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New Terror Threat
By Micah Halpern

Monday November 1, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The ink cartridge bombs on UPS cargo planes out of Yemen that were discovered in Britain and the United Arab Emirates should raise concern and remind us that our security apparatus must be on constant alert.

Honestly, this was to be expected.

Within the world of security the literature has discussed this very situation for years. In this instance, intelligence was passed on to the United States via the Saudis. Cargo planes have always been a weak link and only recently have security and screening been shored up.

The vast majority of cargo leaving foreign countries travels on commercial planes - not cargo planes. That seems to have been exactly what happened in this case. Very little of that cargo is subject to inspection and what inspection there is, is not standardized. An envelope leaving Israel is not checked like an envelope sent from Dubai.

In this style of attack dry runs are always the precursor to the real thing. That is exactly what was happening here. Terrorists were testing us.

The other weak point is sea ports - security in the ports must be improved. This is an alarm, this is a wakeup call.

Hezbollah Has Re-Armed
By Micah Halpern

Sunday October 31, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The French paper Le Figaro has detailed the path through which Syria provides Hezbollah with weapons and support.

It was the best short analysis of the subject I have read on the subject.

According to Le Figaro "Hezbollah has been able to completely rehabilitate its weapons caches, tunneling under the Syrian / Lebanese border, in an effort to create escape route for its operative, in case of another altercation with Israel."

Hezbollah has 40,000 missiles and rockets in Lebanon and 10,000 trained troops. That number includes navy divers. The machinery is delivered from Syria but the training is provided by Iran.

The report is news worthy - it is obviously a product of French intelligence gathering and analysis.

The leaders of French Intelligence are issuing a warning to the West. The leaders of French Intelligence clearly want the world to understand that Hezbollah, Syria and Iran are preparing for war. We should pay attention.

Iran is Exporting Gasoline Now
By Micah Halpern

Saturday October 30, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Things are changing in Iran and the Iranians could not be happier. Unfortunately, what is good for Iran is not necessarily good for the West.

It's official. It's been confirmed that Iran has begun exporting gasoline. In fact, $36 million worth of gasoline was recently exported from Iran to Afghanistan and Armenia.

I reported the original announcement out of Iran several months ago, but at that time the story was still unconfirmed. I discussed Iran's plans to open new refineries and to update old ones. And I reported Iran's decision to move into the realm of gas exporting.

This news shows us that Iran has made the conversion successfully and will now be oil independent. Not long ago Iran imported 40%-50% of its gasoline because they could not refine it. Today they are not only refining they are exporting.

The oil embargo on Iran, while not quit a moot point yet, now has very little efficacy.

White House Trip Offends China etal
By Micah Halpern

Friday October 29, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

On November 5th President Obama embarks on a 10 day trip to Asia.

Major players are insulted that he will not be dropping in.

Obama will be in India for three and a half days and not stop by in Pakistan at all. This trip to India is the longest stint Obama has had in any country since assuming office.

He will also visit Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.

Pakistan is upset and seriously slighted. But that's nothing compared to China, another country not on the President's itinerary. Who does Obama thinks he is, the Chinese are asking, we are after all only the country that holds the US debt.

The White House says no offense is intended. Of course not, but these countries are still offended.

This is not the first time Obama has inadvertently created tension. When Obama was in the Middle East, he went out of his way to avoid Israel - and no offense was intended there, either. It was just the first time a US president was in the region and did not visit Israel.

US Presidential trips are supposed to cement foreign relations, not destroy them.

Mohammed Top Name in England
By Micah Halpern

Thursday October 28, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The list of most popular baby names in England during 2009 was released recently.
Topping the list were Oliver, Jack and Harry.

Mohammed was on the list in 12 different variations. It placed 16th and 32nd with a grand total of 7,549 little British babies carrying the name. Top rated Oliver only had 7,364 boys carrying that name.

It might not have been the official # 1 on the list, but in effect, Mohammed was the most popular name given to boys in England last year. The significance is enormous.

Unlike Oliver and Jack and Harry, only Muslims name their children Mohammed. Granted, 706,248 children were born in Britain last year and little more than half were girls - that means 7,500 out of 350,000 children were named Mohammed.

The most popular name does not mean the name given to most children. It speaks to a more powerful element. An explosion of Muslim life and culture is taking place in the United Kingdom. Names are just another way to prove the point.

US OK with Busher Nuke Plant
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday October 27, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The United States is not all concerned about the opening of the Iranian nuclear power plant Busher. So unconcerned that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that it is Iran's secret plants, not Busher that concern the US.

"Our problem is not with their reactor at Busher, our problem is with their facilities at places like Natanz and their secret facility at Qom and other places where we believe they are conducting their weapons program."

The logic is scary and misguided - it is also but understandable.

Any nuclear facility developed and opened in Iran is dangerous - Busher or Qom they are all dangerous and they can all lead to potentially frightening outcomes.

The United States is making a very big mistake here.

Saudi Russian Nuke Deal
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday October 26, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with Russia to develop nuclear energy - in Saudi Arabia.

One single source has alerted us to this agreement to which will develop atomic energy and atomic energy only i.e. non-military nukes.

Until now Saudi Arabia has been conflicted on the issue of nukes. The Saudi King was against nukes, his defense minister was in favor. But the Saudis have initiated several serious steps toward becoming a nuclear power in the past.

This move by Saudi Arabia comes as a direct response to Iran's nuclear development.

The Saudis cannot be left in a weak nuclear position relative to Iran.

Sudanese Fleeing to Israel
By Micah Halpern

Monday October 25, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Periodically I repeat myself. I do so because the topic is either so unusual or so important that it warrants repetition.

On Sunday the Egyptian police arrested 55 Sudanese refugees attempting to escape to Israel to find work and a better life. 40 men, 9 women and 6 children were found in a truck making its way from the Sudan through Egypt on the way to Sinai where they would meet the smugglers who would bring them into Israel.

On Saturday another 10 refugees were stopped.

The 1979 Camp David Peace Accords require that the 157 mile Israeli/Egyptian border be patrolled by 750 policemen and not a single policeman more.

These Sudanese refugees were caught in a truck crossing into Sinai. In the past many of these people looking for a better life have been shot by Egyptians as they try to escape and find refuge in Israel.

I know that it is mind boggling ... Muslim risking their lives in order to enter the Jewish State. Theodor Herzl could never have envisioned this turn of events.

Bahrain Elections ?
By Micah Halpern

Sunday October 24, 2010

I'm Predicting:

Bahrain held elections yesterday. Well, sort of elections. Bahranians cast their votes for their 40 seat Lower Parliament. 318,000 eligible voters were asked to select from the 140 candidates standing for election.

Do not kid yourself - there is no democracy in Bahrain. The people might elect the Lower Parliament, but there is also an Upper Parliament of 40 all appointed by the King. The Prime Minister is the King's uncle and has been in position since 1971.

In Bahrain the royal family has been in place since 1783 and they are not about to give up that place. The royal family of Bahrain is Sunni, 60%-70% of the people of Bahrain are Shiite.

Bahrain is a strong US ally in the region and the US Navy's 5th Fleet is hosted there. But despite its periodic liberal tone, Bahrain is not a democracy.

There has been serious tension in Bahrain recently and many Shiites have been arrested. Shiites are arguing that they are being discriminated against when it comes to getting jobs. The largest employer in Bahrain is the defense system and the armed forces has almost entirely purged of Shiites. Today only about 3% of the army is Shiite and they are all in low level positions. The army was purged to solidify and prevent potential insurrection, revolt and coup.

There is very little chance that Bahrain will change and liberalize on its own in the near future. And there is very little chance of a successful overthrow of the regime. Do not expect to see any change from Bahrain.

Carter Meets with Hamas
By Micah Halpern

Saturday October 23, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The Elders Organization is a group of former international leaders. The group visited the Middle East this week. Leading the group were former US President Jimmy Carter and former Irish President Mary Robinson.

The Elders Organization met with Hamas leaders in both Syria and in Gaza and then proclaimed that Hamas must be part of any settlement,

In Israel they met with Knesset Speaker Rivlin and with Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor. The Israeli leaders delivered a similar straightforward line and explained that speaking to Hamas legitimizes terror and hurts the Palestinian Authority. They also conveyed Israel's point of view of that by meeting with Hamas, the Israelis are seen as irresponsible.

Carter and Robinson, of course, responded that while they met with Hamas, they in no way justify terror.

Carter and Robinson are way out of the general mainstream - so far out in left field that they still do not understand how going to Hamas weakens Palestinian leadership under Abbas.

Saudis Make US Deal and Talk to Iran
By Micah Halpern

Friday October 22, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The United States just signed a $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
The United States asserts that Israel was read into the deal and gave their approval.

The bulk of deal is the upgrading of existing F-16s and the delivery of seven new 747's filled with modern tech devises for command and control tools.

A deal of this kind should have been expected. Saudi Arabia is an ally of the US and has the money to pay for the weapons.

What is unexpected and inexplicable is that the day after signing the deal, the King of Saudi Arabia spoke by phone with Iranian President Ahmadinejad.

The Saudis and the Iranians are not allies. These two nations symbolize a huge rift in Islam between Sunnis and Shiites. This division is one of the reasons the United States has been cultivating the Saudis.

Obviously, the situation is far from being mono-dimensional.
Clearly, Saudi Arabia has other items on its agenda.

Chavez Visits Iran
By Micah Halpern

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Guess who is visiting Iran? Chavez.

Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez is visiting Iran for three days. Actually, this is his 9th trip to Iran.

On Iranian TV Ahmadinejad announced that "Iran and Venezuela are united to establish a new world order based on humanity and justice."

Chavez is quoted in the Venezuelan state news agency as saying "Imperialism has entered a decisive phase of decline and ... is headed, like elephants, to its graveyard."

From this exchange alone it should be clear that Ahmadinejad and Chavez have an agenda. That agenda is to topple the Western world and change the world order. That agenda is to anoint themselves as the leaders of the new order.

Russia Now Wants the Missile Shield
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday October 20, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Remember how the Russians were so upset over the planned European missile shield?

Well, now it seems that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is thinking that it may be a good idea after all - such a good idea that Russia may actually participate.

Yesterday Medvedev said that he was considering the idea. He also said that he was going to attend the NATO meeting in Portugal from November 19-20. US President Barak Obama will be there as well and there is little doubt that the missile shield will be on their agenda.

This is how world politics evolves, it is how policy changes. Not six months ago Russia was nearly about to go to war over the missile shield.

In world politics things change quickly. In this case, the change was brought about because the Russian assessment of the Iranian threat has changed.

Iraqi PM Visits Iran
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday October 19, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki is trolling for support.

Yesterday Maliki visited Iran. He is trying to shore up strength and end the period of limbo that the Iraqi government has been struggling through since their March elections where no clear victor emerged.

Maliki heads the Shiite coalition and he needs support from Shiite Iran.

The Iraqi leader has also appealed to other neighbors, but Iran is probably the most important neighbor of all. This was Maliki's first visit to Teheran since the elections.

How's this for a plot twist? Iran may be the country that brings calm and security to Iraq.
Frightening, truly frightening.

Iran's Biggest Fear
By Micah Halpern

Monday October 18, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The real worry about the new worm that is affecting Iran is not how many computers are now disabled.

The Iranians know that they were hit very hard and that about a million computers were affected. They know that it will take enormous amounts of time and energy to rid the computers of the worm -if they can even do that at all.

The biggest fear is that the worm will lie dormant. That it will remain undetected until the machinery that has been infected is fired up and used.

That means that the Iranians will have no idea if their missile system will even fly - let alone fly straight and hit the target until the missiles have been shot. India's satellite system was not even the target of the worm and 12 of 24 of India's transponders were totally shut down by the worm.

Iran's real fear is that this worm is a more effective weapon than anyone can even imagine. Iran is correct to be afraid.

Jordan's Slow Economic Growth
By Micah Halpern

Sunday October 17, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Jordan's King Abdullah spoke at a technology conference in Jordan yesterday.

Abdullah blames Jordan's slow tech growth on the tensions in the Middle East. His thesis is that if there was a treaty between Israel and the Palestinians, his economy would grow.

The Jordanians recently invested $2.2 billion in high tech - and they want to see an immediate return on the investment.

Yahoo recently bought a Jordanian company called Maktoob, the largest Arab on line information company.

There are 3 huge mistakes in Abdullah's analysis.
# 1: Jordan is only indirectly connected to the conflict and although they are affected, they are not a primary party.
#2: Most of the $2.2 billion was simply infrastructure, not creative investment. Tech booms do not result from having a computer and turning it on. To create a boom you create a service that people want to buy.
# 3: This is Abdullah's biggest mistake - the conflict has not slowed Israel's growth. The Israeli economy is outstripping even the US over the past few years. (Of course, one can argue that if there was peace the Israeli economy would be even better)

The reason Jordan's economy is in the tubes is that it has not been infused with any real creativity - instead, it is heavily control by the monarchy. Abdullah is as wily as he is smart, but here, he has created a recipe for failure.

US Is Disappointed in Israel
By Micah Halpern

Saturday October 16, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The United States has expressed disappointment over construction and building in the Israeli West Bank. The Palestinians have called the building an affront to the United States' diplomatic objective. The Egyptians are saying that the Israelis are not honoring the 30 day extension given to the US in order to come to an agreement about the building freeze.

Say what you want, none of it makes any sense.

There is no freeze because the time limit of the agreement expired. Did the US, Egypt and the Palestinians expect that the grace period about the freeze would also constitute a freeze?

The US now wants a continuation and has asked the Arab League to grant what would constitute another 30 day extension. Once again, the Arab League is deciding whether to advise the Palestinians to stay or to walk away from these direct talks with Israel.

What does everyone expect? How can this period be considered a non-building period when the freeze expired and now the topic under consideration is a new freeze?

This period falls under the old status quo - the status quo which permits building.

Ahmadinejad Ends His Lebanon Trip
By Micah Halpern

Friday October 15, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Ahmadinejad concluded his visit to Lebanon with a meeting at the Iranian Embassy with Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.

Nasrallah presented Ahmadinejad with a gun. Not just any gun, this gun was taken from an Israeli soldier during the Second Lebanon War.

After Ahmadinejad left Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza issued a statement saying that they, too, wish the Iranian President would visit them in Gaza. They realize, of course that it would be very dangerous for Ahmadinejad to come to Gaza but simply by making public their sentiment they made their point.

This entire episode surrounding Ahmadinejad says everything about how the teams break down.

Team One is aligned with Iran and includes Hezbollah and Hamas. Iran also enjoys the support of a very large but silent group, a group that shares Iran's disdain for the West.

Team Two is everyone else. Unfortunately this side, the West, is unprepared to effectively deal with Iran and is helpless against Iran's plans to unify Team One and to undermine US influence around the world.

Ahmadinejad Is in Lebanon
By Micah Halpern

Thursday October 14, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Ahmadinejad arrived in Lebanon yesterday. This trip will advance several Iranian agendas.

One item on the agenda is to stir the pot of anti-Western sentiment, another is to unify the Muslim world.

Ahmadinejad delivered a speech in suburban Beirut. His presentation was compelling, dynamic and very well received. The central theme of Ahmadinejad's speech can be synopsized in this one quote: "Lebanon is a school of resistance and perseverance against tyrants."

The tyrants he is speaking about are Obama, Netanyahu, Sarkozy and every other leader of a Western nation. The students of the "school of resistance" are the kids of Lebanon.

For Ahmadinejad this entire trip to Lebanon is a way of recruiting terrorists for anti-American attacks.

Ahmadinejad wants to try to humiliate the West and Israel. He does this by riling up the Lebanese to fight and to resist. He does this by touring Southern Lebanon and by symbolically attacking Israel.

US Agrees with Israel
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday October 13, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The US State Department came out with a statement yesterday that was exactly in line with Israel's position on the issue of Israel as the Jewish State. This should not come as a surprise.

The position of the United States was enunciated very clearly in a statement made by State Department Spokesman P. J. Crawley: "I'm not making any news here. We recognize the special nature of the Israeli state. It is a state for the Jewish people. It is a state for other citizens of other faiths as well."

I have said it time and time again, but it bears repeating now - in most cases and this during this recent round of negotiation is no exception, the United States and Israel see eye to eye on almost every issue. When Israel compromises, the US sees it a s a reasonable diplomatic move.

The clincher is that precisely because Israel does make compromises the United States will pressure the Israelis for more compromises. It is all part of the game. The Palestinians give little to almost nothing and Israel must compromise on hugely significant issues.

IRA Found Stocking Terror Supplies
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday October 12, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Irish police have recently made several critical discoveries and arrests.

They arrested nearly two dozen people - all with links to terror groups. The groups were planning attacks for the IRA.

They uncovered a significant IRA arms cache with guns and explosives and materials with which to build a bomb lab.

The entire scenario does not portend well.

The fact that there are so many people organizing terror attacks and collecting weapons points clearly to the fact that the IRA is back in the terror business.

The IRA had agreed to stop all terror activities. They lied.

Che Visits Hezbollah
By Micah Halpern

Monday October 11, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Che Guevara was the symbol of revolution. His face was on t-shirts and hats and posters across the world. Che, as he is called, was the person who, together with Castro, was going to change the world.

So when Che's daughter Aleida meets with Sheik Nayim Kassam, the second most important person in all of Hezbollah - all of us should cringe. The whole scary scenario ratchets up when the meeting takes place in Southern Lebanon.

Aleida met the Hezbollah leader Kassam to discuss their shared mission "to fight the occupation" and to "fight colonialism." That, of course, means: confront Israel.

There was more to the meeting than shared ideology. Aleida was presented with an oil painting portrait of her father joining forces with Imad Mugneyah, the Hezbollah leader assassinated in Damascus.

Che's legacy still resonates throughout the world.

Gilad Shalit Was Nearly Freed
By Micah Halpern

Sunday October 10, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

For Israel, finding and rescuing kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit is a national priority.

So when Hamas discovered that one of their most trusted people was an asset for Israel they were furious.
Israel has retrieved their informant, but the Israelis still did not have enough intelligence to locate and launch an operation to save Shalit.

The informant was the Hamas person responsible for communications. He inserted Israel's electronic bugs in the Hamas phones. It provided great information, but not enough information.
Unfortunately for Israel, these kidnappers do not use cell phones.

Unfortunately, the new information is one step removed from Shalit.

Russia Pays Iran for Missiles
By Micah Halpern

Saturday October 9, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

A few weeks ago Russia announced that they were reneging on their deal to sell S-300 advanced missiles to Iran.

Russia admitted that the sale of the S-300 weapons to Iran would be a violation of the international sanctions agreed upon by the UN Security Council.

History has taught us that what the Russians say they are going to do is not always what they really do.

And yet, on Thursday, Russia announced that will pay back the $800 million that Iran had transferred over to them for the missile purchase.

This effectively means that the deal is now truly null and void.
The Iranians are livid. They cannot believe that the Russians would collapse under such modest international pressure. It was really only the Israelis and the United States exerting pressure to stop the deal.

The S-300 would have dictated the timetable of an attack against Iran and would have limited the potential success of any operation. In the final analysis, this is very good news.

Guns N' Roses to Israel
By Micah Halpern

Friday October 8, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

The band Guns N' Roses is scheduled to perform two concerts in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The first concert is scheduled for December 18th, the second the day after on the 19th.

Any band deciding to perform in Israel does so for several reasons. Chief among those reasons is a deep seated belief in democracy and freedom.

Any band coming to Israel, even a band as successful and popular as Guns N'Roses, will come under ugly attack. The band will pay the price for their show of support to Israel in Europe will, inevitably, there will be huge protests against them.

In the end, Guns N'Roses sides with Israel. In the end, culture triumphs. In the end, democracy will in.

DC Leaks About Terror Threat
By Micah Halpern

Thursday October 7, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

President Obama and the members of his inner circle are upset by the very many daily leaks to the media, links emanating from Washington and broadcast the world over.

James Clapper. Director of National Intelligence, said that officials and bureaucrats in DC get "their jollies" by leaking to reporters.

Intelligence leaks flooding through DC about the terror threat for Americans have created a terrible diplomatic situation for not only for America but also for her friends in Europe.

The kicker is that there is not even a specific threat - just a general threat that is wreaking all this havoc.

Obama promised that his administration would not leak. Now we have an example of a vague leak that is causing terrible damage.

They Agree But How
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday October 6, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Three world leaders have said that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is essential, they said that this is an opportunity that cannot be missed.

Former President Bill Clinton was the first to voice this observation. He said that a peace deal would "undercut" terror around the world.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said that a peace deal must be reached now more than ever. Mubarak was speaking at an event marking the 37th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War.

Jordanian King Abdullah called the Israeli Prime Minister and said that not reaching an agreement could be catastrophic for the region.

All three statements were made yesterday, but this was not a pre-planned, coordinated effort. None of these comments are unique to the players.

The issue is not whether peace is a good or even if a treaty can be signed.
The issue is whether both sides have the wherewithal to follow through with the peace if it can be achieved.

Egypt & Iran Start Direct Flights
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday October 5, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

On Sunday Egypt and Iran signed an agreement to resume direct, daily flights. The agreement stipulates that 28 flights per week will go from Egypt to Iran and back.

Since the 1979 Egyptian Peace Accords with Israel relations between Egypt and Iran can only be described as ugly. Then, in 1980 official relations were severed because of the Islamic revolution in Iran. Any hope for resurrecting a relationship between the countries was lost in 1981 and the assassination of Anwar Sadat. Iran went so far as to praise the assassin and name a major intersection after him.

These two nations have many and serious differences of opinion - especially regarding the United States and Israel.
Hosam Zaki, spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, explained that this deal strengthens existing economic ties between Iran and Egypt, then added that political ties were a different matter.

He said: "It is a development in the relations between Egypt and Iran."
He said: "Both countries have economic interests that have not stopped regardless of the political situation."
He said: "But political developments require certain conditions Egypt has voiced in the past."

If Egypt and Iran are able to smooth things over there is the potential for a shift in Middle East balance. This is more than 28 flights per week. This is a very significant move.

Abu Dhabi Invests in Iraq
By Micah Halpern

Monday October 4, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

Fortunes are often made through investing in developing areas. Fortunes are also lost.
Iraq is about to become one of those developing areas.

The politics of Iraq are starting to settle down. It looks like a coalition might be emerging, a coalition that is setting the stage for a "new Iraq."

A company from Abu Dhabi called AD Invests and is the official investor of the Emirate. AD Invests has called out to the West claiming that they will enable people and companies to invest in Iraq. AD Invests will facilitate foreign investment in Iraq - especially in Iraq's developing oil program. Iraq's oil industry is at a very important and essential stage.

Investors could reap huge benefits as Iraq's oil industry takes off.

Abu Dhabi has the ability to provide essential on-site local management of Western investments in Iraq. The risks are there, but the involvement of a company from Abu Dhabi certainly mitigates those risks.

Travel Warning in Europe
By Micah Halpern

Sunday October 3, 2010

I've Been Thinking:

This morning the US State Department issued a travel warning for Americans travelling in Europe.

The warning is based on an increased threat of al Qaeda or al Qaeda-like groups targeting Americans in Europe. This threat was made public a week ago and now the State Department sees fit to warn Americans about it.

"Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services. U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling."

The intel is not clear enough to have a timetable. But it is threatening enough to warn travelers.

Those involved in the gathering of the information have said that the terrorists are planning a Mumbai-like attack in a major city in Germany or France or other major European cosmopolitan center.

The reality is that this threat has been building for some time - now it appears that all the pieces of their terrorist puzzle are coming together.

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