Tag Archives: Russia


BLOG 480
July 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.


The American press apparently has not touched an important news story brewing in the Middle East because the covid virus has captured the attention of the public and press. However, a new and possible dangerous situation that continues to brew in the Middle East with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stoking the fire.

The Turkish Ottoman Empire was crushed in World War I. Before that defeat, Turkey had virtually ruled the region including what is today Israel. The Muslim Empire practiced genocide on a million and a half Armenians and were known for their brutality. World War I broke their hold on the Middle East and the British gained control of Palestine. Eventually the Arabs formed countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Now Erdogan appears to be attempting to revive the past. Questions are now being raised about whether Turkey and Egypt could be headed for a war in Libya. In recent months, Turkey has increased its military intervention in Libya. They are supporting the Tripoli government’s side of a civil war. The Libyan conflict is complex but has implications for which power will gain dominance in the region. Egypt, Turkey,Qatar and even Russia have their eye on the outcome.

Erdogan’s interest is also on increasing Turkey’s statues in the Arab Muslim world. The Turkish President has always tilted toward the Muslim Brotherhood. In recent years, Turkey has also played hardball with Israel probably to gain favor in the Arab world. In contrast, Egypt’s leader General Abdel Fatah al-Sisis kicked the Muslim Brotherhood out of the country back in 2013. Egypt is not likely to be tolerant of Erodgan’s aggressive actions.

One view held in America is that one day Turkey may turn to Iran or Russia. The idea is that the US must give concessions to Turkey to turn them away from Moscow and Tehran. The issue may end with Cairo’s influence. They currently have a military present in Libya. At this point the kettle is only starting to boil, but the water is hot.

Pay attention to what Turkey is up to. It may well have repercussions for the entire Middle East.

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Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

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Filed under Egypt, Gaza, Israel, Palestinians, Russia, Saudi Arabia, The Middle East, Turkey, War


BLOG 440
August 18, 2019

putins eyes


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.


When asked why he trusted Vladimir Putin, George Bush said that he looked into his eyes and saw his soul. Probably the worst political statement ever made. If he’d looked again, he would have seen KGB beaming up from the depths of a cold soul. That’s the opinion of author Douglas E. Schoen in his just published book, Putin On the March, The Russian President’s Global Advance. (That’s my opinion also.)

Schoen advances insight into how Russia involved itself in Syria during the Civil War and is now aligned with Iran. Anyone interested in the future of the Middle East will do well to pay attention to Douglas Schoen’s insights.

Putin is different from ideological Communist rulers like a Lenin, Khrushchev, and Gorbachev. Rather, he is far more like Russian nationalists like Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. Schoen calls Putin a neo-Czarist. Having just completed a sixteen-session study of Russian history, I appreciate Schoen’s distinction. Putin typically functions like those Czarists of the past. He is a Russian opportunist down to his toenails.

An example of ignoring this mentality is one of President Obama’s worst mistakes. After threatening Syria for use of chemical weapons on its own people, when they did it again, Obama did nothing. He turned to Putin for assistance like talking to a friend. Putin promptly took Crimea, attacked the Ukraine and surged ahead in Syria. Putin saw an opportunity and seized the moment. Obama was left scratching his head.

Schoen strongly disagrees with President Trump’s approach to Putin, seeing the same naivete. When Trump joked with Putin about “not interfering” in our next election, the joke was on Trump.  Schoen believes America and its European allies must wage counter-cyber warfare against Putin. He will not retreat from Russia’s aggressive moves in the Middle East unless confronted with consequences. Left unchecked,  Schoen believes there is no limit to what Putin will attempt.

In recent blogs, I have detailed how Russian intervention increased the chaos and fighting in Syria. Assad would have fallen long ago if Putin hadn’t propped him up. The current conflict in Iran may well become another showcase.

What hope is there? Schoen believes it could come from the “better soul” of the Russian people themselves. Such was expressed in the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. Solzhenitsyn displayed the same in The Gulag Archipelago. The West should support and encourage these impulses in the days ahead. Needless to say, treating Putting like a “buddy” only opens the door to more serious consequences.

Anyone concerned for peace in the Middle East needs to listen and read Douglas Schoen.

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Filed under America, Russia, Trump, World


BLOG 371 November 13, 2017

President George Bush made that banal statement that he looked into the soul of Vladimir Putin and saw hope. This past week, President Trump trumped him, saying he believed former KGB Colonel Putin when he said he didn’t meddle in the election and that former heads of American intelligence like the CIA and FBI were political hacks. A day later someone reminded him to say he still stood with the American intelligence community that unanimously documented Putin and agents meddled in the USA election. Highly contradictory at best. Not a good scenario!

The Middle-East doesn’t need anymore contradictions. With the continual deterioration of ISIS, time is getting shorter for creating stability. The liberation of Raqqa, ISIS’s final stronghold, the militant’s position as a military threat is disappearing in that region. However, ISIS appears to be shifting its strategy rather than falling apart.

At the same time, the Kurds are pressing for autonomy and have already proven to be the most able fighters in the region against ISIS. An overwhelming approval by Kurdish voters called for independence. Confrontation is highly possible.

At this point, Iran and Russia have expanded their influence throughout the region. These two powers have supplied the power and arms that have kept Assad in control.  In the midst of these conflicts, Iraq’s Shiite government has done virtually nothing to integrate the Sunnis. The festering problem of mistreatment of the Sunnis provided a fertile recruiting opportunity for ISIS. These factors amount to more dissatisfaction and another conflict waiting to erupt.

The New York Times recently said that the United States appears to have no clear plan to manage this instability or capitalize on military victory in defeating ISIS. The Times appears to be correct.

The recent Muslim militant attacks in Africa give the world a clue about what is coming next. ISIS fighters disappear and then surface again in villages where they continue terrorism and military attacks. The entire region of the Middle-East and Africa remain venerable to such infiltration.

This is not the time for anyone in the American government to suggest that Vladimir Putin is an “old buddy” with hurt feelings because the Congress placed heavy sanctions on Russia for hacking, buying false advertising, and supporting terrorism. Would Putin lie?

He has never stopped lying!

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Filed under America, middle east, Muslims



I grew up hearing about the evils of fluoride in the water to prevent cavities and the United Nations as a Communist plot. The Joe McCarty faction propagated the idea there was a Communist hiding under every bed and you better watch out or Joe Stalin would grab you in the middle of the night. Fortunately, those days are gone with the wind.
Consequently, saying anything negative about the U.N. always seemed to come from the fanatic fringe of society. Therefore, it’s with reluctance that I bring up a subject that troubles many citizens in Israel. Nevertheless, the average Israeli is not only leery, but hostile about anything good coming out of the U.N. for their country.
Why the antagonism?
Let’s take a second look at recent events. On October 31, 2012, “Palestine” was voted into the UNESCO as the organization’s 195th member. A huge cheer erupted in the General Assembly room of the Paris-based UN educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The US, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and Israel voted against it. China, Russia, and Brazil voted yes. Britain could only abstain.
Israel saw the vote as another lamentable example of the moral bankruptcy of the world organization. In a rush to support the Palestinians, the UN disregarded it own declared standards based on equality and mutual respect. The world organization (UNESCO) had clearly swung its weight behind Palestine in their struggle with Israel when the issues were only still in the discussion stage. Why would they do such at thing?
For years the radical extremist wing of Islam has worked to criminalize Israel. Distorting reality and the facts, they have attempted to paint Israeli attempts at self-protection as aggression. In Jimmy Carter’s failed book claiming Israel’s wall of protection was apartheid, he echoed the same line. The point is that many of the United Nations general assembly members have swallowed this same propaganda. Those member nations push this viewpoint in UN debates and oppose Israel on similar prejudicial grounds.
Some years ago, I was invited to deliver a lecture at the University of Amman in Amman, Jordan. I attempted to present an objective view of the history of the development of the nation of Israel and how prior conflict had developed. Some of the students became so angry they avoided the class and some completely dropped out of the course. There was some discussion about my safety. (And Jordan is a more balanced Arab state than most). It remains difficult to get a fair hearing.
Textbooks used in Palestinian Authority schools convey rabid anti-Semitic messages. An eighth-grade text book says: “Today the Muslim countries need urgently jidah and jihad fighters in order to liberate the robbed lands and to get rid of the robbing Jews from the robbed lands in Palestine and in the Levant.” By receiving “Palestine” as a member, UNESCO has put its stamp of approval on this sort of vicious going on in the West Bank areas.
The affect of these actions? Chances for peace between Israelis and Palestinians becomes even slimmer. The world expects better from the UN. A vote for bigotry, hatred, and conflict won’t get the world to a better place.

Queston: Can we ever expect balance in the UN? If not, what is the future of the organization?

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Filed under History, Introductions, middle east, Peace, Prayer, Stories, World