Tag Archives: Trump

MORE TERRORISM

BLOG 508

March 1, 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 TERRORISM

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.

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)

Please watch and subscribe to my new YouTube channel MIRACLES NEVER CEASE, where I post interviews with people sharing their experiences with divine encounters!

Let the miracles begin!

An Angel on my Shoulder

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Filed under America, Iran, Israel, Violence

NOT IN THE NEWS

BLOG  504

February 1, 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.

NOT IN THE NEWS

American politics and the COVID-19-virus captured the headlines sending Middle East events off  the back page. Nevertheless, important happenings keep coming. They are worth noting. Here’s a couple you’ll find important.

We haven’t heard much from Egypt lately as the riots and protests have disappeared. The surviving government of al-Sisi has been busy covering up the “Arab Spring” uprisings. The city square where the mobs gathered has been revamped with a large ancient obelisk placed in the center. The actual government and legislature are now being moved twenty-miles away from Cairo virtually out in the desert supposedly for more convenient access. Actually, it takes control away from possible radical attack.

It’s been several years since I was in Cairo. The metropolis is enormous with poverty.  Still the ancient municipality is an important factor in the Arab world. My guess is that the relocation of the government is for more secure away from Cairo insurgents.

In a recent blog, I reported that the attack that killed Iran’s top nuclear scientists would not go unanswered. My blog stated that the response would be less than a war and probably more like an attack on an embassy. Such happened this week.

The Blast outside Israel’s New Delhi embassy damaged cars. Nobody was hurt in the explosion apparently caused by a small improvised device. Israeli authorities treating it as a suspected terror attack aimed at the embassy and are stepping up security precautions at missions around the world. The Israeli ambassador said,  “The assessment is that this was an attempted attack aimed at the embassy this evening,” Ambassador Ron Malka added that the blast went off “a few dozen meters from the embassy walls. The district around the embassy was sealed off after the explosion and police and bomb disposal experts took over the scene.

The New Delhi Television news channel said the explosive device had ball bearings wrapped in a plastic bag and was left on the pavement outside the embassy. CNN India reported that police had found an envelope near the scene with the words “For Israel Embassy” on it. The report said police were not divulging the content of a letter inside.

A message was passed from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Israel has “full confidence that Indian authorities will successfully investigate the incident and protect Israelis and Jews there,” the Prime Minister’s Office responded.

Does that take care of a “pay-back” from Iran?  Probably not.

Hosted by Rev. Wise, PhD — Interviews with people sharing their experiences with divine encounters!

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)

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Filed under America, COVID-19, The Middle East

TRUMP IN THE MIDDLE EAST

BLOG  503

January 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.

TRUMP IN THE MIDDLE EAST

A MIXED BAG

Historians are already at work assessing the impact that the last four-years had on the Middle East. Countries such as Israel have begun to identify the differences that the next four years might make. There will be ups and downs, depending on one’s perspective. Donald Trump broke with bipartisan convention in his Middle East policy. Some say he overturned stagnant conventional wisdom that rewarded foes while punishing allies.  Others argue that the former president damaged American interests and abandoned its long-standing commitments in the region.

Let’s consider what the experts are saying.

Professional Daniel Byman of Georgetown University studies the Middle East. He says, ”Donald Trump broke with bipartisan convention in his Middle East policy. President Trump, with many Americans behind him, openly derided longstanding US commitments, such as the security of Saudi Arabia when Iran attacked it with missiles. Trump’s Israel policy was focused on US domestic audiences, not on Israel’s role in the region. Many regional leaders appreciated Trump’s hostility to Iran, and many Israelis welcomed his uncritical support.  In the future, however, all states will have to reckon with the possibility that the United States is less engaged in the Middle East and may elect leaders whose policies vary widely.”

On the other hand, Efraim Inbar, President of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security writes, “The Trump administration also proved that the Palestinian issue is NOT the central conflict and a real barrier to better relations with Israel. The Trump administration also proved, by moving the embassy to Jerusalem, that a large part of the Arab world can live with Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Trump administration continued signaling that the US is diminishing its commitment to be the policeman of the Middle East.”

Of course, one dimension of Trump policy was obvious.  Trump leaned heavily in the direction of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates: he did not complain about their human rights records, triggered their renewed conflict with Qatar, continued the Obama administration policy of supporting the war in Yemen, helped when they needed it to raise oil prices, and protected the Saudi Crown Prince from accusations of murder.

We might conclude that whereTrump changed the Middle East most was Iran. He literally upended the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in one stroke. The assassination of Qassem Soleimani was probably the most significant act of his presidency. The green light that he gave Israel to target Iranian assets in Syria and beyond was also immensely important. Iran appeared feckless and unable to respond in most cases. One gets a sense that Iran is still on its back foot.

Trump did not exactly change the Middle East as much as he brought new realities out of the shadows.

We now watch to see whether the Biden administration takes advantage of the leverage that Trump has gifted him.

Let the miracles begin!

Hosted by Rev. Wise, PhD — Interviews with people sharing their experiences with divine encounters!

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)

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Filed under America, The Middle East, Trump

THE DAY THE EARTH SHOOK

BLOG  502

January 15, 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 DAY THE EARTH SHOOK

You simply can’t get away from the story. The insurrection in the American capitol shot around the world. Countries that hate the U.S. applauded. Allies shuddered. Trump was impeached.  Those headlines were as big in the Middle East as they were in this country. There’s no way to avoid the subject.

I read The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel on a daily basis along with Moment and a number of other periodicals. Here’s an example of what they reported. “Ten House lawmakers who joined Democrats (are) now stepping up personal security, wearing body armor;. Our expectation is that someone may try to kill us,’ says Peter Meijer of Michigan. Many of us are altering our routines, working to get body armor, which is a reimbursable purchase that we can make,” Meijer said.  “It’s sad we have to get to that point. But our expectation is that someone may try to kill us.”

The Times of Israel reported, “Trump is fearful of legal exposure once he leaves office and is focused on issuing pardons before his term ends, including possibly for himself,” the report stated. The Times further printed regarding Donald Trump’s legacy, “the most terrible, horrific thing he has left us in America, is the destruction of truth… And a democracy can’t survive if there is no truth.”

Longtime CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer reflected Thursday that he was happy that his late parents, survivors of the Holocaust, did not live to witness the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the United States — particularly in the wake of anti-Semitic symbology appearing at last week’s deadly Capitol riot.  “I’m happy that they’re not seeing what’s going on now in the United States,” Blitzer reported after his cable news station screened video of his 2014 visit to Auschwitz, where his grandparents perished.

Whatever your political opinions might be, the foregoing is a reflection of what is now seen in Israel and across the Middle East. It is not a pretty picture. Hopefully this week’s inauguration will start a trend to reverse these opinions. However, with soldiers all over Washington and in every state capitol, the problem won’t be reversed quickly.

Does the opinion of leaders in the Middle East matter? If you value stability and peace, they do.

Let the miracles begin!

A New Pocast by Rev Wis, PhD about divine encounters!

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, Elections, Israel, Jews, The Middle East, Trump

NEW YEARS PERSPECTIVE

BLOG  501

January 8, 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.

NEW YEARS PERSPECTIVE

Last week  I wrote, “Everyone hopes for a better year than 2020, but the signs aren’t promising. Keep your seatbelts fastened.” And what followed? An insurrection in Washington D.C., with plans now being made for an impeachment of Trump. All in the following seven days! Was I on target or what?

Oklahoma had a county Sheriff who went to Washington to demonstrate. After the insurrection occurred, I heard him say to explain his actions that 99.9 percent of the demonstrators were peaceful. That’s a little like saying riding on the Titanic was no problem since everyone could swim.  The citizens of his county have now filed a recall petition to get rid of him.

I know, I know, this isn’t about the Middle East yet, but it makes the point about the importance of perspective. I write these weekly blogs to help readers have a balanced and informed viewpoint. I attempt to relate information that isn’t found in most media outlets. The intent is to help you have a better perspective than the Sheriff had and has.

In all the chaos in Washington this past week, very little was reported from abroad. I previously broke the story that the Netanyahu-Gantz government failed and another election is set for March 23. Of course both men blame the other for the failure. The Jerusalem Post reported Benny Gantz explaining, “A man under three indictments is dragging Israel to elections for a fourth time.”

The truth is that the Israeli government failed to function effectively since it was formed last May. The political situation is a mess and surely chaos will follow. Stand by.

Keep your eyes on Turkish President Recep Erdogan. His government is in full agreement with the Muslim Brotherhood.  He is an imperialist, a fascist, and no friend of the West. He went after the Kurds living close to the Syrian border. Erdogan continues to deny the Turkish genocide on the Armenian people. The positive side of the coin is that Turkey is weaker than many people thought. Nevertheless, the West cannot concede to this dictator without destructive results following.

While Turkey and Iran are historic enemies, don’t discount how unexpected connections could occur. In the fall of 2017, a tactical alliance was struck between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Erdogan. In 2018, a nice “family style” photo was taken of Erdogan, Rouhani, and Putin. My, my, all smiles. Some citizens in both Iran and Turkey still foster dreams of the Old Persian and Ottoman empires. Maybe World War I wasn’t enough for them.

One of the problems of the last four years has been that the Trump administration treated Israel like a bargaining chip for the American Right-Wing and Netanyahu personally. Not that an American Embassy didn’t belong in Jerusalem, but that the Arabs were left out in the cold. The so-called Peace Plan of the Century put the Palestinians in the deep freeze. The Arabs never even considered the proposal. Politics was everything. Perspective was nothing.

My point? Keep taking a long-range view.

Let the miracles begin!

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, Violence

HAPPY NEW YEAR — I THINK?

BLOG  500

January 1, 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.

HAPPY NEW YEAR — I THINK?

A month ago, Mr. Trump said he saw light at the end of the tunnel. Turned out it was the headlights on a freight train bearing down at 100 mph. Everyone hopes for a better year than 2020, but the signs aren’t promsing. Half the country thinks the election was manipulated and the other half doesn’t trust the Republicans. I’d suggest that we quit listening to the politicians and pay attention to the signs of the time. The economy is not good for many and in January it will probably get worse. The pandemic is a hoax so don’t wear a mask? Really? Two days ago, we had the second corvid related death in our family and our granddaughter is still recovering after a three-week bout with the virus. Keep your seatbelts fastened. Looks like a bumpy road ahead.

In the middle east? With the civil war in Syria and the struggles in surrounding countries, three outside powers have moved in. Russia, Turkey, and Iran are formidable presences. Mr. Trump told Turkey “to come on down” and they now occupy much of northern Syria. Russia is parked on the country’s west coast. Iran’s military is camping out in the hinterlands. In other words, the Arabs that were angry and poor have now been invaded. Sounds like the so-called Arab spring has turned into winter and a blizzard is coming.

Things aren’t great in Israel either. The pandemic has forced more shut-downs. Over a million Israelis have just been vaccinated and that’s hope, but Arabs are way behind on vaccinations. Netanyahu got out flanked and is facing another election (which no citizen wants). He faces an uphill battle in the courtroom in February. While many Israelis don’t like him, he remains the heavyweight surrounded by lightweights. Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party is falling apart, and fast. The party, which currently holds 14 parliamentary seats, was predicted, according to a poll released on Friday, for the first time not to make it into the next Knesset at all.  The question currently being discussed in Israel is whether Netanyahu will pull the rabbit out of the hat or go down for the count. Expect political turmoil in Israel in the days ahead.

Hey, I’m not trying to sound like Ebenezer Scrooge, neither do I want to come off like Pollyanna. We pray for the best on New Years eve and wake up on January 2 to the facts.  I believe you can safely bet on some hard times ahead.

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, COVID-19, Elections, Israel

THE ELECTION, ISRAEL, AND IRAN

BLOG  495

NOVEMBER 23, 2020

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 ELECTION, ISRAEL, AND IRAN

Mr. Joe Biden, the American president-elect, has said he will ‘rejoin’ the 2015 nuclear deal. He has also stressed his ‘steadfast support for Israel’s security.’ From Israel’s point of view that’s a contradiction.

Before Biden is sitting  behind the Oval Office, he’s got an important issue to consider. US President Donald Trump declared three weeks ago that up to 10 more countries were preparing to warm their ties with Israel, with five of them firmly on course and the others also “right in the mix.” But that was before the November 3 presidential election.

Trump’s defeat to Joe Biden, and Biden’s explicitly stated intention to “rejoin” the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement  has at a stroke remade the region’s calculations on Iran. The question of which other countries, and when, might now decide to normalize their relations with Israel is only one aspect of the wider recalibration triggered immediately by Biden’s victory.

The Middle East doesn’t do vacuums, and Trump’s defeat is rippling across our neighborhood. The Palestinians have suddenly decided to resume security cooperation with Israel, and are indicating that they want to reestablish ties with the US, assuming that the Trump peace vision they so loathed is off the table. In Israel, with Trump deemed most unlikely to authorize annexation of settlements, since that plan was explicitly suspended under the terms of the Israel-UAE deal, Netanyahu is under pressure from his own right-wing camp to legalize dozens of West Bank outposts before Biden takes office.

And on Iran, the pieces are moving by the hour.

Anticipating a more empathetic approach to Tehran by a successor whose victory he has yet to concede, Trump reportedly mulled doing in his final weeks dismantling the ayatollahs’ rogue nuclear weapons program  by striking at one or more of the Islamist regime’s nuclear enrichment sites. That he was talked out of this by his worried aides, and that this has become public, has already emboldened Tehran, whose Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday magnanimously agreed to discuss how the US could reenter the 2015 deal, provided it first lifts all its sanctions on Tehran. This, even as Iran deepens its breaches of the deal by accelerating its uranium enrichment. Sorry. No deal there.

Israel remains the regional military heavyweight with no choice but to stand up to Tehran. After all, the regime avowedly seeks our destruction and works implacably to attain the tools to achieve that ambition. But Israel’s room for maneuver, and that of likeminded nations in the Middle East and beyond, is immensely widened if the United States fulfills its superpower role.

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Filed under Gaza, Iran, Israel, The Middle East

THE AMERICAN ELECTION SEEN IN ISRAEL

BLOG  493

NOVEMBER 29,  2020

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 AMERICAN ELECTION SEEN IN ISRAEL

How can anyone not write about the election? The all-absorbing event concerned many because Russia or Iran might hack to distort the results. That story died as other distracting claims poured in. However, the point of view in Israel offers another perspective on the meaning of the election.  The Times of Israel newspaper offered some insights.

Viewed from Jerusalem, this presidentially engineered crisis in American democracy raised particular concerns and echoes. America’s engagement in the Middle East, as a force for stability and freedom, is a critical element of Israel’s strategic defense. A reliable America that shares Israel’s democratic values, is a vital partner and a potent deterrent to  the state’s enemies. That was not the America emblemized by its president on Thursday evening.

Trump’s untrammeled railing against the system through which he was duly elected, and now faced defeat, was also considerably too close for comfort to some of  Israel’s own prime minister’s desperation tactics in his hours of need: Benjamin Netanyahu has never sounded as willfully delusional, but he too, at election time, has questioned the legitimacy of votes in the Arab sector, and sent activists with cameras to try to deter Arab voters. He too, as he seeks to retain power in the midst of his legal troubles, has battered away at the legitimacy of Israel’s democratic institutions, the media and the opposition — asserting without evidence that shadowy forces, including law enforcement and prosecution hierarchies, conspired to illegitimately remove him from power.

The Israel Democracy Institute last week found that 70 percent of Israeli Jews and 63% of all Israelis considered Trump the “preferable” presidential candidate to Biden from the “standpoint of Israel’s interests.” That was thoroughly understandable given the Trump administration’s long series of words and deeds consensually supported by the Israeli public . Such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the US embassy to the city, endorsing Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights were seen as positive.  In addition, , withdrawing from the 2015 Iran deal and raising financial pressure on Iran while  taking a less sympathetic position on Palestinian demands than previous administrations was applauded by  the Jewish public .

However, The Times noted this presidentially engineered crisis in American democracy raised concerns. America’s engagement in the region, as a force for stability and freedom, is a critical element of Israel’s strategic defense. A reliable America, an America that shares Israel’s democratic values, is a vital partner and a potent deterrent to our enemies. That was not the America emblemized by its president on Thursday evening. That’s the view from Jerusalem.   

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, Elections, Israel

TROUBLE BOILING IN THE MIDDLE EAST Part 2

BLOG 488

October 5, 2020

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.

TROUBLE BOILING IN THE MIDDLE EAST

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.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

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

THE SHIFTING MIDDLE-EASTERN SCENE

BLOG 484
August 24, 2020

deal

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 SHIFTING MIDDLE-EASTERN SCENE

There’s an old joke Jews tell each other. A wealthy man proposed to give a thousand-dollar check to representatives of faith if they could tell him who was the greatest man that ever lived. He asks the Protestant. The man answered, “Martin Luther, the founder of the Reformation.” “Thank you, the wealthy man said, but that’s not what I’m looking for.’ He asks the Roman Catholic and was told, “It is the Pope.” Again, he said this is not the answer. He asks the Rabbi who is the greatest man who ever lived. The Rabbi says, “Jesus.”

“Good heavens!” the wealthy man said. “I was sure you would say Moses.” The Rabbi replied, “Moses is Moses. Business is business.!”

The Rabbi’s answer describes the situation in the entire Middle-East regardless of country or background. They may scream and holler in public, but when they sit down at the business table. Business is business.

Keep that in mind when trying to understand the shift in politics when the Arab Emirates went public on their working with Israel in secret. They had concluded it was in their best interest to come out of the closet and admit they had been doing business with Israel for some time.

The Arab leaders had heard from both Jordan and Egypt about Israel’s reliability and assistance in times of need. Israel had helped shore up Egypt’s problem with terrorist in the Sinai bringing that intrusion to a halt. On the other hand, Arabs had become increasingly disillusioned with Washington not coming to their aid as they once believed American politicians would do. They could see in the last four years that Washington had backed away from stopping Iran’s pursuit of nuclear power or crippling them with sanctions. Israel was now seen as more dependable than America.

Moreover, the Arab Spring brought the recognition that that popular anger at repression and corruption could backfire on them. Old campaign slogans against Israel were going out of style. The real menace was now Iran. Israel had demonstrated they were prepared to halt Iran by themselves if necessary. Because of the longstanding struggle with Iran, the Emirates were now glad to lean on Israel.

Former head of Mossad, Meir Dagan much earlier recognized an intersection of interests in the Arab world with Israel’s concerns. The old problems were dying as new ones emerged. Prejudices were shifting.

Let’s fact it. Business is business.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Arabs, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, The Middle East