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Iran Must Decide about Syria
By Micah Halpern

Monday July 16, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Iran is facing a real dilemma. They must decide what to do in Syria.

The civil war in Syria, is drawing to an end. Bashar Assad is clearly in power and Iran's role in Syria is going to have to change.

Russia does not want the Iranians in Syria, mostly because Iran complicates their role own in Syria. Russia wants every power out of Syria except for Hezbollah and Russia.

Iran needs to calculate whether there is a positive role for them to play in Syria. Most analysts would say Iran is no longer helpful in Syria, so they should leave. But Iran has no interest in giving up any power or influence.

Iran has asserted that the only way they would even consider leaving Syria is if Assad asked them to leave. That would happen only if Russia demands that Assad make the request and make it both publicly and privately.

If Iran retreats from Syria it will draw down tensions and make for a safer region.

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China Wants to Help in the MidEast
By Micah Halpern

Friday July 13, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

China has decided to up its game in the Middle East.

President Xi of China has announced that the Chinese will increase their role in the Palestinian/Israeli peace process and in the rest of the Middle East.

It begins with China's pledge of 100 million yuan to the Palestinians. 100 million yuan is equivalent to only $15 million. For China, that's chump change.

China has also committed to partnering with the Arab League to advance peace.

In the end, this is simply a gesture.
China is not really serious about playing a central role in the Middle East.

If they were serious they would give at least $150 million, ten times their current pledge, to the Palestinians.

The ultimate goal of China is to try to oust the United States from any role in the Middle East. In that, China will fail.

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Bibi Meets Putin in Moscow Before World Cup
By Micah Halpern

Thursday July 12, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin just before the World Cup semi-final which was played in Moscow.

Putin invited many world leaders to the July 15th World Cup finals. Netanyahu countered and asked to meet and watch the semi-finals instead.

It was a perfect maneuver. It gave Netanyahu and Putin time alone without pressure.

The most crucial part of the meeting was Israel telling Russia that they will not tolerate any violation of the Golan Heights buffer zone that separates Israel and Syria.

Israel will attack any force that approaches the area - no matter if they hail from Iran, Syria or Lebanon.

The message was transmitted and it was received.

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Iran Emptying Accounts for Cash
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday July 11, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Iran is emptying accounts in Germany. They are trying to bring back as many dollars and Euros as possible before the US sanctions kick in.

At least 300 million Euros, which is equivalent to $350 million, have been transferred from Germany to Iran over the past few weeks.

On the one hand, Iran is doing everything they can to insulate themselves against US sanctions that kick in August and then in November.

On the other hand, Iran is counting on President Trump to keep on tweeting.
The more the US president tweets, the higher the price of oil soars.

Iran is a nuclear leader. The idea is to try to tamp them down. It's not going so well.

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China Blocking US Oil
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday July 10, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

In an act of defiance, an independent Chinese oil refinery has suspended all US oil imports and replaced them with Iranian oil.

The company, Dongming Petro-Chemical Company, is just one company in what appears to be a pre-emptive Chinese strike against the United States.

The Chinese are also planning to charge a 25% tariff on US oil imports into China.

China currently imports 400,000 barrels of US crude oil per day. The additional tariff coupled with the suspension of importing US crude oil will have a huge impact on the price of US oil and gasoline.

Analysts speculate that China will drop almost all US oil supplies. China will make up the loss in their oil supply by importing from West Africa and the Middle East.

Never forget that China is the largest consumer of oil in the world. The Chinese are the most important oil market in the world. If the United States is frozen out of that market it will have a catastrophic impact on the oil market.

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