BLOG 464
March 16, 2020



Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.


I hate to write anything about the coronavirus as information, news reports, speculation, and near hysteria is omnipresent. However, the subject is serious and clearly the “talk of the town.”

Here’s the latest on what is happening in the Middle East.

On February 26, Israel had become the first country in the world to advise its citizens against all non-essential overseas travel. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel rose to 127 this past Friday afternoon March 13– an addition of 18 new patients — as much of the country shut down and public life was severely curbed by the spread of the dangerous pathogen. Two patients are in serious condition and five are defined as moderate, the ministry said. Among those who have tested positive for the virus is a six-month-old baby.

However, Iran appears to be the epicenter of the problem. Iran said this past Friday the security forces will clear the streets nationwide within 24 hours so all citizens can be checked for coronavirus — its toughest measure yet to combat the outbreak. The COVID-19 epidemic in Iran — a nation of more than 80 million people — has now claimed over 500 lives and infected more than 11,000. Since it announced the first deaths last month, Iran has closed schools, postponed events and discouraged travel ahead of Nowrouz, the country’s New Year holidays.

But despite those and other measures including the cancellation of the main weekly Friday prayers, the official number of deaths and infections has continued to grow exponentially. Officials said during the next 10 days, the entire Iranian nation will be monitored once through cyberspace, by phone and, if necessary, in person, and those suspected of being ill will be fully identified. Zarif also appealed to the United Nations for an end to US sanctions, which he said were “undermining our efforts to fight the COVID-19 epidemic in Iran”.

The United States is currently pursuing a policy of “maximum pressure” aimed at crippling the Iranian government’s finances.

Iran really has problems.

Now here’s something you really can sink your teeth into! I have a new book just out.

82 DAYS ON OKINAWA has been proclaimed as an unforgettable firsthand account of the Pacific’s war’s greatest Battle. The book has been released by Harper-Collins under the name of Col Art Shaw and Robert L. Wise. You’ll find it to be a great diversion during this virus crisis.


You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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Filed under Iran, The Middle East, Trump

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