Tag Archives: Iranian bomb


BLOG 508

March 1, 2021


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 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.

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BLOG 488

October 5, 2020


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.


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.

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


BLOG 443
September 9, 2019



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.


Who’s the greatest threat to Israel in the Middle East? In a television interview, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Iran, Iran, and Iran.”

Netanyahu has been warning the world about Tehran’s global terrorists’ practices for a long time. Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic over 40 years ago, their expansion of frightening methods of terrorism have continually escalated. Even when the international community wasn’t slowed in reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran, Netanyahu continually warned of the dangers posed by this Islamic regime. Mossad agents struck and stole thousands of hidden Iranian documents that demonstrated that Iran was lying about having a limited approach to building atomic weapons. From the dealings of the Obama administration with Iran, one concludes that the USA did not take seriously enough the implications of these revealing documents.

For decades, Iran has viewed itself in a supreme contest with Israel. They have seen themselves as taking up the mantle of Gamal Abdel Nasser and pursuing this conflict in religious terms aligned with the Islamic Revolution. Nothing is more frightening and dangerous than a holy war. All restraints are cast aside, and the combatants kill in the name of God. Everyday citizens turn into fanatics, willing to cast their lives into the fire in the name of their god. Personal sacrifice is holy. This is the drum that the Ayatollah and his cronies have been continually beating.

Today Iran acts as if it believes there is no one to restrain them. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard cruises menacingly across the Strait of Hormoz while they shoot down a US Drone. They believe they have called President Trump’s bluff and scored a psychological victim over America. The danger in such exercises is a miscalculation on Iran’s part. Yes, the US could smash Iran, but an “accidental war” is the last thing the world needs.

America is currently rightfully pre-occupied with hurricanes and a stock market swinging like a gate. The average citizen is watching the Fall football games. All is well and good, but don’t take your eyes off Iran. The pot is boiling.

Iran has been playing with fire for a long time. The question before the Middle East today is, “who’s going to get burned?”

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            Iran will soon be back in the headlines. American politics has pushed Iran’s nuclear pursuits to the back burner, but the topic is far from dead. Disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem pressed Prime Minister Netanyahu to retreat from an attack. Now that the American election is settled, that interruption in the discussion is concluded. At this moment Netanyahu is embroiled in his own election battle and hemmed in by those  national issues.

            In a recent discussion with an Israeli military officer, I was told that Netanyahu is a shoe-in. While much of the electioneering has to do with economics, a solid win would solidify Bibe’s position in Israel on handling the Iranian conflict. Of course, Iran is now struggling with what happens if they lose in Syria. As reported several months ago, the Syrian public is not happy with the radical pursuit of enriched uranium. The man on the street is paying the price.

That issue has taken a sharp turn for the worst.

Black market street dealers are now out on the sidewalks shouting, “Medicine! Medicine! We can supply whatever you need!”

Obama’s program of sanctions continues to squeeze. For the first time in a decade, peddlers are out near Tehran’s main bazaar. The West’s sanctions have indirectly limited normal supplies to hospitals and pharmacies. Because of critical shortages, the only way to obtain many life saving drugs is through the underground. Restrictions on access to international banking networks presents problems for paying for not only medicines but other medical equipment as well. Over-crowded conditions in hospitals is now the order of the day.  Costs for radiological film rose 240 percent while filters for kidney dialysis are up 325 percent. The head of a health committee appealed to President Ahmadinejad to recognize the seriousness of the problem. When the former health minister and the only women  cabinet member appealed to the president sbout the same problem, she was dismissed. Banking problems have effected much of Iran’s economy in similar ways. The smugglers by-pass these problems by hand carrying merchandise into the country. Obviously, this underground system sends the prices through the ceiling.

The head of Iran’s parliamentary budget committee, Gholam Rez Kateb, indicated that income from oil and gas exports have fallen by 45 percent. Since no reprieve exists at this point, by March austerity responses will be necessary with major tax hikes to follow. In an economy under stress, the government must recognize what a continual squeeze will do to the citizens. Whether they will respond is not clear.

At this point, Obama’s insistence on sanctions appears to be working. The ultimate issues is whether the Iranian mullahs are willing to bend under pressure. No one is for sure. If Netanyahu prevails in the forthcoming election, the stage will be set for a return to the confrontation between Washington and Israel that occurred last spring. At this point, the question would become whether Israel is willing to strike by itself if Iran continues to enrich uranium.

Might Iran stop? You cannot judge this situation by American standards. The mullahs know how to live through austerity. The question is whether the country does.

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