Tag Archives: Biden

MORE TERRORISM

BLOG 508

March 1, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

MORE TERRORISM

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

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

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

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

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

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

My latest books:

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

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

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

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

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

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

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

Please watch and subscribe to my new YouTube channel MIRACLES NEVER CEASE, where I post interviews with people sharing their experiences with divine encounters!

Let the miracles begin!

An Angel on my Shoulder

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Iran, Israel, Violence

BREAK THROUGH OR BREAK DOWN?

BLOG 507

February 22, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

BREAK THROUGH OR BREAK DOWN?

Bone- cracking weather grabbed the headlines. Rightly so! In the southwest we’ve never had such frighteningly low temperatures. However, the snow didn’t keep things from warming up in Washington. In case you missed it, President Biden is returning to the nuclear agreement achieved with Iran before Mr. Trump dumped it. The former president’s arbitrary actions might have sounded bold but they only undermined attempts to stop Iran from getting “The Bomb.” Now America is returning to the bargaining table. Efforts worth watching.

Here’s what happened this week and how this is impacting the Middle East.

The Biden administration said Thursday it’s ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal. It’s also reversed the Trump administration’s determination that all UN sanctions against Iran had been restored and eased stringent restrictions on the domestic US travel of Iranian diplomats posted to the United Nations. The State Department said the US would accept an invitation from the European Union to attend a meeting of the participants in the original agreement. The US has not participated in a meeting of those participants since former president Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018.   

There has been no response yet from Iran, which has demanded that the US lift sanctions before it returns to talks.

Meanwhile, at the United Nations, the Biden administration notified the Security Council that it had withdrawn Trump’s September 2020 invocation of the so-called “snapback” mechanism under which it maintained that all UN sanctions against Iran had been re-imposed. That determination had been vigorously disputed by nearly all other UN members and had left the US isolated at the world body.

Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have long opposed the 2015 agreement and repeatedly warned against the US returning to the deal. There has been no response yet from Jerusalem about the US announcement that it was ready to resume talks, which came after midnight in Israel. The Reuters news agency, citing a source familiar with the matter, said the US had informed Israel ahead of time about Thursday’s announcement, but that US President Joe Biden had not told Netanyahu directly.

How can we understand this situation? First, the current administration’s actions are a return to diplomacy rather than erratic, dictatorial unilateral degrees. This puts America back in a conciliar and responsible position. That’s good for the world.

Second, Iran is now faced with having to allow inspection of its nuclear facilities or be faced with world-wide recognition of their having war-like intentions.  Prime Minister Netanyahu’s objections are understandable but express fears in Israel based on Iran’s vow to destroy their country. After all is said and done, Israel has the nuclear capacity to destroy Iran’s facilities. They have already been throwing money wrenches in Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy for some time

Hopefully, America’s return to the bargaining table will continue forward progress.

My latest books:

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

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

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

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

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

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

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

Please watch and subscribe to my new YouTube channel MIRACLES NEVER CEASE, where I post interviews with people sharing their experiences with divine encounters!

Let the miracles begin!

Episode 2 – Rev Joseph Bias

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Iran, The Middle East

NOT IN THE NEWS

BLOG  504

February 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.

NOT IN THE NEWS

American politics and the COVID-19-virus captured the headlines sending Middle East events off  the back page. Nevertheless, important happenings keep coming. They are worth noting. Here’s a couple you’ll find important.

We haven’t heard much from Egypt lately as the riots and protests have disappeared. The surviving government of al-Sisi has been busy covering up the “Arab Spring” uprisings. The city square where the mobs gathered has been revamped with a large ancient obelisk placed in the center. The actual government and legislature are now being moved twenty-miles away from Cairo virtually out in the desert supposedly for more convenient access. Actually, it takes control away from possible radical attack.

It’s been several years since I was in Cairo. The metropolis is enormous with poverty.  Still the ancient municipality is an important factor in the Arab world. My guess is that the relocation of the government is for more secure away from Cairo insurgents.

In a recent blog, I reported that the attack that killed Iran’s top nuclear scientists would not go unanswered. My blog stated that the response would be less than a war and probably more like an attack on an embassy. Such happened this week.

The Blast outside Israel’s New Delhi embassy damaged cars. Nobody was hurt in the explosion apparently caused by a small improvised device. Israeli authorities treating it as a suspected terror attack aimed at the embassy and are stepping up security precautions at missions around the world. The Israeli ambassador said,  “The assessment is that this was an attempted attack aimed at the embassy this evening,” Ambassador Ron Malka added that the blast went off “a few dozen meters from the embassy walls. The district around the embassy was sealed off after the explosion and police and bomb disposal experts took over the scene.

The New Delhi Television news channel said the explosive device had ball bearings wrapped in a plastic bag and was left on the pavement outside the embassy. CNN India reported that police had found an envelope near the scene with the words “For Israel Embassy” on it. The report said police were not divulging the content of a letter inside.

A message was passed from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Israel has “full confidence that Indian authorities will successfully investigate the incident and protect Israelis and Jews there,” the Prime Minister’s Office responded.

Does that take care of a “pay-back” from Iran?  Probably not.

Hosted by Rev. Wise, PhD — Interviews with people sharing their experiences with divine encounters!

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, COVID-19, The Middle East

OPTIONS FOR IRAN

BLOG  499

December 21, 2020

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

OPTIONS FOR IRAN 

Following the killing of Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, immediate speculation was the Israel attempted to deter President-elect Biden’s announcement of America rejoining the Iranian nuclear agreement. Fakhrizadeh was considered indispensable. Since then, that idea has slipped, with inside observers now believing the shooting will not change Biden’s intention.  However, nothing has shifted in Iran’s announcement that retaliation will follow. Sometime.

Iran did not make an immediate strike as it is not clear who masterminded the killing. They are convinced that it was Israel and America, but there’s no evidence that would stand up in court. Nevertheless, Israel can count on some sort of reprisal. The question is where does this enigma now stand?

First, the Biden team will have to make a thorough review of all foreign and defense policies. They must consider how they will deal with the precision-guided munition problem in the Middle East. Iran will be trying to position these deadly weapons for a strike on Israel. Biden will have his hands full. Probably Iran will do little for now.

Second, Israel realizes Biden will not respond as Trump did. Trump and Netanyahu played each other like fiddles for their own personal political objectives. Biden will be  more balanced and not as easily manipulated as he has a long range perspective that Trump never perceived. There will be more balance. Will that deter Iran? Probably not.

Third, what ae Iran’s options? A conventional declaration of war isn’t possible. Israeli security is on high alert.  While Iran is the major sponsor of terrorism in the world, they are in trouble in Lebanon.  The Lebanese economy is in free fall after the terrible explosion in Beirut. Hezbollah has its own complex political problems.

While Iran has been heavily involved in Syria, Israel has domination over intelligence and extensive knowledge of what Iran is doing inside Syria. Israel knows every move Iran makes inside Syria. What’s left?

Probably the most likely avenue is the global terror network run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Working with Hezbollah and similar terrorist groups, they can strike at targets like Israeli embassies. Of course, Israeli settlements and border town will stay on high alert. The Iranians will bide their time and wait for the most opportune moment to strike.

Israeli analysist Jonathan Spyer offers a cryptic footnote, reminding us that Charles de Gaulle once said, “the grave yards are filled with indispensable men.”

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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)

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaza, Iran, Israel, The Middle East