Sunday, August 2, 2015

Russia Out-Smarts US

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The Russians announced that on Sunday August 2nd and Monday August 3rd, their foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, will meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al- Jubeir.

They will meet in Qatar.

The Russian announcement said that the topics for discussion are: how to move toward peace in Syria, Yemen and Libya, how to move forward in the fight against ISIS and the best ways of maintaining stability in the Persian Gulf.

Russia is positioning itself as a power broker. They want to be seen as the most significant force capable of assuring conflict resolutions. Russia has outmaneuvered the United States in the region for the past two years - this announcement is one more example.

What we have here is Russian leadership - and US participation.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Al Qaeda Captures CIA Trained Syrians

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Al Nusra Front, the al Qaeda group in Syria, announced that they have captured Syrian rebels that were trained by the CIA.

The message said that the group was captured after they crossed over the border.

As if it could not get worse or more pitiful or simply ludicrous - only 60 rebels have thus far been trained by the CIA since the program began a year ago. And now a significant number (any number is significant ! ) have been captured.

The captured rebels will be tortured and executed. Any important intel and information they might have to give over will be harvested by al Qaeda before they execute the CIA trained Syrians.

The US plan is not working very well, but this is how it goes: Train Syrians to fight Assad, Hezbollah, al Qaeda (al Nusra) and ISIS and then take over Syria.

The problem is that if the few who have been trained cannot even hole their own and defend themselves - how are they going to take over the country.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Putin Assures Bibi -- Iran Deal is Good

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The Kremlin released a statement about a conversation that took place between Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu. The purpose of the conversation was to assure Netanyahu that the Iranian deal will not lead to a nuclear Iran and that the deal will provide for a safer Middle East.

According to the statesmen Putin told Netanyahu that the agreement includes "solid guarantees that the Iranian nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful."

It continued to explain "that implementing it would positively impact the security and stability of the Middle East."

There can be no doubt that Netanyahu does not believe that Putin is correct. Israel is in the midst of mounting a serious battle to convince the few Democratic members of Congress to nix the Iranian deal and this conversation has not changed or swayed that campaign in
the least.

Netanyahu knows that Putin and Russia do what is best for Putin and Russia. And he realizes that Putin wants calm in the Middle East and does not want Iran to have nuclear weapons.

And yet, despite the assurances and the knowledge conveyed by Putin, Netanyahu is not convinced that Russia, the United States and the deal can keep Iran nuclear weapons free. Not collectively and certainly not individually.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Jews Compete in Berlin Stadium Hitler Built

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The Jewish Olympics, the European Maccabi Games, are being played in Berlin. Hard to imagine ---but true.

Not just are the games being played in Berlin, the games are being played in the same stadium that Adolf Hitler built for the 1936 Olympics. 2,100 proud and strong Jews playing Olympic games in Hitler's Germany.

This is a powerful image. Hitler used the stadium to propagandize his vision. It was there in that stadium that that Hitler created pageants and huge pyrotechnical performances all in order to glorify the racist message of the superiority of their Teutonic Aryan philosophy.

Today Europe is undergoing a resurgence of anti-Semitism. But because of these Jewish Olympic games, because of the Maccabi games, European leaders are coming out to join in a celebration of Jewish life and Jewish creativity.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pollard Release

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Jonathan Pollard's lawyers announced yesterday that the parole board decided to free Pollard on November 21 of this year, the 30th anniversary of his imprisonment.

The US Department of Justice has not challenged the decision - so without resistance Pollard may see his freedom in just a few short months.

Pollard told the parole board on July 7 that he had a job lined up and a place to live in New York City.

The job and NYC seem to be terms of his parole. Israel and others are hoping that they can convince the board to permit him to leave the United States and go to Israel.

As of now that does not seem to be in the cards.

The announcement by lawyers representing Jonathan Pollard, closely followed by comments from
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, are all signs that seem to imply that this is a done deal.
However, I must point out that there were times in the past when Pollard was nearly set free and then, at the last minute, the deal was cancelled.

I am hopeful that this time will be different, but I will be convinced only when I see Jonathan Pollard leave prison as a free man.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Russia & Turkey Talk About the MidEast

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The Kremlin held a press conference yesterday to summarize an important conversation that took place on Sunday between Putin of Russia and Erdogan of Turkey.

According to the statement released by the Kremlin, the two leaders had an important telephone conversation. The topics under discussion included the situation in the Middle East. They spoke about Iraq and Syria and most especially, they spoke ISIS.

They also discussed the spread of terror and the need to fight
terrorism.

The most important component of their discussion was Russia's interest in uniting the various countries in the region to confront ISIS and to fight extremism.

The Kremlin spokesman said that in the Sunday conversation the leaders "exchanged opinions on the situation in the Middle East, first of all in Syria and Iraq, in the framework of stepping up multilateral and bilateral coordination with the aim of increasing efficiency of countering threats from the Islamic State."

"It was stressed that consolidation of efforts of all interested countries is necessary on the basis of international law to successfully fight the spread of terrorism and extremism."
This is important stuff - especially coming, in unison, from Russia and Turkey.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Iran's Mullahs Are Against the Deal

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Iranian religious leadership has a very interesting "take" on the nuclear agreement.

It seems that religious leadership in Iran believes that the agreement is a trap. They think it is a lure with promises of great economic rewards. And they think that what the United States, Israel and all the other nations who were forcing the agreement really want - is a change of leadership in Iran.

The religious leaders think that the entire purpose of the agreement is to entice Iran into understanding Western ways so that they will view the world outside of Iran as beneficial to the masses in Iran.

They fear that those Iranians who yearn for improved economic and cultural exchanges with the outside world will - because of the nuclear agreement, immediately see and understand the new status Iran has achieved.

Iranian religious leadership may not be so far off.

And Iranian religious leadership is petrified that their assessment will come true.
If their fears are realized, it means that they, the religious leadership of Iran, would be ousted and their values and their stranglehold on the youth, the culture and the economy of Iran would be vaporized.

So, why did Rouhani receive permission from the Supreme Leader of Iran to sign off on the deal, and why has the rest of Iranian religious leadership remained quiet until now? The answer is that the religious leaders in Iran understood how important it was to lift the sanctions and improve their economy. Now that it is a done deal, they will clamp down on the hopes and dreams of reformers and youth attempting to use this agreement as a springboard to freedom.

Iranian religious leadership is telling the United States -- "We see your games and understand you moves."

This is the only way we can interpret the numerous comment made by the Supreme Leader immediately before and since the announcement of the nuclear agreement.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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