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Israel Gives Land back to Jordan
By Micah Halpern

Sunday November 10, 2019

I've Been Thinking:

Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty on October 26, 1994.
The signing took place "somewhere: in the Arava Desert. I was there. It was historic and it was emotional.

Now, twenty-five years later, Jordan is walking back two elements in the treaty. The Jordanians are not breaking the treaty, provisions to reclaim certain areas were included in the original document and the Jordanians have decided to exercise that option.

# 1: Naharayim
Naharayim is an island, it is where the Yarmuk and Jordan rivers merge. The spot is a very important fresh water pumping and control station for the entire Jordan valley. Parenthetically, it is also the site where in 1997, a terrible massacre took place and seven Israeli high school girls were gunned down by a Jordanian soldier.

# 2: Tzofar
Tzofar is a plot of land in the Arava. Once dry and barren, thanks to Israeli care and agricultural science, it is now cultivated and flourishing.
Both areas are reverting back to Jordan. The government of Jordan put forth the requests a year ago as clearly articulated in the 1994 peace agreement.

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Pompeo At Shul
By Micah Halpern

Friday November 8, 2019

I've Been Thinking:

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the synagogue in Halle, Germany where last month a man threw bombs and shot people outside their synagogue. A Jewish massacre in the synagogue was averted only because those already inside the synagogue for prayers locked themselves in.

Secretary Pompeo wanted to take a stand against anti-Semitism. He also urged others to fight against anti-Semitism.

The secretary of state said, "Anti-Semitism is not just limited to certain places. We can find it everywhere… like in Pittsburgh. We must work together against this vicious attack on religious freedom.”

Pompeo is more than correct to fight anti-Semitism. Where he misses the point, however, is that hatred is not about religion and the practice of Judaism – the problem anti-Semites have is not universal hatred against religion, their problem is with Jews.

Anti-Semites have no problem with Judaism.

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Saudis Spy Using Twitter
By Micah Halpern

Thursday November 7, 2019

I've Been Thinking:

According to charges filed in San Francisco, Saudi Arabia is directly connected to spying on Twitter users in America between May 21, 2015 and November 18, 2018. Two dual citizens of the United States and Saudi Arabia and one Saudi national were charged with accessing Twitter details and delivering the data to the Saudis.

The case is shocking.

Two Twitter employees and one handler were responsible for collecting the data of 6,000 critics of the Saudi regime. Not just their names, and usernames - they also accessed the meta data, the material that can show the geographic location of the user.

They did it In exchange for money and gifts.

Ahmad Abouammo, one of the dual citizens, was a media partnership manager at Twitter. He received $300,000 and a $20,000 Hubolt watch, paid by an unnamed person referred to as Saudi National -1.

Ali Alzabarah, the second Saudi/US dual citizen worked at Twitter as a site reliability engineer. He was confronted for accessing private Twitter info which was outside his job responsibilities. The next day he resigned by sending an email from a plane. He was on his way back to Saudi Arabia with his handler.
With the info gained from these spies the Saudi government boldly put in a request to Twitter for information on 33 Twitter usernames in what they called an "emergency disclosure".

Twitter admits that the nature of the industry creates "bad actors" who will try to undermine its service and that the company "limits access to sensitive account information to a limited group of trained and vetted employees."

The company statement read: "We understand the incredible risks faced by many who use Twitter to share their perspectives with the world and to hold those in power accountable ... We have tools in place to protect their privacy and their ability to do their vital work."

This entire episode is very troubling. The redeeming point is that the Saudis were charged and that the government was named.

If you remember, the 9-11 hijackers were Saudis. Mysteriously, despite the fact that all flights in the US were grounded, private Saudi planes flew returning many Saudi nationals to the kingdom. The United States has and continues to block any move to investigate how the Saudis were involved.

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Putin Invests in Libya
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday November 6, 2019

I've Been Thinking:

You probably don't know this, most people don't, but Libya has been enveloped by a civil war. As a land mass, Libya is enormous, it is three times the size of Texas. It is the Tobruk aka the House of Representatives versus the General National Congress. It may sound purely political, but this is true military warfare.

Who does know about it? Vladimir Putin, for sure.

For years the Russians have been investing money and weapons in order to sway the outcome of the conflict. They are rooting for and supporting the Tobruk. Now -- and I mean right now -- Russia has put specialists with experience on the ground in Libya.

The numbers are, of course, unclear. This is Russia we are dealing with. But we do know that there are dozens of Russian snipers, Russian hardware and at least 200 Russian soldiers. Russian weaponry includes guided missiles and fighter jets. And there are many, many Russian mercenaries. These mercenaries function as a private Russian army and they are extremely useful. Because they are not soldiers, the mercenaries are unshackled and can do things an army cannot do.

Hundreds of drones are being used and they are all operated by people with great experience in civil wars. The Russian soldiers and the mercenaries all came to this war with vast experience gained in Syria.

What is the reason for Russia's interest in Libya? The answer has three letters. O-I-L.

The reserves are immense. Despite the internal conflict, Libya is still pumping 1.3 million barrels of oil per day.

Libya is so close to Europe that it is very important to secure those oil fields.
Moving the oil via pipeline or tanker is simple. Libya sits only 300 miles off the coast of Italy. That means that Libya is a valuable asset to acquire.

Russia knows it. Putin has his eye on the money and the oil. In Libya he can get both for a very tiny investment.

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Iran Breaks Nuke Ceiling
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday November 5, 2019

I've Been Thinking:

Iran has announced the third stage of their reaction to the pullout by the United States from the - now infamous - Nuke Deal of 2015.
In September the Iranians declared that stage three was in the works and on Monday, as promised, the announcement was made.
Iran is now producing more than the 5,000 rods of uranium way beyond what was agreed upon in the Deal. Until now, the Iranians were using old IR centrifuges, now they are using newer and better IR-6 centrifuges. They are enriching their uranium ten times faster than stipulated in the agreement and ten times faster than what they were enriching in September.
The announcement was made on Iranian TV.
Ali Akbar Salehi, Vice President of the Islamic Republic and Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency made the announcement. Salehi also said that Iran was working on IR-9 centrifuges which will be able to enrich fifty times faster than the IR-1.
The Iranians are public relations whizzes. They chose to release their information on TV, rather than at a press conference, to show the Iranian masses that Iran is snubbing its nose at the West, in particular, at the United States.

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Iran To Re-Build Syrian Electricity
By Micah Halpern

Monday November 4, 2019

I've Been Thinking:

Syria and Iran just signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

Iran agrees to rebuild Syria’s electricity infrastructure. Iran agrees to rebuild Syria’s power plant transmission line. Most importantly, Iran agrees to link their electric grid with Syria’s electric grid.

Syria has been isolated by the Western world. Russia and China have not come forward to rebuild the Syrian electricity infrastructure – Iran has.

This link between Syria and Iran demonstrates a deep interaction between the two states. They are linked by mutual interests and by mutual gains and more than that, they are linked because they share mutual enemies.

Iran and Syria need one another.

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They Still Blame Israel
By Micah Halpern

Thursday November 1, 2019

I've Been Thinking:

President Bashar Assad claims that the protests in Lebanon and in Iraq as well the civil war that has ripped his country apart for the last eight years are all the fault of Israel and the United States. The Syrian president said that all these events are “tools serving Israel directly or through the Americans”.

He said “this is self-evident. Even if we do not discuss it, it is one of our national givens in Syria.”

Iran has joined the chorus. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif is also claiming that the protests in Lebanon and Iraq are sponsored by Israel.

Of course, this is totally absurd.

The blame Israel game is an old story. Blaming Israel for all things gone wrong is a historic tradition that has enveloped the Middle East.

These voices are becoming stronger. But so are the voices of other Middle East countries willing to break down traditional views of Israel and move closer and closer towards normalization.

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