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Hamas is Brutal
By Micah Halpern

Saturday September 1, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

For the second Friday in a row there have been violent protests in Gaza.

Hamas police have beaten Fatah protesters and journalists covering the event.

The protests are all part of a master plan.
The planners are both Fatah and Hamas.

Fatah is using these protests to call international and local attention to the brutality of Hamas.
Hamas is using these protests to clamp down on alternative ideas.

They are limiting the ability of people to express themselves and limiting the ability of the press to cover the events internally and internationally.

Hamas cares about the way they are portrayed in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Hamas needs Arab and Muslim support.

Hamas fears that their message is being morphed and poorly presented.
Hamas fears that they, along with Islamic rule, might not be seen as a viable and suitable method of government.

Hamas fears that they may be seen as thuggish and brutal.

There is only so much Hamas can do to change their PR image.
Truth is, Hamas is thuggish and brutal.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

The Limits of Free Speech
By Micah Halpern

Friday August 31, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

What do you do when a Muslim leader in Israel deliberately lies in order to stoke the flames of conspiracy?
What do you do when he claims that Israel is planning to take over the Temple Mount - Al Aqsa, the holy Dome of the Rock?

Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, called on Arab and Muslim nations to "prevent the division of the Al-Aqsa by Israel." His plea came in the form of a letter written to leaders residing in Arab and Muslim countries. In the letter he begs them to put a halt to "Israel's plan that aims at dividing the Al-Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews whereas in the Jewish part it plans to build its imaginary temple."

The entire assumption that Israel is taking over the Temple Mount is pure myth. But this myth touches the rawest nerve in the entire Muslim world, it unveils the conspiracy theory that Jews want to take over and destroy Muslim holy sites.

These words cannot be protected by freedom of speech.
Sheikh Raed Salah is knowingly spreading lies to achieve an end that threatens Israel's safety, he must be prosecuted for his actions.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

US General in the West Bank
By Micah Halpern

Thursday August 30, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Did you know there was a United States general, real military personnel, who functions as a security coordinator for the Palestinian West Bank?
His name is Keith Dayton.

And last week, in an unprecedented move, Congress allocated Dayton $80 million to improve security in the West Bank.
The plan is to have the United States train five small, specialized, crack Palestinian units to serve in very specialized areas with very specific duties.
The units will be supplied with sophisticated weapons and transport.

Why? Why? Why? To bolster Abbas against Hamas.
And what's the major flaw in this program?
All the crack teams and all the specialized units on the West Bank will not bring about law and order - and law and order is the key to stability in the West Bank.

Additionally, the US is creating a situation with trained personnel and powerful weapons and no guarantee that they will not turn them against Israel.
Before this plan goes into action Israel must sign off and show agreement.

Not long ago Israel was hit with a rash of sniper attacks by Palestinians.
The skill of the snipers was too good to have been picked up on the street.
Turns out, these snipers had been trained in Langley by the CIA and - with the blessing of Israel.
That precedent has already been set.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Germany Now Aids Syria
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday August 29, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Syria has been out in the diplomatic tundra ever since they were implicated by the UN in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

But yesterday Germany signed an agreement with Syria giving them 34 million Euros - that's $46.5 million US. Part of the aid is in the form of a grant for infrastructure development and part comes as a soft loan.

The question is: Why bring Syria in from the cold, what is Germany thinking?
The answer is simple.
Germany wants to influence Syria so that Syria well help the West against Iran.
Germany has a plan to try to get Muslim countries, even those with close ties to Iran, and entice them away from Iranian influences.

This is all part of a multi-dimensional plan.
This is just like the US decision to give a $20 billion military aid package to Saudi Arabia.
This is a plan that is destined to fail.

Syria will not now, probably not ever, help the West.
The West is playing with fire.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Ahmadinejad, the Puppet Scarecrow of Iran
By Micah Halpern

August 28, 2007


You can call him a puppet, you can call him a scarecrow. Just don't call Iranian President Ahmadinejad a leader. A leader, by definition, is a policy maker. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by definition, is a policy implementer. He is the front man for the true rulers of Iran, The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the ruling Religious Council. They decree, he makes sure it happens.

The choice of Ahmadinejad as the supreme representative of his country's religious leadership was brilliant, the man is a public relations dream. He has charisma, even charm. He is an anti-intellectual intellectual. He is comfortable in front of the masses and he wears those classic-cut double knit leisure suits. In a religious theocracy like Iran "president" is simply a title given to the agent of the religious leadership, no more and no less. He must be a true believer in the religious mission, as Ahmadinejad is, but he is chosen not for his leadership ability, but quite the opposite, for his penchant for bureaucracy and his ability to put a public face on oftentimes unpopular policy and dictates.

Like a puppet, his strings are pulled and his movements are choreographed from high on up. Yes, the president sits on The Supreme Council but there is no doubt that every decision taken by that Council is informed and directed by The Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. President Ahmadinejad's only independent role is to convey the message that he has been assigned.

Like a scarecrow, he is in place to intimidate Iranians and to frighten the West. The West sees Ahmadinejad as the symbol of a religiously run nation. He presents the image of one who will do anything for the sake of his religious belief. That includes engaging in even the most self destructive of national behaviors, like nuclear proliferation and the demolition of eternal enemy Israel, threats that if ever implemented will certainly force retaliation upon the people of Iran. Ahmadinejad persists with the rhetoric, for his rulers as for him, it is all a question of honor.

The reality is that Ahmadinejad is a unique blend, he is part puppet and part scarecrow. And sometimes, even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad forgets his place in the hierarchy of Iranian rule. Sometimes, Iran's president oversteps the bounds of his mandate. Ahmadinejad has been called on the proverbial carpet several times this year by The Supreme Leader. In January, for example, remarks made by the president asserting that Iran would be engaging in short range missile tests incensed the United States and needed mollification. On these occasions Khamenei is compelled to take the unusual step of publicly clarifying the missed message delivered by his over zealous president. He reminds Ahmadinejad of his true place in Iranian society, reminds him that he is a blacksmith, a working class member of society, not a policy maker and certainly not a religious leader, he is their hired thug.

Iran's biggest fear right now is that pressure from the United States will stimulate a revolution - a people's revolution - from within. That fear is so palpable that once again Khamenei himself has stepped into the public limelight, addressing the people of Iran, ranting and raving against the United States. That fear is so great that this time he is not speaking in place of Ahmadinejad, but alongside him. The Supreme Leader does not trust the puppet to appropriately address this grave new challenge to Iran, does not trust the scarecrow to adequately insinuate the message of fear.

Iran has always held the advantage in psychological warfare. Ahmadinejad would utter outrageous declarations expressly to intimidate his local and international audience and force them to be on the defensive. Now the United States has categorized the Iranian Republic Guard as a terrorist organization and Iranian leadership is ranting and raving as a means of damage control. Ironically, the United States had no inkling that they were pushing such a strong emotional button when the policy decision was made to criticize the Guard.

Until now, the people of Iran assumed that the horror of the Iranian Republic Guard was a safe, dirty little secret. They knew that they lived in fear of and were completely terrorized by their leaders, their police and army but they didn't know that anyone else knew. Now the Iranian people, the street, have a question. "Our religious leadership knew that we were being terrorized and they sponsored it. The United States knows that we are being terrorized and they are speaking out to stop it. Who is the real savior and who is the real Satan?"

Ahmadinejad is facing one of the biggest challenges of his career. If Iranian leadership fails to ward off an insurrection by the people, rest assured that they, themselves, will not accept the blame. The puppet will have his strings cut off, the scarecrow will be beheaded.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Travel Schedules of Leaders
By Micah Halpern

Monday August 27, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

I gain a lot insight into world affairs by studying the travel schedules of world leaders. I get insight into what these leaders plan to accomplish and clues as to what is really on their agendas.

On Tuesday of this week Abbas and Olmert will meet in Jerusalem.
In early September Abbas and Rice will be meeting.
At their meeting Rice and Abbas will be setting benchmarks for a US sponsored conference to be held in November.

I don't envision anything substantial coming out of this conference.
Israel and the Palestinians do not agree on much of anything at all. For example, the Palestinians have rejected Israel's most recent proposal that there be an exchange of populations and parcels of land as a means of dealing with - not ignoring, the Palestinian demand for "right of return."
The United States meanwhile, is turning a blind eye to all disagreements and hoping for miracles. The US is in "la la land" when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians.

Security is what these leaders should be discussing - not conference planning.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Hamas TV Again
By Micah Halpern


Sunday August 26, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Hamas TV is at it again, they are using children's TV to teach hatred.
And once again Hamas has borrowed material from Walt Disney. First, it was Mickey Mouse. Next, it was a Buzzing Bumble. Now it is the Lion King.

Hamas is the Lion and, according to this story, rats are trying to take over Gaza. The rats, of course are Fatah. They are conniving and they are thieves. For extra impact, Hamas has even used a voice over from Mohamed Dahlan, the former Fatah strong man of Gaza.

As the story proceeds the rats are swarming and nervous, but the Lion is calm. The Lion pounces and the rats all limp away. In the final memorable scene, Hamas the Lion sits proudly on the mountain top, the wind blowing through his mane as he looks out at his kingdom.

What's really going on here? Hamas is using PR for damage control, and they are actually being very creative as they try to resurrect their image.
So why did they rip off Lion King? Because, according to Hamas, Disney took the lion out of the jungle and Hamas took it to Palestine.
So far, Hamas has also only aired the piece once, as a trial run. Next time it airs they will drop the Dahlan voice over.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

The Ayatollah Understands the US
By Micah Halpern

Saturday August 25, 2007

I'm Predicting:

The Supreme leader of Iran, The Ayatollah Khanenei, announced that he now understands United States policy vis a vis his country.

The Ayatollah said that what the United States fears most is Muslim unity. He said that all US policy is predicated upon driving a wedge between Muslims.

He is wrong. Driving a wedge is a "tool" to confront a reckless irresponsible theocracy, not a goal. The goal of the US is to prevent Iran from terrorizing the region and terrorizing the world with nuclear weapons.

The Ayatollah is really trying to convince other Muslims to take his side so that Iran does no have to confront the United States alone. Most regional leaders understand what The Ayatollah is doing, but the people do not.

The people actually believe the conspiracy allegations. The people are always looking for a reason to lash out at the United States and fuel their hatred. The Ayatollah understands that. He has found a very sensitive chord and I believe he will continue to sound that chord.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Syria is in A Dream World
By Micah Halpern

Friday August 24, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

According to a Syrian newspaper, the United States is pushing Israel into war with Syria.

That is absolutely absurd and there are three reasons why:

# 1: The United States cannot force Israel - they can nod in agreement or disagreement, but nothing more.
# 2: Israel is trying to get a read on Syria and find out what the real intentions of the Syrians are.
# 3: Syrian leader Bashar Assad is hanging on by the skin of his teeth, he has no idea what to do next. Iran and Hezbollah believe that Israel is weak right now and they are pressuring Assad to support them and make a move against Israel.

This report in the Syrian paper is a smoke screen for Assad. If Assad should make a decision and move on Israel his action will be perceived as justified.

This report puts into perspective just how difficult it is to anticipate Syrian actions.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Electricity in Gaza
By Micah Halpern

Thursday August 23, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Gaza is having an electricity problem.
It goes off, it comes on.
What is happening?

Here's what's happening:

The European Union sponsors about a third of the electricity in Gaza.
The EU cut the electric supply to Gaza earlier this week because Hamas was taxing the electricity and using the tax to finance their government.
The EU restored electricity on the condition that it go directly to the Palestinian people.

Another portion of Gaza's electricity comes from a private Israeli company.

That company cut off electricity because the bills weren't being paid. Now those bills will be paid.

A third portion is provided by the Egyptians who say that they were aware of the Hamas tax, but felt compelled to provide electricity despite it all.

Electricity in Gaza - now you see it, now you don't.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

By Micah Halpern

Wednesday August 22, 2007


Bob Levinson worked for the FBI and before that for the DEA. He retired from these "companies" about ten years ago and like many former agents, went into the private sector. According to his resume Bob Levinson had "extensive international experience and has focused on criminal activities, business intelligence projects, asset location and recoveries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Russia and Europe."

Bob Levinson was last heard from on March 8th. He was last seen on an Iranian island called Kish, a resort that caters to a Muslim and European clientele. Unlike the rest of Iran, Kish is a commercially-oriented area where even United States residents - who can enter Iran proper only after undergoing scrutiny and obtaining a special visa and travel papers - are permitted entry without special visas.

Former agents often do private work after retirement. They gain employment as contractors for the government or for companies in the private sector interested in their contacts and talents. As the saying goes, once a spy always a spy. Levinson, it seems, was not working on a covert operation. He was working for a film company and he was in Kish gathering information and meeting contacts.

Almost five months later and there has been no word from Levinson or about Levinson. Relations between the United States and Iran being what they are there is no direct line of communication between the State Department and the powers that be in Iran. Diplomatic ties were severed in 1979 when the Iranians took the United States embassy in Teheran hostage. The United States is at a loss, their access to information is through back channels. Mrs. Levinson, Christine, is trying on her own, through the media, to gather any information that she can on the condition of her husband of thirty-three years.

Christine has made an appeal on the Voice of Peace broadcast into Iran. She has been interviewed by CNN. There have also even been Persian language programs discussing the disappearance of her husband. She is making a direct appeal for help and information via radio.

About two to three US citizens disappear each year in Iran. Sometimes, there is a happy ending, often there is not. One glimmer of hope for finding Bob Levinson comes in the form of the return of another US hostage. The director of the Middle East division of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, an Iranian American who was held hostage since May was just released. The terms of her release involved the exchange of a very large sum of money - but she is free.

To date, the only information about the disappearance of Bob Levinson has come from a rather unsavory character who claims to have been with Bob, at his hotel, immediately before the disappearance. This witness is rather suspect himself. In 1980 he fled to revolutionary Iran for refuge after admitting to assassinating an Iranian diplomat, a member of the Shah of Iran's coterie, in Washington D.C. He says that Levinson was interested in investigating cigarette smuggling. He says the Iranian secret police detained Levinson in the hotel and took his passport.

That's it. No more.

There is a lesson to be learned in all of this. Anyone going to Iran is putting themselves at risk. Iran is not a friend of the United States. Neither business initiatives nor humanitarian missions will cut through the hatred. No place in Iran is safe for Americans, not even islands that do not require special entry permits. To think otherwise is not to understand Iran.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Iraq & Iran Make Peace
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday August 21, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Imagine my surprise when I saw that Iranian State TV broadcast that President Ahmadinejad was invited to Baghdad.
And he plans on going.

Iraq and Iran fought a brutal 8 year war and there is bad blood between them. But it seems as if they are trying to normalize relations and just recently the Iraqi foreign minister visited Iran.

The small problem with this invite is that the United States is Iraq's sponsor and by extension, the sponsor of Iraq's new freedom and democracy. It is precisely that freedom that allows Iraq to embrace Iran - an enemy of the United States.
The bigger problem is Iran. Iran stands for everything that is antithetical to a free and safe Iraq. Iran is a destabilizing influence.

Sooner or later Iraq will have to make a choice - either take a stand or be swallowed up by self destructive regional forces.
Only Iraq can make that decision.
That is democracy at work.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Iran Responds
By Micah Halpern

Monday August 20, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

United States pressure on Iran is starting to work.
How do I know?
Iran is making public anti-US statements in their media.

Yesterday, the Supreme Leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the US is in a downward spiral. He went so far as say "In the eternal battle between right and wrong, the Great Satan will lose out." We all know who the Great Satan is.

The Ayatollah said that the US is much weaker today than 20 years ago.
That says a lot. 20-plus years ago, in 1979, the Iranians began their Islamic Revolution and took employees of the United States Embassy in Iran hostage.

Iranian leadership is petrified.
They fear that their own people, the Iranians, will side with the Americans.
Should that happen, it means a secular revolution in Iran.
To counter US influence Iranian leadership is lashing out at the Great Satan.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Shanghai Cooperation- A Shocker
By Micah Halpern

Sunday August 19, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

I am going to tell you about the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
This significant organization that almost nobody knows about just concluded its 11th annual meeting.

The ostensible reason for these meetings is to bring China and Russia together. When other member nations attend, like this year, the agenda abruptly changes.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a front.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization exists to challenge the United States and US policy.

Russia, China and Iran are in sync when it comes to the situation in the Gulf.
The odd man out is the United States.
Listen to this: "Stability and security in Central Asia are best ensured primarily through efforts taken by the nations of the region on the basis of the existing regional associations."
It is a direct attack against US involvement in the region and especially in Iran.

Ahmadinejad was very happy to hear those words.
This was the second straight year that he attended.
It was worth his while being there, he came out a real winner.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Syria and Saudi Arabia Clash
By Micah Halpern

Saturday August 18, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Syria and Saudi Arabia are at one another's throats and it has become public.

On Tuesday Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Shara spoke at the University in Damascus and derided the role of Saudi Arabia in the region saying that it is virtually paralyzed.
He also took issue with the fact that Saudi Arabia did not attend a meeting hosted by Damascus about security in Iraq.
Present at that meeting were both the United States and the United Nations.

Saudi Arabia responded via their press and the message was picked up throughout the Arab and Muslim world. The Saudi response used phrases like "lies and fallacies" and "distasteful statements."

Once upon a time, Syria and Saudi Arabia had a civil relationship.
That ended with the 2005 assassination of Rafik Harari, the former prime minister of Lebanon.
Now Saudi Arabia blames Syria for the murder.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Israeli Upgrade
By Micah Halpern

Friday August 17, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Israel just completed a half billion dollar upgrade of reserve forces and equipment.
This is just a first stage in an expensive but essential process.

A year ago the most experienced Israeli forces fighting against Hezbollah were the men of the reserve forces, called up to defend their country.
At the time one of the biggest critiques of the Israeli military was equipment shortages, especially equipment needed by the reserve forces.
This upgrade was slow to come but much needed.

Quartermaster mistakes and supply debacles occur in all armies.
But Israel cannot afford such mistakes.
In the military, mistakes cost lives.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Psychological Warfare With Iran
By Micah Halpern

Thursday August 16, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

The United States says the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a terrorist organization

Iran says that the United States is engaging in psychological warfare.
Sources in the Iranian foreign ministry are saying "such reports are published as part of the US leaders PR and psychological activity against Iran and are worthless."

It is definitely psychological warfare.
It is definitely not worthless.
It is a direct strike by the United States at Iran and Iranians must understand that.

The tactics of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is one of the biggest open secrets in Iran and in the Arab world.
Everyone knows what goes on, everyone knows that this high level elite force often tortures and terrorizes their own citizens.
But no one will admit it, no one will speak it out loud - not Iranians and not the rest of the Arab world.

The United States is urging Iranians to speak up, speak out and face reality.
Let's hear it for psychological warfare.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

By Micah Halpern

Wednesday August 15, 2007


New York was on high alert. Traffic was a mess. Trucks and vans were scrutinized. Bridges, tunnels and highways were moving along at a steady crawl. One of the most fast paced and vibrant cities in the whole wide world was forced to move slowly, deliberately and cautiously.

And then it was over.

And now we must ask - what was that all about? What really is the purpose of putting a city, a population, a nation on high alert? One would think that between the Office of Homeland Security, local police and law enforcement, informants and counter terrorism wonks, the "people in the know" would know how to tell which threats are real and credible and which are hype and improbable.

Well, they do know.

Counter terrorism is an art, it is also a science, and it is also a precise, exacting military-like series of maneuvers. And elevated alerts are an important tool in the arsenal of the counter terrorist. What happened in New York on that specific Saturday was an exercise well worth the time, effort, discipline and the discomfort of the citizens and visitors who happened to have been in town on that warm summer morning.

Elevated alerts are rushed into action following a credible threat emanating from credible Intel. The goal is to prevent a terrorist attack from happening. That goal is realized in a variety of ways.

Realization # 1: the capture of the terrorist or terrorists.

Realization # 2: obstructing the movement and the activities of the terrorist/s.

Realization # 3: psyching out the terrorist attacker/s.

A terror attack is like a jigsaw puzzle. It requires many pieces and all the pieces must interlock properly or it will not succeed. Take away one piece and an entire operation is either aborted - or doomed to fail.

With elevated alerts comes heightened security. And one of the best ways to achieve heightened security is through the use of roadblocks. Roadblocks are an attempt to prevent one or more pieces of the terrorist puzzle from coming into the arena. Roadblocks are used to force the planners to halt their operation.

Heightened or elevated alerts send out messages. The message to the public is that we are on top of things, we are not letting terrorist sneak in or slide by, we are maintaining a serious defense system. More important is the message that is sent out to terrorists. An alert says "we know something, we have information." And then it is up to the terrorist/s to determine just what and how much really is known - about their plan, about their players, about their general operation. The message is used to instill the fear of failure, the fear of being caught, in the terrorist operative/s.

An alert - like the one in New York - is better than an exercise. No drill can adequately reproduce the intensity or the urgency of the real thing, the real danger, the real and imminent threat. No drill will ever point out the weaknesses in the system, the gaps in the lines of defense, the flaws in the lines of communication that become evident in a real alert. A real elevated alert shows where the system needs to be bolstered and where it is strong and stable.

There is no shortage of terrorist threats. Most of them are not significant enough to bottle up the cultural and financial epicenter of the United States. And yet, it just happened. And yet, no terrorist plot was uncovered - or was it?

The source of the intel, a web site, was credible enough to warrant an elevated alert. In today's online world the web is another essential tool in the counter terrorism arsenal. It provides much information, it also provides much dis-information. The problem with certain web sites, like this web site, is that they have no edit function - information comes in, is re-formatted and is sent right out. Finding the truth is left to the counter terrorism experts.

The alert was real. The threat may have been. New York's August Elevated Alert was more about ironing out the kinks in the defense system than it was about a real radioactive dirty bomb threat. The lessons learned will be put to good use. Better safe than sorry, I always say.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Iran & Afghanistan Meet
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday August 14, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

An example of how US foreign policy lacks any real punch:

Last week, President Bush had a press conference with Afghanistan's Prime Minister Hamid Karzai. Bush pointed out that Iran was playing a destabilizing role in Afghanistan which accounted for their recent rise of Taliban power.

Tomorrow, Ahmadinejad of Iran will meet with Karzai in Afghanistan. It is the Iranian leader's first trip to her neighbor Afghanistan. I am certain that the United States and US policy in the region will be a very important topic of discussion.

The questions beg asking:
Why is this meeting happening? Is there no way the US could have prevailed upon Afghanistan not to have this meeting? If they did ask for the meeting not to happen, why is it that the meeting is happening anyway?
Iran cannot be seen - in the region or out - as an acceptable supportive neighbor. Until Iran tows the international line regarding nuclear development Iran must be outcast from the community, Iran must be a pariah state.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

US Pressure is Working Against Iran
By Micah Halpern

Monday August 13, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

The United States has been exerting significant pressure on international industries to stop trading with Iran.
The results have been somewhat positive and the Iranian oil industry has felt the pressure.

Yesterday Iran fired the head of the National Iranian Oil Company for his failure to stop the United States from taking away oil clients.
Now Iran needs to figure out how to lure back clients.
One of the plans under consideration is for Iran to break from OPEC.
If Iran and OPEC do separate, Iran can offer clients lower cost oil.

Even if they successfully lure back oil clients, Iran is in trouble.
The Iranian oil industry is completely controlled by the state and acts more like a mafia than an efficient monopoly.
Iran is fighting a larger battle than US interference and the loss of oil clients.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Nasrallah is Right and Wrong
By Micah Halpern

Sunday August 12, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Hassan Nasrallah gave a live interview on Iranian state radio today.
The Hezbollah leader gave his take on happenings in the Middle East.

Not surprisingly, Nasrallah was preaching vitriol, dogma and hatred to the converted.
Not surprisingly, his understanding on most issues is dead wrong.

But on one issue, Nasrallah is 100% correct.
"Without a strong army Israel would not be able to survive in the region." But that is where it ends.

He said: the state is an army state, the state exists for the sake of its army.
Nasrallah is trying to say that Hezbollah morale is high and Israeli morale is low.
He is explaining that the Israeli army is there for its own sake alone not for the sake of the people or to defend the society.

The audience he is preaching to has little to no understanding of democracy and Israel they misunderstand Israel's investigation and mourning for weakness.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Fatah Hamas Conflict
By Micah Halpern

Saturday August 11, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Hamas is being put to the test by Fatah in Gaza.

Fatah has activated a series of strike teams and infiltrated them into Gaza.
Fatah is planning to stimulate unrest and dissatisfaction with Hamas.
Fatah wants the people to feel fearful and unsafe.
Fatah hopes the people will then rise up and depose the Hamas leadership
Fatah has named the group Sami al Madhoun after the Fatah commander who was executed in Gaza on the last day of the war between Hamas and Fatah.

Hamas knows what Fatah wants.
Hamas is trying to find the group members and arrest them.
Hamas is not as successful at infiltrating the infiltrators as they would like to be.
So far, the group has set off several bombs and shot up several areas - outside the Hamas headquarters and at a hangout for Hamas members.

There is growing anger against Hamas in Gaza.
Sami al Madhoun is exploiting that anger, using it as the perfect cover to launch raids and re-take control in Gaza.
Will Hamas find these units - or will the units continue to operate secretly and successfully.
The future of Gaza is at stake.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Syria And Russia Agree
By Micah Halpern

Friday August 10, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Last week Syria and Russia signed some agreements.
The agreements have not yet become public.

This is what is rumored to be in the still secret agreements:
Russia will sell Syria SS-26 surface-to-surface missile.
Syria will allow the Russian Mediterranean fleet to dock at Syrian ports.
The significance of these agreements is that Syria and Russia are becoming very, very chummy.

The tie that bonds Syria and Russia is the overwhelming desire to challenge the United States and US policy in the Middle East.
Syria is a "bad boy." The West is placing Syria in isolation and along comes Russia and invites them out of the cold.
Truth is, Russia doesn't care about Syria, per say. Russia needs to sell weapons and they need to be a player and Syria fulfills that need.

For the Russians, these agreements say "in your face" to the United States.
One fallout of the plan is that even though Syria is just a pawn that Russia is arming - that pawn now presents an even more significant threat to Israel.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Ahmadinejad's Iran
By Micah Halpern

Thursday August 9, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Another day, another rant from Iranian leader Ahmadinejad.

The occasion: Journalist Day
The venue: the offices of INRA, the Islamic Republic News Agency, the official voice of Iran
The subject: unfair reporting by the foreign press
The proof: they choose the wrong sides and use the wrong words
More proof: they portray Iran poorly
Most important proof: they misrepresent the real conflict with the Palestinians.
Best quote: by distorting the reality the world has come away with a misunderstanding of the Palestinian cause

Like most thugs and dictators Ahmadinejad thinks he is correct.
He thinks that anyone who dares challenge him is wrong.

Case in point: the Iranian newspaper Sharq
The paper was shut down and the editors were arrested two days ago
The crime: an interview with lesbian Iranian poet now living in Canada.

In Iran, you do it Ahmadinejad's way or it is not done at all.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

By Micah Halpern

Wednesday August 8, 2007


The Palestinian people deserve a state of their own.

But not now, not yet.

Why? Because the Palestinians have not yet adequately proven themselves ready for total self-government. At least, not democratic self-government.

The Palestinians have been in control of their own destiny for a significant chunk of time. And each time they are faced with a pivotal challenge, they fail to rise up to that challenge. And each failure is then blamed on Israel.

The election of Hamas to power, for example, was a challenge to the concept of democracy. And the result was a miserable failure of democracy and a return to anarchy. The decision to arrest terrorists is another example of a challenge the Palestinians faced and failed. The result was the decision not to make arrests by circumventing the issue and calling the gun-toting, saber rattling, Qassam throwing brigades not terrorists, but resistance fighters. Everyone speaks of normalization, but these actions should never be termed normal. These actions are an ab-normalization of the situation and they are an abomination.

Before they can become a democratic state, the Palestinians must be ready, willing and most crucially, able, to make changes in attitudes and in behaviors. Democracy is more than a system of self-government. Democracy is about respect. Respect for law and for laws. Respect for religious and cultural minorities. Respect for education.

Neither Palestinian leadership nor the Palestinian people have grasped the true essence of democracy. They have no understanding of the concept of freedom. They do not yet understand that democracy and freedom are co-joined, that democracy without freedom is dictatorship, that freedom without democracy is anarchy.

Striving for democracy is an admirable goal. Freedom is an inalienable right. But they come with a price - responsibility. Until Palestinian leadership is willing to accept that responsibility, the people will continue to live under an umbrella of violence, poverty and uncertainty.

Building a democracy is an investment in time and good will. Commit to the concept honestly and the entire free world will be at your side. But play games with democracy and you will be devoured by the forces of terror and tyranny.

This is a pivotal time in Palestinian history. George Bush, the leader of the most powerful democracy in the world has joined with Israeli leader Ehud Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in attempting to move ahead with the "Two-State Solution" the "Road Map" calling for Israel and the Palestinians to live side-by-side that was devised by the group of democratic countries known as the Quartet. Is it ultimately the best solution? No, but it is the best solution for now. One must crawl before walking and walk before running. It is a means to the end, not the end for the Palestinian people.

But even the "Two-State Solution" seems remote right now. In conversations with Olmert, discussions suggesting the exchange of pre'67 lands for post '67 lands - a condition until now considered a deal breaker for the Palestinians - Abbas proclaimed that the could not be held responsible for security in the West Bank. But being held responsible is what it's all about. And it appears that the Amnesty Agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, calling for 178 terrorists to hand over their weapons to the Palestinian Authority and sign a pledge to no longer engage in terrorist activities in return for which they will not be targeted by Israel was one big farce. Few weapons have been handed over, fewer pledges have been signed.

Running to democracy can be a big mistake. The move must be slow, slow and steady, much like the famous tortoise who ended up winning that race. Right now, the Palestinians are barely even crawling. One day, I hope, they will be truly ready to herald democracy and achieve statehood. But not now, not yet. And that's disappointing.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Hamas Hires Women Police
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday August 7, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

A new Hamas recruitment campaign is under way.

The Gaza police force is expanding - 100 new positions opened yesterday.
The main requirement for the job - be a woman.
The women will be official, proper police - their job will be to police other women.

This is a real WOW.
One the one hand - Hamas members live in a male dominated world.
On the other hand - a female police force fits in perfectly with Hamas doctrine.

Women cops allows for better police coverage.
Women can and now will search other women.
Women blend into places men do not.
These women will fill an unavoidable void in sexist Arab and Muslim societies.
These women will do what the men could not do.

Women's studies 101, Muslim style - Hamas is learning fast.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Syria is Twitching
By Micah Halpern

Monday August 6, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Public statements are important learning tools.
Just as important are comments made by those people intentionally kept away from the public and the press.

The head of research for Israel's military intelligence is Yossi Baidatz.
Baidatz is a brigadier general, a man with a very long face made even longer by his heavily receding hairline.

Baidatz briefed the Israeli Cabinet about the current threats in the region.
Baidatz predicted that Hamas plans to do in the West Bank what they did in Gaza.
Now, this should come as no surprise - Hamas wants total control and Fatah has not yet figured out how to effectively deal with them.

Baidatz also said that Syria is watching Israel very closely.
Baidatz thinks Syria is anticipating an Israeli strike.
Syria's mindset is significant.
Right now Syria is very twitchy - we have no way of knowing how they will react to situations.
Right now, Syria is a wild card.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Iraq Demands Planes From Iran
By Micah Halpern

Sunday August 5, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Here is a perfect example of the changing Middle East.
In the old Middle East Iraq and Iran were united allies against the West.
In the changing Middle East Iraq is forcing Iran to recognize the new Iraq.

The head of Iraq's air-force just made an astounding request.
The request: that Iran return the hundreds of fighter planes that flew into Iran in 1991 - before the 1st Gulf War.
The rationale: to repair the planes and incorporate them into the new Iraqi air-force.

In the end, the politicians will work out the transfer.
In the end, those are the planes that will help protect Iraq from Iran.

Iran will not give up the planes easily.
But the fact that there are tensions between the countries is a sure sign of maturity on the part of the Iraqi military and Iraqi leadership.
Iraq wants to be able to protect itself.
Iraq wants to contribute to its own defense.
Iraq is no longer all trusting of Iran.
This is called progress.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Libya is Crazy But Smart
By Micah Halpern

Saturday August 4, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

Libyan leader Muammar Ghadaffi is an eccentric.
He is a lunatic. He is a dictator. He is a demon.
And Muammar Ghadaffi is brilliant.

Ghadaffi permitted actually invited, US and international arms inspectors into Libya and watched as they removed his stock of unconventional weapons.
Then Ghadaffi traded up - rusty, old unconventional weapons for state of the art conventional weapons.
And since that trade Libya has been able to buy conventional weapons - at will and on the international market.

Just yesterday Ghadaffi bought nearly a half billion dollars of missiles and high tech tracking and listening equipment from France. He bought the Milan missile and the tetra surveillance system - additions that will upgrade Libya's ability to track and listen to almost anyone in their country and also bolster Libya's already capable missile program.

He's a wily one this Ghadaffi, our constant surveillance must be turned on him.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Mossad Helps Libya
By Micah Halpern

Friday August 3, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

At long last the pressure has had an effect on the Libyans and they have released the six prisoners they have been holding for so long.
The five Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor were all sent to Bulgaria.
Convicted of spreading the AIDS virus, they had all been sentenced to death.

It took years before the Libyans were persuaded to release these prisoners.
It took dozens of high level diplomatic meetings and conversations.
It took the skill of many and varied humanitarian intermediaries.

Of all the groups and all the people intervening on behalf of these prisoners, the most unusual representatives were from the Israeli intelligence organization, the Mossad.
According to a recent disclosure by one of the parties intimately familiar with and involved in the negotiations, the Mossad helped relax the parties and successfully pried opened important windows of communication.

Wonders will never cease.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

Russia Plays Both Sides
By Micah Halpern

Thursday August 2, 2007

I've Been Thinking:

The Middle East and Russia - Diplomacy 101.

Just hours after Russia hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas announced that Russia had invited a Hamas delegation to Moscow.
Twelve hours earlier, back in Moscow, Putin had told Abbas that Russia was down scaling their relationship with Hamas and that Abbas was seen as the "legitimate leader of the Palestinian people."

This is how Russia plays the game.
The Russians don't choose one side against the other - they play both sides. The Russians need to know that they always have contacts and entree to both sides just in case something happens, just in case they might need it.

Russia not only plays, Russia pays.
Russia is a sponsor and a supporter of "friends in need."
Abbas and Hamas are just two of many examples of Russian largesse.

Read my new book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.

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