To Read: Fred Kaplan writes about President Obama's lack of leverage in Egypt-
The fact is, if Washington wants to maintain some influence in Cairo, if U.S. officials and generals and potential investors want someone in Egypt to pick up the phone when they call, they have to ante up. This has been the dilemma facing the Obama administration for the past year of turbulence: It must maintain some relations with the Egyptian government, whoever is in power and however unpleasant they may be. (The administration abandoned Mubarak only when it became clear that he was going to be shoved out, regardless of the U.S. stance.) Staying on the inside allows the United States to nudge Egyptians with advice, inducements, or incentives to take steps that promote U.S. interests—and what westerners regard as Egyptian interests. But this is about all that any American president—any outside leader—can do. To think otherwise is to engage in dangerous nostalgia.
Quote: “Gosh sakes, we won the vote 407 to 5. These guys are only focused on Afghanistan and couldn’t care less what is happening in Syria”, Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) commenting on the Pentagon's decision to purchase Russian Helicopters despite the Congress' disapprobation.
Number: 70, the percent chance that the GOP has of holding the house, the presidency and the Senate after 2016, according to Megan McArdle.
To Read: The Middle East Institute's Paul Scham believes that Israel should use the current instability in the Middle East and start talking to the Hamas-
Hence, Morsi’s misfortunes could provide the impetus for Palestinian reconciliation for the purpose of making peace. But for this to happen, Israel and the United States must be willing to play along and not simply rejoice in Hamas’s isolation. The United States, which has resolutely ignored Hamas’s signals of moderation (which have admittedly been equivocal) and highlighted its hard-line statements, would have to quickly adopt a more nuanced approach—and show Israel why it should do the same. It is not a matter of negotiating with Hamas or recognizing it; the question will be whether Hamas would allow a PA-led government to accept a peace based on the 1967 borders. Will the United States seize the opportunity to put Hamas in that position? Or will it allow Hamas to reap the benefit of a failure of Kerry’s current negotiations?
Quote: "To my regret, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has yet to reach a prominent place at the top of our list of priorities, nor has it become the second-, even third-most important issue. However, this subject has a place in our essence, in our identity, in our souls, in our security, and in our perception of morality – as a society or nation that has come to rule another nation", former Shin Bet chief, Yuval Diskin, supporting peace negotiations.
Number: 2000, the number of Arab Israelis who attended a rally in support of President Morsi.
The Middle East
To Read: Egyptian political scientist Hicham Mourad gives his interesting take on why the Egyptian army overthrew Morsi-
The army command remained nevertheless suspicious of the intentions of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood and opposed to their policies. This involved attempts to infiltrate or to “Brotherhoodise” the army. The rumour was so persistent that Al-Sisi had to reply on 14 February stressing that he would not allow the Muslim Brotherhood, or any other political group, to dominate the army. The command was also unhappy with criticism from leaders of the Brotherhood, including Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, on past military support for the Mubarak regime.
On the other hand, the religious and sectarian dimension of President Morsi's policies was inconsistent with the strategic thinking of the army on national security issues. This involved first the rapprochement, by religious affinities, with the Islamic resistance movement Hamas in Palestine, which controls the Gaza Strip and adopts armed struggle against the Israeli occupation. For the army, this rapprochement is extremely dangerous for the security of Egypt, especially for that of the Sinai Peninsula, which occupies a particularly important place in the strategic thinking of the army, because it borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Quote: "Defending the Turkish nation against external threats and dangers, and maintaining and strengthening military powers to ensure deterrence", the new definition of the Turkish army's responsibilities, amended by the Turkish parliament to avoid coups.
Number: 200, the number of civilians trapped in a mosque in a Damascus suburb as fighting rages outside between rebels and soldiers.
The Jewish World
To Read: Tablet's James Loeffler believes that labeling music as 'holocaust music' inevitably reduces it and dishonors the composers who wrote it-
The late Jewish philosopher Emil Fackenheim spoke of the 614th commandment: not to grant Hitler posthumous victories. Yet one of Hitler’s lasting achievements was to leave behind an anti-Semitic myth, acquired from Richard Wagner, that Jews possess no music of their own. Not only did the Holocaust send many composers into exile and worse, it also killed a decades-long effort to build a Jewish school in modern classical music.
Now, by labeling certain works of art as “Holocaust music,” we risk creating a genre that turns the details of history and the complex meanings of music into one saccharine lesson in universalist tolerance. It may sound like heresy to criticize a pious act of Holocaust remembrance. But the true heresy is to turn Jewish composers into shadow images defined only by their status as Hitler’s victims.
Quote: “Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef is an adjudicator of Jewish law whose rulings are accepted in Israel and abroad”, Shas leader, Arye Deri, announcing his party's endorsement of Rabbi Ovadia Yossef's son Yitzhak as chief Sephardic Rabbi.
Number: 20, the number of Haredi women participating in a training course for medical coding.