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Now Shell Should Invest In Israel
By Micah Halpern

December 1, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Shell Energy has just issued a license granting Israel the right to import certain Shell products.
This is a first step in bringing Shell gas and gas stations back into Israel.

In 1927 Shell began in the region as Shell Palestine.
They left Israel in 1958.
They sold to Isaac Wolfson who renamed all Shell in Israel calling it "Paz."
They left because they succumbed to the Arab boycott.
Now, Shell sees a chance to make a profit and open another untapped market.

I am not certain Israel should be grateful.
I would advise Israel to hold out, to ask for partnerships, to demand oil exploration, to promise profit reinvestment in culture and education.
I would have Shell Energy demonstrate real and significant signs of good will.

Coke did not collapse because they refused to accept the boycott.
New companies ... Intel, Motorola, Amdocs ... refused to even entertain the idea of boycotting Israel. They established industries in Israel and many were blessed.

Yes, I am glad the boycott is over.
But I don't think we should reward corporations for 50 years of cowardice.
Let Shell share some of their wealth with Israel.
Show the world that things have changed since 1958.

US Now Trusts Iran
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday November 30, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Secretary of State Condi Rice confirmed that the United States supports a Russian proposal that would drastically change US policy toward Iranian nuclear development.

That shocks me.

This is the proposal: Iran continues to develop an atomic energy program, but from now on, the last stage of uranium enrichment take place in Russia.
The idea behind it all is that now the allies will know the extent of Iran's nuclear arsenal.
And there lies the mistake.

Who says that because Iran is doing one thing by the book they will not still secretly go ahead with their original plans away from the watchful and naive eyes of the Americans and Russians?
It would not be the first time the Iranians agreed to something and then went ahead and did whatever they pleased.
Why start trusting them now?

It is hard enough to keep Iran in check.
Do not provide them with the reward from the outset.

Flying High
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday November 29, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

I fly quite often. Some people are nervous flyers. Not me. I am usually a relaxed flyer. Until now.

As everyone knows El Al is supposed to be the safest airline.
Sometimes I fly El Al, sometimes I fly the competition. Actually I like the fact that there is competition and they are also extremely secure.
I might be flying the competition more often.

Something happened at El Al and I think people should know about.
It is something that impacts on security.
It is about drugs.

Several El Al security agents are being investigated, others are resigning - for using drugs, even while on duty. The drugs in question are marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms. The Shin Bet was brought in to investigate. It all came to light when an informant told the Shin Bet.

Drugs are bad.
Worse is that the security team supervisors were clueless and caught off guard. No good security team can operate when supervisors are so distant that they do not and cannot see the dysfunction of their agents.

It makes me nervous, it really frightens me.

By Micah Halpern

Monday November 28, 2005


Negotiations, that's what makes the world go round. You want to buy a car? You negotiate. A house? Negotiate. Stocks. Bonds. A bride? Yes, even a bride is often open to negotiations. In the Middle East.

In the Middle East, especially, negotiating is an art form.

That's why it surprises me that there has been so much controversy and debate, of late, regarding third party negotiations in the Middle East in general and vis a vis the Israelis and the Palestinians in particular.

Much time and lots of ink has been spent on the issue of third party negotiations. One popular theory puts forth that when there is an outside power the two concerned parties to the conflict effectively bear no responsibility and hence, the agreement often fails. The theory concludes that, therefore, only bilateral agreements can work.

That argument might work sometimes and in some places, but not in the Middle East. Why? Because the argument does not consider the culture of the Middle East, a culture that, by its very nature, likes to see and utilize middlemen. In the Middle East middlemen are not called in as a last ditch effort. In the Middle East, third party middlemen are in from the outset, they are respected, they are relied upon, they are the final voice.

The bazaar of the Middle East, the Levant Bazaar, always utilized a third party. Not necessarily an impartial third party, but always a third party. When two people were negotiating - over anything from tomatoes and cucumbers to sheepskin or sheep - they would naturally turn to the third person, almost always a man, and ask what he thought of the deal. That is how a deal was cemented, with the aid of the third party. Listen carefully even in the modern day "shuk" and you will notice that third parties are still being called upon.

In the case of the Palestinians and the Israelis, neither side wants to go back to their people and risk saying "look what we just gave them." In order to save face and keep the negotiations momentum going, each side relies on the ability to go back to their people and claim that they were pressured, most often by the Americans, to go the extra step. That third party helps each of the principle parties, saves face in the eyes of their own society and electorate.

There is much that the United States Secretary of State does not understand or is unwilling to understand when it comes to the Israeli Palestinian issue, but when it comes to negotiating, Condoleezza Rice got it right away. The best way to move forward and resolve regional disputes, she realizes, is to turn the conflicts into issues worthy of international diplomacy and solve them through third party negotiations.

The fact that Condi Rice extended her trip to the region and through face-to-face, continuous meetings got the sides, Palestinians and Israelis alike, to agree on the issue of exits and entries from Egypt through Gaza speaks volumes. Like any good agreement, both sides made compromises. But when both the sides feel that the other got a little too much, you know a good deal was brokered.

Bottom line for the Palestinians is that they were attempting to get free movement in and out of Gaza into Egypt. Anything less would be a great disappointment. Bottom line for the Israelis is that they were trying to assert control over who would enter Gaza from Egypt. Anything less would jeopardize their security.

In the end both sides are only slightly disappointed. Third party America did intervention mediation and brought in third party European Union to manage the day to days of the third party brokered agreement.

Palestinian movement in and out of Gaza is now controlled by the EU.

The reality is that Israel wants live, real time intelligence on who and what is entering Gaza. For Israel the live report offers significantly more information than the info needed to stop individual potential terrorists with weapons. On site oversight gives Israel the ability to prepare the groundwork necessary to defend themselves against much bigger attacks. On the issue of weapons and explosives, the EU has the necessary machinery and the training to detect them already and I hope that it would be something they would be doing anyway.

Israel gets to watch a live feed in a room with both the EU and the PA. If good interaction is created between Israeli and European Union personnel, Israel will not only be able to hands on monitor the situation but they will be able to advise the EU on who does and who does not enter Gaza.

Israel's biggest border problem, however, cannot be handled through negotiation. Not third party negotiation and not bilateral negotiation. The real border security problem for Israel is the 180 miles of desert that runs adjacent to Egypt. Most of that area is unfenced and it is barely patrolled. That is where Israel must extend energy and resources. That is where the real risk of smuggling people and weapons is going to be, those 180 miles, not between Gaza and Egypt.

Negotiations make the world go round. Military intelligence makes it spin.

Presto We're Safer
By Micah Halpern

Sunday November 27, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

It's called "the Hidden Magician" and it just might transform our lives and lessen our security worries.
The Hidden Magician is the new lie detector-type invention developed by the Israeli company Nemesysco. It has the potential to transform security at airports and other high-risk targets around the world. It is a very simple process.

Just say your name.
That is all.
The Hidden Magician detects fear.
The device takes into account the normal pressure people feel when they travel.

It has already been installed in Russian airports, and they are considering installing it at every port of entry. It has also been installed at British banks and insurance companies.

The Hidden Magician is not fool proof but it may take us one step closer to a safer world.

What A Mistake!
By Micah Halpern

Saturday November 26, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

The assassin responsible for the murder of an Israeli Cabinet minister is declaring his candidacy for the Palestinian Parliament.
Ahmed Saadat, the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine(PFLP) said he as a "gimmick."

Saadat is currently in prison in Jericho. Originally, a Palestinian court convicted him and two others for the 2001 assassination of Israeli minister Rehavam Zeevi in a Jerusalem hotel. A higher court has since over-ruled the conviction but Saadat and his associates remain in the Jericho jail for fear that Israel will target them...

So, yes, there is the gimmick. Saadat thinks that if he gets elected Israel will not track him down.

This is a serous miscalculation.

EU Med Summit- Against Terror
By Micah Halpern

Friday November 25, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

On Saturday in Barcelona the Euro Mediterranean Summit will take place.
The 25 members of the European Union together with neighboring Mediterranean countries will participate in a conference.

The EU would like the Mediterranean participants to condemn terror.
But it is not that simple, the EU is facing the same problem the UN faces when confronting a condemnation of terror.
Arab and Muslim states do not agree with the generally accepted definition of terror, they differ on the questions of who and what constitute a valid target.

Unfortunately, the EU has begun to understand the dangers of terror.
Even the Arab world, Jordan being the prime example, understands.
But can they bring themselves to condemn all acts against innocent civilians? What about attacks especially aimed at or including Jews and Israelis?

They cannot accept that as terror.
That is where the entire model collapses. Terrorists kill Jordanians at a wedding and that's bad, they kill Londoners going to work in the Underground and that's bad. But killing Israeli Jews in a market or a disco or pizzeria - that is different.

European Union, good luck - but don't hold your collective breath.

Oman May Open To Israel
By Micah Halpern

Thursday November 24, 2005

I'm Predicting:

Oman will be making a change in diplomatic policy.
Oman hinted, just today, that they may thaw their relations with Israel.

When it happens, Oman will be the latest in a slew of Gulf nations to re-evaluate their diplomatic status with Israel, once their sworn enemy.

Jordan, Egypt and Mauritania are the "Exclusive 3" as of today.
I predict that over the next twelve months Israel will formalize and exchange ambassadors with at least two more Muslim nations.

Bahrain, Qatar and Dubai have already begun to warm up their relations.
Pakistan is the biggest, most surprising, nation on the list to melt the ice.
This is a huge step for Pakistan, the second largest of all Muslim states.

I predict a big thaw this winter season.
The world is changing.

Michael Jackson
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday November 23, 2005 #2

I've Been Thinking:

ABC just quoted Michael Jackson as saying: "Jews are blood -sucking leeches."

Should the world be upset?
Of course they should.
They should be upset when anyone with an audience gratuitously disparages anyone else.

Jackson is a huge media personality and he has tremendously influence and consequently power over young people across the world.
BUT he cannot be taken seriously.
Just because he is rich and famous and very musically talented does not make him wise or insightful. He has proven that already.

Address his comments, don't ignore them.
BUT address in order to make a point about underserved podiums and role models, not for truth, validity or content.
The man has chosen to make his new home in Bahrain.
That says it all.

Sharon: People Love to Hate Him
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday November 23, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Ariel "Arik" Sharon.
You love him, you hate him or you love to hate him.
As a character, he evokes strong emotions in others. Rather than it being a character flaw, it is a trait that will seal his victory in the coming Israeli election.

The far right in Israel feels betrayed by Sharon.
The far right is a small but very vocal minority and they will broadcast their resentment across Israel.

About 10 days before he declared his split from Likud there graffiti was scrawled on the Ladies Room wall in the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset.
It read: "Rabin is waiting for Arik." "We liquidated Rabin, We'll liquidate Sharon." "The criminals responsible for the expulsion should be brought to justice."
Two girls, aged 12 and 14 were arrested. Irony of ironies, they had come to attend a session of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset.

These 2 girls represent an extreme dimension of Israel. Average Israelis do not view graffiti and blocked roads as self-expression. They view it as extremist. They equate extremism with the ugliest of Israeli society, with the likes of Yigal Amir, the man who murdered Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin ten years ago.
As a result, the masses embrace Sharon even more.

Left or right, extremists cannot control themselves.
Left or right, they must spew their hatred.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday November 22,2005


Ariel Sharon has often been compared to a bear.

Some people liken the comparison because he's big, he's burly and his chuckle sounds like a guffaw. Others see the similarity in that he's tough, he's imposing and he tends to growl out demands. I'm here to tell you that either way you look at him, Ariel "Arik" Sharon is "smarter than the average bear."

Ariel Sharon is a brilliant tactician. Ariel Sharon is not an impulsive gambler. Splitting from Likud, the party he helped create many elections ago, is no "boo boo." It is a brilliant, a risky but brilliant, move.

Last week Ariel Sharon was the prime minister of Israel, leader of the ruling Likud party. His legacy was secure. But his vision was being compromised. And that is why Sharon chose to make his move. By splitting from Likud Ariel Sharon is making a calculated move. He believes that surrounded by friends and supporters, not back biters and dissenters, he will be able to bring about his vision for a better Israel, for a safer Israel. And who are Ariel Sharon's friends? They are not politicians, there are very few politicians whom he trusts. They are the people themselves. Sharon is attempting to move solidly into the center of the Israeli electorate because that is where the constituency he has built since taking over the premiership lives.

Ariel Sharon wants to transform the entire paradigm of the Middle East. And this bear of a man is willing to take even personal risks for the sake of peace and greater security for his people.

Like him or hate him, agree with his politics, his vision, his personal style or be diametrically opposed, everyone must admit that Ariel Sharon is acting boldly, not blindly with this move. Arrogantly? Perhaps. But certainly not complacently. He knows the risks and thinks them worthwhile. In a news conference announcing the split from his own party, the very party he created and chose a name for in 1973 Sharon said: "had I stayed in the Likud, I would have certainly won the primaries and led them to an electoral victory... It would have been safer personally, but it is not the way to serve the State of Israel. Staying in the Likud means wasting time in political struggles instead of acting for the good of the country."

Both in his capacity as prime minister and as leader of the Likud party, Sharon has devoted an inordinate amount of time to in-fighting. What does he hope to achieve as leader of yet another of the many, many parties on Israel's political horizon, he hopes to root out and marginalize some of the loudest and most vocal critics from within the inner circle of Israeli politics.

Sharon's departure will now force the remainder of Likud to consider who they are. Are they a centrist party or are they a marginal party that really belongs to the right wing? If the Likud is centrist, then Sharon will have a real fight on his hands. But if the new leadership of Likud is actually right wing, if they truly are the rebels who rejected Sharon's redeployment from Gaza, then Sharon is victorious, his move will have paid off, as Israelis say, b'gadol, big, massively, assuredly.

And that is exactly what Ariel Sharon expects will happen. Sharon is expecting that without his vision directing them forward, Likud will become a medium to minor sized party. Sharon is expecting that now Likud will be forced to either compete with or join the right wing parties, for the 8-10% of the country that is right wing. He has calculated that the middle of the country, the majority, will see Likud for what it has turned itself into and abandon the party. The flagship will have been lost.

In the last national election voters on the extreme right voted for the National Unity Party. And in the last national election Likud received only 3% of the votes cast by West Bank and Gaza Israelis. That is a very important statistic. It is clear that Sharon knows that Likud has lost their constituency and that they will have difficulty taming their message and catering it to the mainstream Israeli public. It is clear that in withdrawing from Gaza Sharon acted out his conscious, played out his vision and lost nothing in terms of voter numbers because he never had their votes.

The largest and therefore the most important group of voters in Israel are in the middle. As Likud goes further right and Labor goes further left as is evident from the election of their new party leader, the middle is up for grabs. Sharon believes that he will take it. He, Arik, the man. He believes that he would have taken it as leader of Likud and that he will take it as leader of the new party he has formed.

The same people who voted for Netanyahu in order to oust Peres later voted for Barak in order to oust Netanyahu and then voted for Sharon is order to oust Barak. But now they are very happy, very happy with Sharon. These people are truly the silent majority, we do not hear their political voices, but they are the overwhelming majority of Israel.

It is still a long uphill battle for Ariel Sharon and for those who choose to join him in his new party. But the man is not about to lie down and hibernate. Like with all things that are worthwhile, Ariel Sharon, prime minister of Israel, knows that challenges are worth the risks.

We will see.

Sharon's New Party
By Micah Halpern

Monday November 21, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

A sitting prime minister is abandoning his political party and creating another.

Actually, the reason Ariel Sharon is abandoning Likud, the party he named and helped create, is because he feels that a core group of colleagues in the party hierarchy have abandoned him and dissed him. He is right.
Sharon has been tethered and hamstrung by party members who do not and could not accept his Vision of the Future.
The point was brought home over the Gaza Withdrawal -- swords were drawn and resentment was so thick that you needed them to cut the air.

Sharon knows that the nation is with him.
He knows that without party rebels he can fulfill his agenda.
Friday's polls have Sharon gaining 28-30 Knesset seats in his own, new, party.
They have Likud getting many fewer seats.

My analysis gives Sharon an easy win with the entire middle of the country - rightwing and leftwing - giving him 35 of the 120 in Knesset seats.
He will have a freer hand and his dissenters will be further marginalized, fighting for the 10% of voters who embrace the right.

This is ground breaking. I can't wait to learn the name he gives his new party.

PA Elections--Postponed
By Micah Halpern

Sunday November 20, 2005

I'm Predicting:

Elections within the Palestinian Authority, scheduled for January 25, 2006, will almost certainly be postponed.

Why will they be postponed?
There's the excuse, and there's the real reason.

The excuse is that Israel is interfering with the election process.
Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas has begun laying the foundations for blame. When elections are brought up, he couches his comments with phrases like: they will take place as planned IF Israel will allow for free movement.

The real reason is that postponing the Palestinian Authority legislative elections is actually better in the long run, postponing the elections will help bolster the PA.
It will show that the government is standing up to Israel.
It will allow the leadership more time to convince the people that with time they will provide a better, wealthier Palestine.

If handled properly, it will give Palestinian leadership the opportunity to convince the people that they have a future - and the future need not include terror.

New Elections-Sharon Will Win
By Micah Halpern

Saturday November 19, 2005

I'm Predicting:

There will be early elections in Israel - late February early March.
November 2006, a complete year from now, is the officially scheduled date.

Why? Because Amir Peretz, the new head of the Labor party, has forced the process. So this week the Knesset will vote to dissolve itself.

Honestly, this is a no-brainer.
Sharon will, once again, win hands down.
Sharon will win even if he splits from the Likud party. I doubt that the prime minister will leave the party, but it does not matter because whatever happens, he will be the absolute winner.
The only question is how many votes will separate Sharon and his party from the #2 and #3 parties, all of which translates into Knesset seats.

There is no personality on the stage of Israeli politics capable of competing with Sharon.
The presence and politics of Amir Peretz will backfire for Labor.
He will move Labor toward the left and Sharon will steal the middle of the Israeli electorate.

Sharon will win the swing vote and, in Israel, the swing vote determines the election.

What Was That Video?
By Micah Halpern

Friday November 18, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Remember the tape of the female suicide bomber from Jordan?
It has gotten me thinking.

We saw the terrorist. We heard the voice of a woman speaking in Arabic. And then there was a "voice over," another female voice translating from the Arabic.

I'm thinking that it is not clear to me that the woman we saw in the video i.e. the female terrorist now captured by the Jordanians, was really speaking.
It was just audio, two female voices, on a video tape.

I'm thinking that the presentation was so very crisp and well scripted.
Remember, this was a propaganda tool released to convince the Muslim world of the horrific, cold blooded nature of the murderers.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that the tape was too cool, too scripted, too neat, too artificial, too professional.
I am certain the female image we saw was the terrorist and that the translation was read, not simultaneous.
So the female voice we heard speaking in Arabic - was that really the terrorist?

The purpose of the video was obvious. It was very well staged. It would be much easier to have an actress read the script.
The terrorist did not falter over a single phrase or expression.
What do you think?

Bullets To Gaza
By Micah Halpern

Thursday November 17, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

The Palestinian Authority is facing a shortage - of bullets.
It seems that Palestinian police are complaining that they are being out gunned by Hamas - who have no shortage of ammunition of any kind.
But the crisis has been solved.

Half a million bullets are on their way to shore up the Palestinian arsenal.
Courtesy of the Egyptians.

The bullets will probably arrive today. The Egyptians already have a presence in Gaza so it will be easy to supervise the transaction from there. According to the agreement, the Egyptians will dispense the ammunition, making certain that it goes to the Palestinian police and the police only. They will also supervise the storage of the bullets.

What does Israel have to say about all this? They have given their OK, stipulating that the bullets go to PA police only.
The United States actually, originally, wanted Israel to supply the PA bullets, but that was taking it a bit too far.
Crisis averted, we hope.

Jordan's War On Terror
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday November 16, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

At this very moment, by example, the Jordanians are leading the War Against Terror.
The Jordanian response to the horror that took innocent lives is singular and unique in the Arab/Muslim world.

The government immediately went about capturing any remaining terrorists.
The female terrorist they caught was put on public media display.
She was presented to the rest of the Muslim world as cold and murderous, a person who can look straight into the eyes of children, women, men, party revelers and push a button that would kill them all.

The response has been a public Jordanian outcry against the acts.
Jordanians have taken to the streets shouting that murdering innocents is wrong.

Of course, there are still voices that say that it was Israel that perpetrated the attack, but by and large the Jordanians are rejecting the untruths and the horrors.

This is the only way to win the War Against Terror.
Local people have to step forward and say NO.
When local governments, like the Jordanians, help the people - that's great.
When they don't, we in the West must empower local citizens, we must show the way and give them the strength to step forward and shout out against terror.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday November 15, 2005


Hamas. Democracy.

Those two words don't even belong on the same page.

And yet, the greatest diplomatic minds the United States has to offer, see a connection. In a complete turnabout, the United States has decided not to be vocal, forceful or interventional when it comes to allowing Hamas to participate in January's Palestinian Legislative Elections.

It's all right, says the United States, if Hamas wants to run for the Palestinian Legislature. It's all right if they win. We'll deal with them after the election. That's when we'll have clout. That's when they'll listen to us.

Those are the sentiments that the United States Secretary of State expressed to the Israeli Prime Minister during her most recent visit to the Middle East. That is the new US policy concerning Hamas and Palestinian elections. The meeting was tense.

Israel just isn't buying into this Pollyanna-type thinking. And neither should we.
The United States cannot have it both ways, no matter how Condi Rice, with a winking nod of approval from her boss, tries to finesse it.

The United States considers Hamas a terrorist organization. That has not changed. The United States has lobbied Western Europe to include Hamas as a terrorist organization on their lists. For months the United States has publicly, privately, loudly, frequently, voiced objection to having Hamas run in the newly democratic Palestinian election. For months the United States demanded that Hamas first give up terror and then embrace elections. They said: Hamas, hand in your guns for a soapbox. And they said it again. And again.

What's happening now? Now, rather than Hamas withdrawing candidacy, the United States has decided to withdraw objection, not to interfere in the internal workings and elections of the Palestinian people. Big brother is playing right into the hands of bad brother.

Big Brother, the United States, has embraced a warped perception of the strength, desires and reality of the Palestinian people and their leadership. The United States is acting out a diplomatic fantasy.

In the real Palestinian world there is strong support for Hamas, the purveyors of child care, soup kitchens, health management and acts of terror. There is strong likelihood that in the January election Hamas can take 25%-30% of the vote. That would deal a severe defeat to the ruling Fatah party and a deadly blow to democracy in the PA.

In her attempt to rationalize the new US policy to Ariel Sharon, Condi Rice offered that a colossal win by Hamas would be perfectly OK.

She said that it would be easier to disarm Hamas after the election because then they would feel the pressure not only from the United States, but also from the entire international community. She said that after the elections Palestinian President Abbas would be forced by the United States to disarm Hamas and that if he failed, he would lose the support of the United States and of the world.

And then Secretary of State Condi Rice said that even if Hamas became part of the PA cabinet and government, the United States would shun contact with them. She forgot to add the childish chide "nah, nah, nah".

And now I ask: Why would Abbas disarm Hamas after the election, victorious or defeated, if he has not yet done so? Abbas' stated aim, after all, is not to disarm Hamas. Abbas is in a win-win situation. If Hamas wins big in the election, the Palestinian president can say that the people have spoken in a democratic manner and they are supportive of Hamas and all that they represent. If they lose, Abbas can say I am strong, Hamas is weak, the Palestinian people have nothing to fear.

And I ask also: Why would Hamas willingly capitulate to US pressure when they have gotten everything they want, when they have grown in popularity, by standing firm against the United States?

And why isn't anybody else asking these questions?

Does anyone really believe that the United States will truly shun the Palestinian Authority if they do not disarm Hamas? After the election? It's preposterous. Heck, they won't even shun members of the PA government who have supported terror. In the end, the Palestinian Authority will have outsmarted the United States. In the end, Hamas will have outwitted and outmaneuvered the greatest country in the world.

And what will Israel be doing as the United States turns its back on morality and democracy? Sharon for his part said that he will not interfere with Palestinian elections. But neither will he lift restrictions on Hamas and the search for Hamas members will continue. To do anything else would be to give Hamas carte blanche to roam without fear of detection or capture. And that, he said, would be counter productive, that would be exactly what the United States is doing.

Democracy should never be so open that it allows non-democratic parties and forces to join elections and thereby destroy it. That is what we call anarchy.

Good Work Jordan
By Micah Halpern

Monday November 14, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

In the end the evidence proves that there really was a husband-wife terror team.

First intelligence was that two terrorists hit the Radisson SAS Hotel in Amman, a man and woman, a couple. But forensics could find no evidence of a female bomber.
Turns out that Sajida Mubarak Atrous al Rishawi, 35, accompanied her husband on the mission with every intention of turning herself into a suicide bomber - but her explosives did not detonate.
They walked into the wedding hall together, he went to one side, she went to the other and when her device did not explode, she escaped in the chaos.

The intelligence was correct. There was a woman and Jordanian authorities went looking for her. Sajida and her explosive belts were found in a safe house in Amman.
She confessed. She described how her husband had instructed her and given her the second vest filled with ball bearings to increase the damage.

Good intel is irreplaceable.
Jordanian security received the information on a tip. Their source was insistent and the authorities paid heed. And now they have a live suicide bomber in custody. That kind of "asset" is irreplaceable, it will lead to information about this operation and who knows how many more.

Good work.

Iran & The French Riots
By Micah Halpern

Sunday November 13, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

The Iranian press is expressing views on the Muslim riots in France.

The popular daily Jomhouri Islami made it very clear in an editorial:
"every car that is set on fire and every shop that is damaged in the uprisings in Paris and other cities is a reflection of the injustice that the residents of the Elysees Palace have inflicted on the impoverished and oppressed people of France."

Hamid-Reza Asefi, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, called the police violent and said "we hope that the French government would respect the rights of people there and pay attention to their demands in a peaceful way, so that they would not continue to witness the violation of citizens' rights in that country."

The Iranians truly have a warped sense of reality.
It is the Muslim youths who are burning and destroying and threatening the security and safety of the French people.
Who is Iran to talk about violating rights?
Iran is one of the greatest abusers of human rights in the world today.

Married Terrorists Up Stakes
By Micah Halpern

Saturday November 12, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

It was a first.
One of the bombs that exploded in Amman was carried by a couple.
If true, that piece of information throws a huge wrench into the process of analysis and detection of potential terrorists.

There are certain rules, certain givens, a standard M.O. for suicide bombers.

While we always knew that there was no standard profile to look for, there were always cues, behaviors, attitudes that gave people away, what gamblers would call "tells." A couple going about their romantic way does not usually arouse the suspicion of security forces. They look for unusual interaction, not natural attraction. A married couple about to murder and commit suicide is almost impossible to detect.

From the terrorist point of view, it is much more difficult to recruit a couple than a single individual.
If this suicide couple truly was a married couple, it would be a major coup for the terror network.
The stakes have been upped - again.

Why Protect Hotels in NYC?
By Micah Halpern

Friday November 11, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Amman was bombed by terrorists.
And New York hotels received beefed up security and police presence.

Why it was done is obvious.
But is beefing up security at New York hotels a deterrent to terror?
Not from the terror and security point of view.
But certainly from the psychological point of view of potential victims.

In New York, hotels are no more a target than sports stadiums or shopping malls or popular tourist sites or government offices or high profile international corporate headquarters. Actually hotels are at the bottom of the list.
But hotels represent tourism and business travel and those industries need to feel secure - no matter what the actual threat level is.
Protecting hotels makes people feel safer. Especially because the terrorists in Amman targeted American hotel chains.

And the reason the terrorists selected hotels in Jordan is exactly why they will not hit hotels in the United States.
In Jordan there are not that many possible Western targets to choose from.

There are far more and better choices for terrorist targets in NYC and in the USA.

Osama's Hit List
By Micah Halpern

Thursday November 10, 2005

I'm Predicting:

This will not be the last terror attack in Jordan.
Jordan is a symbol - it is a state of Muslims but it is NOT a Muslim state.
Jordan is a country run by a monarch who has very close ties to the West especially to the United States.

Osama bin Laden recently released his hit list, prioritizing al Qaeda targets. Topping the list was removing the US and other infidels from Muslim lands.
Next was attacking the countries and toppling the leaders of countries ripe to be Muslim states. That list includes Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt.

Jordan is seen as a collaborator.
The terrorists want this attack to be the first domino to fall on the monarchy.
The terrorists want to activate and empower their supporters to make a challenge for control in Jordan.
The terrorists want to frighten the masses and then, through fear, force adherence to extremist Muslim practice.

The attacks in Jordan come straight out of the Terrorist Handbook.

Terror In Jordan
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday November 9, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

The 3 simultaneous explosions in Amman the capital city of Jordan are meant to frighten the Hashemite Kingdom into submission.

Jordan was chosen as an attack target because:
Jordan links to the West and has a strong relationship with the US
Jordan is on the record for having rejected the notion of worldwide terror
Jordan has specifically rejected/pushed away Iraq for sponsoring terror
Jordan has vocally attempted to quell Hamas and Islamic Jihad
Jordan is attempting to bring the PA and Israel back to the negotiation table
Jordan may be a country composed of Muslims, but is not an Islamic state

These acts of terror are an attempt to influence the Jordanian masses to join the cause of terror, to become more Iraq-like.

Ultimately, the terrorists will fail in their effort to sway Jordan.
Jordan is no democracy.
The strong arm of Jordanian authorities will not allow for this to continue.

Sharing Intel
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday November 9, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

There has been a lot of talk in the United States about sharing intelligence information.
The question is: Should national agencies share information with local and state law enforcement?

The answer is: Yes and No.
Yes, if local and state agencies are trained to properly read and interpret the information.
No, if the information comes in an intel vacuum.
The problem is not the information, the problem is the ability to understand and apply the information.
Intel is not just the gathering of intelligence and information.
Intel is the art of connecting the dots, reading between the lines, ferreting out the truth in the vast array of information that is gathered, transmitted, passed along.
The hard part is interpreting information and then predicting the real risks.

Every lead does not turn into an attack.

Hamas' New Home
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday November 8, 2005

I'm Predicting:

Hamas and Islamic Jihad might actually be expelled from Syria.

The once unthinkable might actually happen.
Syria thinks that by closing the offices of these terror organizations pressure from the United States, France and other Western countries will be relieved.

So where will the terrorists go?
Hamas is asking Egypt and Jordan to allow them to open their doors and permit organizational HQs to function from within their borders.
That's not as preposterous as it sounds.
Egypt has very good relations with these organizations and is the chief intermediary between them and the Palestinian Authority.
But neither Egypt nor Jordan can risk ticking off the US by allowing terrorists to set up shop.

So they will go elsewhere. Where?
Probably to a Gulf State, maybe Saudi Arabia, maybe Qatar.

Hillary to Israel
By Micah Halpern

Monday November 7, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Hillary is going to Israel. Again.
The reason for this visit by the senator from New York is to investigate the fence aka the wall.
Actually, she is on the record as supporting the security structure.

Clinton is on the Armed Services Committee, so it really is a working trip. But it is also an important trip for someone who may have set her sites on the Oval Office.

In Israel Senator Clinton will meet with Prime Minister Sharon. She will be enthusiastic about Sharon’s decision to withdraw from Gaza and be supportive of the need to maintain a safe and secure Israel.

This is not the time to rock the proverbial boat.
Hillary needs to firm up her Jewish support if she hopes to run for President.
She is calling it an investigation, we know it is only an excuse.

Not A French Revolution
By Micah Halpern

Sunday November 6, 2005



The Eiffel Tower. The Louvre. Croissants. Gardens, gargoyles, garrets. It used to be that when you thought of Paris, your thoughts turned to old movies and romance. Until the night of October 27th.

That's when the riots began. That was when two young men, apparently believing that they were being chased by police, ran into an electric substation transformer and were electrocuted.

And the riots have continued. Who are the rioters? They are mostly Muslim/Arab youths, disenfranchised, dejected, feeling themselves rejected by mainstream society. And they have taken over the streets of Paris.

Surprised? You shouldn't be. Not when you put it all in context.

Muslims are the first immigrants to enter France since the famous French Revolution of 1789 with the intention of transforming the country rather than of being transformed themselves into authentic French mesdames and messieurs.

Muslims believed that they could not only retain their own identity, but also turn France into a Muslim stronghold. For two and a half centuries immigrants made their way into France and made France their home by becoming French, not by denying everything that is France. Until the wave of Muslim immigration began, each group of immigrants contributed to a larger France by adding their own unique and specialized subculture to the overall French culture. No one ever believed that they were changing France, no one wanted to change France. They were becoming Frenchmen. Their children would be truly French. Until the Muslim/Arabs arrived.

Muslim immigration is spreading into all parts of Europe. And the problems that Muslims are facing in France are the same problems that Muslims will face in each country they enter. It is the larger problem of Islam in Europe.

Muslims entering France have been taught to distrust the country they are entering and hoping to call home. Muslim clerics speak of the evils of Western culture and of French culture. As they establish their communities Muslims erect barriers preventing a true assimilation into France. Rather than absorbing French culture they seek to convert the French to their own religion cum culture. They strive to turn France into a Muslim state.

And they have met with resistance. And it has had a strong, deleterious effect on Muslim youth living in France today.

France is not rejecting these kids, the kids are rejecting France. That is an important distinction, a distinction that is lost in the power of the riots. This is not the beginning of a revolution, it is youthful expression of frustration. These are not just kids who have lost all hope because they are forced to live in crime-ridden communities and to work dead end jobs, kids left behind by mainstream society. These are kids taught to buck mainstream society. They have been weaned on a mistrust of the French, raised to reject that which could so easily be theirs.

I am no big defender of the French. But I respect their place in history. France is the founder of modern democracy, the home of the revolution that brought freedom and emancipation to the Western world. France will survive this minor insurrection. No doubt the liberal state of France will clamp down. The right wing National Front has already made their opinions known. They will find a way to solve the problem.

France is not in danger of becoming a Muslim state. Actually, France is one of the most aggressively xenophobic societies in Europe. They will not allow themselves to become Muslim because their liberal democracy and their very French character and charm are too important. France will not self-destruct in the name of democracy. They will, however, shoot down their potential encroachers.

To be French is to love liberte, to understand fraternite and to be willing to grant egalite. If or when the Muslim/Arab community is ready, the French will be there for them. Until then, they will be rejected. Not only in France.

Alert on The Northern Border
By Micah Halpern

Saturday November 5, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Israel's northern border with Lebanon is on alert.
There is a serious threat that Hizbullah will launch a raid and/or loft missiles into northern Israel from posts in Southern Lebanon.

Why has Hizbullah chosen right now to saber rattle?
What is happening now causing Hizbullah to ratchet up tensions?

It is a simple case of keeping up with the Jones's.
Hamas is escalating tensions with Israel.
Islamic Jihad is escalating tensions with Israel.
How would it look if the grand poobah of terror in the region stood silent?

They say that imitation is the best form of flattery.
In this case, it makes for a very worrisome situation.

Rabin Forgotten?
By Micah Halpern

Friday November 4, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Ten years ago today Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, killed by another Israeli, a religious, Zionist, extremist.
Ten years ago, no one thought that a citizen of Israel would ever kill an Israeli prime minister.
Everyone thought that threats came only from the outside.

Today, we know better.
A recent poll shows that over 80% of Israelis believe that another political murder will happen again. And that it will happen soon.
The Rabin assassination burst the bubble. Israelis are not above or beyond bloody internal conflict.

Ten years ago, none of the early warning signs were caught.
I would hope that, today, those early markers will be seen.
I would hope that the lesson taught ten years ago has been learned.

Iran Recalls Diplomats
By Micah Halpern

Thursday November 3, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Iran is on the offensive.
The news agency INRA quoted the Iranian foreign minister in a speech to Parliament saying that 40 pro-Western, liberal, diplomats will be replaced.

Included in that group is one of the most effective ambassadors Iran has, Mohammad Hussein Adeli, the Iranian Ambassador to London.

What is Iran doing? They are keeping everyone in line.
Iran is saying to their own diplomats that if you stepped out of line, if you dared to venture out to the Western world and to offer the West the hope that Iran is willing to make concessions and/or compromises, you did that on your own. You were not speaking for Iran and you are now coming home to be taught a lesson.

Diplomats do not run Iran.
Politicians do not run Iran.
Mullahs run Iran.
Never forget that.

Australia Is Now A Terror Target
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday November 2, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Australian is now on the list of official terrorist targets.
Prime Minister John Howard announced that there is credible and significant intelligence that Australia is a terrorist target.
He said that he did not want to overstate the threat but neither did he want to underemphasize the threat.

Why would terrorists target Australia?
Because Australians are a predominately Western, democratic culture.
Because Australia is a state that welcomes immigrants.
Because Australia is easily accessible for terrorists.
Because Australia is the closest many terrorists can get to attacking any Western or American target.
Because terrorists easily fit into the culturally rich Australian community.

Given their place in the world, their role as a Western country, their relationship with the US, it is clear to me that Australia would be a constant terror target.

So far Aussies have been lucky. So far terrorists have only targeted Australians outside Australia. So far. But it is just a matter of time.

Palestinian Engineers
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday November 1, 2005

I've Been Thinking:

Three Palestinian engineers were recently captured by Israel.
Palestinian engineers do not drive trains or build bridges.
Palestinian engineers build rockets and bombs.
Palestinian engineers are in high demand.
These Palestinian engineers were dispatched to Israel by Hamas and Hezbullah.
They were caught and they will be tried.

The engineers were caught and captured near Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev, in southern Israel. They were on their way from Gaza to Jenin in the West Bank. The three had traveled from Egypt to Sinai and then into Israel. They had bribed Egyptian border police to get across.

Their objective was to teach local West Bank Palestinians the skills needed to procure, build and assemble Kassam missiles and then to teach them how to properly launch the missiles.
They were experts on the road, similar to traveling computer experts sent out by the home office to clients, making certain that systems work.
The only difference is that here, Hezbullah in Lebanon is exporting skilled workers to Gaza and then Gaza is exporting them to the West Bank.

It is clearly evident that terrorist organizations have no interest in peace.
They are just taking advantage of the lull.

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