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Ping Pong in the Oval Office
By Micah Halpern

Saturday May 1, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

A game of Middle East ping pong is being played in the Oval Office.

One moment the White House criticizes Israel. The next moment they claim to be beside Israel unconditionally. A minute later the Administration is threatening Israel.

It is not uncommon to utilize the good cop / bad cop scenario in foreign affairs. It works when some members of the team have better relations with the other side while others are more suited for the role of the stern bad cop. But this ping ponging of the administration is taking it to extremes.

Now it is being reported that David Hale, George Mitchell's deputy, told the Palestinians that the United States is extremely upset with Israel's building policy in Jerusalem. Hale told the Palestinian leadership that the US is considering condemning and censuring Israel in the Security Council.

This would be a first.
If true, this means that the United States is not providing Israel with the safety net it promised. That means that Prime Minister Netanyahu is un-tethered (excuse the pun) and free to do whatever he wants.

The big question now is this: Will the United States have control over the Muslim world after they switch sides. I tend to doubt that they will.

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

Belgium's New Law
By Micah Halpern

Friday April 30, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Belgium's Lower Parliament has voted to ban Muslim facial covering.

The ban will most certainly be approved by the Higher Parliament. This would be the first country to ban the Muslim dress. France is planning on voting on a similar bill later this year, but they are not there yet. This bill will generate a huge backlash from Muslims around the world.

Belgium has a population of 10 million people. The maximum number of Muslims in Belgium is 4 percent. That would be about 400,000 Muslims in total, plus approximately another 150,000 Muslim illegal immigrants.

The logic in Belgium is the same as the logic in France. Head covers present a security risk and security risks are an affront to the concept of freedom for women.

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

By Micah Halpern

Thursday April 29, 2010


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be in attendance at next week's Nuclear Non Proliferation-Treaty Conference Review in New York, at the United Nations.

If this proves true, it will be not merely a very gutsy move on the part of Ahmadinejad, but a very effective political maneuver for Iran, as well. It moves Iran off the defense and positions Iran squarely on the offense.

As of this writing I can confirm that Iran has put in an official request for the special travel visa required for dignitaries like Ahmadinejad when they come to the United Nations and the White House has indicated that the request will not be blocked. This visa permits dignitaries who are unwanted on US soil to travel only within a very short radius of the United Nations building. Without that visa, there is no way this Iranian could attend.

The conference is scheduled to begin on Monday May 3rd. The Islamic Republic is scheduled to present at the debate in the 7th slot. As of now, the person scheduled to speak is the Iranian foreign minister. That can be easily changed. The line up for the session is even handed. The opening speaker is the Non-Aligned Group represented by Egypt who will insist that Israel come clean with their nuclear secrets. Preceding Iran is the United States and Canada in the 5th & 6th slots and then Australia follows Iran in the 8th slot.

Showing up at the Conference is a classic Iranian move. Take the fight to the enemy. Take advantage of the surprise factor and make certain that most of the people around actually support you - and not your opponent. It would behoove the United States to learn a few of these tricks. If Ahmadinejad comes, he will win over many of the still undecided countries, countries the United States and her allies are trying hard but not very successfully to woo, and he will score big victories against the West.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was initiated by the United Nations in 1970. The Review Conference was only instituted twenty years later, in 1990. Scheduled to meet every five years the Review Conference is charged with discussing the status of the NPT and monitoring NPT movement around the world.

With Ahmadinejad at the head of his country's delegation, Iran will be able to successfully respond to all Western rhetoric aimed at discrediting and criticizing their nuclear behavior and intentions. If Ahmadinejad is present at the Conference, the media will pay attention. When that happens, Ahmadinejad is in his element and his messages to the Muslim world and his anti-West propaganda will be broadcast around the world.

Never forget that Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. And should you forget, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will remind you. At the Conference he will assert Iran's right to safe nuclear energy and the right to develop medical nuclear isotopes for cancer treatments.

If Ahmadinejad does not attend the Conference and if, as planned, Iran's Foreign Minster Manoucherh Mottaki represents his country it will be business as usual at the United Nations. Mottaki does not have the same draw, he does not have the same appeal. He does not have power that Ahmadinejad has. Mottaki will make the event interesting, but he will not make international headline news.

Ahmadinejad likes the limelight, he likes controversy, he likes to demean the West, he especially likes doing it all on good ol' United States soil.

It's still too early to know. Stay posted, we'll see what happens.

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

UN Has Plans to Try Pirates
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday April 28, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Somalia is complaining that their judicial system is overburdened by piracy trials.

So Russia has suggested that the United Nations set up a court to try pirates who have been captured after terrorizing shipping lanes across the high seas.
The UN Security Council has agreed to the Russian proposal and charged the UN Secretary General to iron out the details within three months.

The pirates have wreaked havoc on the seas. They have free reign and even after being caught in the act, many have been released and allowed to board their own boats, but without their weapons. They are released because their captors do not have the jurisdiction to arrest and try them.

If the Secretary General comes back with a good proposal, new court may help just help crack down on these pirates.

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

Ghadaffi is Giving Adivse
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday April 27, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Muammar Ghadaffi is at it again.
The Libyan leader is dispensing advise to anyone who asks and even to those who don't.

Ghadaffi hosted a group of forty Israeli Arabs, including several members of the Israeli Knesset. Ghadaffi advised the group that the best way to solve their conflict with Israel is to reproduce and have more children. That way, he says, Israel will have to deal with them - the more Palestinians there are the more seriously the Israelis will have to take them.

And then yesterday, in a TV interview, Ghadaffi said that he was deeply insulted that he was not invited to the United States Conference Nukes. He said Libya was the last country to give up nukes and they were not even invited to the meeting of the big players. He asked: What hope is there of enticing Iran and North Korea if Libya is not brought into the fold.

When he is off base, Ghadaffi is way off base.
But sometimes, he is right on target.

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

Egypt Calls Israel the Enemy
By Micah Halpern

Monday April 26, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Israel and the US are livid over the statements made by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Gheit in an interview during a visit to Lebanon. Egypt called Israel an enemy.

The interviewer asked the foreign minister if his mission in Lebanon was to pass on a message from the government of Israel to the government of Lebanon.

His response was that he would not come to a sister Arab country with a message from the enemy.

The enemy!

Egypt and Israel have a peace treaty and a relationship.
The United States sees Egypt as the pivotal hinge in the entire peace process.

How can Egyptian an leader, someone who is so close to President Mubarak say such a thing. It had to have been sanctioned.

This episode took place on Saturday. Thus far, there has been no recanting, no public apology and no public dressing down of the foreign minister.

This message was planned and purposeful.

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

Taliban Executing People Again
By Micah Halpern

Sunday April 25, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The Taliban are torquing up the tension. They are executing suspected US collaborators.

Last week the Taliban brutally murdered four men believed to be aiding the United States by giving information and locations of Taliban strongholds.

The bodies were dumped in a location that could be prominently viewed by passersby. Attached to the dead bodies were notices and postings warning others to learn their lesson from these dead spies.

One was decapitated. Three had their throats cut. Their hands were severed. These desecrations are messages to the masses to actively repudiate the evil in their midst.

The irony is that it has been the Pakistani army, not US troops, who have really taken up the cause of attacking the Taliban, but it is the United States that is to be blamed. Naturally.

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

GRAD Hits Jordan
By Micah Halpern

Saturday April 24, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The Jordanians have announced that Aqaba, their southernmost city, was hit by a GRAD missile on Thursday.
Very little information was offered, other than that the missile came from outside of Jordanian territory.

This is a deeply problematic issue.
Aqaba is situated on the Red Sea, bordering Saudi Arabia on one side and Israel on the other. Just across the port, only a few miles away, is the Egyptian part of the Sinai Desert. Aqaba is Jordan's only port and that makes it a significant strategic and economic target. Any terrorist wanting to disrupt the Jordanian economy would do well to hit Aqaba.

The Russian-made GRAD is the most sold and most used rocket in the world. It will be very difficult to trace this rocket because of the GRAD’s attractive resale value. Whoever shot the GRAD into Aqaba got it from someone who got it from someone.

Jordan is taking this very seriously.
My best guess is that the GRAD was shot from Saudi Arabia into Jordan by al Qaeda.

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

Buying a New Car In Gaza
By Micah Halpern

Friday April 23, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Thousands of tunnels supply Gaza with anything and everything the Palestinians need, all at a premium price. Smuggling is an economy in Gaza.

In Gaza, tunnels are specialized. I just saw a picture of a tunnel that was dedicated to smuggling cars from Egypt into Gaza. The total cost of a brand new Hyundai in the Palestinian Authority is $40,000. The car can be bought in Cairo for $20,000, but buying it in Gaza it costs $31,000 and then the Gaza Hamas government adds on another $9,000 in taxes and fees.

Until recently, new cars were dismantled and then reassembled. They were taken through the tunnels in pieces. Now the tunnels are big enough that you can actually drive cars into and out of them without getting so much as a scratch.

Egypt has been shutting down the tunnels from their side.
That has put a real damper on the new car sales in Gaza.

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

By Micah Halpern

Thursday April 22, 2010


Iranian National TV announced that their Elite Revolutionary Guard is planning a new set of military maneuvers in the Straits of Hormuz. That's news, that's international news.

When Iran announces military maneuvers they do it for the obvious reason - keeping their military up-to-speed and creating effective war games-style practice. And they do it for international consumption. By announcing that they are engaging in military maneuvers, Iran is announcing to the world that they are mean and mighty and not to be messed with.

The region gets their point and so, too, should the West.

The Straits of Hormuz is not a simple water passage. While small in size, through this strait passes some of the most important cargo in the world today - oil. Nearly one-third of the world's oil and forty percent of the world's shipped oil passes through the narrow Straits of Hormuz each year. The country that controls the Straits of Hormuz is ultimately the country in control of the movement of oil all around that world. Iran contends that they control the Straits and Iran intends to keep it that way.

Israel will be watching Iran's maneuvers very carefully. What kinds of weapons will Iran bring out and what kind of speed boats will be used. Along with the rest of the world, Israel is interested in knowing what types of new surface-to-air missiles Iran actually has. This will be a strategic game of show and tell.

The United States has pledged to keep the Straits of Hormuz open at all costs. But the United States, as Iran well knows, cannot deliver on that pledge. In fact, Iran could not care less what the United States has to say. The Straits is theirs, it is theirs to control, it is in their control - it is Iranian home turf.

In actuality, the Straits of Hormuz are so narrow, that all ships that pass through have no choice but to pass through the territorial waters of Iran on one side and of Oman on the other. The one and only lane that is deep enough to allow large tankers is only about six miles wide. There are two lanes that are two miles wide, one in each direction, separated by a two mile wide median. That's tiny.

As it now stands, tankers pass through Iranian waters under the "UN Convention of Law and of the Sea." The agreement for passage is called a "transit passage."

The United States is flexing muscles in a region where the international shipping lane is actually Iranian waters. Not only does the United States have no diplomatic jurisdiction over the Straits of Hormuz, the United States doesn't even have a clean transit record. The US has been downright klutzy passing through the Straits.

In March of 2009 a United States nuclear sub collided with an amphibious dock injuring fifteen sailors and dumping 25,000 gallons of fuel into the Straits. In January of 2007 a US submerged nuclear sub collided with a Japanese tanker. So far, the United States has been lucky. Iran has steered clear of US ships. Not so with the British. In March of 2007 Iran captured fifteen British sailors by quickly swarmed the UK cruiser with their tiny, but very swift, rubber boats.

If threatened, Iran would have no compunction about shutting down the Straits of Hormuz. The United Nations could invoke their Convention with a capital "C," but we already know how little Iran thinks of international diplomacy and how much they enjoy flying in the face of international convention with a small "c."

Not only do the Iranians have tremendous home court advantage, they also have their rubber speedboats which can outmaneuver larger ships and which can dart in, out and around, striking and retreating, against any target they choose to attack. Iran can destroy vessels and take prisoners. If they chose to sink a single ship - an oil tanker or any other ship passing through - it would wreak havoc on the world economy for weeks.

I know that the United States understands the significance of the Straits of Hormuz. But I do not know that the United States has a plan that is serious enough to counter potential actions by Iran. I do not think that the United States has a plan for re-opening the Straits should it ever come to that. I do not think that the United States has a plan to handle the crisis.

Iran has a plan, of that I am certain. And part of the Iranian plan is based on their certainty that the United States does not have a plan. Iran understands that the United States will attempt to police only the specific area, or lane, within the Straits of Hormuz that is at risk. That means that a serious strike against Iran will be out of the question.

That means that, once again, the Iranians have run circles around the United States.

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

Egypt & Change?
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday April 21, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

A movement for democracy is gaining ground in Egypt.
Every member of that movement lives in constant fear.

They fear arrest, or worse, they fear being murdered by the regime. Despite the warm relationship Egypt has with the United States and with the West, we must always remember that Egypt is a dictatorship. That is something the pro-democracy movement knows well.

Yesterday, a small group of some 30-40 protestors gathered in front of the Parliament in central Cairo. They had been warned in advance not to assemble, but they came anyway. They held up signs reading "Shoot Us" and "Shoot US with Bullets." The protest ended peacefully.

Egypt is the midst of serious crisis for its future.
Hosni Mubarak, a traditional dictator nearing the end of his life, has not yet appointed a successor.
The West is demanding that Egypt change and liberalize.
The country is torn between a very strong Islamic movement that wants to create a theocratic state and a handful of democratic-thinking liberals.

At this point, there is no way to know what will happen, but Egypt warrants careful watching.

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

Happy Birthday Israel
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday April 20, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

In certain circles, Israel bashing has become the fad.
The sad reality is that much of the bashing is done by American Jews who, although they truly love Israel, feel it incumbent upon themselves to critique her in order to force Israel towards change.

Today is Israel's Independence Day.
Israel is 62 years old.
And while Israel is imperfect, the world is a far improved place because Israel came into statehood in 1948.

Israel has graced the world with inventions and advances in computers, technology, medicine, science and telecommunications.
Israel has impacted upon the world through research and study in the fields of literature, philosophy, language, economics and history.
Israel has contributed great ideas in the areas of morals, ethics and the law.

Few societies in today's world can openly evaluate their accomplishments and take communal pride in knowing that they have changed the world for the better.

Those who love Israel and those who are bound to Israel share in her pride.
Happy Independence Day, Israel.
Happy 62nd Birthday.

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

Ahmadinejad's Letter To Obama
By Micah Halpern

Monday April 19, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Iranian President Ahmadinejad has once again written a letter to President Obama. His first letter was a letter of congratulations. His second letter is not.

This letter was sent, delivered and has been confirmed by the White House. We know the content of the letter because Ahmadinejad wants us to know what it says. The Iranian media covered the communication and Ahmadinejad divulged what he wrote.

The letter reads that the United States needs Iran - not the other way around. The letter reads that spreading lies about Iran is how the United States keeps its power.

Ahmadinejad explained that Iran has the power to escape from the grip and control of the United States, that Iran has real true power. He explained that the logic the US uses to evaluate what happens in the world is seriously flawed.

When Ahmadinejad wrote to George Bush it was an 18 page long and rambling communication. This letter is very different, it is a shot across the bow.

With this letter Ahmadinejad is announcing that Iran has a plan - and that the United States is clueless.

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

Iran's Nuke Conference
By Micah Halpern

Sunday April 18, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Iran opened their special conference yesterday. The conference is called "Nuclear Energy for All Nuclear Weapons for None."

Last month I discussed how Iran was planning this meeting and how it would be the perfect vehicle to sway and even convince undecided countries to support Iran's quest for nuclear technology. 60 countries are participating. 10 foreign ministers and 14 deputy foreign ministers are in attendance.

Opening day was filled with vitriol and fanfare. The vitriol was directed at Israel and the United States. The fanfare was all about mobilizing against a world that is run by and influenced by the United States.

A message from Iran's Supreme Leader The Grand Ayatollah Khamenei was read. The message reiterated Iran's most repeated comments: the only country in history to perpetrate a nuclear war crime was the United States against Japan and Israel is stockpiling nuclear weapons while the Iranians are prevented from even creating nuclear energy.

Watch this conference carefully - it is the preliminary round for the next diplomatic conflict.
Iran is setting the bar very high.
Iran is successfully convincing other countries of their peaceful objectives and of the evils of the United States.
Iran may quite possibly, successfully, stymie any Western foreign flank that attempts to stop them.

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

American Jews Support Obama on Israel
By Micah Halpern

Saturday April 17, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Most of you have seen the polls.

73% of American Jews, see the US/Israel relationship as very strong.
55% of American Jews support President Obama's current approach to Israel. 80 % believe that peace cannot be achieved with Hamas.

On the Israel side only 6% -10% of Israelis agree with Obama.
While it is clear that American Jews recognize that the Arab side is not a willing partner for peace, the disparity with Israeli Jews is startling.

How does one explain the disparity?
The Jews of America understand the risk but not the significance of the risk. That risk is the very existence of Israel.
This is a risk Israelis understand all too well.

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

Hamas Is Executing
By Micah Halpern

Friday April 16, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Hamas has begun to execute people for collaborating with Israel. Two were executed yesterday.

There are a whole slew of people on death row in Gaza. Eight are Fatah officers. Most of the Fatah officers were tried in absentia and have been convicted. But there are large numbers of people who await execution and are in the hands of Hamas. All of them convicted of treason.

All of these executions violate Palestinian law. But Hamas has its own law and they do not follow the Palestinian law that requires the Presidents signature to execute anyone.

Hamas claims that it is following British Mandate law from 1936 and Jordanian law from the 1960's. But this is also untrue. These laws require British Colonial approval and the Jordanian law required the Kings approval. So who approves the executions? The same people who tried and convicted the prisoners.

Most often the trials were in the middle of the night there was no defense and no appeal.

Hamas has its own government. They are not even playing by the Palestinian Authority rules. They play by Hamas' rules.

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

Too Much Pressure on Israel
By Micah Halpern

Thursday April 15, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The United States has been pressuring Israel to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The pressure has increased now that the Washington DC nuclear convention, with 47 countries in attendance, has concluded.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak made a clear announcement.
He said that Israel will not be pressured by the United States.

"There is no room to pressure Israel to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel has never threatened to annihilate other nations and peoples, while today Iran, and also Syria, Libya and Iraq in the past, all of whom signed this treaty, have systematically violated its stipulations while explicitly threatening Israel's existence."

Barak is correct.
Israel cannot be pressured by the US, too much is at stake.
Israel cannot open its nuclear facilities to international inspections.
Israel cannot divulge their details, the details are what keeps Israel alive.

Israel uses the nuclear card to frighten their enemies.
That alone should be enough to make certain that Israel need not divulge the details of its nuclear potential.
The United States should know better.

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

Move Counter Move
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday April 14, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

It's move, counter move between the United States and Iran.

The United States is moving to prepare new sanctions against Iran because of their nuclear program.
And Iran has announced that it has new nuclear centrifuges.

This is the third generation of Iranian centrifuges.
They are Iran's response to the 4th round of sanctions against them.
It does not appear that Iran is the least bit concerned about the new sanctions.
Actually, Iran flaunts the whole idea of sanctions by publicly announcing new technology concerning their nuclear program.

Iran actually has holds a National Nuclear Day.
During the celebrations on this great day, Iran announced that they will retaliate against the United Sates if they are threatened by the United States.

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

Iran Says US is Out of Line
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday April 12, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Iran's Supreme Leader, The Grand Ayatollah Khamenei, has made an announcement.

The Ayatollah, who has the ultimate say on all issues in Iran from politics to religion, announced that Iran will lodge an official complaint against the United States at the United Nations because the US President Obama threatened Iran with a nuclear attack.

Iran claims that when Obama was asked about the new nuclear limitations that the United States is instituting, his answer was an implicit nuclear threat to Iran.

What Obama said was that North Korea and Iran were not part of the new nuclear weapons limitations that the US was establishing for itself.

In the eyes of the Iran, Obama's comment is a threat.

Why? Because the new limits prevent the US from using nukes in pre-emptive strikes - against everyone except North Korea and Iran.

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

Ghaddafi and Israeli Arabs
By Micah Halpern

Monday April 12, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Ghaddafi recently invited Israeli Arab leaders to a meeting.

The invitation was issued and delivered thru the Libyan Embassy in Amman, Jordan and then ushered across the Israeli border to Nazareth where the official invitation was received.

The purpose of the meeting was to inform Arabs living in Israel, through their leadership, of the Arab League's decisions about the Palestinian/Israeli Peace process.

This is a first.
Arab citizens of Israel have always been kept out of the loop.
They hear about events and decisions only indirectly and through news coverage.

In truth, Arab Israelis are not major players.
The fact that Ghaddafi is reaching out to them is telling.

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

Steal A Cell Phone and Get Access
By Micah Halpern

Sunday April 11, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Sometimes it feels as if we are living out a television sitcom.

An Israeli chief of police left his cell phone in his unmarked car.
The car, of course, was burglarized and the phone was stolen.

Had the phone been locked or had it been a new G-3 Apple, the security system would probably not be too badly preached. But only a fraction of people who are in important security jobs actually lock their phones.

This burglar now has access to the private numbers of the most important and security sensitive people in Israel. The head of the Mossad, the head of internal security, the head of military intelligence just to name a few. He probably now has numbers for the prime minister.

The lucky thief is probably unaware of whose car he broke into.
But just imagine if he was an al Qaeda agent, or a Syrian, or an Iranian contractor. With these cell phone numbers he would have the ability to eavesdrop upon and keep surveillance on the most important people in Israel.

The situation is scandalous.
The ramifications are frightening.

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

Hamas Injures Palestinians
By Micah Halpern

Saturday April 10, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Hamas shot a rocket from Gaza toward Israel - and it fell short.
The rocket landed in a residential are, in an apartment complex - in Gaza.
The number of wounded is unclear, property damage is extensive.

We will never know how many people were actually hurt by this misguided rocket that accidentally fell on and killed Palestinians instead of the intended targets, Israelis.

A Palestinian humanitarian group asked Hamas to be more careful when shooting rockets.
They said that hurting Palestinians is unacceptable.

Think about that statement, that sentiment, for a moment.
The opposite side of that thought is galling - that while it is unacceptable to injure Palestinians, it is perfectly acceptable and permissible to hurt innocent Israelis.
What kind of system and what kind of humanity is it that condemns hurting one innocent civilian but permits and even applauds the death of another.

Hamas should stop shooting rockets. Period.
Then Palestinians will no longer hurt innocent Palestinians.
At the same time, they will also stop hurting innocent Israelis.

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

Obama's New Peace Plan
By Micah Halpern

Friday April 9, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Two high level Obama administration officials had a sit down with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.

They were pitching a new approach to the Palestinian/Israeli negotiations.
According to Ignatius' column, the White House wants to launch a new plan.

The Administration is frustrated by "incrementalism."
Incrementalism is the idea that everything works in slow stages, one difficult idea at a time.
The Administration's new plan is to create a Palestinian/Israeli peace program based on the agreement almost attained at Camp David in 2000.

Actually the new plan simply appears to be a rehash of old plans, but we will know more when more details about the idea are floated.
The new plan sounds great in a vacuum i.e., in a meeting between two officials and a Washington Post columnist.
The real problems will emerge when real parties i.e., the Palestinians and Israelis are called in for comment and cooperation.

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

Iran Uses Fighting Words
By Micah Halpern

Thursday April 8, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The Defense Minister of Iran, Ahmed Vahidi, has made a dramatic announcement.

While on tour with President Mamoud Ahmadinejad, Vahidi said that if Israel should strike Iran, Iran will totally destroy Israel in a counter attack.

Vahidi said that if the "Zionist regime attacks Iran" then "there may not be anything left of it."
Then he added a comment about Israel admitting that they do not have the strength to attack Iran.

Iran is on the attack.
Iran is on the attack diplomatically and militarily.
In Iran, words speak as loudly as actions.

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

Iran-China Getting Tighter
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday April 7, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

In diplomacy, it all depends on how you spin it.

Iran is claiming that all the pressure the United States has been piling on China to support sanctions against them, has actually brought China and Iran closer together.
I know it sounds so incongruous.
But this time, Iran may be telling it like it is.

Iran just announced an international conference that they will host later in April titled "Nuclear Energy for All, Nuclear Weapons for No One."
This will be a public relations bonanza for Iran.
The Iranians are directly confronting the United States assertion that the purpose of the Iranian nuke program is for weapons.

Creating a conference about energy and rejecting weapons is sheer brilliance. Iran will attempt to convince leaders and countries around the world that all they are interested in is their unalienable right to develop nuclear energy - not nuclear weapons.
The conference will whittle away at international support for actions against Iran.

The Iranians have come up with a simple plan, or should I say, counter plan that will have a far reaching, long lasting powerful impact.

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

Hamas Want Fatah Leader Dead
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday April 6, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Hamas announced that it wants to put Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad on trial as a traitor.

There has never been any love lost between Fayad and Hamas.
Hamas does not recognize Fayad as Palestinian Prime Minister.
Hamas believes that Fayad attained his position illegally after a "fair and free" election during which the plurality of Palestinians elected Hamas.

Hamas says: "Fayyad is a person without legitimacy, who has stolen control in the West Bank and whose hands are contaminated with the suffering of thousands of martyrs in the West Bank."

In several interviews last week Fayad said that he is certain that there will be a Palestinian state in the year 2011.
Hamas claims that in saying this, they have proof that Fayad no longer embraces the return of all Palestinians to all of Palestine.

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

Liberal is Not Liberal in the MidEast
By Micah Halpern

Monday April 5, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Do not be misled by the titles "liberal" or "moderate" as they apply to the Middle East.

Many supposedly "liberal" countries in the Middle East are in fact extremely "conservative" and take a very narrow view of Western expressions of affection.

For example: A Dubai court of appeals has just affirmed the decision by a lower court to punish two British tourists with one month of imprisonment for giving one another a peck on the cheek in a restaurant.
The criminal complaint was made by a local woman who witnessed the dastardly deed.

Most "liberal" countries in the Arab Middle East are impatient not only with Western expressions of affection and public displays of sexual culture, but even with Western dress and its tendency toward bold colors.

What we in the West call acceptable and common place is called a violation of law and a disregard for tradition by "moderate" and even "liberal" Arab societies in the Middle East.

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Iran is Making a Move
By Micah Halpern

Sunday April 4, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Iran is making certain that the world knows its point of view on nuclear development.

No matter what anyone else says, no matter what pressure is brought upon them, Iran will continue developing their nuclear program. Actually the more resistance the West puts up, the stronger the Iranian resolve to build nuclear technology.

On Saturday Iran's President Ahmadinejad proclaimed that no external pressure will stop Iran from their stated mission.
He said: "Do not think that you can stop Iran's path of development. You can pressure us, publish statements and resolutions, but the Iranians are determined to continue."

Iran knows that the United States along with the rest of the West are planning to increase pressure.
These comments by Ahmadinejad are his first counter response to the inevitable future sanctions against his country.

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Russia & Hamas Are Playing a Game
By Micah Halpern

Saturday April 3, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Russia has stepped up its involvement in the Middle East peace process.
Russia is attempting to position itself as an even-handed a mediator that has influence with Hamas.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had a phone conversation with Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas.
Lavrov made clear to Mashaal that Russia thinks that Hamas' increased rocket fire from Gaza into Israel is a big mistake.
Lavrov informed Mashaal that this change in the status quo is dangerous and that it could have a devastating impact on the calm that has been in place form the past year.

According to Russian sources, Mashaal said that he understands and will try to stop the rocket fire.
In truth, Hamas just wanted to get Russia off their back.
Mashaal has no intention of toning down the attacks.
Hamas wants to draw Israel into a retaliatory raid that results in the deaths of innocent Israeli civilians.

Russia is playing their own game, Hamas is playing their own game.
Their games are deadly.

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Russia & China Must Agree
By Micah Halpern

Friday April 2, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The United States is not giving up.
Next week the US is expecting to conduct serious discussions with both Russia and China.

The topic under discussion will be stepped up sanctions against Iran.
It is not clear what power the US has over China and Russia, but the mere fact that they are willing to meet and talk is a very good sign.

In order to take sanctions against Iran to a new level, all permanent members of the United Nations Security Council must be in agreement. The United States may be taking the lead, but they will just be spinning wheels unless they can bring China and Russia on board. France and England are already on board.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, in an interview with The New York Times on Thursday, said that he was pleasantly surprised that China had agreed to entertain the idea and will actually be talking to the Americans about renewed sanctions.

The Russians are open to bribery and/or persuasion.
But without the Chinese, renewed sanctions against Iran have no chance at all.

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

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