author: Christians Together)

Hebridean churches losing the culture war
With the prospect of arch-atheist Professor Richard Dawkins due to attend a Hebridean book festival it appears as if those who are fighting to maintain the traditions of the Western Isles are fighting a losing battle. (Author: Christians Together)

Olympic 'Praise Bus' ends 65-day journey
The bus carrying the sound of Christian praise has completed its journey around Britain following the path of the Olympic Torch. (Author: Assist News Service)

Homosexual lobby wages economic war in the US
An American chain of fast-food restuarants under attack for its tradtional view of marriage has see nationwide support expressed in a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. (Author: Christians Together)

Consequences of the Fall of the Syrian Regime
The inevitability of regime change in Syria has very significant consequences for the stability of the whole region and the international geo-political alignments. Assad's fall is a game-changer. (Author: Stratfor / Christians Together)

Phew: Assad won’t use them on us!
The general response to Syria’s recent admission of holding chemical weapons has been one of (mock) shock and few countries are thinking beyond their own interests. Satan however is looking at the big picture. (Author: Christians Together)

New Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Paisley Philip Tartaglia has been named by the Pope to succeed Most Rev Mario Conti as the Archbishop of Glasgow. (Author: Christians Together)

Olympic security debacle: 40 years on
The humiliating and extremely serious lapse in 2012 Olympic security arrangements is not a new phenomenon. There is at least one people group which can painfully testify to that fact. (Author: Christians Together)

Russian Churches to defend British Christians
The Orthodox Church in Russia is intending to assist two British women who were forbidden to wear Christian symbols. The women are appealing to the European Court of Human Rights. (Author: Christians Together)

Tron Church quits the Church of Scotland
One of the highest-profile congregations in Scotland has quit the national church over the latter's alleged departure from the authority of God's Word. (Author: Christians Together)

Report of recent trip to Israel
David Masson has recently returned from a trip to Israel: he gives a report of his visit which belies much of the disheartening news which we see in our mass media. (Author: David Masson)

Top Saudi cleric calls for destruction of churches
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia the highest official of religious law in the Sunni Muslim kingdom has called for all churches in the Arabian peninsula to be destroyed. (Author: Catholic Herald / Christians Together)

The Perils of Global Intolerance
Simon Deng, speaking at an 'antidote' gathering to the Durban III conference which has been accused by Western governments for allegedly promoting rather than combating racism. (Author: Simon Deng)

Where is Russia headed?
With Europe politically and economically weak, uncertain and divided, and America distracted by foreign conflicts, Russia has an opportunity. (Author: Stratfor)

Chuck Colson the Prison Fellowship founder dies
Charles ‘Chuck’ Colson, the Nixon aide who became one of the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” in 2005, has died at the age of 80. (Author: Christians Together)

Anglicans accuse London Mayor of censorship
Boris Johnstone has stepped into a bus advertising campaign to ban a response by Anglican Mainstream to a pro-gay slogan carried on London buses. (Author: Church Times/Christian Together)

Highland International Church open for service
On a 21st-century anniversary of Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, a newly-formed congregation of the International Presbyterian Church had its first meeting in an Inverness Hotel. (Author: Christians Together)

Healing on the Streets appeal ASA ruling
A Christian team operating in the city of Bath is to appeal a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority against the team's website claim that God can heal. (Author: Evangelical Alliance)

Germany moving centre-stage
Since reunification in 1990, the economic tsunami in 2008 and the Eurozone sovereign-debt crises, Germany's strategy is key to Europe and possibly the world beyond. (Author: Stratfor)

Christian Exodus from Iraq
A recent report on the flight of believers from post-war Iraq has stated: "The consequence of this flight may be the end of Christianity in Iraq." (Author: New York Times)

BBC will mock Jesus but not Mohammed
The BBC's director general said the the broadcaster would never mock Mohammed like it mocks Jesus. (Author: Christian Institute)

Christine Keeler on the 'Swinging Sixties'
Christine Keeler whose affair with a British government minister rocked the government has spoken out against the (im)morality of that period. (Author: Christians Together)

Inverness minister quits Kirk to form new church
An Inverness minister has now left the Church of Scotland and is working to set up a new church in the city linked to a separate presbyterian denomination. (Author: Christians Together)

Germany calls for 'invasion' of Greece
Germany has tabled a proposition which would effectively see Greece losing its sovereignty to the EU; with the latter taking control of the country's finances and the democratic process as the price supporting the Greek economy. (Author: Stratfor)

Nigeria: Christians killed by extremist groups
Early morning attacks in Tafawa Balewa, Bauchi state in Nigeria on Sunday (Jan. 22) left at least seven Christians dead and a church building destroyed. (Author: Obed Minchakpu)

Military Drill or Preparation for War?
A recent report from an Israel-based Christian news source report about 'the largest joint US-Israel war game ever held' has been described by an American general as more a 'deployment' than an 'exercise. (Author: Lonnie C. Mings)

Pray for this lady; a prophet to the nation
One of the most prophetic voices in the country at the moment is an agnostic (her description) Jewish columnist for a national newspaper. Pray for this lady who champions Christian values. (Author: Christians Together)

Making Sense of the Syrian Crisis
Stratfor the respected global intelligence agency reports on the escalating crisis in Syria and the government under President Assad has attempted to stamp out internal protests within the country using military force. (Author: Stratfor)

United States plans to lock up its citizens
Recent legislation which has passed through the US Senate allows the US military to hold civilian detainees in military facilities for indefinite periods, without charges and without due process. Could it happen in the UK also? (Author: Hal Lindsey)

Evangelicals say 'No' to same-sex marriage
Over 70 of Scotland’s largest evangelical churches, attended by more than 20,000 people, have signed an open letter to First Minister Alex Salmond urging him not to redefine marriage. (Author: Christians Together)

Tain minister to leave parish
The minister in Tain Parish Church of Scotland has written to his congregation to say that he can no longer continue with them in the context of both local and national issues in relation to Kirk's stance on sexuality. (Author: Christians Together)

Syria, Ezekiel and the possible consequences
While it is tempting to think of Syria as just another part of the 'Arab Spring, the country occupies an important square on the global geo-political chess board. (Author: Christians Together)

An interview with Asia Bibi facing death penalty
A human rights activist based in Pakistan has supplied Christians Together with the transcript of an interview with Asia Bibi, the Pakistani woman facing the death sentence for blasphemy. (Author: PJ (Pseudonym))

What to do about Greece... and everything else
Serious riots are continuing in Greece over the Eurozone financial crisis. Stratfor the global intelligence agency has produced a chart summarising the options and likely outcomes. And Woody Allen gives a view. (Author: Various)

Sharia controlled zones in London
Columnist Melanie Phillips writes on the subject of a 'parallel legal system' being introduced to communities in the UK capital which is 'creating another no-go area in Londonistan'. (Author: The Editor)

From the Med to the Hindu Kush: what next?
Global intelligence agency Stratfor presents an analysis of the current situation across the Arab world and outlines the prospects for the turbulent region which figures so prominently in end-time prophecy. (Author: Stratfor)

Kirk hosting Christian/Muslim Conference
The Church of Scotland is hosting a conference in December for a 'dynamic weekend' to find common ground between the Chistianity and Islam. (Author: Mission and Discipleship Council)

Tibetan sacred chant in Aberdeen church
Queen's Cross Church in Aberdeen is offering an evening of 'Masked Dance and Sacred Chant' performed by Tibetan monks. (Author: The Editor)

Coptic Christians in escalating protests
Initially-peacefull demonstrations by Coptic Christians looking to have a demolished church rebuilt have escalated into violent clashes wti the military. (Author: Christians Together)

MSP congratulates KJV transcription effort
Skye, Lochaber an Badenoch MSP Dave Thompson has invited fellow parliamentarians to join him in congratulating the organisers of a marathon effort of transcribing all the verses of the King James Bible at its 400th anniversary. (Author: Christians Together)

US denomination ordains first gay minister
The US Presbyterian Church has ordained its first gay minister last Saturday when Scott Anderson was ordained in the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison, Wisconsin. (Author: Christians Together)

Skye minister to leave Church of Scotland
Rev. Ivor Macdonald, the parish minister at Staffin Church of Scotland is to leave the denomination because it is 'leading further and further away from the Lordship of Christ'. (Author: Christians Together)

Police apologise to Christian café owner
Police have given a partial apology to the owner of a Christian café who was wrongly told displaying Bible verses on a TV screen was a breach of public order laws. (Author: Christian Institute)

Iranian Pastor to hang for 'thought crimes'
Please pray for an Iranian court has passed down a death sentence on a Christian pastor, who was found guilty of so-called “thought crimes. (Author: Michael Ireland / Assist News Service)

New York protesters clash with police
With thousands protesting in New York about the economy at least 700 people have been arrested, including a New York Times reporter. (Author: RT)

Episcopal Church and Interfaith event
A Scottish Episcopal Church in the Diocese covering the Grampian and Highlands and Islands regions has been a central part of a '9/11' multi-faith event in Aberdeen. (Author: )

Change of name for Ghobe Ministries
God's Healing of Broken Emotions (GHOBE) Ministries will now operate as the Mishkan Resource Centre from its base in Inverness. (Author: Sheila Cardwell)

Harvest is past; the summer has ended
The Kirk in General Assembly during May 2011 confirmed its most public and corporate act of apostasy since its formation in 1560. The result is turmoil and utter confusion. (Author: Christians Together)

To discipline or not: that is the question
St. Andrew's Presbytery of the Church of Scotland, and the Kirk itself has been put into a difficult position following the actions of a lesbian minister in Fife: it is potentially a no-win situation. (Author: Christians Together)

What in the World is happening for Heaven's sake?
David Masson looks across the world stage and offers a view of what may be lying behind the upheavals around the planet in recent days. (Author: David Masson)

Re-Examining the Arab Spring
6 months after the Tunisian uprising STRATFOR's George Friedman gives an overview and analysis of the impact and dynamic on and within the region. (Author: Stratfor)

Hope amongst 'spirits of judgement and fire
As the word of God tells us there is nothing new under the sun. The prophet Isaiah could stand in Parliament Square and preach the same message as he did two and a half millennia ago. (Author: Christians Together)

A 'Very Urgent Call'
The Manchester-based Maranatha Community has issued a call to prayer, with the view that "the current riots across the land hold up a mirror to the moral and spiritual sickness of our nation". (Author: Maranatha Community)

John Stott called home
The Revd Dr John Stott, one of the most influential evangelical leaders of the twentieth century, passed away on Wednesday afternoon at the age of 90. (Author: Christian Institute)

A letter from Afghanistan
Believers in Afghanistan are facing increasing persecution and the following letter comes to Christians Together from a Christian leader in the country. (Author: Christian leader in Afghanistan)

Still singing off different 'hymn' sheets
Since the extraordinary Plenary Assembly of last year the divisions within the Free Church of Scotland on acceptable forms of worship continue to manifest. (Author: Christians Together)

Insecurity and Unity
Current upheavals in the world of organised religion are producing some visible responses in terms of new alliances. (Author: Christians Together)

Support group hosts 'Opening Doors Evening
Reality Adventure Works team in the Highlands is inviting all who are interested in the work of supporting young people to an 'Opening Doors Evening' in their new offices. (Author: Christians Together)

Geert Wilders cleared of 'hate speech' charges
Geert Wilders the Dutch politician who speaks out against the influence of Islam on Dutch public life has been cleared for charges against him relating to incitement and hate speech. (Author: Geert Wilders/Christians Together)

The Church of Scotland 'trajectory' rejects God
Following the Church of Scotland's vote in the May 2011 General Assembly there has not been much tangible sign of any reaction. But a meeting on a wet day in Glasgow last week broke the corporate silence. (Author: Christians Together)

BBC 'Suicide' programme one-sided
The BBC is facing a storm of controversy after it aired Sir Terry Pratchett’s “very unbalanced” documentary on assisted suicide last night. (Author: The Editor)

The 'earthquake' of the Arab Spring: now Syria
With the immediate future for Syria hanging in the balance as 'a corrupt and brutal dictatorship which is now creaking under the weight of popular discontent.' Victor Mordecai gives a view on the implications for the region. (Author: Victor Mordecai)

Church of Scotland: leaders meeting planned
Since the shock decision to allow practising homosexuals to serve as ministers in the Church of Scotland, ministers and elders are planning to meet this week to consider what action to take. (Author: Christians Together)

DISSENT in the Kirk
Following the Church of Scotland General Assembly at the end of May and the decision to allow homosexual ministers to operate within the church, many are now expressing serious dissent regarding these actions. (Author: Christians Together)

Multitudes, multitudes in the Valley of Decision
Following the decision by the Church of Scotland in its General Assembly of 2011 to allow actively-homosexual clergy in its churches, it is 'make your mind up' time for all within the national church. (Author: Christians Together)

Splits in the foundations
The current problems besetting the Free Church of Scotland are symptomatic of fundamental issues which are wreaking havoc across the presbyterian world and the denominations beyond. (Author: Christians Together)

Going for Free?
With the national Kirk in turmoil over gay clergy, some ministers might make it jump for it. And the invitation might be to bring their hymn books too. (Author: Watchman)

Kirk minister ponders leaving on gay clergy issue
Following the vote and decision at the 2011 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland a West-Highland minister is now considering life beyond the national church. (Author: Christians Together)

Forthcoming General Assemblies
Three 'Church of Scotland' denominations are scheduled for the last week in May. Each is facing serious issues within its ranks. (Author: Christians Together)

Visegrad: A New European Military Force
With the rapidly-changing political and military scene a 4-nation alliance is establishing a new military group independent of NATO. (Author: Stratfor)

Muslims come to Christ as others seek violence
Rick Ridings who leads the Succat Hallel intercessory and praise ministry in Jerusalem brings news and insights into what God is doing in the Middle East. Through the turmoil in that region Muslims are coming to the Lord. (Author: Rick Riddings)

Muslim Brotherhood: a force for good?
With the present upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East many are wondering what will fill the vacuum as we see many of the 'strong men' being deposed by the uprisings of the 'Arab Spring'. (Author: Philip Wren)

The Royal Wedding; a special day indeed
Whatever the present and future significance of the Royal Wedding it will always be remembered as a special day for our family. (Author: The Editor)

David Wilkerson dies in car accident
David Wilkerson the Internationally-known author of the Cross and the Switchblade and the founder of Times Square Church NY, has died in a car accident. (Author: Christianity Today/Christias Together)

Persecution forcing Christians out of Egypt
Christians in the Middle East: further sectarian protests in Egypt and fears of mass emigration by Coptic Christians from the country. (Author: Just Journalism)

Van driver instructed to remove cross
A Christian is under investigation and faces possible disciplinary action because of his display of a small palm cross in the company van he drives. (Author: Christian Concern)

Facebook lines itself up with Biblical prophecies
In a world which is being increasingly driven and shaped by social networking and internet-based multi-media an international campaign has been launched on Facebook which falls into line with the prophesied purposes of God. (Author: Christians Together)

Orkney Bible translator killed in bus bomb attack
In a renewed surge of terrorism in Israel an Orkney woman serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators was killed in a terrorist bomb attack in Jerusalem. (Author: Christians Together)

Church wins court case over banned ad.
A Judge has ruled in favour of a Belfast church and against a decision by the Advertising Standards Authority to ban an advertisement by Sandown Free Presbyterian Church in its stand against homosexuality. (Author: Christians Together)

Israeli family slaughtered by terrorist.
A Palestinian terrorist broke into a home of young Jewish family living in the Samarian community of Itamar and brutally murdered the five members of the family as they slept. (Author: Ryan Jones)

Preservation of Historic Scottish Presbyterianism
A prominent notice was carried in newspapers during the second week of March 2011 relating to a disagreement on 'worship' within the Free Church of Scotland. (Author: Former Free Church Moderators)

Kirk minister takes issue with Prime Minister
Rev. Louis Kinsey, a Church of Scotland minister in Aberdeen, has put down a challenge to David Cameron over the Prime Minister's public comments relating to Christians fostering children. (Author: Louis Kinsey / Christians Together)

Pakistani Christians protesting recent killing
Thousands of Pakistani Christians on took part in protest rallies across Pakistan expressing anger over the brutal assassination of the Federal Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, in Islamabad. (Author: Christians Together)

God has no place in British law say judges
Despite the UK's long history of religious observance and the traditions of the churches, there is no place in British law for Christian beliefs two High Court judges have said. (Author: Christians Together)

Afganistani Christian facing death freed.
An Afghan Red Cross worker who was jailed for nine months for converting to Christianity has been released after an intense campaign by international diplomatic missions and Christian activists, an official. (Author: Christians Together)

Christchurch earthquakes: a sombre story
Behind the most recent earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand is a sombre story of an event which didn't happen. (Author: Andrew Strom / Christians Together)

Shimon Peres: Google, Facebook and Antichrist
According to current reports Israel’s President Shimon Peres sees Google and Facebook as the means to accomplish what the Bible tells us will be the role of the Antichrist in bringing a solution to the turmoil in the Middle East. (Author: Christians Together)

Libya: another domino falls?
The unrest (revolution) which is shaking North Africa and beyond is claiming another victim. Stratfor the intelligence agency gives its take on a situation in the Middle East which is changing by the hour. (Author: Stratfor Global Intelligence)

Civil Partnerships, Marriages and churches
A joint statement has been issued by five evangelical organisations on the subject of homosexual marriage and the registration of civil partnerships in churches. (Author: Christians Together)

Irish Evangelical Alliance backs gay 'marriage'
EA Ireland’s General Director stated: “The Government is seeking to legislate for greater justice and fairness for co-habiting couples, both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. As Christians we should support that stance.” (Author: Christians Together)

Lord Mackay speaks out on Civil Partnerships
Lord Mackay of Clashfern who served under both Margaret Thatcher and John Major has stated that Christians should not be forced to act against their beliefs by equality laws. (Author: Christians Together)

Gay partnerships to be classed as marriages
A new law is being introduced which will class gay and lesbian partnerships as marriages with further reforms planned which will destroy the traditional view of marriage. (Author: Christians Together)

They're building a new caliphate says Israeli PM
In an important address to a policy conference of European leaders the Israeli Prime Minister warned of several serious threats to world peace and Western civilization. (Author: Christians Together)

Egypt rejects Muslim Brotherhood
An authentic testimony received from a protestor at Tahrirs Square in Cairo Egypt suggests that the internional media are portraying a distorted account of the 'anti-government' revolution. (Author: Direct from Egypt)

A Letter from Egypt
In the midst of the social and political turmoil in Egypt God has His people. This is a report from a Christian pastor speaking in the midst of a dangerous and volatile situation. (Author: Egyptian Pastor)

YWCA abandons its Christian name
In a controversial move, the YWCA in England and Wales has adopted a new name which has dropped all reference to the organisation's Christian origins. (Author: Christians Together)

Women victims in Israel targets of terror attack
Arab terrorists attacked and killed a visiting American Christian woman and badly wounded her UK-born Messianic Jewish friend south of Jerusalem on Saturday. (Author: Christians Together)

BBC to screen prime-time screening of Nativity story
A new adaptation of the Nativity Story occupies a peak-viewing slot on BBC1 this month. Producer Tony Jordan said: ""The challenge for me was to retell a story that has been told countless times before." (Author: Christians Together)

Case about 'orientation discrimination' postponed
A judge has postponed his ruling over a case relating to Christian guesthouse operators Peter and Hazelmary Bull who refused accommodation to a homosexual couple. (Author: Christians Together)

Deface the Bible but don't touch the Koran
Arrest and no action. Two similar stories illustrate remarkably different reactions from the authorities over the desecration of holy books. (Author: Christians Together)

Free Church to allow hymns and instruments
Following a special Plenary assembly the Free Church of Scotland is to allow for the singing of hymns and the use of musical instruments in its congregations. (Author: Free Church Statement)

Lennox takes on Hawking: again!
In his tireless rebuttals of the 'scientific' view that our world was created by some random process, John Lennox argues that you can't explain the universe without God. (Author: Professor John Lennox)

The BBC's obsession with sexuality
If there was ever any doubt that the term ‘diversity’ relates to ‘sexuality’ the BBC has confirmed the link in a new survey; but only at the end. (Author: Christians Together)

God at work in Pakistan amongst the dangers
Two Pakistani pastors who are working in their country to spread the Gospel amongst Muslims have sent a prayer/news update to Christians Together outlining points for praise and for prayer. (Author: B and A (pastors in Pakistan))

UK denies entry to persecuted Christian speaker
After months of effort and planning by Release International to host a series of meetings across the UK about the persecution of Christians, the speaker has been denied an entry visa. (Author: Christians Together)

Chilean miner tells Luis Palau of God at work
Jose Henriquez joined Luis Palau on stage in Chile last month to reveal that fully two-thirds, of the Chilean miners turned to Christ whilst waiting to be rescued. (Author: Christians Together)

Al-Queda launches holy war  against Christians
"All Christian centres, organizations and institutions, leaders and followers, are legitimate targets for the mujahedeen (holy warriors) wherever they can reach them." Statement by al-Qaeda group (Author: Christians Together)

A Middle East exodus of Biblical proportions
Christians are fleeing from the persecution in the Middle East with reports of violence, bloodshed and murder. (Author: NewAmerican)

Bible Society launches new Gaelic Gospel
At the National Mod in Thurso the Scottish Bible Society launched a fresh translation of John's Gospel as the first in a (Author: Christians Together)

Miracle rescue of trapped Chilean Miners
Stories from above and below ground reveal God powerfully at work during the 'miracle' rescue of the Chilean miners. Prayer were said and the Gospel was preached. (Author: Christians Together)

Tesco slow in 'Halal' refund
Tesco store reluctant to refund Irish shopper after she unknowingly purchased of Halal meat from her Belfast store. (Author: Christian Institute)

Christians called to be 'not ashamed' of Christ
A major 'Not Ashamed' campaign has just been launched inviting Christians to 'Stand Up for Jesus in Public Life'. The initiative has support from national leaders. (Author: CCFON/Christians Together)

Northern Christian Police Association news
The Northern Constabulary branch of the Christian Police Association has 're-ignited' and now extends an invitation to join with the branch's monthly prayer breakfast in the Inverness CYC/YMCA. (Author: Northern Constabulary CPA)

Roma gypsies: Germany yesterday, France today
France's expulsion of Roma Gypsies has been likened by a top EU official to that which took place under Nazi Germany during the Second World War. (Author: Christians Together)

Papal visit 460 years after the Reformation
The Pope makes a first and historic visit to the UK since the 16th century Reformation. He has been received in Scotland by the Queen who is head of the Church of England (Author: Christians Together)

Koran burning threat offensive and dangerous
Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo of the Barnabus Fund has stated that the proposal by an American pastor to burn copies of the Qu'ran is an "unnecessary, offensive and dangerous gesture”. (Author: Barnabus Fund / Christians Together)

Don't mention God: no do!
A Christian worker who was sacked under a charge of 'gross misconduct' for mentioning God has had his appeal rejected by an employment tribunal. (Author: Christian Legal Centre)

Pakistani Christians being raped and killed
A Pakistani believer and site member of Christians Together and reports of much trouble in his country. Please pray for him and other believers there. (Author: Khuram/Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

Prospect of a Gay Bishop: a Scottish response
With the controversies in both the Anglican Communion and the Church of Scotland, one Kirk member has written to another. (Author: One Kirk friend to another)

Afghan Christians urgent need of prayer
The Afghan Christian Community has just written an open letter to the body of Christ worldwide outlining the great persecution they are facing in their own land. (Author: Afghan Christian Community)

'Strathpeffer' Convention move to Inverness
The decision to move the 'Strathpeffer' Convention to Inverness has caused some eyebrows to be raised. The organisers respond to some of the questions being asked. (Author: Christians Together)

Initial report following team visit to Congo
On return from an eventful and rewarding missionary trip to the DR Congo, team leader Jim Rettie supplies an initial report. (Author: Jim Rettie)

Soldiers and their families; the cost of separation
Watching the daily news footage of the conflicts in Iran and Afghanistan it is easy to forget the price that soldiers and their families pay in terms of the worry and loss that separation brings. (Author: Christians Together)

News update of Inverness team in Congo
In spite of an alarmist headline and sensationalised report about being 'ambushed' the team are safe and well and continuing with their planned programme. (Author: Christians Together)

Congolese Macedonian call; a Highland response
As a result of a 'random' e-mail, a team from the Highlands is set to depart on a ministry trip to the Congo and to believers there amongst Pygmy tribes. (Author: Christians Together)

The Reformation: they think it's all over; it is now
The Reformation has been cancelled. A Stornoway-born and recent Church of Scotland Moderator Rev. Sheilagh Kesting has proclaimed a ‘first’ in a post-Reformation pact with the Roman Catholic Church. (Author: Christians Together)

Franklin Graham disinvited from Pentagon Prayer
An invitation to Franklin Graham to speak at the Pentagoon on the National Day of Prayer has been withdrawn following objections from a 'watchdog' group. (Author: Stars and Stripes / Christians Together)

Anti-semitism on the rise in France
The following account has come from a reliable source and lists a series of recent anti-semitic incidents in France which illustrates a continuing increase in anti-Jewish prejudice in that country. (Author: Anon)

Judges biased against Christians say churchmen
In an unprecedented move, senior Church figures are forcing a showdown over concerns that most senior judges are prejudiced against Christianity. (Author: Christian Concern for our Nation)

American evangelist jailed in Glasgow
Street preacher Shawn Holes, an American Baptist, was apprehended, jailed and fined in the course of preaching the Gospel in Glasgow (Author: Christians Together)

Haiti: three days of prayer and fasting
One month after the quake, a nation that was dedicated to Satan has been called by the Haitian president to three days of fasting and prayer to God. (Author: Jerry Miel)

Islamic scholar issues fatwa against terrorism
Pakistani-born Sufi scholar Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri has issued a fatwa denouncing terrorism and describing those involved as 'unbelievers'. (Author: Christians Together)

Amazing move of the Spirit in Algeria
Despite anti-conversion laws, Muslims are turning to Christ in an amazing move of the Spirit in Algeria. A pastor reports packed churches and 800% growth. (Author: Operation Mobilisation)

Young people coming to faith in Finland
An amazing move of the Holy Spirit is bringing many young people to faith in Christ. They then go out into their street and communities to reach out to others. (Author: Dr. Mike Story)

Healing ministry: seasonal update report
Jim Rettie gives a seasonal update report on the work of the Fellowship of Christian Healing (Highland) over the past year. (Author: Jim Rettie)

Case against Christian couple thrown out
Whilst the charges against the Christian owners of a guest house has been thrown out, the case raises serious questions about how the case ever went as far as it did. (Author: Christians Together)

Free Church pulls out of talks with Kirk
As a symptom of the confusion and division within and beyond the Church of Scotland, the Free Church has pulled out of dialogue with the Kirk. (Author: Christians Together)

Paul Moore; whistleblower for God?
Paul Moore was sacked by HBOS for criticising the company's risky lending. His wife assured him of 'God's plan' and he subsequently blew the whistle on the company's dealings. (Author: Christians Together)

Islam4uk march in support of Shari'ah Law
Islam4uk have organised marches and events in various locations around the UK for Saturday, 31 October 2009. In London stops are to be made a Westminster, Downing Street and Trafalgar Square (Author: )

South African Anglicans join in 'Confessing'
South African Anglicans have affirmed their fidelity to biblical orthodoxy by following the example of churches in Scotland, England and North America. (Author: Christians Together)

Christian minister sacked from radio station
A Pakistani-born Christian minister who was sacked by a radio station has won the right to take his case to the European courts. (Author: Christians Together)

Minister calls Kirk's Assembly to account
A senior Church of Scotland minister has circulated a searing analysis of the Kirk's handling of the sexuality issue at the May 2009 General Assembly. (Author: Christians Together)

Megrahi's release: what do you think?
An opportunity to say what you feel and think. Others from elsewhere in Scotland and from around the world will surely be interested. (Author: Christians Together)

Highland pastor's wife on the mend
Highland pastor's wife (Rev. Dr.) Sheila McLaughlan is making a recovery in a German clinic having suffered a stroke when attending a pastors' conference. (Author: Christians Together)

Increasing persecution of Pakistani Christians
A Pakistani believer who is a member of the Christians Together web site has written to outline the increasing persecution of Christians in his country and to ask for prayer for protection. (Author: Christians Together)

The Kirk in Crisis: nailing colours to the door
A current move by Church of Scotland congregations from across Scotland sets down a very significant marker in terms of a public response to the highly-controversial decisions made by the recent General Assembly. (Author: Christians Together)

The Kirk is imploding
The first appointment of an openly-gay minister reveals the extent of the Church of Scotland's sorry departure from biblical orthodoxy. (Author: Christians Together)

A bridge across an old divide?
In the wake of the Church of Scotland's failure to pronounce on gay ordination, there are signicant signs of Kirk leaders breaking ranks and entering talks with other denominations. (Author: Christians Together)

No bush has a life guarantee
An historical presence in the soil offers no guarantee for the future. Unhealthy and and unproductive bushes could find that their days are numbered. (Author: Christians Together)

Logos Hope visit to Edinburgh
Having called at Edinburgh and Belfast, the first-ever UK visit of OM’s new Logos Hope ship is at the halfway stage. (Author: Christians Together)

Gay adoption critics branded as homophobes
In a new publication giving information on gay adoption the state-funded British Association for Adoption and Fostering has branded critics of gay adoption as 'retarded homophobes'. (Author: Christians Together)

Muslim to head BBC religious broadcasting
The BBC has appointed Aaqil Ahmed as its first Muslim head of religious programming, following the agnostic Alan Bookbinder who was appointed in 2001 (Author: CCFON/Christians Together)

Credit crunch and search for ‘meaning of life’
New research out this week has revealed that three in four adults are rethinking their core values and big issues like ‘the meaning of life’. (Author: Christian Today)

Mr. Phelps you are not welcome in Scotland
A 'keep out' message to Mr. Phelps (Author: )

Fresh bid to reunite the Kirk and the Free Church
The media are often theatre; and the above headline from one Scottish daily is suggestive of either high drama or outrageous farce. (Author: Christians Together)

Beauty contestant gives 'wrong' answer
Miss California ruined her chances of becoming Miss USA by giving the 'wrong' answer to a gay competition judge who asked her opinion on gay marriage. (Author: Christians Together)

Dobson to set record straight
Dr. James Dobson has gone on air in the USA to counter a false impression given by a British newspaper and other media outlets that he has lost and given up the 'culture war'. (Author: Christians Together)

Bishop defender of the faith resigns
In the light of increasing attacks on the Christian faith in the UK, the resignation of Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali is viewed as a loss to the Christian community in the UK. (Author: Christians Together)

How to respond to Jehovah's Witnesses
It is not always easy to frame a proper response when someone comes knocking unexpectedly on the door; and it's useful to have some quick pointers. (Author: Christians Together)

Churches say Government is gambling with lives
A number of major denominations and Christian organisations have lauched a web-site to counter Government policy which they say promotes gambling addiction. (Author: Christians Together)

Scotland deports Christian workers
Reports this week cover stories of Christian workers being intercepted by immigration officials and deported back to the USA. (Author: Christians Together)

Christian Workers having to Pack their Bags
New immigration legislation is shutting doors to Christian workers from North America who wish to work in Scotland. And some who are here in the Highlands are having to leave. (Author: Christians Together)

Controversial priest declines promotion
A Roman Catholic priest who believes that Hurricane Katrina was a judgement of God has declined promotion in the face of controversy. (Author: Christians Together)

Indian Christians reaching out to Jade Goody
An Indian evangelical newspaper has asked its readership to pray for terminally-ill reality TV personality Jade Goody. Others have also been sending in their messages of support and prayer. (Author: Christians Together)

Mum faces dismissal for asking for prayer
The Archbishop of York has publicly expressed his support for a school receptionist facing dismissal because she asked her friends to pray for a situation regarding her daughter. (Author: Christians Together)

Dutch MP determined to come to Britain
A Dutch politician and party leader has been told by the British Government that he can't enter the country as he represents a "threat to social cohesion". (Author: Christians Together)

Can a Theological College Be Born in a Day?
A brief overview of the conception, founding and development of the Highland Theological College from its beginnings in Elgin through to the present. (Author: Hector Morrison)

Public trust in media sinks to a new low
Less than a third of the British public trusts the media, a new international survey reveals. And recent events have further damaged their reputation. (Author: Christian Institute)

Army chaplain fears 'God' will offend atheists
A senior army chaplain has removed a Christian Creed from Army services at Sandhurst in case it will offend minority faiths and others who do not believe in God. (Author: The Mail/Christians Together)

Grandparents forced to hand children to gay couple
Edinburgh City Council have forced a couple who wanted to look after their two young grandchildren to hand them over to a gay couple for adoption. (Author: The Scotsman/The Daily Mail/CT)

Scots schools to teach gay rights...
Scottish Government telling schools to promote ‘gay rights’ has prompted concern that parents will be denied a say in what their children learn. (Author: Christian Institute)

Scottish missionary imprisoned in The Gambia
International Christian Concern have submitted an appeal regarding the Scottish Christian missionary and his wife sentenced to a year of hard labour in The Gambia. (Author: Christians Together)

A gay minister for Queen's Cross Church
A Brechin minister who is in a 'live-in' relationship with another man has been chosen by Queens Cross Church of Scotland in Aberdeen: according to one influential minister, the matter could split the national Kirk. (Author: Christians Together)

Pope more concerned with Truth than popularity
Pope Gregory's affirmation of heterosexual marriage has created a backlash from 'Christian', homosexual and 'save the planet' groups. (Author: Christians Together)

Indian church leader speaks on Mumbai attacks
Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannan expresses his grief over the Mumbai attacks but cautions about jumping to early conclusions regarding the identity of the attackers. (Author: Gospel for Asia)

Bible Illuminated - of God or the Devil?
Of God or the devil; the Bible Illustrated published by a Swedish businessman is highly provocative and leaves little scope for ambivalent views. (Author: Christians Together)

Violence against Christians in Asia
Extremists in India are now offering money for those prepared to kill Christians. "We may have lost everything, but nothing will turn us from Jesus." (Author: WorldNetDaily / Release International)

Recital of controversial poems in Welsh Assembly
The LibDem's culture spokesman has invited a militant atheist to read his controversial anti-Christian poems in the Welsh Assembly building in December. (Author: Christians Together)

Parent jailed over issue with school
A Christian father has been jailed for taking issue with the school teaching his 5-year-old about the equivalence between heterosexual and same-sex marriage (Author: Christians Together)

Auntie Beeb in crisis
The furore surrounding the BBC is perhaps God's way of exposing the catastrophic moral degradation and the collapse of standards at all levels in our once-respected institutions. (Author: Watchman)

India must protect its Christians
Scores of Christians have been murdered. Their homes, churches, presbyteries, convents and charitable institutions have been destroyed writes Bishop Nazir-Ali (Author: Bishop Michael Nazir Ali)

Christian counsellor fired by Relate
Gary McFarlane, a Christian counsellor , has been dismissed from his position at Relate after raising concerns about advising same sex couples. (Author: Christian Legal Centre)

Christian worker murdered in Afghanistan
Taliban leader states that aid worker was killed "because she was working for an organisation which was preaching Christianity in Afghanistan". (Author: Christians Together)

Christian vicar says she was conned
Joanna Jepson says she was conned by TV producers into taking part in a programme which portrays Christians as being obsessed with the issue of sexuality. (Author: The Telegraph)

RC Church produces Bible with Hindu texts
A new Indian version of the Bible recently published by the Catholic Church includes verses from the Bhagavad Gita and references to the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. (Author: Christians Together)

Crisis in Pakistan
Should an al Qaeda-type Radical gain control of Pakistan and its nuclear weapons, we could be facing an apocalyptic moment. (Author: Joel Rosenberg)

News (08/08/08) from the Christian Institute
Some news this week (08/08/08) including a survey which shows that Scots are 'ashamed' of the Scottish drinking culture. (Author: Christian Institute)

Hybrids, Abortion, Saviour Siblings, Fathers
Watch four short but powerful presentations on Animal/Human Hybrids, Abortion, Saviour Siblings and the role of the Father in IVF (Author: Christian Concern for our Nation)


© 2014 Christians Together High Accessibility Version. (Full Graphics Version)