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Rebuilding Gaza
By Micah Halpern

Friday September 19, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Saudi Arabia opened the bidding yesterday. They pledged $500 million to help rebuild Gaza. That is about 1/6-1/8 of the entire estimated cost which has been put at $3-$4 billion.

The pledges will come. And as per normal, most pledges will only be partially filled.

But to what use will those pledged funds be going?

The real practical issues of rebuilding Gaza have not yet been resolved. We know that the Palestinian Authority will be supervising the rebuilding and we do know that Hamas will be sidelined. But so far, there is no organized method to plan and rebuild.

Just finding cement is a problem. Rebuilding Gaza will require approximately 10,000 tons of cement per day. Up until now, 30 tons per day are brought in and Israel just increased that three-fold making it about 100 tons per day. They will need those 10,000 tons per day for at least 6 months.

The PA has said that they do not want to buy cement from Israel. There really is no other choice. Importing that much cement from Cyprus or from parts of Europe into Gaza will prove to be financially prohibitive. So despite Palestinian reservations, a private Israeli company will provide the cement necessary to rebuild Gaza.

That will most likely be the case with other construction supplies as well.

There is no irony or surprise here. Israel and the Palestinians are inextricably linked inextricably one to the other. Palestinian growth, Palestinian development and the Palestinian economy need to feed off of Israel. And major sectors of the Israeli economy feed off services provided to Palestinians.

Conflict, destruction, rebuilding and even terror are part of their ongoing relationship. I do not see that changing - even with a peace agreement or the declaration of an independent Palestinian state.



Israel Can't Sell Their Gas
By Micah Halpern

Thursday September 18, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Remember when Israel discovered a mammoth natural gas reserve off their coast in the Mediterranean Sea? It was nothing short of a miracle!

In 2018 when the natural gas field, Leviathan, opens for business it will turn Israel into a real player in the natural gas market.

The problem is that Israel is having problems securing contracts and clients to buy their natural gas. Turkey was their best potential client, but that outlet dried up because of this summer's conflict Operation Preventive Edge in Gaza.

Then Cyprus pulled out because of negotiation issues.

Austria fell apart because of an old and continuing conflict over taxes.

That leaves only the Palestinian Authority and Jordan as clients and the possibility of supplying the Egyptian side of British Gas and their liquefied natural gas facility in Egypt.

What this really means is that the gas will be way undersold and that Israel will only be a regional supplier and not an international supplier. That situation is potentially cataclysmic for Israel as it tries to break into the market.

Once Israel is relegated to being a regional force, it will be hard to become a world player.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
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Turkey is Ticking off People
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday September 17, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Turkey is really beginning to tick people off. By people I mean world leaders and diplomats from both the West and from Arab countries.

Turkish leader Erdogan just visited Qatar. On the plane, on his way back home, he held a press conference and announced that all exiled Muslim Brotherhood leaders were welcome in Turkey.

A bit of background -- The Gulf states have been very frustrated with Qatar. Qatar has been supporting the Brotherhood and Hamas. So the Gulf states exerted extreme amounts of pressure on Qatar to stop.

Instead of stopping, Qatar decided to expel the leaders of the Brotherhood and Hamas who had created their international nerve center out of Doha. Qatar gave them two months to leave. All this happened last week.

Now Turkey is declaring itself the new center for this terror.

Turkey has a lot going on a lot of different fronts. They tacitly joined the coalition against ISIS and refuses to allow the coalition to fly over their airspace or use their runways. They are also creating a buffer zone in Syria and hemorrhaging youth who are rushing out of Turkey to join the ranks of ISIS.

Those are some of the reasons why Turkey is really upsetting people.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
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Hezbollah Against ISIS
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday September 16, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Hezbollah has made it very clear that they are fighting ISIS - and that Syria cannot lose the battle to ISIS.

The deputy head of the Hezbollah executive council, Sheik Nabil Qawouq, explained that Hezbollah will not leave Syria, they will remain in Syria to fight ISIS --- "this is a battlefield where we will defeat and crush them."

The point is that if Hezbollah is not there to battle ISIS, then the Islamic State will roll right over Syria and then into Lebanon.
ISIS has taken some serve blows in Syria. It looks like Assad/ Hezbollah and those fighting with them are slowly but surely securing more and more area.

There is little doubt that the powerful forces that are fighting on the ground checking ISIS in Syria are Hezbollah. But the irony of ironies is that Hezbollah is acting in their own self interest. And part of that self interest is also keeping the border with Israel safer.

A secure Israeli border is a stable reality that Hezbollah count on. Hezbollah must keep ISIS at bay for many reasons - and one of those reasons is to maintain stability on the Israeli border.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
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N African Group Embraces ISIS
By Micah Halpern

Monday September 15, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday a major shift took place in the structure of power in the Middle East.

In Algeria the group called al Qaeda of North Africa, known as AQIM which is the acronym for Al Qaeda of Islamic Mahgreb, split away from al Qaeda and joined ISIS. They now call themselves The Caliphate Soldier of Algeria.

The group now professes allegiance to the ISIS declared Caliph Al Baghdadi.

This is another in a long line of examples demonstrating how popular ISIS is becoming and showing us that people and groups are bailing on al Qaeda. Clearly ISIS is very popular among the rebels.

This move highlights the success of ISIS. And it reminds us that al Qaeda on the ropes. More of these defections will come in the near future. ISIS is now the focal point of the West and hence a very attractive place to hang your hat in the extremist sector of the Middle East.

One incentive not to be overlooked is the reality that ISIS is paying their fighters very well and will continue to fill the coffers on a daily basis.

It is not only the West that is feeling the pressure of ISIS, al Qaeda is feeling that pressure, as well.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
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PA Says ISIS Was Created Because of Israel
By Micah Halpern

Sunday September 14, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

The entire Arab and Muslim world is trying to figure out how to engage ISIS, or Daesh, as it is called in Arabic. Some groups, like al Qaeda, are in competition with ISIS. Other groups are trying to confront ISIS. This was the case on Saturday when there was a huge protests against ISIS by Arabs in Israel.

But PA leadership seems upset that ISIS has caused the world media to shift attention away from the plight of the Palestinians. Several years ago the Palestinian leadership was also upset by the refocus on Syria. So now the PA leadership is trying to gain back that focus and even use ISIS as a tool to put the Palestinian cause front and center.

Saeb Erekat a senior Palestinian leader and chief peace negotiator said on Fatah TV that Israel and the settler are the reason for ISIS and Islamic extremism. He added, saying that the "terror acts" of Israel and the settlers empower and create groups like ISIS.

Erekat is creating a false narrative "solve the Palestinian problem and the ISIS problem will be solved." All of the problems confronted in the Middle East derive first and foremost from Israel oppressing the Palestinians.

This has always been the central talking point among leaders in the PA. But today it is a real shocker. There is no logic to it but their modus operandi is always to first blame Israel for everything.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
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ISIS Gets Over $1Mill/day from Oil
By Micah Halpern

Saturday September 13, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

How is ISIS getting their money and paying for their ever increasing numbers of recruits and fighters. The CIA has now increased their assessment of ISIS as having as many as 31,500 fighters, up from 10,000 at the beginning of the summer.

So, how does ISIS get their money? Aside from stealing $1.2 billion from the banks when they entered Mousol, ISIS has other means of raising money.

ISIS taxes with a "zakat" which is, supposedly, alms for the poor - but in their case, the tax goes to salaries. Zakat is one of the pillars of Islam and is best translated as charity or, in Hebrew, tzedaka. ISIS goes to every store and demands the tax. They set up road blocks on the highways and call them toll stations. They demand the zakat at gunpoint.

ISIS also has oil. They have 4-5 oil fields in Iraq and Syria. Each field has 40-70 wells. The fields and wells are operated by locals who worked for the oil companies.

ISIS is pumping 25,000 barrels per day (bpd). They are selling locally. They are selling at severely below market value, at cut-rates that are 50%-75% below price - at $25-$60 a barrel. That brings in a staggering $625,000 to $1.5 million per day.

That is per day. This is one of the reasons ISIS is recruiting so successfully. They pay very well. And that is the magnet that draws recruits from all over the world.

There is no question that at this stage ISIS has much, much, more money and better funding than Al Qaeda.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=halpern%2C+micah

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