Catch Up on Micah Halpern’s Thoughts This Week
Sunday April 22, 2012
Last night a church was fire bombed in Khartoum, Sudan.
Tensions in Khartoum, a very valuable oil city and important region, are fierce. There is no doubt that the reason for the conflict is oil - but the reason for targeting a church is religious.
The church is a symbol of outsiders, of non-Muslims. The tension emerges because both Muslims and Christians in Khartoum are locals.
We are not talking about Western missionaries, but still, the Christians of Khartoum are being labeled as interlopers and told that they do not belong.
So the church was targeted and it was bombed.
Once again I ask: Where is the Christian world, where is the Western world, how can this clearly targeted attack pass without no comment let alone outcry from Westerners around the world?
As with the persecution of Christians in Egypt, I feel as if I am a lonely voice howling in the wind.
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Saturday April 21, 2012
There have been several reports over the past few days that the Palestinian Authority has begun oil exploration in Ramallah.
I have not been able to verify these reports.
I can say that it sounds farfetched.
Even if someone has set up what appears to be a drill site it is highly unlikely that there is any oil in Ramallah - other, of course, than olive oil. World class geologists have combed the region and found no oil.
More importantly, Ramallah is on a mountain range. And oil exploration is extremely risky and very expensive. I do not see any serious oil groups taking that risk in a location that is such an obvious non-starter.
There is a back story and a motivation for the announcements. The Palestinians want to make it appear as if they found something --- something very valuable--- something the Israelis could not find and - this is the most important part - that the oil belongs to the them, the Palestinians, and not to the Israelis.
But it is all still highly unlikely.
Friday April 20, 2012
The game continues.As I reminder: Several days ago I wrote that Iran was outsmarting the EU by making the first move and cutting off oil sales and forcing them to scramble to find new suppliers before Germany, Italy, Greece and Spain were going to cut themselves off from Iranian oil.
In essence, Iran was cutting the European Union off before the EU total boycott went into effect and cut them off.
Then yesterday the Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Ghassemi denied reports claiming that Iran stopped supplying oil to Germany, Italy, Greece and Spain. He said that Iran sells to all of Europe except France and England.
All this is a smoke screen. Iran needs Europe to know that their oil flow starts and stops as easily as the turning of a spigot.
Iran's game is to clearly say that they have actually made money since the embargo. They claim to have earned $14 billion more than in this period last year. How could that be the case with the embargo in full swing?
There are two reasons: Reason one is that the price of oil has increased, so even if they are selling less oil, they can still be making more money. Reason two is that China and India are picking up every barrel of slack. Every barrel that Iran produces has a buyer. And China and India do not care about the international embargo.
Just yesterday China announced that they disagree with the United States policy of punishing people who do business with Iran.
Here you have it, the game of international diplomacy.
Thursday April 19, 2012
On Wednesday the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem received two very special guests.
The guests traveled together and prayed together, one of them actually led the prayers.
Who were these guests? They were Ali Gomma, the Grand Mufti of Egypt and Ghazi bin Muhammad, Prince of Jordan. The prince is the first cousin of King Abdullah II.
An aide to the Grand Mufti said that he did not enter Israel or get a visa from either the border authority or the Interior Ministry. That means he came in with the prince on his private helicopter.
Last week another prince visited Al Aqsa. That time it was the son of Abdullah II.
There are several reasons for these sudden visits to the Mosque. Most importantly, Jordan is exerting its religious authority over the Temple Mount which was in their control until 1967. The Jordanians still have a major say in its operation - Israel prefers Jordanian control to Palestinian control over this very holy site.
There are also ugly rumors circulating that Israel is causing damage to the Temple Mount, especially at the Mugabri Gate. The rumors are untrue and unfounded and the revered guests are able to report back about the situation.
The Temple Mount is an extremely sensitive site. Anger over the site could instigate a war in the Islamic world. It is in the best interest of everyone to make certain that, despite rumors and propaganda, all is well cared for and in order.
Wednesday April 18, 2012
It looks like it is finally happening. Abu Qatada, an Imam in England, may finally be deported to Jordan.
Jordan has convicted Qatada of terror attacks. Court papers in Spain and England have submitted that he is a major al Qaeda figure. There is no doubt that he certainly preaches the message of al Qaeda.
Until now Qatada avoided extradition, but the momentum of the courts is now in full swing - they seem to have all their papers in order and are confident that this terror spewing Imam will be deported.
Abu Qatada is a perfect example of an Al Qaeda leader. He teaches and preaches hatred and violence in the name of Islam. When he gets back to Jordan he will be retried for previous acts of terror.
Tuesday April 17, 2012
Iran is attempting to mend bridges with Egypt.
There has never been any love lost between the two countries, primarily because they have diametrically opposed stands on Islam.
And then after the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, the spilt became impossible to breach.
Iran actually named a square after the Sadat assassin and proclaimed him a hero.
But yesterday the Egyptian press was the guests of the Islamic Republic in Teheran. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akhbar Salehi met with the Egyptian media and talked about nuclear issues.
The Iranian FM promised that Iran would provide nuclear technology and expertise to Egypt - but under supervision.
This is actually Iran's ultimate goal. Iran wants to provide nuclear technology to any and every country that asks for it throughout the world.
Iran wants to remove the United States from the global picture.
Monday April 16, 2012
Security personnel along the Egyptian border were on extra high alert on Saturday and Sunday.
Why? Because last week the natural gas pipeline leading to Jordan and Israel was blown up for the 14th time.
And indeed, on both Saturday and Sunday the security fence sensors were set off.
Also on Sunday armed bands attacked and killed two Egyptian policemen in the Sinai Desert.
There is great worry that the rockets and the smuggling in the dessert will lead Israel to strike at terror targets in Sinai. That is what Omar Suleiman, the former Mubarak spy chief and currently disqualified presidential candidate, recently said.
Suleiman told the Egyptians that if they do not control Sinai, Israel will attack.