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Iran Offers to Help Others Get Nukes
By Micah Halpern

Monday December 1, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

On Sunday the Iranians announced that they would gladly assist in building joint atomic energy facilities for any country in the region wishing their help.

Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, made the announcement.
He was totally straight faced and sounded as if he genuinely meant the offer. Each time I see this kind of announcement it makes me chuckle.

Iran has said they would welcome exporting nuclear technology and would want to make nuclear technology affordable to any country in the region or in the world wanting it.

The only reason Iran makes these offers is to placate their neighbors, to allay the terror and fear that permeates the neighborhood as Iran completes their own nuclear facilities.

The thought of Iran helping other countries is simply horrifying.
Every country, other than Iran, knows it.

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

Learn from Mumbai
By Micah Halpern

Sunday November 30, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Now that the Mombai terror attack is over, analysts are turning into Monday morning quarterbacks.
While it is very important to study this terrorist operation and the counter terror response, it is wrong to quarterback.

The situation could have been handled better, but these were the circumstances and for better or for worse, this is the way it played out.
Now we must bury the dead, learn our lessons, put what we learn into practice and better protect ourselves in the future.

These terrorists were very well armed and very well prepared and that was critical to the success of the operation. From the beginning it was clear that the terrorists were better prepared than the on site teams from India. Only when real, trained, counter terror squads arrived was the situation able to change. Even then, the tide the terrorists maintained the upper hand for a very long time.

We need to study this event.
We need to learn from mistakes.
We must not judge.

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

Terror Scare in NYC
By Micah Halpern

Saturday November 29, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

On Wednesday and Thursday New York City Transit Authority Police was on high alert.

Police were everywhere.
They had a received a threat.
According to a plan hatched in September, there was going to be a terrorist attack on NYC subways or on other NYC mass transit on Thanksgiving.

The threats were credible, but unsubstantiated.
Credible means that the intelligence source that uncovered the threat was reliable and trustworthy and that the information given was real and should be taken seriously.
Unsubstantiated means that there was no other source corroborating the original intelligence source and its interpretation.

It means that decision makers must assume that the threat is real and accurate. It means they must use the necessary measures to prevent the terrorists from reaching their targets.
And that is exactly what New York’s Finest did.

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

The Jewish Target was Central in India
By Micah Halpern

Friday November 28, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

It has taken time, but finally, the Jewish/Israeli angle of the Mumbai terror attack has trickled out from the mainstream press.

Not moving the Jewish/Israeli angle to a central position in the coverage was a serious oversight.
Not moving the Jewish/Israeli angle to a central position shows a significant misunderstanding of this terrorist attack.

These terrorist were organized. They selected their targets with precision and purpose. The Chabad House was not an accidental target, it was a central target. The Chabad House, the Jewish community center, was chosen because it represented Jews and it represented Israel.

The plotters attacked Mumbai because of its significance.
Mumbai is the silicon capital of India.
Mumbai is the symbol of Western expansion and capitalism.
Mumbai is a major tourist and business center and that is why the hotels and cafe were targeted.
The Jewish site was targeted because the Jews and Israel represent outsiders and exploiters.

The terrorists were sending out a message.
They do not simply want to cripple the Indian economy.
They want to tell their supporters elsewhere that India must fall.
That want their supporters to understand that India is in cahoots with the West and with other outsiders like Israel and the Jews.

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

Terror in India
By Micah Halpern

Thursday November 27, 2008

I'm Predicting:

For an idea of what future terrorist attacks will look like, look no further than last night's horrific terror attack in India.

Islamic terrorists like multiple, simultaneous, coordinated, attacks against Western targets especially when target is civilian.

All of the sites of yesterday's attacks are civilian sites.
The terrorists and their handlers were trying to kill as many Westerners as possible.
The terrorists actually shouted out that they were looking for UK and America passport holders only.

Traveling abroad and having assets abroad comes with a huge responsibility. Learning to act safely so as to protect ourselves and our property when we travel is imperative.
Make no mistake about it: US citizens and US interests abroad are terrorist targets.

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

Tensions in Gaza
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday November 26, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Tensions are extremely high in Gaza right now.
The tensions can be attributed to any number of reasons, but when push comes to shove, it is all about politics.

The Palestinian Authority has scheduled a presidential election for January 9th.
That's when Hamas intends to oust Abbas. To that end, a serious smear campaign has already begun in Gaza to delegitimize Abbas and Fatah.

The situation is crude and out of control.
Hamas has issued edicts aimed at sucking the emotional strength out of Fatah supporters.
According to a report in the Palestinian press that was made public by the Palestine Media Watch it has become illegal to give flowers to Fatah members recovering in the hospital. There's more. It is against Hamas law to offer consolation to any Fatah member or supporter who is injured, wounded or sick.

What kind of leadership would outlaw acts of kindness and decency?
The answer is Hamas.
Understand the thinking behind this type of behavior and you are significantly closer to understanding Hamas.

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

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday November 25, 2008


In the past year the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, ruled by King Abdullah son of Hussein, signed nuclear agreements with the United States, with Russia, with Great Britain, with France and with South Korea. They also initialed a set of understandings with China.

That set of understanding has now turned into a treaty. China and Jordan have just signed a nuclear treaty. Of all the treaties entered into by Jordan, the one that most interests me, the one that most reverberates throughout the Middle East, the one that most impacts the world, is the treaty with China.

Predicting what will happen next in the Middle East is one of the trickiest games ever played in the foreign policy arena. But careful observation of Jordan, monitoring what Abdullah considers to be important and what he considers inconsequential, tracking those colleagues with whom he has conversations and those whom he snubs, is one of the most precise ways to determine the future of the Middle East region and one of the best guides to be used in shaping Middle East policy.

Under Hussein, Jordan was a significant player in the Middle East. Always hosting, always promoting. The former leader of the Hashemite Kingdom took some bold steps and brought his country into the big leagues, into league with Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The apple has not fallen far from the tree. Abdullah has continued to maintain the stature of Jordan in the Arab and Muslim world, maintaining order even while he brings about change in Jordan. With this latest move the Jordanian monarch and benevolent despot is planning for the future.

King Abdullah has seen the path toward nuclear capability burgeon in the Middle East and he has decided not to let his own influential, but small, country linger on the sidelines. That is why Jordan signed on with China. According to the treaty these two unlikely partners have signed, China will train the Jordanians in nuclear technology, China will help Jordan build an experimental nuclear reactor and finally, China will teach Jordanians how to mine for the Uranium that already exists in at least two spots in Jordan.

In other words, China will prepare Jordan for what King Abdullah perceives to be the inevitable future - a nuclear, trigger happy, Iran.

Jordan may not border Iran, but Jordan is still threatened by Iran. Iran threatens every nation in the Middle East. Iran threatens even non-democratic, non-Western nations. The Middle East is no longer about a conflict between Israelis and Muslims. The Middle East is a bigger conflict, it is about Muslims and Muslims, it is about Shiites and Sunnis.

Iran is struggling to get nuclear technology and so the rest of the Middle East must struggle to keep up with Iran, knowing that they can never get ahead of Iran. It is a case of keeping up with the Jones', Middle East style. When it comes to nuclear affairs, Iran has set the agenda for the Middle East and hence, for the world.

The big powers in the Arab world need to respond to Iran's nuclear acquisition now. Saudi Arabia and Egypt and now Jordan need to be prepared. Following the lead of the major players are some smaller countries, like Yemen, which has also begun the process of developing nuclear technology. Other countries are sure to follow and that is not mere prediction, it is a reality. Iranian expectations have caused a spiral effect in the Middle East region. The balance of power will be shifted and then re-shifted and re-shifted again after Iran attains nuclear superiority in the region.

Sunni Jordan realizes that there will be a time when they will have to shoot out of the blocks to maintain a sense of parity against Shiite Iran. Egypt will do the same. So will Saudi Arabia. Ironically, the big winners in this Middle East race towards nuclear technology and capability will not come from the Middle East region. The big winners will be China and Russia. It is China and Russia who are supplying the countries of the Middle East with the technology and information they need and lack. And in the end both China and Russia will be uniquely qualified to determine the assets of each of the player countries. China and Russia will know which buttons to push, literally and figuratively, because they are the countries to have installed them.

The world is changing. Allegiances are changing. Change is not always for the best.

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

Why Blame Israel?
By Micah Halpern

Monday November 24, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

This evening Olmert and Bush will meet in the White House.
It will be their last official get together, two lame ducks meeting and then having dinner together with their spouses.

They will certainly talk about Iran
They will certainly talk about Palestinian/Israeli peace negotiations.
They will talk about two big issues, both stalemated.

Here is the situation:
The US is laying blame for the stalemate with the Palestinians on the Israeli democratic process which is moving towards an election on February 10, 2009.
Yesterday, on Air Force One, returning from a summit meeting with President Bush in Peru, Condi Rice said "[e]ven though there was not an agreement by the end of the year, it is really largely because of the political situation in Israel."

Here is the problem:
The Palestinians are slated to have a presidential election on January 9th. But that election will probably not happen. The PA will probably bow away from the presidential election saying national interests preclude an election at this time.

Here is the truth:
A democracy permits its citizens to determine the direction of their society.
The Palestinian Authority is still not a democracy.
The United States, under Bush and under Obama, should recognize that reality.

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

Hamas Rejects Saudi Plan
By Micah Halpern

Sunday November 23, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

The Palestinian Authority, with Abbas at the helm, has embarked on an ad campaign to convince Israelis to embrace the Saudi Plan.
According to the Saudi Plan if Israel withdraws to the pre '67 borders they will be rewarded with total Arab recognition of Israel and long term peace.

It appears that Hamas is not on board with this campaign.
In a speech on Sunday from Damascus Hamas leader Khalled Mashaal said that the only path to peace is "resistance" and "armed struggle." Those are code words for terror and exterminating Israel.

Mashaal said that the ads show that Fatah and Abbas are now collaborating with Israel which makes them party to the pain and horror that is taking place in Gaza.

Mashaal is starting to prepare for a Palestinians election.
The Palestinian presidential election is scheduled for January 9, 2009, parliamentary elections will be held a year later.

Mashall has his own plan.
He intends to oust Fatah through force and through elections.

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

Hamas and the Cease Fire
By Micah Halpern

Saturday November 22, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Ismail Haniyeh just proclaimed that the factions in Gaza want a cease fire with Israel.
The irony of it all is that as the Hamas leader in Gaza was speaking those words Qassam rockets came raining down on Israel, one landing as far from Gaza as the city of Ashkelon.

And who claimed responsibility for that attack?
The Isadin Brigades of the Popular front on Islamic Jihad.
The Gaza cease fire comes with a caveat, says Hamas.
If Israel adheres to the cease fire, Hamas will adhere to the cease fire.

Does Hamas really want a cease fire?
They probably do, and so, probably, does the Islmaic Jihad also yes.
What about the 30 other odd factions living in Gaza, can they be brought under the umbrella?
I think they can.

Hamas must use their influence to influence Jihad who will influence the others. The caveat here is that none of it can be interpreted as bowing to Israelis interests or Israeli military might.
The cease fire will be explained as an internal necessity to save Palestinian lives, rebuild, regroup and strengthen the military.
If it works, I say go with it.

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

Arabs Meet to Fight Pirates
By Micah Halpern

Friday November 21, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

On Thursday Egypt hosted a meeting of six Arab nations.
They gathered to try to confront the plague of piracy that has befallen the region.

Saudi Arabia , Yemen, Sudan, Jordan and a representative of the transitional government of Somalia began working on solutions to help protect themselves from the pirates that have attacked a central part of their economies.

They decided to work on setting up a center to monitor the pirates' location. They decided to have joint maneuvers.
They decided that ships traveling the Red Sea would have on board warning systems to protect them in the event of a piracy.

These are all very good ideas, I hope that they are implemented.
The piracy that threatens the high seas must be brought under control.

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

Al Qaeda & Obama
By Micah Halpern

Thursday November 20, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Ayman Zawahiri, the number two man in al Qaeda, came out with a damning critique of President Elect Obama.
Zawahiri called Obama an abeed al beit.

What is an abeed al beit?
It is not, as the Western media and the al Qaeda video translated it to mean a "house negro."
It has a far more virulent and despicable tenor.
It is an Arabic term that smacks of slavery, a term that was used in the slave trade.
It means a "house slave."

The implications are so clear in the Arabic. Al Qaeda is implying that Barack Obama is not the kind of slave who worked the fields or with the cattle. He was more gentile and cultivated and would be used by the master in his house.
The implication is that Obama has a set of masters that direct him and control him and that own him.

We must understand, this critique of our president elect was not uttered for our ears, the audience for the tape was not DC or Chicago, it is the Muslim world.

Zawahiri is warning the Umah, the Muslims, not be excited and expect a change in Washington regarding the Muslim world.
Zawahiri is telling the Muslim world that the new president is a mere house slave, he is not the master of the house.
Zawahiri is saying the die is cast, so be it.

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

By Micah Halpern

Wednesday November 19, 2008


The United Nations is scheduled to release a report on nuclear activity in Syria. Specifically, the report will present data on whether or not traces of uranium were discernible at the Syrian site attacked by Israel on September 6, 2007. In plain terms, the UN is asking whether or not Israel was justified in attacking Syria.

The answer is obvious - to everyone except the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nation's watch dog agency. The United States knows that Israel was justified, Israel knows that Israel was justified, Syria knows that Israel was justified, but the United Nations is still unsure.

Initially, the UN reported that the evidence was inconclusive. Soon afterwards the UN reported that traces of highly enriched uranium were, indeed, found at the site. And now Muhammad El Baradei, head of the IAEA, is scheduled to release the formal, long awaited, report on the matter.

In a more informal setting El Baradei gave out a hint of what will be found in this report. Speaking at a Cooperation Conference held in Dubai El Baradei said that the soon to be released report will be "inconclusive." First the findings were designated inconclusive, now the report will be inconclusive. The word "inconclusive" I now conclusively declare is a code word in UN speak. It really means "we do not want to condemn Syria."

The UN and El Baradei put it more delicately. They have said that they had wished that Syria "would have been more transparent." They said they had hoped to get more help form Syria. I ask: Why would Syria help?

Immediately after the predawn air strike by Israel on the building that abuts the Turkish border the Syrians came out with bulldozers and plowed under the entire site. Anyone who watches CSI knows that they not only tampered with the evidence, they not only contaminated the site, they destroyed it, they decimated it, they wiped it clean. The Syrians wanted nothing to remain, they wanted nothing standing and nothing on the ground, they wanted nothing that they knew would be part of the inevitable investigation.

Syria does not want to cooperate, Syria wants to complain.

Initially, Syria said that the building was an agricultural laboratory. Now, more than a year later, an adviser to Syria's President Bashar Assad asserted on CNN that the site was a military building. Which was it? It cannot be both. And we know that it was neither.

When trace elements of uranium were found at the site, the Syrians began shouting out explanations. First, they claimed that the trace was from the Israeli bombs. Second, they said the world is conspiring against Syria and their proof is that word of the uranium story was leaked by diplomats even before Syrian authorities had a chance to hear the accusations.

First things first. The Israelis did not use nuclear warheads in their attack, so there goes that theory. Second, the world is conspiring, but not against Syria. The world, using the United Nations as the largest representative of the world, is conspiring to whitewash Syria, to benefit Syria, to bend over backwards and give Syria more than the benefit of doubt.

When the IAEA report is released it will say that the presence of highly enriched uranium is not evidence of a nuclear reactor. That is true, but it misses the point.

The inspectors, the International Atomic Energy Agency and even the Syrians are missing the point of the Israeli strike. The point was to hit the reactor before it was on line. The point was to set Syria back on their timeline for nuclear purposes. The point was to stop Syria before it was too late.

If the structure truly had been an agricultural laboratory, or if it had even been a military building there should not have been fission material on site. And if the material was found at the site it should only have been in minute amounts. But the material was found and it was found in larger than minute amounts.

Israel knew what it was doing and we should say thank you. We all know what the United Nations is doing and we should be afraid.

When you hear hoof beats, don't start looking for zebras.

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

Michael Jackson & the Bahraini Prince
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday November 18, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

A legal case between Michael Jackson and Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa has been bouncing through the London courts since 2007.
Yesterday the case found itself in the limelight once again.

The third son of the ruler of Bahrain is suing to get back the $7 million US he gave the famous singer/song writer.
The deal was to cut a joint CD, start a record company and write a biography.
The prince, you see, is an amateur songwriter.

As you might recall Jackson was hosted royally by the Bahraini prince in 2005 after being brought up on child molestation charges.
It was then, in the royal palaces, that the deal was struck.

Jackson says the $7 million was a gift.
The prince says there was a contract and a deal.

I cannot imagine that Abdullah is good songwriter, but he was the only person who opened his doors when Jackson was down.
Jackson might once have been a legend, but he has not written or performed or had a creative thought in over a decade.
To assume that he would, or could, put the Sheik on the musical map for any amount of money is like whistling in the dark.

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

Survey Shows Americans Support Israel
By Micah Halpern

Monday November 17, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

The Israel Project, an Israel advocacy group headquartered in Washington D.C., commissioned an interesting survey.
The results were revealing.

The poll was conducted jointly by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. These two polling organizations cover the political spectrum, one is routinely hired by the left and the other by the right.
True to form the Israel Project had most of the questions focus on America and then slipped in some questions on Israel and terror related issues.

The results:
19% of Americans believe the Israeli Palestinian issue should be a priority for the new President.
6% believe that the US should stand strongly behind the Palestinians, while 66% said that they believe the US should stand behind Israel.
66% said that they are deeply concerned about Iran as a nuclear threat.
72% said that despite all the other issues that the US is currently confronting Iran should still be on the top of the agenda of the new president's list of priorities.

What do we learn from this survey?
The most telling part of this survey is that, across the board, the pendulum has not really swung.
The priorities of Americans prior to the presidential election are the priorities of Americans following the election.
There has been no real change.

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

New Mayor in Jerusalem
By Micah Halpern

Sunday November 16, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Jerusalem held election for mayor this past week.
Billionaire, hi tech entrepreneur, Nir Barkat is the new mayor of the holy city. Barkat is not a religious man, but he is definitely respectful of religious life.
Jerusalem has special status for many people in the world, not only to those who live there.

Barkat lost the last election to Uri Lopolianksy who ran on a platform supporting religious life and the special religious status of Jerusalem.
Lopoliansky, a member of the ultra orthodox world, was a dismal failure.
Jerusalem suffered under Lopoliansky's tenure as mayor.

In many ways Jerusalem is a microcosm of Israel.
Jerusalem confronts the same challenges that confront Israel, only more so. Arabs make up one third of Jerusalem's population.
The secular/religious divide is fierce.
There is no real industry in Jerusalem.

If the newly elected mayor of Jerusalem chooses not to confront these problems the city will become more tense and more fractionalized than it already is.
The pulse of Jerusalem reverberates throughout the Middle East.

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

Hamas is Making Its Move
By Micah Halpern

Saturday November 15, 2008

I'm Predicting:

On December 16th the cease fire between Hamas and Israel ends.
It looks like Hamas is not interested in an extension of the pact.

What makes me say that? Hamas has resumed daily rounds of rocket launchings into Israel over the past week.

There are several issues at stake.
This is election season in Israel.
Hamas seems unaware of the innate affinity that Israelis have for leaders who defend rather than endanger their lives. That means that by their action, Hamas might be forcing the hand of Defense Minister Ehud Barak to retaliate.

Hamas may be playing their own game.
Hamas may want to increase tensions in order to get a better cease fire deal. They have been talking out of both sides of their mouths, broadly proclaiming the need for a longer term cease fire within the '67 borders while at the same time permitting Islamic Jihad to fire rockets at will into Israel.

If Hamas continues launching rockets into Israel the response may well be an Israeli land and air strike against Hamas in the next two weeks.

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

A Look Into Ahmadinejad's Head
By Micah Halpern

Friday November 14, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a speech to military veterans and families of military casualties.

Ahmadinejad said two things that are important for us to note, two things that tell us what the Iranian leader is thinking.
He said that Iran is not looking to attack and does not want to attack any country.
He said that the age of the great powers is coming to an end that Iran has baffled them.

While it is true that Iran has a long history of not invading other countries, Iran is still a serious force to be reckoned with.

And while it is true that great power rise and fall and it is possible that the US may have hit its peak, it takes decades for a great power to fall. It takes as long for a great power to wane as it does for it to wax.

So Ahmadinejad, do not hold your breath.
Now that we know what Ahmadinejad is thinking, I would characterize it as wishful thinking.

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

Palestinians Convict Collaborator
By Micah Halpern

Thursday November 13, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

On Wednesday a Palestinian military court convicted a Palestinian security officer of collaborating with Israel.
The court sentenced the security officer to be executed by firing squad.
The crime was helping Israel arrest 3 terrorists in 2002 in a refugee camp near Bethlehem.

Here is the problem.
Israeli is pursuing peace with the Palestinians.
This person was helping capture terrorists that the Palestinians were supposed to capture.
He is being executed for helping the Israelis do what the Palestinians were supposed to do in the first place.

In a previous case, one similar to this, the United States interceded.
Condi Rice asked President Abbas not to sign the writ of execution.
I would hope that, once again, calmer heads prevail.

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

Hamas: Talking to Obama
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday November 12, 1008

I've Been Thinking:
The Arabic daily out of London, Al Hayat, quotes a Hamas leader saying that they have had talks with Obama's people before and even after the election.

Ahmed Yousef is a very close political adviser to the elected leader of Hamas in Gaza, Ismail Haniyah.
Yousef said that the Obama campaign asked Hamas to keep the meeting quiet so as not to aid McCain in the election.
Now that the election is over, Hamas is going public.

In early May Robert Malley, one of Obama's best foreign policy people, was let go from the campaign. Malley was removed from the team for having met with Hamas and Syrian diplomats. At the time I said that as soon as the election was over, if Obama emerged the winner, Malley would be asked to rejoin the team.

Khaled Maashal, the head of the Hamas Politburo whose office is in Damascus, was interviewed on SKY TV. Maashal called on Barack Obama to live up to his agreements and sit down with parties that have been previously shunned by US administrations.

Troubling? Yes.
Shocking? Not really.

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

How The Muslim World Saw the Election
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday November 11, 2008


We may all live in the same universe, but we also live in very different worlds.

The Arab world, with the exception of al Qaeda, is pleased as punch, tickled pink, just plain thrilled that Barack Obama has been elected to the high post of president of the United States. The Arab press has not stopped singing the praises of the man now known as 44.

The choice of Barack Hussein Obama as president of the United States of America is seen as a victory for the Arab and Muslim world by the Arab and Muslim world. The vast majority of that world has been frustrated, annoyed and angered by United States foreign policy for many years, never more so than under the helm of President George Bush. When Obama first entered the presidential race he was heralded as a hero. Almost every statement released by the Arab world prior to the election endorsed Obama. Now that he has won he is just short of a messiah. They are convinced that now everything will be different. They are convinced that Obama is one of their own, they are convinced that foreign policy under Barack Obama will smile upon them.

What has become evident from the coverage, editorials, statements and comments by leaders of the Arab world in praise of Obama is just how little these societies understand about the United States and about democracy. They think, they truly believe, that US foreign policy will change on a dime. The Arab world thinks that this new administration will come to its senses about Israel. They think that the United States and Iran are about to begin a friendship.

Certainly it is customary to congratulate a winner in any election, but the congratulatory messages from the Arab world were anything but standard protocol.
Here is a sampling of their comments:
Iranian President Ahmadinejad: "Obama's victory proves Bush failed."
The Iranian president even wrote a letter to Obama saying that the time has come for Americans to stop butting into the affairs of other countries and focus on internal affairs.

Hamas: "Obama should learn from Bush's mistakes."

Syrian Minister of Information: "hopes that Obama will herald a change in United States policy" and that the US will be constructive instead of destructive.

President Mubarak of Egypt: "expects a constructive approach to the Middle East."

President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas: "Obama is serious about the Middle East."
He "hopes that Obama will make headway in the Middle East Peace process."

The president of Iraq: "eager to cooperate with Obama."

A large and influential newspaper in Saudi Arabia wrote: "the election of Obama is the end of the era of white men in the White House." "We want to be able to admire the US once again."

Al Qaeda did not share in these sentiments. Al Qaeda is disappointed in the election of Barack Obama. Al Qaeda was hoping that John McCain would be elected the next president of the United States so that, to paraphrase them,
the United States would continue the failed policies of George Bush which would serve to motivate more fighters to join al Qaeda in the Jihad against the US.

The Arab and Muslim world will be disappointed.

United States foreign policy under Barack Obama will differ very slightly from United States foreign policy under George Bush when it comes to the Middle East and to terror. It makes no difference who the president is, facts are facts and security briefings are security briefings and Barack Obama has already begun to get his daily briefings. The strength and direction of US policy will continue because there is no other alternative if we are to remain safe and win the war against terror.

Fundamentally, neither priorities nor policy can change. If there is anything that can humble the most powerful man in the world it is his daily security briefings.

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

A Nadji Is A Goat
By Micah Halpern

Monday November 10, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

I gained remarkable insight from an inconsequential piece that ran in the Saudi press the other day.

We have all heard of horse shows, but did you know that the horse show originated in Arabia?
The off-spring of horse shows are camel shows where people come from far and wide to compete and buy and sell camels.

The article I am talking about was about the "Najdi."
The Nadji is a goat. The Nadji is not just any goat, it is a goat with a high nose and with hair that is so fine and shaggy that it is almost like silk.
The Nadji is to goats what the Arabian stallion is to horses.

From all across the peninsula people brought their male and female Nadji goats to compete.
The goats were bathed and shampooed in advance of the competition.
The pictures of the winners were posted on the website.

Of course I laughed. But I also learned.
The differences between our Western societies and the societies of the Middle East are greater than we can even imagine.

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

Hezbollah's New Head of Operations
By Micah Halpern

Sunday November 9, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Hezbollah has appointed a new head of operations.
The previous head, Imad Mugniyah, was assassinated in a car bomb in Damascus in February.

Mugniyah was legendary.
For 20 years he controlled the operations of Hezbollah and struck out at the heart of his targets, the United States, the United Nations, the Sunnis and the Israelis.

The new head of operations for Hezbollah is Mustafa Shehadeh.
Shehadeh has been with Hezbollah since the very beginning.
He is a team player and Hezbollah leadership is convinced that under his tutelage they will be partners if not leaders in the operations team.

Under Mugniyah all operations were conducted under a cloak of total secrecy. He was the only person who knew plans, people and operations.
That was one of the reasons he was so successful.
There could be no leaks.

The more people who know the harder it is to keep a secret.

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Hamas Appeals to Islamic Jihad
By Micah Halpern

Saturday November 8, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

On Wednesday a series of Qassam rockets that were shot out of Gaza by the Palestinians landed in Israel.
No one was hurt.

Out of fear of Israeli retaliation Hamas leadership in Gaza decided to act in an unprecedented way.
Hamas appealed to Islamic Jihad to stop lobbing the rockets into Israel.

Never before has Hamas actually issued a direct request to stop shooting rockets at Israel.
This was not simply a public request, it was a personal and direct request to stop shooting rockets at Israel.

Hamas went further.
Hamas said that Islamic Jihad has the ability to solve the problem and can totally stop the launching of all rockets into Israel within an hour of issuing the order.
We'll see.

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

Russia Partners With Libya
By Micah Halpern

Friday November 7, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Russia and Libya are negotiating a nuclear deal.
The idea is for Moscow to build nuclear reactors for Libya.
Moscow will also provide Libya with the nuclear fuel to run the reactors.

Russia makes billions of dollars a year providing nuclear resources to countries just like Libya and Iran.
The big risk is that countries like Libya and Iran are not reliable.
Under the "watchful" eyes of countries like Libya and Iran these nuclear tools can easily fall into the wrong people's hands.

The consequences are potentially devastating for the world.
Russia doesn't care.
Russia just wants to make a quick buck and is willing to do it at the expense of the world.

That is not just speculation.
That is exactly what has happened in Iran.

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

Obama's First Security Briefing
By Micah Halpern

Thursday November 6, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Today, November 6th President elect Barack Obama received his very first security briefing.
Obama received the exact same security briefing that President George Bush had received first thing that morning.

Obama has a very serious learning curve ahead of him.
The hardest thing for him to do will be to reconcile his world view with information he receives in security briefings.
It will be a devastating clash of ideology and reality.
Briefings are not political.
Briefings inform the president of major and minor threats to the United States and to US interests and US citizens at home and abroad.

Briefings are talks about friends and foes and those in the middle who are sometimes friends and sometimes foes.
Briefings describe a big game a chess with big name players like China, Iran, Russia, almost all Middle East leaders and of course, Al Qaeda.
At the beginning it will be very difficult for the new president to assess what is real and what is machismo, to determine which are idle threats and what is rhetoric.

Daily security briefings are the bottom line.
The United States has enemies and there is no way transforming these enemies into lovers.
That's a hard lesson for a new president to learn.

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

A Change of Shirt
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday November 5, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

It is the day after.
And the biggest loser in this election was two term winner George Bush.

America wanted a "change of shirt."
It didn't really matter who would bring about that change, it was the change itself that mattered.

Change of shirt is a mood that pervades our country every few years.
It last happened in the 2006 mid term elections and it happened again on November 4, 2008.
The brilliance of the Obama advisory team is evidenced by their ability to size up the American electorate.
They intuited that Americans wanted a change of shirt and that is what they promoted.
"Change," and "4 More Years" - the choice of slogans was more emotional than marketing.

This election was a referendum on George Bush.
America has changed shirts.
God bless America.

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

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday November 4, 2008


Agreed: Hamas has never foresworn terror.

Agreed: Hamas refuses to recognize Israel.

Agreed: Hamas refuses to adhere to previously signed peace treaties.

Agreed: Hamas is and should be labeled as a terrorist organization by the United States and across Europe.

These are facts. They are not in dispute by any Western country. Neither are they in dispute by non-Western countries. With Hamas, what you see is what you get. Hamas pulls no punches. Hamas puts up no facade.

Why then, how then, could the European Union Parliamentary Delegation officially invite Hamas legislators to come and visit in the Spring of 2009?

This isn't some surreal novel or a Hollywood action flick, this is for real. This is happening, now, in 2008.

The invitation to Hamas was issued by the head of the EU Parliamentary Delegation, Kyriacost Trianphyllides. When the Reuters news agency challenged the delegation head as to the appropriateness of the invitation given the status of Hamas in the eyes and on the State Department list of the United States and of EU countries, Trianphyllides was ready with a response.

He said: "We don't care who they are as long as they are members of the Legislative Council."

He said: "We don't ask if they are members of Hamas or members of Fatah."

He said: "The PLC was elected in 2006 and it was democratically elected."

Well, he should care. And he should ask. And he should be reprimanded. And the European Union should be challenged for allowing this invitation to be extended to a sworn enemy of freedom and democracy.

Freedom is not to be taken lightly. Is the European Union Parliamentary Delegation intentionally making a mockery of that which we hold dear?

Agreed: Hamas should not be given a forum anywhere in the free world for any reason until they have sworn off terror.

Agreed: Hell will freeze over before that happens.

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Lebanon Embraces Iran
By Micah Halpern

Monday November 3, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

By all rights Lebanon should be one of the most reasonable and liberal and open Arab countries.
But just yesterday Lebanese President Emile Lahoud was in Iran talking to Ahmadinejad who heaped great praise and blessings on the Lebanese leader.

Here is an excerpt from the Iranian leader's blessing:
"Lebanon's enemies are weaker than in the past and the Lebanese nation can thwart all the plots and acts of hostility brought upon by the Zionist regime."

Lebanon sees just how important Iran is in the region. Lebanon sees Iran as an essential power which will support them and help Lebanon achieve their goals.
Iran is looking for friends and allies.
There is little doubt that the frolicking between the two countries is part of a carefully planned mutual mission.

Judging by press coverage, the Lebanese-Iranian mission does not appear to be very pro-Western.

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

About Politics
By Micah Halpern

Monday November 3, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

When it comes to elections:
sometimes the polls get things wrong
sometimes conventional wisdom is just wrong
sometimes it is just simply too confusing to understand

Right now I am puzzled by some of the polls and convinced of how others a simply wrong.

Gallup has a poll that was taken on October 24 of 500 Jewish likely voters.
The poll suggests that:
74 % of Jews over 55 are more likely to vote Obama.
67 % of Jews 35 and under said that they would vote Obama.

Older Jews are more likely to vote Obama than younger ones.

If Gallup is right, that's a real eye opener.
For months we have been hearing about how elderly Jews have been supporting McCain.

Or are the polls just wrong?

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

Egypt Liberalizing?
By Micah Halpern

Sunday November 2, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Egypt is one of the big leaders in the Arab world.
Egypt sets the tone for much of what happens in the Arab world.

Next week a slew of meeting will be taking place in Egypt.
The Arab Quartet will hold a meeting in Egypt.
Secretary of State Rice will have meetings in Egypt.
Palestinians will meet with Egyptians in Egypt.
Hamas and Fatah will be meeting in Egypt.
Several world leaders will come to Egypt to be briefed and even Israel will be hovering around and conducting meetings.

So it can only be seen as a good sign that in a speech today President Mubarak of Egypt promised more reforms in his country.
Mubarak assured his country that he will be instituting programs to combat poverty.
Egypt, like most countries in the world is petrified of economic fallout from the US.

The biggest income source for Egypt today is tourism.
Egypt knows that when the world markets it makes a huge impact on visitors.
Mubarak was trying to bolster his people.
More than that, he is creating a plan to help the poor of Egypt who until now have been ignored.
How liberalizing.

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About Politics
By Micah Halpern

Sunday November 2, 2008

I've Been Thinking:

Politics provides great material for humorists.
We have all seen, heard or read the running commentary of comedians on presidential election.

It won't stop with the elections.
Once a winner has been declared humorists will find other, new material with which to bring their points home.

Yesterday Sarah Palin took a phone call she thought was from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The caller told Palin he thought she would be a great president someday.
The humor in this call is that the caller was a comedian dialing from Canadian.

Humor keeps politicians honest.
Political humor is more biting and more powerful than political commentary.
It is also more insightful.

Keep the humor coming.

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

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