Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Israel Has New Tech To Discover Tunnels

By Micah Halpern

I've Been Thinking:

Ever wonder how Israel discovered not one but two terror tunnels crossing from Gaza into their sovereign land? The tunnels opened up well within Israel and were designed to enable Hamas and Islamic Jihad access in attacking Israelis and kidnapping Israeli soldiers.

Israel discovered the tunnels by using their new very unique technology. The system is called "the lab."

The lab harnesses human intelligence, scientific brain power, computers and other machinery and guides users to uncover tunnels. The lab uses an algorithm that literally takes all the guess work out of finding tunnels.

This is the first time In history that a mechanism has been developed to discover tunnels. It is pure math and science. In other words, the lab actually has done the impossible - it finds something that until now was undetectable.

Hamas is dumbfounded. . The lab is top secret. But it is certainly working. This new
defense, when applied in full operation, will effectively protect Israel and destroy one of Hamas' most effective and aggressive weapons. There is no reason it cannot be used to discover Hezbollah's tunnels, too.

Hamas may be forced to prematurely use their incomplete tunnels to attack Israel before the tunnels are discovered. It is a risk Israel faces, but an unlikely one.
Hamas does not want to escalate tensions with Israel at this time. But neither can they afford to just loose their investment in their tunnels. It is an issue of pride as well as money.

Given the effectiveness of the lab, Hamas will have to either ratchet up their tunnel use or throw in the towel and abandon it totally.

I predict Hamas will try one more time with their tunnels and then scrap tunnel warfare completely.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com


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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Putin Sent the Day in the MidEast

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Russian President Putin spent yesterday in the Middle East. His first stop was Syria where he met with Assad and proclaimed victory over ISIS.

Then he flew to Cairo for important meetings with al Sisi. Along with their discussions, they signed an agreement to resume commercial flights between Russia and Egypt. Russia had cancelled all flights to Egypt after ISIS blew up a Russian charter plane as it reached altitude after taking off from a Sinai airport.

Putin ended the day in Turkey. There, he lashed out at Trump and the United States for the decision to recognize Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Putin said that this decision will derail any chance of a mutual Israel Palestinian agreement.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Israel Destroys Another Terror Tunnel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Israel destroyed a terror tunnel this weekend. The tunnel started in Gaza, crossed under the Israeli border and ended up several hundred yards into an Israeli agricultural area.

The tunnel was discovered almost two weeks ago and Israel has been monitoring all activities until they destroyed it. There was no one inside.

This tunnel is the second tunnel in a month that was destroyed. The previous tunnel was built by Islamic Jihad.

There were no weapons in the tunnel and it was destroyed very differently than others. It was not hit by missiles from the air but collapsed by ground equipment.

It appears that Hamas was aware that the tunnel was discovered because there was no real usage of the tunnel during the time that it was being monitored.

Only minutes before Israel destroyed the tunnel, Hamas made an announcement that Israel would pay a heavy price for their actions. The Hamas message said that Israel will soon be taught a lesson.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Putin To Visit Egypt Ahead of Pence



By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Much has been said about US Vice President Mike Pence's upcoming trip to the Middle East. President Trump mentioned it in his speech about

Jerusalem. Some Palestinians have proclaimed that the US VP is not welcome. Some have said that his meetings with Palestinian have been cancelled.

But here is a big surprise --- on Monday Vladimir Putin will visit Egypt for the day. He will meet with Egyptian President al Sisi. This is happening just days before US VP Pence will in Cairo.

Russia and Egypt just signed an agreement. The deal says that Russia will provide new fighter jets to outfit the Egyptian air force.

This agreement is significant in so many ways. Upgrading the Egyptian air force with Russian planes is a watershed. It brings Russia back in to the game. The original Egyptian air force is MiG based. So these new planes will augment the already Russia planes Egypt uses.

Putin and Sisi will discuss all the issues plaguing the Middle East especially ISIS and Syria.

This Putin visit will steal the thunder from Pence's visit.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Trump On Jerusalem -- Some Agreed

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

He did it. Yesterday US President Trump announced that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Much of media focus immediately following the announcement centered on the negative including the potential negative reaction to the announcement.

They covered the threat of violence, days of rage, an act of war, unilateral steps by the United States that might damage the status of Jerusalem.

But there were also some very positive reactions to the announcement - and not just from Israel and lovers of Israel.

Kudos to the Philippines and the Czech Republic who decided to join the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital city.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Trumps Announces Jerusalem is the Capital

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

President Trump is threading the needle by announcing that the United States sees Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

It is actually not a real change at all. A US law, stating that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, has been around since 1995. It is called the Jerusalem Embassy Act of October 1995 and it passed by a vote of 93-5 in the Senate and 374 - 37 in Congress.

Fear of insulting the Arab and Muslim world has motivated US policy on Jerusalem for decades. It appears that President Trump is the first president in decades not to be afraid of ruffling these feathers.

President Trump is taking a calculated risk. There will be some flairs of displeasure but they will only be blips on the radar.

Trump is merely testing the waters by making the announcement. He is not moving the embassy. He is actually signing the waiver that has been signed every six months by every president before him since Bill Clinton.

If things go well, however, the embassy may indeed be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Egypt Hitting Back at ISIS

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Egypt killed 5 ISIS terrorists in a shootout yesterday. In follow-up raids the Egyptians arrested 6 other terrorists. They also confiscated bomb materials and weapons.

Egypt has increased the pressure on ISIS. The Egyptians are dedicating significant resources, in multiple fronts, to find, capture, try and at times even kill ISIS terrorists. They need the momentum to change in their favor - despite all their efforts, ISIS is winning.

Thus far in Egypt ISIS has had the upper hand. They have successfully been striking, at will, across the country. Egypt recognizes the importance of confronting ISIS. They are one of the few countries taking the threat to their very existence seriously. They are also front and center as targets of ISIS.

Few countries have suffered as much as Egypt.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, December 4, 2017

PA Editor Says No Difference Btw Israel and DC

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Nasser Laham, the editor-in-chief of Ma'an, one of the most important Palestinian media outlets, said that the Jews control Washington and that there is no difference between Washington and Tel Aviv.

"The Jews rule in Washington and the Jews rule in Tel Aviv. What's the difference?" said Ma'an News Agency editor-in-chief Nasser Laham on Saturday in a television interview on his agency's own channel,

"It's the same if we negotiate with them (i.e. Jews) in Washington or in Tel Aviv. It's the same framework."

In his diatribe Laham actually mentioned Martin Indyk, the former US ambassador to Tel Aviv, saying that Indyk has more control over Washington now that he is a private citizen than he did when he was ambassador.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Saudis Attack Hezbollah

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Saudi anti-Iranian rhetoric is on the upswing. This time, Saudi Arabia has taken aim at Hezbollah, the Iranian backed Shiite militia in Lebanon.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said that Hezbollah has hijacked Lebanon and Hezbollah must be disarmed. He said that as long as Hezbollah controls a huge militia Lebanon will be unable to be productive and creative.

"Lebanon will only survive or prosper if you disarm Hezbollah." Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a conference in Italy. "As long as you have an armed militia, you will not have peace in Lebanon."

"Since 1979, the Iranians have literally got away with murder in our region, and this has to stop."
Iran has used its minions to wreak havoc on the region - and one of their very loyal proxies is Hezbollah. Part of the Iranian agenda is to destabilize Sunni areas and then move in and stabilize them and institute Shiite control.

Obviously, Iran's objectives are in direct conflict with the vital interests of Saudi Arabia.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Iran Sending Ships to Gulf of Mexico

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Iran is sending warships to the Gulf of Mexico. They Iranians have issued this threat before and are bent on being at the doorstep of the US.

Over the past few years Iran has sent 47 flotillas in to international waters. One expedition took place last year when the Iranians successfully launched a fleet of naval ships into the Atlantic by sailing around the Horn of Africa. Now they are trying again.

"Our fleet of warships will be sent to the Atlantic Ocean in the near future and will visit one of the friendly states in South America and the Gulf of Mexico," Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi was recently quoted by Iran's semi-official Tasnim News Agency.

The Iranians want to expand their influence across the world and that includes taking a much larger role in sea power.

Naval commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that "sailing in open waters between Europe and the Americas should be the navy's goal, which will be realized in the near future."

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hamas Delays Gaza Turnover

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
December 1st is the scheduled day for the transition of power in Gaza.

On that day, Hamas is supposed to give over the reins of leadership to Fatah which controls the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the West Bank. That means Fatah will take control of security. Taking responsibility for security involves disarming Hamas.

This is a big bone of contention.

On the one hand, Hamas does not want to disarm and on the other, Fatah cannot permit Hamas to be an independent military force in Gaza.

Early this morning Hamas asked to delay implementation of the agreement. In a message to the press they wrote: "Hamas and Fatah call on Egypt to postpone the transfer of power (in Gaza) from December 1 to December 10 to finalize certain provisions."

We'll see what happens. It's hard to imagine that what could not be accomplished by December 1st can be accomplished only 10 days later.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Lebanon Claims Gal Gadot Mossad Agent

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
This is a story for the history books.

A famous Lebanese actor Zaid Itani was arrested for spying for Israel and being in contact with a Mossad agent named Colette Vianfi. The story has been splashed all over the Lebanese press.

It all sounds like a Ken Follett spy novel.

Itani claims that Vianfi is Gal Gadot. Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman - an Israeli model, now actress, whose face and body is known worldwide.

It is hard to tell if the Lebanese media is taking this seriously. They are covering it like they cover all other conspiracy ideas about Israel and the Mossad. But they need to know - especially the editorial leadership, that there is no possible way in the world that Gal Gadot is a spy for the Mossad.

Then again, some people actually might believe that Gal Gadot is a real Wonder Woman.

Micah@MicahHalpern.ccom 

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Uber Shut Down in Israel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Uber is no longer permitted to operate in Israel.

There are two reasons for that decision.

The first is that in order to take money from a passenger, the driver must have a taxi license - what is sometimes called a hack's license. Uber drivers do not have that license.

The second is that Uber does not insure their drivers and hence, they are endangering their passengers.

The judge hearing the case ruled that Uber may not drive a single passenger one single meter more in Israel. Uber has been irresponsible.

The judge also let the cab drivers association, which brought the suit against Uber, a tongue lashing.

He said that change and progress is inevitable and the old taxi system needs to catch up and recognize the new ways.

The old time association will not succeed by simply stopping progress through suing.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Monday, November 27, 2017

ISIS Warned Egyptian Town

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The town in which ISIS murdered 305 innocent people as they gathered in their Sufi mosque was warned in advance not to commemorate Mohammed's birth in their Sufi tradition.

ISIS views Sufi Muslims as heretics. The Sufi have a different view of Islam than does ISIS. The Sufi embrace a mystical aspect of Islam. In the eyes of ISIS any heretic should be executed - that includes Sufi Muslims.

The very same week of the attack, ISIS warned the Sufi Muslims in the town to stop collaborating with the Egyptian army.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Arab Anti Terror Alliance

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Saudi Arabia hosted an Anti-Terror Alliance in Riyadh. While all the members of the Alliance were not in attendance, 41 members of Muslim and Arab states did attend.

The Alliance was created and chaired by the Saudi Crown Prince who doubles as defense minister.
This was, in essence, a gathering of defense ministers and other intelligence and military leaders from the entire region.

The Saudi Crown Prince made it clear that terror has become a scourge on Islam, that terror is destroying the beauty of Islam. The Crown Prince said that: "The biggest danger of this terrorism and extremism is the tarnishing of the reputation of our beloved religion ... We will not allow this to happen ... Today we start the pursuit of terrorism and we see its defeat in many facets around, the world especially in Muslim countries .. We will continue to fight it until we see its defeat."

He said: "This is indeed a painful event and it is a recurrent and strong reminder [of] the dangers of this terrorism."

It is very important for us all to recognize that Muslim and Arab leadership has begun organizing in order to confront terror both inside the Muslim world and outside.

This Alliance is a significant step forward. Now we need to see if any real concrete coordination and activity emerges.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, November 24, 2017

ISIS Beheads 15 of Their Own

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
ISIS beheaded 15 of its own members yesterday in Afghanistan.

A rash of internal fighting and disagreements has been plaguing ISIS and the Taliban. The exact relationship between the two groups is hard to configure. At times they work with each other, at other times they are at each other's throats.

This incident seems not to have been Taliban related, it was pure ISIS on ISIS violence. The area in which the beheading took place is known to be controlled by particularly brutal ISIS leadership.

Infighting with ISIS is frowned upon. Those who dare to question or challenge are often publicly murdered.

Not much is known about the details of the beheadings. We can only speculate.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Saudi Officials Visit Synagogue

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Here's an exclusive from the Jerusalem Post.

This week two Saudi senior officials visited the Great Synagogue of Paris. One official was the former justice minister, the other the former education minister who is now the Saudi ambassador to France.

This was their first ever trip to a synagogue for both men and the first time an official Saudi personality has ever been welcomed to a great synagogue.

The pictures of the event show the Saudis listening and engaging intently as the Chief Rabbi and Jewish communal leaders spoke.

This could very well be a precursor to better relations between Jews and Saudi Arabia, it might signal a springboard to relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Important Phone Calls

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

French President Macron spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday. Macron also spoke with Iranian President Rouhani.

According to the French president's office, he spoke to both leaders about the same topic. They discussed the region and they especially discussed Lebanon.

It's pretty obvious that Macron discussed Israel with Iran and Iran with Israel. He is clearly trying to calm tensions in the region.

Also yesterday, US President Trump spoke by phone to Russian President Putin. The obvious topics spoken about during their conversation are fighting terror - especially ISIS, and the role of Iran in Syria.

These conversations between heads of state are encouraging. It looks like there is real progress on the world stage.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ancient Torah Scrolls Confisacted in Turkey

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Ancient torah scrolls are extremely valuable. They fetch huge sums at auctions. More often than not, their "acquisition" is commissioned and the scrolls fall into the hands of collectors. That is a fancy way of saying that rare torahs are often commissioned to be stolen.

The provenance of torah scrolls can be tricky.

Yesterday Turkey confiscated a 700 year old torah scroll which was being auctioned in Mugla Province. The opening bid was supposed to be $1.9 million.

Turkish authorities did the right thing. Rather than letting the ancient scroll go to the highest bidder, they took it to a museum for evaluation.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Israel's Contacts w Muslim Countries

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Israel's contact with Muslim countries has been an open secret.

Yes, there are many countries that Israeli leaders and diplomats have interactions with. They share strategy and intelligence on terror and they cooperate against common enemies.

But seldom if ever is there any public acknowledgment of the relations and their productivity.

Until now. Israeli Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz spoke on Israeli Army Radio and admitted that the relationships are active. He said: "We have ties that are indeed partly covert with many Muslim and Arab countries, and usually (we are) the party that is not ashamed."

"It's the other side that is interested in keeping the ties quiet. With us, usually, there is no problem, but we respect the other side's wish, when ties are developing, whether it's with Saudi Arabia or with other Arab countries or other Muslim countries, and there is much more ... (but) we keep it secret."

So much for keeping it secret. And that is why it is called an open secret.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Farrakhan: There are Some Good Jews

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Louis Farrakhan, the leader of a group he created and called the Nation of Islam - a personality cult revolving around Farrakhan and based on a combination of Christian and Muslim ideas, gave a speech recently in DC.

In his speech Farrakhan actually said that there are some good Jews.
Farrakhan, born Louis Wolcott, is one of the most boisterous anti-Semites in the US. He regularly preaches pure hatred against Jews.

In the hall, Farrakhan delivered his speech while standing next to a giant poster that appeared to be hawking a new book about how Jews control the world. The poster read, "The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Volume II: How Jews Gained Control of the Black American Economy."

He said "There are righteous Jews, good Jews, Jews that want to practice the teachings of the prophets," ... "But then there are others who don't wish to practice and it is they that hated Reverend Jackson's desire to be president."

This is not a significant change of attitude or doctrine, just a new line by a very gifted and dangerous speaker and entertainer.

Farrakhan is now 84 years old. He spoke for over two hours about his ideas on conspiracy and race. He is still strong and powerful and for his many followers, his ideas still resonate loudly.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, November 17, 2017

German Court Bans Israelis from Kuwati Air

By Micah Halpern
 


I've Been Thinking:

A federal district court in Frankfurt ruled that Kuwaiti Air was permitted to ban Israelis from their flights.

The case in point centered on an Israeli flying from Frankfurt to Bangkok on Kuwaiti Air. The flight would touch down in Kuwait City and then continue on to Bangkok.

The airline argued that they would be subject to fines and even imprisonment for permitting an Israeli to board. The Israeli argued that it was discrimination based on the fact that he was Israeli.

The court ruled that German law does not recognize discrimination based on nationality only by race, religion and ethnicity.

French, Swiss and US courts disagree. They held that the situation was indeed discriminatory and issued policies to airlines that they cannot fly out of their airports if they practice discrimination - regardless of local laws.

In this case the mayor of Frankfurt, Uwe Becker, condemned the ruling saying, "An airline that practices discrimination and anti-Semitism by refusing to fly Israeli passengers should not be allowed to take off or land in Frankfurt."





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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Iran and Hezbollah Invent History

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Iranian President Rouhani said on Iranian national TV that Saudi Arabia begged Israel to attack Lebanon.

He said: "It is very reprehensible and shameful for a Muslim country in the region to beg the Zionist regime to bomb the people of Lebanon."

He continued by attacking Crown Prince bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. He said: "It is unprecedented in history for a Muslim country to take such measures, and this indicates the immaturity of the individuals, who have come to power in those countries."

Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah continued on the same theme saying: "Saudi Arabia is inciting Israel to launch a war against Lebanon. I speak here about facts, not analysis. Saudi Arabia is ready to pay tens of billions of dollars to Israel for that." Nasrallah also said that Israel is helping Al Nusra and Al Qaeda in Syria. He claimed that Israel was trying to create a civil war in Lebanon. He said "Israel is trying to incite a civil war."

Iran and Hezbollah are making up facts in order to convince their populations and continue their thesis. That should be obvious to all.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Russia Says US Protecting ISIS

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Tensions between Russia and the US are emerging. In fact, the Russian Ministry of Defense recently attacked the US claiming that the United States is providing cover for ISIS.

As part of their attack against the United States, Russia is claiming that the US is only pretending to fight ISIS. Specifically, they are saying that the US air force stopped Russian strikes against the ISIS town of Albu Kamal in Syria.

The Ministry statement said: "These facts are conclusive evidence that the United States, while imitating an uncompromising fight against international terrorism for the global community, in fact provides cover for Islamic State units."

Obviously, the Russians are exaggerating.

The US is taking a stand and will not permit attacks against innocent civilians. This is the major difference between the United States and Russia.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Israel Bars BDS Politicians

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Israel's Interior Minister Aryeh Deri has accepted the recommendations of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. Israel will not permit entry to a group of BDS supporting politicians from the EU parliament and BDS supporting mayors.

The group of 20, all from France, is scheduled to arrive in Israel in just over a week.

BDS is committed to destroying Israel. With this decision, Israel is exercising its right to protect itself. Opening the doors and allowing access to enemies who will use the trip to further their destructive goals is antithetical to the values of Israeli tourism.

These politicians will use media and politics as their bully pulpit and do everything they can to convince all who will listen that Israel is evil.

Good for Israel.

Wise decision.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Increased Tensions in Middle East

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Increased tensions in the Middle East can be explained by the division between Saudi Arabia and Iran - in other words, tensions continue to
rise between Sunnis and Shiites.

The Saudis have demanded an Arab League emergency meeting to convene this week. They claim that Iran is intervening, once across, in the region ... this time in Lebanon, in Syria, in Bahrain and in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia claims that, through proxies, Iranians have attacked their interests and are destabilizing the region.

The resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri is a prime example. Hariri believes his life is in danger and is now living Saudi Arabia. On Sunday he appeared live on Future TV and said he was a free man and will return to Lebanon very soon.

Hariri said he resigned to save the country from imminent danger. He didn't elaborate.

We will see what happens next.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bahrain Pipeline Hit by Terror

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

An oil pipeline in Bahrain, located just outside the capital, was the target of a terrorist attack yesterday.

Bahraini officials blamed Iran.

That should be no surprise. Bahrain's Minister of Interior Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, said the attack was "the latest example of a terrorist act performed by terrorists in direct contact with and under instruction from Iran."

Iran rejects the insinuation and claims that they had nothing to do the explosion.

About 85% of Bahrain is Shiite and the Iranians have supported their revolt against the minority Sunni leadership.

In 2011 there was an attempt to overthrow the Bahraini government that was sponsored by Iran. Since then, many revolutionary cells have been uncovered and all have been traced back to Iran.

It makes sense that, despite the protestations, Iran is behind the attack.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Syria Claims Victory Over ISIS

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

 On Thursday the Syrian army announced their total victory over ISIS. The announcement is premature - but important.

There is still fighting in the area near the Syrian / Iraqi border, especially near the town of Albu Kamal, one of the first ISIS centers now one of the last.

The Syrian announcement is especially important on two levels. The first is that the Syrian army decidedly chose to release this statement at all. According to the statement about ISIS, or Daesh as the Syrians refers to them, this is "the fall of the terrorist Daesh organization's project in the region."

The second reason this is important is because there are reports, even if they are only rumors, that Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is in Albu Kamal.

There are reliable reports of high level ISIS prisoners but no comment or confirmation about Baghdadi.

The Syrian military is both very public and very secretive. They send out exaggerated, hyperbolic, incomplete, announcements that neither relate the obvious nor confirm it.

If Baghdadi is alive, he is on the run or in hiding. If he is holed up near Albu Kamal, or in Syrian custody this is very significant for ISIS. It could mean that ISIS / Daesh, is nearing the end.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

PA Says Hamas Must Disarm

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The nitty gritty of the agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is where it all may fall apart.

Primary among all the issues is that Hamas must disarm and the PA must take complete control over security, safety and police in Gaza. Hamas has said "no way."

PA national police chief Hazem Atallah has said that disarming Hamas is non- negotiable. He said "It is impossible. How can I do security when there are all these rockets and guns? Is this possible? It doesn't work."

The agreement is bound to unravel. This is one of many examples of how it is falling apart.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Morocco Retracts Israel Judo Team's Visas

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Morocco is supposed to host The World Judo Championships on November 9-10, 2017.


Yesterday the Moroccans retracted the visas that were granted to the Israeli team. As a result, Israel was unable to depart from Tel Aviv. When the International Judo Federation discovered what was happening they demanded that Morocco grant the visas or, they said, they will cancel the entire championship.

This debacle follows on the heels of the Abu Dhabi judo championship when Israeli athletes were not permitted to wear their state emblem or play their national anthem.

This isn't a first time move against Israel by Morocco. In 2015 something similar happened when the Israeli judo team was arrested at the Rabat airport. They were released, finally, after being detained at the airport for 8 hours.

At that point the International Judo Federation intervened and reminded Morocco that a condition for hosting the event was that they host Israel. But here we go again.

We will continue to monitor these events.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Egypt to West Dips: Out of Our Internal Life

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
As predicted, Western nations have begun to criticize Egypt and their human rights actions against dissenters.

Egypt is aggressively striking out at ISIS and other anti-government groups. They are identifying people and movements that are working against the establishment.

In response there has been some serious Western blow-black.

So Egypt's foreign ministry summoned the ambassadors from Canada, Germany, Italy, Great Britain and The Netherlands and told them that they are interfering in internal Egyptian politics. He informed them that their actions violate the dictates of foreign policy procedures and diplomacy.

This story isn't over.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, November 6, 2017

US Strikes Somalia

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

US fighter jets struck an ISIS camp in Somalia on Friday. This is an important shift in policy.

The United States is now going after ISIS in places like Somalia, a place where ISIS fighters are re-organizing and planning their next stage of development as they leave Syria and Iraq.

The US Strategic command in Africa released the following statement: "U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats."

It is possible that the air attack against ISIS was a direct response to the ISIS attack in NYC.

The United States has been upping pressure on ISIS in Syria and Iraq and now they are expanding to other areas.

In May a Navy Seal was killed during an operation against ISIS in Somalia. All total there are about 300 US troops in Somalia functioning as advisors to the Somali army as they try to fight ISIS.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Dutch Supplied Nule Tech to Iran

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
The Dutch minister of defense sent a very troubling report to the lower house of parliament yesterday.

He said that their technology was being used by nefarious countries to produce nuclear weapons against their policy and against their laws.

This was, for a long time, an unpublished secret. But now that Dutch intelligence officially disclosed the matter, they must act on it.

The defense minister wrote "Dutch technology was used in programs of weapons of mass destruction and means of delivery in Iran, Pakistan or Syria."

Technology was supplied by Dutch businesses, in violation of Dutch law, who exported the technology to Iran Pakistan and Syria.

The Dutch must investigate, shut down, fine and imprison those business leaders. These businesses made a conscious decision to make money by endangering the world and they should be brought to justice.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Iran Calls US Their #1 Enemy

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Iran is picking up its rhetoric toward the United States. The Supreme Leader has called the US their number one enemy.

On Thursday in a speech broadcast on Iranian TV the Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and said: "America's hostility is towards the Iranian nation ... America is the number one enemy of our nation ... We will never accept their bullying over the nuclear deal."

This is coming on the heels of Iran's President Rouhani meeting with Russian President Putin and their collaborating on how to stymie US activity and operations in the Middle East.

It is never easy when an arch enemy goes public --- but rhetoric can sometime become the foundation of policy. I think that is what is happening right now in Iran.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Putin Visits Iran

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Iran yesterday.

Russian TV reported that the objective of the meeting is to discuss regional issues, especially Syria.
Russian and Iranian leadership will speak about the nuclear deal and economic issues, even trade between Russia and Iran.

Most importantly, they will speak about the conflict between Iran and the United States.

Russia and Iran have many common interests. They both back Assad of Syria while the US and others in the region, like Saudi Arabia and Turkey, support ousting Assad and groups trying to overthrow the Syrian president.

Putin is once again showing his mastery in the use of power and politics. Going to Iran is a direct poke in the eye of the United States. It means that Russia has control and influence that the US cannot even dream of achieving.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Terror in New York

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Terror struck New York City just hundreds of yards away from Ground Zero.

Eight people were murdered and eleven others injured by an Islamic terrorist from Uzbekistan named Sayfullo Saipov.

There should be no doubt that this was terror.

Saipov shouted the Takbir, the Muslim call "Allahu Ahkbar", which means Allah is better or Allah is best.

Saipov followed the exact directions - down to leaving a note in the vehicle - outlined by ISIS in an article published online.

Islamic terrorists are set on murdering as many innocent Americans as possible.

Sayfullo Saipov is not a lone wolf. The expression isolates the terrorist. In this day and age, no terrorist is isolated. They are all connected through the new media.

More details will emerge, but we know a lot already.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

World Court Against Israel's Female Bias

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Israel is being brought before the United Nations Human Rights Council on charges of inequality regarding the status of women.

The focus is on several issues including inequality at the Western Wall and the fact that there are certain buses that are unisex and others that are separate sex.

The Human Rights Council is asking about the treatment of women in hospitals, in clinics and even in cemeteries.

In essence these are attacks on the religious and ultra religious communities of Israel and the internal strictures which define their lives and their lives only.

Israel has dispatched a team from the defense ministry to put forth their defense. It is shocking that
Israel is even engaging these claims. Regardless of how the discussions go it will have no impact on Israel or on everyday life.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Iran Pres Turned Down Meet w Trump

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Iranian press published a story about US President Trump attempting to have a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.

According to the story, the invite was rebuffed by the Iranian leader. The Press reported that "an intention was expressed by the American side that was not approved by President Rouhani."

One of the great part of the yearly United Nations General Assembly in New York is the many meetings happen behind closed doors. Most of those meetings are never made public - secret meetings between leaders have real value.

In 2013, as Rouhani was on his way to the airport, President Obama made a call to him in his car on his cell phone. Rouhani accepted the call.

That was the last time any high level conversation took place between the United States and Iran.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Bubbe Videos Are Funny

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
The American Friends of Hebrew University created a series of 90 second videos centered around a traditional Jewish Bubbe, or grandmother, named Judith Cohen.

The videos are hilarious. They advertize a series of fake phone app -- one is about remembering to call your Bubbe, a second is to remind you to put on a jacket when it's cold outside and a third finds a mentsch as a match for your granddaughter.
Watch the Bubbe ask you to call.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg3x49fiT5A

The video shorts went viral with tens of thousands of views. They are so clever that many people actually thought they were real apps and tried to buy them. In actually, they are a gentle lampooning of apps, Bubbes and grandchildren and a brilliant fundraising gimmick.

How does it help Hebrew University? It brings the name of the university to people's attention. It gets people to see and hear the name and associate the university with high tech and tech innovation.

The videos which are appropriate for all ages, clearly target a younger generation, one that watches Youtube and does not receive traditional, old fashioned, fundraising mass mailing solicitations, letters and brochures in the mail. The younger generation does not give on the same level as their parents, but these videos will make them chuckle and then maybe, reach out and donate in a "thanks for the laugh" moment.

Parents and grandparents will do more than chuckle, they will belly laugh at these videos and, hopefully, be moved to donate on an equivalent basis.

The American Friends of Hebrew University identified an emotional link, one which is real and touching and funny. The message was successful. The question is whether the campaign will raise the needed funds.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Russia Seals Arms Deal w Qatar

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Russia has made a big move in the area of arms trade in the Middle East.

Qatar's defense minister signed a defense deal with his Russian counterpart. The deal, which was signed yesterday in Doha, the capital of Qatar, is entitled the Agreement on Military Technical Cooperation. It is based on the promise by Qatar to buy all kinds of Russian weapons.

This deal can be worth billions per year.

What makes this especially critical is the fact that in 2015 Qatar was ranked 1st in the world of any country who bought US weapons.

The rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia has a spill over - and that might just be the reason for the cozy new relationship Qatar is building with Russia.

The United States tried to smooth over the differences, but to no avail. The cost to the United States of this rift can be measured in the billions of dollars in weapons sales they are set to lose.

This is a total shift by Qatar towards Russia and a move away from the US.

Military equipment is not interchangeable. Qatar will be replacing their entire military infrastructure with Russian equipment.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Pence to Visit Israel & Egypt in Dec

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Vice President Mike Pence announced yesterday that he will visit the Middle East in late December. He will visit Egypt and Israel.

Pence made the announcement at a dinner dedicated to raising money and awareness in order to save and protect Christians in the Middle East.

The vice president also announced that the United States will deliver money to protect Christians and other minorities directly. They US will redirect money that has, in the past, been sent to the United Nations and instead give it directly to the communities in need.

Pence said: "One of the messages that I will bring on the president's behalf to leaders across the region is that now is the time to bring an end to the persecution of Christians and all religious minorities."

He said: "From this day forward, America will provide support directly to persecuted communities through USAID." "Our fellow Christians and all who are persecuted in the Middle East should not have to rely on multinational institutions when America can help them directly."

It's a welcome move. Christians in the Middle East desperately need help.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

MD Gov Says No to BDS

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland signed an executive order that will not grant any state contracts to businesses which subscribe to boycotting Israel.

Hogan is also asking for state pension investors to move away from any company that supports BDS.
BDS is gaining strength --- but the counter balance - the number of people who realize how wrong and immoral the BDS movement is, has grown.

Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland is a perfect example.

Hogan said: "Boycotts based on religion, national origin, ethnicity or place of residence are discriminatory, and contracting with businesses that practice discrimination would make the state a passive participant in private sector commercial discrimination."

Kudos to Governor Hogan.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Iran Claims Major Role in Region

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that Iran is stronger than ever and that they have been.  Rouhani asserted that they are the most powerful force in the region and stronger than they have ever been in history.

"The greatness of the nation of Iran in the region is more than at any other time." He added that Iran is the most significant player in the entire region. The speech, which was broadcast live, emphasized Iran's role in the Middle East.

Rouhani said: "In Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, northern Africa, in the Persian Gulf region -- where can action be taken without Iran?"

This is just another example of Iran assuming an important role in the region. Iran will continue to step forward. They have a plan and, as of now, it is working.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Egypt Attacked By ISIS

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Egypt was attacked by ISIS over the weekend. It was one of the worst attacks in the history of Egypt.

Fifty-four Egyptian security people were murdered in the south west section of Cairo.

We do not know the details. AP reported that in the course of 48 hours, 54 Egyptian police were killed. Officially, however, the Egyptian government announcement said that only 16 policemen were killed.

Egyptian president al-Sisi said: "Egypt will continue its confrontation against terrorism and those financing and standing behind it, with strength, decisiveness and efficiency, until it's curbed."

We will uncover the details of what happened soon enough.

Know this: Al Sisi will exact revenge. ISIS will soon be the target of Egyptian justice.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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