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More Decapitations in Saudi Arabia
By Micah Halpern

Friday February 1, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Saudi Arabia decapitated two young men on Wednesday.
The two were convicted of raping a young boy.
The two filmed the entire event on their cell phone.

Public beheadings and beheadings behind prison walls are relatively common in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Kingdom executes murderers, rapists, people who act against the interests of the Kingdom and even some thieves.
The Saudi Kingdom justifies these killings based on Islamic law.

We need to seriously reshape our relationship with Saudi Arabia.
We must clearly and unequivocally stipulate that our relationship is one of mutual gain and not of shared values.

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

Iran Stops Public Executions
By Micah Halpern

Thursday January 31, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Iran issued a public statement yesterday. There will be no more public executions in Iran without his written permission.

No more public executions without the permission of the Chief Justice does not mean that there will be no more executions.
Executions will continue, just not publicly. Executions, the Chief Justice made clear, will continue to take place behind the walls of prisons in Iran.
The most common form of execution in Iran is hanging.
But they also decapitate.

In Iran it's all about international public image.
The Chief Justice is trying to "spin" some of the awful PR Iran has received.
The Iranian understanding of the world is so warped that they truly think this statement is positive, that it will actually improve their image.

Today in Iran's notorious Evin Prison they executed five people.
That's Iran for you.

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

Bahai in Iran
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday January 30, 2008

I'm Predicting:

On Tuesday the Islamic regime in Iran convicted and sentenced 54 Bahai.
Their crime? Distributing materials that were deemed "against the state."

A little background on the Bahai:
In the 19th century the Bahai split off from Shiite Islam in Persia, today's Iran. They have been brutally persecuted by the Shiites in Iran ever since.
I mean that literally - there have been public executions of Bahai in Iran.
And they have magnificent gardens in Haifa, Israel.

The response to Tuesday's arrest is an indicator of just how much the world is moved by the persecution of the Bahai under Iran's Islamic regime.
It would be inspiring if people, publications and leaders in Western countries and yes, even in Muslim countries, stood up against such oppression.

My guess is that this will be one of the only written expressions of concern.
Iran abuses the Bahai and the world is quiet.
What a shame.

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

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday January 29, 2008


Hexachlorine gas is a major contributor to the enrichment of uranium.

On Sunday Iran announced that they have successfully produced 300 tons of hexachlorine gas.

Once again, Iran is snubbing its diplomatic nose at the United Nations, at the West and especially at the United States of America. Iran is continuing to develop nuclear technology despite a direct plea from the United Nations asking this rogue nation to stop producing nuclear materials and to open their facilities for nuclear inspection. Iran's race towards nuclear productivity has escalated so quickly that just last week some of Iran's best friends and business partners publicly turned against the Shiite nation. The leaders of the five countries with permanent seats on the UN Security Council unanimously agreed to expand sanctions against Iran.

Russia, China and France three countries that have been or intend to be facilitators of Iran's nuclear habit all agree that Iran has crossed the line and is officially, by all definitions, out of control. Last week Russia, China and France, the three countries that stand to gain the most from Iran's move into the nuclear world took a firm and dramatic stand against Iran.

For Iran it is not just about flaunting defiance in the face of world decision making, for Iran it is all about pride. Iran has and will continue to develop nuclear technology for three simple reasons.

Reason # 1: Muslim Pride
Pride is a strong and inherent trait in the Muslim world. Iran will only be induced to backtrack and halt nuclear development if they can do so and still preserve their pride.

Reason # 2: Shiite Pride
Tensions and competition between Muslims is fierce. For small Shiite Iran winning the nuclear race is a sure way to maintain superiority over the larger Sunni nations that surround her.

Reason # 3: International Pride
Iran needs to have nuclear weapons to prove to the rest of the world that a Muslim country can and will compete in the international arena. Iran needs to have nuclear weapons to prove to the world that a Muslim country can and should be a world leader in technology and science. Iran has the need to feel superior to the rest of the world and the power of nuclear technology empowers Iran.

Iran wants to be a world player. Iran would like to oust the hegemony of the United States and other Western nations, to oust the countries that set the world's agenda. And that, parenthetically, explains why Iran is in bed with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Iran and Venezuela have nothing in common other than their resentment of and absolute disdain for the United States and for Western agendas. Chavez is not a Muslim, he is a Catholic. Chavez does not lead a fundamentalist state, he leads a democratic, albeit flawed, parliamentary democracy. Chavez does not carry the title Supreme Leader, he is simply called president.

Chavez of Venezuela dreams of turning the world upside down and giving voice to those who cannot speak on their own. Iran dreams of turning the world upside down. And then Iran wants to speak for everyone and convert everyone to Islam.

Meanwhile, Iran still has those 300 tons of hexachlorine gas. That is a nightmare we have to deal with. Quickly.

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

Egypt is Nuclear Now
By Micah Halpern

Monday January 28, 2008

I'm Predicting:

Egypt has announced that they will start taking bids on a new nuclear reactor.

The announcement came on Saturday, bids will be taken in February.

The expected cost of the nuclear reactor is between $1.5.-$1.8 billion US.

Abdel Mohsen Morsi Metwalli the director of nuclear engineering at Alexandria University said "the offer is open to all countries."

That means that France, Russia and Iran will bid to build the Egyptian reactor.

The big question now is who will control the future of the region.
If the answer is Iran expect an explosion of nuclear development in the next year or two.

The glass ceiling is about to be broken in the Middle East.

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

France Again
By Micah Halpern

Sunday January 27, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

France has recently decided to assist Arab states in their development of nuclear technology. I kid you not.

After meeting with a number of Arab countries earlier this week France made the announcement that they would aid these countries in nuclear development. France quickly qualified the announcement to say that each country would not necessarily get its own nuclear reactor and weapons.
Some small consolation, I suppose.

For France this is all business.
France is making a business move against Russia and against Iran who also want to monopolize industry in the region by becoming the region's main supply source of nuclear technology.

That Russia is doing this does not surprise me.
That Iran wants to do it is certainly no surprise.
But France, France should now better.
France has returned to her old ways, France is once again a foreign policy prostitute.

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

Terrorists Just Out of Prison
By Micah Halpern

Saturday January 26, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

The terror attack that injured 3 people in Gush Etzion, Israel was perpetrated by two Palestinians who had been released from Israeli prison only days before.

That information is as accurate as it is shocking - 100%.
The terrorists were not released as part of a deal, they were released because their two year prison terms were over.
They had both been found guilty of trying to steal weapons from an army base.

It's hard to understand, but even though we know from experience that released terrorists often continue in their terrorist ways, terrorists are still being released after serving their terms.
Many young terrorist/convicts go back to their terror organizations.
In this case they escalated from weapons acquisition to an actual terror attack.

Thankfully the teachers of Gush Etzion were prepared.
There were only three injuries and after a struggle the terrorists were killed.

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

UN HUman Rights Council Condems Israel
By Micah Halpern

Friday January 25, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

For only the 6th time in history the United Nations Human Rights Council met for a special session.
The sole purpose of the session, which was held on Wednesday and on Thursday, was to condemn Israel for actions in Gaza.

The resolution was damning.
The language was very harsh.
There are 47 members on the Human Rights Council.
The vote was 30 for the resolution, 1 against and 15 members abstained.

Canada, the one vote against, once again stepped up and did the right thing.
Canada argued that the resolution must mention the Palestinian rockets.
Canada argued that the Council should be mandated to be concerned about all human rights and not only Palestinian human rights.

Who else is on the UN Human Rights Council?
China, Egypt, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are all members.
China, Egypt, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia all boast their own horrific human rights records.

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

Canada Gets It
By Micah Halpern

Thursday January 24, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

I have not been a fan of Canada and Canadian foreign policy.
I have always felt that the Canadians get "it" wrong.

The Canadians are always afraid of something - of the United States, of being too pro-United States - or they are just way too liberal in their foreign policy.

But yesterday the Canadians got "it" right.
Yesterday the Canadians decided to boycott the next Durban Conference.

The Durban Conference is the infamous international conference on human rights.

The Canadians concluded that despite all their attempts this Conference, like the others before it, will simply degenerate into a festival of Antisemitism.

Canada is, so far, the first country to announce a boycott of the Conference.

I hope that other countries - especially Western countries, especially the US, especially the EU, will follow suit.
The type of vitriol that is spewed in Durban should never be justified by official, democratic governments.

Congratulations to the Canadians.
Maybe now we can speak of a new era in Canada.
Maybe now we can speak of a new Canada, a Canada free of Antisemitism.

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

Sanctions On Iran
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday January 23, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Leaders of five of the world's most powerful countries met in Germany yesterday.
These world leaders decided to begin the process of new sanctions against Iran.

Russia, China, France, the United States and Germany all together and in sync. This was a very significant step.
Russia and China have not been very supportive of sanctions against Iran, now they seemed to have reached a tipping point.

German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier summed it up.
He said: "We are united in the view that a nuclear armed Iran would have dramatic consequences for the Middle East and further afield."

Iranian news covered the event.
Iranian news (IRNA) incorrectly reported that the meeting ended without conclusions.
Wishful thinking on the part of the Iranians.

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

Saudi Women Cannot Drive -- Yet
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday January 22, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Most of us cannot truly grasp just how traditional Saudi Arabian society is.
The recent discussion about allowing women to drive is a small example of just how little Saudi women are allowed to do.

We are witnessing the liberalizing Saudi society - a slow, baby step by baby step process. There is a significant separation of the sexes in public situations.
In Saudi Arabia today a woman cannot hail a taxi.
A woman cannot get into a taxi unless accompanied.
An unescorted woman must shop behind curtains.

Women driving is a metaphor for women reaching a state of equality with their men.
If a woman drives she may take off her hajib, the traditional headdress, in order to have a better view of the road.
If a woman drives she will have the freedom to go wherever she wants whenever she wants.

Traditional leadership does not want to see change in Saudi society.
This is not the first time Saudis have proposed this particular change.
It will happen, but it will not happen quickly.

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

By Micah Halpern

Monday January 21, 2008


Was the glass half empty or was the glass half full? Was the United States displaying strength through restraint or did the United States reveal weakness through inaction? It all depends on your particular perspective.

The incident occurred two weeks ago. It happened in the Straits of Hormuz, the Gulf waters through which about 35% of the world's oil passes. It involved three United States war ships, a cruiser, a frigate and a destroyer and five blue, ultra light, ultra fast Iranian speedboats.

What were the United States ships doing in the Straits of Hormuz? They were patrolling the international waterway, protecting the waters, following the mandate placed upon the broad shoulders of the United States by the international community. And what were the Iranian boats doing there? They could have been doing anything, after all, the Straits of Hormuz hugs the long Iranian coastline. So what's the big deal?

The big deal is that the Iranian boats were aggressively invading the space of the American ships. The big deal is that the Iranian shipmen were teasing and taunting the American sailors. Goading them. Daring them.

And then the Iranian speedboats released little white boxes and propelled them in the direction of the US vessels and announced over loud speakers that they were coming to destroy them.

Were the little boxes bombs or were they simply little white boxes? Were the Iranians really about to blow the ships to kingdom come or where they just blowing hot air? The United States chose not to react. The United States simply announced over their own loud speakers that their mission was peaceful and that they were in international waters. The Iranians turned around as quickly as they arrived and left. The boxes bobbed in the water.

I ask again, was the glass half full or was it half empty?

The Iranians have specially designed their blue boats and specially trained the crews of the blue boats to create havoc in the Straits of Hormuz, an area they wish to have sole control over. The boat teams swarm and bomb. They are trained to attack oil tankers. Their intention is to destroy the status quo and rock the peaceful waters of the Straits, the water so crucial to the flow of so much of the world's oil supply.

This time the Iranians were sending a greeting to the American president as he was about to embark on his Middle East trip. A week earlier the Iranians sent a similar greeting, that time the response of the United States was to shoot over the bow of the blue boats.

All of these blue boats are manned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a group the United States has determined to be a terrorist organization.

Two weeks ago the United States sighed in relief. Thankfully, their vessels did not take the bait. Thankfully, they did not fall into the well-placed Iranian trap.

The Gulf nations gasped in disbelief. The United States, the great defender, the country responsible for keeping the Straits of Hormuz open to all and free for all, chose not to respond to a direct challenge from the enemy Iran. Once again, just as they had done with the release of the National Intelligence Estimate the United States showed weakness in the face of Iranian aggression. Their interpretation of events: The United States was powerless to act.

I ask again, half empty or half full? Did the United States respond with courage or with cowardice. It all depends on your perspective.

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

Double Standard
By Micah Halpern

Sunday January 20, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

A chorus of voices has been shouting about the way Israel is surgically striking at Hamas terrorist strongholds, including the Hamas Ministry of the Interior.

The Red Cross, the Europeans, the United Nations, the European Union and the list goes on.

The voices get louder as Israel continues to hit the cells, factories and cars of the terrorists.

Almost all call for restraint on both sides.
Almost all condemn the death of innocents.

So where were those voices when 130 rockets rained down on Israel in 72 hours? Where were those voices when Hamas and Islamic Jihad let out a barrage against Israel?

Why did the many shouts turn into a few hushed whispers?
There is a definite double standard operating here.

The objective of Hamas and of Islamic Jihad is to attack as many innocents as possible - that is clear from the type of weapons being used.

The objective of Israel is to attempt to minimize the number of innocent victim casualties, even as the terrorists hide out among civilians.

Why is this all so obvious to me and not to the Red Cross, the UN and the EU?

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

Iran Threatens Israel Again
By Micah Halpern

Saturday January 19, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just threatened Israel once again.
"Israel better not attack Iran" is what Ahmadinejad said.

Ahmadinejad's threat came as a response to the successful testing that Israel has conducted on the Jericho III missile, a very advanced surface to surface missile.
Iran is beginning to quake.
Iran needs to save face.

Those in the know, know that all the Jericho missiles - I, II, & III - can carry a variety of non conventional warheads aka nuclear bombs.

Some analysts think that the only reason Israel tested the missile was to clearly show just how sophisticated their systems are and to make a clear statement to Iran that Israel is extremely capable of defending itself.

Israel has confirmed the test.
Israel claims that they conducted the test to evaluate their mid-range defense systems.

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

Female Suicide Bombers
By Micah Halpern

Friday January 18, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Another female suicide bomber carried out an attack in the Diyala province of Iraq on Wednesday.

This was the fourth female suicide bomber to attack the Diyala province since November.

This time the bomber struck near a Shiite mosque, killing herself and eight others.

There are 2 explanations for this increase in females strapping themselves with explosives in order to murder as many innocent people as possible.

Number One - handlers know that women are less likely to be searched and more likely to reach their targets in sensitive areas than are men.
Number Two - terrorist organizers are running low on men and so they are lowering themselves and accepting the women who have been waiting in line for a very long time.

Whatever the reason, only one course of action can stop these attacks.
The local army must quickly learn to spot and these women and stop them just the way they would stop any male suicide bomber.

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

Israel Is Not The Problem
By Micah Halpern

Thursday January 17, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

President Bush's trip to the Middle East is now over.
This is how Egypt's President Mubarak summed up the Bush Middle East trip.

"[T]he Palestinian question, of course, is the core of problems and conflict in the Middle East, and it is the entry to contain the crisis and tension in the region, and the best means to face what's going on in the world, and our region - I mean by that, the escalation of violence, extremism and terrorism."

This canard has been spreading far too long.
It is a blatant mistake.

Any real assessment of the Middle East reveals that the biggest problem in the Middle East is Islamic extremism not the Palestinian issue.

If the Palestinian/Israeli conflict were resolved tomorrow
Would that improve the situation vis a vis Iran?

Would the Sunni Shiite tensions of the past thousands years be resolved?

Would autocratic dictators and monarchs suddenly be beneficent?
Of course not.

The Palestinian/Israeli conflict should be resolved because it will make the lives of Israelis and Palestinians safer and better.

The Palestinian/Israeli conflict has little to do with the rest of the Middle East except that it is used as a rhetorical tool to stir up anti-Western sentiment.

Period. The end.

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

By Micah Halpern

Wednesday January 16, 2008


Sometimes, one plus one equals three.

It's not the right answer, it's not the way things should be, it's just the way things are. Sometimes, try as you might, it's just impossible to make things come out right.

Most analysts, diplomats, presidents and prime ministers concerned about the future of Israelis and Palestinians are in sync about one item on the Middle East agenda. They all agree that a two-state solution is the way to go. Israel and Palestine, Palestine and Israel, side-by-side-separate states. Shared borders, perhaps even a shared capital, but two separate and distinct states.

Here's the problem: Israel is one state, but Palestine is two.

Israelis and Palestinians are in the midst of high level, on-going, negotiations about the future of the two nations. The talks are tense, but they are moving along. Israel is represented by the government of Ehud Olmert, the elected and recognized leader. The Palestinians are represented by Mahmoud Abbas, the elected and recognized leader of - well, of only a part of the Palestinian people. The other part is led by Hamas. Hamas and Abbas are like oil and water, they are like fire crackers and matches. Put them together and they don't mix, force them together and the result is explosive.

The way things are progressing right now, the Palestinians want to solve their problem by creating a three-state solution. State one, Israel. State two, West Bank Palestine. State three, Hamas-led Gaza Palestine.

Mahmoud Abbas is dealing with the question of what happens to Gaza if and when a Palestinian state is declared, by ignoring the question. It is a question Abbas and his government cannot answer. It is a situation Abbas and his Fatah comrades cannot handle. It is a war Abbas and the West Bank Palestinians cannot win. Only Israel is asking the hard questions, only Israel is willing to deal with the reality of this unreal situation.

In pre-Annapolis dialogues and discussions the Israelis raised the subject of Gaza. They were ignored. On the bottom of one of the draft documents leading up to Annapolis the Israelis scribbled a note asking about Gaza. It went unanswered. Neither the Palestinians sitting around the negotiating tables of Annapolis nor the Palestinians sitting around negotiating tables in Jerusalem and Ramallah can deliver Gaza. And neither can their leader, neither can Mahmoud Abbas. And because they cannot deliver Gaza the Palestinians want to excise Gaza from their discussions and deliberations.

And by removing Gaza from the dialogue Abbas is de facto turning Gaza into a second Palestine state.

No one involved in talks about the future of Palestinians and Israelis has ever envisioned a three-state solution. It has never been mentioned in any document, it has never been spoken of in any speech. Only now, when the reality of a two-state solution seems closer than it has ever been before, when there is a timetable to be met, has the specter of three states emerged.

The leader of the Palestine Authority will not deal with the situation in Gaza. Abbas is petrified. He does not want to engage in another civil war with Hamas. He lost the last war and he cannot afford to lose again. If Abbas were to publicly lose out to Hamas now the way he lost in June his future as Palestinian leader would be over. Gaza is not only a threat to Israel, Gaza is a threat to Palestinian leadership.

The irony of it all is that even though grass roots support for Hamas is growing, even though the ranks of Palestinians volunteering to be on the side of Hamas is growing, Hamas supporters and adherents among the greater Arab world is dwindling. The irony is that Hamas is losing the public relations campaign because they were so successful in their war in Gaza. The shame of it all is that Fatah cannot control Hamas and if Hamas is not controlled Israel will not be able to continue to negotiate with Fatah leaders.

A Hamas-controlled Gaza, a Gaza that is outside the influence of Fatah and outside the influence of any Western power is a significant threat to Israel. The reason Israel has even engaged in two-state dialogue is to create a situation that is safer for Israelis. Unless and until Abbas is willing to engage in the physical and political battles necessary to wrest control of Gaza from Hamas Israel cannot, in good faith, continue to talk of a two-state solution. The State of Palestine that does not include Gaza under is a very serious risk.

When one plus one equals three something is terrible wrong with the equation.

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

The Other Side of Humanitarian Aid
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday January 15, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Gaza terrorists are smuggling explosives in humanitarian aid packages.
Over the past week two of these shipments were intercepted by Israel.
Who knows how many shipments have passed successfully through Palestinian hands.

Last week Israel was inspecting sugar containers and found the explosive loot. On Monday while inspecting a shipment of medicine Israel discovered 2 tons of fertilizer - a substance that would be used to make Qassam rockets and bombs.

Despite the boycott against Gaza, despite international sanctions, the terrorists continue to successfully import the weapons and explosives they need. Certainly Israel catches some of the contraband - and I hope they find most of it - but just as certainly illegal weapons continue to flow into Gaza.

And that is why it is so important to shut down the Egyptian side of the burgeoning Hamas Arms Importation Program.
If they do not have weapons Hamas will pose no threat to either Fatah or to Israel.

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

Hamas & The PA
By Micah Halpern

Monday January 14, 2008

I'm Predicting:

Hamas has set conditions in order to renew relations with Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas is demanding an "end to all security coordination and cooperation with the Occupation Forces."
Hamas never refers to Israel by name.

Setting conditions for a resumption of talks is nothing new for Abbas.
Abbas has always set conditions - his terms are that Hamas publicly apologize for the June takeover of Gaza.
Hamas has never yet set conditions - they want recognition and credibility and the best way to achieve those goals is through dialogue.

Abbas is once again in a bind.
If he wants help from the West he must reject Hamas.
If he extends his hand to Hamas he is embracing his own destruction.
But Hamas continues to increase in strength, and they must be dealt with.
And that is why it is difficult to predict what Abbas will do.

At this point, however, I do not foresee rapprochement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

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

Iraqi Soldiers - Heroes
By Micah Halpern

Sunday January 13, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Three Iraqi Soldiers Tackle a Suicide Bomber Wearing an Explosive Belt
That is one headline that never made it to the mainstream press.
For the life of me, I don't know why.

This simple story is enormously important for our understanding of what is truly happening in Iraq now.
This single act of bravery is an indication of the influence the United States and the West are having on the country of Iraq.

Unfortunately, the terrorist succeeded in igniting the belt killing himself, the three soldiers and seven other innocent people. The terrorist attack took place during Army Day Festivities, a day dedicated to honoring the Iraqi army. Masses of people were there to demonstrate their support for the new Iraq.

The three Iraqi soldiers are heroes, they represent a new breed of soldier in Iraq - soldiers willing to confront evil and fight evil even at the cost of their own lives.
Iraqis continue to join the army and the police. Iraqis are willing to come out and celebrate, they do it all despite the dangers and the risks.

This entire phenomenon is transformative.
I think that Iraq has really turned a corner.
It looks as if our program might actually be working.
Why are we keeping it a secret?

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

Arabs Should Reach Out To Israel
By Micah Halpern

Saturday January 12, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

In the 6th sentence of President Bush's summary of events in Israel he said.
"I call upon Arab countries to reach out to Israel, a step that is long overdue."

The next day Condi Rice, Bush's chief diplomat clarified her boss' statement.
Rice put a more realistic spin on the statement, showing an understanding of the region.
Rice said: "There isn't going to be a blinding flash in any of this, not on this trip, not on the next trip. But this is a process that is moving forward." ... "The Arab states took a big step in coming to Annapolis." ... "Arabs will do more and more."

One of the reasons Israel was so supportive of Annapolis - before, during and after the Summit - is because the Arab presence was a de facto recognition of Israel.

Recognition by the Arab world is an essential component of Israeli foreign policy. During this trip to the Middle East we saw how Bush in sync George Bush is with Israel's thinking.

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

Bush's Trip to Jerusalem
By Micah Halpern

Friday January 11, 2007

I'm Predicting:

The business side of the Bush trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority is over. Today the president will spend private time at holy sites and then move on to the rest of his Mid East trip.
What have we learned?

Vis a Vis Israel:
Bush demonstrated that he is very comfortable, very at ease with Israel. He accepts the Israeli point of view on almost every issue and really, only asks Israel to exhibit restraint.
Vis a Vis the Palestinian Authority:
Bush will be called to task by the Arab world for his friendship with Israel and for his allegiance to Israel which are interpreted as snubs to the PA and by extension to the entire Arab world.
Vis a Vis Bush's personal odyssey:
Bush broke from protocol and chose not to visit the tomb of Yasser Arafat a spot which all foreign dignitaries visit when they come to Ramallah. Understandably, the Palestinians were upset, displeased, distraught over this decision.

My analysis:
Bravo Mr. Bush.
No American or Western president can justify a visit to the Arafat tomb.
But this action will have a ripple effect throughout the Arab world.
I expect very tense exchanges between George Bush and the Arab leaders he is scheduled to meet as he continues on this journey through the Middle East.

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

Bush in Jerusalem
By Micah Halpern

Thursday January 10, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

President Bush wrapped up his first day in Israel.
Now he is off to hear from the Palestinians.

Suffice it to say that the Palestinians will be disappointed.
Bush made it very clear that he supports Israel and sees the constant barrage of rockets attacking Israel as being solely under Palestinian responsibility.
Bush made it clear that no progress can be made unless security is first in place.
Bush even underscored the special status of Jerusalem as distinct from what he termed "outposts."

The president of the United States has clearly demonstrated that he both understands and supports the Israeli point of view.
Now we'll see how Palestinian leadership reacts to his comments.

Israelis lined the streets and waved American flags in support of the president.
How will Palestinians greet George Bush?
Hamas has already held a huge demonstration in Gaza with participants waving pictures of George Bush portrayed as Dracula drinking Palestinian blood.
One picture is worth how many words?

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

By Micah Halpern

Wednesday January 9, 2008


The truth is that when it comes to Arab countries, the United States gets very little bang for its foreign policy buck.

The United States is great at giving, the Arab world is great at taking, the problem is collecting. When the United States decides to give money away, call it aid, assistance, grant or emergency relief, two assumptions are made. The first assumption is that those dollars will buy the United States good will and support, the second is that some of the money will go towards the purchase of US goods and services.

Many countries, especially Middle East Arab countries, take the money and run without so much as a diplomatic courtesy nod let alone an obligatory purchase of products. The assumption of the countries receiving the multi-million dollar packages from the most powerful country in the Western world is that they are recipients because they deserve to be recipients, not because the United States is helping them, doing them a favor, answering their specific needs.

The United States gives graciously and then the United States goes begging to make good on their deal.

The money comes from Congress. The United States Congress debates the merits of the case and then decides if and how much to give. Real life is not like the movies, but after watching Tom Hanks wheedle and cajole in "Charlie Wilson's War" you get a basic idea of how the deals are done. In the movie, however, the Congressman received a big thank you. In the reality of the Middle East, however, most of those countries that have received dollar gifts from Congress care not a whit about US policy or objectives. They will extend their hands in acceptance of US dollars and then turn their backs and actively flaunt their disdain for the US and everything Western.

The best example of this flagrant disregard for foreign policy etiquette by an Arab country is Egypt. Egypt receives over $2 billion US yearly from Congress. Egypt is the second largest recipient of US foreign aid, the first is Israel. And Egypt is rarely in sync with their donor on matters of international importance.

This year, as usual, Egypt received their aid. And now, right now, rather than thanking the United States with even a small show of support, the United States is - figuratively speaking, being smacked in the face by Mubarak and his gang. Egypt is thinking through the process of renewing diplomatic relations with Iran. And it looks as if their thoughts are soon to turn into actions.

Well, not if Congress can help it. At long last, Congress - in the person of the republican senator from Pennsylvania is forcing Egypt to play by the foreign policy rules of the United States. Senator Arlen Specter has turned off the faucet that flows from the coffers of the US Congress into the Egyptian treasury.

Shortly before the start of the new year Egypt was publicly embarrassed by Israel. Israel had video footage of Egyptian security teams helping Hamas smuggle weapons into Gaza. The immediate Egyptian reaction was that the situation was doctored, that the tape was doctored, but Israel took the tape to the White House and to Capitol Hill and the United States was convinced of the truth of the story. Congress was shocked.

Egypt reacted by trying to intimidate Israel. But the ire of Congress was raised. Congress promised to cut off $100 million in aid to Egypt unless their conditions were met. Egypt must start working on ways to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza. And then Arlen Specter told Egypt plain and simple and straight forward that if Egypt did not change their behavior they will lose their US funding. And that is exactly what Congress did, they turned off the faucet to Egypt.

But the United States believes in foreign policy, the United States is in the business of helping countries in need and so, in a twist worthy of the movie industry, a Jewish congressman from New York named Steve Israel (I could not make that up) negotiated an agreement with Egypt solving the problem and making everyone happy.

According to the agreement Egypt will use $23 million of their US aid to buy US machinery that can help them find the tunnels used by the arms smugglers. Egypt will also receive assistance from the US Army Corps of Engineers and from US civilian staff to help stop the smugglers. The high tech machinery that Egypt will purchase includes robots, scanners and computers.

Two high powered politicians with a heightened sense of justice and a belief in foreign policy quid pro quo have brought Egypt to their diplomatic knees. The beneficiaries are US business and the US economy, and of course US foreign policy.

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Bush's Trip
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday January 8, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

The Israelis have prepared a full diplomatic agenda in honor of the visit of US president George Bush.

The three most significant issues on Israel's agenda with Bush are:

Iran's true nuclear capabilities - the US president will get a peek at Israel's National Intelligence Estimate.

The Qassam rocket barrage from Gaza - because Palestinians are exerting no control and taking no action against the terrorists launching the rockets.

Jerusalem is the undisputed capital of Israel - and Har Homa is unquestionably a neighborhood within Jerusalem.

President Bush will have no choice but to both agree and disagree on all issues. Agree on the grounds that these are all real problems with significant ramifications.

Disagree because Israel, too, must exercise restraint.
Disagree because Israel should not embark on unilateral actions.
Disagree because any new buildings, striking out at any Arabs and organizing anything against Iran rocks the boat - and the President definitely does not want boat rocking in an already turbulent sea.

Restraint is the classic United States admonition of Israel.

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Hamas and Sarkozy
By Micah Halpern

Monday January 7, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Machiavelli wrote that politics makes strange bedfellows.
Hamas is trying to exploit that concept.
Ismail Haniyeh, now the head of Hamas in Gaza and the former prime minister of the PA until he was ousted by current PA prime minister Mahmoud Abbas, has written a long letter to Nicolas Sarkozy, the new president of France.

Haniyeh wrote that he and his cohorts listened carefully to Sarkozy's speech at the Donors Conference for the Palestinians that took place 2 weeks ago in Paris.
Haniyeh thinks that he and Sarkozy might see eye to eye on some things. Haniyeh wrote Sarkozy saying that Hamas is "prepared to cooperate with all international efforts to establish security and stability in the region."

I do not think Sarkozy is the man for Hamas.
The most influential man in the life of young Sarkozy, the relative who raised him, was his Jewish, Greek grandfather, a Holocaust survivor from Salonika.

Sarkozy believes in a two-state solution, an Israel next to a Palestine - but only after real security has been proven.
Sarkozy is a strong believer in Israel's right to exist and in her safety.
Sarkozy just pulled the French ambassador from Syria, cutting all diplomatic ties with Syria because Syria was not "respecting Lebanon."

Good try Hamas, but you are way off base on this one.
This time around Hamas is totally misreading the map.

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Iran & Bush's Trip
By Micah Halpern

Sunday January 6, 2008

I'm Predicting:

Iran's Foreign Ministry made a statement today about the upcoming trip of President Bush to the Middle East.
Iran is calling the Bush trip an attempt to salvage a failed Middle East policy.

Truly, the Iranians are not that far off.
The Bush visit to Israel, the West Bank, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt is certainly going to be an attempt to convince those countries to help lead a coalition against Islamic extremism.
And in the eyes of the United States Islamic extremism is code for Iran.

The Iranians have already begun to counter the Bush trip.
And despite the fears Regional leaders have of Iran, Iran has the upper hand in the region.
The US will have an uphill battle, they are facing two huge stumbling blocks:
The United States has made some major mistakes in the Region
The United States lacks knowledge and true understanding of the Region

The US will have to prove that they really know what is happening.
The US will have to prove that they really know what they are doing.
I do not think it possible.

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Iran's New Moves
By Micah Halpern

Saturday January 5, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Watch the Iranians.
Listen to what Iranian diplomatic teams have to say.
Iranians are predictable.
Watch what they do, listen to what they say and you will know what they are planning.

On Friday Iran's foreign minister visited Islamabad Pakistan to meet with Pakistani President Musharraf.
The Iranian and Pakistani leaders spoke about terror and the need to combat terror. Wow.

On Friday Ali Larijani arrived in Damascus after spending a week in Egypt.
In Syria he will probably meet with everyone from Assad to the head of security. Larijani - head of the Iranian Security Council, former chief nuclear negotiator and probably Ahmadinejad's closest adviser - will be making the rounds.

Iran is paving the way for other countries to create alternatives to United States interests.
Watch them, listen to them and you will learn.

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

Al Qaeda's New Video
By Micah Halpern

Friday January 4, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Al Sahab, the media moguls of al Qaeda, has begun a savvy new public relations campaign intended to taunt the United States.
Their soon-to-be-released video, will feature Azzam al Amriki, aka the American turned al Qaeda operative and now video star Adam Gadhan.

So far, all Sahab has only released some juicy quotes setting the campaign in context in an attempt to whet our appetites for more.
And more is sure to follow soon.

Al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadhan will talk about repentance - a rather lofty goal for a murderous terror group to pursue.
Al Qaeda wants us to pay attention to this new message.
Al Qaeda wants to shift the dialogue away from mass murder and towards religious introspection.

But like all religious extremists, try as they might al Qaeda will not be able to totally hide their murderous agenda - it is part and parcel of their religious outlook.
And certainly, do not expect al Qaeda to ask forgiveness for 9-11, the jewel in their radical, religious, extremist crown.

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

Mark My Words
By Micah Halpern

Thursday January 3, 2008

I'm Predicting:

The Al Aqsa Brigades of Abbas' Fatah Party wants to "take it up a notch."

The Brigades claims to have fired a rocket, a Bashaar 1 rocket, towards an Israeli settlement called Shaked, situated in the West Bank.
Correct - not Gaza but the West Bank.
They say they will continue to build and launch these rockets.
The implications are ginormous.

It means that the main areas of Israel will all be within range of Palestinian rocket launchers.
It means that the Brigades have learned from Hezbollah in Lebanon and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
It means that the Al Aqsa Brigades could cripple Israel if they are not stopped.

If the Al Aqsa Brigades really did launch a rocket at Israel and if they shoot any more rockets at Israel from the West Bank - Israel will retaliate with tremendous force.
Do not be confused, there is no parallel with this situation and with Gaza where rockets land only on a small southern isolated town called Sderot.
Mark my words.

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Egypt Plays Hardball
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday January 2, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Egypt is playing diplomatic hardball and Egypt is out to get Israel.

The Egyptians are threatening to use all their diplomatic clout to stymie Israeli interests in the developing world.
The Egyptians will be leaning especially heavily on those Muslim countries interested in expanding what have been until now quiet associations with Israel.

Egypt, a country with significant power in the developing world, has threatened to turn Israeli foreign minister Tzippi Livni into a persona non grata in the developing world by applying serious anti-Israel diplomacy.

Why? Because the Israeli foreign minister "publicly disrespected" Egypt by announcing that Israel had brought video footage of Egyptian security personnel assisting Hamas smuggle weapons into Gaza to show the Americans.

It happens to be true but not very diplomatic - and therein lies the problem.
Public pronouncements, not matter how truthful, have little to do with diplomacy.
Pronouncements of this sort are actually antithetical to Middle East diplomacy. Truth about violations can be leaked - and often are, but they are not made public at press conferences.

The right to shame Egypt belongs only to a super power, not to little Israel.

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

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