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2 15 Yr Old Brits on Flight to ISIS
By Micah Halpern

Thursday December 18, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

At a London airport a flight was stopped on the runway as it was about to take off.

On board were two 15 year old girls from East London who has saved up their own money to fly to Istanbul and from there, they were planning to cross over the border into Syria.

One of the girls was detained and brought back home by the police and she will be dealt with by the proper authorities. But the other 15 year old escaped before the police arrived. She will certainly be found.

The girls are minors so the law will be more lenient on them. If charges are proffered against them, the law will certainly treat them as minors. But affiliating with a terror organization is a serious charge - even for a minor.

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Al Qaeda Takes a Main Route in Syria
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday December 17, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

It was two days of non-stop battle and in the end 100 Syrian soldiers were killed and 80 al Qaeda al Nusra fighters were killed.
When the fighting stopped control of the strategic base in Wadi Deif which controls the central artery between Damascus in the South and Aleppo in the north switched hands.

Now the essential base is in the hands of al Qaeda which not only killed 100 Syrian soldiers but also captured 120 Syrian soldiers.

These numbers and many details come to us courtesy of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British group which has been the eyes and ears of the West in Syria.

This strategic base is an essential site in Syria. Whoever controls Wadi Deif has control of almost all trade and transport in Syria. Al Qaeda now has that control. But I predict that within the next week Syrian land forces and the Syrian air force will launch a campaign to retake the base.

Assad cannot allow that route to be shut down and he cannot permit the south of Syria to be cut off from the north.

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ISIS is Behind the Australian Kidnapping
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday December 16, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

ISIS and the West - so complicated and yet, so very simple.
ISIS wants to invade the West and destroy it. But Islam is multi layered and complex. Sunnis hate Shiites and Shiites hate Sunnis.

When a Shiite refugee from Iran kidnaps Australians and demands an ISIS Sunni flag, even we in the West should get recognize that things are not so simple.

The Lindt Cafe terrorist, Man Haron Monis, was inspired by ISIS.
There is no doubt about it. To deny that is to both be deceived and to deny our potential to properly protect ourselves from ISIS terror.
ISIS is not just about weapons and beheadings. ISIS has created a huge web and social network presence. ISIS Youtube videos are impressive and they inspire young people to join their mission in the West.

ISIS wants to take over the West from within. They promise their followers respect, wealth success, sex and power. And their followers believe ISIS.

That is what happened in Australia.

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Palestinians Move at UN Security Council
By Micah Halpern

Monday December 15,2014

I've Been Thinking:

On Wednesday Jordan, a member of the United Nations Security Council, will submit a proposal for Palestinian statehood.

The draft resolution for Palestinian statehood was crafted jointly by Jordan and The Arab League. The resolution contains two elements - one of them is a deadline. By November, 2016 a Palestinian state will emerge with United Nations recognition.

The second element in the resolution is that the new state will be located within the pre 1967 borders.

This resolution will go into effect regardless of whether a negotiated resolution is reached between Israel and the Palestinians.

Everyone, supporters of Israel and supporters of Palestinian statehood alike, are wondering what the United States will do.

Will the United States use their veto? Or will the United States articulate its frustration with Israel and support Palestinian statehood by fiat and not through negotiations?

Wednesday is the day.

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Hamas Celebrates
By Micah Halpern

Sunday December 14, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Hamas held a rally earlier today. They were celebrating the 27th anniversary of their creation.

For the rally, Hamas brought out their rockets and their elite teams. Hamas even paraded their naval commandos for all the public to see. At the end of the rally a blurry figure was shown - and Hamas asserted that it was Mohammed Deif, who Israel claimed to have killed in August. Deif was head of the Hamas military wing. As he was paraded out, an old speech of his was played.

Thousands of people, including children, marched and thousands more came to watch. For Hamas It was a huge propaganda show. Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Hamas military wing said, "Hamas was able to stop the ambitions of the Zionist enterprise and because of that, it is today on the verge of collapsing and disappearing."

Hamas leader Khalil al-Haya, shouted "After 27 years, Hamas holds aircraft and holds the sea. It has the ability to penetrate the enemy by sea, land and air. Anyone who thinks that Israel is here to stay is wrong. All of Palestine is Islamic land and no one will share it. Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine and the center of the conflict."

Propaganda is war, too.

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Hamas Tests Long Range Rockets
By Micah Halpern

Saturday December 13, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Hamas fired 3 rockets into the Mediterranean Sea earlier today. Last month they fired 4 test rockets. In October they shot test rockets two times, once into the sea and once into the Egyptian desert in Sinai. They also conducted a few tests in September.

Hamas shoots the rockets and then their spotters, positioned in likely strategic positions, watch to see where each rocket lands.

The Israeli security defense system is set up to sound alarms whenever a rocket is launched - even if it does not land in Israel.

The rockets Hamas is test shooting are M-302 rockets. They are mostly homemade, based on a Syrian design that was given to Hezbollah. They have a significant range and can hit as far as Haifa.

The head of Hezbollah named the rocket Khaiybar. Khaiybar is a dessert oasis about 70 miles east of Medina in Arabia. It features prominently in Islamic tradition. Khaiybar was a town mostly inhabited by Jews. The Jews living there rejected the teachings and prophecy of Mohammed and so they were slaughtered in what is called the Battle of Khaiybar.

The choice of weapon should be no surprise, neither is the choice of name for this weapon. Hamas is not just rebuilding, they are testing and improving their systems.

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Germany Clamping Down on Jihadis
By Micah Halpern

Friday December 12, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

This week a court in Frankfurt convicted a German homegrown jihadist of membership in ISIS. The trial went on for four years.

Another trial is taking place in Stuttgart. A Lebanese German is being tried for joining ISIS in Syria and then returning to Germany to get medical supplies and weapons.

These are the first two legal cases in Germany, trying Germans, for membership in ISIS. Germany is very concerned about this radicalization. They know that many young people have joined the fight for ISIS and they know that many more support that fight.
German federal prosecutors are investigating 83 people and regional prosecutors are investigating another 100. The estimate is that 550 Germans are fighting for ISIS right now, 60 have been killed and another 200 have returned to Germany.

How Germany is going to stem the tide towards ISIS is a real challenge. The speed of the radicalization in Germany has been dizzying. But if nothing is done to stop it, Germany will be facing an even bigger problem as soon as next year.

Kudos to Germany for tackling the problem head on.

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Iran Upset at Price of Oil
By Micah Halpern

Thursday December 11, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Since June oil prices have fallen more than 40% to under $70 per barrel.

OPEC has decided to keep output the same and not play with the supply or demand side of the price curve.
Iran is very upset.

The Iranians submitted their budget for next year and they are reducing their expectation of oil profits. They are relying on less oil profits because of the drop in price. As a result, less of their budget will be oil based. Oil sale profits will be less substantial for Iran.

Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani explained that the new budget, especially in issues of national infrastructure, will receive significantly less capital from oil profits.

Rouhani told his cabinet that the cause was "conspiracy against the interests of the region, the Muslim people and the Muslim world."

He was referring to many groups - but his primary target was Saudi Arabia which was the most significant force within OPEC making certain that oil output did not dip.

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