Category Archives: America

GOOD NEWS? MAYBE

BLOG 554

February 21, 2022

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968,  Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.

GOOD NEWS? MAYBE

The situation of Russia’s possible attack on the Ukraine has grabbed the media and shaken the stock market.  An important story indeed! However, a possibly equal significant situation was unfolding at another bargaining table: the struggle to keep Iran from developing an atomic weapon.

Here’s the latest.

A draft is now being prepared with such important considerations as Iran’s release of Western prisoners in exchange of subsequent gradual waving of sanctions. According to a report Thursday, a draft agreement between Iran and world powers would involve a phased return to the 2015 nuclear deal, with both sides initially taking interim steps to curb enrichment and lift some sanctions.

Former US president Donald Trump abandoned the deal and reimposed sanctions in 2018, leading Iran to resume open enrichment of nuclear material to levels just below weapons-grade and raising fears of a “big” bomb to follow.

Officials involved in talks over the last seven months to reinstate the deal say time is running out, though some have indicated optimism that the sides could reach an agreement soon. According to the diplomats, the time between the initiation of the deal and when sanctions are waived is not yet decided, but is estimated to be between one and three months.

Iran’s top negotiator in Vienna, Ali Bagheri Kani, said Wednesday that world powers were “closer than ever” to reaching an agreement, while the US stated it was in the “very final stages” of indirect talks with the Islamic Republic.

The first phase will include the unfreezing of some $7 billion in Iranian funds stuck in South Korean banks under US sanctions, as well as the release of Western prisoners held in Iran.

Eventually, Iran would return to core nuclear limits like the 3.67% cap on enrichment purity, diplomats declared, and sanctions will begin to be waived.

The new agreement is said to entail the US granting waivers on sanctions against Islamic Republic’s oil sector rather than lifting them outright. This will require the renewal of waivers every few months, as was done with the 2015 deal.

Israel has opposed a US return to the 2015 terms or a similar accord, fearing it would ease Iran’s path to the bomb. Israel media stated Thursday, “The feeling in Israel is that within days or weeks there will be a return to the old-new bad deal we knew.”

Iran is also seeking a guarantee that the US will not be able to withdraw unilaterally from the agreement again, which would require an act of Congress. It is also demanding promises that the US will halt pressuring companies not to trade or invest in Iran.

A breakthrough in sight? Let’s hope so.

I have a new books coming out.

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered on Amazon or at your local book store. 

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered on Amazon or at your local book store. 
I hope you’ll avail yourself of this inspiring story!
Also these fine books are available now:
I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II
Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!
by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)
You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable
Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!
You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.
by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable

Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, History, Iran, Israel, The Middle East

PROGRESS ON IRAN? 

BLOG 551

January 31, 2022

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.

PROGRESS ON IRAN? 

While the story hasn’t been in the headlines lately, the situation with Iran and its nuclear program continues to be a major concern in the Middle East. Significant discussions have been moving the issue forward.  Here’s the latest

A senior White House official stated Thursday that the United States and Iran are “in the ballpark of a possible nuclear deal” in Vienna, while also clarifying that Washington is “very prepared” for the “pretty likely” scenario that there won’t be an agreement.

Iran and world powers are in the midst of an eighth round of negotiations aimed at reviving the tattered 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Former US president Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018, launching a “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign, which Tehran responded to with escalating violations of the multilateral accord.

Trump’s successor, US President Joe Biden, is seeking a joint US-Iran return to compliance with the JCPOA, but has been met by a new, more hardline Iranian president in Ebrahim Raisi, who has demanded the removal of all US sanctions in exchange for the Islamic Republic’s return to the deal.

White House National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East Brett McGurk said, “We’re in the ballpark of a possible deal. But again, I’m not going to put odds on this. There’s also a very real chance that these talks could collapse very soon.”

While avoiding taking any sort of definitive stance on where the talks might head, McGurk said they had reached a “culmination point and that we’re going to know very soon whether or not it is possible for the Iranians to return to compliance with the nuclear deal on terms that we and the international community can accept. There’s a chance for a deal, and there’s also a pretty good chance there’s not going to be a deal,” he added. “If there’s no deal, we’re very prepared for that scenario.”

On Wednesday, the White House said that US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told his Israeli counterpart Eyal Hulata that the Biden administration is already “preparing alternative options” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon if Vienna talks fail.

“The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is something that would keep anyone up at night, but I can assure you that it’s never going to happen,” Brett McGurk added that a diplomatic path in Vienna is the best way to ensure that.

That’s where we are today. Let’s see what comes next.

Stay tuned!

I have a new books coming out.

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered on Amazon or at your local book store. 

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered on Amazon or at your local book store. 

I hope you’ll avail yourself of this inspiring story!

Also these fine books are available now:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable

Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Iran, The Middle East

YOU WANT TO SEE WHAT CONFUSION LOOKS LIKE?

BLOG 545

December 20, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.

YOU WANT TO SEE WHAT CONFUSION LOOKS LIKE?

Ever wonder why the world seems to be in such a mess? Recent revelations about the interactions between Israeli and American diplomats demonstrate the strange contradictions and ineptitude that often comes out of Washington.

On January 2020, during a festive White House unveiling of Donald Trump’s long-gestating peace plan, then-Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu giddily announced that under its auspices, Israel would move to immediately annex large parts of the West Bank. The Israeli right was ecstatic. Finally, they believed, Israel would take full control of land that settler leaders hope will remain forever Israeli  and with the blessing of a US president, no less.

There was only one problem, according to new reporting on the events of those dramatic days: Nobody had bothered asking President Trump.

In fact, according to a new book from Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, Trump and peace-plan architect Jared Kushner were caught completely off guard by Netanyahu’s declaration during the White House event. The new details were reported in a pair of podcast episodes released Monday in a new series from Axios called “How It Happened,” which uses Ravid’s reporting from his new Hebrew book, “Trump’s Peace,” to tell the story of how Trump’s failed peace plan morphed into the successful brokering of the Abraham Accords to save face for him.

According to the podcast, Netanyahu decided to go forward with the annexation announcement after receiving assurances from then-US ambassador to Israel and longtime settlement-backer David Friedman that the US would back the move, even though the envoy never ran the idea by the White House.

The US proposal envisioned Israel annexing all of its settlements along with the Jordan Valley as part of a final status agreement. But it did not give a clear timeline, and it definitely did not stipulate that the move would take place right off the bat.

“Israel will apply its laws to the Jordan Valley, to all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and to other areas that your plan designates as part of Israel and which the US agrees to recognize as part of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Trump was standing right behind him and glanced at someone off stage, checking to make sure what he had just heard, Ravid recalled. After Netanyahu left the White House, Trump met with his advisers and asked them, “What the hell was that?”

Kushner, meanwhile, was livid.

The “who-said,” “they-said,” went back and forth on and on. Hypocrisy everywhere. Sorry. The scene doesn’t present a reassuring picture of international exchange — or of Netanyahu and Trump.

I have a new book coming out.

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered on Amazon or at your local book store. 

I hope you’ll avail yourself of this inspiring story!

Also these fine books are available now:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable

Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

1 Comment

Filed under America, Gaza, Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East, Trump

A SEASON OF GOOD CHEER

BLOG 544

December 13, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.

A SEASON OF GOOD CHEER

Usually, the reports from the Middle East are ominous. Fears of war, terrorism and strife make the headlines. In the midst of the bad news, December brings good news. It’s the season of lights! Celebrate!

So, I thought this blog would pick up on some positive signs happening right now. Here’s a couple for you.

Putting old animosities behind them, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday presented his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry with dozens of Egyptian relics that were illegally smuggled into Israel. Lapid met Shoukry in Cairo after first holding talks with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Eli Eskozido, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, joined Lapid to hand over the 95 artifacts, which included two stone tablets with hieroglyphic writing, a piece of a sarcophagus with hieroglyphics, papyrus documents and dozens of small idols of Egyptian gods.

This is, indeed, a celebratory time of year. The Jewish majority in this country has had its Festival of Lights, while Christians are currently gearing up for Christmas. All of which makes it an opportune calendar slot to address musical material of a religious nature.

That is precisely what will be going on in Nazareth between December 16-18, when the third edition of the annual Liturgical Music Festival takes place. The event is being touted as “a weekend of musical peaks” and the programming, courtesy of Nabil Abboud Ashkar, the founder artistic director of Polyphony Foundation Conservatory.  

Liturgical music comes in all shapes and forms. Like any genre, in any discipline the world over, the creative end product takes on local colors, seasoning and the personal baggage of the human conduit of expression. In Nabeel Hayek’s case that presents a multihued tapestry of sounds and dynamics which, no doubt, will come across on December 17 (11:30 a.m.), when the 20-year-old pianist plays the instrumental accompaniment to soprano Nour Darwish at the 19th-century Anglican Church in Nazareth, in an intimate program of Baroque and Romantic works. The repertoire for the occasion is as about variegated as you can get within the varied stratified confines of classical Christian liturgical scores.

And anyone looking to make a day or two of it can also get into the Yuletide spirit by joining guided tours of the Christmassy locale, and enjoy some seasonally priced accommodation offers.

Yes, there are good things happening in the Middle East. Let’s hope the light stays on all through the approaching year.

I have a new book coming out.

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered on Amazon or at your local book store. 

I hope you’ll avail yourself of this inspiring story!

Also these fine books are available now:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable

Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Bible Lands, Christians, Faith, Forgivness

AMERICAN RELIGION IN ISRAEL

BLOG 543

December 6, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.

AMERICAN RELIGION IN ISRAEL

Why would Israelis care what Americans think or believe about religion? Why? Because the Church was a major persecutor of the Jewish people for centuries. Consequently, a recent edition of The Jerusalem Post published some interesting data on American religious ideas. Take a look at what the Post found.

The Pew Research Center discovered half of American Evangelicals say that “my religion is the one true faith leading to eternal life in heaven,” and that members of other religions – even if they believe in God like Jews do – are not included. The survey found that almost three-fourths of Americans (73%) believe in heaven, but they disagree about who can go there.

Nearly a third (31%) of all American Christians say their religion is the one true faith leading to eternal life in heaven, compared with 58% who say that there are multiple religions that can lead to such eternal reward.

Nineteen percent of Evangelicals say that members of other Christian denominations can achieve eternal life in heaven, and 44% of Christians say that many religions can get you there. Catholics are much more likely (71%) to believe this.

About a third (32%) of Americans also say that people who do not believe in God cannot enter heaven, compared with 39% who say that they can. Evangelical Protestants especially feel that belief in God is a prerequisite for heaven, with 71% saying that only those who have it can go.

In other words, Evangelicals in particular do not believe the Old Testament account that God made a covenant with Israel that the Almighty indicated was not revocable. This group rejects that agreement with Moses and David and maintains Jews will never get to heaven. Other Americans hold a similar position.

Why should Jews note these statistics? The idea that Jews aren’t fit for heaven feeds anti-Semitism. Hatred of Jews and attacks on synagogues has been on the rise in the United States as well as Europe. These facts are not only worrisome but continue to create distrust of the Christian faith in Israel. When American evangelists and Evangelicals say they are friends of Israel while believing they are all going to hell, Israeli’s tend to believe they are lying. You might want to check out what your group believes.

Stay tuned. More to come.

I have a new book coming out.

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered on Amazon or at your local book store. 

I hope you’ll avail yourself of this inspiring story!

Also these fine books are available now:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable

Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Christians, Faith, Israel

WHERE YOU SPENDING YOUR MONEY?

BLOG 540

November 1, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.

WHERE YOU SPENDING YOUR MONEY?

You might be surprised to discover where you money is actually going. Here’s the latest in what happening in American investments with foreign money.

Hamas is concealing secret foreign investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars in seemingly legitimate businesses, The Jerusalem Post reported. If the West cracked down on these investments and the countries facilitating them, some of the Gaza-based terrorist group’s destructive activities could be impaired, reported also on the Double Cheque website and from former Mossad officials.

Intelligence information indicates that from the early 2000s until 2018, Hamas controlled some 40 commercial companies in Turkey, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Algeria and Sudan. Most of the companies involved were in the real-estate and infrastructure sectors. Through the companies, Hamas managed huge projects and had a reliable way to conceal around $500 million in assets, the article said.

Double Cheque was established to “provide a service for business and intelligence companies as well as financial and regulatory bodies interested in maintaining legitimate business activities and avoiding illegal deals,” its website says. Although there is little information about the personnel who run the website, much of its information is based on intelligence sources.

Prior to 2015, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Sudan and other Gulf states allowed their business and banking sectors to be used by Hamas to raise funds that could later be used for its terrorist activities. But from 2015-2016, the Saudis shifted their position, leading Hamas to move the bulk of its investment operations to Turkey. Algeria continues to be a major source of foreign investment revenue for Hamas. Sudan appears to have cut back much of its support for these activities since the warming of relations between Jerusalem and Khartoum in 2020.

Double Cheque reported, “Hamas has chosen to manage its secret investment portfolio in Turkey because of the weak financial system in Turkey, which enables Hamas to hide its money-laundering activity and tax violations from the regulatory bodies. The details of the Hamas operatives mentioned in the documents of the portfolio’s companies prove that this is a false portfolio. “In total, there are nine Hamas operatives who are members of more than 18 companies. One operative holds key positions in as many as 13 different companies, all controlled by Hamas’s secret investment portfolio.”

The Double Cheque investigation unmasked how Hamas “succeeded in systematically deceiving tax authorities, institutions, and clients in Europe and the Middle East for two decades by establishing its financial investment portfolio.”

Interesting picture of how turmoil in the Middle East is hard to stop. Ever wonder what those terrorists at the top take to the bank every week?

I have a new book coming out.

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered at the local book store. 

I can make copies available at:

Rev. Robert L. Wise, PO Box 22716 , Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 731203

Cost is $15.00 plus the shipping fee.

I hope you’ll avail yourself of this inspiring story!

Also these fine books are available now:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Gaza, The Middle East

ISRAEL AT THE UNITED NATIONS

BLOG 536

October 4, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

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.

ISRAEL AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Many people have wondered why Israel and the United States have such different perspectives on the treaty that supposedly limes  Iran’s involvement in creating nuclear weapons. Israel has strongly opposed the USA rejoining the treaty. Israel’s position became clearer during this past week’s appearance by Naftali Bennett speaking before the United Nations. His speech further articulated where Israel stands.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday warned the United Nations General Assembly that Iran’s nuclear weapon program is at a “critical point.” In his first address to the annual forum, Bennett focused heavily on Iran, stressing Tehran’s funding of proxies like Hezbollah, Shia militias, Islamic Jihad and Hamas. “Iran seeks to dominate the region and seeks to do so under a nuclear umbrella,” Bennett said. “For the past three decades Iran has spread its carnage and destruction around the Middle East, country after country: Lebanon. Iraq. Syria. Yemen, and Gaza.”

 Bennett compared what he called Iran’s “Mullah-touch” to the Midas touch of Greek mythology: “Every place Iran touches— fails.” He emphasized Iranian UAV attacks on civilian shipping, Saudi and US targets, before turning to new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his human rights record. “In 1988, Iran set up a death commission that ordered the mass murder of 5,000 political activists,” the premier said. “They were hanged from cranes.”

One of the witnesses of this massacre,” Bennett continued, “stated in her testimony, that when Raisi would finish a round of murder, he’d throw a party, pocketing the money of those he just executed… and then would sit down to eat cream cakes.”

Bennett then argued that Iran has crossed “all red lines” in its nuclear program, and claimed that proof of its nuclear weapons goal found at several secret sites was being ignored.  All wishful thinking has proven false,” he said.

“Iran is violating the IAEA’s safeguard agreements, and it’s getting away with it. They harass inspectors and sabotage their investigations, and they’re getting away with it. They enrich uranium to the level of 60 percent, which is one step short of weapons-grade material, and they’re getting away with it,” he continued.  “Evidence which clearly proves Iran’s intentions for nuclear weapons in secret working sites in Turquzabad, Teheran and Marivan is ignored,” he claimed. “Iran’s nuclear program has hit a watershed moment. And so has our tolerance. Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning,” he said, hinting Israel could act against Iran’s nuclear program.

The prime minister’s speech opened and closed with the theme that Israel is a “lighthouse in a stormy sea.” Bennett called Israel “a beacon of democracy, diverse by design, innovative by nature, and eager to contribute to the world despite being in the toughest neighborhood on earth.”

Stay tuned. More to come.

I have a new book coming out.

MAN ON FIRE

The story of the first Church father

(Elk Lake Publishing)

You’ll be inspired. Get a copy!

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Iran, The Middle East

A VIEW FROM ISRAEL  

BLOG 534

September 20, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

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.

A VIEW FROM ISRAEL  

Many Americans are wondering what the debacle in Afghanistan means for them and the future. America was there twenty years and the country fell in twenty days. Something is very wrong with that picture. Americans will claim we won the war and the Taliban will maintain they ran the Allies out. Obviously, American troops killed Bin Laden and probably should have left then. How do we interpret the fact that we stayed and then made a bungled exit, leaving some Americans behind? Not to mention the Drone strike on the Taliban that turned out to kill an Aid worker Zemari Ahamdi and seven children. A little hard to swallow, wouldn’t you say? Oh, yes. America left behind helicopters and vehicles as well as truck loads of weapons the Taliban captured.

Amtoz  Asa-El is an Israeli who writes about history. He has some penetrating observations for us to consider. Take a look.

Asa-El notes America built 800 bases worldwide 20 times more than all the other superpowers combined. America’s annual military is larger than the next five military spenders combined.  America’s eleven aircraft carriers equal the combined total of all other countries’ carriers.  America is the top dog …. And runout by the Taliban?

What have Americans wanted in past decades? Teddy Roosevelt called the national goal “the Imperialism of Duty.” While denouncing colonialism, America had pursed its own imperial goal. Asa-El notes that goal was achieved. The Soviet Empire crumbled while America marches on after a goal it could not achieve: proselytizing.

The imperialism imposition of an ideology became the mountain too high to climb.

It is one thing to wield power and win battles. It is another thing to impose a foreign idea on a resistant people while we believe we can change their minds. The Taliban had a saying. “Americans have watches: we have the time.” They were a radical Ismailis tribal state and not about to become a democracy. The story ends on a runway where American airplanes were hauling everyone out they could get on a jet.

Historian  Asa-El argues this form of American Imperialism was finished with the hasty exit from Afghanistan.  You can’t plant democracy in a resistant country. The historian argues “America’s imperial period has been intense and in many ways rewarding, but it wasn’t part of the American Way.” In the beginning George Washington warned we should have as little political connection with other nations as possible. In other words, America can’t go around the world planting democracy where the soil is too thin to support the idea. It didn’t grow in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

Amotz Asa-El ends his argument by writing: “World management should never have been America’s task, and the Afgan misadventure should be its last imperial war.”

Gives you something to think about.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, History, Israel, The Middle East

THE HEADLINES IN THE MIDDLE EAST Pt. 2

BLOG 533

September 6, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

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.

THE HEADLINES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Part 2

Last week we noted that the US administration appears to recognize that a return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran might not be possible, and as a result is open to Israeli approaches to countering Iran, This possibility came from a senior member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s entourage when they arrived in Washington. However, the past week has changed all conclusions. Israeli citizens now question what is going on in Washington and it’s not a good picture.

Despite President Biden’s claims of success in Afghanistan, US officials are “horrified” because the military abandoned Americans trying to get out of the country. On Tuesday, Biden appeared to say that those who remained did so out of their own free will and could leave in the future. He stated, “The bottom line: 90 percent of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave. For those remaining Americans, there is no deadline. We remain committed to get them out, if they want to come out.” He contended 100 to 200 Americans are still there and have “some intention to leave,” adding: “Most of those who remain are dual citizens, longtime residents, but earlier decided to stay because of their family roots in Afghanistan.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said afterward that Biden was telling those people that if they decide in two weeks that they want to go, “we will get you out.”

But other officials painted a different picture.  

A White House official said that the mission isn’t accomplished if they left Americans behind. And military officers appeared to contradict Biden’s assessment of those left behind. Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said Monday that Americans tried to get to the Kabul airport for the final evacuations but couldn’t. No Americans were on the last five jets to leave. “We maintained the ability to bring them in up until immediately before departure, but we were not able to bring any Americans out. That activity ended probably about 12 hours before our exit, although we continued the outreach and would have been prepared to bring them on until the very last minute. But none of them made it to the airport, and were able to be — and were able to be accommodated.”

The situation with Afghan citizens who supported the Americans remains in peril. During this past week, I’ve been involved in attempting to bring some Afghans out to a neighboring country. The experience has been harrowing.  Here are some examples of the desperate voices coming out of Afghanistan in the wake of the US withdrawal.

Freshta  (whose name has been changed for security reasons ) was one of those who was not able to join the evacuations organized by foreign countries via Kabul airportg. The 33-year-old artist and painter had attempted to get on a flight organized by France. But after a long wait with her five-month-old baby and five-year-old daughter, “stressed” by the chaos around the airport and frightened by shots fired by Taliban soldiers, she had to turn back. Now Freshta is in hiding at home in Kabul, in despair at the turn of events.

“In 20 years, we tried a lot to make our country to be a nation, to progress,” she said by phone. “Our message: Please think about those innocent people who don’t have any way out of Afghanistan. “Freshta called on the outside world “not to be silent about our situation.” She said, “If other countries “recognize the Taliban regime our situation in the future will get worse. They should listen to our voice,” she said.

Now Freshta is simply “waiting” to see what the future holds while asking relatives to shop for her and limiting her movements to a bare minimum. Even then she makes sure she is fully veiled.

“It’s dangerous for me because I did a lot as an artist,” she said.

The Taliban’s attempt to reassure Afghans opposed to their ideology cuts no ice with Freshta.

“We cannot trust the Taliban,” she insisted. “Their actions and speech are totally different.”

Consequently, Israelis are wondering if they can trust the American government. Biden pledged Iran would not get a nuclear weapon. Today, they are wondering if he meant it.  They have to worry whether America is dependable.

Not a good situation!

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Iran, The Middle East

FRONT PAGE STORIES IN ISRAEL

BLOG 530

August 16, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

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.

FRONT PAGE STORIES IN ISRAEL

What are people reading in today’s newspapers in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem?  Here’s some of what is catching their attention. They have a new president. Isaac Herzog was sworn in as the 11th president, replacing Reuven Rivin for a seven-year term. He was sworn in with the same Bible used when his father Chaim Herzog became the sixth president.

In accepting the office, Isaac Herzog pledged to “lower the tone, reduce the flames, and calm things down.” A worthy challenge after the fireworks displays that Netanyahu left behind in his defeat. We’ll see.

The headline story is the chaos in Afghanistan. Israelis are closely following the insurgence of the Taliban. Opinions vary, but the following appears to be what they are thinking.

The Taliban’s stunning advances in Afghanistan threatens to be a stain on President Joe Biden’s record, but he has stood firm on withdrawing US troops and believes the public is with him. Twenty years of investment that cost $2 trillion and nearly 2,500 US lives were disintegrating within days as the Islamist insurgents seized most of the largest cities with little resistance and closed in on the capital Kabul.

Republican rivals predictably attacked Biden but he also faced the most critical coverage of his presidency, with television networks juxtaposing images of Afghanistan’s collapse with his remarks a little more than a month ago that “the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” They are speculating Biden has put at risk the real progress in Afghanistan since 2001 including education for girls, banned by the Taliban when they last ruled.

Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said Biden allowed a “massive, predictable and preventable disaster” and former president Donald Trump issued a statement denouncing the “tragic mess” and writing in all caps, “Do you miss me yet?”

However, Trump himself set in motion the withdrawal with a February 2020 deal with the Taliban.

Biden, who through his decades in public life earned a reputation for empathy, has been unmoved when asked about Afghan losses and instead speaks of protecting US troops, a deeply personal matter as his late son Beau served in Iraq.

Both the former vice president and US opinion polls have shared his view for years. VoteVets, an advocacy group, hailed Biden for finally “having the strength to stand up to those who want endless war.”

Israelis remain concerned about what is ahead in Afghanistan.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Israel, The Middle East, Violence