October 20, 2013 | 4:10 am
To Read: RAND’S Linda Robinson sees partnerships with local forces in hostile countries as the future of US counter terrorism-
Most significant, after years of focusing on unilateral drone strikes and raids, U.S. Special Operations forces have regained a critical skill set of working with local populations, as they did in Vietnam, where they raised thousands of civil defenders in the central highlands. This is a highly transferable tool; many troubled countries have vast rural areas where terrorists find ready sanctuary, and lending a helping hand to those who find the courage to fend off attackers is one of the most productive uses of our Special Operations forces. It relieves the United States of the burden of doing so or intervening abruptly in a crisis.
The partnering approach may not be easy, and it does take years to produce results, but it is the most sustainable security solution around. The United States still needs to develop credible means of measuring the effectiveness of this approach, but don’t be surprised if it becomes the future of America’s fight against terrorism.
Quote: "Considering that this work is not yet finished, in our view it is so far premature to talk about any specifics", the Russian government refers to John Kerry’s US hopes to ship Syrian chemical arms as premature.
Number: 50, the number of Senators who refuse to ratify a treaty which they feel might harm Israel.
To Read: According to David Weinberg, the late Yitzhak Rabin was actually quite skeptical about the Oslo peace process-
Like the majority of Israelis, then and now, Rabin was willing to take risks and give the peace process a chance. But he remained suspicious of his Palestinian partners, skeptical about the outcome, wary of a full-fledged Palestinian state, and insistent on maintaining defensible borders for Israel.
In fact, Rabin may have been close to calling-off the Oslo process, according his daughter Dalia. Three years ago, she told Yediot Aharonot (October 1, 2010) that “many people who were close to father told me that on the eve of the murder he considered stopping the Oslo process because of the terror that was running rampant in the streets, and because he felt that Yasser Arafat was not delivering on his promises.”
Quote: "[I will oppose] any attempt to harm the Supreme Court and the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state", Justice Minister Tzipi Livni vowing to fight a string of legislation proposals aimed at reducing the power of the Supreme court.
Number: 24, the number of young Diaspora Jews who are participating in the Israeli government’s fellows program.
The Middle East
Headline: Date set for Geneva peace talks on Syria
To Read: The former UK Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Israel tries to explain the Saudis' dramatic move last week at the UN-
From a Saudi perspective, the message the West and above all the Americans have sent through their handling of the chemical weapons crisis is that it is has lost the will to get tough (a message which they think will not have been lost on the Iranians); that it lacks consistency (not all that long ago Western spokesmen would say that Assad was toast, and now even Kerry is praising his government for its cooperation with the OPCW inspectors); that it is not concerned about the strategic consequences of the conflict and the risk of refugee flows and other pressures destabilizing Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq; and that it lacks morality. Surely, they would argue, the signal conveyed to Assad is that it is acceptable to shoot protesters, but not to use sarin against them. They remain to be convinced that the West will put in a serious effort to achieve a result at the Geneva II conference now scheduled for late November.
They worry too -- inevitably, and ironically like Israel -- that Western limpness on the Syrian agenda prefigures a willingness to accept a less than satisfactory deal with Iran, cutting Tehran too much slack in the regional strategic equation.
Quote: "The state of Qatar agrees with the reasons outlined by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to turn down a non-permanent seat on the United National Security council", the government of Qatar supporting Saudi Arabia’s UN decision.
Number: 30, at least 30 people were killed in a suicide bombing in the outskirts of the Syrian city of Hama.
The Jewish World
To Read: Rabbi Zev Faber writes about the tension between the Torah and the Halakha and about a 12the century debate on the matter between two of Judaism’s greatest commentators-
Is the Torah the source for halacha? The traditional answer would be yes and no. On one hand the Torah is the central document of Judaism, the center from which all else radiates. On the other hand, Rabbinic Judaism has a strong focus on the Oral Law, which often contains details and practices very much at odds with the plain meaning of the Torah legislation. How is a traditional Jew meant to navigate this tension? There is no one answer to this question, which has been debated by rabbinic authorities for millennia. One particular instantiation of this debate is especially telling, both because of the sharp distinction between the two positions and the acrimony of the critique: the debate between Rashbam and Ibn Ezra.
Quote: "Here's someone with a lot of money. And they're buying a lot of legitimacy", Tammy Nyden, an expert on Spinoza, sharing her impressions of this curious conference thrown by a rich Jewish Jeweler who claims to have found the answer to everything.
Number: 100, one hundred years ago Europe’s last major blood label trial- the Beilis trial, took place.
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