Tag Archives: Lebanon


BLOG 566

May 23, 2022


Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert 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.


Lebanon hasn’t been on the media screen for some time. Having gone through civil war created by Hezbollah’s takeover of the country, Lebanon has faded from the front page. However, they remain an important part of the Mid-East scene. While I have not been inside Lebanon for some time, one of my sons taught at the University of Balamand in Beirut so we keep up.

Here’s the latest.

Christian leader Samir Geagea said this week that Lebanon’s hijacked sovereignty must be restored after an election denied the powerful Shiite terror group Hezbollah a parliamentary majority. “All strategic decision-making should return to the Lebanese state and security and military matters should be handled exclusively by the Lebanese army,” the head of the Lebanese Forces party stated.

“No one should be able to transport missiles from one place to another without the permission and knowledge of the military,” the 69-year-old leader added referring to Hezbollah.

Geagea’s campaign for the May 15 election centered mainly on disarming Hezbollah, cementing his role as the movement’s staunchest domestic rival. The Iran-backed Shiite group, which held a majority in the outgoing parliament together with its allies, is the only militia to have not disarmed after the end of Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war. Hezbollah, whose arsenal outguns the army’s, is described by its supporters as a bulwark against enemy Israel, but it is blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the US and other Western countries.

To challenge Hezbollah, Geagea is counting on alliances with other traditional powers opposed to it, including the Christian Kataeb party, and the Progressive Socialist Party led by Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.

At least 13 independent lawmakers who emerged from an anti-government protest movement in 2019 could also bolster their ranks, Geagea claimed. “We agree at a minimum on the need to build an actual Lebanese state away from corruption, clientelism, quotas, and private interests.”

Lebanon is grappling with an unprecedented financial crisis widely blamed on corruption and mismanagement by a bickering ruling elite that has dominated the country since the civil war. The country has been battered by triple-digit inflation, soaring poverty rates and the collapse of its currency since a 2020 debt default.

“Our ties with Gulf Arab states will certainly be restored and Gulf aid will gradually flow to Lebanon if a government is formed that can inspire trust and confidence,” Geagea said.

The swift formation of such a cabinet will also streamline IMF negotiations, according to the Christian politician. The IMF and Lebanon in April struck a conditional deal for $3 billion in aid.

Let’s hope better days are ahead for Lebanon!

Readers of my Wise on the Middle East blog will be fascinated by my latest book



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Filed under Israel, Lebanon, The Middle East


BLOG 542

November 22, 2021


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.


It’s been some time since I was in Lebanon but I follow current events closely. My oldest son taught at the University of Balamand on the outskirts of Beirut. Here’s an update on the current struggle in the city following the terrible bombing.

Throughout its history, Lebanon has known endless upheavals, wars and occupations, foreign interventions and two bloody civil wars. Nonetheless, for the past two years it has been mired in the throes of an economic crisis unprecedented even in its own grim history.

Distrust of the government by local citizens and foreign investors alike has led to an investment drain and severe foreign currency shortage. The coronavirus pandemic combined with the August 2020 explosion that leveled the Beirut port have further exacerbated the situation.

Over two-thirds of the citizens in the country once dubbed the “Switzerland of the Middle East” have been plunged below the poverty line. Electricity and gasoline are now luxuries and even they are only available occasionally. And in 15% of households, the children have had to stop going to school in recent months in order to help their families eke out a living.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati is well aware of this and has rushed to form a special emergency cabinet tasked with proposing a speedy resolution of the struggle. His office even announced that he had hinted to Kordahi that he would do well to step down, saying he should “make the right decision” in order to avoid further deepening Lebanon’s crisis.

Despite harsh Saudi steps, Lebanon is too important for the Saudis to walk away. The kingdom aspires to position itself as a regional power and a leader of the Sunni world in particular, and of the Muslim world, in general, and it cannot afford to lose its hold in the Land of the Cedars. What is more, a Saudi withdrawal from Lebanon would make it even more susceptible than it is already to an Iranian takeover. 

Hezbollah, too, is well aware that Lebanon is unlikely to survive, not to mention overcome the severe economic downturn, without the presence of the Gulf states. As of now, Hezbollah is still expressing support for the prime minister.

In light of the sides’ shared interests, the current crisis will presumably be resolved sooner or later. Nonetheless, a comprehensive solution to Lebanon’s deep ills does not appear in the offing. The fragile sectarian balance of power is not conducive to addressing the country’s fundamental problems. At most, it enables dealing with temporary crises, and even then with great difficulty and external help, making the next crisis only a matter of time.

I have a new book coming out.

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered at the 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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Filed under Saudi Arabia, The Middle East, War, World


BLOG 469
April 27, 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.


Let’s take a break from Israeli political turmoil and another report on the corona virus (as if we needed ANOTHER discussion of that) and look at a new discovery just released to the public. As you already know, for some time Hezbollah has been camped in Lebanon with rockets ready to fire at Israel. At the south, the Gaza strip has constantly shot rockets at southern Israeli communities. While Iran is a greater distance away, they have made no bones about wanting to drop the Big Bomb on Israel.

Guided missiles have also played a part in the Syrian civil war. While America has been backing out of Syria, the Russians have been forging ahead with dreams of turning Syria into a type of satellite country. Russia has not hesitated to add to the stockpile of weapons. How can Israel protect itself?

The Israeli Defense Ministry (IDF) has made a breakthrough in using lasers to intercept rocket and anti-tank guided missiles. Defense Minister Natali Bennett said recently, “we will add a laser sword when dealing with threats from the North or the South.”

For ten years, the IDF has been working on this weapon with a capacity to wipe out a number of types of weapons, including mortars, drones, anti-tank missiles as well as the bombardment from the sky. The system is based on high-energy electric lasers rather than chemical laser technology and is far more effective. However, this new weapon will be used along with the current “Iron Drome” defensive system that has proved highly effective in stopping attacks on Tel Aviv. While the old system costs thousands of dollars for a single shot, the new laser system only costs a few for the same.

Like something from a James Bond movie, the new system cannot be heard or seen. Quite a step forward!

With threats from neighboring countries always being a problem, Israel has zoomed ahead in the production of armaments that has made them the predominant country in the Middle East. When one considers the size of Israelbeing so much smaller than any of the surrounding countries, the new anti-missile system marks another amazing accomplishment.

Harper-Collins Publishers
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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Filed under COVID-19, Elections, Gaza, Israel, The Middle East


BLOG 297 April 4, 2016

My latest book, BIBLE LANDS: An Illustrated Guide to Scriptural places, will help you make important connections between today’s world and ancient times. Many of the current hot spots in the Middle East have a direct connection with biblical experiences. You’ll find new insights in today’s conflicts by studying where the ancient battles were fought.


For 46 years, I have walked down these paths that run from Israel to Egypt

Through Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. This book details these experiences.

Your local book store will have Bible Lands or the book is available through Amazon or Christianbook.com. When all else fails, you can order a copy through:

Robert L. Wise, PO Box 22716, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73123 for $14.95 that also covers postage.




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Filed under Bible Lands, Israel, middle east


While election news and excitement has captured American attention, important Middle Eastern eruptions continue to boil over. We can’t let current political events keep our eyes off the shifts in this important part of the world. Pushing Halloween aside, let’s take the mask off Lebanon.

As reported earlier, I have been in Lebanon a number of times and have a son who taught at the University of Balamand in Tripoli. Events in this country remain close to home.  And it should. Dr. Todd Wise and his five children could hear shooting in the streets of Tripoli. Not a good place for kids to play!

The assignation of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, head of intelligence for domestic security, has ripped the scab off long and old festering wounds. Al-Hassan was not only a Sunni but had challenged Syria and their ally the Shiite militant organization Hezbollah. This sectarian terrorist organization has become the most dominant force in Lebanon. Al-Hassan’s role had been a threat to both Syria and the Hezbollah leadership.

Hassan’s funeral erupted in political violence sending waves of  chaos across the country. As Al-Hassan was being buried in Beirut’s central Martyrs Square, thousands of mourners took to the streets. At issue was the contention that Prime Minister Najib Mikati was too close to Syria and the Shiite militant Hezbollah. Citizens wanted immediate change. Damascus’ hold on Lebanon slipped in 2005 after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Public outrage forced Syrian forces to withdraw from the country. However Syria’s Al-Assad managed to maintain influence through groups like Hezbollah. Citizens know Syria has bloody hands in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s history has been filled with wars and destruction for decades. After World War I, France gained control of a large area then called Syria, containing the Beqaa Valley that is now in Lebanon.  The Jordanian Civil War kicked Yassar Arafat and the Palestinian refugees out of Jordan and into Lebanon. From l975-l990, the Lebanese Civil War spread destruction across the land. It is feared that the death of Brig. Gen. Al-Hassan could again ignite the fires that have ravaged the country so often.

What can we conclude?

  1. The Syrian civil war continues to spill over into Lebanon. The highly volatile  situation can effect the entire region. The United States must pay careful attention to its option. The current Obama administration has been wise in avoiding sending troops and staying on the sidelines. America’s options are still evolving and it is a time to keep US cards close to the chest.
  2. Syria is ultimately responsible for the assassination. The Washington State Department has sent FBI agents to help investigate. Possibly, nothing conclusive will ever be proven, but no one doubts that Syria is still working its options even in the midst of a civil war.

Far from over, the Syrian Civil War has not yet removed Bashar Al-Assad from power although world leaders still believe he ultimately will fall. In the mean time, the Syrians have not taken their eyes off of Lebanon.

We cannot afford to either.

Question: How do you think America should play its options in Lebanon?

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Filed under middle east, Syria, Violence