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Ayatollah Unseen For 3 Weeks
By Micah Halpern

Friday November 1, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

When a leader like Iran's Grand Ayatollah Khamenei does not appear in public for three weeks, and when there are press reports that he collapsed in a meeting and was taken to the hospital, the intelligence community starts making all kinds of assumptions and conjectures.

It has been three weeks since the leader of Iran has been seen in public and it is assumed that he is recovering from some health issue. We in the West do not know what might have caused the Grand Ayatollah to collapse.

Khamenei has been in power since 1989. He is only 74, but if he can no longer serve there will be serious upheaval in Iran.

The man most likely to succeed Khamenei would be Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the fourth president of Iran, from 1989 to 1997.
Rafsanjani is believed to be a reformer and as such, he could really create change. He is extremely well qualified to be the Grand Leader, actually more qualified than Khamenei in terms of his level of learning and academic standing.

I am not about to speculate. In all likelihood the Ayatollah is not going anywhere. But the end of the rule of the Grand Ayatollah Khamenei will come eventually and when it does, it will be very interesting to see how things shake and rattle and are then resolved in Iran.

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Internal Conflicts In Egypt
By Micah Halpern

Thursday October 31, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

I think that it essential to critically observe the moves and changes in Egypt, the situation is not static. Changes are happening and tensions between political parties are emerging.

The army is arresting leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. They are clamping down on the all aspects of Brotherhood activity.

The judges hearing a case against the Muslim Brotherhood leadership resigned. They resigned because the accused were not permitted to attend their trial.

This move was a direct attack against the military leadership. The judges were not taking a side - they simply said that the accused must be present to have a fair trial.

I project that the right of the accused to witness and participate in their defense will be part of the Egyptian legal process from yesterday on forward.

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Gaza Resumes Rocket Attacks
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday October 30, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Over the past few days Israel has repositioned even more Iron Dome batteries at their southern border, near the Gaza border.

The Iron Dome is an anti-missile weapon that intercepts incoming projectiles and it has an extremely high rate of success. Just yesterday two rockets were shot from Gaza into Israel. One was intercepted and the second rocket landed in the Mediterranean Sea.

Gaza has started acting up again. Israel has already struck at one source of their launchers. They clearly believe that more rockets will be shot into Israel in the near future. Relocating the Iron Dome is a wise and effective defense against the missiles.

It also sends a message to Israelis. It tells Israeli residents in the region that the state is upping their security. And it clearly tells the terrorists of Gaza that if the situation escalates Israel is prepared to escalate, too.

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Hackers Hit Obama Twitter Account
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday October 29, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

The Syrian Electronic Army has struck again. They hacked a twitter account belonging to the US President Obama's non for profit.

They tweeted, "Obama does not have any ethical issues with spying on the world, so we took it upon ourselves to return the favor."

The SEA is a hacking group that defends Bashar Assad of Syria. They have hacked into The NYTimes and into Reuters. They hacked AP and placed news items and attributed quotes to Obama.

They specialize in hacking social media.

The twitter account they hacked is not a central part of the president's message. It is not regularly used, but it was an important vehicle during the campaign.

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Just Shocked by Straw
By Micah Halpern

Monday October 28, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Shocking. That's the only way I can describe my reaction to reports about comments made by former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Straw actually said that "unlimited Jewish money" in the United States was an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians.

His message did not stop there. Straw continued by saying that another obstacle was Germany's official "obsession" with Israel - to use his terminology, Germany had an obsession with defending Israel.

This, too, is a form of anti-Semitism.

Jack Straw is suggesting that because of their guilt over the Holocaust, Germany cannot see the current political landscape clearly. His charge is that German guilt clouds their vision and forces them to defend Israel in unparalleled ways.

Straw was the British foreign secretary from 2001 to 2006, under Tony Blair. The Blair government was believed to be a friend of Israel and friendly to Jews in England and around the world.

Was that merely a well constructed fa├žade? And where and how does Straw arrive at this warped conclusion?

Shame on you Jack Straw.

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Justice in Egypt
By Micah Halpern

Sunday October 27, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

We need to keep an eye on Egypt.

The current government ousted President Morsi, a democratically elected leader. They ousted Morsi in order to preserve democracy. Now the ruling military and the interim government are en route to elections and the re-establishment of democratic leadership.

That is a tough road. They have come close to the fine line and sometimes even crossed it - clamping down on anti-democratic forces like the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups who challenged their leadership and threatened to overthrow them.

And they charged former UN nuclear chief inspector for the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) with betrayal. Mohamed El Baradei resigned from the new government after he saw the brutality of the army on the streets. He left the country but was charged with betrayal. The reason they gave for the charge was that he assumed a position and then stepped down.

Yesterday the court threw out the charges against El Baradei. The court said that there was no case. That is essential to understanding the new, new Egypt.

It shows that in the transition the judicial and democratic process is working. It would have been typical and scary had he been convicted, especially in absentia.

There is still hope for Egypt.

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Jews Fleeing Turkey
By Micah Halpern

Saturday October 26, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

There are 15,000 Jews living in Turkey.

There has been a long history of symbiosis for Jews in Turkey. The Jewish population has worked well with Turkish Muslims and Turkish Muslims have world well with Turkish Jews.

However, during the past few years, that very close and wonderful working and living relationship has begun to dissemble. The Jews of Turkey are now describing a very different political, cultural and religious climate. They describe an increase in anti-Semitism and are saying that socially, they are shunned.

Young Jews are leaving Turkey. Almost everyone wants to go the United States. If they cannot get to the US they go to Canada, Europe, Australia and Israel.

These young people complain that in Turkey Israel is always the topic of conversation and that there is tremendous pressure to critique Israel. The Jewish community is seen as local representatives of Israel and they say that they are targeted socially and physically.

The young people of Turkey are fleeing for more comfortable shores.

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Israel Gives Dead Terrorists
By Micah Halpern

Friday October 25, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Israel is preparing to transfer the bodies of 36 terrorists to the Palestinians. The families of the terrorists were told to assemble at check points on November 5 and November 7 to receive the coffins.

These terrorist were mass murderers some were even suicide bombers. They include the suicide bomber that murdered 15 in Jerusalem at the Sbarro pizza parlor in 2002 and the terrorist who murdered 17 in a restaurant in Haifa in 2002.

This exchange follows the transfer last year of the bodies of 91 terrorists - 79 to the West Bank and 12 to Gaza.

Family members of the victims are up in arms. There has been no official message from the government. The only way we have even this much information is from the Palestinian families of the terrorists.

Several months ago I wrote about this eventuality because the issue came before the Israeli Supreme Court. They needed to rule on the legality of the transfer and I noticed that the issue was on the docket.

The big question is this: What does Israel gain by transferring these bodies. Many families of victims fear that because the process has been so secretive it may just be a gesture to the Palestinians. And that they find insulting.

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Near Al Qaeda Jail Break
By Micah Halpern

Thursday October 24, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday in Sanaa, Yemen 300 Al Qaeda prisoners attempted to break out of prison. They nearly succeeded.

An official described the jail break this way: "almost 300 al-Qaeda prisoners, armed with knives and iron bars, attacked prison guards, injuring some of them."

But the guards and reinforcements arrived in time and prevented the 300 al Qaeda terrorist from breaking out and rejoining their networks.

Yemen is now the world center for al Qaeda.

The Yemeni government is teaming with the United States and other Western and Arab countries to combat the vicious spread of al Qaeda.

Prison breaks are relatively common. Until recently, this break might have been successful. But now Yemen is far better organized - they are fighting back and they are controlling al Qaeda.

Good for Yemen. Good for us all.

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Abbas Will Blame Israel
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday October 23, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Palestinians President Abbas was in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania yesterday. At a press conference he spoke about the new negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

He said Israel is at fault if the negotiations fail. They are at fault simply because of the current situation.

"And if they (the negotiations) fail, they (the Israelis) will be the reason for this failure, not us," the Palestinian president said.

"They do not have the right to stay on our land after the signing of the peace treaty," Abbas said.

"They don't have the right to stay in our territories after we signed a peace treaty," he noted, stressing that he accepts a future demilitarized Palestinian state.

"We want, according to the Oslo Accords, a strong police force. This is exactly what we want, how we understand, how they understand, how the Americans understand it."

No surprises. Israel is always at fault.

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Local Elections in Israel
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday October 22, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Municipal elections are taking place throughout Israel today.

There are 8,051,200 citizens in Israel. 5,469,041 are eligible to vote in the elections. They are voting in 191 municipalities in 8,771 polling stations.

The largest election is in Jerusalem. Of the 890,428 citizens of Jerusalem 576, 408 are eligible to vote. Jerusalem is divided into three relatively equal groups: secular, religious and Arab.

The Arab population of Jerusalem has almost entirely decided to boycott the elections. There is an Arab candidate but had the Arabs of Jerusalem come out to vote for that candidate they could really have re-shaped the city council and the mayor's office. But they choose to boycott instead.

While from the political point of view this is not very wise, it is certainly very telling.

Notice it does not matter to me who is running - rather who is voting.

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Syria Peace Conf Nov 23
By Micah Halpern

Monday October 21, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday, Nabil Elaraby, the head of the Arab League, announced that peace talks to resolve the conflict in Syria will take place on November 23 in Geneva.

Elaraby held a press conference in Cairo after meeting with the international envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi. He said: "I discussed the Syria file with Lakhdar Brahimi and it was decided that the Geneva meeting would take place on November 23 and arrangements are being made to prepare for this conference."

Not surprisingly, at the same news conference, during his statement, Brahimi said: "The date has not been officially set."

But we assume that the date is November 23 and the place will be Geneva.

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Egypt Arrests 400 Terrorists
By Micah Halpern

Sunday October 20, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Sky News in Arabic reported a huge story yesterday. Huge.

According to the station which is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, over the past few weeks Egypt has arrested 400 people in the Sinai. Of the 400, 100 were Palestinians.

All 400 were terrorists. All were part of organized terror cells.

There was also a quote from an Egyptian army source saying that Egypt has successfully discovered and destroyed 97% of the tunnels that cross between Egypt and Gaza.

This is s very important move in securing and maintaining safety in Egypt, as well as in the region.

Sky News in Arabic is an extremely reliable source. Launched in 2010 they partner with Bloomberg and with English language Sky based in London. Rupert Murdoch's News Data is their second largest shareholder.

Sky News in Arabic wants to directly compete with Al Jazeera. This kind of news coverage shows their style and their potential.

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Saudi Arabia & the Secuirty Council
By Micah Halpern

Saturday October 19, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Thursday was a day of change and rotation in the Security Council
Saudi Arabia, Chad, Nigeria, Chile and Lithuania were elected by the UN General Assembly to sit on the Security Council. They will each serve a two-year term.

These five newly elected countries enter the fifteen member body replacing Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo who are all bowing out.

It remains to be seen how each of these counties will stand on the major issues placed before the Security Council. The real questions will revolve around their stands on Syria, on Iran and on other issues important to the West.

We know where Saudi Arabia stands, that is obvious. But Saudi Arabia declined and will not sit on the Security Council because they feel it is ineffective.

It is the other countries that still need to be evaluated. We still do not know what they have to say and how they will vote. We will, soon enough.

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Update
By Micah Halpern

Saudi Arabia announced that they are declining the UN Security Council seat.
Their website explains the decision saying that the Security Council is incapable of achieving peace in needy regions.



What is Happening in Syria
By Micah Halpern

Thursday October 17, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

What is happening in Syria?

Yesterday several dozen rebel groups in southern Syria announced that they will no longer unite under the leadership of the rebels in Turkey.

The Syrian National Coalition, which is the political arm of the Free Syrian Army rebel group, is headquartered in Turkey.

Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria there has been a lack of leadership. Those in exile spoke as if they were in charge. But as time passed, it became clear that really no one was in charge. Certainly not some group outside.

The Syrian National Coalition had neither real contact nor control over the rebels.

So now there is an official split between the leadership outside and the rebels inside Syria.

Until this official break there was, at least, the illusion of a link with Western powers that could help the rebels with humanitarian aid - and the Syrian National Coalition would try to smuggle that aid into Syria. All of that, pretense and reality, is now gone.

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The Assad's Try to Look Normal
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday October 16, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Asma, the wife of Syrian President Bashar Assad, appeared on Syrian TV yesterday to announce that she was in Syria - not hiding in Russia or London, her former hometown.

There have been rumors that the First Lady of Syria abandoned the greater family and took her three children, Hafez, Zein and Karim, to a safer place.

"I'm here, my husband and my children are in Syria ... I'm here today and I will be tomorrow," she said, interviewed by Syrian television.

At the same time Assad himself went to a mosque in Damascus to celebrate the holiday known as Eid or Eid al Adha. The Eid is the celebration of the near sacrifice of Ishmael by Abraham. It is the exact story of Isaac with son Ishmael replacing son Isaac. The celebration of the act of sacrifice is one of the holiest days in Islam.

The Assad family is trying to look normal. Bashar and Asma are trying to show that despite the crisis and the bloody civil war they are doing things that every other Muslim does during the Eid.

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2 Turks Do the Unthinkable
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday October 15, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Two Turkish students were arrested and charged in Poland for promoting racist propaganda. If convicted, they could serve up to three years in prison.

The deed was actually far more heinous than simply spreading a racist lie or slander.

These two Turks were in Majdanek Death Camp, located just outside of the city of Lublin. Majdanek was a horrific place. It was a murder factory.

The two Turkish students in question stood in front of a group of Israelis visiting Majdanek, saluted with the Nazi sign and shouted Heil Hitler.

The students engaged in this inappropriate and unacceptable behavior at the far end of the camp where a huge pile of ashes sits next to the crematorium and the murder pits. They desecrated the memory of Jews murdered in Majdanek as they stood alongside the ashes of nearly 100,000 victims, mostly Jewish, that are placed in a mound and partially covered.

This is not simply a joke which is what the Turkish students claim.
This is a desecration.

Shame on them.

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US F-35 w Israeli Helmet
By Micah Halpern

Monday October 14, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Israel will be making the helmet for the new F- 35 fighter jet. The F-35 is the most advanced and most modern jet in the United States arsenal. The Israeli company Elbit developed the design for the helmet in conjunction with the US company American Rockwell.

The United States is scrapping the original design for the helmet which has been used until now and replacing it with the
Elbit/American Rockwell design. This new helmet is not simply a safety hat. It is actually a Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS). Everything, including the entire cockpit and the camera showing the undercarriage of the plane, is displayed in the visor of the helmet.

This is a huge coup for Israel. Israel ordered 19 of the F-35's and the HMDS helmet will be standard on all the jets - even those sent to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

4,000 helmets are set to be manufactured.

Last week, during his visit to the United States, Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon visited the production plant in Texas where the F-35 is manufactured.

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What's Happening in Syria
By Micah Halpern

Sunday October 13, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Many things happen at the same time in the Middle East. Some are good and some are devastating and they can happen only a few miles away from one another.

The danger in analysis is that often we look at one item only, not the total picture and so we do not get a realistic understanding of the situation.
Syria is under crisis.

Then things began to look better. A second chemical team has entered to dismantle the weapons. The international committee that monitors chemical weapons won the Nobel Peace Prize. These are all good signs.

But --- at the same time, there was a horrific massacre by the rebels of Assad supporters killing nearly 190 people and capturing over 200 more. 79 people were shot in the back of the head, the others at close range.

And then --- there was an air strike against a rebel group that killed 11 civilians. In a separate video, a group of rejoicing rebels stop a van, drag out the wounded and execute them.

And now, once again --- the rebels are fighting one another in Aleppo. For four days they have been pitched in battle, Islamists against non-Islamists. Even the leaders of al Qaeda have appeal to them to stop, and yet, they continue.

For lack of a better term there is anarchy in Syria.
And yes, things in Syria are better.

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Hajj Alert
By Micah Halpern

Saturday October 12, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam. It is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, it includes Tawaf, which is the encircling of the Kaaba, the huge black rock.

Every year millions of Muslims from all over the world come to Mecca to celebrate, or as some say, to perform the Hajj which begins this year on October 13. And every year Saudi Arabia warns pilgrims not to use the event for political purposes.

Saudi Arabia is concerned - especially this year.

The Saudis have warned the Muslim Brotherhood not to disturb the peace of the Hajj. They have banned the "four finger banner" and any signs connected to Rabba which means "four" in Arabic.

Rabba, as a slogan and movement, originates with four people killed in a protest in a square, which has four sides (and is called rabba in Arabic) outside a Cairo mosque called the Rabbah Al Adwiyah Mosque.

The word four and the raising of four fingers have replaced the "V for Victory" among many protestors in the Islamic world over the past few months.

There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia is correct to fear that the
Muslim Brotherhood is planning something. 95,000 security personnel have been positioned throughout Mecca and an additional 40,000 have been recruited and trained over the past few weeks - all in order to maintain law and order.

But that will not stop the Brotherhood. I expect trouble.

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Iran's Gestures
By Micah Halpern

Friday October 11, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Iran continues to make gestures ahead of next week's meeting in Geneva with the leaders of the Western world.

In one major concession cum gesture, the Iranians have cancelled their annual New Horizon Conference, also known as the Holocaust Denial Conference. The conference was scheduled for next month and among the 63 foreign guests expected to attend was David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

The British newspaper The Telegraph reported the cancellation on Thursday.

This conference was a central feature in the foreign policy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It was one of those dramatic moments of the Iranian diplomatic year, one in which people made the most outrageous announcements about the West and about the Holocaust.

Even if nothing comes from next week's meeting with Iran, cancelling The New Horizon Conference is a big positive.

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Irans Strategy on Next Wk's Talks
By Micah Halpern

Thursday October 10, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Next week in Geneva (on October 15th and 16th) a conference will take place between Iran and the world powers about the current nuclear impasse.

In discussing the matter, the Iranian speaker of the parliament, who is also their former nuclear negotiator, gave a recipe for predicting the success or failure of the meetings.

Ali Larijani said that for the meeting to succeed the focus must not be on what Iran must do and what will happen if they do not do.

Rather, he said, the focus of the meeting should be different. From Iran's point of view "It mostly concerns building confidence rather than a commercial give-and-take."

Confidence building means that the world powers must stop threatening Iran. It means that instead of threatening, they must create a situation in which Iran is a participant in the dialogue and that the dialogue must lend the Iranians proper respect.

The problem with this Iranian point of view is that by placing Iran in this new position it almost certainly means relaxing sanctions against Iran. And that means that the Iranians have won.

And that means that the West will have lost all leverage.

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Iran Sits on UN Arms & Security Cmts
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday October 9, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Israel has officially condemned a decision by the United Nations to appoint Iran to a special committee.

The committee will oversee disarmament and international security issues.

Israel asserts that the entire escapade is a charade. How, Israel asks, can they place a country on a committee to supervise arms and security when that country has been censured by the Security Council for violating fundamental international laws regarding international arms and world security?!

This entire episode calls into question the credibility of the UN.
How could they make such a foolish, foolhardy decision? The answer is simple ... they are foolish and foolhardy.

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Iran Demands Right to Enrich
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday October 8, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Guess what?

Iran is demanding the right to enrich uranium.

Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammed Javad Zarif made the announcement yesterday in a meeting with the deputy foreign minister of Switzerland who was in Iran on a visit.

"The mastery of civil nuclear technology, including the enrichment of uranium, on Iranian soil is the absolute right of Iran."

This really should not surprise anyone.

Of course Iran wants to control every aspect of their nuclear development program. And if Iran can control the enrichment part, they can control when and if they can make a bomb.

The foreign minister also reiterated a point that has been made over and over again. He said: "The events of recent years have shown that the approach of threats and sanctions have not ensured the interests and objectives of the other party, and the continuation of this approach is the repetition of past mistakes which cannot prevent Iran from mastering civilian nuclear technology."

This really means to say that, whatever the West thinks, Iran will do as Iran sees fit to do.

And that should not surprise anyone, either.

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In 1965 Koufax Made a Decision
By Micah Halpern

Monday October 7, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday I spent a lot of time thinking about what happened on October 6, 1965. It was a Wednesday. I do not remember that day, but I know it is a day that shaped history.

It was the first day of the World Series between the Minnesota Twins and the LA Dodgers.

It was also Yom Kippur. And because it was Yom Kippur, Sandy Koufax the kid who made it from 48th Street in Boro Park, Brooklyn to the big leagues, said that he would not pitch in the opening game of the
World Series.

The decision was one which would shape the lives of millions of people - Jews and non-Jews alike. The press was stunned. How could Koufax choose not to play in the most important game of his life?

The answer was simple. Some things are more important than others.
More important, even, than baseball. It was more important to Koufax that he stand by his faith than by his team on that one day.
For him, tradition was important.

Sandy Koufax was not a religious man, he was a deeply Jewish man.
And for him, that meant Yom Kippur was more important than the first game of the World Series.

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Starting to Dismantle Syrian Weapons
By Micah Halpern

Sunday October 6, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

The plan to destroy the Syrian arsenal of chemical weapons is up and functioning. In Syria today, the UN together with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) began the slow process of destroying those chemicals which are part of the Syrian weapons depots.

While the OPCW is not a UN organization, it does work closely with the organization. The objective of the OPCW is to observe and supervise the Chemical Weapons Treaty which was signed by 190 member nations.

The task will be enormous.

Also on Sunday Moshe Yaalon, Israeli minister of defense, departs for the United States where he will meet with US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Yaalon will also meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Jewish leaders and congressional leadership.

There is no doubt about what the talking points in these meetings will be. Iran, Iran, Iran, some Syria, Iran and then a little bit of Egypt and the rest of the region. The United States will try to push the Palestinian issue onto the agenda.

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Break Down in Syria
By Micah Halpern

Saturday October 5, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Hezbollah has pulled out of Syria.

Last month there were as many as 10,000 Hezbollah fighters in Syria. Today there are about 1,500.

Hezbollah succeeded in turning the tide in Syria, they successfully helped secure Bashar Assad's position. Now that there is a risk to the Assad forces and there is almost certainty that a lot of world attention will be placed on them, Hezbollah has returned home.

At the same time, rebel forces in Syria are once again fighting one another. Over the past few days major armed battles have flared up between al Qaeda rebels and non-al Qaeda rebels.

These battles between rebel forces will continue. They will probably end up being one of the most compelling reasons for the failure of the rebels in their attempt to topple and oust the Assad regime.

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Bibi Speaks in Pesian
By Micah Halpern

Friday October 4, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

I just watched Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's interview for BBC Persian.

The claim is that they have 12 million viewers. Almost all of them are ex-patriots, but some people may be able to watch in Iran by gaming and hacking around the blocks that Iran has placed on the station.

Netanyahu quoted from Iranian President Rouhani's book. He said that he had it translated so that he would get a good understanding of what the Iranian president had written.

Bibi furthered the theme that he developed during his address before the General Assembly on Monday. He said that we are not "sadaeh lo," that is the Persian term for easily duped or suckers.

He said called the comments of the Iranian president were "harf e putch" which means sheer nonsense.

The interview was a tremendous success wherever it was seen. It was also historic. It is the first time an Israeli prime minister has ever done an interview with a Persian station outside of Israel.

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Iran's Cyber War Chief is Assassinated
By Micah Halpern

Thursday October 3, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

It seems that Iran's Head of Cyber Warfare was assassinated over the weekend.

Majtaba Ahmadi was found in a wooded area with two pistol shots to his chest. The shots were fired ad point blank range. It is almost certain that he was assassinated.

Since 2007 at least five Iranian weapons scientists have been assassinated. Iran blames the Israeli Mossad for the killings.

Up until now the victims have all been scientists working on nuclear systems or other advanced weapons system.

Ahmadi was the head of a weapon and defense system, but not in the conventional style. His was a very important position. He was responsible for attack strategies against Israel and against the West.

So although he was not a scientist in the conventional sense, Ahmadi was in an even more significant position and posed a greater risk to the Western world than others who were previously targeted.

Like with the other targeted assassinations, I do not think any more information will be forthcoming.

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Bibi @ THe UN
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday October 2, 2013

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday was a significant day for many Middle East countries.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the United Nations General Assembly in the afternoon. Using his speech as a means of communication with those countries with which Israel has no direct communication, Netanyahu sent out several messages.

The message sent to Iran was that Israel and, by extension, the Western world will not tolerate nuclear weapons. Netanyahu called on the West to keep up sanctions against Iran. Continued sanctions, he said, are important because Iran responds to those sanctions.

Meanwhile, in Syria the number of victims of the civil war reached a new threshold yesterday. 115,000 Syrians have lost their lives in this conflict.

And in the month of September 1000 lives were lost due to conflict in Iraq. The count continues.

In Egypt yesterday what was supposed to have been a massive protest was held. The demonstrators were there to protest against the new government that has ousted the democratically elected former president Mohammed Morsi. The protest drew only a depressing 100 people.

All in one day in the Middle East.

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