Category Archives: Iraq

ISRAELIS HIDE IN ISTANBUL 

BLOG 570

June 20, 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.

ISRAELIS HIDE IN ISTANBUL     

Middle East terrorism takes many forms. One of the more alarming expressions occurred in Turkey this past week. Israelis were running for cover as Iranian agents roamed the streets looking for them. Here’s the story.

Friday’s warnings came a day after Israel’s National Security Council issued rare, specific instructions to Israelis in Turkey, telling them not to open their hotel room doors for delivery people, not to post about their travel plans on social media, and not to go to the same tourist traps that other Israelis often visit.

On Monday, the National Security Council raised the warning level for travel to Istanbul to its highest level, putting it alongside Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Iran as places that Israelis must leave immediately and may not visit.

Tensions between Israel and Iran have intensified in recent weeks, after the assassination of a top Iranian officer in Tehran last month, a number of other deaths of security personnel inside Iran, airstrikes against Iran-linked targets in Syria, threatening rhetoric from Iranian leaders and Iran’s increasing violations of nuclear agreements.

The latest warnings came after a week in which Israel has urged its citizens in Turkey to immediately return home, and issued its highest possible security warning for Istanbul, over concerns that Iranian agents are planning to kill or kidnap Israelis. The warnings came amid unverified reports in the press that Israeli and Turkish intelligence had together already thwarted several planned attacks by a broad network of Iranian agents, nabbing some of the suspects.

It is currently believed to be some 2,000 Israelis in Turkey.

Israeli media cited unnamed officials who said that Israeli agents were in Turkey working shoulder to shoulder with their Turkish counterparts in an effort to thwart the attacks, noting that there was excellent cooperation with local officials. There is a “manhunt right now in the streets of Istanbul to stop an incident that has already gotten underway,” the report said. “Being in Istanbul right now for an Israeli is akin to playing Russian roulette, tempting fate. If we could publicize the full operational picture, Israelis would be fleeing as they would a fire,” a senior official was reported as saying.

The Middle East remains dangerous for anyone who stumbles into one of these hot spots. Hopefully, there will be no explosive instances in the next few days.

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UKRAINE FROM ISRAEL’S POINT OF VIEW

BLOG 555

February 28, 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.

UKRAINE FROM ISRAEL’S POINT OF VIEW

The world has been shocked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Middle Eastern view point gives us more insight to consider what is happening at this moment. Here’s what Israel media is now saying.

The Jerusalem Post reports this story for American readers.

Christians, wake up: If the world doesn’t stop Putin, NATO and Israel are next. Putin’s alliance with Iran and Syria tells us all we need to know about his ambitions in the Mideast.

The world was blindsided by World War II and the abject horrors of the Holocaust because it didn’t understand the evil nature of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime in Berlin.

The US was blindsided by the sneak attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941 because Washington didn’t understand the evil nature of the Imperial Japanese regime in Tokyo.

The world was blindsided by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 because it didn’t understand the evil nature of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. Likewise, the US was blindsided by the 9/11 attacks in 2001 because it didn’t understand the evil nature of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda terror network.

Today, the world is being blindsided again because it doesn’t understand the evil nature of Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Leaders in Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels and beyond seem completely baffled by Putin’s lust to attack, crush and re-occupy Ukraine.Do Western government officials truly not understand what is at stake here? Are Christian leaders really so willfully ignorant of the threat Putin poses to both Jews and Christians?

At his core, Putin is a mafia boss, obsessed with power and wealth, and willing to rob, kill or destroy to obtain both.

Using the Red Army, he already seized control of 20% of Georgia, all of Crimea, the eastern section of Ukraine and all of Syria. And murdered and imprisoned Russian dissidents. And co-opted Belarus. The list goes on and on. 

At the same time, Putin sees himself following in the tradition of the Russian czars, believing he has a divine right to rule with an iron hand and is permitted to use any means necessary to rebuild the glory of Mother Russia.

What a chilling combination.

That’s an Israeli perspective on today’s critical situation. Think it over.

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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)

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THE POT KEEPS BOILING

BLOG 538

October 18, 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.

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.

THE POT KEEPS BOILING

While American news sources have been following other stories, the problem of Iran keeps simmering in the Middle East. The issue just won’t go away. In a trilateral meeting, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that the world must act to stop the evil of Iran. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed met with Lapid  in Washington on Wednesday.

“Israel reserves the right to act at any given moment, in any way,” Lapid stated. “That is not only our right, it is also our responsibility. Iran has publicly stated it wants to wipe us out. We have no intention of letting that happen.”

Lapid warned that the Iranians are “dragging their heels” in order to enrich uranium and develop its ballistic missile program while the world waits for them to return to negotiations. “Secretary of State Blinken and I are sons of Holocaust survivors,” Lapid said. “We know there are moments when nations must use force to protect the world from evil. If a terror regime is going to acquire a nuclear weapon, we must act. We must make clear that the civilized world won’t allow it. If diplomacy between world powers and Iran fails, other options will be on the table,” Lapid said.

“When we say other options, I think everyone understands here in Israel, in the Emirates and in Tehran, what it means,” Lapid added.

Those “other options” were discussed in the meeting between Lapid and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Tuesday in the bilateral meeting with Blinken and the trilateral meeting, the foreign minister said. Blinken stated he and the foreign ministers are “united in the proposition that Iran cannot get a nuclear weapon.”

The US believes that diplomacy is the best way to make that happen and is prepared to return to the 2015 nuclear deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – with Iran, but, Blinken cautioned, “What we are seeing – or more accurately, not seeing – from Tehran suggests that they’re not.”

“Time is running short, because as we’ve also had the opportunity to discuss, we are getting closer to a point at which returning to compliance with the JCPOA will not recapture the benefits of the JCPOA, because Iran is using this time to advance its program. With every day of refusal to engage in good faith, the runway gets shorter,” Bliken said.

We need to stay informed. The clock is ticking!

I have a new book coming out.

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

I can make copies available at:

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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)

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HOPE IN IRAQ

BLOG 509

March 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.

HOPE IN IRAQ

Many of this blog’s  readers are aware that we knew Jorge Mario Bergoglio before the Holy Father became Pope Francis. From out of this relationship, his Holiness ask me to be his Apostolic Representative for Christian Unity, a role I have served in ever since. I know his devotion in the quest for world-wide unity. Consequently, I closely follow what happens in the Vatican. The Pope’s historic  trip to Iraq was certainly at the top of the list of highly significant acts.

Here’s some of what occurred in Iraq.

Pope Francis met Saturday with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, one of the most senior clerics in Shiite Islam, in Iraq’s holy city of Najaf to deliver a joint message of peaceful coexistence, urging Muslims to embrace Iraq’s long-beleaguered Christian minority. After his historic meeting with Pope Francis on Saturday, Iraq’s top Shiite cleric affirmed that religious authorities have a role in protecting Iraq’s Christians and said they should live in peace and enjoy the same rights as other Iraqis.  Pope Francis thanked Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and the Shiite people for having “raised his voice in defense of the weakest and most persecuted” during some of the most violent times in Iraq’s recent history. He said al-Sistani’s message of peace affirmed “the sacredness of human life and the importance of the unity of the Iraqi people.” The Vatican said the historic visit was a chance for Francis to emphasize the need for collaboration and friendship between different religious communities.

In a statement issued by his office after the meeting, al-Sistani affirmed that Christians should “live like all Iraqis, in security and peace and with full constitutional rights.” He pointed out the “role that the religious authority plays in protecting them, and others who have also suffered injustice and harm in the events of past years.”

For Iraq’s dwindling Christian minority, a show of solidarity from al-Sistani could help secure their place in Iraq after years of displacement and, they hope, ease intimidation from Shiite militiamen against their community.

The historic meeting in al-Sistani’s humble home was months in the making, with every detail painstakingly discussed and negotiated between the ayatollah’s office and the Vatican.

Al-Sistani wished Francis and the followers of the Catholic Church happiness, and thanked him for taking the trouble to visit him in Najaf, the statement said. Al-Sistani is a deeply revered figure in Shiite-majority Iraq and his opinions on religious and other matters are sought by Shiites worldwide.

While such symbolic gestures for peace can have long range consequences. Perhaps, no where in the world is reconciliation needed more than in the Middle East. The Pope’s visit while surrounded by danger was a sweeping gesture for peace.

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!

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WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

BLOG 485

September 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.

A number of readers have made responses to the previous blog concerning the new Israeli-United Arab Emirates peace agreement. Certainly, it is a signal of changing times with practical implications for the future. Further analysis suggests some of these possibilities.

The agreement is the third peace treaty Israel has signed with an Arab state, but it is the first to contain the promise of a warm peace. This is in sharp contrast to Israel’s relations with prior accord partners Egypt and Jordan, which are limited to very narrow personal, diplomatic, and security relations. With Egypt, the peace treaty has rarely reached even that threshold. Hosni Mubarak, throughout his 30 years of ruling Egypt, never made an official visit to Israel, which is less than an hour’s flight away. In over a decade of rule, King Abdullah of Jordan. has abstained from visiting Israel despite meeting several times with PA head Mahmoud Abbas in nearby Ramallah.

The UAE peace treaty, unlike the treaties with Egypt and Jordan, was signed under quite different conditions. There is a wide expectation that it will be followed by one or more similar pacts with other states, especially other Gulf States and Saudi Arabia. No such expectations accompanied Israel’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan.

One major accomplishment has already been achieved by the UAE-Israel agreement. It has been largely overlooked, perhaps because it is a case of what did not happen rather than what did. Even as an El Al plane flew over Saudi Arabian territory carrying a bevy of Israeli officials, businessmen, and investors to the Emirates with the aim of promoting a warm piece, there were no demonstrations of consequence in the Arab world. Amman, Beirut, Tunis, Algiers, and Rabat, where demonstrations against the Israeli “occupation,” the “desecration” of al-Aqsa, and other charges against Israel are generally well-attended, were silent, at least on the street.

For Iran and the violent proxy organizations it supports, the lesson was vivid and painful. Not only was the Palestinian card they have played for decades visibly diminished in importance, but the lack of protest over the Palestinian issue contrasted sharply with the growing level of protest in Lebanon and Iraq regarding Iranian meddling in their internal affairs to the detriment of the native populations.

It is one more sign of long-term processes of political maturation in the Arabic-speaking public. The late senator and former Harvard professor Patrick Moynihan famously said that all politics are local. Indeed, mature democracies are usually characterized by populations that privilege local interests and welfare over universal concerns.

In today’s Middle East, populations are no longer clamoring for pan-Arab unity. They want better social welfare, greater economic opportunity, good education, innovation, the rule of law, and equality before the law at home. The Israel-UAF agreement fits those needs.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

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

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A SURPRISE AT SUNRISE!

BLOG 483
August 16, 2020

palestine flag

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 SURPRISE AT SUNRISE!

Israel has agreed to suspend West Bank annexation plans in exchange for the normalization of ties with the United Arab Emirates, according to a joint statement from Israel, the UAE and the US released by US President Donald Trump. UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayad confirms in a tweet that Israel has agreed to suspend annexation plans, but says that the countries have only agreed to work toward the normalization of relations. The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship.

While this is big news this week, it not actually new. Israel and the UAF have been doing business under the table for a considerable amount of time. The driving force behind this mutual public recognition is animosity toward Iran. The Arabs are particularly hostile and the world knows Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons. In this agreement, Israelis is the big winner and Iran the loser.

Israel had already put annexation on hold because of Washington’s preoccupation with their own problems. Trump continues to lag in the polls and the White House struggles with those worries. Reactions across the region have been predicable.

The mayor of the Beit El settlement Shai Alon accused Netanyahu of selling out his movement. “They pulled a fast one on the settlers. Our future is in Judea and Samaria and in courageous decisions which our leaders will make. Notagreements that we sign today and are not worth the paper they are written on tomorrow.” But Oded Revivi, mayor of the Efrat settlement says suspending the annexation bid is a “proper price,” for normalizing ties, while predicting a change in how settlements are perceived.

Of course, Palestinian officials were not happy. Hanan Ashrawi said, “Israel got rewarded for not declaring openly what it’s been doing to Palestine illegally & persistently since the beginning of the occupation,” She also said the UAE has come forward with its “secret dealings/normalization with Israel.”

Arab countries are recognizing the reality of Israel’s endurance and economic wellbeing. Israel’s are the major military power in the Middle East. It makes more sense to play ball with them than to stand outside the stadium.

Undoubtedly more normalization will come.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

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

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UPDATES ON ISRAEL

BLOG 455

January 13, 2020

peace

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.

UPDATES ON ISRAEL

Egypt remains quiet as does Jordan. Lebanon still struggles under the grip of Hezbollah. The Ayatollah Supreme leader of Iran warned the leader of Hezbollah that American might strike him next after the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani. The media has been full of the story of the exchange between the USA and Iran with Iran’s tragic shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner. Tehran’s streets were filled with protesters screaming for the Ayatollah to resign because of the strike on the commercial airliner.

You might be interested to learn that the Christian population has grown in Israel. Over 177,000 new citizens moved in to make Christians 2% of the Israeli population. Three quarters of this population are Arabs. In the past year 2.5 million tourists came to Israel. No wonder tourism remains at the top of the list of Israel’s industries. My, my, does the Middle East ever give us something to think about.

You probably know that the third election for Prime Minister of Israel will be held March 2. The political upheaval in Israeli politics keeps the public in turmoil. The latest blow to Netanyahu is the ruling by the Knesset legal adviser that it is okay for their parliament to proceed with the immunity debate. Israeli Channel 12 political analyst Ammon Abramovitch reported, “I think Netanyahu can wave farewell to immunity.”

With charges of bribery and corruption hanging over his head, Bibi Netanyahu has sought to maneuver the Knesset into making him an exception to the law. Three charges of corruption hang over his head. Of course, many, many Israelis resent this attempt to make the Prime Minister an exception to the law and maintain it amounts to an admission of guilt. Will they vote that conviction? March 2 will tell us.

Netanyahu has been attempting to prevent the Knesset committee from being formed until after the March 2 election. His strategy is to hopefully win a majority of seats that would then vote to halt the charges from going forward. The entire matter is filled with almost more twists and turns that now exist in American politics.

Isn’t there someone, somewhere, to stand up and ask for the truth regardless of the political consequences? Like American politics, the pushing and shoving only discredits the politicians further and they are already at the bottom of the list of people who Americans trust.

Keep your eyes open. Much more to follow.

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

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MORE THAN YOU WANT TO KNOW IN ISRAEL

BLOG 455
January 6, 2020

israel-election

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 THAN YOU WANT TO KNOW IN ISRAEL

Could any country have more turmoil than is currently happening in the United States?

Yeah. Israel.

Two big stories grab the headlines. Of course, the bombing in Iran is blazing across the headlines because Iran has sworn the destruction of Israel. The other story is the continued struggle to elect a Prime Minister and get the government back on track.

Any progress on the Netanyahu-Gantz struggle? No.

On March 2, the next election will be held. Acrimony is already in the air. Making matters more complicated, Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration Wednesday night that he is seeking parliamentary immunity from prosecution was unprecedented and hugely dramatic. For the first time in Israel’s history, a prime minister now aims to persuade his Knesset colleagues to allow him to avoid being tried for corruption. And until they have made their decision, which could be months from now, he will not be required to stand in the dock at Jerusalem District Court and face the three charges of graft issued against him. But a second drama followed hard on the heels of the first, with Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman immediately announcing that his party “will not be part of the immunity coalition.” Since Liberman has now declared that he and his party will not back Netanyahu’s bid for Knesset immunity, the prime minister’s gambit has instantly become significantly less likely to succeed. And if, as is more than probable, the prime minister anticipated that Liberman would not back his bid for immunity, his move stands as an act of desperation.

And then the pots are boiling in Iran with the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimaniby an American drone. Iran’s most public proclamations declare hate for Israel and the USA. What will they do to retaliate? If I knew, a military airplane would be waiting to swish me off to Washington, D.C..

On one side of Iran is Saudi Arabia with an equally strong hatred of the Iranians. On another side, Iraq is ruled only by uncertainty. The unexpected action of America has left the Iraqis in a real bind. Iran pulls the strings in that country, but American action could change everything overnight.

Recently General Kenneth F. McKenzie noted that more troops in the Mideast might not stop possible attacks by Iran. The world knows they are the number one exporter of terrorism across the Mid-East into Africa. Moreover Iran’s increased activity in their nuclear program remains a monster waiting n the closet.

No one seems to know what President Trump will do next. No one apparently knows what Hassan Rouhani will do in retaliation. The world is looking down a gun barrel.

Is that the way you planned to start the New Year? I don’t think so.

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

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HEADS UP! MORE IS COMING—

BLOG 239 February 9, 2015

You may have picked up from the media that Israel made an air strike on Hezbollah in Syria that killed senior Hezbollah officials, six Iranians, and an Iranian general. What was a general from Iran doing in Syria with this terrorist group? You got it! If we didin’t know before, that’s a clear picture of how Iran is financing and directing Hezbollah as well as other terrorists groups.

General Muhammad Allahdadi was from the Revolutionary guard, the right wing military force inside Iran. It is believed that Allahdadi was planning deadly cross the border assaults against Israel.  Jihad Mughniyeh, who was also killed,  was known as a ruthless terrorist who had the direct backing of Iran. The head of Hezbollah’s operations in Syria and Iraq was also killed.

Currently, Northern Israel is on high alert. Revolutionary Guard chief General Muhammad Ali Jafri warned they will fight to the end until “this epitome of vice” (Israel) is destroyed –meaning Hezbollah will strike back –sometime. The military promised “ruinous thunderbolts” would fall on Israel. Of course, Israel is also blamed for all terrorism in the Middle East. No surprise there.

The question remains where and when Hezbollah will strike. The current situation signals that adherence to the 2006 Second Lebanon War agreement is wearing thin. If the terrorist group make a minor attack, Israel will respond tit-for-tat and that would probably conclude the current situation. A much larger assault and Israel would undoubtedly attack inside Lebanon. In that circumstance, all bets are off.

Can Hezbollah stand such an assault after the serious defeat Hamas suffered in the recent Gaza war. Even though the Hamas leaders are wealthy from the money flowing into their pockets that was meant for  Hamas, the organization is in serious trouble and losing ground in Gaza. Does Hezbollah want to risk the same defeat?

Hard to say.

Hezbollah is much larger, better equipped, and now better financed than Hamas was, but they are also strung out over Syria. Should Israel hit them full force, it might wreck their war machine in Syria. In such case, Israel would be hurting the Assad regime. Would they do that? It is known that Israel prefers the devil they know to one unknown and many of the rebels fighting Assad are worse than he is.  What a tangled mess the Middle East has become!

Again, Hezbollah could be taking a significant risk if they attempt to reach across the border as Israel would not hesitate to respond. The situation remains highly explosive and could ignite more regional conflict.

More is definitely to come.

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RELIGIOUS CLEANSING AND CHRISTIANS

BLOG 236 January 26, 2015

Nina Shea, director of Washington based Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom, recently noted that the goal of Islamic extremists to achieve total Islamization has virtually been met in Iraq. The former 1.4 million Christians are nearly all immigrants, refugees, or displaced persons in Kurdistan. The religious violence has reached a level that is beyond persecution. It appears that the correct label is now religious cleansing.

For the first time in its history, Iraq has become entirely Muslim. In addition to the Christians, the Yazudi, Mandean, and Jewish communities have all been driven out. Because the Christians were the largest non-Muslim group they became the recent targets for attack. One aspect of the tragedy is that Christians have worked and lived in Iraq back to Biblical times. Now, they are on the run.

Equally alarming is the West’s apparent ignoring of this situation. At one point, Christians in Iraq called for the creation of a special province for minorities. Called the Nineveh Plains proposal, the idea was largely ignored by policy makers in the West.

The situation is no better in Iran. While President Rouhani tweeted a Christmas “best wishes” to the followers of “the prophet Jesus Christ,” Pastor Farshid Fathi was experiencing his fourth Christmas in jail because of his Christian ministry in that country.

Open Door USA is an organization that seeks to prevent Christian persecution and stays abreast of what is happening across the world. They constantly chronicle who and where these violations are occurring. In their Top 10 list of persecutors of Christians are Iran, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen are at the top. Of course, the emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS) now heads the list. An analysts for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting, Dexter Van Zile said that ISIS must not only be defeated but be made to pay for murdering Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities. He emphatically insisted they should not be able to get away with these crimes.

The violence in Iraq against Christians prompted Pope Francis to say, “Your resistance is martyrdom, dew which bears fruit.”

The analogy is now being made between current religious cleansing and what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust. Some of the blame for these deaths fell on nations that would not allow Jews to immigrate during the crisis. Voices like Van Zile are calling for the world to pay attention and not let such happen again.

Western policy makers have failed to focus on the jihadists who are attempting to wipe out Christians. The time has come to wake up!

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