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Israel To Sell Gas to Egypt
By Micah Halpern

Monday October 20, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

The tables have turned!

2.5 years ago Islamic terrorists of the Muslim Brotherhood were blowing up the natural gas pipeline that led from Egypt to Israel.
They were upset that Egypt was providing gas to Israel.

Thirty months later, Israel and Egypt have signed an agreement. This time Israel is providing Egypt with natural gas and using the same pipeline. But now the pipeline is more secure. Egyptian President al Sisi believes he can provide the line the protection it needs.

Over the next 3 years Israel will regularly provide a minimum of 5 million cubic meters of natural gas to Egypt.

Egypt has not yet recovered from their internal turmoil and crisis. The Egyptian economy, especially their oil and natural gas industry, is dependent on outside powers for a jump start - and it has barely moved.

Egypt has a long way to go. They need to import. And the perfect partner is Israel which is now marketing their newly discovered natural gas resources.

Strange but true, just the way things happen in the Middle East.

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Kerry Makes A Silly Statement Again
By Micah Halpern

Sunday October 19, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

US Secretary of State John Kerry recently made the startlingly ridiculous statement that in his travels in the Middle East "there wasn't a leader I met within the region who didn't raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation."

The suggestion that the lack of resolution between Israel and the Palestinians is in any way a reason for radicalism and the rise of ISIS is simply uninformed fiction.

The presence of the United States and the role of the United States in the Middle East - including the coalition, have much more to do with increased recruitment to ISIS and radicalization in the region than the lack of progress between Israel and the Palestinians.

And that is still no reason for the US to stop its involvement.

Kerry continues to stun me. How can the person responsible for US policy in the Middle East repeatedly make these ridiculous statements?

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NYC Imams Condemn Extremism
By Micah Halpern

Saturday October 18, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

The other day almost a dozen Imams from New York City gathered on the steps of City Hall. They announced that they were going to fight extremism.

This is a huge step forward for the Muslim community and for Muslims living in the United States.

The Imams announced that Islamic law forbids acts of terror and violence against innocent people.

The leader of the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York, Imam Al Hajj Talib Abdur Rashid, explained that the group would now start a serious educational campaign to combat extremism. They would use the web and counter extremist propaganda.

In addition, they will educate their constituency about balance - especially the need to balance public safety issues and constitutional issues with Muslim issues.

I will monitor them carefully. I wish them good luck and great success. So far they have received no death threats from Muslim extremists.

Death threats tend to silence moderates.

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US Finally Hitting ISIS
By Micah Halpern

Friday October 17, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

The tide might be changing. The Kurds are scoring more points against ISIS - especially around Kobani.

The coalition against ISIS has been more and more effective in their air strikes and the Kurds of Kobani and elsewhere have been more successful in pushing ISIS back.

The United States announced that they believe that they had killed several hundred ISIS members on Wednesday. It is not clear that the Kurds now have the power of serious momentum pushing them forward, but in the short term, we are seeing a change.

So why are the coalition aerial assaults more effective this week than they were last week? Good question.

The answer is that the Kurds are currently giving the US and the coalition the proper coordinates. With proper coordinates the air strikes are making a difference.

So why did the US and the coalition not use Kurds to get them they coordinates they need earlier? Another good question.
Unfortunately, in this case there are no good answers.

I could speculate and in doing so the possible answers would not cast positive light on the United States or on the coalition.

Whatever the answers --- at least now the US and the coalition are getting intel from the Kurds.

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US Names Operation LOL
By Micah Halpern

Thursday October 16, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

The US has now named the operation against ISIS. We know that it is a coalition of many who agree to stop ISIS - but in reality most nations are not actually doing anything.

Inherent Resolve is the name of the operation.

I think the name is very appropriate. Resolve is necessary to defeat ISIS. Inherent implies that everyone, every human being, should have that resolve.

If the message is so inherent, that may have been a reason that the operation went without a name for so long, at least until yesterday.
Now the operation has a name. Now we know what we are fighting for and what we are fighting against. And we know that we are fighting it inherently and with great resolve.

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Israel in Line for Huge Conflict
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday October 15, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Israel is gearing up for a huge fight.

Not the kind you would expect. No guns or rockets, no Iron Dome.

This is a diplomatic battle.

The Parliament of the United Kingdom recently voted, in a non-binding vote, to recognize the Palestinian State. France will soon do the same. Other Western European countries will follow suit.

In addition, there is an international, primarily European, move to punish settlements and settlers and boycott Israeli products from the West Bank. Some are even calling for a total boycott of Israel products.

The political leadership of Europe understands the need to not step forward and recognize a Palestinian State but the masses, even rank and file politicians not in leadership positions, see no harm in recognizing a Palestinian State.

Why is recognizing a Palestinian state so dangerous? It means that the fiat, or votes, around the world trump direct face to face dialogue.

The only way to create a state is for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to discuss and then agree upon the terms. A unilateral declaration is simply counterproductive.


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Iran Sudan Rift Will Hurt Hamas
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday October 14, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Iran and Sudan are at one another's throats.

Sudan shut down all Iranian culture centers in Sudan. The shutdown was ordered by the king himself.

Sudan shut down the Iranian centers because Iran was using them to spread Shiite tradition and influence Sunnis in Sudan.

This breakup will have a huge impact on weapon transfers to Hamas. Iran sends weapons to Sudan and the Sudanese then bring the weapons through Egypt and into Gaza.

This breakup between Iran and Sudan is troublesome - but it is also typical. All Sunnis are skeptical of Iran. The Sunnis fear that the Shiites want to poach Muslims and bring them over to Shiite Islam.

The difference between Shiites and Sunnis is so dramatic that they think of each other as heretics and can kill each other with impunity.

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