Category Archives: America

BREAK THROUGH OR BREAK DOWN?

BLOG 507

February 22, 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.

BREAK THROUGH OR BREAK DOWN?

Bone- cracking weather grabbed the headlines. Rightly so! In the southwest we’ve never had such frighteningly low temperatures. However, the snow didn’t keep things from warming up in Washington. In case you missed it, President Biden is returning to the nuclear agreement achieved with Iran before Mr. Trump dumped it. The former president’s arbitrary actions might have sounded bold but they only undermined attempts to stop Iran from getting “The Bomb.” Now America is returning to the bargaining table. Efforts worth watching.

Here’s what happened this week and how this is impacting the Middle East.

The Biden administration said Thursday it’s ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal. It’s also reversed the Trump administration’s determination that all UN sanctions against Iran had been restored and eased stringent restrictions on the domestic US travel of Iranian diplomats posted to the United Nations. The State Department said the US would accept an invitation from the European Union to attend a meeting of the participants in the original agreement. The US has not participated in a meeting of those participants since former president Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018.   

There has been no response yet from Iran, which has demanded that the US lift sanctions before it returns to talks.

Meanwhile, at the United Nations, the Biden administration notified the Security Council that it had withdrawn Trump’s September 2020 invocation of the so-called “snapback” mechanism under which it maintained that all UN sanctions against Iran had been re-imposed. That determination had been vigorously disputed by nearly all other UN members and had left the US isolated at the world body.

Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have long opposed the 2015 agreement and repeatedly warned against the US returning to the deal. There has been no response yet from Jerusalem about the US announcement that it was ready to resume talks, which came after midnight in Israel. The Reuters news agency, citing a source familiar with the matter, said the US had informed Israel ahead of time about Thursday’s announcement, but that US President Joe Biden had not told Netanyahu directly.

How can we understand this situation? First, the current administration’s actions are a return to diplomacy rather than erratic, dictatorial unilateral degrees. This puts America back in a conciliar and responsible position. That’s good for the world.

Second, Iran is now faced with having to allow inspection of its nuclear facilities or be faced with world-wide recognition of their having war-like intentions.  Prime Minister Netanyahu’s objections are understandable but express fears in Israel based on Iran’s vow to destroy their country. After all is said and done, Israel has the nuclear capacity to destroy Iran’s facilities. They have already been throwing money wrenches in Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy for some time

Hopefully, America’s return to the bargaining table will continue forward progress.

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)

Please watch and subscribe to my new YouTube channel MIRACLES NEVER CEASE, where I post interviews with people sharing their experiences with divine encounters!

Let the miracles begin!

Episode 2 – Rev Joseph Bias

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Filed under America, Iran, The Middle East

NOT IN THE NEWS

BLOG  504

February 1, 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.

NOT IN THE NEWS

American politics and the COVID-19-virus captured the headlines sending Middle East events off  the back page. Nevertheless, important happenings keep coming. They are worth noting. Here’s a couple you’ll find important.

We haven’t heard much from Egypt lately as the riots and protests have disappeared. The surviving government of al-Sisi has been busy covering up the “Arab Spring” uprisings. The city square where the mobs gathered has been revamped with a large ancient obelisk placed in the center. The actual government and legislature are now being moved twenty-miles away from Cairo virtually out in the desert supposedly for more convenient access. Actually, it takes control away from possible radical attack.

It’s been several years since I was in Cairo. The metropolis is enormous with poverty.  Still the ancient municipality is an important factor in the Arab world. My guess is that the relocation of the government is for more secure away from Cairo insurgents.

In a recent blog, I reported that the attack that killed Iran’s top nuclear scientists would not go unanswered. My blog stated that the response would be less than a war and probably more like an attack on an embassy. Such happened this week.

The Blast outside Israel’s New Delhi embassy damaged cars. Nobody was hurt in the explosion apparently caused by a small improvised device. Israeli authorities treating it as a suspected terror attack aimed at the embassy and are stepping up security precautions at missions around the world. The Israeli ambassador said,  “The assessment is that this was an attempted attack aimed at the embassy this evening,” Ambassador Ron Malka added that the blast went off “a few dozen meters from the embassy walls. The district around the embassy was sealed off after the explosion and police and bomb disposal experts took over the scene.

The New Delhi Television news channel said the explosive device had ball bearings wrapped in a plastic bag and was left on the pavement outside the embassy. CNN India reported that police had found an envelope near the scene with the words “For Israel Embassy” on it. The report said police were not divulging the content of a letter inside.

A message was passed from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Israel has “full confidence that Indian authorities will successfully investigate the incident and protect Israelis and Jews there,” the Prime Minister’s Office responded.

Does that take care of a “pay-back” from Iran?  Probably not.

Hosted by Rev. Wise, PhD — Interviews with people sharing their experiences with divine encounters!

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, COVID-19, The Middle East

TRUMP IN THE MIDDLE EAST

BLOG  503

January 25, 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.

TRUMP IN THE MIDDLE EAST

A MIXED BAG

Historians are already at work assessing the impact that the last four-years had on the Middle East. Countries such as Israel have begun to identify the differences that the next four years might make. There will be ups and downs, depending on one’s perspective. Donald Trump broke with bipartisan convention in his Middle East policy. Some say he overturned stagnant conventional wisdom that rewarded foes while punishing allies.  Others argue that the former president damaged American interests and abandoned its long-standing commitments in the region.

Let’s consider what the experts are saying.

Professional Daniel Byman of Georgetown University studies the Middle East. He says, ”Donald Trump broke with bipartisan convention in his Middle East policy. President Trump, with many Americans behind him, openly derided longstanding US commitments, such as the security of Saudi Arabia when Iran attacked it with missiles. Trump’s Israel policy was focused on US domestic audiences, not on Israel’s role in the region. Many regional leaders appreciated Trump’s hostility to Iran, and many Israelis welcomed his uncritical support.  In the future, however, all states will have to reckon with the possibility that the United States is less engaged in the Middle East and may elect leaders whose policies vary widely.”

On the other hand, Efraim Inbar, President of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security writes, “The Trump administration also proved that the Palestinian issue is NOT the central conflict and a real barrier to better relations with Israel. The Trump administration also proved, by moving the embassy to Jerusalem, that a large part of the Arab world can live with Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Trump administration continued signaling that the US is diminishing its commitment to be the policeman of the Middle East.”

Of course, one dimension of Trump policy was obvious.  Trump leaned heavily in the direction of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates: he did not complain about their human rights records, triggered their renewed conflict with Qatar, continued the Obama administration policy of supporting the war in Yemen, helped when they needed it to raise oil prices, and protected the Saudi Crown Prince from accusations of murder.

We might conclude that whereTrump changed the Middle East most was Iran. He literally upended the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in one stroke. The assassination of Qassem Soleimani was probably the most significant act of his presidency. The green light that he gave Israel to target Iranian assets in Syria and beyond was also immensely important. Iran appeared feckless and unable to respond in most cases. One gets a sense that Iran is still on its back foot.

Trump did not exactly change the Middle East as much as he brought new realities out of the shadows.

We now watch to see whether the Biden administration takes advantage of the leverage that Trump has gifted him.

Let the miracles begin!

Hosted by Rev. Wise, PhD — Interviews with people sharing their experiences with divine encounters!

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)

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Filed under America, The Middle East, Trump

THE DAY THE EARTH SHOOK

BLOG  502

January 15, 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 DAY THE EARTH SHOOK

You simply can’t get away from the story. The insurrection in the American capitol shot around the world. Countries that hate the U.S. applauded. Allies shuddered. Trump was impeached.  Those headlines were as big in the Middle East as they were in this country. There’s no way to avoid the subject.

I read The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel on a daily basis along with Moment and a number of other periodicals. Here’s an example of what they reported. “Ten House lawmakers who joined Democrats (are) now stepping up personal security, wearing body armor;. Our expectation is that someone may try to kill us,’ says Peter Meijer of Michigan. Many of us are altering our routines, working to get body armor, which is a reimbursable purchase that we can make,” Meijer said.  “It’s sad we have to get to that point. But our expectation is that someone may try to kill us.”

The Times of Israel reported, “Trump is fearful of legal exposure once he leaves office and is focused on issuing pardons before his term ends, including possibly for himself,” the report stated. The Times further printed regarding Donald Trump’s legacy, “the most terrible, horrific thing he has left us in America, is the destruction of truth… And a democracy can’t survive if there is no truth.”

Longtime CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer reflected Thursday that he was happy that his late parents, survivors of the Holocaust, did not live to witness the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the United States — particularly in the wake of anti-Semitic symbology appearing at last week’s deadly Capitol riot.  “I’m happy that they’re not seeing what’s going on now in the United States,” Blitzer reported after his cable news station screened video of his 2014 visit to Auschwitz, where his grandparents perished.

Whatever your political opinions might be, the foregoing is a reflection of what is now seen in Israel and across the Middle East. It is not a pretty picture. Hopefully this week’s inauguration will start a trend to reverse these opinions. However, with soldiers all over Washington and in every state capitol, the problem won’t be reversed quickly.

Does the opinion of leaders in the Middle East matter? If you value stability and peace, they do.

Let the miracles begin!

A New Pocast by Rev Wis, PhD about divine encounters!

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, Elections, Israel, Jews, The Middle East, Trump

NEW YEARS PERSPECTIVE

BLOG  501

January 8, 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.

NEW YEARS PERSPECTIVE

Last week  I wrote, “Everyone hopes for a better year than 2020, but the signs aren’t promising. Keep your seatbelts fastened.” And what followed? An insurrection in Washington D.C., with plans now being made for an impeachment of Trump. All in the following seven days! Was I on target or what?

Oklahoma had a county Sheriff who went to Washington to demonstrate. After the insurrection occurred, I heard him say to explain his actions that 99.9 percent of the demonstrators were peaceful. That’s a little like saying riding on the Titanic was no problem since everyone could swim.  The citizens of his county have now filed a recall petition to get rid of him.

I know, I know, this isn’t about the Middle East yet, but it makes the point about the importance of perspective. I write these weekly blogs to help readers have a balanced and informed viewpoint. I attempt to relate information that isn’t found in most media outlets. The intent is to help you have a better perspective than the Sheriff had and has.

In all the chaos in Washington this past week, very little was reported from abroad. I previously broke the story that the Netanyahu-Gantz government failed and another election is set for March 23. Of course both men blame the other for the failure. The Jerusalem Post reported Benny Gantz explaining, “A man under three indictments is dragging Israel to elections for a fourth time.”

The truth is that the Israeli government failed to function effectively since it was formed last May. The political situation is a mess and surely chaos will follow. Stand by.

Keep your eyes on Turkish President Recep Erdogan. His government is in full agreement with the Muslim Brotherhood.  He is an imperialist, a fascist, and no friend of the West. He went after the Kurds living close to the Syrian border. Erdogan continues to deny the Turkish genocide on the Armenian people. The positive side of the coin is that Turkey is weaker than many people thought. Nevertheless, the West cannot concede to this dictator without destructive results following.

While Turkey and Iran are historic enemies, don’t discount how unexpected connections could occur. In the fall of 2017, a tactical alliance was struck between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Erdogan. In 2018, a nice “family style” photo was taken of Erdogan, Rouhani, and Putin. My, my, all smiles. Some citizens in both Iran and Turkey still foster dreams of the Old Persian and Ottoman empires. Maybe World War I wasn’t enough for them.

One of the problems of the last four years has been that the Trump administration treated Israel like a bargaining chip for the American Right-Wing and Netanyahu personally. Not that an American Embassy didn’t belong in Jerusalem, but that the Arabs were left out in the cold. The so-called Peace Plan of the Century put the Palestinians in the deep freeze. The Arabs never even considered the proposal. Politics was everything. Perspective was nothing.

My point? Keep taking a long-range view.

Let the miracles begin!

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, Palestinians, Violence

HAPPY NEW YEAR — I THINK?

BLOG  500

January 1, 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.

HAPPY NEW YEAR — I THINK?

A month ago, Mr. Trump said he saw light at the end of the tunnel. Turned out it was the headlights on a freight train bearing down at 100 mph. Everyone hopes for a better year than 2020, but the signs aren’t promsing. Half the country thinks the election was manipulated and the other half doesn’t trust the Republicans. I’d suggest that we quit listening to the politicians and pay attention to the signs of the time. The economy is not good for many and in January it will probably get worse. The pandemic is a hoax so don’t wear a mask? Really? Two days ago, we had the second corvid related death in our family and our granddaughter is still recovering after a three-week bout with the virus. Keep your seatbelts fastened. Looks like a bumpy road ahead.

In the middle east? With the civil war in Syria and the struggles in surrounding countries, three outside powers have moved in. Russia, Turkey, and Iran are formidable presences. Mr. Trump told Turkey “to come on down” and they now occupy much of northern Syria. Russia is parked on the country’s west coast. Iran’s military is camping out in the hinterlands. In other words, the Arabs that were angry and poor have now been invaded. Sounds like the so-called Arab spring has turned into winter and a blizzard is coming.

Things aren’t great in Israel either. The pandemic has forced more shut-downs. Over a million Israelis have just been vaccinated and that’s hope, but Arabs are way behind on vaccinations. Netanyahu got out flanked and is facing another election (which no citizen wants). He faces an uphill battle in the courtroom in February. While many Israelis don’t like him, he remains the heavyweight surrounded by lightweights. Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party is falling apart, and fast. The party, which currently holds 14 parliamentary seats, was predicted, according to a poll released on Friday, for the first time not to make it into the next Knesset at all.  The question currently being discussed in Israel is whether Netanyahu will pull the rabbit out of the hat or go down for the count. Expect political turmoil in Israel in the days ahead.

Hey, I’m not trying to sound like Ebenezer Scrooge, neither do I want to come off like Pollyanna. We pray for the best on New Years eve and wake up on January 2 to the facts.  I believe you can safely bet on some hard times ahead.

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, COVID-19, Elections, Israel

OPTIONS FOR IRAN

BLOG  499

December 21, 2020

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.

OPTIONS FOR IRAN 

Following the killing of Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, immediate speculation was the Israel attempted to deter President-elect Biden’s announcement of America rejoining the Iranian nuclear agreement. Fakhrizadeh was considered indispensable. Since then, that idea has slipped, with inside observers now believing the shooting will not change Biden’s intention.  However, nothing has shifted in Iran’s announcement that retaliation will follow. Sometime.

Iran did not make an immediate strike as it is not clear who masterminded the killing. They are convinced that it was Israel and America, but there’s no evidence that would stand up in court. Nevertheless, Israel can count on some sort of reprisal. The question is where does this enigma now stand?

First, the Biden team will have to make a thorough review of all foreign and defense policies. They must consider how they will deal with the precision-guided munition problem in the Middle East. Iran will be trying to position these deadly weapons for a strike on Israel. Biden will have his hands full. Probably Iran will do little for now.

Second, Israel realizes Biden will not respond as Trump did. Trump and Netanyahu played each other like fiddles for their own personal political objectives. Biden will be  more balanced and not as easily manipulated as he has a long range perspective that Trump never perceived. There will be more balance. Will that deter Iran? Probably not.

Third, what ae Iran’s options? A conventional declaration of war isn’t possible. Israeli security is on high alert.  While Iran is the major sponsor of terrorism in the world, they are in trouble in Lebanon.  The Lebanese economy is in free fall after the terrible explosion in Beirut. Hezbollah has its own complex political problems.

While Iran has been heavily involved in Syria, Israel has domination over intelligence and extensive knowledge of what Iran is doing inside Syria. Israel knows every move Iran makes inside Syria. What’s left?

Probably the most likely avenue is the global terror network run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Working with Hezbollah and similar terrorist groups, they can strike at targets like Israeli embassies. Of course, Israeli settlements and border town will stay on high alert. The Iranians will bide their time and wait for the most opportune moment to strike.

Israeli analysist Jonathan Spyer offers a cryptic footnote, reminding us that Charles de Gaulle once said, “the grave yards are filled with indispensable men.”

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I’ll be back in 2021

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, Israel

BREAKTHROUGH IN MORROCO

BLOG  498

December 14, 2020

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.

BREAKTHROUGH IN MORROCO

Morocco’s ruling monarch King Mohammad VI confirmed Thursday that the country intends to establish official relations with Israel for the first time in nearly twenty years.  Morocco is the fourth Arab nation to recognize Israel in recent months as the administration seeks to expand its “Abraham Accords” framework, which began over the summer with an agreement between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates. Bahrain and Sudan have followed suit and administration officials have also been trying to bring Saudi Arabia into the fold.

The move is likely to raise hackles in Morocco. According to one recent poll, only 16 percent of Moroccans have a favorable view of Israel, while 70% view Israel unfavorably.

Unlike the other countries which have normalized with Israel over the past few months, Morocco has a genuine opposition and civil society. While true power largely lies with the monarchy, the parliament has been controlled by a conservative Islamist party whose roots trace back to the Muslim Brotherhood since 2011.

“Morocco will resume official bilateral contacts and diplomatic relations [with Israel] as soon as possible,” King Mohammad said in a statement. The statement followed an announcement that Israel and Morocco had agreed to “full diplomatic relations a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!” In a separate but likely closely-tied announcement, the US said it would recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, a former Spanish North African territory that has been the focus of a long-running dispute that has confounded international negotiators for decades.

Israel and Morocco established low-level diplomatic relations during the 1990s following a thawing of ties between Israel and the Palestinians. Those contacts, however, were suspended in 2002 in response to the Second Intifada. Since then, however, the relationship has continued informally, with tens of thousands of Israelis traveling to Morocco every year.

Explaining the decision to normalize, King Mohammad cited among other reasons the long-standing presence of Jews in Morocco. An estimated 50,000 Israelis — many of whom are descendants of Moroccan Jews who left in the 1950s — travel to Morocco each year on trips, learning about the Jewish community and retracing family histories.

“Morocco has played a historic role in bringing the peoples of the region together and supporting security and stability in the Middle East… [there are] special ties that bind the Jewish community of Moroccan origin, including those in Israel, to the person of His Majesty the King,” the report  said.

King Mohammad said his country will aim to “resume official bilateral ties and diplomatic relations [with Israel] as soon as possible,” and that Morocco will soon facilitate direct flights to transport Jews and Israelis to and from Morocco.

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, Jews, The Middle East

DEATH IN IRAN

BLOG  497

December 7, 2020

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.

DEATH IN IRAN

The story of the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh gripped the world.  The killing came soon after the similar demise of their top general Qasem Soleimani. Iran charged America and Israel were behind the attacks. However, the immediate speculation has been that the  killing of  Faknrizadeh was done by Israel’s secret agents.

Iran accused Israel of carrying out the November 27 hit, and threatened revenge. Israel, which has been linked to a succession of killings of Iranian nuclear scientists, has not publicly commented on the allegations that it was responsible. It has warned its citizens traveling abroad that they may be targets of Iranian terror attacks in the wake of the killing.

Is there an inside story?  One suggestion is that the attack was actually a response to President-elect Biden’s announcement of America rejoining the agreement to halt Iranian use of nuclear materials. The sudden attack was meant to throw a monkey wrench into those plans. That’s one idea.  However the following come from inside Israel straight from this weeks The Times of Israel.

Israel intelligence managed to recruit an Iranian official close to the recently assassinated Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and recorded the nuclear scientist speaking about his efforts to produce “five warheads” on behalf of the Islamic Republic.  This top-secret recording was played in 2008 by former prime minister Ehud Olmert for then-president George W. Bush during Bush’s visit to Israel and was a key element in convincing the Americans to step up efforts to combat Iran’s nuclear program according to ,the report. Olmert was so concerned about safeguarding the source of the recording that he refused to play it while anyone else was in the room, including Bush’s national security adviser Stephen Hadley.

Olmert had just hosted a dinner at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem and just before dessert, Olmert, Bush, Hadley and Barak, who was defense minister at the time, headed to a side-room where Barak asked Bush if the US could supply Israel with a series of weapons it did not have in its arsenal. They were believed to be vertical take-off and landing aircraft, along with bunker-busting bombs. According to Barak, Bush responded to the request by pointing at the defense minister and saying, “This guy frightens me  … “I want you to know the official position of the United States government. The US strongly opposes Israel taking action against the Iranian nuclear program.”

Bush read the recording’s translation and reacted with silence. The recording served as a “smoking atomic gun” for Olmert. The premier recognized that Bush would not sell Israel the weapons it was looking for, so he made a new request: full intelligence cooperation on the Iranian nuclear issue. When Bush agreed, Olmert decided to up the ante and proposed that the two carry out joint operations against Iran’s nuclear project. The president reportedly agreed to this as well, the report said.

Senior officials in Olmert’s office at the time said the recording served as a “defining moment” in the two countries’ joint effort to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb.

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, Israel

THE AMERICAN ELECTION SEEN IN ISRAEL

BLOG  493

NOVEMBER 29,  2020

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 AMERICAN ELECTION SEEN IN ISRAEL

How can anyone not write about the election? The all-absorbing event concerned many because Russia or Iran might hack to distort the results. That story died as other distracting claims poured in. However, the point of view in Israel offers another perspective on the meaning of the election.  The Times of Israel newspaper offered some insights.

Viewed from Jerusalem, this presidentially engineered crisis in American democracy raised particular concerns and echoes. America’s engagement in the Middle East, as a force for stability and freedom, is a critical element of Israel’s strategic defense. A reliable America that shares Israel’s democratic values, is a vital partner and a potent deterrent to  the state’s enemies. That was not the America emblemized by its president on Thursday evening.

Trump’s untrammeled railing against the system through which he was duly elected, and now faced defeat, was also considerably too close for comfort to some of  Israel’s own prime minister’s desperation tactics in his hours of need: Benjamin Netanyahu has never sounded as willfully delusional, but he too, at election time, has questioned the legitimacy of votes in the Arab sector, and sent activists with cameras to try to deter Arab voters. He too, as he seeks to retain power in the midst of his legal troubles, has battered away at the legitimacy of Israel’s democratic institutions, the media and the opposition — asserting without evidence that shadowy forces, including law enforcement and prosecution hierarchies, conspired to illegitimately remove him from power.

The Israel Democracy Institute last week found that 70 percent of Israeli Jews and 63% of all Israelis considered Trump the “preferable” presidential candidate to Biden from the “standpoint of Israel’s interests.” That was thoroughly understandable given the Trump administration’s long series of words and deeds consensually supported by the Israeli public . Such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the US embassy to the city, endorsing Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights were seen as positive.  In addition, , withdrawing from the 2015 Iran deal and raising financial pressure on Iran while  taking a less sympathetic position on Palestinian demands than previous administrations was applauded by  the Jewish public .

However, The Times noted this presidentially engineered crisis in American democracy raised concerns. America’s engagement in the region, as a force for stability and freedom, is a critical element of Israel’s strategic defense. A reliable America, an America that shares Israel’s democratic values, is a vital partner and a potent deterrent to our enemies. That was not the America emblemized by its president on Thursday evening. That’s the view from Jerusalem.   

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

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