Category Archives: Iran

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

THE HEADLINES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

BLOG 532

August 30, 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

America is obsessed with the debacle in Afghanistan but there is another story in Washington that also deserves our attention.  This past week the new Prime Minister of Israel came to Washington with another hot spot on his mind. Iran.

Here’s the latest.

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.

The staffer stated on Wednesday evening that the Israeli team’s positions received “significant attention” from the administration, as “they themselves understand that it may be that we find ourselves in a reality without an agreement, and [even] if there is an agreement, there are holes that must be filled.”

The staffer added that the two governments are so closely coordinated on Iran that they often use the same terminology and raise the same questions as they discuss their options if Iran does not return to the original agreement.

Bennett’s government opposes US efforts to return to the Iran nuclear agreement signed in 2015 by the Obama administration and abandoned three years later by former US president Donald Trump. Biden has been seeking a return to the deal, but this has looked increasingly unlikely as Iran has moved further away from its obligations and as a hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, has taken office in Tehran.

Bennett came with four primary goals for the trip: to forge a direct connection and rapport with Biden; to help the US understand the Prime Minister’s approach regarding Iran; to ensure US commitment to replenishing stocks for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system; and to move forward on a visa waiver agreement for Israelis looking to enter the US. All significant objectives.

A staff member indicated Bennett’s team feels that the first day of his trip to Washington was a success. Nice to have a positive note in the midst of the chaos 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 Iran, The Middle East, Trump

MORE TROUBLE

BLOG 529

August 9, 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.

MORE TROUBLE 

The shadow war with Iran popped up in another area this week. This time it was from the Iranian backed Hezbollah terrorist army based in Lebanon. Just as the Israelis got Gaza under control in the South, problems exploded in the North. As you may be aware, Hezbollah moved into Lebanon and has virtually taken over the country. They are resourced by Iran.

Hezbollah fired a barrage of 19 rockets at Israel, in the first attack since the 2006 war with the Jews. Military sources said 10 projectiles were intercepted by air defenses. Six struck open areas and 3 landed in Lebanon. The terrorist claimed the attack was in response to recent Israeli airstrikes following rocket fire by Hezbollah, August 6, 2021.

The Iran-backed terrorist group confirmed it had fired the projectiles, Several previous rocket attacks on Israel have been attributed to Hezbollah, but it had not acknowledged responsibility.

“The Islamic Resistance shelled open areas near the Sheba Farms with dozens of 122mm rockets,” Hezbollah stated in a statement carried in Arabic-language media.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in Friday’s rocket attack. The Magen David Adom ambulance service said it was not aware of any injuries. The IDF (Isreaeli Defense Force) reported it had begun a wave of artillery strikes toward the source of the rocket fire. The military added that there were no special instructions for residents in the area. “Routine civilian life adjacent to the Lebanese border should be maintained,” the IDF reported in a statement. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and other security officials were to hold talks to review Israel’s potential course of action following Friday’s attack.

The United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) considered the situation to be very serious and urged both sides to cease fired.  Israeli military spokesman Ran Kochav told reporters that Israel  has “no intention of going to war but we do not want to turn the Lebanon border into a line of confrontation. The incident shows Hezbollah’s deterrence, as it fired at open areas.” Kochav noted that Hezbollah intentionally fired at open areas. The Iron Dome defense system still intercepted most of the rockets.

Nevertheless, Israeli officials noted they reserve the right to respond to rocket attacks as they see fit. Fortunately, the Hezbollah attack was a symbolic gesture mainly to appease their constituency. They are well aware of how dangerous a genuine attack on Israel would be. Look at Gaza drowning in a sea of broken cement.

Let’s hope Hezbollah leaves well enough alone!

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 Iran, Israel, Jews, The Middle East

IRAN LOOKING FOR TROUBLE

BLOG 528

August 2, 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.

IRAN LOOKING FOR TROUBLE   

There’s always something … and often it’s not good. Here’s the latest in the shadow war between Israel and Iran.

Iran appears to have made a deadly attack on an Israeli-operated ship using a suicide drone. Two foreign crewmen were killed. Iranian media claims this is a response to strikes in Syria. Israel’s defense leadership convened Friday night to discuss what it believes to be an Iranian attack on a ship with Israeli ties.  A senior government source accused Tehran of “sowing destruction” and said it was proving itself to be “a global problem.”

An unnamed US official told The Associated Press it appeared that a so-called “suicide drone” was used in the attack. A senior Israeli government source said on condition of anonymity Friday evening that “Iran is sowing violence and destruction in every corner of the region. They were so eager to attack an Israeli target that they’ve embroiled themselves and incriminated themselves in the killing of foreign citizens.”

In a statement Friday night, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he was in continuous contact with his British counterpart Dominic Raab and had “noted to him the need to respond severely to the attack.” “Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terror, destruction and instability that hurt us all,” he said. “The world must not be silent in the face of Iranian terror.”

An Israeli official cited by the Ynet news site hinted at possible retaliation, saying it would be difficult for Israel to ignore the latest attack. An Israeli official said, “The only question is how and when we’ll respond.” Analysts said the attack bore all the hallmarks of tit-for-tat exchanges in the undercover war between Israel and Iran, in which vessels linked to each nation have been targeted in waters around the Gulf.

The assault represented the worst-known maritime violence so far in regional attacks on shipping since 2019. The US, Israel and others have blamed the attacks on Iran amid the unraveling of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. With a new hardline Iranian president set to be sworn in, the masks are coming off and no one can pretend they don’t know the character of the Iranian regime.

An Israeli office concluded, “Iran isn’t just Israel’s problem, it is a global problem, and its behavior endangers free global shipping and trade. Our campaign against them will continue.”

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 Iran, Israel, The Middle East, World

BITS AND PIECES IN ISRAEL

BLOG 526

July 18, 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.

BITS AND PIECES IN ISRAEL

Here’s some of what is floating around the Middle East today. Israel continues to press the US to not join the Iranian deal. Even though former Prime Minister Netanyahu made a veiled threats against the Biden Administration over returning to the nuclear arms pact, Chief of  Military Staff Avi Koavi  pledged total cooperation and coordination with America.  In turn, President  Biden told Israeli President Reuven  Rivlin “Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch.”

Readers might draw the conclusion that Israel continues to fight the Khomeini Revolutionary regimen while trying not to provoke the people and their pride. At the same time, Israel continues to frustrate nuclear development within Iran.

Here’s a new twist in the Israel-Washington story.  The New York Times reported that Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Donald Trump to launch a military strike against Iran after it was clear that the former US president had lost the 2020 election. General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, battled to prevent Trump from ordering a strike against Iran, while the President was circled by hawks, including Netanyahu, pressuring him to execute such a strike.

“If you do this, you’re gonna have a **** war,” Milley reportedly warned Trump at one point.

Other foreign policy advisers, including then-Vice President Mike Pence, also reportedly pushed for military action against Iran. When Milley asked why they were so intent on attacking the Iranians, at a meeting where Trump was not present, Pence replied: “Because they are evil.”

The newspaper story reported Milley believed that Trump did not want a war, but said the outgoing president kept pushing for a missile strike in response to Iranian provocations against US interests in the region. The chairman ultimately succeeded in preventing such a strike in the tail-end of Trump’s term.

The Joint Chiefs head said Trump was preaching Hitler’s ‘gospel’ before the Capitol riot. “In the months after the election, with Trump seemingly willing to do anything to stay in power, the subject of Iran was repeatedly raised in White House meetings with the President, and Milley repeatedly argued against a strike,” the New Yorker piece reported. Milley “was worried that Trump might set in motion a full-scale conflict that was not justified.”

It’s always a challenge to discover what’s going on behind closed doors. Then again, sometimes you really don’t want to know!

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 Middle East, Trump

THE PEFECT STORM IN ISRAEL

BLOG 517

May 17, 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 PEFECT STORM IN ISRAEL

Last week’s blog ended with “something like this weekend’s confrontation always has the potential to erupt into a major nation-wide war. Let’s hope not.” Unfortunately, I was right on target. Israel and Hamas as well as the Palestinians now stand on the edge of a full-scale war. You may be asking yourself how this could have exploded so quickly. Actually, it has been simmering for a long time. Here are some of the factors that merged at  the right moment for a horrendous confrontation.

  1. RAMADAN

The Muslim holy month  (April to May) has always been a time of increased tension and violence against the Jews. While the month of Ramadan is supposedly to be a time of peace, Muslim extremists have turned it into a period of attack. Israelis know they must be extra protective during this time. The fact that the attack began on the Temple Mount with youth coming out of the Al-Aksa Mosque is consistent with Ramadan’s period of increased tension.

  • POLITICAL STRUGGLES IN ISRAELI POLITICS

As unbelievable as it appears, Israel is preparing for a fourth election that should have been settled years ago. The legal problems of Prime Minister Netanyahu fueled political indecision about his office as well as confronting him with the possibility of going to jail. Those problems add up to a sense that at this moment Israel is vulnerable. While thoughtful inquirers know Israel can defeat an Arab attack, the Palestinians don’t think that way. This seemed to them to be a good moment to attack.

  • The Trump factor

During the four-years of the Trump administration, the USA appeared to be unequivocally on the side of Israel with no concern for the Palestinian issues. While this made for a good show in Republican politics, it left the Palestinians with the conclusion they had no support in Washington for their own legitimate claims and needs. When the Palestinian cause appeared hopeless, they turned to violence.

  • Palestinian Elections

With elections scheduled in the West Bank on May 22 and July 31, what better way to garner votes than to cross the line and attack Israel. The assaults with rockets and bottles came at the right moment to declare solidarity with the Arab cause. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas can now blame Israel if the election is cancelled in an attempt to avoid blame for his not holding elections for over a decade.

  • Iran

Iran always enjoys seeing Israel bleed. As the world’s number one terrorism exporter, they have been the source of providing those countless rockets fired on Israel over the years and particularly at this moment. They are testing the Iron Dome’s ability  to defeat these attacks. So far, Israel is winning that struggle.

TOMORROW?

What does the future hold? A communique came this week from Yitzhak Sokoloff in Israel whose daughter serves in the Army and has been in bomb shelters this past week. He writes,

I don’t know where things are headed and I’m not sure that anyone does. As I write tonight from my part-time home in Yerucham, the Red Alert application keeps buzzing every few seconds with warnings for the Israeli towns and cities about to receive a visit from a Hamas rocket, including one aimed at my daughter’s base. (She’s OK).

How long can this last? The problem started with Isaac and Ishmael four-thousand years ago. If that’s any indication, the conflict looks endless. Palestinians see a holy purpose in dying for the Temple Mount and their claim to the land. If Jordan or Egypt get into the fray, there is no end to how far this collision could go.

Stay tuned.

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 Iran, Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East, Trump, War

OVERNIGHT IN THE MIDDLE EAST: EXPLOSIONS!

BLOG 514

April 26, 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.

OVERNIGHT IN THE MIDDLE EAST: EXPLOSIONS!

Rocket salvos fired following the Hamas call for attacks on Israel spread worry over Jerusalem. Barrages by terror groups, marked the worst assault from the Gaza Strip in many months. Thirty-six rockets were fired toward Israel from Gaza overnight with six projectiles intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, The Israel Defense Forces reported the assaults Saturday morning.

In response, the Israeli military struck multiple Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Saturday morning, including rocket launchers and underground infrastructures. Some fell in communities while others landed in open areas..  In response to several salvos of rockets fired into Israel overnight, the Israeli Army struck back. Sirens sounded in numerous Israeli communities near the Strip overnight, including Ashkelon and the Eshkol, Sdot Negev, Sha’ar Hanegev and Hof Ashkelon regional councils.

The Iron Dome is programmed not to deploy when rockets are projected to hit non-populated areas.  It was unclear why it had not activated to intercept the projectiles that landed in the border towns.

A spokesperson for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade said “We will burn the occupation’s settlements for you, O Jerusalem. The greatest has yet to come.” In addition, Hamas spokesperson Abd al-Latif al-Qanou said “The Palestinian resistance is ready to respond to aggression, even the score with the occupation and prevent its violations against our people.” Two terror groups in Gaza took responsibility for the rocket fire — Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades. Israel has stressed in the past it holds the ruling Hamas terror group responsible for all violence emanating from Gaza.

The UN special envoy for the Middle East process, Tor Wennesland, said Saturday that he was “alarmed” by the escalation in violence in Jerusalem and around the Strip. The provocative acts across Jerusalem must cease. The indiscriminate launching of rockets towards Israeli population centers violates international law and must stop immediately,” Wennesland responded in a statement.

The rocket attack followed days of tensions and clashes in Jerusalem and the West Bank that involved Palestinian and Israeli civilians as well as Israeli security forces. Before the morning strikes, the military had not responded to the rockets throughout the night, except for a single tank strike after the first volley, that targeted a Hamas post.

The Israel Defense Forces’ Home Front Command initially instructed residents in the areas under threat to remain close to shelters, ordered the closure of Zikim beach, banned outside gatherings and agricultural work near the security fence and limited groups to under 100 people indoors. However, it later removed the restrictions. Additionally, the Sdot Negev Regional Council recommended residents avoided going to synagogue on Saturday morning.

The terrorist attacks are basically financed by Iran. Finances and rockets are smuggled in to the Gaza Strip. Because Iran blames Israel for the recent successful sabotage of one of their nuclear facilities, these current attacks may be a form of “pay back” Even if eschewed, there is usually some logic behind these outbursts.


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 Gaza, Iran, Israel, The Middle East, Violence

MORE TERRORISM

BLOG 508

March 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.

MORE TERRORISM

How does terrorism work in the Middle East? This week we got another example. Iran threated retaliation against Israel since the killing of their top general and another expert in nuclear development. Then came the bombing in India. Now we have more attacks this week.

Israeli officials believe Iran was behind a blast on an Israeli-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman, according to Friday evening reports.  Hebrew media quoted unnamed Israeli officials as saying they believe Iran was responsible for the Friday explosion, which did not disable the ship or injure its crew, but forced it ashore for repairs.

The area of the blast, off Iran’s coast at the entrance to the Persian Gulf, saw a series of explosions in 2019 that the US Navy blamed on Iran, against the backdrop of steeply rising threats between former US president Donald Trump and Iranian leaders. The Friday explosion came amid high tensions between Iran and the Biden administration, which took its first military action Thursday night against Iranian-backed militia in Syria in response to attacks on US forces in the Middle East. 

Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence firm, said it was very possible the blast stemmed from “asymmetric activity by Iranian military.” As Iran seeks to pressure the United States to lift sanctions, the country may seek “to exercise forceful diplomacy through military means,” Dryad reported. Iran did not immediately acknowledge the incident.

US President Joe Biden said Friday that Iran should view his decision to authorize US airstrikes in Syria as a warning that it can expect consequences for its support of militia groups that threaten US interests or personnel.  “You can’t act with impunity. Be careful,” Biden said when a reporter asked what message he had intended to send with the airstrikes, which the Pentagon said destroyed several buildings in eastern Syria but were not intended to eradicate the militia groups that used them to facilitate attacks inside Iraq.

President Biden is suggesting that Iran may go tip-toeing around the world setting off bombs, but they better be careful about what could go off in their backyard.

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!

An Angel on my Shoulder

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Filed under America, Iran, Israel, Violence

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

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!

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