Category Archives: Russia

A NEW YEAR WITH OLD PROBLEMS

BLOG 547

January 1, 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.

A NEW YEAR WITH OLD PROBLEMS

As the promise of a new day unfolds, the approaching year is dragging old issues in that we can’t avoid in the months ahead. Putin and Russia are poised on the Ukraine border with the worst intentions in mind.  Ukraine President Volodynyr Zelensky claims that Putin intends to assassinate him.  Don’t underestimate Vladimir Putin. He has never been a friend of the West. The year 2020 will have to face this problem.

Equally troubling is the situation in the Middle East. Iran continues to issue threats against Israel. Officials in Jerusalem warn world powers of the fact as negotiations to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program continue.

“Sanctions must not be lifted from  Iran,” Foreign Minister Yaie Lapid said recently. ”Sanctions should be tightened. A real military threat must be put before Iran, because that is the only way to stop Iran’s race to become a nuclear power.”

In a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Lapid indicated that Israel views the talks as an attempt to stall military action by Israel while Tehran advances its unilateral action.

What it boils down to is that no action — is an action on Iran’s part.

The issue lurking behind the scenes is the supply of oil. With their fiscal year beginning on March 1,  the assumption is that Iran would sell 1.2 million barrels of oil a day . The removal of sanctions would raise this figure to 2.5 million a day.  No matter what anyone says, this issue lurks in the background.

You can bet a settlement with Russia also hinges on economic implications.

I have a new books coming out.

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

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

Also these fine books are available now:

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

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

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

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable

Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

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

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PRIME MINISTER BENNETT MEETS WITH PUTIN

BLOG 541

November 8, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

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

PRIME MINISTER BENNETT MEETS WITH PUTIN

Insight into what is transpiring in the Middle East often comes from clandestine meetings that the public only learns about years later. However, the recent conference between two heads of state may give us some clues.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s October summit with Vladimir Putin ran overtime. Its unscheduled five-hour duration meant that the prime minister could not return to Israel before Shabbat, and was stuck in Sochi until Saturday night. Yet Bennett’s time with the Russian president was well spent.

Bennett needed to maintain Israel’s freedom of action in Syria. Since the outbreak of the civil war a decade ago, and the ensuing growth of Iran’s presence, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has repeatedly targeted Iranian positions and those of its proxy Hezbollah. Tehran’s pretext for involvement was to bolster its ally Bashar Assad, but the larger goal was to transform Syria into an Iranian satellite, a forward position from which to threaten Israel.

Israel decided not to merely observe the growing Iranian buildup, but to adopt a policy of active preemption. The logic of the Israeli strategy mirrored that of the United States in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, when President John Kennedy declared that the mere positioning of Soviet missiles in the Western Hemisphere was an unacceptable provocation, irrespective of a decision on their actual use. From Jerusalem’s perspective, the Iranians’ deployment was in itself illegitimate, necessitating a robust Israeli response.

However, in September 2015 a new factor arose. The Kremlin made a decision to intervene directly in Syria with its own forces in support of Assad. The Iranians and Russians were now fighting on the same side of the civil war. In these circumstances, it could no longer be a forgone conclusion that Israel would still be able to continue striking against Iranian positions without incurring the wrath of Russia.

Then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu understood that Russia’s upgraded role in Syria was a game-changer. Prudently, he made the uncharacteristic decision not to join the United States and other NATO countries in publicly criticizing the Kremlin’s decision. Instead, Netanyahu expeditiously flew to Moscow for a face-to-face meeting with Putin, where he successfully reached a series of understandings that safeguarded Israel’s freedom of action.

Avoiding such a clash  (“deconfliction” in the language of the experts ) was crucial, but Prime Minister Bennett’s dialogue with the Russian leader held greater implications. It was vital to start a conversation with the Kremlin about developments in Syria and the future of that war-torn country, an exchange that sought convergence between the dictates of Israel’s national security and Russia’s interests in the Middle East that date back to the days of the czars.

Such a discussion was possible because unlike Iran, Russia is not overtly hostile toward Israel. On the contrary, Putin has declared his friendship toward the Jewish people and the Jewish state, solidarity he emphasized during his various official visits to Jerusalem in January 2020.

All in all, a  good step forward for the Middle East.

I have a new book coming out.

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

I can make copies available at:

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

Cost is $15.00 plus the shipping fee.

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

Also these fine books are available now:

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

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

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

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

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

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

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

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A NEW THREAT

BLOG 480
July 27 2020

war

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 NEW THREAT

The American press apparently has not touched an important news story brewing in the Middle East because the covid virus has captured the attention of the public and press. However, a new and possible dangerous situation that continues to brew in the Middle East with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stoking the fire.

The Turkish Ottoman Empire was crushed in World War I. Before that defeat, Turkey had virtually ruled the region including what is today Israel. The Muslim Empire practiced genocide on a million and a half Armenians and were known for their brutality. World War I broke their hold on the Middle East and the British gained control of Palestine. Eventually the Arabs formed countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Now Erdogan appears to be attempting to revive the past. Questions are now being raised about whether Turkey and Egypt could be headed for a war in Libya. In recent months, Turkey has increased its military intervention in Libya. They are supporting the Tripoli government’s side of a civil war. The Libyan conflict is complex but has implications for which power will gain dominance in the region. Egypt, Turkey,Qatar and even Russia have their eye on the outcome.

Erdogan’s interest is also on increasing Turkey’s statues in the Arab Muslim world. The Turkish President has always tilted toward the Muslim Brotherhood. In recent years, Turkey has also played hardball with Israel probably to gain favor in the Arab world. In contrast, Egypt’s leader General Abdel Fatah al-Sisis kicked the Muslim Brotherhood out of the country back in 2013. Egypt is not likely to be tolerant of Erodgan’s aggressive actions.

One view held in America is that one day Turkey may turn to Iran or Russia. The idea is that the US must give concessions to Turkey to turn them away from Moscow and Tehran. The issue may end with Cairo’s influence. They currently have a military present in Libya. At this point the kettle is only starting to boil, but the water is hot.

Pay attention to what Turkey is up to. It may well have repercussions for the entire 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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A SURPRISE VISIT IN THE HOLY LAND

BLOG 457
January 27, 2020

princess-alice-of-battenberg-

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 VISIT IN THE HOLY LAND

I don’t recall American media reporting on the visit of England’s Prince Charles to the Holy Land in late January. This story is remarkable and worth remembering not because one of the English royalty made a visit to Jerusalem, but why he had come. Prince Charles had come to made a solemn visit to the tomb of his grandmother Princess Alice.

Possibly you’ve never heard of Princess Alice. She hid Jews in her home during World War II. A person to remember indeed!

Princess Alice sheltered Jews during the Holocaust and her tumultuous life was marked by exile, mental illness and a religious devotion to serving the needy. Princess Alice is interred at the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalene, whose gold onion domes rise up from the Mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem’s Old City. Charles was shown around the 19th-century church by Archimandrite Roman Krassovsky, the local head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who offered prayers as nuns dressed in black sang hymns.

The mother of Prince Philip, Charles’s father, she was born Princess Alice of Battenberg in 1885. Deaf from birth, she managed to devote much of her life to aiding the poor, the sick and refugees. The great granddaughter of Queen Victoria married Prince Andrew of Greece in 1903 and had five children, including Prince Philip, the future Duke of Edinburgh and consort to Queen Elizabeth II. The family was driven into exile on two occasions, and the princess had spent time in a sanitarium after suffering a nervous breakdown.

Charles said, “I have long drawn inspiration from the selfless actions of my dear grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, who in 1943, in Nazi-occupied Athens, saved a Jewish family by taking them into her home and hiding them.”

When the Nazis entered Athens in 1943, she sheltered three members of the Cohen family. The father of the family, former parliamentarian Haim Cohen, had been close to the royal family until he passed away that year. Princess Alice did not know Cohen’s wife, Rachel, or his daughter, Tilde, but hid them away in her mansion anyway, and later sheltered Rachel’s son, Michael, as well.

Yad Vashem (the Jewish memorial to the Holocaust in Jerusalem) says the princess regularly visited with the family and wanted to learn more about their Jewish faith. At one point, when suspicious Gestapo officers came to the home to interview her, the princess used her deafness to avoid answering their questions.

Alice died in Buckingham Palace in 1969 and was later interred in the church in Jerusalem. She had requested to be buried next to her aunt Elizabeth, the Grand Duchess of Russia, who had also devoted her life to charity and was canonized as a Russian Orthodox saint. Elizabeth’s tomb is in the church itself, while Alice was laid to rest in a small, attached chapel.

Bless her name.

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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PUTIN? PUNT!

BLOG 440
August 18, 2019

putins eyes

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.

PUTIN? PUNT!

When asked why he trusted Vladimir Putin, George Bush said that he looked into his eyes and saw his soul. Probably the worst political statement ever made. If he’d looked again, he would have seen KGB beaming up from the depths of a cold soul. That’s the opinion of author Douglas E. Schoen in his just published book, Putin On the March, The Russian President’s Global Advance. (That’s my opinion also.)

Schoen advances insight into how Russia involved itself in Syria during the Civil War and is now aligned with Iran. Anyone interested in the future of the Middle East will do well to pay attention to Douglas Schoen’s insights.

Putin is different from ideological Communist rulers like a Lenin, Khrushchev, and Gorbachev. Rather, he is far more like Russian nationalists like Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. Schoen calls Putin a neo-Czarist. Having just completed a sixteen-session study of Russian history, I appreciate Schoen’s distinction. Putin typically functions like those Czarists of the past. He is a Russian opportunist down to his toenails.

An example of ignoring this mentality is one of President Obama’s worst mistakes. After threatening Syria for use of chemical weapons on its own people, when they did it again, Obama did nothing. He turned to Putin for assistance like talking to a friend. Putin promptly took Crimea, attacked the Ukraine and surged ahead in Syria. Putin saw an opportunity and seized the moment. Obama was left scratching his head.

Schoen strongly disagrees with President Trump’s approach to Putin, seeing the same naivete. When Trump joked with Putin about “not interfering” in our next election, the joke was on Trump.  Schoen believes America and its European allies must wage counter-cyber warfare against Putin. He will not retreat from Russia’s aggressive moves in the Middle East unless confronted with consequences. Left unchecked,  Schoen believes there is no limit to what Putin will attempt.

In recent blogs, I have detailed how Russian intervention increased the chaos and fighting in Syria. Assad would have fallen long ago if Putin hadn’t propped him up. The current conflict in Iran may well become another showcase.

What hope is there? Schoen believes it could come from the “better soul” of the Russian people themselves. Such was expressed in the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. Solzhenitsyn displayed the same in The Gulag Archipelago. The West should support and encourage these impulses in the days ahead. Needless to say, treating Putting like a “buddy” only opens the door to more serious consequences.

Anyone concerned for peace in the Middle East needs to listen and read Douglas Schoen.

You might find my book on near-death experiences important for you:
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD OF ETERNITY
Revell books

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MAKING SENSE OUT OF SYRIA

Blog 345 April 10, 2017

            A number of years ago, I spent time in Syria and stayed in Damascus, wandering around the municipality and spending time in the ancient city. Walking down the street called Straight (Acts 9:11) proved enlightening. A number of years previous to this experience, I traveled to the Soviet Union (1985), visiting Moscow, Minsk, etc. Like Damascus, wandering down the streets and talking to the people brought insights I never would have expected. These two experiences continue to run through my mind as I listen to media reports about this week’s U.S. Tomahawk and Scud missile attacks in Syria. The past gave me perspective for today.

With the lowest approval rating of any American president in memory, Donald Trump appears to have dug himself out of a hole with the unannounced successful attack on the Syrian base from where Bashar Assad’s air force jets gassed their own people. Outside of Russia and Iran, the world applauded this attack on Assad who is unquestionably a war criminal.

During my time in Syria, I recognized the dictator’s grasp on the Syrian people. Everywhere I went from Taxi cabs to bathrooms, there were two pictures: Hafez Assad, the father smiling; Bashar Assad frowning. Their faces were unavoidable and no one would talk about the pictures or them. Bashar’s brother is a ruthless general leading many of the deadly attacks on civilians. Hafez, the father, rose to power through his military position as a general. I quickly learned that the citizens knew better than to speak ill of the Assad regime.

Could Bashar Assad kill women and children? He and his family history demonstrate they have and will – possibly again.

Russia was a different type of dictatorship that worked at being more of an enigma. From the time of the Czars, the Russian government functioned with deception. When the Soviet System collapsed, the art of deceit didn’t miss a lick. Out of the ashes of the Russian Revolution, the practice of illusion sprang back to life. Putin continues the swindle.

Apart from all of Putin’s huff and puff, Russia is not in a good place. Their economy is in trouble and the drop in oil prices has seriously impacted them. Yes, they have the big Bomb, but even Putin understands the risk of a nuclear threat.

Now, Russia is caught with its pants down in Syria. They either knew about the chemical weapons or were incompetent in handling the situation. Assad promised Obama he would get rid of chemical weapons—which he didn’t. Putin’s efforts to prop up Assad amounts to selling a Sunday School class on the idea of having Al Capone teach on kindness.

Russia will continue to scream and holler – but little more as they have no idea what Trump will do next. Syria is now back in a more defensive posture and Assad is in a kettle of hot water.

Stay tuned. More to come.

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THE RULES ARE CHANGING Part II

BLOG 327 November 21, 2016

trumpgolfing

            No matter where we look, the world is turning upside down. Hundreds of thousands gathered in downtown Seoul, South Korea to demand the resignation of President Park Geun-hye. The president of the Philippines wants the American military out of the country, suggesting he is looking to China for a new relationship. Germany’s Angela Merkel is the last powerful defender of Europe and the Trans-Atlantic alliance. Britain is pulling out and Obama is gone. With a resurgent Russia at her back, Angela Merkel is tired and struggling. The world is fast becoming a different place. Change is on the way.

Reports say that even President-elect Trump has changed. The brash, rudeness has given way to a more restrained soberness. Last week, we considered changes evolving after the Presidential election. Here’s some more.

Egypt appears to be smiling. El-Sissi said Trump would make a strong leader and Trump believed in a new “good chemistry” with Egypt. Following the military takeover of the government and the jailing of elected president Mohammed Morsi, relations with Egypt went into a tailspin. For a period of time, the Obama administration even suspended aid. A definite chill set in between el-Sissi and Obama. Egypt’s pro-government backed media railed against Obama. Even going so far as to accuse Washington of backing the Muslim Brotherhood. (which was nonsense) Trump appears to be attempting to ease the tension.

Predictions are that Trump will be less concerned over human rights issues. He will probably give el-Sissi political support as the battles with ISIS inspired and led forces continue in Sinai and Libya. A pro-el-Sissi TV host predicted a major shift in Egyptian-American relations under Trump.

As far as ISIS goes, during the political campaign, Trump repeatedly pledged to intensify the war both in Iraq and Syria. He set crushing the Muslim extremists as his main priority. Americans generally applauded this stance. However, the jury is still out on how this effect complex alliances in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia always smiles while slipping money under the table to the extremists. One of the yet-to-be resolved twists in this situation is Trump’s statements that the rebel may be worse than President Bashar Assad, indicating defeating ISIS may be more important to him than getting rid of Assad.

Behind these issues is the question of Trump’s new approach to Russia. Giving the impression that he and Putin might become pals, does jar the picture considerably and raises important questions. Should Trump strike a deal with Putin at a cost to the rebels, the Middle East would be plunged into a new situation.

As Americans generally do, the new president-elect is given time to get his cabinet in order. Because Trump has offered little insight into a comprehensive Middle East policy or perspective on what comes next after the Syrian Civil War, one cannot be sure how all the cards will be played out.

At this point, we’re not even sure what’s being dealt at many major points. Don’t panic, but keep your cards close to your chest.

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POLITICS IN ISRAEL

BLOG 324 October 31, 2016

israel-walldome

            With the election a week away, I have been asked by a number of people how the candidates are seen in Israel and what is expected after the winner is in office. Of course, no one is taking polls in Israel so certainty is not possible. In these blogs, I attempt to present a balanced view that may be contrary to my own opinion. This blog is intended to do the same.

It doesn’t take a prophet to recognize the race is over. However, figuring out who- believes-what has been a challenge because of the name calling, lying, distortions, and detractions aimed at creating an angry electorate. The latest charge to derail real debate is coping and fondling. (Not by Hillary) Never-the-less, Israelites are drawing their own conclusions.

While it has not come out as a campaign issue, both candidates’ daughters are married to Jewish men.

Trump is seen as having no coherent foreign policy. Fundamentally an isolationist, America is first regardless. He appears to accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and doesn’t see the Ukraine as important to America. NATO gets support only when everybody pays up. His support from the Jews has always been wobbly.

Clinton is seen as a hawk with overwhelming foreign policy experience from her years as Secretary of State. Even though she later said it was for political reasons, she did vote for the Iraq war. As secretary, she supported the surge of American troops in Afghanistan. Israelis conclude she has demonstrated a willingness to use a muscular approach to the military. This position was displayed in her support for Syrian rebels, support of a no-fly zone in the civil war, and a regime change in Libya.

Regime changes usually lead to support for nation-building. Clinton appears to hold that idea. The problem for Israelis is that they must draw conclusions by inference because the volatile presidential campaign and personal attacks have obscured any debate on these positions.

Obama reminds unpopular and suspect in Israel. His back-peddling in Syria has allowed the Russians to take an upper hand. He appears to have deployed American military only after forced to do so. His position has been to rely on diplomatic solutions and the call for other nations to join America before acting. Obviously, this has dramatically failed in Syria and made Israelis shutter.

Clinton’s worldview is vastly different. Her tendencies are seen as far more interventionists. She holds a “responsibility to protect” perspective. She favors imposing restrictions on Russia for their attacks in the Ukraine as well as a reset of relations with Russia. The hacking into the American election process by Russia reflects their fear of how she might respond to them

Is this good for Israel? The Israelis think so.

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WHAT’S UP?

Blog 318 September 12, 2016

Obama met Putin in a face-to-face confrontation to discuss a cease-fire in Syria as well as provide mercy and relief for the last citizens bottled up in Aleppo. Putin said no and went home. This morning the rumor is that a cease-fire is pending. Really?

If so, Putin’s delay was to appear superior to Obama which seems to be a major preoccupation with him. As a matter of fact, the Russians and to some extent the Iranians and Syrians appeared these past several weeks to be testing how far they can push the USA in near military confrontations before there is a response.

This activity is a result of Obama’s failure several years ago to keep his pledge to act if Syria used chemical weapons. They’ve been doing it ever since and Obama has done nothing. He is now perceived as weak and unreliable. The Russians are testing just how far he can be pushed around. Some commentators speculate that Russia is testing the waters to see what might happen in an attempt to militarily conquer the Ukraine later in the year.

Maybe – hopefully – this behavior on Obama’s part is coming to an end.

Lt. General Stephen Townsend is the new U.S. commander of American troops in Iraq and Syria, taking command this past week. He is now vowing to defend American special operations in northern Syria and cautioned the opposition that Americans warplanes and artillery will attack to defend these operations. General Townsend has told the Russians and sent the messages on to Syria that that they will defend themselves against the threat of any attack. The general is the first senior military commander to speak on the record that US forces will confront Syrian Air craft if encounters happen again.

Has the military acted whether the Obama administration is awake or not? Possibly, Obama has realized that his attempts to work with Putin are null and he has awakened to the consequences of being passive. Hard to say.

General Townsend also stated that his personal goal is the defeat of ISIS in the coming year. He recognizes that this is an ambitious goal, but the possibility remains his objective. The top leader of ISIS. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, is being hunted and will be attacked when found. It appears that the ISIS leaders are in or around the Syrian city of Raqqa. Townsend defined the defeat of ISIS to be when the so-called caliphate no longer exists or controls population centers. He recognized that ISIS would continue to exist, but in a highly diminished form. Kurdish fighters trained by the US will start moving on Raqqa in the coming weeks.

Has the situation truly changed? If General Townsend’s strong statements are backed up with force, it will. Putin may want to test the US, but he doesn’t actually want to start a war as that would be disastrous for Russia.

Stay tuned.

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WHAT’S OBAMA GOING TO DO NEXT?

B LOG 315 August 15, 2016

This past week the world discovered that the Assad regime used chlorine gas in the battle for Aleppo. Since World War II and before, the entire world has recognized that the use of chemical warfare is a war crime. The Syrian government has done this a number of times and once again has struck babies, women, and children as well attacking the military. They are guilty of a criminal offense against humanity.

And who will bring them to justice?

As readers of Wise On The Middle East know, this blog attempts to avoid political partisanship and reports an objective understanding of every situation occurring across the region. My goal is an unbiased reading of events. Of course, no one can claim absolute neutrality, but at the least, that’s the objective. The following is such an attempt.

On April 26, 2013, President Barrack Obama declared that if Syrian used chemical weapons in their civil war, they would be crossing a red line, a line drawn in the sand. They did. He did nothing.

As a result, Putin invaded Crimea and then the Ukraine. Current reports indicate the Russians are increasing their troops in the Ukraine. In response, the USA gave a slap on the wrist to key Russia oligarchical leaders. But did nothing about chemical warfare in Syria.

The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker said Syria used chemical weapons to slaughter 1,200 people and predicated Putin will escalate military aggression in the Ukraine if the U.S. does not nothing.

So far, nothing has followed.

Previously promised arms from America, Syrian rebels are now complaining that they are running out of weaponry and none is on the way. Apparently, the Obama administration is pursuing a diplomatic rather than military approach to the problem. Secretary of State John Kerry said 54% of the chemical weapons had been removed.

Fifty-four percent? After all these years and months? Really? That only leaves 46% of one of the world’s largest stockpiles of chemical weapons. How many more citizens can the Assad regime kill with their mountain of chemicals? Probably the rest of the country.

One of the worst legacies that Obama will leave behind is the deteriorating status of the United States in the Middle East. Israel doesn’t trust the US. Egypt doesn’t trust America. And Russia apparently no longer fears us.

Are we weak? Incapable? No, just frighteningly indecisive and uncertain. For the good of the world and the goals of democracy, the next American president must reverse the lack of trust that now exists.

In the mean time, who will stop Syria from gassing babies, women, children, as well as soldiers? Doesn’t appear that America’s ready.

This is a decisive moment for action. President Obama could reverse the situation at the snap of his fingers by reacting decisively against Syria for crossing the line that he has drawn in the sand. Will he?

That’s the question.

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