Friday, August 28, 2015

Swiss Ambassador Calls Iran "Pole of Stability"

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
The Swiss ambassador to Iran addressed 500 Swiss business people and called on them to run back to Teheran and invest.

Ambassador Guilio Haas said that Iran was "a pole of stability" in the Middle East and now that the sanctions are over it is a perfect and safe place to invest. Haas urged those listening to his message to take advantage of a lucrative market that has been closed for years.

Haas was not just referring to the oil markets. He was referring to the entire Iranian market. And he was urging the heads of business to invest in Iran.

"Iran seems still for a lot of people to be bearded, elderly gentlemen with turbans. You see them, but you see not a lot of them, especially when you're dealing with business," Haas said.

This is the new modus operandi across Europe. European investors are excited about the possibilities that will emerge out of Iran.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Iran Invites Israeli Conductor

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Iran is a society that loves culture, especially music.

So it was not a surprise for me to learn that Iran has been working out details so that the Berlin State Opera Orchestra can come to visit Teheran, Iran.

The Iranians love great music. And this is one of the greatest orchestras in the world. The only hitch is that the musical director/conductor is an Israeli named Daniel Barenbiom.

The word is that the orchestra will accompany Angela Merkel when she visits Teheran on an official visit -- the plans for that are also in the works.

The ministry of culture in Iran has confirmed that details are being worked out but would not comment on whether Barenboim will have a problem getting a visa. Barenboim has also conducted a Palestinian youth orchestra in Ramallah amidst protestors there. The original plan was to have a joint Israeli - Palestinian youth band but that failed.

Iran will probably make an exception for Barenboim.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Saudi King To Visit DC

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

It is not yet official, but it looks like King Salman, the new king of Saudi Arabia, will visit Washington DC on September 5th and 6th.

This will be his first trip to the United States as king. Salman ascended to the throne in January after the death of King Abdullah.

New heads of state usually rush to DC to meet the president of the United States. But Salman waited, he wanted to play it cool. He wanted to make his own evaluations of the players in Washington. And most importantly, he wanted everyone - especially the United States to know that he was not Abdullah, that he was his own man.

The word is also out that Salman will visit Egypt on his way back from the United States to Saudi Arabia. This, too, is important because the relationship between Egypt and Saudi Arabia has become strained of late, especially over the tension between the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in Gaza. Saudi Arabia sides with the Muslim Brotherhood.

He is an interesting character this King Salman of Saudi Arabia. He bears watching.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

BDS - A Chance to Beat Them

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The BDS (Boycott Divest & Sanction Israel) movement has taken off like wildfire in the United States and in Europe.

Lovers of Israel are stymied by the attraction and magnetism that the movement has generated. They are asking why is it that so many young people and critical thinkers are running to embrace a movement that condemns Israel and blames nearly all the problems of the world - certainly all the problems in the Middle East, on Israel's occupation of the Palestinians.

For the longest time I feared that the battle was lost. I feared that there was no possible chance of convincing BDS supporters that they were wrong. Pointing out that the facts did not support their movement was fruitless. Like Hamas and ISIS, BDS supporters held strong to their point of view and did not let facts get in the way of their beliefs. Quite simply, they hated Israel and that in their eyes the world would be vastly improved without Israel.

But recently, after the debacle in Spain during which world famous and obviously Jewish reggae singer Matisyahu refused to sign a declaration supporting a Palestinian state and was then removed not permitted to perform in a festival, I saw a glimmer of hope.

People, not lovers of Israel at all, just plain people and the publications that supported the BDS movement suddenly realized that the movement was not about mutually resolving an issue - but rather, it was about destroying Israel to make room for the Palestinians.

The government of Spain apologized for the embarrassing incident. They publicly and personally said that what happened was wrong and anti Semitic - and they re-invited Matisyahu to perform. National and local papers said more or less the same thing - that they support a Palestinians state but they do not support anti Semitism.

I am wary, yet hopeful that many followers of BDS fit into this category. I hope that they have seen the true hateful colors of the BDS movement. That BDS supporters now realize that rational people can disagree with Israel and support Palestinian statehood without advocating the destruction of Israel.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Iran's New Missile

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Iran has just unveiled their newest missile, it is called the Fateh 313.

I watched the videos of their celebration and the test launching complete with all the hype and all the propaganda one would expect at such an auspicious occasion.

The missile seems very effective. It has a range of 500 kilometers, which is 310 miles, and the claim is that it has pinpoint accuracy.

The celebration, the display, the announcement and all the accompanying bravado is essential to the Iranian strategy.

Despite the nuke deal, Iran is moving ahead on missile production. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that "We will buy, sell and develop any weapons we need and we will not ask for permission or abide by any resolution for that."

It might surprise you to know that weapons production is not in violation of The Deal signed between Iran and the P5 +1- - - but Iranian action and the building of these missiles is definitely in violation of countless other UN Security Council resolutions.

Another example of the game Iran is playing, and playing so very well.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Britain Opens Embassy in Iran

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Things are looking good if you're an Iranian leader.
Change is happening vis a vis Iran and the rest of the world - especially the Western world.

Great Britain just reopened their embassy in Teheran, Iran. It was opened in a joyous, hopeful, optimistic, ceremony. The flag was raised by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. Hammond is the first British foreign secretary to visit Iran since 2003. The British embassy has been shuttered closed since protesters stormed it in 2011.

Hammond's presence at the opening is no small gesture. It symbolizes a drastic and major move to advance diplomatic re-positioning where Iran is becoming a player.

This is a theme I have continuously repeated. Iran is more interested in high level, world power, diplomatic stature than they are over any nuclear technology. They want it because it improves world influence and impact as well as economic strength and power.

Europe is mistakenly unfurling and raising the Union Jack without first seeing if Iran is really complying with the agreements they are so readily signing.

In an unrelated item, also effecting the British: A new video of Jihadi John, ISIS' famous be-header was just posted to the internet. In it he says-- "I will go back to Britain... and will carry on cutting heads off".

Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihad John, is 26 years old and he is one of the world's most wanted men. The United States has put out a $10 million reward for his capture.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, August 21, 2015

IDF Strikes Syria

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

As I predicted last week, Israel's northern border with Syria has become very hot and rocket upon rocket has been launched into

Israel. In retaliation, Israel has launched air strikes into Syria.

Israel hit six target sites. Each site had multiple targets within it. Israel hit Hezbollah sites and al
Nusra sites as well as Syrian military bases.

The objective of Israel's air attack was to issue a warning to all the forces in Syria - including Iran - to not deliberately launch rocket attacks against them. It was clear that the night before the Israeli retaliation, rockets direct from Syria were aimed at and shot into Israel.

An IDF senior officer was quoted saying: "We hold the Syrian state responsible." "We attacked with tanks, artillery, and one target from the air... We attacked several kilometers into Syria, five or six sites with multiple targets within each site. Our attacks are much more severe this time around, in order to send a message and underscore the severity of this incident."

I predict that Iran will test the waters yet again and that Hezbollah and Syrian forces will again launch their rockets into Israel and Israel will, again, strike back. Only next time Israel will strike back more fiercely, wiping out even more of the military infrastructure.

Iran is testing Israel. Iran wants to see what kind of defenses Israel has in the north. It wants to see those defenses in play.

If Israel plays it smart they will stick to conventional methods of retaliation and not show too much of their hand to the enemy. To do otherwise is to play right into the hands of Iran.




Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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