The Micah Report Columns Thoughts Predictions About Micah Archives Contact
The Micah Report

« April 2010 | Main | June 2010 »

What Happened on the Boat
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday June 1, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

There has been two types of media coverage on the Israeli boarding of the human rights flotilla headed to Gaza.

Type # 1: Total condemnation. This group immediately attacked Israel using the terms murderers and terrorists. They view this event as an unprovoked attack against innocent human rights activists.
The Muslim world falls into this category. They fall into line and condemn Israel. For most of this group, facts really do not matter and the real story would not change their understanding of the event.

Type # 2: Sheer disbelief. This group saw the video of the Israelis boarding the ship and immediately understood that the Israeli soldiers were beaten, threatened and stabbed.

A whole group of people concerned about the truth. Not politics not propaganda... but the truth of the story should lead. Many Western leaders, including the president of the United States, fall into this category.

This story is not going away. Pictures are too graphic. Emotions are running too high. Facts are too easy to throw by the wayside.
This will be a seminal in Israeli/Muslim relations.

Iran Demands The US Act Against Israel
By Micah Halpern

Monday May 31, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Iran is elated that the UN Review Conference on Nuclear Non-Proliferation called on Israel to publicly divulge all of its nuclear secrets.

Iran's IAEA representative has been quoted saying how excited he is that the United States will now have to take Israel to task. Ali Asghar Soltanieh said that the US must now demand Israel open all of it secret nuclear facilities to international inspectors.

He said: "The US reservation is symbolic and it is obliged to go along with the world's request, which is that Israel must join the NPT and open its installations to IAEA inspectors."

Ironic? Not in the eyes of Iran.

Hypocritical? Not in the eyes of Iran.

Funny? Not really, Iran is serious about this.

Bibi & Obama Will Meet Again
By Micah Halpern

Sunday May 30, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Prime Minister Netanyahu is fast at work preparing for his meeting with President Obama.

Nukes and peace will be the two central items on the agenda.
Nukes: The United States will continue to pressure Israel to come clean and go public with details about their nuclear program.
Peace: The United States will continue to demand that Israel make concessions, even though they are one-sided concessions.

Netanyahu and by extension, his advisers, are baffled by the US stance on these issues. His mission during this meeting will be to try to convince Obama to change his stance.

Netanyahu will have his work cut out for him.
The United States truly believes that the best way to forge a Middle East Peace is to force a nuclear free zone in the region.

This idea is a clear misunderstanding of the Middle East and entirely preposterous.

A Bank Robbery in Iraq
By Micah Halpern

Saturday May 29, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The scene could have come out of Mel Brooks movie.
It takes place near Najajf, Iraq, actually 20 miles south of Najaf, in the town of al Mishkhab.

$5 million US dollars is stolen from the state-run Al-Rafidain Bank. It was an inside job.

It happened at the crack of dawn. A guard in the bank slipped a mickey into the tea of his fellow guards. It was a sleeping pill. After they were all asleep the guard-turned-bank-robber made off with the cash.

This is so very funny because Iraq is truly becoming like very other country, and of course, who would have thought about giving a sleep drug to guards? Only another guard, of course.

Obviously, the bank robber's identity is known. Now it is only a matter of time until the guard is apprehended and the money, or at least, most of the money is returned. This guy watches the wrong movies.

Iran & Russia Exchange Hits
By Micah Halpern

Friday May 28, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

After it became clear that Russia will be backing the new international sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council, some serious words were exchanged between Iran and Russia.

Yesterday Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the press that he was not certain whether Russia was a "friend or an enemy." In response, the Russian foreign minister said that the Iranian president was "venting his rage."

Here's a news flash: Ahmadinejad does not show rage in public.
Ahmadinejad is never caught off guard and any pathos he shows is well choreographed. He is very effective and always maintains control. Anger is a tool and emotion is a vehicle and this Iranian leader has mastered the art and skills of political communications.

Ahmadinejad never believed that Russia was a friend.
Iran knows that Russia is always up for sale.

By Micah Halpern

Thursday May 27, 2010


There is a synapse between the assumed nuclear power possessed by Iran and Iran's goals for their nuclear capability and the reality of Iran's nuclear arsenal.

# 1: If Iran were to attack Israel, especially with a non-conventional weapon like a nuclear warhead, Israel would destroy Iran. Attacking Israel is tantamount to committing national suicide and Iranian leadership does not have a death wish.

# 2: Iran's advancement in nuclear technology does not imply an increase in nuclear weapons.

Iran today is a far cry from Russia in the 1970's. Self preservation was the driving force keeping the Russians and the United States from engaging in a nuclear encounter. The expression used at the time was "avoiding a nuclear holocaust." The reasoning went: if they shoot then we will shoot, and in the end, both of us will be annihilated. It was also called MAD for Mutual Assured Destruction. This concept became the foundation of nuclear deterrence.

The Middle East is not Europe and Iran is not Russia. There are many reasons why decisions are made by leaders in the Middle East, not the least is pride and machismo. The need to prove religious superiority is another top reason.

Iran does not have a history of attacking. Iran has a history of either utilizing their proxies or of provoking attacks in order to initiate counter attacks. So the scenario would play out like this: Israel would be the first to strike. Israel would hit Iran's nuclear resources and nuclear sites with conventional weapons. Iran would then counter strike. If Iran counters with even one non-conventional warhead, Israel would strike back again. The deterrence argument that was so powerful in the 70's has no play in the year 2010.

And the Middle East is not Japan. Nuclear energy does not mean nuclear weapons. Right now, we truly have no idea Iran's nuclear objectives. How large, or how small, Iran's nuclear program is and how large they intend to enlarge it?

It is wise to assume that Iran's leaders will not follow in the footsteps of European and American leaders. They will follow in the footsteps of that other Middle East leader Saddam Hussein when he launched his scuds into Israel.

The problem we in the West have in analyzing and understanding Iran is that we in the West apply Western logic to a very, very, non-Western country.

UN Fails Against Iran
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday May 26, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The United Nations Review Conference on Nuclear Energy is about to wrap up.

The Conference began with Ahmadinejad raving about US and Western countries butting into the business of others.
The Conference is ending with 189 countries issuing a declaration about the status and dangers of nuclear development in the world today.

The 29 page draft does not contain a single word about Iran or about the Iranian nuclear program. Not a single word - and why? Because the Iranians said they would veto the declaration if they were mentioned. So the powers that be left Iran out.

This decision shows the Conference to be nothing but a sham.
If Iran cannot be castigated today given the political climate and given the public comments emanating from Iran and given Iran's record of compliance, then it is clear that the international community has given up trying to control Iran's nuclear ambitions.

That is sad.
That is scary.

Assad Gives Voice to the Arabs
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday May 25, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Syria President Bashar Assad met with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in Damascus on Sunday.

Emboldened by the meeting, Assad is making some serious statements about the United States and by extension, about the West and about its role in the Middle East.

"If the West wants security and stability to be established in the Middle East, [it] must start to play an effective role to contain Israel and put an end to its extremist policies."

The bottom line is that Syria thinks the way the rest of the Middle East thinks. The problem with that way of thinking is that despite some ups and downs in their relationship this is hardly the beginning of the end of the special relationship between Israel and the US.

Assad is trying to take advantage of the now bumpy relationship between the United States and Israel to announce the Arab point of view to both the Muslim and the Western world.

Iran is Threatening The West
By Micah Halpern

Monday May 24, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Iran is making threats.

Ali Larijani, speaker of the Iranian parliament, said that Iran will scrap any deal involving enriching uranium outside of Iran if another level of sanctions is enacted.

Larijani made the announcement in an interview broadcast on national Iranian media.

This is not an idle threat by Iran. Iran embarked on their new deal with Turkey and Brazil assuming that the new sanctions would be instituted.

Iran and Iranian allies will now blame the Western world for preventing progress that would solve the stalemate. Non-Western countries will almost certainly be convinced that Iran did its all and that Iranian attempts at compliance were stymied.

Once again, Iran is doing an end around the West.

Nuke Free Middle East?
By Micah Halpern

Sunday May 23, 2010

I'm Predicting:

The United States and Egypt are working very hard to create a plan that will result in a nuclear free Middle East.

The idea is that Arab and Muslim countries will sign on to this plan because it will, ultimately, force the Israelis to give up their nuclear arsenal. The United States is convinced that their plan can go into action even without peace in the Middle East and Egypt has bought into that objective.

The truth is that it is all a pie dream and nothing more than a pipe dream.
It is a pipe dream because the Egyptians have begun work on their own nuclear program. It is a pipe dream because the Jordanians are researching their own nuclear program and it is a pipe dream because the Saudis have begun work on their own nuclear program.

Each of these countries began their own nuclear program not because of Israel, but because of Iran. Putting Israel into the mix is a serious mistake.

At this point I do not foresee any situation that will compel Israel to even entertain the idea of giving up on its own nuclear technology.

Russia Will Deliver the Missiles to Iran
By Micah Halpern

Saturday May 22, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Russia has just announced that they will be supplying Iran with the new and very sophisticated S - 300 missile. This S - 300 will make it much more difficult for the United States and/or Israel to strike Iran.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Russian Parliament, Mikhail Margelov, made it very clear when he said: "Russia is a responsible supplier to international markets and it has no interest in working towards arming the Middle East."

The only problem is that Russia is arming the Middle East. And even after new sanctions against Iran were decided upon, Russia is still supplying Iran with very highly sophisticated weapons. Their argument that previous agreements must be upheld is a sorry excuse for their behavior.

There is no reason to supply Iran with these weapons. But Russia wants and needs the money and Russia wants and needs to secure a reputation for providing weapons to problematic parts of the world.

Russia should be first warned, next censured and then punished if they violate sanctions against Iran or, for that matter, against any other country.

Hezbollah Missiles
By Micah Halpern

Friday May 21, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The Israeli military censor has just made public important intelligence, making it clear for publication.

The now-public intelligence clarifies the exact type of missile that Syria has transferred to Hezbollah. The missile is an M-600, a homemade Syrian missile which is a copy of an Iranian missile which is a copy of the Chinese DF 11A missile. The number of rockets transferred reaches into the hundreds.

The M-600 is smaller than a SCUD and can be launched much faster. It is much more accurate than a SCUD and has a range of 200 miles. It weighs 3.5 tons and has a half ton war head. This weapon is even more dangerous than the SCUD.

Hundreds of M-600s in the hands of Hezbollah is a chilling thought. The biggest questions are how do you defend against the M-600 and how do you knock them out. Because of their quick launch time, the M-600 cannot be easily hit before it is activated.

An all out defensive is the only real response to the M-600. That is a very costly venture for Israel to undertake.

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

The Golan for Iran
By Micah Halpern

Thursday May 20, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Late Tuesday Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had his meeting with Israeli president Shimon Peres.

Peres proposed a unique idea to resolve the tension in the Middle East.
He asked Medevdev to relay a message to Syria.

Peres said that Israel was willing to cede and withdraw from the entire Golan Heights if Syria would drop it ties with Iran and stop their cross border smuggling and open house policy for terrorists.

So far, there has been no response.
This is a case of Israel calling Syria’s bluff.

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

Jihad Tours
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday May 19, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Hezbollah has been running "Student Jihad Tours."
The objective is to expose university students to Hezbollah's history and heroism.

Hezbollah filled five buses with Christian and Muslim students for a weekend of education and indoctrination.

One student said it was like being in Disney World. They were shown how to shoot rockets, they were brought to the sites of famous battles, they met with Hezbollah fighter and leaders.

In the course of the "tour" the participants grew to admire the terrorists. A student was quoted on the Al Arabia web site as saying that they (the participants) believe that these people are fighter and heroes - not like the rest of the world who see them as terrorists.

Hezbollah is working the PR angle from the inside out.
Hezbollah is trying to recruit and convince Lebanese citizens to join their public relations campaign around the world.
That is the real purpose of the tours, the students are Hezbollah's means to their end.

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

Iran's New Agreement
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday May 18, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The new agreement allowing Iran to export uranium, have it enriched in Turkey, then returned to Iran, is good news for Iran.

It helps Iran because Iran gets the Uranium.
It helps Iran because it appears as if the Iranians are complying with a compromise.

It helps Iran because it does not stop Iran from enriching their own uranium at home.

The agreement is a sham.

Iran has no interest in giving up their enrichment. This agreement gives them license to continue enriching and even advancing beyond their given 20% allowance.

Once again, Iran is the big winner.
Once again, the world shows just how gullible we all are when it comes to Iran.
Kudos to Iran, they have outsmarted us all once again.

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

Recount in Iraq
By Micah Halpern

Monday May 17, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The recount in Iraq is finally concluded. Now the real work begins.

Ever since the March election there have been claims about fixes in certain provinces and questions about who really won. Now the recount is official and the truth has emerged. The recount confirms the exact numbers of the earlier election.

This is bad news for Nuri al Maliki the current leader of Iraq and the head of the Shiite Coalition party. Al Maliki's party did not win a plurality in the 325 seat Parliament, on the contrary, the party earned only 89 seats. Even if all Shiites join together they would only reach 159 seats and fail to garner the 163 seats needed to rule.

The secular al Iraqia party has won the plurality of 91 seats.

It is unclear who will successfully form the coalition of parties necessary to rule. Both the Shiite Coalition party and the Iraqia party will try. It is also legally unclear who gets priority to begin trying to form the coalition.

We can only watch and wait.

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

Israel Versus North Korean
By Micah Halpern

Sunday May 16, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman, announced that North Koreans are responsible for the proliferation and spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

On Israeli Army Radio Liberman declared: "To our regret we see a mad arms race in the country. Everything must be done in order to thwart their attempts to reach a nuclear capability."

He said: "Up until today there were neither sanctions against Iran nor against North Korea. They need to be completely closed in terms of financial activities; the two states need to understand they are dependent on the supply of petrol because they have no refineries."

The Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman called Liberman an "ultra extremist" and "an imbecile in diplomacy." Given the antipathy directed toward Israel and Liberman this is no surprise.

Liberman is making a link between Iran and North Korea.
North Korea wants to distance itself from Iran and stay out of the limelight while also trying to radicalize Israel.

Who is more believable - North Korean or Liberman and Israel?
In this case - there is no doubt that North Korea is not credible.

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

Syria Buys Russia MiG -29
By Micah Halpern

Saturday May 15, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Syria is enormously pleased with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's trip to the Middle East. And why shouldn't they be?

Russia promised to supply Syria with a slew of MiG-29's and a battery of anti-aircraft weapons. Of course Syria is elated, any fighter plane is a quantum improvement for the antiquated Syrian air-force.

The MiG - 29 is hardly the best plane in the Russian arsenal. Russia has not updated the technology since the 1980's and last year they grounded all MiG - 29's. They are now selling them off at the good deal of $25-29 million a piece. That's a very good price for a flawed weapon.

The MiG -31 and MiG -27 have been updated and upgraded.
The MiG - 29 is simply an old fighting machine.

FYI MiG stands for Mikoyan - Gurevich the names of the two men who created the company.

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

Russia Wants Hamas at Peace Talks
By Micah Halpern

Friday May 14, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Russia has suggested bringing Hamas into the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Round 1:
That was the announcement made by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during his recent trip to the Middle East.

Round 2:
Yesterday Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman shot back comparing Hamas to Chechnian terrorists. He said: "Developed countries cannot separate terrorists into good ones and bad ones based on their geographic location."

Round 3:
Russia responded by saying that they will not be intimidated by Israel.

Russia truly believes that the best way to bring about an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians is to make certain that Hamas is also at the table.

Russia is wrong.

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

By Micah Halpern

Thursday May 13, 2010


Piracy, that blight on the open seas, must be eradicated.

The economic impact of the current spate of piracy launched out of Somalia is immense. After the ransoms are calculated, the insurance is totaled, defense and security measures are factored in, the cost of piracy probably tops $16 billion per year.

Sixteen billion is not that much relative to the $7.8 trillion dollars of yearly maritime commerce - but that sixteen billion dollar cost is not profit, it is cost that is all passed on to you and me, the consumer.

Other numbers are equally as staggering. There are only between 600 to 1,000 modern pirates making their living off the seas. That's all. The amount of ransom paid to these gun-toting, bad-guy, entrepreneurs in 2009 was put at only about $30 million. Ransom is the cheapest part of piracy, it is the other costs that add it all up.

Today's pirates are equal opportunity hoodlums. They do not care if they attack oil tankers or ships carrying children's toys, if the ships are British, American, Swiss or Syrian. They take over a ship and leave after their ransom has been paid. And a significant amount of the money they receive now fuels the economy of their motherland, Somalia.

Just this week a Greek ship was taken by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Twenty four hostages were taken, two of them Greek, the remaining Filipinos. The captured ship was carrying iron from the Ukraine to China making a stop in Singapore. The Gulf of Aden is the most troublesome spot on the seas for merchants, the most lucrative for pirates. It is where the vast number of piracies takes place.

The funnel between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea is the Gulf of Aden. The Red Sea leads to the Suez Canal which opens into the Mediterranean Sea and from there to Europe.

The Gulf of Aden gets its name from the Yemenite port city of Aden situated at the mouth of the gulf. Yemen sits on the east side of the Gulf. On the west side of the Gulf is Somalia. Next to Somalia is Djibouti and then Eritrea. The Gulf of Eden turns into the Bab el Mandeb, or the Straits of Mandeb, as it narrows to an area only twenty miles wide. All shipping going from Asia to Europe must pass through the Gulf of Aden and the Mandeb Straits and make its way up into the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

The ships sit there, caught in a massive traffic jam at sea, like the proverbial sitting ducks, all lined up and waiting to be picked off by pirates. The pirates make their way from the Gulf to the Straits and onto the ship of their choosing. When I say traffic jam, I mean traffic jam. The numbers are staggering. 15,000 - 20,000 ships pass through the narrow Straits of Mandeb each year. That means that, on average, the Straits accommodate 1,500 ships every month.

Is there no other alternative? For ships traveling from Asia to Europe there is. But time means money and shipping companies are willing to run the Gulf of Aden risk, hoping that some other ship will be boarded. They opt to take the shorter Straits of Mandeb route because it saves them days of travel over the longer, safer, trip around the Horn of Africa. The extra days it takes going around the Horn costs an extra $2 million per ship in fuel and an extra $100,000 in security fees. Every ship needs security teams whether it travels through the Horn of Africa or the Gulf of Aden. The money saved translates into cheaper goods and more efficient uses of energy, time and resources.

Pirates take advantage of their home field. They have no fear of capture and no fear of punishment even if captured. The laws of the seas are unequipped to deal with their crime, there is almost no way of prosecuting them. Ships may be owned by corporations but they fly "flags of convenience." That means they fly flags from Liberia, Panama and the Bahamas - countries that have no teeth, no legal standing to prosecute the pirates who board them and demand ransoms.

An entirely new approach to stopping piracy is needed. Aggressive naval and police tactics backed by special international courts that have the power to prosecute and convict is part of the answer. For the sake of the world's economy, for the sake of international justice countries must join together and invest the time, money and energy required to stem acts of piracy.

The world should not continue to support the pirates of Somalia. But we will, unless changes are made. Pirates have no incentive to change what they are doing. We must create that incentive.

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

Syria Defends Iran
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday May 12, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday the president of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, visited Damscus and had a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The press conference afterward was telling.

Assad insisted that further sanctions will not be successful in stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear technology. He said that that sanctions will not make the region safer. Assad proclaimed that "it is every country's right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes."

Syria has already attempted to create a nuclear facility with the help of the North Koreans.

Iran and Syria are linked in their desire to attain nuclear weapons. They are linked because they believe that the United States is leading a cabal preventing them from becoming a nuclear power. They consider nuclear status to be their right. Ahmadinejad even uses the term inalienable right when speaking of developing nuclear energy.

They are wrong. It is a privilege that must be earned through trust. Neither Syria nor Iran has yet to earn that trust.

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

Will There Be A New Status Quo?
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday May 11, 2010

I'm Predicting:

The discussion about Iran's potential nuclear weapons has generated concern that Israel's secret nuclear program will be drawn into the cross hairs of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA.

Iran argues that fairness requires that Israel must be put under the microscope.
The US administration has announced its own vision for a nuclear free Middle East.
Experts are frightened.

The concern is that this new US vision will change the status quo of the Middle East. If the status quo changes, the safety of Israel and of the entire Middle East may be in the balance.

The concern looks to be unfounded. It seems to me that despite the announcements and the pronouncements, the IAEA is not re evaluating their understanding of Israel's nuclear program.

For the sake of the region and for the sake of the world I hope that the IAEA keeps away from Israel.

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

Typical Timing
By Micah Halpern

Monday May 10, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday within hours of an announcement made by Presidential Special Envoy George Mitchell saying that there would a moratorium on building, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced that he will continue to build in Jerusalem.

Barkat proclaimed that Jerusalem needs to expand and that he will build for Jews and for Arabs in Jerusalem as long as the Israeli Ministry of Housing provides permission to build.

In Barkat's eyes both Arabs and Jews need new homes in Jerusalem and the budget is already provided. Not to build is counterproductive and is not a part of his vision for Jerusalem.

Barkat is not a settler, he is not an expansionist. He understands Jerusalem - Jerusalem is a city of Arabs and a city of Jews.

The "Proximity Talks" will fail.
The Palestinians are counting on the Jews to build in Jerusalem. For them it is an excuse to torpedo the talks. For the Israelis it is a necessary for survival.

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

Proximity Talks
By Micah Halpern

Sunday May 9, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

I need to explain the rationale of the new "Proximity Talks."
Proximity Talks is the euphemism for indirect talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians mediated by US special presidential envoy George Mitchell.

The presumption going into the talks is that each side assumes that the other will torpedo the talks - an interesting assumption, to be sure.

The Palestinians do not want the talks. They want to see Israel fail and fail big with diplomatic egg all over their faces. The Palestinians have made it clear that they will walk away from the talks if there is so much as a single bit of construction in the West Bank. The Palestinians want the US to pressure Israel to give in on a number of issues without negotiations. They want the US to force Israel to relax their stand and to literally roll over on issues - all as punishment for violations like settlement activity.

The Israelis want security. They know that the Palestinians cannot deliver security. As a result, they are certain that Hamas will destroy any potential agreement. Israel knows that Abbas cannot deliver basic issues in terms not only of security but also of police and organization. The Israelis are waiting it out, they are hoping that after the Palestinians fail, it will be clear to the US that the Palestinians were never committed to a real agreement.

Both sides are counting on the other to stumble.
The chances of success are, obviously, meager at best.

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

Security Council Has Dinner WIth Iranian Envoy
By Micah Halpern

Saturday May 8, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

On Thursday Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki hosted a dinner at his United Nations ambassador residence. His guests were all the members of the UN Security Council.

This dinner was a very bold move. It is rare that Security Council members are invited to dinner for what Iran called a "frank discussion." It was assumed that people on the ambassadorial level would not, themselves, attend. In the end the ambassadors of 11 of the 15 members participated. Only the US, Russia, Britain and France did not send ambassadors. They sent other representatives in their stead.

The Iranian Foreign Minister explained that it was not a negotiation, but a discussion. Everyone in attendance came because, as the United States explained, they were there in the hope "of hearing something new."

Iran is moving to stop another round of sanctions. The Iranians argued that they have the right to pursue safe nuclear energy. The dinner guests argued that Iran must work harder to convince the international community that they are trustworthy.

Never underestimate Iran.

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

Goldstone Sentenced People to Death
By Micah Halpern

Friday May 7, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The Israeli mass circulation daily Yedioth Ahronoth has made public their investigation into Richard Goldstone.

Goldstone, a South African Jew who authored the scathing report condemning Israel's actions during their conflict with Hamas during Operation Caste Lead, was a judge in South Africa during the 1980's and 1990's under the Apartheid Regime.

Judge Goldstone sentenced at least 28 blacks to death.
Judge Goldstone sentenced people to be lashed for listening to anti-Apartheid audio tapes.
When asked about these decisions Goldstone's defense was that he was just following the laws of the country.

Alan Dershowitz was repulsed by Goldstone's comments.
Dershowitz recalled Mengele's defense which was that he was just following orders.

Hannah Arendt wrote a compelling thesis explaining the "banality of evil" after witnessing the trial of Adolf Eichmann trial in Jerusalem. The Eichmann defense was that he was but a part of larger system, following orders, a cog in a wheel.

Goldstone should know that morally and legally his is a seriously problematic argument.
Eichmann, Mengele - is that the company Goldstone really wants to keep.

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

Bomber was Inept
By Micah Halpern

Thursday May 6, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Here's the low down on the Times Square bomb.

Faisal Shahzad did not pass the course on bomb making.
The fertilizer he used was non-combustible.
The M88 fireworks he chose were completely inappropriate for the job at hand.
They are almost impossible to self-ignite, they need fire. They do not explode. They are 98% paper and each one contains only 50 mg of explosive. The box that was found in the car contained 36 units which is just over 15 grams of explosives - that equals about 1/2 spoon full.
The propane tanks he thought would finish off the job would only explode if the temperature reached extremely hot temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees.

If would-be terrorist and bomb maker Shahzad had paid any attention to the instruction during his training he would have succeeded. These instructions are all over the internet.

Lucky for us all. Next time we will not be this lucky.

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

By Micah Halpern

Wednesday May 5, 2010


The terrorist suspected of planting the car bomb in Times Square has been apprehended. Now is time for us to look carefully at what was really going on.

Thankfully the bomb did not ignite. That was providence. The rest was hard work well done.

The fifty three hours it took from the time a potential bomb was discovered to the time Faisal Shazhad was taken off the Emirates Airline jet is collaborative police and federal agent work at its best. As New York City Police Chief Ray Kelly said, it was a scene right out of the wildly popular TV series "24." Even Jack Bauer, he of the cell phone battery that never runs out, would have required a few more hours to collar this bad guy before he disappeared into the protective, collective, cocoon of the Muslim Middle East.

Let's get down to basics:

The bomb. The bomb was large but very crude. It was technically flawed. It was the kind of bomb that is unlikely to cause the massive damage that one would expect from Taliban-trained bomb makers and operatives.

So why even engage in such a sloppy operation? There are several good reasons for that.

# 1: Quite simply, to terrify and terrorize. Even a dud in Times Square is a success from the point of view of Taliban and al Qaeda.

# 2: To use as a research tool, to allow Taliban and al Qaeda to check the emergency response time for such an attack.

# 3: To prove to Taliban and al Qaeda adherents around the world that they can strike at the very heart of the US at will.

The attack: This was not a suicide attack. Suicide attacks tend to have higher efficiency because the bomber gets right into the center of the target. In this case the bomber, who was also the engineer, walked away. That small item made a very big difference in the effectiveness of the operation.

So why was this not a suicide terrorist attack? It is harder to successfully recruit a suicide bomber here in the States than it is in Muslim countries. Few Americans are willing to kill themselves. They might make the bomb, plant the bomb even help the bomber, they may engage in a terror attack where the possibility exists that they will be killed in the act - but intentionally blowing themselves up along with defenseless others, not yet. The commitment it takes to be an American home grown suicide bomber has not yet crossed the ocean from the other side.

The success of the operation: From the point of view of the terrorist and his handlers in Pakistan and in al Qaeda, this botched operation was a resounding success. It could have been more successful but it was great.

So what makes a botched attack with a bomb that did not explode and a terrorist who was dramatically apprehended a success? More than anything else, the Pakistani branch of Taliban is now on the map. Shazhad already admitted in the charge sheet to being trained in Pakistan.

Now for some background and perspective:

This is not the first car bomb in NYC planted. In 1993 al Qaeda planted a bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center. The attack was a dud. The intent was to kill tens of thousands of people and while 1,042 people were injured, only six were killed. That attack used 1500 lbs of urea nitrate hydrogen and was lit by a 20 foot fuse. It blew a hole through four floors of the World Trade Center.

And it set the stage for 9-11.

This attack is Times Square was successful. This attack in Times Square was not a one-time event. It is essential that we understand that. Not to glorify al Qaeda. It is essential that we understand what this attack was and what it truly represents so that we can better protect ourselves.

They will not stop trying. Neither can we.

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

US Tells Hows Many Nukes They Have
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday May 4, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

While Ahmadinejad was chastising the United States and attacking Israel at the UN, the Pentagon was releasing US nuclear details.

The US has 5113 nuclear missiles.
That number is a tiny fraction of what the US used to have. In 1967 there were over 31,000 nuclear missiles under US control.

This reduction of nuclear arms makes the world safer.
That is the real purpose of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The review that is now taking place in New York at the UN .is a secondary reason

Ahmadinejad is indeed moving toward nuclear energy and from there to nuclear weapons. Iran is claiming that they are only interested in nuclear technology for energy and medical reasons. That is a false claim.

Iran has an agenda. Iran wants to control the world. Iran wants a nuclear weapon.
With that weapon Iran will be positioned as the most powerful country in the Middle East and one of the most powerful countries in the world.

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

Hezbollah is Ready for War
By Micah Halpern

Monday May 3, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The Kuwaiti newspaper al Watan is reporting that Hezbollah has concluded their preparations for war. The paper quotes a Hezbollah source who says that Hezbollah has learned the lessons of the Second Lebanese War.

"Fighters in the organization and its armed units are prepared to stave off any new Israeli attack. They will surprise Israel with the quality of its weapons that will be used in any future battle." The source also made it clear that "At the same time, Hezbollah is determined not to give Israel any excuse to start a new war."

Hezbollah is working very hard to preparing for war. Those preparations are a direct threat to Israel and to the region.

Hezbollah is making it clear that they are a power to be reckoned with and they are not in the least afraid of Israel.

Hezbollah is flexing muscles in the hope to prevent an attack. Ironically, it is exactly that muscle flexing that may just cause Israel to attack.

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

Hezbollah and their Rockets
By Micah Halpern

Sunday May 2, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The story about SCUDs making their way from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon has been covered by the international news media.

In response to the coverage the Syrians, Hezbollah, the Iranians and even the Lebanese and Hamas have are calling the story nothing nonsense.
The chorus of protests proves that, indeed, the shipment took place.

These new missiles are much more dangerous than the old SCUDs. They have a longer range and are far more accurate. Good intel figures that Hezbollah now has 45,000 rockets and missiles. The most dangerous of those rockets and missiles, about 400-500 in all, have a very long range allowing them to hit anywhere in Israel if shot from northern Lebanon.

The one important drawback to these missiles, which works to Israel's advantage, is that because they are long range they require liquid fuel and the fueling takes about 30 minutes.

Hezbollah has created netting and camouflage and bunkers to try to allow them to fuel up just before launch. That is when they are most vulnerable. That is when Israel will hit them.

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

Powered by Movable Type     Site design by Sekimori