To Read: Martin Indyk and Robert Kagan urge Obama to play a more active role in foreign affairs in his second term:
But most of the major challenges are much as Obama found them when he took ofice- or worse: from the stalled Middle-East peace process and turmoil in the Arab world to Iran's continuing march toward a nuclear weapons capability to China's increasing asertiveness. The president's recent preoccupation with re-election has left much of the world wondering, where is the United States?
Quote: "We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully- not because we are naive about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear", one of president Obama's relatively few foreign policy remarks in his inauguration speech.
Number: 7, the number of times Obama used the word ‘together’ in his inaugural.
To Read: The editors of the WP believe that the Obama administration should downplay its recent tensions with Netanyahu and quietly promote its interests
...the wise U.S. policy would be to concede, and maybe even welcome, Mr. Netanyahu’s reelection while quietly urging him to construct a centrist government. In the coming months Israel and the United States will likely have an urgent need to communicate clearly and cooperate closely on the threat of Iran’s nuclear program; and they must try to preserve the prospect of Palestinian statehood. Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu may be political foils, but as each begins a new term their deeper interest lies in a reset of their relationship.
Quote: “A Seinfeld election (about nothing)”, David Makovsky of the Washington Institute comments about Israel’s big day.
Number: 34, the number of parties Israeli voters will choose from today (the highest ever).
The Middle East
To Read: Aaron Zeilin of the Washington Institute suggests different ways in which the US could help Egypt counter its Jihadist extremists:
Working through the Muslim Brotherhood, the United States must encourage a demobilization program to co-opt jihadists and bring them into the political process. To be sure, Egypt does not have sufficient funds to fully copy the Saudis, who have been able to "reprogram" extremists through provision of money, housing, and wives, among other things. Yet it could adopt one aspect of the Saudi program: using mainstream clerics from al-Azhar to convince jihadists that their interpretations of certain Islamic sources are faulty.
Quote: "The Turkish government plays a direct role in the massacre of the Syrian people” Bashar Assad in an interview for Iranian based Nassim International News Agency.
Number: $897m, The Hamas government budget for 2013
The Jewish World
Headline: Chuck Hagel meets with Jewish leaders
To Read: Abraham Foxman lauds the UN’s decision to honor the rescuers together with the holocaust victims in this year’s January 27th commemoration:
The rescuers paved the way for us to understand how humanity can play a role, as it did to a sadly limited extent during the Holocaust, to take action and to prevent acts of hatred and genocide from happening again.
Quote: “I challenge anyone to deny the relationship between Zionism and Nazism before World War II”, PA president Mahmoud Abbas yesterday.
Number: 2, the percent drop in the number of Jews who made Aliyah last year