Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Iran Launches Missile from Sub

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Iran has been testing ballistic missiles. They shot two cruise style missiles, called Nasir missile, from a submarine. The missiles hit their targets.

The United States and other Western nations say this behavior violates UN Security Council Resolution 2331 which was passed in the aftermath of the famous nuke deal. The resolution, passed in July of 2015, says that Iran is "not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology."

Iran says that they are not in violation of any resolution.
Iran claims that they do not have a nuclear program so they cannot be in violation of anything nuclear-related. They say the resolution only deals with issues in connection to nuclear development.

Of course the Iranians want to expand their nuclear technology. They say that they are engaging in energy and research - not in weapon development.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Clans Conflict in Lebanon

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
 
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas finished a 3 day trip to Lebanon.

As he left Ein el Hilwa, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, which is located near the Southern city of Sidon, erupted in violent fights. Internal clashes between supporters of Abbas and some of the extremist groups in the camp, including al Qaeda, went after each other.

There were numerous injuries. Ein el Hiwa is a lawless center and a hotbed of extremism.

These conflicts are typical in the region. People in the Middle East are tied to clan and area affiliations. They are fiercely loyal to their families. When the family leader establishes an affiliation with a cause - political or otherwise, the entire clan falls into line. That includes defending and fighting for their cause.

We see this happen in camps, in towns and in villages throughout the region. There is far more loyalty to clan than to a national leader.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

3 Die in Gaza Tunnel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Authorities in Gaza announced that three of their workers were killed in a tunnel that the Egyptians blew up the day before.

The three were workers who went into the tunnel to repair the destruction. They were killed from inhaling poisonous gas that was in the tunnel as the result of the blast.

The information was made public by the Hamas interior ministry.

The important element in this story is that Egypt is destroying Hamas' tunnels to make certain that they are not used for terror or to transport illegal weapons.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Iran Fears Israeli Diplomacy

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
The president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani addressed, a conference in Teheran this week. The conference, which was about the Palestinians, was dedicated to finding solutions for the problems besetting Palestinians.

Rouhani said, "The occupying regime, in an attempt to normalize its situation, has for the first time referred to certain Arab countries as its allies against the resistance front, instead of describing them as its enemies."

Iran is feeling the pressure.

Israel is making headway. Serious relationship building between Israel and her Arab neighbors are developing - mostly as an outgrowth of the rise of ISIS and increased tensions with Iran.

Iran is striking back and telling the Arab world to stop. But will they listen?

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

IDF Says Hezbollah Has Low Morale

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Gadi Eisenkot, the chief of IDF staff and the head of the entire Israeli defense system said that Hezbollah is suffering from a crisis in morale.

Eisenkot made his point while addressing the Knesset committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense. He said that Hezbollah leaders' statements about shooting rockets and hitting the ammonia plant in Haifa as well as the nuclear power plant in Dimona are an exaggeration. He said that hits of that type are way beyond the capabilities of Hezbollah.

The Israeli top general said that the civil war in Syria has enabled Hezbollah. It has given them important operational experience as fighters and as tactical warriors battling ISIS and others in Syria.

Eisenkot said that Hamas in Gaza has been Israel's largest border threat. He said that the IDF has spent $2.4 billion in creating a response against tunnels and other border threats along the Israeli Gaza border. He said that the new leader of Hamas has changed the public attitude - but not tactical decisions on whether or not to attack Israel.

All in all, Eisenkot delivered a positive message. He is optimistic about the state of Israel's safety and optimistic that Israel's enemies are still a safe distance away.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ayatollah Tells Palestinians to Fight Israel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
The Supreme Leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Khamenei, announced on his website that the Palestinians should fight to create their state and destroy Israel. He said that by fighting, they will achieve their ends.

But he never called Israel by her name. Instead, the Supreme Leader called Israel a "cancerous tumor."

He said that: "...by Allah's permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that usurping regime."

About the Palestinians, Khamenei said: "The Palestinian intifada continues to gallop forward in a thunderous manner so that it can achieve its other goals until the complete liberation of Palestine."

Iranians and Palestinians are in very different spheres they disagree on nearly everything. But Iran wants to be the leader of the Muslim world. And that's why Iran must now become the most public defenders, the cheerleaders, of the Palestinians to the outside world.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

London Arrests 5 Kids Running Away to ISIS

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
As we have seen, over the past few years youth from all over Europe have run away to join ISIS. Conservative numbers put the figures at 4,000 but the real number may be as many as 3 times that.

Recently, London police arrested 5 teenagers between 15 and 19 years old. The teens have been charged with terrorism and with traveling to join a terrorist organization. The plan was to travel to Syria and join ISIS.

Police raided the houses of the teens and seize their computers, phones and other materials as evidence.

The British press is exploding with this story. People are in shock just as they were in 2015 when three girls disappeared to join ISIS.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, February 20, 2017

ISIS Hit By Israel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

ISIS reports that an Israeli drone struck and killed five ISIS members in Sinai. They were traveling in a car in the very northernmost section of Sinai, almost in Gaza, just outside of the city of Rafah.

This was probably a response to ISIS' launching rockets from Sinai into the southern port city of Eilat just over a week before the drone attack.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the original rockets attack into Israel. They made an official statement and posted and proudly boasting that it was an operation ISIS of the Sinai Peninsula. They said: "A number of rockets were launched at Jewish centers in Eilat, known as Umm Rashrash. The Jews and Crusaders should know that the war of the apostles will not save them in any way."

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Take Bomb Threats Seriously

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Terror threats against the organized Jewish community have risen. These threats do not appear to have activated any serious response on either the part of the media or of the Jewish community.

The events were minimally covered in the press - especially the local press in the cities where the terror threats took place.

National and international press covered the threats, but did not extend their analysis to focusing on the threats, how to approach these threats or how to educate the Jewish and non-Jewish community.

Over three separate days in January - on the 9th, 18th and 31st there were 60 bomb threats called in to 46 JCC's in 26 states (including one in Canada). Some JCC's received several threats. The threats said that C-4 has been placed in your building and "a larger number of Jews are going to be slaughtered."

A national response is essential.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Hamas Elections

By Micah Halpern

I've Been Thinking:

Hamas just held an election. As with everything Hamas related, it was fraught with controversy. Putting that aside รข€“ we can now say that Hamas has a new head and his name is Yahya Sinwar.

This is bad news all around - for Israel, for the West, for Gaza and for Hamas.
Sinwar is even more extreme than previous leadership. First and most importantly, he was in an Israeli prison and released only because of the prison swap for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Yahya Sinwar is a free man because of an exchange and yet, he has put unrealistic and extreme preconditions on any swap with Israel. He is demanding that all 50 prisoners who were released for Shalit in 2014 and then re-arrested after the kidnapping and murder of the 3 Israeli teenagers, be released.

And then he is demanding the release of dozens of other prisoners before he will even begin to talk about returning the bodies of Israelis killed in the most recent Gaza operations and the freeing of two Israelis who accidentally wandered into Gaza.

These are non-starters.

Even more dramatic and more dangerous is that Yahya Sinwar wants to rekindle relations with Iran. Previous Hamas leadership was interested in mending fences with Egypt. But moving towards Iran means Hamas will receive money and weapons that could have a huge impact on the safety of Israelis.

Running to Iran is never a good sign when it comes to power and politics in the Middle East.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

YouTube Hate Speech

Thursday February 16, 2017
I've Been Thinking.

Many people have never heard of PewDeiPei. His real name is Felix Kjellberg. And he is the most watched person on YouTube - the most watched person ever!
PewDeiPei has 53 million subscribers and his videos have been watched over a billion times.

He is what you would call - hot. And yet - Disney just dropped him.
PewDeiPei was dropped because he had eight videos that were overtly anti-Semitic. One video included two Indians unfurling a banner that read "Kill the Jews." Another video had him saying "Hitler was right."

Kjellberg said that it was all done in humor, but he understands that it could be misunderstood.

That falls far shy of an apology.

Disney did the right thing. There can be no tolerance for hatred, not even in humor.

This artist was self destructive. Disney was worth millions to him per year. But don't feel sorry for him - he ruined his own career.


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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trump Bibi Meet

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Today's White House meeting between President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be, at the same time, both very exciting and very boring.

Exciting because it has been a very long time since an Israeli prime minister - especially Netanyahu, has been a welcome and well received guest at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Boring because there will be no new news to come out of the meeting -no news, no conflict, no new ground. In the end, that 'no news' will turn into "good news" for everyone.

The first meeting between a new US president and a sitting Israeli prime minister is normally a formality. The two leaders review basics and reaffirm the promise made by Bush and Sharon to protect Israel. They get to know one another and make certain that they can pick up a phone and clear things up if and when it becomes necessary.

In this case, Trump and Netanyahu are already friends. They will skip the formalities and get down to brass tacks business, or, as some will call it "tachlis." They will probably speak about Iran, ISIS, Syria, Turkey and the cabal of negativism that swarms around each of them.

They will only briefly discuss Palestinian issues - and only to reaffirm the Two-State Solution and agree that there is at present no Palestinian leader strong enough to broker the compromises necessary for negotiations and meaningful dialogue. They will mention settlements and President Trump will reiterate that it is not helpful to make public pronouncements about such things.

And finally, they will agree that it is a good idea to move the US embassy to
Jerusalem, but more time is needed before the move can and should be made.

Not bad for Israel. And not bad for the United States.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tillerson to Meet w Russia FM

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
It looks like new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is going to meet with his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The potential meeting was reported by the Interfax news service which quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.

The report suggests that the two chief diplomats will meet in Germany.

The coverage clearly articulated that the topic of their conversation will be Syria.

This will be an important test for Tillerson in his role as Secretary of State.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Turkey in Syria Fighting ISIS

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Turkey has begun their part in a ground operation to destroy ISIS. Over the weekend Turkish forces crossed over into Syria on their way to liberate the Syrian city of al Bab from ISIS.

The operation was confirmed by Turkish President Erdogan before he departed on a regional trip visiting Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.

Al Bab is about 13 miles over the Turkish border, so it was not too difficult logistically for Turkish forces to get to. But their next stop is Raqa which is 110 miles from al Bab.
Raqa is the capital of ISIS and is its nerve center.

Erdogan said that the objective is to liberate 5000 sq km (about 3000 sq miles) from ISIS. He actually used the word "cleanse" not liberate. He also made it clear that Turkey will not stay in Syria.

This is a major change in the Turkish game plan. Erdogan and Trump spoke earlier in the week and this must have been part of the plan they discussed. Turkey is a very important asset in the battle to defeat ISIS.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Trump Walks Back US Embassy Move

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

This Friday Israel Today (Yisrael HaYom), the largest circulated news paper in Israel, published an interview with President Donald Trump. The interview touched on two important topics, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and settlements.

About settlements, Trump said that building new settlements is not helpful.

And about the embassy move, President Trump said he is rethinking the move and looking at all the different angles. These are his words:

"I am thinking about the embassy, I am studying the embassy [issue], and we will see what happens. The embassy is not an easy decision. It has obviously been out there for many, many years, and nobody has wanted to make that decision. I'm thinking about it very seriously, and we will see what happens."

Right now - that's all we can do. Wait and see.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, February 10, 2017

US & Turley to Fight ISIS

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
US President Trump spoke with Turkish President Erdogan. The two leaders agreed to form a united front against ISIS.

Trump and Erdogan spoke about specifics and decided to work together to liberate two cities in Syria that are under the control of ISIS - Raqa and al Bab.

I am absolutely certain that they either already have a plan or are preparing a plan and that they will
act together to liberate these cities.

Raqa is the capital of ISIS in Syria. If the US and Turkey successfully oust ISIS from Raqa, it may very well be a near death blow to the governing process of ISIS. It will also be major blow to ISIS recruitment and to the reputation of ISIS. If it happens it means that ISIS will not have a capital and will lose the head and heart of their state.

This could be a huge success. It certainly highlights the difference between the Obama administration and the Trump administration.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Islam in Italy

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Islam is not recognized in Italy. That means, unlike Christianity and Judaism whose congregations and clergy are paid by the state, Islamic congregations and clergy are not paid by the state.

Now there is a move to register all Italian Imams. And Italy's Imams are now required to sermonize in Italian and to sign a good citizenship statement.

There are 1.4 million Muslims in Italy - they are the second largest religious community in the country. Italians are afraid of the trend overtaking Europe where radical Islam is hijacking many countries.

The solution Italian leadership has devised is called the National Pact for an Italian Islam. The idea is to integrate Islam into the modern state of Italy.

It's an ambitious undertaking- but will it be successful?

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Le Pen Wants to Ban Kippot

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front and contender for President of France, said some very controversial things in an interview on Israel Channel 2.

Jewish media around the world have been talking about the interview which was sent from the Jewish Chronicle in England to the JTA in the US.

Le Pen said that Jews of France should stop wearing their kippot. He said they should wear hats. This is part of the battle against Islam. She advocates the removal of all religious symbols.

She said "Honestly, the dangerous situation in which Jews in France live is such that those who walk with a kippah are in any case a minority because they are afraid."

"But I mainly think the struggle against radical Islam should be a joint struggle and everyone should say, 'There, we are sacrificing something.'"

Le Pen also said: "Maybe they will do with just wearing a hat, but it would be a step in the effort to stamp out radical Islam in France."

Marine Le Pen is wrong.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

NYT Says No Lone Wolves

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

A recent front page Sunday NYTimes article proclaimed that there is no such thing as a lone wolf.
Finally!!! Some of us have been saying this for years. We were told we do not understand it was as if we were living in different worlds.

Of course there are still anarchists and private political lone wolves, but not when it comes to Muslim terrorists.

Almost every single Muslim terrorist acts together with ISIS and al Qaeda. The individual terrorist may not be a member of a terror group, but they have all been activated by the terrorist media.
Terrorists in the United States and in Europe engage in ISIS social media and watch their videos.
These are motivational videos.

ISIS and al Qaeda also have operational videos and how-to videos. They have videos explaining
Islam and videos explaining how to gather supporters as well as how to encrypt your emails and messages to remain safe and off the radar of the police.

These media even allow for communication back to the nerve center of ISIS and al Qaeda to get personal tutoring when needed.

Finally - the NYTimes seems to understand what I've been saying all along.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Turkey Arrests 400 ISIS

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Turkey arrested 400 suspected terrorists yesterday. Turkish military and police conducted raids throughout Turkey in six provinces all around the country.

Add these 400 to 780 suspected terrorists the Turks have already arrested. Of those already arrested, 350 suspected terrorists are foreigners.

Turkey is the latest country to make the decision to intensify their actions against ISIS.

Countries in the region have stepped up their game. This change is important. These actions show a change in local momentum and in attitude. The regional war against ISIS is intensifying.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Jordan Bombs ISIS in Syria

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Jordan has been hit hard by ISIS terror attacks - and now they are ratcheting up their fight against ISIS.

Jordan attacked ISIS basis in Southern Syria. They attacked an ammunition depot. They also attacked a factory that builds car bombs and a building that housed ISIS fighters. The Jordanian army released a statement declaring the success of their mission.

"The operation resulted in killing and wounding a number of members of the terrorist gang in addition to destroying a number of vehicles," said the army statement published by the Petra news agency.

This move is critical. It moves Jordan into the league of countries actively active striking ISIS outside their own country. Most countries have limited their defense against ISIS to within their borders. The fight needs to be broadened. Kudos to Jordan.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Iran Says US is Useless

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Iran is responding to US President Trump's announcement that Iran has been put on notice. The announcement was actually made by National Security Adviser Michael Flynn after Iran shot two ballistic missiles as a weapons test.

The spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, Bahram Ghasemi, called the United States' stance "repetitive, baseless and provocative."

He continued by suggesting that "instead of thanking Iran for its continued fight against terrorism, the American government is practically helping the terrorists by claims about Iran that are baseless, repetitive and provocative."

Iran continued and said that these US threats against them are useless.

The question is - what will and can the US do if Iran continues along these lines? We need to see what President Trump has up his sleeve.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Sheik Says US Policy NOT Anti uslim

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates said that the executive order limiting entrance to the US from seven Arab countries that are centers of terror - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - is not anti-Muslim.

Sheik Abdullah bun Zayed al Nayen issued the statement during a press conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. Lavrov was visiting Abu Dhabi to talk about issues related to ISIS, Iran, Syria and other Middle East tensions as well as the new US president.

The Sheik told the press conference that the 90 day policy did not include most Muslims and was not directed at Muslims, but rather, at countries that are filled with terrorism.

The UAE foreign minister said that the United States has the right and the responsibility to behave in this way.

Micah@MicahHalpern.com 

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Israel-Turkey Talks

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Israel and Turkey are mending fences. For the first time in six long years high level talks between Turkey and Israel are taking place.

On Tuesday, Yuval Rotem, Israel's new Director General of the Foreign Ministry, flew to Ankara, the
Turkish capital, where he will be in meetings until Thursday. Rotem's main meetings will be with his Turkish counterpart Umit Yalcin.

The objective of these meetings is twofold - to normalize relations through trust and to rebuild security and counter terror communications.

These six years have been a long time during which tensions were high and important opportunities were lost.

Working together is beneficial for both Israel and Turkey and for the region. Turkish-Israeli cooperation was sorely missed. It will take time to get it back up to the level where it once was, but these talks are a good indication and are a big step towards improving the situation.

Micah@MichHalpern.com 

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