Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Iran to Execute 4 for Bank Fraud

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday a court in Iran convicted and sentenced four men to death. They will be executed for bank fraud.

The four were investment bankers who forged papers enabling them to get $2.6 billion in government loans that they then used to buy government properties.

The arrests were made in September 2011. The trial and the sentencing took less than 11 months. The government of Ahmadinejad has been tainted by this case. One of the charges against the current government is corruption and the charge is based on this $2.6 billion scandal.

In Iran they execute people convicted of bank fraud. There is no such thing as white collar crime and white collar sentencing in Iran.

I could not even begin to imagine how many people would now be on death row if that were the white collar punishment meted out in the United States.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Monday, July 30, 2012

Jordan Opens Syrian Refugee Camps

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Jordan gave permission to the United Nations to establish 200 refugee camps for Syrians seeking safe haven from the crisis in Syria.

Thus far 140,000 refugees have crossed into Jordan where the camps will accommodate up to a million.

Until now Jordan was reluctant to permit camps thinking that camps will create their own problems. The number of refugees Jordan permits to cross the border per day has increased from 500 to 1000 and may be as many as 2000.

Now the Syrians are helping the UN establish the refugee camps. The first was opened yesterday on the Syrian border.

The Zaatari Camp was opened with 500 new refugees. It will eventually hold 120,000.
Jordan is preparing for the worse possible scenario. Kudos to Jordan.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Arabs Blackout Israel at Olympics

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The Olympic Games - symbol of peace and global interaction, a series of events that inspire national pride and true, literal, global warming.

Every country broadcast Friday's opening ceremony with great pomp and circumstance.


When the Israeli delegation came out and took their place in the opening night procession, Al Jazeera went silent.

The great detail that Al Jazeera had been using to describe and bring to life all the other delegations stopped short. The last words said by the commentators before they went silent were: "They do not deserve it." Translation: Israel does not deserve this place of respect in the community of nations.

Al Jazeera is broadcast from Qatar. It is the closest thing to an independent Arabic network. But in truth it is not independent. In truth, Al Jazeera broadcasts or in this case goes silent and chooses not to broadcast in order to perpetuate the great lie about Israel and to permeate hatred.

With or without Al Jazeera's coverage of Israel's participation, the Games go on.


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

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Near War in the MidEast

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday the unimaginable happened. We are lucky that the tinderbox that is now the entire Middle East region did not ignite and burst into war.

As a family of refugees was fleeing Syria and crossing into Jordan, a group of Syrian soldiers opened fire. One of the children was killed.

The Jordanian army, on the other side, opened fire and shot at the Syrian forces with the intention of defending the refugees. It appears that the Jordanians were not in the direct line of fire.

It was direct combat between neighbors.

The entire episode only took a few minutes, but it was a skirmish. Official Jordanian media described it as a mini combat. Not a battle and not a war.

This incident could have easily lit the fuse and drawn Syria to respond to Jordan's response to Syria shooting the refugees.

This is a classic illustration of a tinderbox.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Friday, July 27, 2012

Egypt TV-Fully Covered Women

By Micah Halpern

Her name is Mariyah.

She is a new Egyptian television satellite station set to launch on July 20, 2012. It is a satellite station like no other. Mariyah will be staffed from on air talent to behind the scenes producers to volunteers running a phone-a-thon - by women and women only. And every woman will be wearing a niqab a full facial covering.

Every interviewer and every interviewee, will be in a niqab. And if the production staff cannot find an expert guest who wears a niqab, for either a studio or field interview, they will request the guest's permission to blur her face. If permission is not granted, that guest will not appear on Mariyah.

The wearing of a niqab in many parts of the Arab world is commonplace. In Egypt, it is not. As a matter of fact, for decades it was even illegal for a woman to cover her face with a niqab. And it was certainly against the law to wear a niqab on Egyptian television and in Egyptian schools. Mariyah is a response to the anti-niqab dictate.

For many years Egyptian Muslim leaders went so far as to say that the wearing of a niqab was pagan, that it emanated from pagan tradition in far off lands. They said that ignoramuses and pagans brought the tradition to Islam and the great Islamic scholars of Egypt will not be dragged into that behavior by non-scholars from Afghanistan. In one blatant and recent example of anti-niqab sentiment a grand scholar of Islam in Egypt addressing a girl's high school spotted a young woman wearing a niqab and demanded in very strong and colorful language that she remove it on the spot.

Maryiah is meant to shock Egyptian society. Founders of the station are intent on educating Egyptian women in their understanding of Islam or more correctly, in re-educating them. The satellite station head is El-Sheikha Safaa Refai, a very popular female preacher who says that the niqab is an absolute 'red line' for her and for the station. In an interview for the news outlet al Aram, Refai explained that her new channel is the brainchild of El-Sheikh Abu Islam Ahmed Abdallah, the owner of the Umma Channel, which has already aired several programs featuring women wearing full face veils.

Refai asserts that there is a programming need for niqab-only TV. She promises that the station will address topics of a serious nature and not shy away from controversy. They have already scheduled a program called 'Memories of a Woman' which addresses the issues of immorality and adultery.

Even the name chosen for this woman-only station is imbued with history, controversy and Islamic culture. Mariyah was Mohammed's concubine/wife. There is a long and detailed argument which continues to this day between Muslim scholars of Koran as to whether Mariyah was a wife or a slave. Without a doubt, she was a Copt given to Mohammed as a present after the treaty of al-Hudaybiyah by Muqawqis a Byzantine leader in Egypt. Almost all scholars agree that Mariyah converted to Islam.

The argument about whether Mariyah was wife, slave or concubine is a significant one. There are different kinds or levels of wives in Islam. The word in the Koran for concubine is actually 'sarryiah' and the word for marriage is 'sirr.' The similarity to Mariyah is obvious. The concept of concubine in Islam has important and deep rooted tradition in Koranic and Islamic tradition. Ishmael is the product of the relationship between Ibrahim (Abraham) and Hajar (Hagar). It was an established fact of tradition in Islam (although her name is not in the Koran ) that Hajar is a sarryiah. There is no more authoritative text in Islam than the Koran and so tradition must embrace the concubine in order to embrace Ishmael. For his part, Mohammed had four concubines and Mariyah was his favorite.

In Islam, names are not accidental. Great thought is given to names and names resonate with history and tradition. People do not invent names. They could have named the station Faith or Believer. They could have named it Freedom or Independence. They did not. They named this television satellite station after a concubine/wife who converted from Christianity to Islam and bore Mohammed progeny.

The choice of the name Mariyah is a direct attack against non-Muslims. The assertion is that this beloved woman found Islam and converted. Mohammed benefited from her, Islam benefitted and she, Mariyah, benefitted from her conversion.

The station's backers, of course, are betting that they, too, will benefit from this radical introduction of all-woman, all-naqib television.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Iran Hit w Cyber Attack-Heavy Metal Music

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Cyber war is serious stuff. But there are some lighter moments.

Yesterday the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran was hit by a virus. The virus shut the agency down. All Siemens products were affected.

The virus plays the 1991Heavy Metal song Thunderstruck by AC/DC.

As far as we can tell from reports, from people who have been called in to help Iran who have been quoted and from atomic energy colleagues, the music virus malware has done nothing more than offend the ears.
Heavy metal at its best with a lot of screeching and a lot of pounding.

This might just be a new form of torture for Iranian scientists.

Never underestimate the power of a good sense of humor.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

BP to Supply Israel w/ Gas

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

British Petroleum (BP) just won the tender to supply Israel with Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).
They beat out Russia's Gazprom, one of the largest gas companies in the world, for the tender.

BP will deliver two large tankers to Israel Electric Corporation every month until May 2013. This is a short term solution to the decision Egypt made in April to break their natural gas deal with Israel.

LNG is shipped on tankers that normally carry 150,000 - 250,000 m cubed. After LNG is converted back to natural gas it becomes seven times its size. The gas is then converted to electricity.

There are only about 360 ships in the world that transport LNG. The ships are easily identifiable, they look like they have four large golf balls on top.

Israel cannot be dependent on Egypt or any Arab country for energy needs until they can tap their own newly found gas resources. This arrangement works for both Israel and for BP.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Will Obama Visit Israel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Presidential electioneering is in high gear.

Next week, Romney will be making a trip to Great Britain, Israel, Poland and Germany.
And an aide to President Obama, Colin Kahl announced that the president will visit Israel in his second term. The comment was met with a chuckle - the last trip Obama made to Israel was a 2008 campaign visit.

To effectively reach out to important constituencies, the standard rule for presidential candidates is to visit the "Three I's," those of course are Ireland Italy and Israel. Obama visited Israel in 2008, Italy in July 2009 and searched for his roots in Ireland in May 2011.

As a sitting president Barack Obama has been all around Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia almost everywhere in the region, but he never stopped in.

Some say that the entire issue is irrelevant. Bush 43 visited late in his second term and Reagan and Bush 41 never visited Israel at all. Clinton visited four times and Bush the junior, although late in his tenure, visited Israel twice. Even Jimmy Carter who only visited thirty-one countries during his entire presidency made certain to visit Israel.

Some serious Democratic friends of Israel are struggling to determine if Obama really is a friend of Israel, or, is he just playing lip service. If Obama is elected to a second term, we will find out.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com


Monday, July 23, 2012

Iran's Strategy

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Since July 1st Ahmadinejad has been saying that the real battle between the West and Iran is now beginning because of the new heavy sanctions that are in effect.

Before July 1st the Iranian leader's rhetoric was directed internally. Now Ahmadinejad is starting to make serious threats to the West. The United States is interpreting these threats.

Intelligence and diplomatic analysts have almost certainly concluded that Iran is going to strike at the oil industry. That explains why futures on gasoline and oil have started to rise. The thinking is that Iran is going to make a move very soon and that move will include squeezing the Straits of Hormuz.

For Iran, there is no downside.

If there is tension in the Gulf - the price of oil goes up and they win.
If they reduce the movement of oil through the Straits of Hormuz - the price of oil goes up and they win.
If the United States attacks Iran unrest emerges in the region and - the price of oil goes up and they win. Plus they win even more because they appear as the victim and the US is the aggressor.

There is almost no situation in which Iran does not win. The best way to keep the Iranians weak is to keep the situation normal.

Good Luck with that.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Iraqi Oil

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Chevron just signed an oil exploration deal with Iraqi Kurds. Chevron is the second largest US oil company,
right after ExxonMobil.

The Iraqi Central government is upset, even livid, because of this deal. The Central government wants control over regional deals.

Well, actually, the Iraqi Central government wants control over all oil deals. They want them coordinated through their oil ministry.

The Kurds say that the constitution enables them the power to negotiate their own oil contracts. And that is just what they did.

According to sources Chevron paid between $200 and $300 million for the exploration of just several sites. In addition, according to the agreement the region receives $3-$5 per barrel. It is a much better local deal than the one struck earlier by the Central government.

There is no doubt that the strength and the future of the Iraq, as well as its stability, lies with will the regions, not the Central government. Iraq's economic viability is dependent on regions, not the Central government.

This is a hard lesson to learn.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Egypt's Spy Master

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Omar Suleiman died this week at the age of 75. He was a soldier his entire life.

Suleiman served as Intelligence Chief of Egypt. He was the chief spy and one of the most trusted and most important people in the inner group of Hosni Mubarak.

Suleiman was Mubarak's right hand man and in the end, he actually served as vice president in a move intended to placate the masses during the riots that ousted Mubarak.
Suleiman even threw his hat into the race for president after Mubarak was ousted. He was disqualified because he did not gather the proper number of signatures and because he was affiliated with the previous government.

Suleiman was the mediator between Israel and the Palestinians and between Palestinians and Palestinians. He was known to be straightforward and fair.

Omar Suleiman died in Cleveland, he will be buried in Egypt.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Friday, July 20, 2012

Reasons for Terror Attack in Bulgaria

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

There are several reasons - beyond the simple and the obvious, that can explain why Iran and Hezbollah went to attack Israelis in Bulgaria.

Most significant is that Iran and Hezbollah have a debt to settle with Israel. There was and there continues to be an ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. At times the conflict has taken a rhetorical form. But it is most dangerous when it takes the form of targeted attacks. Like in Burgas.

Israel has had successes in this conflict, too. Several Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated and Iran holds Israel responsible for the attacks.

Even more critical was the successful strike at Imad Mughniyah in February of 2008. It is unclear if Israel actually assassinated him - the US could easily have been behind it also. Whichever country it was, the deed was done with the assistance of others, most probably the Saudis.

Mughniyah was one of Iran's most important proxies. He was a responsible for killing more Americans than any other person before 9-11. He was responsible for the US Embassy bombing in Beirut. He planned and executed operations all over the world. He extended Iran's reach.

Mughniyah and Iran attacked the Jewish Community center in Argentina. And the attack in Burgas, Bulgaria took place exactly 18 years later, it took place on the 18th anniversary of the attack in Argentina.

This was not history repeating itself, and the Jews of Bulgaria themselves were not subject to significant anti-Semitism. This was terror, pure ongoing terror.


Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Burgas Terror - No Surprise

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The terror attack at the Burgas airport in Bulgaria was horrific. It targeted Israelis of all ages as they stepped off their plane on the way to a holiday at the Black Sea.

Bulgaria's President said that the Mossad did not warn his country of the possibility of an attack. He was referring to a meeting that took place a month ago with Mossad and other Israeli officials who laid out threats.

But this was a no brainer.

Burgas, like Varna, is a regular spot for thousands of Israelis who arrive in Bulgaria on charter planes and stay at hotels that are almost exclusively for Israelis. They get off the planes from Ben Gurion airport and get on Israeli buses. The hotels have additional security for that reason. Actually, the hotels that Israelis stay at in Bulgaria have more security than the Bulgarian President's Black Sea residence which is located not far from the hotels. Burgas is an obvious, high risk, target even without a special Mossad warning.

Part of the ABC's of security is know the calendar - your calendar and the calendar of your enemies.
July 18th marks the 18th anniversary of the bombing of the Jewish Center in Buenos Aires.

This week is the eve of the holiest month in the Muslim world. Ramadan begins in most parts of the world on Friday.

Those are two every important dates and events in the Muslim world. They are dates and events that are very important to Muslim terrorists sponsored by Hezbollah and Iran.

The attack was tragic. But it was not a surprise.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Iran Attacks Israel w/ A Virus

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday two major cyber security companies announced that Israel was not only targeted but hit by a cyber attack from Iran.

Seculert and Kaspersky both released info that a virus called Mahdi attacked 800 Israeli computers. The computers were in academic institutions and government agencies.

The virus was able to transmit and to record. It relayed messages and pictures and other information. It stole files and read emails and instant messages. Clearly, this virus is a part of a much larger portfolio. It was not a virus that caused a malfunction - it was a virus that spied.

The name given this virus is particularly important. According to Shiite tradition the Mahdi is the 12th Imam. The Mahdi is supposed to herald in the messianic era, destroy all evil and convert all non-believers to the proper faith. The Mahdi will rid the world of injustice.

One file in the operating system read Mahdi, the other read mahdi.txt. This is a sure sign that the virus was sent from Iran. No one would even joke about this.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Happening Middle East

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

In the midst of all the things that are happening in the Middle East, what with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hopping from Egypt to Israel to Ramallah, some very important attacks have never even made it to diplomatic radar screens.

While Clinton was in Israel a US naval ship, firing on a small rubber boat, killed the attacker. After several warning shots were fired aim was taken at the rubber speed boat because it would not turn away and it was coming directly at the US Naval ship.

And then, while Clinton was still in Israel, Gaza terrorists shot two rockets at Israel. They landed in an open field and no one was hurt.

The point is this: the Palestinians are pushing the United States to push Israel to make concessions to enable them statehood. They are pushing so hard and the United States is so consumed by this demand, that nothing else can make it onto the US radar screen.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com


Monday, July 16, 2012

Clinton in Egypt

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Hillary Clinton is now in Israel after spending the weekend in Egypt.
In Alexandria the US Secretary of State was greeted with the calls: "Monica Monica" and "Clinton Go Home." This is not unusual and I am certain that it did not fluster the Secretary Clinton, but it is telling.

Clinton is viewed extremely negatively by the street in Egypt.

Hillary Clinton has an impossible task - demanding that Egyptian leaders play nicely with one another. She asked President Morsi and General Tantawi to work out their differences and work together - and when they do the United States will be there to help.

But this is where she is so off base.

Egypt's leaders cannot simply snap into shape, even for a few billion dollars. They distrust one another and they have divergent visions of how Egypt should operate. The easiest way to effectively work together would be to have each one work in their exclusive roles. Let Morsi stick to politics and let Tantawi stick to defense. But that is highly unlikely.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Syria's Chemical Weapons

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

According to Western intelligence sources, Syria has begun moving some of its chemical stores. This is very concerning.

From my sources and from the reports I have received it does not seem to me that the Syrians are prepping the chemicals for use - but rather, moving them out of the conflict and more importantly, out of the potential hands of al Qaeda.

But there is an implicit threat in moving the chemicals. It means they exist. And it means that Bashar Assad may, at some point, want to use them. However, contrary to what most analysts say the threat is not that Assad might use chemicals against his own people.

The threat is that Assad will either attack Israel with the chemicals or counter with the chemicals. He might believe in an old fashioned, tried and true, method of leadership in the Arabic world - when all else fails attack Israel. That might unify and bring together the masses.

I know that it is one of Assad's potential plans and has been since the beginning of the rebellion in Syria. As
of now it has not been clear that the high cost of attacking Israel would pan out in any significant gain for Assad.

If al Qaeda were to get their hands on the chemicals there would be only trouble for the entire region.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Straits of Hormuz

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Let's talk about the Straits of Hormuz. Not the oil dimensions - everyone knows just how important the Straits are to transporting world oil from the Gulf to markets across the globe.

Let's talk about the geography of the Straits of Hormuz.

The Straits of Hormuz are narrower than one can imagine. At its widest point the Straits measure 69 nautical miles wide. At its narrowest it measures only 21 nautical miles wide. Only 6 of those miles are shipping lanes - the other 15 miles are too shallow and too murky to be used.

There are 2 lanes going out and 2 lanes coming in. Each of those lanes is a mile wide. There is a 2 mile buffer between them.

The Straits are not, repeat, the Straits are not, international territory!!!
The Straits of Hormuz are territorial waters belonging to Oman and Iran. They are used for shipping lane out of tradition and through the good graces of Oman and Iran.

That's where the real problem emerges. Can Iran shut the Straits down? Yes they can. But will Iran shut the Straits down? Probably not.

Iran will taunt the West and Western powers will become flustered and then they will make mistakes.
In 2009 two United States vessels collided in the Straits. A submarine called the USS Hartford hit the USS New Orleans and amphibious craft. This is what happens when you play in the Straits.

Nobody plays better than Iran.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Friday, July 13, 2012

4 US Carriers to Hormuz

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Tensions are rising in the straits of Hormuz, that tiny water way through which 1/3 of the world's oil passes every day.

Iran is making plans. Some of those plans will be radical than others. Certainly the Iranians have plans to shut the straits and/or to sink a ship and/or to mine the straits. They will most probably squeeze and slow down the already narrow water way.

The United States is countering. They are sending slews of unmanned subs capable of deactivating or simply exploding underwater minefields. They are also sending more aircraft carriers and accompanying fleets. By August there should be four US carrier fleets in the area along with France's sole carrier, the Charles De Gaulle.

The 5th fleet which is normally in the Gulf and the 6th fleet which is normally in the Mediterranean are already there. US power in the region will include the Eisenhower, Enterprise, Stennis and the Lincoln, all on the coast of Iran.

That is a lot of firepower and many boots. The United States means to intimidate. But what if Iran simply slows things down? How will the US respond?

If the United States is too heavy handed, they will play right into the Iranian game.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Turkey Buys Iran Oil w/ Gold

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Intelligence coupled with speculation has led to the thinking that Turkey is importing oil from Iran in such significant quantities that the sale would and should draw attention if an exchange of dollars was used to cover the cost of the oil.

But what if currency was not exchanging hands to cover the cost of the oil?

What if it were some other form of payment that would not appear on the international banking records?
 If that were the case Turkey would both be getting oil and doing an end around in their agreement with the
United States to limit their oil purchase from Iran.

It seems that gold exports from Turkey to Iran have increased by 400% compared to this time last year. In dollars, that is about $1.2 billion of gold per month - for April, May and June alone.

This means that Turkey is paying Iran for oil and natural gas by delivering gold to Teheran in separate shipments. The intelligence sources on this are quoted by Debka and they claim their sources are Russian and Azeri.

There is no reason to doubt the veracity of this report. It makes perfectly good sense given the region and the relationships.

Do not underestimate Turkey.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

India Will Insure Iran Oil Tankers

By Micah Halpern  
I've Been Thinking:

India announced yesterday that they will be insuring Indian tankers that bring oil from Iran to Indian refineries.

Since July 1 and the increased sanctions by the EU many oil shipping tankers were left without coverage and could not transport Iranian oil. As I have already noted, Japan is underwriting $7.5 billion in coverage.
India has allocated $50 million for pollution and $50 for hull and ship damage.

That sum, as large as it may appear, will hardly cover what is necessary. The minimum for an oil cleanup in $1 billion - but this $100 million has stimulated four other Indian insurers to step forward.

This is very good news for Iran.

Despite India's suggestion that they will reduce their dependency on Iranian oil, they are now equipped to receive as much Iranian oil as they need. Estimates are that India will be taking 300,000 barrels per day from Iran. That could translate into 1/5 to 1/ 6 of Iran's daily production
To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Saudis Want a Nuke

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Ever since the EU sanctions came into full swing on July 1, the world has been gearing up for Iran's counter response.

The most logical response from Iran would be a narrowing of the Straits of Hormuz. Not a closing - a narrowing. Slow down oil transport, but not block it. That action would put the US in a quandary. Do they intervene or not intervene.

Saudi Arabia is at work trying its own form of intimidation. Reports have surfaced that the Saudis are offering to buy the Chinese nuclear Dong-Fen 21 ((NATO-codenamed CSS-5) ballistic missile. They are offering $60 billion plus oil.

When Saudi Arabia gets a nuclear missile, the game has changed. It puts Saudi Arabia above Iran in the race for nuclear weapons. That threat will either escalate Iran's intentions, or curb them.

Prepare for a very hot summer.


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

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Monday, July 9, 2012

Obama Invites Morsi

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Israel is livid as are both sides of the aisle in Congress and Democratic and Republican supporters of Israel.

The White House is inviting the newly elected Egyptian president to the White House in September. The invitation was delivered to Morsi by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns at the conclusion of two days of conferencing in Egypt.

Why such an uproar about an invite? Because this invite disregards direct promises made to American Jewish leaders, Israelis leaders and congressional leaders. President Obama directly told them all that there were certain conditions that had to be set in place before the US opened the final stage of acceptance to Morsi and Egypt.

Those stages include a public proclamation about the Egyptian peace treaty with Israel. They include dialing down the anti-Christian, anti-minority violence and rhetoric. They include liberalizing women's rights.

This invitation was extended to Egypt as a way to counter the Iranian invitation to visit Teheran in August - an invitation Morsi has not yet accepted.

Call it a diplomatic mistake. Call it a serious mess. Call it what it is - amateur maneuvering by a country that should know better.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Travel Schedules Tell All

By Micah Halpern
I'm Predicting:

I try to monitor the movements of world leaders, their actions provide a key to predicting future decisions and events. Knowing the travel schedules of world leaders allows me to see trends and shifting alliances between nations.

President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt will be travelling to Saudi Arabia this week. The trip was announced by the Saudi ambassador to Cairo and came as no surprise. This will be Morsi's first foreign visit as president and it portends well.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be visiting Iran at the end of August. That visit does not portend well.

Abbas accepted an invitation by Iran to attend the Non-Aligned Pact Conference. This is important. Palestinian leadership has expressed serious doubt about the current direction world powers are taking. The Palestinians are not happy with their their status in the hierarchy and they are not happy with priorities set by the United States.

US Secretary of State Clinton met with Abbas in Paris this past Friday and will meet with him again next week in Ramallah. But that is not enough access for the Palestinians because it is not bearing fruit.

The Non-Aligned Pact meets just before the UN General Assembly convenes in September. I guarantee that at the Non-Aligned Pact Conference the Palestinians will set the stage for another massive public act aimed at embarrassing the United States at the General Assembly.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Al Jazeera's Goof

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Al Jazeera promo'ed their scoop for weeks: Yasser Arafat was poisoned by polonium and they have the proof.

The story is totally bogus. The Swiss lab that did the testing has confirmed no such findings.
So why did they do it? Because al Jazeera wanted the Israeli/Palestinian conflict back on the map - but they failed.

No serious media ever believed this so-called scoop - other Arabic stations were totally blase about the story and did not even bother with it. People watching al Jazeera wrote to the web site telling them, in effect, that nobody cares. A few who did care to comment asked Arafat's widow Suha to return all the money.

Others said cover the real issues of the Middle East, not ancient history.
The response al Jazeera got was the opposite of what they expected. They had hoped to reshape the media message and move things away from inner Arab fighting and replace it with Israel/Arab and Western/Arab conflicts.

Al Jazeera has no credibility. The Arabic speaking world watches al Jazeera knowing its limitations and its aware of its agenda.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Friday, July 6, 2012

Clinton to Egypt

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The US State Department announced that Hillary Clinton will visit Egypt to meet the new president,
 Mohammed Morsi, on July 14. She will be in Egypt two days before her two day visit to Israel.  Despite the rumors that circulated two weeks ago that Clinton would not be meeting Morsi, the visit has now become official.

Morsi will be kept very busy playing host. Yesterday Hamas announced that their prime minister, Ismail Haniyah, will be visiting Egypt to meet with Egyptian President Morsi next week also. It is important to note that the Muslim Brotherhood is the intellectual parent of Hamas.

Morsi greeting Hanyiah and Clinton one after the other is further complicated by a telephone conversation between Iran's Ahmadinejad and Morsi. Ahmadinejad invited Morsi to come to Iran at the end of August and join the Non-Aligned Pact Conference that they are hosting.

The Non-Aligned Pact is a synonym for anti United States. If Morsi goes to Iran in August they will completely sway him away from any impact the United States might have had on him in July.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Killed for Ripping the Koran

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday in Pakistan a man was dragged from a police station by thousands of people. He was beaten and then set on fire. It is not clear exactly when he died.

The man had been arrested for desecrating the Koran. It was said that he had ripped out several pages.
When the arrest of the man became public, announcements were made in mosques to punish the man who defamed the holy book.

Laws against defaming Islam are very strict in Pakistan. Christians and other non-Muslims live in fear that they will be charged.

Lawyers are frightened and will not take their cases. Judges are intimidated.

Last year two politicians who spoke about liberalizing these laws were murdered.

To a Muslim desecrating a Koran is not simply an insult. One does not turn the other cheek. It is an affront that often results in death. This is not a lone example.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Syria Thought It Was Israel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Last week I wrote that Syria was suggesting that the reason they downed a Turkish F-4 was because they believed it to be an Israeli plane.

True or not true - that is the official statement released yesterday by Syrian President Bashar Assad. Of course Assad hoped it would be and Israeli jet - it was the perfect excuse. Assad also officially apologized for the mistaken downing of the Turkish plane.

None of it makes Turkey any the happier. Turkey has scrambled F-16 fighter jets every day for the past three days. Yesterday six Turkish F-16s flew to protect the Turkish border when two Syrian helicopters approached. The helicopters turned back within a mile of the border.

Emotions are raw.

The formal announcement and apology from Assad do not smooth over the problem, but they do at least present an opportunity for dialing down the tensions and allow for Turkey and Syria to back away from the brink of conflict.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Abbas Arrests Thugs

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Abbas and his loyal police have been spending that past few days cracking the whip.
Over 200 people have been arrested and a massive amount of weapons have been confiscated. Almost everyone arrested is affiliated with - Abbas and Fatah. Things have gotten out of hand in the PA.

Vigilantism has become the rule of the land. There have been too many gangland attacks and too many extortion rings all under the guise of Abbas' PA loyalists and now Abbas is saying - enough.
Anarchy. Violence. Unbridled gang attacks against businesses and against other gangs.

The situation is so bad that even politicians are being attacked.

The situation is so bad that it is placing in jeopardy international aid and the Palestinian bid for statehood.
If there is no law and order and no sense of safety and security there is no possibility that world powers will even consider the PA for Statehood.

Until now Abbas has been reluctant to crack down on Palestinians or on his militias and gangs. But this crackdown is self-serving. This crackdown is a perfect example of the Abbas-style of rule.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Monday, July 2, 2012

Israel Has Natural Gas

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday Isramco, an energy exploratory and investment group, announced that they have hit natural gas at the Shimshon #1 rig in the Mediterranean Sea.

The drilling rig is about 60 miles off the coast of Ashkelon, Israel.
Isramco dug 4400 meters deep and struck the natural gas. The exploratory dig began in April. Now that they have found the gas, they need 35 days to properly test the gas and evaluate production.

They already have a very good sense of the size of the natural gas deposits.

This is a very good sign for Israel and for the region. It will free Israel of external dependency upon natural gas and even permit them to export excess natural gas. In addition, it will further put the natural gas option front and center as a viable alternative to oil for Israel.

This find by Aramco is also a good sign for breaking the monopoly on Israeli energy exploration which, until now, has been exclusively been in the hands of the Nobel and Delek group.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Iran Will Hit Back

By Micah Halpern
I'm Predicting:

The massive sanctions imposed by the European Union on Iran began today.
And, quite characteristically, Iran countered with two very important moves.

# 1: The head of the Iranian international bank announced that Iran will not sit still and just take this, he said that Iran will retaliate against those countries that are attacking them economically.

# 2: Iran announced that they are beginning a 3 day program of missile testing in the center of the country. Official Iranian news is reporting that short, medium and long range missiles will be part of the exercise.
Iran has other moves up their sleeve.

The Iranians have had months to prepare for this moment, the moment when these long-threatened sanctions were to go into effect. Expect that Iran will come up with a real economic shocker - a counter attack that will almost certainly set the EU on its heels. Expect it in another few days.


To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com

Syria & Turkey

Micah D. Halpern
 Saturday May 30, 2012

I’ve Been Thinking:

Syria will not invade Turkey and Turkey will not invade Syria.  It is all saber rattling.

Yesterday Syria amassed 170 tanks along their northern border, the 900 mile border that they share with Turkey.

A week ago Syria shot down a Turkish F-4 Phantom plane and since then Turkey has been spouting rhetoric about Syria and about how Turkey must defend itself.

The 170 tanks on the battlefield came as a response to Turkey’s response to Syria’s response to Turkey.
Aleppo is 19 miles from the border with Turkey and the tanks are north of there.  Reports of the tank movements came from opposition leaders and have been confirmed by residents who saw tank movement.   

Moving 170 tanks takes time and clogs up traffic.  Tanks are moved two at a time on flatbeds so that their tracks do destroy the roads.

Hopefully, the rhetoric and the military maneuvers will tone down over the next few days.  Unfortunately, it can be very dangerous when the big toys are taken out – they sometimes go off.  That is what got Syria and Turkey, two otherwise friendly nations, into this situation in the first place.

To reprint my essays contact sales (at) www.featurewell.com