Saturday, May 23, 2015

Obama Gives the Atlantic an Interview -- Why?

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

President Obama spoke at Adas Israel in Washington yesterday. His topic was the condemnation of anti-Semitism. The president also spoke about his love for Israel and for Jews.

The day before his synagogue appearance, the Atlantic published an interview with the president -- an interview conducted by Jeffery Goldberg.

The essence of the interview in the Atlantic is that Barack Obama is aware of the gravity and the danger of the Iranian threat. The president realizes should Iran get a nuclear weapon - it will be his fault.

This is extremely powerful. Presidential ownership and responsibility has not been the norm. But as powerful as it is, it is not very comforting. So he owns the mistake - but in the end that does not make either Israel or the region any safer.

What struck me about the interview was not the insight Goldberg gave us into the Obama Iranian genuflection.

I was struck that Barack Obama sat down with Jeffrey Goldberg for the interview.

It was Jeffrey Goldberg, in the Atlantic, who gave the White House that huge black eye in October of last year on the subject of tensions between Washington and Jerusalem. It was Goldberg who quoted a senior White House official saying "The thing about Bibi is, he's a chickensh*t."

We were told that this was a huge embarrassment for the White House.

Told that heads would roll because of the statement. How could a senior person in the White House use that kind of terminology and refer to America's stalwart friend so smugly. Some guessed that the entire episode was a plant. The White House wanted to send a clear message to Netanyahu and this is how they chose to get that message across.

Months later, it seems clear those who always believed that the statement was intentionally made and printed were right on the money. Otherwise, why grant Goldberg, or for that matter anyone who writes for the Atlantic, a face to face just a few short months after that terrible faux pas.

Unless of course it was not a misspeak - but a deliberate message. 

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Australia to Take Away Citizenship from Terrorists

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Australia is planning on taking more serious steps in their fight against Islamic terror and Islamic homegrown terror.

From now on in Australia, if you join ISIS and travel to fight for them, or if you join them in Australia and you are an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, they will strip your citizenship.

Peter Dutton, the Australian Minister of Immigration, announced the plans earlier this week.

This is a significant step - especially for Australia, which has a reputation for openness and claims to be the most diverse country in the word.

Homegrown Islamic terror and Australians running to join ISIS has become a threat to the homeland and needs to be addressed.

This new law may or may not dissuade young people from joining ISIS - but it will give Australia more power and more teeth to punish and prosecute Islamic terrorists. The threat of deportation might not seem daunting, but word will soon get around. 

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Battle in the Golan

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
The heat during the day in the Golan Heights is brutal. Maybe that explains why summer is a time for fighting in the Golan. Whatever the reason, it has become the tradition. And this summer is no exception.

In two important battles over the past two weeks, Syrian rebels have extracted ISIS fighters from important positions very close to the Israeli border.

In both locations ISIS was attempting to expand their control - in the end, they lost and were badly defeated.

The first battle was waged just south of Qunetra, right on the Israeli border. That is where Jayash al Nusra, an ISIS affiliate, was defeated by rebels. During the second battle the Free Syrian Army, together with the Islamic group Jabhat al-Nusra, (which is affiliated with al Qaeda) overpowered ISIS fighters from the Shuhada al Yarmouk Brigades.

It is crucially important to understand that local issues trump ideology.
Groups cooperate with each other in order to make certain that the border with Israel remains quiet.

That is why the Jabhat al-Nusra fought together with The Syrian Free Army.

ISIS was a threat to the stability and quiet of that border - and that was simply not acceptable. 

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

ISIS Rings in PA

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

120 silver ring that had ISIS slogans on them arrived at Ben Gurion airport. They were imported from Turkey and they were to be sold to Palestinians.

En route to Ramallah, in the Palestinian Authority, the rings were confiscated. And will be destroyed.

The essential point is not that the rings were discovered. The significance is that they were to be sold.
The significance is that there is a market for semi precious jewelry that proclaims support for ISIS.

120 people would wear those rings with the same pride we feel wearing our lodge rings or college rings.

Palestinian leadership has been shouting for months that there is no ISIS presence in the PA ... none. And yet ...

Given this discovery that claim is very hard to believe. 

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

EU Wants to Lead Israel - PA Peace Talks

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

There is one thing almost everyone can agree on: The United States is losing influence in the Middle East.

As a result, other forces are lining up to try to exert leadership and influence in the vacuum that now exists.

The European Union is one of those forces. The leader of the 28 nation bloc EU is Federica Mogherini. She is 41 years old and the former foreign minister of Italy. Mogherini will be meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Wednesday where she will be propose that the EU step in and provide the much needed role of negotiations facilitator.

While it is true that the US role has diminished in the region, it is also true that the EU simply has neither the gravitas nor the ummpf necessary for that vital role. Besides, the Europe Union has a long history of siding against Israel.

Unless Mogherini can convince Israel otherwise, this proposal will simply die in the water. And someone else will try their hand at filling the role of negotiator.

Next ... 

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Ramadi Falls to ISIS

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
The battle with ISIS is neither mono-directional nor is it mono-dimensional. The battle with ISIS has many levels and many fronts.

Ramadi, a city of 500,000 people, fell to ISIS yesterday. It is the capital f the Anbar province. Now the entire Anbar province in Iraq is now in the hands of ISIS. ISIS confirmed the conquest and we have video of Iraqi forces running away for fear of losing their heads.

We saw army vehicles speed away with Iraqi soldiers jumping and grabbing the sides of the trucks trying to escape.

When ISIS confirmed the victory they said that they had confiscated tanks and trucks and executed apostates.

This is a major setback for the West and a great victory for ISIS.
Anbar is the largest province in Iraq. Its transfer into ISIS control expands ISIS land and property even more. Anbar is larger than the rest of Iraq combined and the population of Anbar is 2 million.

Two days ago, in Syria, US Delta Force commandos attacked and killed ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf, the man in charge of oil production and marketing. I have been told that the plan was not to kill him, but to capture him alive -- plans do not always work out as anticipated. In the course of the attack, however, the West killed 31 ISIS fighters and captured the wife of Abu Sayyaf.

The commandos took computers and papers. Abu Sayyaf evidently kept meticulous record.

The success here is far greater than simply assassinating an individual high up in the ISIS organization. It must be seen together with other successful hits by the United States - the removal of the #1 ISIS leader, al Baghdadi and then the assassination of the #2 ISIS leader, Abu Afri.

Even more important than eliminating a high ranking ISIS member is the position that this particular
ISIS member held - Abu Sayyaf ran the extremely efficient oil system that provided money allowing ISIS to function as smoothly and efficiently as it does.

Striking a blow to ISIS money sources is a huge success. 

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Russia & China Navies Drill in Med Sea

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Russia and China are embarking on naval maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea.
The exercise will include 9 large ships and numerous smaller support vessels.

The headquarters for the maneuvers will be the Russian missile cruiser the Moskva which is attached to the Black Sea Fleet and is normally docked in Crimea.

The deputy commander of the Russian navy, Vice Admiral Alexander Fedotenkov, is running the exercise from the Russian side. According to him "Sea Cooperation 2015 drills ... were not aimed against a third country."

Of course --- this is pure 100% rhetoric.

These drills are aimed at the United States and her allies as well as at the entire Middle East. Russia and China are saying loudly and clearly that they are now, individually and collectively, significant players in the region.

From here on, Russia and China will influence and effect change on everyone and everything in the region. 

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