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Israel Is Out Of Lebanon
By Micah Halpern

Sunday October 1, 2006

I'm Predicting:

Israel has now totally withdrawn from Lebanon.
Hezbollah is not satisfied with the withdrawal because Hezbollah still thinks Israel is occupying the area known as Sheba Farms and Hezbollah wants even more.

Israel has been moving out of Lebanon gradually, over the past two weeks there have only been a handful of Israeli soldiers in Lebanon.
There has also been a serious diplomatic flurry of activity over the issue of when and how Israel can respond to provocations by Hezbollah - officially termed "ironing out the rules of engagement."

The truth is:
Hezbollah will not be satisfied no matter what diplomatic decisions are made.
Israel will not tolerate another Hezbollah arms build up.
UNIFIL will not have enough qualified personnel and they will be confused, not knowing how to respond to either Hezbollah or Israel rendering them totally ineffective and able to do nothing.

Expect further Israeli air-strikes and land incursions.

Zawahiri Plays The Media Game
By Micah Halpern

Saturday September 30, 2006

I'm Predicting:

Zawahiri, al Qaeda's number two released another video on Friday.
The video, released on the internet, was picked up by al Jazeera.

Zawahiri was responding to President Bush.
Zawahiri called Bush a liar and a loser.
Zawahiri is playing a game of rhetoric.

Zawahiri is using the media in order to manipulate the Muslim world. His objective is to convince the Muslim masses all over the world that al Qaeda is alive and strong.
Zawahiri is following a long standing Islamic tradition of belittling the opponent in order to build up Islam.

It works likes this:
The leader of the opposition i.e. George Bush is portrayed as a weakling, as someone without belief or with the wrong belief.
The opponent is linked to another person or group who was shown up by and lost to Islam, in this case Bush is compared to the Crusaders.

As the battle against Muslim terror intensifies we will see many more of these depictions of evil Bush - the symbol of Western leadership.

By Micah Halpern

Friday September 29, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Israel ... Lebanon ... UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Forces In Lebanon)- Ceasefire...
There is a major disconnect happening here.
Something significant just happened with Israel in Lebanon and it is being downplayed for fear of the potential ramifications.

This is how I put the pieces together:
Israeli forces wanted to enter Lebanon and intercept a Hezbollah unit in the small town of Marwahin.
After Israeli troops - several tanks, a bulldozer, a few other vehicles - crossed the border their path was blocked by four UN tanks manned by French soldiers.
It was a classic standoff. The situation was diffused. The Israelis went home.

But UNIFIL forces are not supposed to protect Lebanon from Israel.
UNIFIL is supposed to make certain that Hezbollah does not attack Israel and that Hezbollah does not terrorize Lebanon.
If this is how UNIFIL is acting and reacting now, what's going to happen when Hezbollah starts re-arming and gathering intel?

According to the UN mandated ceasefire Hezbollah must be stopped.
What we have here is a failure to understand the mandate.
This does not portend well for the future.

Iran Gets It All
By Micah Halpern

Thursday September 28, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Iran is good at playing the Diplomacy and Media game. And getting better.

The Iranians are close to coming to an international agreement to suspend - not stop, not destroy - their nuclear development. The caveat is that the agreement must be secret so that it does not appear as if they, Iran, were intimidated and forced to back down by the enemies of Islam.

Now Russia has announced that they will deliver the nuclear fuel necessary for Iran's nuclear reactors starting in March of 2007. As it is Russian contractors are already building two nuclear power plants in Iran. And guess what, the Iranians are not happy with the construction timetable, they want the reactor finished more quickly.

What this all means is that the Iranians get everything they want and even more.
If they are good at hiding things, and I think they are, Iran can and will continue to secretly develop a nuclear program with fuel that is better than anything they could possibly process on their own.

They are good. Really good.

Lebanon Is A Mess
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday September 27, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Southern Lebanon is still a mess and that's the way it will remain for a long, long while.

Here's why:
Neither the UN forces, known as UN Interim Forces In Lebanon (UNIFIL), nor the Lebanese army will confront Hezbollah. No way, no how.
Israel will not totally withdraw from Lebanon until there is a clear understanding of the rules of engagement. No way, no how.

Here's the confusion:
The UN sees itself as a police force which means that they can only shoot when shot upon. The UN sees its role as protecting Lebanon from Israel.
Israel reads UN Security Council Resolution 1701 to mean that UNIFIL and Lebanese forces will disarm and control Hezbollah. Israel also reads the resolution as allowing them to respond within Lebanon when threatened.

Here's what it says in the text of the cease fire:
The purpose of the International Force and the Lebanese army in Southern Lebanon is to protect Lebanon from Hezbollah and make certain Hezbollah does not threaten Israel.

Seems pretty clear to me.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday September 26, 2006


The face of terror is changing. More precisely, the faces of terror are changing. And I mean that literally.

Changes happen quickly in the world of terror. So quickly, it is as if the tools of terror are actually morphing - one technique blends with the next and then the next and suddenly, we have a new threat. On 9-11 terrorists took to the skies, a short time later Richard Reid attempted to wear explosive laden sneakers onto a plane, a short time after that a plot was exposed that would have used liquids to explode airliners. One technique begets another.

Cavemen had their clubs. The Wild West had bows and arrows. The Civil War had rifles. Arabian marauders brandished daggers. Today's bad guys have come a long way from their role models of old. Today's terrorists are using the most sophisticated science and state-of-the-art technology on the market, or the black market. But they have not forsaken the lesson of old. Today's terrorists are putting the knowledge they glean from high tech tools of terror to allow themselves to perfect and perform the low tech operations that keep their activities below the radar of detection.

Certainly, in order to fight terror and prevent terrorist attacks we must see the changes in terrorist technique and anticipate future tactics. We must know what they know and have their tools at our fingertips. That is possibly the most essential dimension in keeping our society safe from terror. But it is low tech opportunities that, right now, have me the most worried. It is the intel we are now receiving telling us that al Qaeda may be using non-Muslims and non-Arabs as recruits and terrorists-in-training.

These new terrorists may be believers, but they may also be guns for hire. They may be al Qaeda type missionaries or they may be modern-day mercenaries. They are the new faces of terror. They are the undetectable faces of terror. They are the blend right in faces of terror. Their faces are what have me worried.

Using locals is a brilliant move on the part of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups employing the same technique. It makes our work, the process of prevention and interception, that much harder. And when this tactic was used in the past, the results from the standpoint of the terrorist, were tremendous.

One of the most deadly terrorist attacks in Israel's history took place in one of the most secure environments in the country - in the arrival terminal of the international airport. Not outside the terminal but inside, in a sterile totally secure zone - baggage claim. A group of Japanese terrorists opened fired and murdered numerous tourists coming to Israel for a holiday pilgrimage. The attack was allowed to happen because Japanese tourists in Israel were thought to be low risk. Because despite the common perception, most tourists arriving in Israel are not Jewish, they are Christians visiting the hold land. And so these assumedly innocent travelers were able to smuggle weapons into the terminal, open fire and perpetrate their crime.

Not too very long ago a famous Tel Aviv watering hole, Mike's Bar, was blown up by British tourists of Pakistani decent. Yes, the British Pakistanis fit into a risk profile, but not a high risk profile. And with their legitimate, legally issued British passports this band of terrorists was able to zigzag back and forth between Tel Aviv and the West Bank Gaza with apparent ease. Until one day - boom.

The devastating and horrific bombings in London's subway and the intercepted failed plan to replicate those bombings were carried out by British locals, not by foreign born terrorists. The terrorists now under arrest for planning to hijack and blow-up transatlantic flights en route from London to the United States were also locals.

The changing face of the terrorist is the greatest obstacle the West now faces in fighting terror. To break through and get back on the terror fighting track requires a new mind set, it requires an entirely different approach to security.

When the threat is purely external, defense and security people feel safer. Red tape and bureaucracy act as checks to prevent many of the wrong people from coming in, from invading. A series of checks and checkpoints are in place and act as a barrier even if that person has managed to enter. But when that person is one of us the rules have been changed. The stakes are higher, the risks are greater and the chances of discovery are much, much smaller.

When that face looks like our faces, we need to create a new and better mirror.

What Islam Lacks Most
By Micah Halpern

Monday September 25, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Egypt is considered to be one of the most liberal of all Arab states.
Egypt is the country the West carefully watches to measure the winds of liberalization and change.
Egypt just banned three leading European papers - two French and one German.

Why? Because of the way they depicted Islam and Mohammed.
What? They described Islam as being "spread by the sword."
Here is the problem: A major part of the history of Islam involves "being spread by the sword."

Not to see Islam for what it is, is to be blind and self-deceived.
Not to accept Islam for what it is, is even more dangerous.
Most dangerous of all is to deny what Islam teaches and to prevent others from learning about it.

For a society to grow, it must be self-critical.
Egypt has just provided us with another glaring example of what is most lacking in Islam today.

Iran Denies Holocaust to Deny Israel
By Micah Halpern

Sunday September 24, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Did anyone else notice that Ahmadinejad often spoke about Israel, but never mentioned it by name?
He called it the Zionist entity.
He referred to Israelis as Zionists.
He never said Israel.

And yet - the rationale for Ahmadinejad's rejection of the Holocaust and for his revision of WWII history is based on his rejection of - you got it, Israel.

Ahmadinejad's logic works like this: If there was no Holocaust then there is no justification for Israel. If there is no justification for Israel then the very existence of Israel is a moral travesty. So why mention it? Of course, he's wrong.

First, there was a plan by Hitler's Germany to murder all the Jews.
Second, Israel was already on the path towards creation pre - Holocaust, neither the Holocaust nor the UN created it.
But it all fits very nicely into Ahmadinejad's conspiracy theory.
He truly believes that the West is in cahoots against Islam.

Palestinian Unity: No Way
By Micah Halpern

Saturday September 23, 2006

I'm Predicting:

The Palestinian Authority is painting itself into a corner.
The Palestinian Unity Government is predicated on the very principle that Palestinians can live side by side with Israelis.
But Hamas cannot and will not recognize Israel. Even more, Israeli is antithetical to Hamas' raison d'etre.

One of two things will happen:
The Unity Government will go into existence fuzzing and blurring that essential principle and Hamas will accept a 5 - 10 year "Hudna," a temporary truce on Israel - provided there is no insistence on a declaration of Israel's existence.
The idea of Palestinian Unity Government will go right into the garbage.

I would not put too much stock in the idea of Palestinian Unity.

Egypt And The Nuke
By Micah Halpern

Friday September 22, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

The Arab League recently met and paved the way for all members to develop nuclear energy - if they so decide.
Egypt is on board. Egypt wants to expand its nuclear technology.

Egypt already has a small experimental nuclear reactor. Now the Egyptians want to explore ways of using nuclear energy as a clean and inexpensive way to power their country's electricity grid.
The United States Ambassador to Egypt gave his blessing to the endeavor. He said that it is United States policy is to help countries who have signed on to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaties to develop nuclear energy in a clean and safe way. So far, so good.

Here's where it gets tricky.
The Treaties require total transparency. Last year the UN nuclear watchdog raised some issues about the Egyptian reactor.
On the one hand, Egypt is not Iran. On the other hand, Egypt is not a democracy.
This path to nuclear development is inevitable, there is no turning back.
Our job is to guide the process and secure the end product.

The Pope's Calculated Move
By Micah Halpern

Thursday September 21, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

We've heard that the Pope was upset even shocked at the Muslim response to his statements. Personally, I don't believe it.

The Pope's intention was as to talk about the incompatibility of war and faith.
Of course he was misunderstood by followers of Islam, but that really has nothing to do with the issues at hand.
The Pope knew he was playing with fire and he did it for a reason.

The Pope is the only real numerical parity to Islam.
The Pope and the Catholic Church are the only possible check to Islam in the world. They both number close to a billion and a half adherents. The Pope is laying the foundation to try to confront radical Islam. His intention was to inform Catholic leaders and the Catholic masses that they must come to understand the real dangers of Islam, to understand how Islam endangers Christians and Christian property throughout the world.

This was a calculated move to draw out the Muslims.
The Pope needed to see if Islam is a religion of peace or a religion of destruction. Will Muslims riot and destroy or will they come and discuss their differences.

Ahmadinejad's is Just Wrong
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday September 20, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

If it was not obvious yesterday, it should be obvious today.
Ahmadinejad is not a raving lunatic.
His values are just diametrically antithetical to ours, to our Western thinking.

Ahmadinejad's presentation before the UN and the interviews he gave around town were all consistent in theme, they revealed his real agenda.
Ahmadinejad's main objective is to reorganize the world and in the new order of things, Iran and Ahmadinejad are at the top.
Ahmadinejad's hope is to reshape the Security Council.
Ahmadinejad thinks the world is held captive by the US and in his eyes there is an unfair bias toward Israel. He does not understand why the Palestinians and the rest of the Muslim world are paying the price for the Holocaust.

But back to the real world: If the world were controlled by Muslim Iran we would be taking one giant step back - centuries back. It would be farewell to equality, women's rights, minority rights and justice.

The Holocaust canard is part of the larger conspiracy in the Middle East.
The reality is that no one gave Israel to the Jews, Israel is a country born out of war. Arabs and Muslims tried to wipe the Jews out but failed. The State of Israel exists because of might and arms and destiny, it was not created by sleight of hand. Israel exists because the Arabs could not destroy it.

Israel's existence is the failure of the Arab and Muslim world - do not blame that on the Jews.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday September 19, 2006


Freedom of speech is overrated.

Freedom of speech is especially overrated in the international diplomatic arena.

In reality, all countries are not equal. Every country does not have the right to say whatever, whenever, wherever. The simple fact of existence does not entitle a country to say what it wants. Neither does membership in the United Nations.

When a country's mouthpiece, that country's leader, steps verbally over the line of acceptability and civility, that leader should be reprimanded. In diplomatic circles, that country should be shunned. In economic spheres, that country should be isolated. In cultural exchanges that country should be excluded. And if the international community-at-large is too timid to take a stand, the United States should do so. Yes, the United States, big brother, the most powerful civilized nation in the whole wide world. When the world turns a blind eye the United States has the responsibility to illuminate the way.

There is no force great enough to prevent a country from promoting a belief or adopting an attitude or even codifying a law that is contrary to the accepted norms of international behavior. But that country should not be given an open invitation to stand on a soap box outside its own boundaries and preach. Not anywhere. That rhetoric should not be offered up before the entire world in the forum of the United Nations. That type of performance has no place in the hallowed hall of the General Assembly. Those pronouncements should not be allowed refuge under the cloak of the right of freedom or freedom of speech.

The United Nations is supposed to protect the rights of those who suffer under abuse. The United Nations is not supposed to protect the abuser of those rights. Protecting the abuser of human rights is not under United Nations jurisdiction. Protecting the rights of the abuser of human rights is repulsive, repugnant, immoral and inhuman.

President Ahmadinejad of Iran speaking before the General Assembly of the United Nations is the perfect example. When he stands before the member nations gathered in the great hall he speaks his mind, he spews forth his venom. Invitation or not, president of a country or not, the question is: Should this man be permitted to enter the United States of America in order to address the United Nations?

How would you decide? Remember, the decision to physically allow the president of Iran entry into the United States or to disallow him that entry is a decision that will shape international policy and diplomacy for years to come. The decision is not ground breaking, the precedents have already been set. It is, however, a decision that will echo not just throughout the United Nations but around the world.

The precedent for allowing Ahmadinejad to speak at the United Nations is a form of roundabout logic, legalese and diplomacy. Ahmadinejad himself was privy to the benefits of this precedent last year.

In order for anyone, even those people who travel on diplomatic passports to enter the United States, they are required to be issued a visa. Last year Ahmadinejad received a special visa from the United States to attend the General Assembly. The special visa allowed the president of Iran to travel only within an eighteen mile radius of the United Nations. This special visa was designed as to accommodate those leaders who would be visiting the UN. The eighteen mile radius allows them to land in any of the New York area airports, check into a hotel, get to the UN and then get out. This law was the legal way around the special and deeply problematic role that the United States has as host country for the United Nations.

The precedent not to allow Ahmadinejad into the United States even to speak before the United Nations was set in 1988. That's the year the Reagan administration said "no" to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

By 1988 it was obvious to everyone in the US administration and much of the Western world that Arafat represented hatred and terror. Ronald Reagan took a firm stance and upheld his convictions. The State Department refused to grant Arafat even the special 18-mile visa. In response and in the defense of the right of Yasser Arafat to murder Israelis and Jews around the world, the United Nations moved the General Assembly to Europe where Arafat was welcomed and from where he could address the august nations of the world.

That decision by the United Nations underscored two key issues. It emboldened the no-goodniks by sending out the message that the United Nations would protect their rights to murder and even provide them a platform from which to speak of their evil deeds. And it gave evidence to the fact that the United States would neither sponsor nor support that platform in any way. It showed all the nations of the world that the United States understood the limits of diplomatic free speech.

Ahmadinejad has only one goal - to take over the world. He has only one objective - to take over the world. He has only one speech to deliver - explaining why Iran has the right to develop nuclear energy and why ideologically Iran and like-thinking nations should take over and replace the United States as leaders of the world. He might be speaking before the United Nations but he is spinning for the benefit of Muslim and Arab nations. He uses rhetoric that will torque up the intensity in his own region and satiate his colleagues and cohorts sense of independence and need for power.

How would I decide? I would not allow Ahmadinejad to enter the United States. No questions. No explanations. No guilt.

Little Hope For Palestinian Unity Government
By Micah Halpern

Monday September 18, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

People are so excited about the Palestinians and their unity government.
The Europeans have already begun to alter their approach to the Palestinians - even before the government is in place.

I'm here to let a little air out of the euphoria balloon.
There is very little chance that a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas - which is exactly the point - will meet the European Quartet's basic conditions for accepting Hamas as a legitimate government.

It is very simple.
Hamas cannot and will never accept Israel. They will not allow any document or any public proclamation with their name on it that permits Fatah and Abbas to white wash the issue. No matter how it is phrased or finessed, Hamas will insist that the Palestinian government not accept Israel's right to exist.

Hamas is not a political party.
Hamas is an ideology and hence they will not compromise in order to advance their political strength.
The only hope for the Palestinian Authority is ousting Hamas.

Muslims versus The Pope
By Micah Halpern

Sunday September 17, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

So Muslims are up in arms again.
They are protesting and shouting and the object of their rage now is - the Pope.
They are fuming because the Pope quoted a 14th century religious treatise that argues the values of Islam and Christianity.

The book the Pope chose is a pseudo conversation between Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar.
Quoting the work the Pope read: "The emperor comes to speak about the issue of Jihad, holy war."
"He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.' "

Convert or die is an essential dimension of Islam.
Muslim history and teachings are replete with examples of this doctrine.
Yet, Muslim furor is raging from England to Turkey to Gaza to Egypt to Lebanon.

Once again, my thesis is proved: The element most lacking in Islam today is the capacity for self criticism and honest evaluation.

Muslims Want to Control The Media
By Micah Halpern

Saturday September 16, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

57 Muslim countries met on Wednesday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
They are the members of the Organization of Islamic Conference, the OIC.

The OIC met to debate various issues and pass important resolutions.
The biggest issue they wanted to confront was the issue of the media.
The OIC is convinced that their member nations are downtrodden, that they are abused by the media.

One suggestion was that Muslims world over purchase Western media outlets so as to better portray themselves in the Western world.
Another suggestion was to respect and honor the free press.
The Iranian suggestion was to create an organization of Muslim journalists from every country to help one another and to bind together.
Obviously, three very different solutions to one perceived problem.

Here's my problem with their solutions:
From my point of view the Muslim media is very savvy.
From my point of view, the Muslim media far outstrips Western media in manufacturing and manipulating situations, the Israeli war with Hezbollah is the perfect most recent example.

The grass, I guess, is always greener.

Iran Wants to Lead the World
By Micah Halpern

Friday September 15, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Iran's Ahmadinejad wants to make a play to be the leader of the world.
Yes, of the world,
His plan is to bind all the developing countries and all the Muslim countries tightly together and then - take charge.

Ahmadinejad's major ally plot in this is Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.
Ahmadinejad and Chavez have had enough of the United States and the unfair influence the U.S. has on world affairs.
They think that they could run things much better - if only given the chance.
That is part of the pitch these men will put before the United Nations.

During the Non-Alignment Movement convention taking place in Cuba, Chavez said that he will help defend Iran against the U.S. and the rest of the West.
Just wait and see, he taunted.

The Non-Alignment Movement was aptly named and created to provide an outlet for those countries not aligned with the United States or with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
The Non-Alignment Movement composes 55-60% of the United Nations and a significant part of their raison d'etre is to fight Western colonialism and Zionism.
That explains why Iran and Venezuela are floating their ideas in Cuba before they propose them to the UN General Assembly.

OK. We'll wait and we'll see.
This should be interesting.

Palestinian Unity
By Micah Halpern

Thursday September 14, 2006

I'm Predicting:

It looks like the Palestinians, Hamas and Fatah may actually be putting together a unity government.

Russia and several European states are even talking about lifting their boycotts.
And there is talk about putting significant pressure on the US to lift their boycott.

But the biggest impediment will be 3 demands that Hamas will not accept.
The world will be asking Hamas to:
Accept Israel
Fight terror and denounce terror
Honor agreements made earlier

On the issue of accepting Israel - Hamas will let Abbas do that negotiating
On the issue of fighting and denouncing terror - Hamas may honor a ceasefire
On the issue of earlier agreements - Hamas says only those in the their interest

There has been zero change in Hamas.
And yet, some countries are willing to be fooled. Again.

Syria Is Both A Sponsor & Target of Terror
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday September 13, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

The United States Embassy in Damascus was bombed.
The United States Embassy in Damascus was attacked by terrorists.
Damascus, Syria?
Doesn't Syria sponsor terror, why would Damascus be victim to terrorist attacks?

Here's why:
Syrian President Bashar Assad is petrified of terror from within his own country. Assad is afraid that Fundamentalists want to overthrow his Bathist regime, and rightfully so. That's why he sponsors terror - by becoming a player Assad hopes to keep the bad boys on his side. That's why Syria sponsors terror in Lebanon, as a means to achieve Syria's own goals.

This attack was definitely the work of Islamic terrorists.
It was an attack against the United States.
It was just as much an attack against Syrian President Assad.

Syria sponsors Islamic terror and Syria is the target of Islamic terror.
This is not ironic.
This is the way Islamic Fundamentalist terrorists play their game.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday September 12, 2006


It's one of the hottest topics under discussion at upper crust dining tables and along international political corridors. It's the question of the next Secretary General of the United Nations. The answer to the question will impact all of us world over - rich nations and poor countries, democratic governments and dictatorial regimes, Western thinkers and non-Western believers.

Try as some countries might, there is no hiding from the United Nations. And the UN Secretary General truly does wield a big stick. And he wields it at his own discretion. And that is why there is such curiosity, such consternation, so much conversation about the successor to Kofi A. Annan.

The burning question is: Will the new Secretary General have a better outlook on the world than the outgoing Secretary General? That is a polite way of really asking: Will the new Secretary General have an outlook similar to ours? And the answer, certainly for Western nations, is most probably not.

Truthfully, why should he? The Secretary General is not supposed to represent only certain nations, only wealthy nations, only powerful nations. The Secretary General is supposed to represent every country's interest. The Secretary General is supposed to have the best interest of the world at heart as he pursues his own diplomatic vision. And that's where the problem lies. His own diplomatic vision. If history is any real compass, one can expect that the new Secretary General will be an advocate for many causes that are not in sync with Western agendas.

Right now, there are four contenders for the position. They are:
Sri Lanka's Jayantha Dhanapala
South Korea's Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon
Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Suthirathai
UN Deputy Secretary General, Shashi Tharoor from India

No, I have not forgotten about Bill Clinton or about Shimon Peres, names that are popping up on many short lists. Either of these men would be excellent for the position, but they are just not contenders, they can't be. They are on wish lists, not real lists. Electing the Secretary General of the United Nations is not a popularity contest, it is a process, there is a pattern that is followed. It is a system that was created to give all nations an equal chance at the gold ring.

According to the charter of the United Nations there is a rotation that determines the region from which the candidates for Secretary General can be selected. That significantly narrows the field. The election takes place every four years and rather than weeding our numerous candidates from around the globe, the choice is limited to candidates from a particular region. It also evens out the power base so that one region does not, cannot, dominate for decades. According to the rotation, the next leader of the United Nations is supposed to be chosen from the Asian group.

A secret ballot is taken in the inner sanctum of the United Nations, in the Security Council. Only after the Security Council selects a candidate from the designated region is that name sent out to be voted upon by the General Assembly.

Now you see why neither Clinton nor Peres could be considered as candidates. Forget the fact that the body of United Nations voting countries would never elect a Western, a pro-Western, a Jewish, an Israeli or a pro-Israel Secretary General in today's international climate. Might there one day be an outside-the-region candidate who somehow sneaks in and is elected, it could happen, but not this time.

There is one dark horse candidate who meets the criteria and who has thrown his hat - or in his particular case, crown - into the ring. He is Prince Said Hussein of Jordan. The New York Times even covered his candidacy so you know it is a serious possibility. But I don't see the Prince of Jordan as a probable contender. I do, however, think that Hussein's bid underscores how unattractive the other candidates look to the West. But his backing by the West will be the reason for his downfall. In reality, Hussein is just like Clinton and Peres in terms of his chances for success in the UN election.

Jordan is seen as way too close to the United States and to Israel. There is no way that the authentic Asian countries would relinquish the power of the position to Jordan. And the Asians are not interested in a person with the same leadership style as the present Secretary General or his predecessor Boutros Boutros-Ghali and that is exactly the style that Hussein represents.

So how will the decision be made?

Before anything else, the Security Council will determine if they want a professional diplomat from the inside, which is the way Annan was elected, or if they want to go with regional power. If the choice is a professional diplomat, the next Secretary General of the United Nations will be Shashi Tharoor. If the Security Council opts for a leader with regional power, the choice is a little wider, but in my estimation, just a wee bit wider.

Actually, I do not think that the Security Council really wants a leader from either South Korea or Thailand. Security Council members, whatever the faults of their individual countries, understand the workings of nations. They know that countries suffering inferiority complexes, in this case Thailand and South Korea, will use the position of power, almost the only power they have ever had to wield, to further their own national agenda. They know that the Secretary General will be blind even to regional agendas let alone the advancement of international issues. And that, in and of itself, is a compelling argument to choose a Secretary General from within, to choose a professional diplomat.

I am certain of one thing. The election of a new Secretary General, no matter who it is, will not change the United Nations. There will be no change in vision, no change in direction. The United Nations was not created for enlightened nations, it was not created for the West. The United Nations is a collection of nations of the world with priorities that are antithetical to Western agenda. Western nations are left to deal with that reality as frustrating as it is.

We of the West tend to look past one of the most significant roles of the UN - to give voice to those nations who have little to no say in what happens to them and in the world. The United Nations was created to empower those countries that oppress their own populations. The United Nations gives credence to countries that inhibit and limit human rights. The United Nations gives a platform to the abusers in their fight against the defenders of justice.

Good luck to whoever wins the position of Secretary General of the United Nations. But when it comes to the United Nations, you should never get your hopes up.

Hezbollah Is Training Hamas
By Micah Halpern

Monday September 11, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

There is now a strong link between Hezbollah and Hamas.
Hezbollah is training Hamas in the art and tactics of guerrilla warfare.
Hezbollah is training Hamas in the strategies of missile strikes.

The exercises have been going on for a few weeks in Sinai Desert camps. Terrorist training camps, a la al Qaeda training camps.

Israel is aware - but can do nothing about it. Israel can't bomb the camps, they are in Egypt. So they informed Egypt and now Egypt is investigating and will probably make arrests and destroy the camps this coming week.
By then it will be too late.

Most of the essential information and training will already have been passed on. Most of the senior people will be long gone before the Egyptian raid.
The information and the training will have reached Gaza, the new experts will have begun teaching new recruits and on and on it will go.

This could have been nipped in the bud.
Instead, the decision was made to go the diplomatic route.
It was a decision that, in the end, will hurt both Egypt and Israel.

Iran's Bravado
By Micah Halpern

Sunday September 10, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

I spend a lot of time monitoring local Arabic press - including the Iranian press. Some governments and terror groups supply the media with press releases and up-dates and send out their own spin.

Here are several items from this past week that the Iranians are proud of:
They discovered a cure for AIDS
They test flew a new jet comparable to the new F-18
They tested long range missile and other missiles

The Iranians term this new wave of accomplishments the "Blow of Zolfaqar."
Zolfagar was the name of the sword used by Ali who was the founder of Shiite Islam and the true successor of Mohammed.

Iran wants to show their own people how advanced they are and how capable they are and how they are improving the status of Muslims despite the arms embargo that has been placed on them for all these years.

They are saying that Iran continues to contribute and build and defend its honor.
They need to prove themselves to their own people - even with all their bravado.

The New Nuclear Arab World
By Micah Halpern

Saturday Sept. 9, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

The Arab League just announced that they intend to:
develop "and use nuclear energy peacefully."
Amir Moussa the Secretary General of the Arab League made the announcement saying that they decided to:
"use the right granted them" as signers of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

That is what they said.
This what they mean:
* It is a classic Arab statement of challenge.
* They are challenging Iran - which is not a member of the Arab League.
* If Iran (a Shiite Nation) can have nuclear energy then we (the Sunnis) must have nuclear energy.
* It is a statement of Arab honor taunting the US and their anti-nuclear stance.
* Iran has gotten such positive play in the Arab and Muslim world by their defiance of the United States that the Arab League will do the same hoping for the same benefits on the "street".

The reality is that only Saudi Arabia and Egypt would want to develop the nuclear option at this stage and use it as a natural check against Iran.

The New Al Qaeda Video
By Micah Halpern

Friday September 8, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

About: the al Jazera broadcast of Osama bin Ladin and the 9-11 terrorists

The broadcast is:
An al Qaeda media ploy to honor THEIR work on 9-11
A classic style Islamic message - connecting the past to the future and present
Meant to threaten and terrorize the United States
Meant to tell the Muslim world that Osama is still a major player who can still, just by presenting his image, threaten the West

More than anything else - the video shows just how easy it is for al Qaeda to produce a piece and send a message to their world of adherents.

Al Qaeda videos were, until now, aimed only at adherents, not the West.
This video is aimed at adherents, but ALSO, importantly, for us, for the West. They are clearly fighting a two front media war, on one front is the Muslim world and on the second front is the Western world.

Nasrallah Was No Victor
By Micah Halpern

Thursday September 7, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

An interview with Hassan Nasrallah was just published in as Safir, the Lebanese daily and the Hezbollah leader had some interesting things to say.

Nasrallah claimed that the whereabouts of his hide out and bunker was kept so secret that not even he knows where it is.
He relates how he went up and down so many stairs he lost his bearings.
The interview confirms that the bunker was one of the key communication centers for Hezbollah during the war. Nasrallah was able to monitor all the news from inside the bunker including broadcasts from Israel and the United States.

The interviewers recorded that Nasrallah, the victor, showed signs of victory, but also signs of "distress, sadness and depression." A "heavy load" they called it.

Nasrallah's interviewers are right. Nasrallah does carry a heavy load because Nasrallah was not victorious, he was defeated. His only victory was that his bunker was not hit and that he remains hidden.

Now Nasrallah is forced to live like Arafat - never sleeping in the same bed twice.

Ahmadinejad Will Fail
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday September 6, 2006

I'm Predicting:

Ahmadinejad is at it again.
His latest mission, typical of almost everything else in his regime, is neither innovative nor unique.
Ahmadinejad wants to purge the Iranian universities of any trace of liberal thinkers and moderate professors.

He calls it a "cultural revolution undoing 150 years of secularism."
Actually, he is recycling the tactics used in 1979, in the first Iranian Revolution. That was when the Ayatollah Khomeini and Iranian masses overthrew the Shah and his secret police.

But times have changed, the situation has changed.
In 1979 when the Islamic revolution ousted the Shah they attacked a local and powerful symbol - a symbol that was easy to identify and to target.
Today Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs of Iran are trying to oust a symbol that is external and amorphous. Their target is a culture, a set of values that cannot be destroyed - their revolt is focused on the West.

Ahmadinejad's revolt will fail.
Why? Because the vast majority of Iranians hate Ahmadinejad and the secret police of the Mullahs.
Cracking down on the universities is a mistake.
Why? Because it will fuel an anti-Mullah revolt. Because most revolts begin in the universities.

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday September 5, 2006


It is just one big myth. It is a myth in both senses of the word - a story and a lie.

What is right is wrong and what should be white is black. It is an inversion of reality.

The notion that fifteen thousand international forces complimented by another fifteen thousand Lebanese soldiers will patrol the border between Lebanon and Israel is a myth. It is a grandiose story.

The notion that these international force soldiers will disarm any Hezbollah members attempting to infiltrate the area is - and was from the very outset - just one big myth. It is just one big lie.

On paper, it was a great ploy. It was a way to end the hostilities. In reality, it never had a chance at success. There was never a chance that it would, could or will ever happen.

On paper, The Cease Fire Document clearly stipulates the duties and responsibilities of the international force and the guidelines under which the cease fire is in effect. In reality, the document is being disregarded. Those nations involved in implementing the cease fire and forming the international force are, in essence, re-inventing, re-working, re-formatting and totally disregarding the word and the spirit of the document.

This is what The Cease Fire says:
The Cease Fire speaks of a Hezbollah-free zone.
The Cease Fire speaks of disarming Hezbollah.
The Cease Fire specifically articulates the responsibility of the international force and the Lebanese force to prevent Hezbollah from amassing any weapons.
The Cease Fire specifically talks about the role of the international force.
The Cease Fire is clear that the international troops are there to confront Hezbollah.
The Cease Fire is clear that the forces are there to secure not protect the Lebanese side of the border.
The Cease Fire stipulates that the forces are to stop Hezbollah from amassing troops and weapons to be used against Israel.
The Cease Fire is not about keeping Israel out of Lebanon but about keeping Hezbollah from threatening Israel.

You would never know that, however, from listening to the international agencies monitoring the cease fire and the governments preparing to send their troops to police the cease fire.

This is what the interested parties have been quoted as saying:
They are happy to step up and protect the Lebanese FROM Israel.
The international force will be there to protect innocent Lebanese FROM Israel.
They have said that they will not intercept the flow of weapons TO Hezbollah.
They (including the Lebanese) WILL NOT disarm Hezbollah or another militia.

So far, Qatar has committed 200 soldiers to the international forces. Indonesia has volunteered to provide an as yet undisclosed number of troops. Turkey is thinking about sending soldiers. These are all Muslim nations. Qatar is actually an Arab country. Indonesia has no diplomatic relations with Israel. Neither does Qatar although they do have a trade office which is just one step below actually having official diplomatic relations.

Emerging is a warped sense of the purpose and the objective of the international force as mandated by the cease fire between Israel and Hezbollah. What can we expect from Muslim nations and Arab neighbors when even The New York Times is re-writing the cease fire and has totally inverted the real purpose of the international force? Monday's New York Times (9/4/06) has a headline describing the soldiers going to the "buffer zone" between Lebanon and Israel. It is a Hezbollah-free zone, not a buffer zone. This isn't just semantics. This is a systematic inversion of the stated and intended reasoning behind the call to cease fire.

Listen to the United Nations Secretary General and pay attention to what other, supposedly informed UN sources are saying and you come away with the impression that the international force is there - specifically and exclusively - to protect Hezbollah and the Lebanese from Israel.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The stated purpose of the international force is:
To disarm Hezbollah.
To prevent Hezbollah from re-arming.
To protect the border between Lebanon and Israel so that there is no re-amassing of Hezbollah forces.
To prevent a future threat from Hezbollah against Israel.

This Cease Fire Document is probably the most pro-Israel document ever produced by the United Nations.
This Cease Fire Document squarely places the guilt and responsibility of the entire conflict on Hezbollah.
This Cease Fire actually permits Israel to go into Lebanon and defend itself against Hezbollah should Israel determine that Hezbollah is organizing and gathering weapons.

And because the international community has not come forth with the 15000 soldiers required, the United Nations will default on the agreement. If the troops never arrive in Lebanon the cease fire has been breached. Not by Israel. Not by Hezbollah. By the United Nations.

The United Nations coming to the rescue. Another myth exploded.

The British Are Fighting
By Micah Halpern

Monday September 4, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

British counter terrorism personnel have said that they are currently running at least 70 investigations.
That means they are investigating thousands of people.
This week-end alone they conducted numerous raids.

They are working hard at arresting more potential terrorists.
They are casting their nets and catching some pretty important fish.
They are leaning on people involved in recruitment and training camps.
They are shutting down some valued terrorist assets.

Most of the first intel comes from hot tips.
Then comes finding and bribing informants.
Sometimes they can place their own agents inside terror networks, but that takes much longer so paid informants are a better bet.

Unfortunately, England has learned the hard way. They now realize that they must invest enormous sums of time and money in order to infiltrate terror cells and then break them up.

Britain is looking for homegrown terrorists.
Right now, that's the way to go.

Al Qaeda In Iraq
By Micah Halpern

Sunday September 3, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Another one bites the dust.
Al Saedi also known as Abu Humam also known as Abu Rana was captured by United Staes forces in Iraq.
He was # 2 in al Qaeda's Iraq division, directly under Al Masri.

Al Saedi was responsible for numerous attacks and directly in charge of assassination squads and policemen.
When discovered, he was hiding among civilians, but US forces were able to capture him alive without any injury to women or children.

Catching big fish like Al Saedi forces al Qaeda to reorganize.
Catching big fish allows for middle-level leadership to emerge and rise to the top.

The United States is slowly and surely chipping away at the leadership of al Qaeda in Iraq.
But capturing leaders is not enough to signal an end to terror.
Knocking out leadership is the first crucial step, then there is still an entire infrastructure to disorganize, demoralize and ultimately demolish.

Forcing Iran Into Transparency
By Micah Halpern

Saturday September 2, 2006

I've Been Thinking:

Iran has just twisted us, the United States, around their proverbial finger.
Iran succeeded because the United States failed.

The United States failed to adequately understand the Iranian style of international diplomacy.
Iran undercut the United States by proposing a diplomatic alternative to sanctions.
Iran proposed exactly what the rest of the world wanted from the very outset.

Iran convinced European Union and Western diplomats that diplomacy will work.
Iran has won. Now even the EU has declared that it is time to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue.
Now everyone is chiming in, saying that it is time for negotiations.
British Foreign Minister Margaret Becket said, "Our goal remains a negotiated solution on the basis of far-reaching proposals."
Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, said that "this is not the time or place for sanctions." "For the EU, diplomacy remains the No. 1 way forward." This from the country that holds the rotating presidency of the EU.

We are loosing to Iran because we do not understand their game.
The only way to win is to learn Iran's rules and then beat them at their own game.
We need to force Iran into a diplomatic dialogue and use that dialogue to force Iran into transparency.

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