Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Iran India Agreement

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Several days ago India and Iran signed a groundbreaking set of agreements. 12 sets of agreements in all.

They agreed to fight terror, radicalism, drug trafficking, cyber terror and other societal ills. They agreed to share intelligence and to work together.
The agreements were signed in Teheran by Iranian Prime Minister Rouhani and Indian Prime Minister Modi.

The jewel in the crown of the agreements was that India and Iran will mutually develop Chabahar port. Chabahar is located in the south of Iran outside the Persian Gulf. It is to the West of India and it is very important for them. The Indians are investing $500 million in the port - and it will be a significant conduit for them in the region.

India hopes that this will be the start of "bi" and "tri" level transit. If it all works out, the third party to this part of the agreement will be Afghanistan.

This new deal shows just how eager countries are to get Iran back up and moving forward. This deal with India illustrates how Iran can easily become a major player not just in the region, but also in Asia.

And that is a significant part of Iran's long term goal.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Oil Near $50/Barrel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The price of oil is almost $50 a barrel. The price has continued to creep up even thought Canadian Suncor Energy oil-sands project is about to hit the market.

In addition OPEC will be meeting on Thursday and they will certainly be discussing the issue of supply.

The price of oil continues to slowly climb and that has important ramifications - and not just for our pocketbooks. If oil continues to climb beyond $50 and goes to $70 or $75, it will empower Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Iran and Saudi Arabia both suffered when oil prices dropped. Saudi Arabia lost power and influence. Iran nearly went bankrupt.

The tide is turning once again - and that is not good news for the West. Oil is the tool that greases the wheels of power and influence in large parts of the world.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Turkey Livid with US

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Turkish President Erdogan is livid with the United States. He is angry after viewing pictures of US Special forces wearing Kurdish insignias while training YPG and PYD Kurdish groups in Syria.

Erdogan said that this was a violation of the agreements that the US and Turkey had made.

The US Defense department acknowledge that it was a mistake and the issue is now being corrected and dealt with. The official word was that the forces on the ground should not have been wearing the insignias.

Obviously there is a tightrope here. The Turks want to destroy the Kurds. And the Turks will do anything and everything to prevent the Kurds from getting an independent territory. They have used the ISIS conflict to inflict serious damage on he Kurds - killing about 5,000 of them,

But the US needs real fighters on the ground - reliable and dedicated fighters to fight ISIS. The only group that meets those qualifications is the Kurds. So the US will continue support the Kurds and that upsets Turkey.

Kurds will not risk their lives and families simply to fight for either Iraq or Syria. The Kurds need to know that they are working toward their goal of territorial independence.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Muslims Attack Christians in Egypt

By Micah Halpern

I've Been Thinking:

The Christian population in Egypt constitutes a large minority, numbering about 10 million people which puts them at 10% of the entire population. And yet, Egypt's Christians live in fear.

Christians living in Egypt are Coptic Christians.

In a village south of Cairo, seven Christian homes were recently burned and an elderly, 70 year of
Christian mother, was stripped, beaten and dragged through the streets.

The woman's son, a Christian, was the real target of the attack. The son managed to escape as the mob shot thousands of bullets into the air. The attackers were so angry at not being able to find the son, that they grabbed the mother and attacked her. They also burned and looted neighboring homes.

Police arrived two hours after the attack. They arrested six people and are looking for twelve others. According to witnesses the angry crowd was as large as 300 people all shouting in unison "Death to the Infidel." President el-Sisi has condemned the act of violence.

Rumors had spread that the son was involved with a Muslim woman - a practice that is shunned in Egypt. And the son actually called the police the day before the attack issuing a complaint about threats that he was receiving.

The Christian community feels threatened. This is just one of many examples.

It should be noted that had it been a Muslim man and a Christian woman - there would have been no reaction from the Muslims.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=halpern%2C+micah
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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hacking Middle East Banks

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Middle East banks are now the targets of a massive hack. This hack is happening only one month after the largest bank in the Middle East - the Qatar National Bank (QNB), was hacker and 1.4GB of data was stolen.

That hack was traced to a Turkish hacker group which eventually did take responsibility for the hack on YouTube.

This new set of hacks is different from previous hacks. Those responsible are not taking anything, they are just searching for things. The new hack is not for exploitation, it is just for reconnaissance.
And that leaves analysts asking a lot of questions.

In this latest hack emails were sent to people in the banks as if they were from co-workers. When the emails were opened, downloaded and forwarded the infection went with them.

It is not clear how many banks have been hacked... but it is safe to say that many more than a handful fell victim to this new cyber attack. More than one and less than 50.

The looming question is, who stands to gain from the knowledge that was gained. I have a few ideas.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=halpern%2C+micah
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

New Head of Iran's Powerful Assmebly of Elders

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Ayatollah Amhed Jannati was elected to be head of the Assembly of Elders in Iran. This is one of the most powerful positions in Iran - it is the Assembly of Elders who select and support the Supreme Leader.

Jannati is an extreme ultra conservative. He won hands down receiving 55 votes in the internal election cast by the 88 members of the Assembly of Elders.

Here are some examples of Ayatollah Ahmed Jannati's attitudes:

In April 2008, Jannati said: "You cried: 'Death to the Shah,' and indeed, he died. You cried: 'Death to Israel,' and it is now on its deathbed. You cry: 'Death to America,' and before long, Allah willing, the prayer for the dead will be recited over it."

And on 17 September 2010, he claimed that "opinion polls reveal[ed] that 84 percent of the Americans consider the US administration responsible for 9/11 attacks."

This is a national leader in Iran who has been in central positions since the revolution in 1979. He is the overwhelming voice in the most powerful body in Iran.

This is hardly a liberal and open Iran.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

PA Museum is Sad

By Micah Halpern
I've Been thinking:

The Palestinians opened a museum of Palestinian history and culture in Ramallah last week- and it was empty of exhibits. That is both funny and tragic at the same time.

It is also an unbelievable metaphor. A $28 million dollar building that took decades to create was opened to huge fanfare - and there were no exhibits inside.

They said that people will come anyway, just to see the gardens - which are not completed. They admit that the leadership of the museum was in conflict and could not decide what type of direction the museum should take - so it took no direction.

Palestinian leaders opened a satellite museum in Beirut, Lebanon the same week which focused on Palestinian embroidery. The theme of that exhibit is that embroidery is a significant part of Palestinian culture. The hope is to open other satellite museums around the
world in the next year.

The entire idea has been a mess. This is the biggest single project the Palestinian Authority has embarked upon and it is a colossal failure in almost every way - especially in its symbolism and the message it is conveying to the Palestinian people.

For instance, there is no shortage of Palestinian architects, but a Dublin firm was commissioned to design and build the museum. And the heralded gardens are landscaped by a Jordanian firm. Even the director is not a Palestinian - he was hired under the pretense that he was the head curator at the renowned British Museum - but now it has been disclosed that he is not a curator at all, just a visiting scholar.

You can't make this stuff up.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=halpern%2C+micah
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