Headline: U.S. weapons reaching Syrian rebels
To Read: Timothy Garton Ash shares his thoughts on "the end of American exceptionalism" and examines President Obama's interesting role in it-
The American people are just sick and tired of it [war]. They don't think it's done any good in the Middle East. It's cost trillions of dollars, while they've been losing their jobs and homes, struggling to get by, seeing their own roads, hospitals and schools decay. Now here's the great irony: This is Obama's own theme. He's the president who came into office to end "a decade of war" (a trademark phrase he used again in this speech) and concentrate on "nation-building at home," So the popular sentiment is one he both reflected and reinforced.
And — irony upon irony — if Obama's own best enemy, Russian President Vladimir Putin, had not self-interestedly ridden to the rescue at the eleventh hour, that very sentiment would probably have delivered a shattering blow to the Obama presidency. For when the week began, it looked as if Obama faced defeat in a vote in the House of Representatives, if not in the Senate.
Quote: “I would much rather spend my time talking about how to make sure every 3- and 4-year-old gets a good education than I would spending time thinking about how can I prevent 3- and 4-year-olds from being subjected to chemical weapons and nerve gas. Unfortunately, that’s sometimes the decisions that I’m confronted with as president of the United States.”, President Obama on his difficult decisions.
Number: 61 percent of the people who watched Obama's speech support his Syria policy, according to CNN.
To Read: The Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman don't like how Israel (A.K.A 'the Jews') is automatically blamed for anything America might do in Syria-
Is anyone surprised that – with his back against the wall – Bashar Assad and his Iranian and Hezbollah allies would threaten “retaliation” against Israel if President Barack Obama goes through with his threatened strike against the Syrian regime? The Jewish state has played the role of Middle East bogeyman for distressed Arab dictators for so long no one even bothers to ask: how dare you threaten “retaliation” against a nation that has no involvement in your civil war? More shocking, however, are the Israel-haters and Syria apologists in Europe and the US who’ve launched their own preemptive strike accusing American Jews as well as the Jewish state of fomenting yet another US war in the Middle East.
Quote: “This was assessed solely in terms of US interests. It is our view that it is essential to send a message to Tehran”, an AIPAC official standing behind the organization's Syria push.
Number: 100,000, the number of settlers who would have to be evacuated out of the west bank if there is to be an agreement, according to former negotiator Gilad Sher.
The Middle East
Headline: Geneva set for Syria disarmament talks
To Read: According to one Vladimir Putin, the US is showing too much brute force in the Middle East and encouraging nuclear proliferation rather than disarmament-
No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.
The world reacts by asking: if you cannot count on international law, then you must find other ways to ensure your security. Thus a growing number of countries seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have the bomb, no one will touch you. We are left with talk of the need to strengthen nonproliferation, when in reality this is being eroded.
Quote: "They are not going to say: This was a rocket used by the Syrian forces. As an OPCW inspector you are never supposed to pass judgment. That is up to somebody else. That's up to the guys who take the report and interpret it", Dieter Rothbacher, a chemical weapons expert who trained members of the U.N. team, commenting on the much expected UN Syria report which may or may not include incisive evidence about the chemical weapons used in Syria.
Number: 6, the number of Egyptians soldiers killed in the continuing clashes in the Sinai peninsula.
The Jewish World
To Read: Biblical scholar and Orthodox Rabbi Joshua Berman writes about the charged relations between modern orthodoxy and old-testament studies-
Jewish Orthodoxy witnesses today an engagement with the challenges of biblical criticism more robust than any since pre-war Germany. This probe has come in many guises. Thoughtful writers and scholars have brought to light the variety of positions found within rabbinic sources concerning some of the most sensitive doctrinal tenets of Orthodoxy. Some claim that there is no one Orthodox position, but a spectrum of opinions. They suggest that we extrapolate from rabbinic statements about the provenance of one passage of the Torah, rules that may apply to others. Still others seek to develop new theologies that may still be termed Orthodox. Finally, there are those who claim that the academy and the world of the spirit are entirely separate domains. For them, the pseudo-scholar that picks and chooses evades the truth while diminishing the spirit, embodying a shaatnez identity of Dr. Jekyll and Rabbi Hide.
Quote: “Listen, I’m not qualified to turn this thing around. I mean I don’t have that kind of clout. I might be able to call up a handful of friends, a couple handfuls of friends, and say, ‘This is the right thing to do, why don’t you support him’", Sheldon Adelson talking about his support for Obama on the Syria vote.
Number: 4000, the number of honorary citizenships Hitler held throughout his lifetime (so much for honorary titles).