Monday, January 31, 2011

Food Costs Go Up in the MidEast

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Another crisis is emerging. More unrest is poised to overtake Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East.
The price of food is skyrocketing. When the price of food goes up - local unrest increases.

Wheat futures have reached a 29 month high. The price of gasoline is rising and rising.
To confront this new crisis, Jordan's King Abdullah is reinstituting subsidies on foods, especially on staples. Jordan asked for and received $100 million in help from the US to offset the cost of the subsidies.
And on Sunday, Mubarak, like Jordan's king, ordered that food prices be slashed to ease the burden on the masses and to hopefully quell anger over food prices.
This is a big crisis. It doesn't get worse than food and gas shortages. More unrest is brewing.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mubarak a Least Worst Option

By Micah Halpern

I've Been Thinking:
Replacing Mubarak in Egypt is not necessarily the best option. Yes we embrace democracy and the voice of the people and we also embrace the right of the people to choose even a bad leader.

One of the most obvious results of ousting Mubarak would be replacing him with Islamic leadership. Not Islamic leadership like in Iran, Islamic leadership like Hamas.
The potential for war with Israel would increase dramatically. Stability in Jordan would teeter and possibly fall. Anyone who enters the leadership position instead of Mubarak will be a sponsor of Hamas in their attack against Israel. A war or a near war situation could cost the lives of tens of thousands of Egyptians and ruin entire regional and world economies.
Mubarak is a thug. But a quick revolt and casting him aside could endanger the world. Mubarak needs to be pressured to modify and liberalize and transition into better forms of leadership.

An overthrow of Mubarak is not in the best interests of the United States or of the West. Not in the long term and not in the short term.
That might sound anti-democratic, but it is not. It is a political, economic and historically proven reality.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mubarak is Not Going Away

By Micah Halpern
Saturday January 29, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
As things heat up even more in Egypt and as the military has been brought into the picture, several things should be made perfectly clear.
Egypt has the power to put down the protests and restore order. The question is how many people will die in the process.

There are about 18 million people in Cairo, about 78 million in the entire country. Even if this becomes a more popular uprising, the only way to topple Mubarak is if the military joins the cause.
The many and various extremist groups are more organized than the students who have been the face of this uprising. The extremists outnumber and out-organize the students. Extremists and students might join forces but they have nothing in common except their disdain for Mubarak.
Do not hope for major change in Egypt.
After the Government puts down the unrest and things become calmer - which will happen, Mubarak will institute changes. He will fire his interior minister, the person responsible for the police. He may free some long time prisoners. These are some of the demands of the student protesters. He may also call for new parliamentary elections even though the last ones were a mere two months ago.
Mubarak is not going to step down and disappear. He will seek revenge against both those who stood silent and those who participated in the uprising.
For many years Mubarak has functioned as a benevolent dictator, but he is and always will be a dictator. He is and always will be a thug.
Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday in Egypt

By Micah Halpern
Friday January 28, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
Friday is the day of rest in the Muslim World. And on Fridays the Imams (Muslim clerics) preach to the masses who visit their mosques. Often, these sermons are broadcast nationally. The words of the Imams can set the tone for the nation.

Egyptian leaders and people across the Arab world are now holding their collective breath, waiting to hear what the Imams will say. Their words can cause a massive uprising - or they can quell it.

The Imams of Egypt are paid by the state. If the preachers embrace the protesters and the protests they will be removed from their positions and possibly even arrested. The government has already spoken to the Imams to make certain that they hit all the correct notes. But when a speaker speaks, there is no way to edit the text.

Yesterday also saw protests in the West African country of Gabon and in Yemen. Interesting - and not coincidental.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Uprising in Egypt

By Micah Halpern
Thursday January 27, 2011

I've Been Thinking:
Protests are spreading in Egypt. Now the United States and the European Union have asked Egypt to permit the protests and allow the rallies.
Let people voice their dissent, they say.

Tension between Egypt and the West about reforming and liberalizing and moving to more democratic institutions has been a constant.

Egypt will fight to protect itself. Egypt does not take kindly to the United States meddling into internal affairs. Egyptian leadership can always be counted on to defend their place and their position. Status is more important than democratic reforms.
Egypt will not take any risks for Western liberal values. If it comes to it, Egyptian police will massacre Egyptian citizens and publically hang and humiliate leaders of the opposition. The police are brutal in Egypt and there are untold numbers of secret police.

Egyptian leadership is not about to budge.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Demonstrations in the Arab World

By Micah Halpern
Wednesday January 26, 2011
I've Been Thinking:

Two demonstrations took place in the Arab world yesterday - two demonstrations worth noting and worth comparing.

Demonstration # 1 took place in Egypt. Egyptians took their lives in their hands and headed out to the streets. They were empowered by the events that took place several weeks ago in Tunisia - and they came out by the masses. Thousands of people spontaneously came out - not tens of thousands but, never the less, thousands of Egyptians willing to put their lives in jeopardy for a cause in which they believed. They want change in Egypt and they want more freedom in Egypt.
Demonstration # 2 took place within the Palestinian Authority. The demonstration was a welcome back to Abbas as the Palestinian leader returned from a visit to Egypt. Abbas was met with cheers and supporters, greeted by not more than several dozen supporter. The demonstrators intended to show the Arab world that Abbas has the support of the Palestinian people, but they could only muster up a staged and artificial display of support.
Spontaneous demonstration versus staged demonstration.

Spontaneous demonstrations are not looked upon kindly in this part of the world. Staged demonstrations are encouraged.
If momentum builds and if more people join spontaneous demonstrations, if as many as tens of thousands of demonstrators choose to protest in Egypt or other parts of the Arab world, governments will crack down. And they will make Iran's reaction to protestors look kind.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Al Jazeera Leaks

By Micah Halpern
Tuesday January 25, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
A set of leaks concerning secret negotiations between Palestinians and Israel has been made public by the Qatari TV network Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera is the most watched Arabic network in the Arabic speaking world. It exerts tremendous influence and has extensive popular support. Put bluntly, Al Jazeera sets the tone on the streets of the Arabic world.
The network claims to have some 1600 memos and minutes of negotiations between Palestinians leaders and Israelis in the midst of negotiations. And the material is damning, terribly damning. It has Palestinians agreeing to and showing great flexibility on the Palestinian Right of Return, on Jerusalem and on the final status map including land swaps.
This is very hopeful for those who hope for a negotiated settlement. It is a minefield for Palestinian leaders, the Arab world and the Palestinian population who see these ideas as sacrosanct.

These leaks could very well cause an uprising. These leaks could result in a Hamas revolt and the ousting of Abbas.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hezbollah May Lead Lebanon

By Micah Halpern
Monday January, 24 2011
I've Been Thinking:
Word is spreading through the Arabic press that if Lebanon turns toward Hezbollah, the United States will pull all their support. They are saying this because this was the threat that Congress made last year and then proceeded to hold up $100 million in aid - until.
Until the US State Department argued that Lebanon needed the aid to confront Hezbollah, but the State Department was wrong and the entire plan was proved to be a failure.
Now that Druze leader Walid Jumblat has thrown his support behind Hezbollah it is almost inevitable that Lebanon will become the second Shiite country in the world.
There is also the possibility that Jumblat is laying a trap for Hezbollah. There is a possibility that he will pull his support and then side with the Sunnis and Christians of Lebanon creating a government that would clip Hezbollah's wings, or at least, limit their power.
The Arabic press is trying to influence Lebanon by holding US aid over them, hoping that the Lebanese will side against Hezbollah.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Syrian US Relations

By Micah Halpern
Sunday January 23, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
This has been an important few days for Syrian/US relations.
The new United States ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, and Syrian Foreign Minister Moualem met and spoke about improving relations. Ford showed his host a letter he will deliver to Syrian President Assad that stresses improved relations between their countries.
In 2005 the United States pulled the Syrian ambassador because it was clear even then that Syria had both direct and indirect links to the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri.
Now the US is hopeful that they can lure Syria out of the Iranian nest and bring the Syrians under the influence of the West. If the United States can succeed with their mission the entire complexion of the Middle East could be altered.
I doubt they will succeed.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Druze Back Hezbollah

By Micah Halpern
Saturday January 22, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
Walid Jumblat is leader of the Druze in Lebanon. Jumblat is a second generation king maker in Lebanese politics.
Yesterday Jumblat announced that he supports a new Hezbollah government in Lebanon.
The Druze community in Lebanon represents the key swing vote between the Christians, the Shiites and the Sunnis.
The primary reason for the tension between Jumblat and the entire Druze community and Hezbollah stems from the fact that Jumblat wanted Syria out of Lebanon and that sentiment pit him against Hezbollah.
Not six months ago Jumblat claimed that Hezbollah wants to kill him. Now comes this announcement. When Druze leader Jumblat announces support for Hezbollah something is very strange - Jumblat has been a sworn enemy of Hezbollah for years.
Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Iran Opens Hacker Unit

By Micah Halpern
Friday January 21, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
Iran's chief of police, General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, recently announced that the Iranians are forming a new cyber police force.
This is not a group of cyber cops to spy on Iranians. This is a special task force unit, created about six months ago, to troll the internet and try to defend Iran.
Iran realizes that they are hopelessly trailing the rest of the world in internet related matters. Iran knows that there is only one way to catch up - by entering the world of hacking and counter hacking.
Iran needs to groom their hackers. Thus far, Iran has no real significant homegrown computer masters.
Iran's failure to stop the Stuxnet virus pointed out to them and to everyone watching how little they know and how expensive it is to get reliable computer brainpower.
Iran will catch up. When Iran is determined to do something, they do it. And right now, Iran is determined to master the cyber world.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Mistake: Dips on Strike

By Micah Halpern
Thursday January 20, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
Israel will not be participating in the UN Security Council debate about the Middle East this month. It is a monthly discussion and Israel is always there as are the Palestinians.
During this meeting the Palestinians will present their proposal for the creation of a state. There will be no counter discussion by Israel.
Because the Foreign Ministry of Israel is on strike. That means that there is no one who can and will confront the proposal. The purpose of the forum is to have a debate, not a single-sided declaration.
Israel's foreign ministry workers are underpaid, even grossly underpaid. But the timing of this strike will cause irreparable harm to Israel.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Russia to Open Muslim Network

By Micah Halpern
Wednesday January 19, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
The Russians have decided to launch a Muslim TV network. The idea was suggested three years ago by the current President of Russia, Medvedev.

Twenty million Muslims live in Russia and there has been a significant amount Muslim anti - Russian and anti-government activity over the past few years.
The suggestion that the new media, specifically TV as well as other forms of high tech transmissions, can shape the way people see things in ingenious.

By using modern media Russia can educate and acculturate the Muslim population and influence them. The vision would be to expose Russians to the positive sides of Russian democracy and Russian culture.

TV and other modern media could be the greatest vehicle ever to reach out and modulate extremism.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Iran and Russia Talk About Nuke Fuel

By Micah Halpern
Tuesday January 18, 2011

I've Been Thinking:

President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia spoke to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by phone yesterday. The Kremlin released info about the call.

The conversation was about nuclear cooperation. They spoke about the Busher power plant - the plant that the Russians help build for the Iranians.

The Russians and the Iranians have agreed that they should work together and that there is much to cooperate over regarding Busher. Iran needs nuclear fuel and Russian is more than willing to provide it.

Of course there are numerous UN resolutions that are in place preventing Russia from cooperating and providing nuclear fuel to the Iranians and their nuclear power plant, but neither country seemed to be too concerned with that.

Russia built the plant and took an extra long time to complete it. There was much tension around the plant. Iran claimed that Russia was sabotaging the construction to cow tail to the US.

It will be very difficult for Russia to hide this new deal from the UN and from the West. Russia must have something up their sleeve.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Syria & Jordan Fear Revolts

By Micah Halpern
Monday January 17, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
Syria and Jordan are in fear of revolts - similar to what happened in Tunisia.
And they have begun to respond.

Yesterday, Syria increased heating oil subsidies to 2 million workers by 75%. The goal is to try to buy support and allegiance.

Jordan did the same thing. Over the past few months Jordan had been trying to cut back on subsidies - to run the government without subsidies and bring their economy into the modern world. Now Jordan is reinstituting subsidies worth $225 million on essentials like sugar and rice.
Both Jordan and Syria are trying to quell any dissatisfaction among the masses. They are doing their best to put down any potential revolts.
The region is quaking - and for good reason.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tunisia & Tourists

By Micah Halpern
Sunday January 16, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
One of the biggest untold stories of the Tunisian uprising and anarchy are the thousands and thousands of Western tourists stranded in the mayhem.
Tunisia is a getaway for Europeans searching for warmth and beautiful beaches.
These Westerners are targets for the rioters.
European airlines are rushing to get their people out. Many tour companies and national tour agencies are heavily involved in Tunisia. Tourists are pushing and shoving in the airports waiting to board planes and escape.
The dangers to tourists in Tunisia are beyond conceivable, the dangers are truly life threatening.
Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ben Ali Flees Tunisia

By Micah Halpern
Saturday January 15, 2011
I’ve Been Thinking:
Yesterday, Tunisia went in a state of emergency.
Rioters succeeded in forcing Tunisian dictator Ben Ali to flee to France. The dictator has been in power for 23 years, ever since 1987 when he assumed his position in a bloodless coup.

Massive anger and frustration over unemployment and a depressed economy exacerbated by the oppressive measures employed by Ben Ali were had people spilling over into the streets. Tunisians were climbing the walls of the Interior Ministry – a place where so many were tortured.

Whatever happens, the situation in Tunisia will have a huge impact on the region and on the entire Middle East. Will there be elections? What force will emerge? Will that force be more of the same? Or will that force transition and create a productive positive Tunisia?

There is no way to predict the near or distant future for Tunisia.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lebanon Near Civil War

By Micah Halpern
Friday January 14, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
Lebanon is on the verge of civil war.
Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Arab League have all called on the Lebanese to calm down not act rashly.

Lebanon's Shiites and Sunnis are poised for battle. The head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, announced that there will be no war, but he is wrong.
Two grenades were thrown at the Christian Party offices in Beirut. That is the opening salvo. The Christian Party is thought to be Hezbollah allies.
Tensions are rising. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is on his way to Turkey. In Ankara he will get an earful of "make certain that there is no civil war."
But it's not up to Hariri, Hezbollah is calling the shots. They brought down the government because they do not want the UN special committee to present indictments that will certainly name Hezbollah operations and heads as those responsible for the assassination of Rafik Hariri, this prime minister's father.
Talking to Hariri is a waste of time... if you want to stop the war- stop Hezbollah.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mousavi Calls Iran's Leader Nazis

By Micah Halpern Thursday January 13, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
Mousavi, the head of Iran's opposition and the leader of last year's election campaign for change in Iran, has publically proclaimed that the current leadership in Iran is just like the Nazis.
Mousavi paralleled the behavior of Iranian leadership with that of Josef Goebels, the head of propaganda for Hitler and the Nazis. He said that Iranian leaders tell lies just like the lies of the Nazis during the Goebels era.
Criticizing the government in Iran is against the law.
Criticizing the Ayatollah, the supreme leader of Iran, is a major crime.
Mousavi is on thin ice, he could easily be arrested. What is his end game? Does Mousavi think that getting arrested will help his cause?
I assume that Mousavi will shift into action when he gets arrested. And then maybe there will be massive riots calling for his freedom. That's the only way to shake up Iran.
Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

US Tests New Drone

By Micah Halpern
Wednesday January 12, 2011

I've Been Thinking:

The US tested a $30 million unmanned drone last week in the California desert. The test was reported in the LA Times.

This unmanned drone is so effective that it can:
stay in the sky for several days
relay info back to its base
cover entire countries in a single scan

The drone is the size of a 747
Tiny drones are useful but restricted to local monitoring.
This is the next generation of intelligence gathering and monitoring hardware.

This is the new generation of drones for a new generation of war.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Obama and the Arizona Shooting

By Micah Halpern
Tuesday January 11, 2011

I've Been Thinking:

The horrific shooting in Tucson, Arizona may be the water shed for President Obama and his presidency.

This event may be the turning point in the 2012 presidential election.

The president responded extremely well to the crisis. His response resonated with voters. Because of his response, Americans feel the pain of Tucson coupled with pride in being American.

I will not be surprised if this weekend's polls have Obama way up.

The presidential campaign has begun. Like any great politician Obama is seizing the moment to hammer his message.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Romney To the Middle East

By Micah Halpern
Monday January 10, 2011
I've Been Thinking:

The Republican party primary campaign is up and running. The field may small at this point but Mitt Romney is determined to take the lead from the start.

Romney is now on a trip to Afghanistan, from there he will go on to visit Israel and Jordan,
The tradition of presidential campaigns includes the 3 I's. Candidates often travel to Ireland, Italy and Israel. Romney is just the beginning. Almost all candidates from both parties will eventually travel not only to the 3 I's but also to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Presidential wannabes need to get their pictures taken and make their presence felt at real time briefings on what is happening on the ground.
The race is on.
Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Arab League in Iraq

By Micah Halpern
Sunday January 9, 2011

I've Been Thinking:

The Arab League is supposed to meet in Iraq on March 23. This would be the first time since 1990 that the Arab League will meet in Iraq. But the meeting is in question.

Arab League sources may say that the meet will go on as scheduled, but that statement is highly unlikely.
There are 2 issues that suggest that now is not the right time to hold the meeting in Iraq.

1- There is a shortage of hotels in Iraq that are at a level high enough to service Arab League events and representatives.

2- Al Qaeda has threatened to attack the League meetings and anyone and any group attending. At this point in Iraq's history a threat like that is very hard to defend against and must be taken very seriously.
We often focus on security issues related to the US and other Westerners in Iraq and on general threats from al Qaeda. This is a perfect illustration of just how much internal, Arab vs. Arab, conflict there is in the Middle East.
Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Secretary Gates to China

by Micah D. Halpern
Saturday January 8, 2011
I’ve Been Thinking:
This weekend US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates leaves for a 5 day trip to China. Gates will be the first Secretary of Defense to visit China since 2000.
The purpose of the trip is to re-establish military relations with China which cut off all military interaction and communications because the United States has continued its relationship with Taiwan.
China is by far the largest army in the world… but it is an army in need of modernization.

The US can help China. And China can help the US
The Chinese army is a huge market for the US – and China has a lot to offer the United States. China has access to a tremendous amount of military intel and info about what is happening in the world that could be enormously beneficial for the US.
Best of luck, Secretary Gates.
Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Clinton to the Gulf

By Micah D. Halpern
Friday January 7, 2011

I've Been Thinking:

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on her way to the Gulf States. She is there for the weekend and will spend her time in a round of talks.
Clinton will definitely be visiting the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar. This is her second trip to the region in two months.
This trip is anything but frivolous, there is an important agenda at work here. The United States must convince Arab states in the region to keep up pressure against Iran. The US must attempt to sway some of voices in the region to come out publicly and vociferously against Iran.
The United States must act quickly. While the US is trying to curry favors, Iran is working its magic in the same arena.
In January there will be a meeting of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the EU held in Turkey. The topic under discussion will be Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran is making a play for popular Arab and world opinion - the United States is only really interested in convincing the West. That is why this Clinton trip is so crucial.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christians in Egypt

By Micah Halpern
Thursday January 6, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
Tonight begins the Coptic Christmas.
Copts are a sect of Egyptian Christians. They were the target of the New Year's terror attack that killed 21 Christians. Egyptian Copts have been protesting all week, asking for more protection and more government condemnation of the attacks.
The government has stepped up protection - for tonight.
The Copts are calling for the Muslims in Egypt to create a human fence to protect their right to practice Christianity in Egypt.

There are 8 million Coptic Christians in Egypt and that constitutes about 10% of the population of Egypt. Coptic Christians date their sect back 2000 years. The word "copt" actually means Egyptian… but today it refers to Coptic Christians only. Christianity came to Egypt from via Mark in about the year 46. The Christians of Egypt trace themselves to that period which makes Copts one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East.
Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Conflict Btw Iran & Afghanistan

By Micah Halpern
Wednesday January 5, 2011
I've Been Thinking:

A major conflict is emerging on the Iranian/Afghani border.
2500 Afghani fuel trucks fully loaded with gasoline are sitting on the Iranian side of the border. Iran is refusing to permit the trucks to cross the border. Afghanistan sees the act as a boycott and an act of war.

The cost of gasoline in Afghanistan has spiked by 70% over the past few days and it is only going to get worse.

Remember - US forces are in Afghanistan. There is the potential for a huge explosion, even a full blow conflict, between Iran and the US on the ground. And there is certainly the potential of a series of Afghan attacks against Iran.

Iran is looking for a legal opportunity to strike Afghanistan and even to hit targets sensitive to the US or US targets themselves.
Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Iran Asks to Find General

By Micah Halpern
Tuesday January 4, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
New Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi asked the president of the International Red Cross to search for Iranian General Alireza Asqhari who has been missing since 2007.
Most likely, General Asqhari defected. He is probably living a wonderful life on a deserted island with all the comforts money can buy and a fat Cayman Island bank account. In exchange, he also delivered all the most important info possible to the US and Israel.
When the Iranians originally sounded the alarm there were very credible rumors that their general went to Turkey where he was probably picked up, interrogated and debriefed. From there he probably slipped away never to be seen again.
Iran claims that the general was kidnapped by Israel and by the United States. So why talk to the Red Cross now - again?
Because the new Iranian foreign minister wants to cement his position as the great defender of the Iranians.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Attacks on Christians

By Micah Halpern Monday January 3, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
There has been a streak of attacks against Christians living in the Arab world over the past few weeks.
The attacks have been perpetrated by Muslim terrorists, motivated primarily by deeply ingrained anti-Christian feelings.
Another motivating factor, one that has been overlooked, is that while the attacks are anti-Christian, they are also motivated by a hatred against the West.
Hatred against the West is a factor of being in the Middle East. Christianity, although born and nurtured in the Middle East, symbolizes Western culture and Western civilization.
In the Middle East, Christianity is a clear reference to the culture of the West.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Clinton Shakes with Chavez

By Micah Halpern
Sunday January 2, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
What was the US Secretary of State thinking? Where were her advisers? Where was their common sense?
Hillary Clinton shook hands with Hugo Chavez yesterday- pleasantries were exchanged.
Chavez just rejected the US ambassador in his country and Obama sent the Venezuelan ambassador packing. It's only the latest in a collection of snubs and name callings and disputes between the United States and Venezuela.
Shaking Chavez' hand sends the wrong message to everyone. Shaking Chavez' hand shows weakness on the part of the US. Shaking Chavez' hand is a diplomatic mistake.
Excuses can be made, but truly, there is no excuse. The invited guests were wasting time at the inauguration of the new president of Brazil. This is not the first time a US leader was in the room with a non-friendly leader of another country or someone who is getting the cold shoulder from the US. The response is to play diplomatic "sea-saw" - they go here, you go there. That is why you have staff. Even if Chavez wanted to embarrass Clinton with the handshake - which is most likely what he intended to do, the skillful diplomat avoids or deflects the situation.
This is a serious diplomatic snafu.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Abbas Wants Altenative Peace

By Micah Halpern
Saturday January 1, 2010
I've Been Thinking:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had some insightful and forceful things to say yesterday.
He said that the United States is more interested in managing the Palestinian/Israeli conflict than in resolving it. In that, Abbas may be correct.
He called for an international response, explaining that he wants to establish an international committee to manage the establishment of a Palestinian State.
At the same time that the president of the PA was making these statements, PA security forces arrested Kawasma in Hebron. Kawasma is the most dangerous and most significant of all Hamas terrorists. In addition to being on the PA's list, Kawasma is also on Israel's terrorists list. Now everyone is happy.
In arresting a leading Hamas strongman, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have finally assumed the roles that the international community was expecting them to assume.
This single and very important act may pave the way for more international support of the PA and may just accomplish the sought after end around of US involvement in the conflict.
Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.