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Hamas Defeats Fatah in University Election
By Micah Halpern

Thursday April 28, 2016

I've Been Thinking:

Over the past few months there have been many surveys of Palestinian attitudes. Some of the results have been surprising, some have supported conventional wisdom.

Conventional wisdom says to follow student body elections at universities in the West Bank and Gaza. If nothing else, you get a sense of the educated elite’s point of view and you may get a picture of the direction of future Palestinian leadership. This, however, is a problematic barometer as the election results have swung back and forth from year to year.

That said, Bir Zeit University just trounced Fatah and elected Hamas. Bir Zeit is by far the best name in Palestinian higher education. It is located in Ramallah and offers a full array of subjects. For students staying closing to home, it is the most respected of all Palestinian institutions of higher learning.

So the swing to Hamas - and away from the mainstream Fatah party that rules and controls the West Bank and the PA, is significant. It indicates that Abbas and his party have lost the faith of Palestinian youth.

How significant is it? I do not know, but that election is as telling as any other survey or any other student election.


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Saudis Testing the Waters
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday April 27, 2016

I've Been Thinking:

Testing the waters. That's when leaders send out a message and see how it is received.

Saudi Arabia is testing the waters about diplomatic relations with Israel.

Retired Saudi General Anwar Eshki, who was a significant power and influence in Saudi strategic decision making, made an announcement that if Israel accepts Saudi Arabia's peace plan, Saudi Arabia will begin building an embassy in Tel Aviv.

Eshki, who was quoted in an extensive interview in Al Jazera, is a very high level source. He is trying to figure out if it is worthwhile to have diplomatic ties with Israel and what the blow back is going to be if Saudi Arabia normalizes relations with Israel.

The answer is pretty clear. And it seems that the Saudis are interested in floating the idea.

So far there has been no negative feedback. But it only became public a few minutes ago.


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ISIS Cyber Threat
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday April 26, 2016

I've Been Thinking:

Over 2/3 of tech professionals surveyed said that they believe there will a cataclysmic cyber attack against the United States within the next two years.

Over 90% of those surveyed think that private companies and government agencies should invest more money and effort protecting themselves.

In addition, the tech professionals believe that companies and corporations are more likely to be attacked and are more vulnerable to a cyber attack than government.

This is not good news.

ISIS and other terror groups are getting better at hiding themselves and their activity. It should be clear that terror groups are recruiting computer experts who can hack and attack and their attacks can be not only irritating, but far reaching and dangerous.

An attack against the electric center or water distribution source of large or even small cities would create mass hysteria.

Attacks are just a question of time. The United States must prepare itself. They need to be able to both defend themselves and respond and repair the damage immediately.

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MidEast Oil Losses 1/2 $Trillion
By Micah Halpern

Monday April 25, 2016

I've Been Thinking:

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised its assessment of Mideast oil production profits and losses.
The IMF is an international agency whose objective is to stimulate international economic growth. The IMF loans money and directs money. Its' assessments on profits and losses is essential in plotting and anticipating investments.

Originally the IMF said that gulf oil exports should anticipate a $360 billion drop in profits. They have revised that number to $390 billion.

In addition, the IMF is predicting a half trillion dollar reduction of profits for next year.

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US ISIS Terrorists
By Micah Halpern

Saturday April 23, 2016

I've Been Thinking:

Terror is in our midst --- here in the US. Not a group of crazies, but real dedicated ISIS players who swear their support to abu Bakr Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.

Yesterday two men in Boston had additional charges added to the original charges against them for attempting to decapitate police officers. The added charges were terror charges.

They were plotting to decapitate police in the name of ISIS. The two, David Wright and Nicholas Rovinski, are now in prison.

While in prison Rovinski is recruiting for ISIS. He is continuing to try and convince his fellow inmates to decapitate non-believing inmates and then, when they get out of prison, to decapitate other non-believers. Rovinski is so committed to ISIS that he scribbled a pledge to support ISIS and Baghdadi on his charge sheet.

Funny thing is that both Rovinski and Wright pleaded not guilty to the charges -- despite the written pledge.

Obviously, ISIS does not consider their actions terror. They think that it is justifiable to decapitate police and non-believers.

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US May Buy Iron Dome
By Micah Halpern

Friday April 22, 2016

I've Been Thinking:

The Iron Dome was just used to shoot down a drone in the United States.

It was a test.

The purpose of the test was to evaluate the Iron Dome and see if it could be used against a variety of weapons, including US drones. This is the first time the Iron Dome was shot in the US. Most importantly, the US wants to purchase the Iron Dome but only when they know that it can work against various weapons.

In the past year the Iron Dome has been upgraded to strike a multitude of targets. That will make the weapon marketable. As of now the Iron Dome has not been sold to anyone.

Since 2011 the Iron Dome has shot down 1500 targets - that was a success rate of 90%. There are not many defense systems in the world that have that level of success.

The fact that the US is showing interest in the Iron Dome is huge.
The fact that Israel's Iron Dome is unique and one of a kind and will probably be purchased by the US is an enormous success.

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