To Read: Conor Friedersdorf points out that media reports have been over-emphasizing the pressure on President Obama to intervene while the pressure to stay out of the conflict is unjustly ignored-
Then there are all the stories about how Obama's credibility depends on him striking Syria. Isn't that something? A president's credibility hinging on him doing something just 9 percent of Americans want him to do! It only makes sense if the unwritten thought is, "His credibility among people who matter." D.C. people, who inflate the importance of rhetoric and looking tough. If Obama doesn't intervene in Syria, his credibility among the American people won't suffer at all.
(The New Republic's Isaac Chotiner disagrees)
Quote: "I have no earthly idea why they're talking so much. It's not leaking out; it's coming out through a hose. It's just a complete head-scratcher", Admiral William Fallon, the former head of the military's Central Command, cannot understand why the Obama administration is talking so much about the upcoming intervention.
Number: 92, the number of congressmen who have signed a letter calling President Obama to consult with congress before intervening in Syria.
To Read: Veteran Israeli journalist Dan Margalit imagines what would happen if Assad decides to attack Israel-
Assad is a mass murderer, but he is also rational. Israel has the power to eliminate his ability to fight against the rebels and determine the outcome of the Syrian civil war. Israel could paralyze Syria's airports and would certainly take the opportunity to reduce the strategic threat represented by Assad's chemical weapons arsenal.
One can understand the vigilance of the Israeli public, which is flooding gas mask distribution centers. But panic seems unnecessary. If Israel is attacked, the IDF will have great freedom of action and there will not be a repeat of the Second Lebanon War. Israel is not interested in a war, but if it is compelled to act, its response will be shorter and sharper than the pessimists are predicting.
Quote: “They cannot play the game that Hezbollah is somehow an independent actor. We have seen over the last few months that Hezbollah is coordinated very closely with the Assad regime, and it is the Iranians that have orchestrated that close cooperation. [If Israel is attacked by Hezbollah] we will respond forcefully, and we won’t hold by artificial differentiations”, an Israeli official commenting on the Syria- Hezbollah alliance.
Number: 70, the number of border policemen who were sent by the IDF to accompany a bus filled with Israeli-Arab workers to the settlement of Yitzhar (it wasn't enough, though, and they had to call for reinforcement once things got rough).
The Middle East
To Read: Brookings' Daniel Byman and Khaled Elgindy take a look at the growing tension in the Sinai Peninsula-
The growing instability in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula represents one of the most dangerous, and most anticipated, crises in the Middle East. Even before the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the security vacuum in the Sinai allowed criminals and terrorists, including those with an ideology akin to Al Qaeda’s, to expand their operations. In the chaos after the revolution, these problems have worsened.
Quote: "We are fighting America's war on terror right here on the ground. Our enemies are those al Qaeda fighters who want to destroy our 4,000-year-old Kurdish culture. These jihadists come from Belgium, Holland, Morocco, Libya, and other countries. Unfortunately, the U.S. and Turkey are on the side of al Qaeda, just like the U.S. was on al Qaeda's side in Afghanistan during the '80's", Dijwar Osman, a female Kurdish fighter fighting against Jihadists in Syria.
Number: 4, the number of U.S. guided-missile destroyers which are currently in the Mediterranean (each carrying around 90 missiles).
The Jewish World
Headline: Ukraine divided over WWII legacy
To Read: Rabbi Julie Schonfeld gives her perspective on the recent western wall proposal in this JPost op-ed-
At this point in time, a fair and level playing field with the full equality already enshrined in Israel’s basic law is the most pragmatic and effective means to bring the most opportunities to discover Judaism to Israel’s Jews and to overcome the damage to the Israeli soul done by decades of coercion.
Should the Israeli people decide to separate synagogue and state, we would likely support that position, but until then, the playing field of ideas must be made level.
It is only the slightest bit more level today. But it’s a start.
Quote: “The Jewish community has a long-standing record against the use of nonconventional weapons. But just because we may think it is a moral issue to use force to curtail the use of nonconventional weapons, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is always the wise thing to do”, Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, commenting on the American Jewish community's cautious reaction to the Syria affair.
Number: 10, here's JTA's list of the top 10 viral Jewish videos of 5773.