Tag Archives: The Middle East

A VIEW FROM ISRAEL  

BLOG 534

September 20, 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.

A VIEW FROM ISRAEL  

Many Americans are wondering what the debacle in Afghanistan means for them and the future. America was there twenty years and the country fell in twenty days. Something is very wrong with that picture. Americans will claim we won the war and the Taliban will maintain they ran the Allies out. Obviously, American troops killed Bin Laden and probably should have left then. How do we interpret the fact that we stayed and then made a bungled exit, leaving some Americans behind? Not to mention the Drone strike on the Taliban that turned out to kill an Aid worker Zemari Ahamdi and seven children. A little hard to swallow, wouldn’t you say? Oh, yes. America left behind helicopters and vehicles as well as truck loads of weapons the Taliban captured.

Amtoz  Asa-El is an Israeli who writes about history. He has some penetrating observations for us to consider. Take a look.

Asa-El notes America built 800 bases worldwide 20 times more than all the other superpowers combined. America’s annual military is larger than the next five military spenders combined.  America’s eleven aircraft carriers equal the combined total of all other countries’ carriers.  America is the top dog …. And runout by the Taliban?

What have Americans wanted in past decades? Teddy Roosevelt called the national goal “the Imperialism of Duty.” While denouncing colonialism, America had pursed its own imperial goal. Asa-El notes that goal was achieved. The Soviet Empire crumbled while America marches on after a goal it could not achieve: proselytizing.

The imperialism imposition of an ideology became the mountain too high to climb.

It is one thing to wield power and win battles. It is another thing to impose a foreign idea on a resistant people while we believe we can change their minds. The Taliban had a saying. “Americans have watches: we have the time.” They were a radical Ismailis tribal state and not about to become a democracy. The story ends on a runway where American airplanes were hauling everyone out they could get on a jet.

Historian  Asa-El argues this form of American Imperialism was finished with the hasty exit from Afghanistan.  You can’t plant democracy in a resistant country. The historian argues “America’s imperial period has been intense and in many ways rewarding, but it wasn’t part of the American Way.” In the beginning George Washington warned we should have as little political connection with other nations as possible. In other words, America can’t go around the world planting democracy where the soil is too thin to support the idea. It didn’t grow in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

Amotz Asa-El ends his argument by writing: “World management should never have been America’s task, and the Afgan misadventure should be its last imperial war.”

Gives you something to think about.

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, History, Israel, The Middle East

THE HEADLINES IN THE MIDDLE EAST Pt. 2

BLOG 533

September 6, 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.

THE HEADLINES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Part 2

Last week we noted that the US administration appears to recognize that a return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran might not be possible, and as a result is open to Israeli approaches to countering Iran, This possibility came from a senior member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s entourage when they arrived in Washington. However, the past week has changed all conclusions. Israeli citizens now question what is going on in Washington and it’s not a good picture.

Despite President Biden’s claims of success in Afghanistan, US officials are “horrified” because the military abandoned Americans trying to get out of the country. On Tuesday, Biden appeared to say that those who remained did so out of their own free will and could leave in the future. He stated, “The bottom line: 90 percent of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave. For those remaining Americans, there is no deadline. We remain committed to get them out, if they want to come out.” He contended 100 to 200 Americans are still there and have “some intention to leave,” adding: “Most of those who remain are dual citizens, longtime residents, but earlier decided to stay because of their family roots in Afghanistan.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said afterward that Biden was telling those people that if they decide in two weeks that they want to go, “we will get you out.”

But other officials painted a different picture.  

A White House official said that the mission isn’t accomplished if they left Americans behind. And military officers appeared to contradict Biden’s assessment of those left behind. Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said Monday that Americans tried to get to the Kabul airport for the final evacuations but couldn’t. No Americans were on the last five jets to leave. “We maintained the ability to bring them in up until immediately before departure, but we were not able to bring any Americans out. That activity ended probably about 12 hours before our exit, although we continued the outreach and would have been prepared to bring them on until the very last minute. But none of them made it to the airport, and were able to be — and were able to be accommodated.”

The situation with Afghan citizens who supported the Americans remains in peril. During this past week, I’ve been involved in attempting to bring some Afghans out to a neighboring country. The experience has been harrowing.  Here are some examples of the desperate voices coming out of Afghanistan in the wake of the US withdrawal.

Freshta  (whose name has been changed for security reasons ) was one of those who was not able to join the evacuations organized by foreign countries via Kabul airportg. The 33-year-old artist and painter had attempted to get on a flight organized by France. But after a long wait with her five-month-old baby and five-year-old daughter, “stressed” by the chaos around the airport and frightened by shots fired by Taliban soldiers, she had to turn back. Now Freshta is in hiding at home in Kabul, in despair at the turn of events.

“In 20 years, we tried a lot to make our country to be a nation, to progress,” she said by phone. “Our message: Please think about those innocent people who don’t have any way out of Afghanistan. “Freshta called on the outside world “not to be silent about our situation.” She said, “If other countries “recognize the Taliban regime our situation in the future will get worse. They should listen to our voice,” she said.

Now Freshta is simply “waiting” to see what the future holds while asking relatives to shop for her and limiting her movements to a bare minimum. Even then she makes sure she is fully veiled.

“It’s dangerous for me because I did a lot as an artist,” she said.

The Taliban’s attempt to reassure Afghans opposed to their ideology cuts no ice with Freshta.

“We cannot trust the Taliban,” she insisted. “Their actions and speech are totally different.”

Consequently, Israelis are wondering if they can trust the American government. Biden pledged Iran would not get a nuclear weapon. Today, they are wondering if he meant it.  They have to worry whether America is dependable.

Not a good situation!

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, The Middle East

THE HEADLINES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

BLOG 532

August 30, 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.

THE HEADLINES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

America is obsessed with the debacle in Afghanistan but there is another story in Washington that also deserves our attention.  This past week the new Prime Minister of Israel came to Washington with another hot spot on his mind. Iran.

Here’s the latest.

The US administration appears to recognize that a return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran might not be possible, and as a result is open to Israeli approaches to countering Iran,. This possibility came from a senior member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s entourage.

The staffer stated on Wednesday evening that the Israeli team’s positions received “significant attention” from the administration, as “they themselves understand that it may be that we find ourselves in a reality without an agreement, and [even] if there is an agreement, there are holes that must be filled.”

The staffer added that the two governments are so closely coordinated on Iran that they often use the same terminology and raise the same questions as they discuss their options if Iran does not return to the original agreement.

Bennett’s government opposes US efforts to return to the Iran nuclear agreement signed in 2015 by the Obama administration and abandoned three years later by former US president Donald Trump. Biden has been seeking a return to the deal, but this has looked increasingly unlikely as Iran has moved further away from its obligations and as a hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, has taken office in Tehran.

Bennett came with four primary goals for the trip: to forge a direct connection and rapport with Biden; to help the US understand the Prime Minister’s approach regarding Iran; to ensure US commitment to replenishing stocks for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system; and to move forward on a visa waiver agreement for Israelis looking to enter the US. All significant objectives.

A staff member indicated Bennett’s team feels that the first day of his trip to Washington was a success. Nice to have a positive note in the midst of the chaos in Afghanistan!

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 Iran, The Middle East, Trump

THE TALIBAN IS THE HEADLINES

BLOG 531

August 23, 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.

THE TALIBAN IS THE HEADLINES

The chaos in Afghanistan remains the headline story in the Middle East. Israelis are closely following the insurgence of the Taliban. The pull out was first initiated by President Trump and Secretary Pompeo setting in motion the withdrawal with the Taliban. President Joe Biden has stood firm on withdrawing US troops and believes the public is with him. Twenty years of investment that cost $2 trillion and nearly 2,500 US lives were disintegrating within days as the Islamist insurgents captured the capital of Kabul.

Israelis remain concerned about what is ahead in Afghanistan. They know the Taliban record. The most recent reports indicate the Taliban are going house-to-house searching for opponents and their families, according to an intelligence document for the United Nations that deepened fears on Friday that Afghanistan’s new rulers were reneging on pledges of tolerance.

After routing government forces and taking over Kabul on Sunday, the hardline Islamist movement’s leaders have repeatedly vowed to provide complete amnesty, as part of a well-crafted PR blitz. Women have also been assured that their rights will be respected, and that the Taliban will be “positively different” from their brutal 1996-2001 rule. However, with thousands of people still trying to flee the capital aboard evacuation flights, the report by the UN confirmed the fears of many. The Taliban has been conducting “targeted door-to-door visits” of people who worked with United States and NATO forces, according to a confidential document by the UN’s threat assessment consultants and seen by Associate Press.

The report, written by the Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, said that militants were also screening people on the way to the Kabul airport. Taliban fighters stood guard along streest sin Kabul as thousands of people mobbed the city’s airport trying to flee the feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.

“They are targeting the families of those who refuse to give themselves up, and prosecuting and punishing their families ‘according to Sharia law,’” Christian Nellemann, the group’s executive director, told AFP. “We expect both individuals previously working with NATO/US forces and their allies, alongside their family members to be exposed to torture and executions.”

The Taliban have denied such accusations in the past and have several times issued statements saying that fighters were barred from entering private homes. They also insist women and journalists have nothing to fear under their new rule, although several media workers have reported being thrashed with sticks or whips when trying to record some of the chaos seen in Kabul. During their first stint in power, women were excluded from public life, and girls were banned from school. People were stoned to death for adultery, while music and television were also banned.

A video posted online this week by a high-profile woman journalist for a government-run television station offered a different reality to the Taliban’s new image of tolerance.

“Our lives are under threat,” Shabnam Dawran, an anchor at the state-owned broadcaster RTA, declared as she recounted being barred from the office. “The male employees, those with office cards, were allowed to enter the office, but I was told that I couldn’t continue my duty because the system has been changed,” she said.

The world continues to watch and it is not a pretty picture.

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 Israel, The Middle East, Trump

MORE TROUBLE

BLOG 529

August 9, 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 TROUBLE 

The shadow war with Iran popped up in another area this week. This time it was from the Iranian backed Hezbollah terrorist army based in Lebanon. Just as the Israelis got Gaza under control in the South, problems exploded in the North. As you may be aware, Hezbollah moved into Lebanon and has virtually taken over the country. They are resourced by Iran.

Hezbollah fired a barrage of 19 rockets at Israel, in the first attack since the 2006 war with the Jews. Military sources said 10 projectiles were intercepted by air defenses. Six struck open areas and 3 landed in Lebanon. The terrorist claimed the attack was in response to recent Israeli airstrikes following rocket fire by Hezbollah, August 6, 2021.

The Iran-backed terrorist group confirmed it had fired the projectiles, Several previous rocket attacks on Israel have been attributed to Hezbollah, but it had not acknowledged responsibility.

“The Islamic Resistance shelled open areas near the Sheba Farms with dozens of 122mm rockets,” Hezbollah stated in a statement carried in Arabic-language media.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in Friday’s rocket attack. The Magen David Adom ambulance service said it was not aware of any injuries. The IDF (Isreaeli Defense Force) reported it had begun a wave of artillery strikes toward the source of the rocket fire. The military added that there were no special instructions for residents in the area. “Routine civilian life adjacent to the Lebanese border should be maintained,” the IDF reported in a statement. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and other security officials were to hold talks to review Israel’s potential course of action following Friday’s attack.

The United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) considered the situation to be very serious and urged both sides to cease fired.  Israeli military spokesman Ran Kochav told reporters that Israel  has “no intention of going to war but we do not want to turn the Lebanon border into a line of confrontation. The incident shows Hezbollah’s deterrence, as it fired at open areas.” Kochav noted that Hezbollah intentionally fired at open areas. The Iron Dome defense system still intercepted most of the rockets.

Nevertheless, Israeli officials noted they reserve the right to respond to rocket attacks as they see fit. Fortunately, the Hezbollah attack was a symbolic gesture mainly to appease their constituency. They are well aware of how dangerous a genuine attack on Israel would be. Look at Gaza drowning in a sea of broken cement.

Let’s hope Hezbollah leaves well enough alone!

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 Iran, Israel, Jews, The Middle East

IRAN LOOKING FOR TROUBLE

BLOG 528

August 2, 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.

IRAN LOOKING FOR TROUBLE   

There’s always something … and often it’s not good. Here’s the latest in the shadow war between Israel and Iran.

Iran appears to have made a deadly attack on an Israeli-operated ship using a suicide drone. Two foreign crewmen were killed. Iranian media claims this is a response to strikes in Syria. Israel’s defense leadership convened Friday night to discuss what it believes to be an Iranian attack on a ship with Israeli ties.  A senior government source accused Tehran of “sowing destruction” and said it was proving itself to be “a global problem.”

An unnamed US official told The Associated Press it appeared that a so-called “suicide drone” was used in the attack. A senior Israeli government source said on condition of anonymity Friday evening that “Iran is sowing violence and destruction in every corner of the region. They were so eager to attack an Israeli target that they’ve embroiled themselves and incriminated themselves in the killing of foreign citizens.”

In a statement Friday night, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he was in continuous contact with his British counterpart Dominic Raab and had “noted to him the need to respond severely to the attack.” “Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terror, destruction and instability that hurt us all,” he said. “The world must not be silent in the face of Iranian terror.”

An Israeli official cited by the Ynet news site hinted at possible retaliation, saying it would be difficult for Israel to ignore the latest attack. An Israeli official said, “The only question is how and when we’ll respond.” Analysts said the attack bore all the hallmarks of tit-for-tat exchanges in the undercover war between Israel and Iran, in which vessels linked to each nation have been targeted in waters around the Gulf.

The assault represented the worst-known maritime violence so far in regional attacks on shipping since 2019. The US, Israel and others have blamed the attacks on Iran amid the unraveling of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. With a new hardline Iranian president set to be sworn in, the masks are coming off and no one can pretend they don’t know the character of the Iranian regime.

An Israeli office concluded, “Iran isn’t just Israel’s problem, it is a global problem, and its behavior endangers free global shipping and trade. Our campaign against them will continue.”

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 Iran, Israel, The Middle East, World

ICE CREAM IN ISRAEL: REALLY?

BLOG 527

July 25, 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.

ICE CREAM IN ISRAEL: REALLY?

There’s always a brew-ha-ha going on in Israel. But over ice cream?  Believe it or not, that’s what popped up this week. Ben & Jerry’s announcement that the company will stop selling its products in Judea and Samaria by the end of 2022 has produced an unprecedented wave of reactions in Israel and in the USA. Reports even indicate that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has called the CEO of Unilever (the parent company of B&J) to protest the boycott. With all due respect to PM Bennett, we are only talking here about ice cream. One must hope that PM Bennett has more important priorities than to complain to an executive about milk and sugar.

Let’s take a look at the facts and keep things in proportion: Ben & Jerry’s (USA), having been under pressure from its board of directors, announced that they will not renew their franchise agreement with B&J Israel at the end of its term in 2022. They also further announced that they plan to continue to sell B&J in Israel only (excluding Judea & Samaria), through other channels following the franchise replacement. This strategy has no chance to succeed since B&J will ultimately lose the Israeli market. Under Israeli law, you can’t select where you want to sell, Judea and Samaria being part of Israel.  Also, Israelis have a good memory for these types of boycotts. Just consider the ramifications 50 years after the Arab League boycott of the 1960s and ’70s.  Take a look at Coca Cola’s market dominance in Israel today compared to Pepsi. Israelis remember very well how Cola stood by little Israel (population of 3 million at the time) despite the pressure from the combined Arab countries (population 200 million). Pepsi is still “punished” by Israelis today for shamefully caving into the Arab League boycott of the ’60s and ’70s. Israel is the only country in the world where Pepsi is the third largest cbrand, after Coke and RC. Right — RC Cola is bigger in Israel than Pepsi. Israelis have a good memory.

For a brand, singling out Israel from among the approximately 100 territorial disputes around the globe, may turn out to be a very dangerous strategy — one that can backfire like a boomerang. German Nazis started their anti-Semitic campaigns before World War II with the moto, “kauft nich bei Juden” (don’t buy from Jews). Today’s B&J strategy seems to be: “verkauft nicht zu Juden” (don’t sell to Jews). The most sensitive answer to B&J by Israel and its friends all over the world should be: “B&J, we don’t need you.”  As PM Bennett appropriately said, “There are many ice creams, but there is only one Israel.” So, friends, let’s chill. It’s only ice cream and it’s nothing to get too excited about. The problem is Ben & Jerry are mixing politics  and business.  Let it melt and let’s move on to the important stuff.

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 Israel, Jews, The Middle East

UPDATE ON JORDAN  

BLOG 525

July 11, 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.

UPDATE ON JORDAN  

I first visited Jordan in 1968. The country was struggling and many conditions were the same as they had been in 1200 A.D., but the people were warm and friendly. Little did I know that two of my sons would someday teach at the University of Aman and I would have a Jordanian daughter-in-law. Consequently, I have had a concern and interest in the Hashemite Kingdom during all of these following decades. During this period, Yashar Arafat attempted to move the Palestinians into Jordan while he had visions of taking over the country. It took the Jordanian Army to finally drive the Palestinians out. Native Jordanians have remained a proud people.  However, lately there have been a number of struggles.

This past week both Israel and the United States made major gestures to Jordan and its ruler King Abdullah II, a sign that they share serious concerns over the kingdom’s stability. On Tuesday, the US administration announced that  King Abdullah will travel to the US later this month and will be the first Middle East leader to visit the Biden White House.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stressed Jordan’s role as “a key security partner and ally of the United States,” and said the visit would “showcase Jordan’s leadership role in promoting peace and stability in the region.”

A number of difficult issues have been confronting Jordan. Water shortage, tensions in the royal family as well as economic woes have pushed a nervous America and Israel to show support for king, fearing fall of a key ally could have disastrous effects on the entire region . In April, rare Palace intrigue spilled into the open, as King Abdullah’s half-brother Prince Hamzah was placed under house arrest. The dramatic and very public episode shone a spotlight on fissures that have the potential to cause the entire edifice of the Hashemite regime to crumble, with delirious effects for Israel and its security.

Frustration in Jordan has simmered for years against the background of economic troubles, political repression and doubts about Abdullah’s legitimacy. In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated many of the public’s grievances, albeit mostly within the confines of the monarchy’s tight control of free expression.

Jordan’s strict lockdown was initially effective in slowing the spread of the virus, but it wreaked havoc on the economy. Unemployment reached nearly 25% by the end of 2020, as the economy suffered its worst contraction in decades.

This certainly is a good time for America to help.

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, Israel, Palestinians

SAME SONG: SECOND VERSE 

BLOG 524

July 4, 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.

SAME SONG: SECOND VERSE    

July 4th is back in all its glory. Fireworks and all!  While we are celebrating in America, the Middle East is still settling into the new situation with the change of government and Naftali Bennett replacing Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister. However, the Israeli position on self-defense remains the same. You’ve heard this song before.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday vowed Israel will never be slack in striking its enemies in self-defense. “The State of Israel will always defend itself against any external threat and will not hold itself back from ensuring our security,” Bennett’s remarks came in  a ceremony in Jerusalem marking the anniversary of the death of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism.

Bennett added: “We will act firmly, creatively and consistently against threats both near and far.”  He did not refer to any specific threat but his remarks came as the United States holds talks on rejoining the international accord restricting Iran’s nuclear program, a move Israel supports.

The new Prime Minister last week singled out Iran when vowing not to allow any “existential threat” against Israel. He also hinted at Israeli involvement in a recent attack at an Iranian nuclear site. The alleged drone assault on an Iranian centrifuge production facility landed outside Tehran which reportedly damaged the site.

In his speech Wednesday, Bennett also commented on the formation of his power-sharing government with Lapid earlier this month,  when he replaced Netanyahu as prime minister.

“This government was not obvious. It is a beautiful mosaic government,” he said, referring to the broad range of parties in the coalition. “This is a government that I confess, was formed out of political constraints, but every day that passes teaches me that it was a worthy government from the start, A government with disagreements, deliberations, a government that knows how to disagree.”

Bennett said the government was seeking to handle internal divides “quietly, calmly, respectfully and attentively. We not only talk, we also listen to the opposing side.”

Get the picture? Israel may not celebrate July 4th, but they are still capable of a real fireworks show!

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 Elections, Israel, The Middle East

MORE CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

BLOG 523

June 28, 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 CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

Last week I described the possibilities of violent change in the Palestinian controlled areas with a revolt against the P.A. (Palestinian Authority) leader Abbas. Of course, charges of abuse  constantly go back and forth. People in the West often struggle to make sense out of what is happening. However, here’s an immediate event that will help you have a more defined sense of why the struggles continue and no progress is made.

After Abbas canceled planned Palestinian elections in April, Banat, himself a legislative candidate on an independent list, gave an interview harshly critical of the PA president to a Hamas-linked television channel. A few days later, unidentified gunmen fired at his home in Dura, near Hebron. Banat fled to a hideout in an Israeli-controlled part of Hebron. The West Bank city has been divided since the 1997 Hebron Protocol, which split the city into Palestinian and Israel-administered areas.

On Thursday morning, members of the PA security services raided the house where he was staying. According to his family, the officers stripped Banat, sprayed pepper gas in his eyes, before “viciously beating him” and dragging him away. Two hours later, his family learned that Banat was dead.

The PA has said it will conduct a full investigation with representatives from the family and human rights groups.

His death sparked widespread outrage among Palestinians, causing protests to break out in Ramallah on Thursday. Hundreds of demonstrators marched through the streets, calling for the end of Abbas’s 16-year rule. They were met by police wielding batons and firing tear gas canisters. On Friday, during the funeral procession for Banat in Hebron, protesters chanted “get out, get out, Abbas. This is the vote of all the people.” Invoking one of the best-known slogans of the 2011 Arab revolutions, demonstrators called out during the funeral: “The people want to topple the regime!”

“Out, out, out, get the dogs of the PA out,” others shouted.

A crowd of Palestinians appearing to number in the dozens also gathered following Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to chant anti-Abbas and pro-Hamas slogans. The site is the third holiest in Islam and it lies on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

Get the picture? Nothing new here. It’s an old story. However, the scene will help you understand why turmoil appears to never end.

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