Tag Archives: Iranian Deal

THE SITUATION INSIDE IRAN

BLOG 434
July 1, 2019

middle east

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 SITUATION INSIDE IRAN

The Democratic Party Debates rather effectively captured the headlines this past week, but the serious situation in Iran continues to boil. Politicians in both countries exchanged barbs and insults like children calling each other names on the school ground. President Trump flew off to a G-20 summit and made insensitive jokes about Russia’s interference in the past election. However, there are no jokes inside Iran!

For the average Western citizen, it is difficult to figure out what the actually situation is inside Iran. One must survey a wide swipe of materials to develop an idea of what is actually going on. One of the best sources for information is the international reporting found in The New York Times. You don’t have to like their editorial positions to respect the accuracy of what they discover. Here’s what I’ve picked up from my sources that report from within Iran.

1. Iranian national leaders were furious and frustrated with the tactical commander who made the decision to shoot down the American drone. The public bravado of the Revolutionary Guard mask deeper worries about what the superiority of the American military might do to them. Such mistakes could inadvertently set off a “big time” shooting war.

2. The Revolutionary Guard runs its own independent business and political enterprises. They are the major hard-liners inside Iran. They see shooting down the drone has a victory for Iran. Trump can scream and shout, but the Iranian hard-liners think they won the first-round in the war.

3. Even with the US withdrawal from the nuclear treaty, Iran has avoided direct confrontations with American in the past months. When the Trump administration designed the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization and increased sanctions on Iran, this posture change. Iranian now sees itself in economic warfare and declared the same by restarting their nuclear program.

4. The Iranian author Salar Abdoh reports that people on the streets of Tehran already see themselves at war with America. Sanctions have made fruit a luxury and factories are shutting down. The times are increasingly tough.
The previous Iranian ideology to operate as a self-sufficient military prowess is now seen by them as the better way to go. The question will soon be can they really take that road with their economy crumbling. US sanctions continue to take a huge toll on Iran.

So, what comes next from inside Iran? The hard-liners have been emboldened. Many experts do not believe the American cyberattacks will affect much and are seen as relatively unimportant. The crunch is the impact of American sanctions. They are highly effectively.

What’s next? Stay tuned.

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A WAR WITH IRAN?

BLOG 433
June 24, 2019

war iran

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 WAR WITH IRAN?

Last week I began with the question, “Is the United States getting ready to go to war with Iran?” My, my, what a difference a week can make!

Here we are again with battleships steaming around the Straits of Hormuz and threats being shouted across the bough from Washington to Tehran. The shooting down of an American drone airplane has dramatically upped the ante in this high stakes poker game. Last week, I concluded Iran would be seriously diluted to go to war with the U.S. and that remains the same. However, American sanctions are pushing Iran to a point of desperation and that is no small issue for their side.

What does the situation look like from both sides of the globe?

American political candidate Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren put it squarely on the table. She said, “Trump provoked this crisis. He has no strategy to contain it, he’s burned through our friends and allies, and now he’s doubling down on military force.” While her view is that of a political candidate, Warren is expressing the view that many hold in the Middle East.

Iran is reeling from increased sanctions and U.S. pressure. Their dangerous moves are out of desperation. Of course, that is the reason for this pressure. Iran has been the foremost exporter of terrorism in the Middle East and the U.S. is pressing for a halt. The Revolutionary Guard has now been declared a terrorist organization. As a matter of fact, they have for some time been financing Hezbollah and Hamas at the expense of Israel.

However, President Trump’s sudden retreat a few days ago from military response to the downing of the highly expensive Drone has muddied the waters. Ten minutes before a military strike, Trump backed off. Now the Administration is talking about a cyber-attack. What’s going on? In the Middle East how one reads the mixed signals depends on whether one is a hard-liner or seeking reconciliation. Trump’s vacillation is being read by the hard-liners as the roar of a paper tiger. On the other hand, increased sanctions and computer problems are not inconsequential. Probably the answer lies in whether cyber warfare will make a difference. This is not a good situation and could embolden Iran.

So, the chess game goes on. In the Middle East, President Trump is seen as a real estate manipulator with no long-term strategies or particular insight. They view him as a big-time supporter of Israel. Netanyahu loves it. The problem is that the US has lost the possibility of being a power broker with the Palestinians and now is seen completely on Israel’s side with little regard for the Palestinians and certainly none for Iran.

What’s next? A war is still not off the table, but the manipulations will certainly go back and forth. Iran’s goal is to curtail sanctions. No one’s sure what the American objective is.

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ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH

Blog 263 July 27, 2015

With the congressional debate on the Iranian nuclear arms dealing making the headlines, the issue of supporting Israel is pressing. American public opinion expert Frank Luntz predicts Israel can block the deal in congress if they mount a unified PR campaign. According to Luntz, only 13% of Republicans believe Israel is a racist country while 47% of Democrats believe they are. Get ready. Your television is going to be bombarded with ads to persuade you to oppose the Iranian deal.

This issue is now effecting the American religious scene. U.S. Evangelicals stand united with Israel while some denominations have shifted in the other direction. Lifeway Research (a Southern Baptist organization) reports as high as 73% of American stand behind Israel. This percent is much higher than what is now the case in both the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) amd the United Church of Christ (UCC)

Both the Presbyterians and UCC groups are in serious decline. The UCC has lost 20 percent of its membership since 2000. However, both groups have been highly influence by the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign that has been roaring across American college campuses for some time. The BDS has significantly distorted Israel’s position in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They do not pretend to be objective and have often been called anti-Semitic. Their distorted perspective colors the issues but have been disruptive in these two denominations.

During the PCUSA denominational hearings, Israel was accused of “biblical scale enslavement” of the Palestinians. A worker with the Palestinian BDS National Committee was brought in to testify while a minority opposition group was shunned. Presbyterians for Middle East Peace (PFMEP) attempted to discredit the BDS group but were a distinct minority and the church went with the BDS position. These BDS critics of Israel blame that country for every problem out there. While many members of these two denominations don’t buy the BDS line, their denominations print and propagate the BDS distorted position.

Why did the UCC and the PCUSA buy into this ideology? The BDS activists have waged a sophisticated propaganda campaign while moving inside the leadership of these two churches. In the mid-80’s, I traveled to the then Soviet Union with personnel from these two denominations. I attended a Soviet sponsored banquet in Minsk where clergy stood up and in effect denounced the leadership of the United States. I was horrified to listen to President Regan described as a “clown” in the midst of a group that we knew had KGB officers attending. Since I had traveled with these “voices,” I learned to listen to their opinions. They were naive, left-wing, and thought themselves to be superior to the elected leadership of America.

That attitude has not changed. It’s just taken a new direction. Palestine is now considered the oppressed. Never mind that thousands of rockets were shot into Israel from Gaza. Never mind that Paletinians steal across the border Boycoand kill Jewish children and youth. Never mind that Yasser Arafat walked out on a deal to end all conflicts and create a Palestinian state. The BDS never recognizes or discusses Israeli rights to defend themselves.

Israel will not be overcome by this threat but watch for it. It will be coming your way.

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