October 21, 2019
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.
HOW TO DESTROY YOUR INFLUENCE
This past week America seriously demolished its leadership role in the Middle East.
US President Donald Trump’s newly announced withdrawal of nearly all US troops from northern Syria has cemented Russia’s status as the predominant global military power actively engaged in the Middle East. This week, Russian troops arrived at military bases in northern Syria that the American army had hastily left just days earlier, in what can be regarded as both a literal and figurative handover of regional leadership and authority.
My opinion? No, this come straight out of The Times of Israel newspaper!
Many officials in Jerusalem are deeply worried about being abandoned by their superpower ally, as the American decision to gradually disengage from this part of the world which started under former US president Barack Obama when he drew a red line and then demonstrated that he didn’t mean what he said. The follow-up acts by Trump threaten to embolden Israel’s enemies: Iran and its allies and proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and elsewhere.
What does Russia’s takeover really mean for Israel? Some analysts are deeply concerned, fretting about the possibility that Moscow could use surface-to-air missiles against Israeli jets attacking Iranian targets in Syria, which would effectively end Jerusalem’s campaign against Tehran’s establishment of a military foothold near Israel’s border.
Amos Yadlin, the head of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, told The Times of Israel he counts eight main reasons that motivated Russian President Vladimir Putin to get involved in the Middle East:
1.To Make Russia Great Again;
2. To again become an influential power, after the US kept it out of Egypt (1973), Iraq (2003), Libya (2011) and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process;
3. To reduce the influence of the United States;
4. To play Middle Eastern cards in Russia’s conflict with Ukraine;
5. To control ports and air bases, something the tsars dreamed of;
6. To try out weapons developed by Russia in the past decade;
7. To save Syria’s Bashar Assad — and show the world that Russians don’t throw
their allies under the bus.
Sound scary? Ask the Kurds who were abandoned this week and without the American cover who have been slaughtered by the Turks. Today the media inside Israel is telling the story. Israelis are genuinely worried. Even stupid decisions can have serious consequences.
You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers