Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Abbas Send Blessing to Kim Jong Un

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did it again - only this time with North Korea.

Abbas sent Kim Jong Un a telegram wishing him and the North Korean people congratulations on the celebration of Liberation Day, the day that celebrates their liberation from Japan.

Abbas thanked Kim Jong for his support of the Palestinian people and for North Korea's investment and trade as well as for their close friendship.

WAFA, the official Palestinian media, published a copy of the telegram.
Abbas wrote that Kim Jong Un "sacrificed the most precious sacrifices for its freedom and honor."

He wrote that he hopes that the "historical friendly relations between Palestine and North Korea and their two peoples will continue to develop and grow" and then he wished Kim "all health and happiness."

What is Abbas thinking? How many other countries wished North Korean well on this day? Reaching out to Kim Jong Un is a destructive move that will only further alienate Abbas and Palestinians from the West.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Convicted for Defrauding ISIS

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

A German court convicted a Syrian of attempting to defraud several ISIS terrorists.

The Syrian is referred to only as "Hassan A.". He asked the ISIS members for 180,000 Euros which is equivalent to $212,400. In return for the money Hassan agreed to plan and perpetrate a terror attack in Germany.

In the end no money was transferred - but Hassan A. was sentenced to two years of prison for trying to defraud ISIS.

Hassan A., a 39 year old a hairdresser, was found not guilty of planning a terror attack. He never planned on creating an attack - he was just trying to steal money from ISIS.

One has to laugh at the entire story. Should ISIS be protected from fraud and a flimflam? I'm not certain ... Should an illegal enterprise be protected from fraud? What do you think?

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Monday, August 14, 2017

US Kills More ISIS Leaders

By Micah Halpern

I've Been Thinking:

The United States has killed several major ISIS leaders in Afghanistan.

The US targeted the ISIS leaders in an airstrike on Thursday. The top leader killed in the strike is Abdul Rahman, ISIS leader in the Kunar Province. The ISIS group was called ISIS-K.

Three other ISIS leaders were also killed in the strike. US General John Nicholson, senior US commander in Afghanistan, confirmed that the strike and the successful targeting of the SIS leaders.

"The death of Abdul Rahman deals yet another blow to the senior leadership of ISIS-K."

ISIS is on the ropes in the Far East and in the Middle East. Pressure against ISIS is continuing to build. The final destruction of ISIS is in sight.

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Iran May be Forced Out of World Cup

By Micah Halpern
Sunday August 13, 2017

I've Been Thinking:

International sports are supposed to be above politics. In fact, the rules of international sports competition dictates that no politics be a part of any decisions.

Some participants and organizers even harbor the hope  perhaps, the dream - that during competitions warring states will be seen as parties that can compete even when they disagree.

But hopes and dreams do not always come true. Two Iranian players for the Greek soccer club Panionios decided not to play in their away game against Israel, in Israel, even though they were pressured and fined by the club. When Israel traveled to Greece, however, to play Panionios at "home," some same two Iranian players for the Greek club played.

Playing in their  stadium was considered a huge act of defiance by Iran. Iranian political leadership saw the player's participation as a betrayal, even a crime.

In the end the two Iranians who played for the Greek team were dropped from the Iranian national soccer team. Social media in Iran overwhelmingly defended the athletes' decision to play. But in this case, politicians had the last word.

Now FIFA, the international soccer body that supervises the soccer worldwide, has stepped in and asked for clarification. FIFA bylaws say there can be no external/political influence in decision making. If it is determined that the political powers exerted any influence Iran would be removed from all international competition.

This would be very costly and painful for Iran. Not simply because they would not be permitted to compete in club games, but because Iran qualified for the World Cup which is a great national honor and they would not be permitted to participate.

This is an example of emotions getting the better of them. The Iranians did not think things through.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Friday, August 11, 2017

ISIS Threatens Iran w/ More Terror in Tehran

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday ISIS released another video in Farsi, the language of Iran.

The ISIS speaker, holding an AK-47 and sitting between two other ISIS members, called on followers in Iran to resume making bombs and blowing things up in the Iranian capital of Tehran.
They called it Jihad.

In June ISIS successfully carried out simultaneous attacks in Tehran. They struck the burial tomb of the founder of the Islamic state, the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, at the same time as they attacked the Iranian parliament.

The speaker in the video said: "The same way we are cutting the necks of your dogs in Iraq and Syria we will cut your necks in the center of Tehran."

ISIS means business.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Israel Extradited Jewish Murderer of Arab

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

This is a remarkable story.

Yehoshua Elitzur has been extradited from Brazil to Israel.

Elitzur, who lived in the settlement of Itamar, was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Israel for the 2004 murder of Sael Jabara al-Shatiya who lived in the Arab village of Shalem.

To reiterate - Israel has successfully returned a Jewish Israeli murderer who killed a Palestinian Arab in 2004. He is returning to serve his sentence. The process of extradition was long and it was expensive. Elitzur was arrested in Brazil in 2015. The Brazilians did not want to release him to Israel.

Now Yehoshua Elitzur will pay his debt to society in an Israeli prison.

Israeli justice is interested in bringing all people who flaunt the law to justice. The dictate cuts across the board. In the view of Israeli justice, Arab lives are just as important as Jewish lives.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

ISIS Being Pushed Out of Lebanon & Syria

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The Lebanese army, together with Hezbollah, is planning to uproot ISIS from both sides of their borders. Assad's Syrian army will also be involved in rooting out ISIS - but the Lebanese say they are not coordinating directly with Assad.

The United States is supporting Lebanon's army. The US has provided Lebanon with weapons, helicopters and drones.

There are about 400 ISIS fighters in Lebanon - across the border there are probably about another 700 ISIS fighters. Hezbollah's leaders took to the airwaves and warned ISIS fighters that they will either die or be imprisoned.

This will be a coordinated force striking out against ISIS. There will be Lebanese losses, but the Lebanese will succeed.

But that's not all good news. ISIS will be dislodged, and after ISIS is dislodged, the vacuum will be filled by Hezbollah. Hezbollah will be on both sides of the border - they will be on both the Lebanese side and the Syrian side.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hamas Drones

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Another Hamas drone fell in Israel. It was not shot down -- it fell from the sky. The IDF found it and they are investigating and evaluating the drone.

There have been numerous Hamas drones that Israel either shot down or tracked down after they fell on Israeli soil. As a rule, Israel permits drones to fly over Gaza = but in principle, they will target a drone when the drone crosses over the Gaza border into Israel.

Hamas uses the drones as a tool to monitor Israeli movements, fortifications and even security features on fences and border crossings.

These drones are very small and inexpensive. They can even be bought on Amazon. They are outfitted with cameras that relay their pictures back to a computer in Gaza. These small drones fly low so they are hard to intercept. Larger drones, on the other hand, are targeted by helicopters or planes.

No doubt about it, Hamas is getting more and more sophisticated in how they collect intel.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Hamas in Iran

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

A senior Hamas delegation arrived in Iran on Friday.

This is gigantic step in Iran/Hamas relations. Iran has been supporting President Assad of Syria since the beginning of the Syrian conflict while Hamas has sided with those Sunnis trying to overthrow Assad.

As a result of this parting of the ways between Iran and Hamas over Syria, monies and the support for Hamas from Iran dwindled these past few years. But last week, during a visit to London, a high ranking Hamas member met the Iranian deputy foreign minister in charge of Arab affairs.

Now, with the push of Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations to isolate Qatar and Iran and create informal and public interaction with Israel, Iran sees how important it is to bring their natural allies - like Hamas, closer to their bosom.

So Hamas is now in Iran. Hamas leaders officially came to Iran to celebrate the inauguration of newly re-elected President Rouhani.

While there, Hamas leaders will have many meetings and extract many promises for support and assistance from Iran. In other words, they will come away with a lot of money.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Iranian Granted Asylum from Israel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Neda Amin, an Iranian blogger/journalist for the Times of Israel, has been granted a special circumstances visa to enter Israel.

Amin left Iran in 2015 and has been living in Turkey. Now she is spending her time in a court battle, fighting a demand from Iran to repatriate her and bring her back to Iran - where she will certainly stand trial for the crime of blogging.

Neda Amin received UN refugee status in 2015 and she is appealing to other nations to take her in.

As a rule, Israel does not give visas to Iranians unless they are Jewish. But Interior Minister Aryeh Deri has made an exception. He said that Amin's life is in danger because she writes for Israel. The situation was brought to his attention when the Israel Journalists Federation appealed to Deri on behalf of Amin.

Deri responded immediately saying "This is a journalist whose life is in real danger." He continued --- "Given the clear humanitarian circumstances, I authorized her entry without delay."

We hope that Turkey will permit her to leave. Given that there have already been several Iranian hit squads that have executed Iranian expats in Istanbul, time is of the essence.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Shin Bet Finds Hamas $ Trail

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Israel's internal intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, together with Israeli police uncovered evidence that Turkey is helping Hamas launder money through Ramallah, the capital city of the Palestinian Authority.

The investigation has uncovered what is most probably only the tip of a major money laundering scheme.

The Shin Bet found that $200,000 was moved into Ramallah from Hamas headquarters in Turkey and then sent to Gaza.

There is no question that Hamas is getting money into Gaza. It is being smuggled in and schlepped in. Some of the money is coming from Iran and some is coming from Qatar. This method is more direct.

Qatar can deposit money in Hamas' account in Istanbul, Turkey as a way into Gaza. In that way Hamas avoids the international bank restrictions imposed on support for Hamas.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

70% of Israelis Want Death Penalty for Terrorists

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The Israel Democracy Institute recently conducted a survey asking Israelis if they support the death penalty for terrorists who murder Israelis.

70% of Israelis say that they would support executing terrorists found guilty of murdering Israelis.

This week a bill will be brought to the Knesset to change the current law and allow capital punishment for terrorists.

Since Israel's birth in 1948, only one person has been executed - Adolf Eichmann the mastermind behind the transporting of Jews to their deaths during the Nazi Final Solution. And even then the
Knesset had to pass a special exception in order to execute Eichmann.
The debate going on now is intense.

Until now terrorists knew that should they remain alive after the attack, they may one day return home as part of a negotiated trade deal. But with the rise of suicide terrorists and ISIS, there are very different options available for Israelis and for the terrorists. Today's terrorists almost always assume that they will die in the operation.

It is too soon to tell what the result of this very heated debate will be. We will, however, soon have our answer.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

There is No Solution

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

People are up-in-arms that special adviser and lead Mideast point man Jared Kushner said "there may be no solution" the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

Kushner's comments were leaked from an off-the-record briefing on the Middle East with congressional interns. The interns were warned not to leak anything from the briefing.

Actually, Kushner's insight is refreshing.

Most serious analysts have said, at one time or another, that there may not be a solution to the conflict. They have come to the conclusion that the best that can happen is a slow improvement towards a better situation and a better status quo.

The idea that a magic wand can bring the parties together is nothing short of insane.

One of the most important goals must be to improve the lives of Palestinians and Israelis. And that can be achieved without a real political resolution.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

PA Tries to Cancel Israel Africa Summit

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

In October, Togo is going to host the Africa Israel Summit. 40 of the 48 Sub-Saharan participant countries have diplomatic relations with Israel.

The Palestinian Authority and Morocco are lobbying Togo to cancel the summit.

Togo's president told PA President Abbas to stop telling him how to run his country.

This summit has been in the works for two years. The summit will focus on security, counter terrorism, economic ties, agriculture exchange, health and education and - of course, technology.

The Africa Israel Summit will benefit all those countries in attendance.

This summit is the fruition of Israel's foreign policy vision. It will allow Israel to expand its role and to play a significant part in the development of all the Sub-Saharan countries that partner with her.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Qatar Says - Internationalize Holy Sites

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Qatar shot back at the rest of the Arab world yesterday. They suggested that Muslim holy sites be controlled by an international body.

Qatar took a dramatic swipe at Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis control many of the Muslim Holy sites, as do the Iraqis. And the Saudis shot back.

The Saudis said to Qatar that this is a declaration of war. Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said on al Arabiya's website: "Qatar's demands to internationalize the holy sites is aggressive and a declaration of war against the kingdom."

He continued: We reserve the right to respond to anyone who is working on the internationalization of the holy sites."

Qatar accused the Saudis of politicizing the Hajj and of setting obstacles preventing Muslims from participating in the Hajj.

These tensions will continue to fester.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Abbas Refuses to Meet W US Envoy

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Everyone keeping tabs on the tensions in Jerusalem knew that President Trump dispatched Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt to the region to help resolve the problems.

Their dispatch, their meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, - everything they did and spoke about was covered in the press, especially details about settlements.

So why was there no mention of Abbas’ meeting with the dynamic duo? That answer was just released and it will blow your mind. Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet with the US president's special envoy Jason Greenblatt.

The reason given for the slap in the face to Greenblatt is that Abbas is enraged by Greenblatt's public announcement that the United States will slap sanctions on the PA for paying salaries to terrorists who are arrested by Israel and to the families of terrorists killed in the act.

That announcement was made clear to Abbas in an earlier meeting between the US and PA.

Instead of meeting with Abbas, Greenblatt met with PA chief negotiator Saeb Erakat and PA intelligence chief Majid Faraj.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Arab League Warns Israel

By Micah Halpern

I've Been Thinking:

The Arab League convened an emergency session on Thursday. They met to discuss al Aqsa, Israel's adding and then removing metal detectors on the Temple Mount and the proposed plan to check everyone entering the mosque area.

After the meeting, Secretary of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit said:
"Israel's withdrawal from its provocative and illegal actions solves the crisis they themselves created."

He continued:

"Dealing with Islamic sanctities with such imprudence poses a real threat of igniting a religious war, because no Muslim in the world accepts tarnishing al-Aqsa or its closure in the face of the worshipers or placing it under Israeli control."

And then:

"I call on the occupying state to read the lessons of this crisis and the message it carries."

Gheit was underscoring that al Aqsa is the third most holy site in all of Islam. True to form, the secretary of the Arab League could not call Israel by name - in keeping with anti-Israel tradition, he used the term "occupying state."


Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

PA Calls For Violence Against Israel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

On Wednesday the Tanzim, the Palestinian Authority Fatah military wing, gathered together for a meeting. They called for armed conflict with Israel.

This is a huge divergence from the past. It is a game changer. This declaration outs the Tanzim and puts them squarely in the Hamas and Hezbollah camp.

How do we know that this call was authentic and real? Because the meeting took place in Ramallah and because Abbas’ deputy, Mahmoud al Aloul, was present at he meeting. Also present was Fatah Central Committee member Tawfik Tirawi. Even official Fatah Spokesman Osama Qawasmeh said that this call to arms was in line with established Fatah ideology to fight Israel.

The Tanzim called for violent confrontations and not just demonstration on Fridays.

It now seems clear that Palestinian leadership is intent on taking advantage of the momentum of violence and protest and push it forward,

The sad reality is that Palestinian leadership is not pursuing a path towards peace.
Instead, it is pushing for the destruction of Israel. They are in pursuit of an impossible and unattainable goal.

Israel is not going away.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Violence Continues Despite Removal of Metal Detectors

I've Been Thinking:

We were told that the crisis - the tensions in Jerusalem, was all about the metal detectors. 
But yesterday all the metal detectors were removed and yet, the violence and the protests and the rhetoric continue.

Here's why.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem has said Palestinians will not rest until all
Israeli police presence and all IDF presence is totally removed from the area around the Temple Mount. The Palestinian agenda is to have all access to and from the Temple Mount totally out of the control of Israel. To that end they are also rejecting the smart cameras which have been suggested as a solution to the problem of security.

This new demand by the Mufti is a clear violation of previous agreements regarding the status quo and even the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan.
But that is not the essential point.

The essential point is that Netanyahu, the prime minster of Israel, capitulated. Even though 77% of Israel thought it was a mistake to remove the metal detectors, the Mufti saw that Israel gave in and now they want more.

The principle behind the Mufti's demand is that, in the eyes of Islam, a non-believer - especially a Jew, cannot control a Muslim holy site and cannot tell a Muslim how to behave in what is supposed to be a Muslim controlled region.

And that's the crux of the issue.


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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Israel Jordan Resolve Tensions

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Resolutions are in the works. Calm may be restored sooner rather than later.

The Israeli guard who shot and killed two Jordanians has returned to Israel.

That resolution came about after conversations between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah.

At the same time, the head of Israel's Shin Bet traveled to Amman to meet with his Jordanian counterpart, the head of the General Intelligence Directorate (GID). In the presence of the two department heads, while in the Israeli embassy in Amman, the Israeli guard re-enacted events and was debriefed/investigated/interrogated.

At the end of the investigation, the guard was permitted to leave Jordan. He and the Israeli ambassador crossed the Allenby Bridge and returned to Israel on Monday.

It is almost 100% certain that in exchange for lifting their ban on Israeli diplomats, Jordan received assurances that Israel will remove the metal detectors from the Temple Mount.

The Israeli cabinet discussed removing the metal detectors and replacing them with smart cameras - very sophisticated cameras that can sense weapons and explosives.

Once all this happens, tensions will melt away.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Israeli Embassy Attacked in Jordan

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

There was a shooting inside the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan yesterday.

Israel has not yet issued a statement. So far, all the information we have has come from the Jordanians.

Two terrorists entered the Israeli embassy, presumably, as workers for a furniture company coming to do repairs. Once inside they started to shoot.

The terrorists were killed. An Israeli was wounded.

The Israeli embassy in Jordan is in a very luxurious neighborhood in Amman.

It is built like a fortress and is guarded, on the outside, by Jordanian anti-terror forces. The embassy has been a center for protests against Israel.

Tensions are high in Jordan -- about 40% of Jordan's population is of Palestinian descent.

Jordan is very close with the United States and they have a peace treaty with Israel. They are officially in charge of the Temple Mount. The Wafq, which is the religious trust that operates and controls the Temple Mount, is funded by Jordan.

The Jordanians are walking a tightrope.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Not Yet an Intifada - Tensions Increasing

By Micah Halpern

I've Been Thinking:

A rocket, shot from the northern part of Hamas-controlled Gaza, exploded en-route to Israel.

The rocket was aimed at the southern Israeli port city of Ashkelon. Thankfully, it exploded prematurely, early on during its flight.

This rocket is the latest exchange in the increasingly tense situation between Israelis and Palestinians.

Tensions ratcheted up when three Israeli-Arab terrorists killed two Druze-
Israeli border guards in the Old City of Jerusalem. The murder took place just outside the compound of the Temple Mount. The terrorists ran into the grand plaza for protection after the attack. Two of the three were killed by the Israeli army responding to the attack. The third was injured and arrested. One of the terrorists posted about his need to defend al Aqsa, the mosque atop the Temple Mount.

Israel shut the Temple Mount for 36 hours and then re-opened it up after setting up metal detectors. This past Friday, the Muslim Sabbath day, the day when most Arab worshipers come to pray at the Mount, Palestinian leaders called for protests until the metal detectors were taken down. In response, Palestinians rioted.

Three Palestinian youths were killed during Friday's rioting.

And on Friday night a Palestinian terrorist broke into a Jewish settlement and then into a private home as a family was enjoying their Sabbath evening dinner. Three members of the family were killed, a fourth was seriously injured. This terrorist wrote on his facebook page that he loves people and is peaceful and happy, but he can't sit still, he must defend Al Aqsa.

Palestinian President Abbas has cancelled all interaction with Israel until the metal detectors are taken down.

And now much of the Arab world is echoing the call to defend al Aqsa from the Jews.

Tensions will only continue to escalate.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Kuwait Expels Iranian Ambassador

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Kuwait has evicted the Iranian ambassador stationed in Kuwait City. The ambassador has 48 days to pack up and leave.

This is all the result of a spy scandal.
Kuwait uncovered a set of spies and tracked them back to Iran. The Kuwaitis are breaking relations with Iran because of the spy ring.
Iran issued a statement through SNA, their official press, the Iranians

Students News Agency. They said:

"Under the pressure of Saudi interventionist policies, and the baseless accusation of Iranian interference ... Kuwait has announced that ... Alireza Enayati, the Iranian ambassador to Kuwait, must leave within 48 days".

Obviously, tensions are rising. The real issues go far deeper than spying.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Iran Responds to US Sanctions

By Micah Halpern

I've Been Thinking:

The US Treasury Department announced a list of Iranians who are skirting the now infamous deal with the Western nations signed in March of 2016.
Sanctions have now been levied on the Iranian firms and individuals on the list.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is part of the elite of the elite of Iran, is on the list. The US Treasury says that Iranian violators have been developing drones, producing and maintaining boats and importing electronic components of defense materials.

According to the report two Iranian individuals are "engaging in activities that have materially contributed to the development of Iran's nuclear and missile programs."

Another group has been involved in stealing US software.

The agreement with Iran covered nuclear development and not conventional weapons development. The Iranian claim is that all this activity is for conventional and not nuclear weapon programs.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

New Sanctions on Iran



By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The US Treasury Department announced a list of Iranians who are skirting the now infamous deal with the Western nations signed in March of 2016.
Sanctions have now been levied on the Iranian firms and individuals on the list.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is part of the elite of the elite of Iran, is on the list. The US Treasury says that Iranian violators have been developing drones, producing and maintaining boats and importing electronic components of defense materials.

According to the report two Iranian individuals are "engaging in activities that have materially contributed to the development of Iran's nuclear and missile programs."

Another group has been involved in stealing US software.

The agreement with Iran covered nuclear development and not conventional weapons development. The Iranian claim is that all this activity is for conventional and not nuclear weapon programs.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Montreal Imam Calls to Kills Jews

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Montreal police have issued an arrest warrant for a Jordanian Imam who preached the murder of Jews.

Daral Arqam Mosque, located in the neighborhood of Saint Michel, invited an Imam named Sheik Muhammed bin Musa al Nasr to give a sermon in December of 2016.

During his sermon the imam recited a Hadith, a post-Koranic text, about the end of days which proscribes that Muslims murder Jews who hide behind every tree.
"O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."

The director of Bnai Brith in Montreal asked the police to investigate and police issued the arrest warrant.

B'nai Brith has committed to tracking down this imam wherever he is and to extradite him for trial. They argue that one cannot preach hatred that calls for the murder of Jews.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Arab Leaders Condemn Terror Local Embrace

By Micah Halpern
Monday July 17, 2017

I've Been Thinking:

This is essential to understand.

The King of Jordan condemned the terror on the Temple Mount. And yet, the parliament of Jordan proclaimed the terrorists to be great heroes to the people. They actually blessed the terrorists.

This should not surprise anyone.

Most - if not all, of national Arab leadership publicly condemned the al Aqsa terror
perpetrated last Friday. They want to make certain that there is no explosion of violence. At the same time, there is a call for revolution and shouts about Israel taking over al Aqsa.

Here is how the problem breaks down: National Arab leaders realize the need to keep calm - but local leaders feel the need to feed the terrorist frenzy. Local leaders want to connect to every local resident.

This tension is dramatic. But - and this is important, it remains clear that national leadership takes priority.


Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Arab Leaders Mostly Silent about Al Aqsa

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

After Friday's terror attack on the Temple Mount, Israel closed the mosque --but only temporarily. By Sunday it was already open, albeit with increased security in the outside area. Israel can only secure the inside area because the large inside area, where the mosque and the Dome of the Rock are situated, is under the control of Jordan.

The Muslim world has weighed in on the closure... some silently, some critical and some critical of the silence.
Cartoons are very telling.

The Saudis have been silent, but Saudi newspaper Al Wattan shows a picture of a star of David in the shape of a Devil devouring Al Aqsa.

Al Quds al Arabi, which is published out of London, depicts an ostrich burying its head while al Aqsa is on TV - filled with blood. The ostrich is Arab leadership.

One very telling cartoon from facebook has a Palestinian youth telling Arab leaders that al Aqsa is in danger. The leaders are fat and drinking wine. One asks the other what the kid is talking about. The second answers that al Aqsa is in Qatar.

The commentary is clear.

Arab leaders do not see the danger that other, mostly Palestinians, want to foment.
There is a long history of al Aqsa being the catalyst for riots and uprisings and the murder of Israelis. There are some in the Arab world that want to renew and revitalize that chain of events.

It seems that the leaders do not want to go along with this call to incitement and are trying to quell possible explosions.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Direct Flights from Israel to Saudi Arabia - Maybe

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Israel's Minister of Transportation, a Druze named Ayoub Kara, has suggested direct flights from Israel to Saudi Arabia exclusively to accommodate Hajj pilgrims.
Ideally, the flights would be direct and nonstop. The next best alternative would be to have the flights touchdown in Jordan before continuing on to Saudi Arabia.

This year the Hajj begins on August 30th and ends on September 4th.

Obviously there are no diplomatic relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia - but there certainly is exceptional and continued real communication taking place behind closed doors.

About 6,000 Israelis travel to Mecca each year as part of the Hajj. The distance between Mecca and Tel Aviv is about 1,000 miles. These flights would make the pilgrims' trip so much easier. They would be a special set of charter flights to serve a specific population for a specific purpose and a special, limited, goal.

Interestingly, there is precedent for the flights. The first person to make the direct flight from Saudi Arabia to Tel Aviv was US President Donald Trump on his first international trip as president. He flew directly from Saudi Arabia to Israel while all the planes accompanying him had to stop over in Cyprus.

If these flights are approved, it could pave the way for more expanded relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, or, like the flights themselves, it could be a one time, limited run exception.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Bastille Day & Trump

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

For those who don't know -- President Trump is still in Europe.

On Friday, July 14, 2017 US President Donald Trump will be the featured guest at the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris. President Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected president of France, invited him to be the guest of honor.

While in Paris, Macron and Trump will discuss how they can best work together.

Bastille Day in France is like the 4th of July in the United States. The day memorializes the storming of the Bastille by democratic revolutionaries as they retook France from the aristocracy.

The French Revolution was the beginning of democracy in France and the stimulus for the movement of democratization in the Western world. It was the springboard for the mass transformation of the West into a democracy.

It was the first, it was the model.

While in Paris, Donald Trump will be at the epicenter of European news. In the United States, however, this trip by the US president will probably not even be a blip in the news cycle.

That's a shame, because this visit resonates with symbolism - it heralds US President Donald Trump as the leader of Western democracy.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Gulf States Continue to Pressure Qatar

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE - the four Gulf states that continue to isolate Qatar - have made an announcement: Despite the US / Qatar agreement that was signed by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the Emir of Qatar al Thani to stop all monetary support of terror, they - the four nations are going to monitor Qatar very carefully.

They have also called for the ousting of Qatar from the anti-ISIS coalition, the group of countries under US leadership fighting ISIS.

This is what the Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman said in a meeting of the anti-ISIS coalition in Washington, DC: "It is unacceptable for the coalition to have amongst its members states that support terrorism or advocate for it in their media."

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid, who is heading the Egyptian delegation in Washington, continued to say: "The decision by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain to boycott Qatar-a coalition member-is in accordance with that principle."

The four Gulf states are cranking up the pressure on Qatar. At the same time, the United States is trying to ease the situation.

The four really want Qatar to stop supporting terror and to stop supporting Iran.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Iran Opens Tenders for Oil Exploration

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Iran is opening 14 new gas and oil exploration tenders.
Iranians are hoping to entice foreign energy companies to foot the bill to discover new gas and oil sources and then partner with Iran in the profits of the new wells.

This is a very important move for Iran.

Iran wants to increase production and make themselves an even larger supplier of natural gas and oil.

Many companies from many nations have expressed interest in bidding for the rights to partner with Iran. Total from France has already signed a deal with Iran this week. Lukoil from Russian is very interested as is Maersk from Denmark.

So are Britain's BP, Austria's OMV and Russia's Gazprom. Italy's Edison and Malaysia's Petronas are also vying for the opportunity to partner with Iran.

There is no doubt that the 14 tenders will be very lucrative for the companies as well as for Iran.

The big question is if how these relationships will develop given the anti-
Western and anti-foreign involvement sentiments within Iran. If their attitude was just a stance Iran adopted in response to Western sanctions, it is all in the past because sanctions have been lifted. But if there really is an anti-Western and anti-foreign bent in Iran, then the investors could very likely lose their investments.


Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Al Sisi Accepts 2 State Solution

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

President al Sisi of Egypt told Palestinian President Abbas yesterday that he accepts the two-state solution.

The two had a meeting in Cairo and the Egyptian president explained that he was in favor of a Palestinian state and an Israeli state based on the '67 borders.
This is a tremendous step forward.

In essence, Egypt is saying that they want a resolution to the Palestinian problem and urging Abbas to move. The important point is that with a resolution other issues in the Middle East can and will fall into place and begin to be resolved.

Of course al Sisi also said that the Palestinian state would have its capital in Jerusalem.

An agreement with Israel mean that the Palestinians would be able to secure their future and that Arab leaders would be able to focus their attention on the other issues within the Arab world that require their time and energy.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Bibi Takes a Phone Cal

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Indian Prime Minister Modi had a very successful trip to Israel. Both Israel and India agree that they have concretized a very strong set of objectives based on shared values.

Before this trip the two nations got along well, but there was an implicit understanding that India needed to accommodate to the Arab world. India needed
Arab oil and markets. So India needed to take sides and the side they took was not Israel.

However, during this trip the tone and the spirit was one of mutual and total friendship.

On Thursday, just before the end of his trip, Modi and Netanyahu were walking on the beach near Haifa when Netanyahu interrupted their conversation and took a phone call. Who is so important that one prime minister would take a call and interrupt a meeting with another prime minister? No-it was not Netanyahu's wife Sarah.

The call was from Putin.

Putin called Netanyahu on the eve of his first face-to-face meeting with Donald Trump. I suppose Putin wanted to pick Netanyahu's brain on how to deal with Trump and get updates on the situation in Syria.

Foreign diplomacy at its best!

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

ISIS Not a Cyber Threat

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

It has become pretty clear that ISIS does not have a serious hacking branch. They do not have a cyber attack team that can threaten the West in any serious way.

Yes, they communicate with one another using encrypted software like WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal and Wire. But they cannot really hack. The style of hacking used by ISIS is termed "kiddie hack" or "fledgling hack." That is not a compliment. They use preexisting programs and do not create any real threat.

Up until now ISIS' computer hacking success has been "denial of service" attacks.
Denial of service is a cyber attack that floods a site and brings it down. Even this is old. They use windows programs and multiple servers and the best of these use bots and botnets.

ISIS does not cover their cyber hacking tracks well. They use proxies and cyber-criminals. Both of these are very simple to crack.

ISIS has been working the cyber angle for three years and after all that time they are successful only their communication.

Individuals around the world might do ISIS a favor and hack for them -- but there is no actual cyber threat from ISIS.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Misspelled Terrorism on Memorial

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

On Tuesday, Columbia City, Indiana uncovered their new Vietnam memorial.

Part of the memorial is a bench and at the foot of the bench is written the word Terrorism.

But "terrorism" was misspelled. The word had an addition "i" so it read Terriorism.
Ty Murphy, the designer of the memorial, said that it was a minor and small issue.
He said it was a "pretty small thing to worry about" but, never the less, phones have been ringing "off the hook."

The designer said that the mistake would either be fixed or the bench would be replaced. In the meantime, he put a piece of gaffer's tape on the extra "I". He thinks that for now, it looks ok.

The truth is that misspelling a word - especially a word that resonates as much as the word "terrorism" does is not a small or minor thing at all.

It's a big deal, a very big deal.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Israeli Hospitals Hit By Cyber Attack

by Micah Halpern

I've Been Thinking:

Israeli hospitals were recently hit by a cyber attack. It was originally thought that eight Israeli hospitals were targeted but the prime minister’s office has reported that actually, only two hospitals were affected.

The names of those two hospitals have yet to be made public. Everyone involved has clearly confirmed that there has been no security risk and that the hospitals were only briefly affected. Hospital computers were quickly treated and further protected.

This attack was not connected to the massive attack which took place the day before. The GoldenEye virus, aka Petya, hit ports all around the world including Mumbai and Los Angeles. The virus attacked and disabled thousands of computers even hitting a chocolate factory in Australia.

GoldenEye is a ransomware improvement of the Petya ransomware virus. It originated in Ukraine.

The virus that hit Israel was not a ransomware which is when the computer is taken over and you need to pay to get control back of your own computers.
This was an invasion to see and disrupt.

Israel says that no damage was done and all the computers that were attacked are now protected and back up and running.


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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Iran, Trump Cartoon Compeition

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Remember Iran's cartoon competition about the Holocaust?

The same people are organizing a cartoon competition about Donald Trump.

The competition opened in Teheran on Monday. Some of the 1,600 cartoons submitted to the competition used Nazi and Hitler images to depict the US president.

First prize is $1500.

Iran is making fun of Trump. That's good news.

It means that Donald Trump and America are doing something right. Iranians are feeling the pressure
of the United States upon them and they are responding by turning America and the American president into a target of ridicule and of humor.

With both the Holocaust cartoon competition and this competition lampooning President Trump, Iranians are trying to change history by challenging world leadership and the role of the United States - especially the role of President Trump, in world affairs.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Assad On New Bank Note

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Syria is printing a 2,000 pound bank note.

Until now their largest denomination was a 1,000 pound note.

This new note has --- you guessed it --- a picture of Bashar Assad on it. The 1,000 note has a picture of father, Hafez Assad.

The banknote went into circulation on Sunday.

The release of this new note transmits a very important message from the president of Syria. Assad is feeling very secure. Even those trying to oust him in Syria still use Syrian bank notes. They are using notes with his father's face printed on them, and now they will be using notes with his face.

Assad clearly and firmly believes that he is in Syria to stay.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Indian PM to Visit Israel

By Micah Halpern

I've Been Thinking:

Next week Prime Minister Modi of India will make history when he arrives in Israel on the first trip ever of an Indian prime minister to Israel. Modi will spend three days in meetings in Israel.

India has historically been very quiet about their good relations with Israel and very public about their ties with the Palestinians and the Arab world. Arafat was a regular guest in India. Abbas just made a trip there.

India may have pledged and delivered generous support to the Palestinians - but when all is said and done, India is a partner with Israel. They buy $1 billion a year of military equipment and training from Israel.

Even more important right now is an Israeli program to help alleviate food shortages in India.

Israeli has created 26 agricultural centers in 15 Indian states to help improve the growth of staples by efficiently providing food. This will aid by boosting the production of vegetables, mangos and pomegranates.

This $100 billion program will benefit both Israel and India.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Iran is the Hottest Place on Earth

By Micah Halpern

I've Been Thinking:

When I say "things are heating up," I am usually speaking metaphorically.
But not this time.

Things are really heating up in Iran - not figuratively but quite literally. It is really hot.

Yesterday the temperature in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz reached 128.7 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 53.7 Centigrade. That is one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded - anywhere in the world.

The hottest temperature ever recorded was in July of 1913 in Death Valley, California where the temperature reached 134 F. While that's the recorded temperature, it's doubtful that it was a true reading. When you take into account the other heat and the real feel, the temperature was probably more 142 F.

Ahvaz is so hot one might think it was a ghost town - but it is home to 1.3 million Iranians.

The name of the town, Ahvaz, means the market of the Khuzis, a local Iranian tribe.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Hamas is Creating a Buffer w Egypt

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Hamas leadership in Gaza is creating a buffer zone between them and Egypt. The Hamas Interior Ministry has begun construction on the zone.

The objective of the buffer zone is to make certain that no one and nothing is smuggled from Gaza into Egypt or from Egypt into Gaza.

The buffer zone is going to be 100 meters wide. Anything that might possibly obscure someone or something from being seen or allow something or someone to hide is being bulldozed. Everything is being knocked down.

The decision to build this buffer zone came about as a result of a meeting between Hamas leaders and Egyptian intelligence chiefs. It is part of an agreement. Leadership in Gaza needs to control its border and prevent ISIS and weapons from coming into Egypt.

In return for securing the border and keeping ISIS out of Egypt, Gaza will get relief. Egypt will provide electricity to the strip which has been having difficulty providing electricity - Gazans receive only three hours of electricity a day.

Egypt has also promised to open their border crossings on a more scheduled and regular basis.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Iran Now Selling Gas to Iraq

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Iran is now exporting natural gas to Iraq. The Iranians are moving 7 million cubic meters of natural gas to Iraq per day. They hope to slowly increase to 35 million over the next few months.

Iran began sending the gas on Wednesday. It travels through a pipeline that goes directly through Basra, in southern Iraq,  on the border of Iran, to Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. Iraq really needs the gas because their electric grid has been so devastated by the years of conflict.

"The long-awaited project finally went on stream after four years of delay due to the challenging security situation in war-torn Iraq" explained Amir Hussein Zamaninia, the deputy at the National Iranian oil company. The quote was reported in the Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, which is the official news agency of Iran.

Until yesterday, Turkey was the only country receiving natural gas from Iran. Now Iran has two important clients.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Israel- US Cyber -Terror Pact

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Israel and the US have signed a cyber security pact. The pact was signed during a cyber security conference.

Present at the conference was Tom Bossert, President Trump's adviser on Homeland Security. Bossert explained the importance of partnering in order to curb cyber terror. He said their intention was "stopping adversaries in networks and identifying ways to hold bad actors responsible for [their cyber terror activity]."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the conference saying that one fifth of the world's investment in cyber security is invested in Israel. He said that Israel is home to tens of companies that deal with cyber security.

Everyday Israel is attacked by 10's of thousands of cyber threats. The country is well equipped to repel those attacks.

Participation in this conference signals a serious step forward in global coordination against cyber terror.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Iran Defends Qatar

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made a public defense of Qatar.
Rouhani explained that Qatar has unfairly been isolated. He said the "siege of Qatar is unacceptable."

This was reported on IRNA, an official media arm of the Iranian establishment.

This is what he said: "Tehran stands with the Qatari nation and government ... We believe that if there is a conflict between regional countries, pressure, threats or sanctions are not the right way to resolve differences." IRNA quoted Rouhani as giving over this message to Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, in a telephone call.

The president also told the emir, "The siege of Qatar is unacceptable to us ... The airspace, land and sea of our country will always be open to Qatar as a brotherly and neighboring country."

This should not be a surprise. Qatar has upset the apple cart. They have come out in support of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and Hamas and are suggesting that Iran be taken seriously as a regional power.

Now Iran is now coming to their defense.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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