Category Archives: Israel

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)

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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)

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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)

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Filed under America, Iran, Israel

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 ELECTION, ISRAEL, AND IRAN

BLOG  495

NOVEMBER 23, 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 ELECTION, ISRAEL, AND IRAN

Mr. Joe Biden, the American president-elect, has said he will ‘rejoin’ the 2015 nuclear deal. He has also stressed his ‘steadfast support for Israel’s security.’ From Israel’s point of view that’s a contradiction.

Before Biden is sitting  behind the Oval Office, he’s got an important issue to consider. US President Donald Trump declared three weeks ago that up to 10 more countries were preparing to warm their ties with Israel, with five of them firmly on course and the others also “right in the mix.” But that was before the November 3 presidential election.

Trump’s defeat to Joe Biden, and Biden’s explicitly stated intention to “rejoin” the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement  has at a stroke remade the region’s calculations on Iran. The question of which other countries, and when, might now decide to normalize their relations with Israel is only one aspect of the wider recalibration triggered immediately by Biden’s victory.

The Middle East doesn’t do vacuums, and Trump’s defeat is rippling across our neighborhood. The Palestinians have suddenly decided to resume security cooperation with Israel, and are indicating that they want to reestablish ties with the US, assuming that the Trump peace vision they so loathed is off the table. In Israel, with Trump deemed most unlikely to authorize annexation of settlements, since that plan was explicitly suspended under the terms of the Israel-UAE deal, Netanyahu is under pressure from his own right-wing camp to legalize dozens of West Bank outposts before Biden takes office.

And on Iran, the pieces are moving by the hour.

Anticipating a more empathetic approach to Tehran by a successor whose victory he has yet to concede, Trump reportedly mulled doing in his final weeks dismantling the ayatollahs’ rogue nuclear weapons program  by striking at one or more of the Islamist regime’s nuclear enrichment sites. That he was talked out of this by his worried aides, and that this has become public, has already emboldened Tehran, whose Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday magnanimously agreed to discuss how the US could reenter the 2015 deal, provided it first lifts all its sanctions on Tehran. This, even as Iran deepens its breaches of the deal by accelerating its uranium enrichment. Sorry. No deal there.

Israel remains the regional military heavyweight with no choice but to stand up to Tehran. After all, the regime avowedly seeks our destruction and works implacably to attain the tools to achieve that ambition. But Israel’s room for maneuver, and that of likeminded nations in the Middle East and beyond, is immensely widened if the United States fulfills its superpower role.

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Filed under Gaza, Iran, Israel, The Middle East

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.   

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

COMING EVENTS!

BLOG  491

October 26,  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.

COMING EVENTS!

Here’s two stories you’re not likely to hear about locally … but worth knowing.

NUMBER ONE!  

The Tel Aviv university has just launched the only graduate program in the world to focus on Ethiopian Jewish scriptures. Called “Orit Guardians,” it entails an interdisciplinary study of the Ethiopian Jewish scripture and its ancient liturgical language, Ge’ez, combined with the scientific study of biblical translation and interpretation, with the goal of recording the biblical scriptures that have been orally transmitted to the Beta Israel community in their own common tongues, Amharic or Tigrinya, for the past several hundred years at least.  “Bible departments all over the world are working on ancient translations and there has not been any development of a study of the Ethiopian Jewish tradition. No one has recorded the translation and interpretations,” Prof. Dalit Rom-Shiloni  said. “The reason, she asserted, “is mostly because until now, no one has had both the scholarly know-how and the language and cultural proficiency to speak with the kes, or priestly class, who, until the community’s mass immigration to Israel, led communal worship. We are trying to do is focus on the biblical side of the text and the translations and interpretive tradition, and we’re suggesting we can do it by using a set of professional tools.”

NUMBER TWO!

In previous blogs, I’ve warned there is smoke on the horizon. Here’s a recent development. The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday morning launched a large-scale exercise simulating war against the Hezbollah terrorist group, aimed at improving the military’s offensive capability. The multi-day drill — dubbed “Deadly Arrow” — will predominantly focus on how various headquarters and command centers work together and communicate in wartime, the military said. It was also set to include physical maneuvers by ground forces, naval vessels and aircraft.

The military explained the exercise would simulate a “multi-front scenario focused on the northern arena.”

The IDF believes that any future war against the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group would not only be waged in southern Lebanon, but would also include attacks from Syria and potentially the Gaza Strip as well.

Israel knows it can not close it’s eyes for a moment to the fact that terrorists never quit until they are dead. From the point of view of the Israel military, the Hezbollah situation remains tense.

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, Israel, Jews, The Middle East

TROUBLE BOILING IN THE MIDDLE EAST Part 2

BLOG 488

October 5, 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.

TROUBLE BOILING IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Part 2

In my last blog, I described some of the tension brewing in Lebanon and Gaza that could have a future impact on Israel and the Middle East. My suggestion was that we must always keep an eye open for what is happening behind the scenes. Sometimes it’s good; sometimes it’s not. This just released news story from Iran makes the point.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Sunday unveiled a new naval ballistic missile with a potential range of over 700 kilometers (430 miles), local media reported, following months of tensions with arch-enemy the United States. According to Tasnim news agency, the missile, dubbed “Zolfaghar Basir”, is the naval variant of the surface-to-surface Zolfaghar ballistic missile. Its range is more than twice that of the Islamic republic’s other naval missiles, including the “Hormuz-2”, with a range of 300 kilometers, which Tehran said it successfully tested in March 2017.  Images published by Tasnim showed the Zolfaghar Basir installed on a launcher truck during the Tasnim did not specify whether or not the new missile has been tested yet.

inauguration of Tehran’s National Aerospace Park on Sunday.

 “This exhibition shows the comprehensive plan of the deterrent power of the (Islamic republic’s) system,” Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami said at the inauguration, according to Tasnim.  Iran’s Guards used the Zolfaghar in 2017 and 2018 against the Islamic State group in Syria in retaliation for terrorist attacks carried out in the country. The missile was also used in January to target bases in Iraq housing US troops, according to IRNA news agency, days after the US killed Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad.

The unveiling of the Zolfaghar Basir comes more than a week after an American aircraft carrier crossed the strategic Strait of Hormuz, and days after the Guards opened a new naval base near the waterway, through which a fifth of the world’s oil passes. The vital shipping lane and nearby Gulf waters were the scenes of heightened US-Iranian tensions late last year when ships were mysteriously attacked, drones downed and oil tankers seized.

Tensions have soared between Washington and Tehran under US President Donald Trump, who pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear accord and unilaterally reimposed sanctions on Iran. The arch-enemies have twice come to the brink of direct confrontation since June 2019.

Washington suffered a setback in mid-August when it failed to win support from the United Nation’s Security Council to extend an arms embargo against Tehran that will progressively expire starting on October 18.

Saudi Arabia won’t be happy with this development. Other Middle Eastern countries will feel the same way. Israel will be watching with a a finger on the trigger.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaza, Iran, Israel, The Middle East, United Nations, United States History

TROUBLE BOILING IN THE MIDDLE EAST

BLOG 487

September 28,  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.

TROUBLE BOILING IN THE MIDDLE EAST

This year in my recent trip to Israel, I observed the bitter feelings that exists between Israelis and Palestinians and vice versa. Hostilities are everywhere.  In recent blogs, I’ve celebrated the diplomatic breakthroughs achieved between Israel and Arab countries. Such is an important achievement. However, those accomplishments only mask a fierce reality waiting below the surface.

The Jerusalem Post suggested that Hezbollah had stored massive amounts of weaponry in Lebanon that were part of the terrible explosion in Beirut. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said,  “Iran has taken Lebanon hostage through Hezbollah.”   Moreover, in August Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Hamas (who controls the Gaza Strip) that Israel would respond forcefully if the terrorist group did not stop launching incendiary and explosive balloons into Israel.  

What is currently happening inside Gaza? Hamas military prosecutors on Thursday charged three Palestinian activists in the Gaza Strip with “weakening revolutionary spirit” — a charge that could lead to years in prison — for holding a video conference with Israelis.

Rami Aman, a 38-year-old peace activist and Gaza resident, was detained in early April after holding a public “Skype With Your Enemy” video call in which Israelis participated. He has said his organization seeks to empower young Palestinians and that many in Gaza share his view that speaking to Israelis should not be forbidden.

“If I were to go into the streets and tell people ‘let’s talk with an Israeli,’ thousands of people would be here,” Aman said during a videoconference, (Facebook)

Authorities in Gaza view “normalizing” with Israelis as a criminal offense. While Hamas does permit merchants and those seeking humanitarian assistance inside Israel to communicate with Israeli authorities, it has cracked down on those who have sought to establish person-to-person ties with Israelis. “Holding any activity or communication with the Israeli occupation, under any cover, is a crime punishable by law; it is a betrayal of our people and its sacrifices,” Interior Minister Iyad al-Bozm wrote in a Facebook post in April.

Hamas routinely arrests and tortures critics and dissidents within the coastal enclave. Aman himself had already faced harassment by security forces for his activism. In July 2019, Hamas detained him for two weeks after organizing a joint bike ride with Israelis: Gazans biked side by side with Israelis, with only the security fence dividing them. On another occasion, Aman was detained for three days after he publicly criticized the alleged beating of a young man by officers from the Hamas-run interior ministry, according to Human Rights Watch. Although both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International immediately called for the activists’ release, Hamas authorities have held the detainees for five months without trial.

Get the picture? Hostilities could  explode at any time.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaza, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Palestinians, The Middle East

RAPID CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

BLOG 486

September 14,  2020

RAPID CHANGE IN 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.

In recent blogs, I’ve commented on the change occurring in the Middle East. Notably, the United States has little to do with most of this. movement However, these are signs that Israel’s position is shifting and receiving wider acceptance in the Arab world. These blogs were barely published when news arrived that Bahrain had established full diplomatic relations with Israel.

A day after the announcement that Bahrain is establishing full diplomatic relations with Israel, a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official said Saturday that Jerusalem would work to establish an embassy in Manama in the near future. The two country’s foreign ministers, Israel’s Gabi Ashkenazi and Bahrain’s Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, spoke on the phone Saturday, and exchanged congratulations on the deal and discussed the importance of pushing relations forward in various fields and in support of common interests

According to Kan news, in addition to the establishment of embassies and the appointment of ambassadors, the two countries have also agreed to the operation of direct flights as well as a number of unspecified joint ventures. Earlier this month, Bahrain announced that it was opening its airspace to Israeli flights.

Netanyahu hailed the agreement as part of a “new era of peace” and predicted more accords would follow. The Bahraini king’s senior adviser Khalid al-Khalifa said in a statement that the normalization deal “sends a positive and encouraging message to the people of Israel, that a just and comprehensive peace with the Palestinian people is the best path and the true interest for their future and the future of the peoples of the region.”

Regional power player Saudi Arabia remained noticeably silent following Friday’s announcement of a normalization agreement between Israel and Bahrain.  Bahrain is seen as a client state of its neighbor and close ally Saudi Arabia, and the tiny Gulf state is not likely to have moved forward with normalization without approval from Riyadh.

Predictable responses followed from the usual quarters. The Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terror group both condemned Friday’s Israeli-Bahraini normalization deal as another “stab in the back” by an Arab state and act of “aggression” against their people. Turkey and Iran also condemned the accord.

Israel is on a roll. Got to be a good sign for the Middle East.

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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