Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ISIS Plots To Take Over Gaza

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
ISIS has announced that they are plotting to remove Hamas from power in Gaza.

ISIS posted a video on Youtube of a masked man addressing the "Tyrants of Hamas" i.e. Hamas, saying:

"We will uproot the state of the Jews (Israel) and you and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be over-run by our creeping multitudes."

He continued -- "The rule of sharia (Islamic law) will be implemented in Gaza, in spite of you. We swear that what is happening in the Levant today, and in particular the Yarmouk camp, will happen in Gaza,"

The speaker said that after all this time Hamas has not succeeded in applying any Islamic law in Gaza and now Hamas are clamping down on groups attacking Israel. In the eyes of Hamas, that is definitely not a good thing to be doing.

ISIS wants to topple Hamas because, in their eyes, Hamas is simply too liberal. 

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

ISIS 1 Year Later

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

It has been exactly one year since ISIS proclaimed themselves a state.

The US Department of Defense announced that ISIS is a formidable force. They say that despite the fact that ISIS has lost 25% of the land that was under their control at the heyday of their rise to power.

Finally, the Department of Defense is realizing that ISIS is no longer a junior varsity player. Now the DOD must devise a serious strategy that will put more pressure on ISIS and, eventually, eradicate them entirely.

ISIS has a plan.

Now the United States needs a plan, too. 

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Deadline Has Been Extended!!

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

I told you so. And it is official.

The talks with Iran have been extended beyond the June 30 deadline. Of course they were.

Here is the official quote: "Since a lot of work remains to be done, delegations will stay in Vienna after 10 Tir (which is June 30) to continue negotiations to achieve a good overall agreement."

Do not hold your breath. The leader of the Iranian delegation is now back in Teheran getting guidance on how to move ahead. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who heads the delegation needs to get the parameters and the limits of what compromises Iran can make.

Rest assured - Iran will want much more than what the P5+1 is willing to give. That bone of contention will be understood in completely opposite ways by Iran on the one hand and Western negotiators on the other.

Stay tuned, there is definitely more to come. 

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Deadline Just Hours Away

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The deadline is June 30th. However you count it, it is just a few hours away.

There have been reports of major movement - reports that the sides might be moving closer and closer to a deal.

But will there be a real deal with Iran? Can there ever be?
I doubt it.

Even if an agreement was signed it would not be a deal.

The real issue is how close everyone comes in their demands - and if that will constitute a deal, or, if there will be an deadline extension to the end of August.

My bet is that there will be an extension.

Even if there is an agreement just like there was in April it will require many more months of ironing out the details. That is not a real deal. 

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Another Flotilla Sailing to Gaza

By Micah D. Halpern

I've Been Thinking:

Another flotilla set sail for Gaza yesterday.

The flotilla is a symbolic gesture. There are 70 people, including crew, aboard the ship which launched from Crete en route to Gaza.

The reason given for sending out the ship is that it is carrying medical supplies for needy hospitals in Gaza.

Also on board is an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset. His name is Basel Ghattas and he is a representative of the Joint Arab List. The president of Tunisia was on board when it departed Crete.
Sounds strange considering that an ISIS terror attack just took place in Tunisia. Terrorists struck a beach hotel at a tourist resort killing at least 38 people and wounding 26.

People affiliated with the flotilla said that the night before they set sail, someone tried to sabotage the ship - as has been done with other flotillas. Someone swam under the boat and tied up the propellers.
The organizers detected the problem and freed the propellers.

In 2011 a very similar attack took place and the sabotage postponed the departure of the ship. As a result fewer ships joined the flotilla.

Today there is just one. This flotilla is begging for publicity. 

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Gaza Sent A Drone to Israel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday a drone took off from Gaza and flew into Israel.

The Israelis report that the drone was being watched every moment - even before it was launched.
The Israeli Air Force was scrambling to destroy the drone if necessary.

The drone crossed into Israeli territory and then fell to the ground. The army picked up the drone and they are examining and studying it. Israel is asserting that at no time was the drone a threat.

There are two types of drones. One is for intelligence and spying and the other is for attack. They are both remote control operated and they both have cameras that send back important reconnaissance pictures to be studied.

There have been serious rumors that Hamas was given drones by Iran. And Hamas has repeatedly said that they do have drone technology and the ability to hit Israel with drones.

Israel is not yet releasing information on the nature or the make of the drones. But no one can deny that this incident was an important game changer. Drones give Hamas eyes in places they never could see before.

That is dangerous.


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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Russia Outsells Saudis When it Comes to Oil to China

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Russia is feeling the crunch of their policy in Ukraine. They have had to diversify their markets and recruit different buyers for their essential natural resources.

In other words, Russia needed to find new buyers for their oil.

It is not only Ukraine that has hampered Russian oil growth.
Another blow to the Russian economy is the fact that crude oil prices have fallen dramatically.

Natural gas and crude oil compose over 60% of Russian exports. That is a huge chunk of their economy.

Leave it to Russia, they have found alternatives. Russia is now the largest supplier of oil to China - doubling their exports of oil to China in the past year. In May alone Russia provided 3.92 million tons of oil to China.

The Russians are now exporting more oil to China than Angola which exported 3.26 million tons and Saudi Arabia which supplied 3.05 million tons of oil.

Russia knows how to play the game. They are out there making certain that they gain market share and that they do not lose influence in the world.

Dropping exports would signal weakness. Russia would never let that happen. Russia wants to show strength. 

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