To Read: John Arquilla is actually optimistic about the steady budget cuts in the Pentagon's future-
As ham-handed as sequestration is, the basic idea of steady, real cuts in defense spending has great merit. Not only will a smaller defense burden help with economic recovery; declining budgets will also foster more critical analysis of needs and encourage innovation in the military-industrial sector. And in the end, we are likely to find that keeping defense spending on "automatic pilot" feeds a dangerous complacency about military and security affairs in our time -- and in years to come. Sequestration -- and hopefully a smarter, more flexible version of it -- will enforce the 10 percent solution we need while at the same time pointing out that defense is not just a zero-sum numbers game.
Quote: "I want to keep the aid flowing to Egypt, but it has to be with the understanding that Egypt's going to march toward democracy, not toward a military dictatorship", Senator Lindsey Graham, who, together with Senator John McCain, arrived in Egypt today.
Number: 51, the percentage of Americans who believe that news organizations should not report the government’s secret anti-terrorism methods.
To Read: Tad Taube muses on the 'Jerusalem, Israel' decision-
What if the plaintiffs in this legal case — Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky, the parents of Jerusalem-born Menachem Zivotofsky — instead were Taiwanese American? And, instead of Jerusalem, their son was born in Taipei? Under current U.S. law, they’re free to list “Taiwan” as the country of birth, even though the United States doesn’t formally recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation.
If the Obama administration wants to show that its professed admiration for Israel is for real, it can start by giving Americans the right to list both “Jerusalem” and “Israel” on their passports. As the Taiwan example shows, it’s possible for America to pursue its foreign-policy goals and allow its citizens to honor their ancestry.
Quote: “If he believes that the Palestinians have gone the necessary distance on such issues as security, Jerusalem, the settlement blocs and refugees and have reached their own red lines, Netanyahu will be prepared to take huge steps in their direction”, veteran Likud politician and Netanyahu confidant Tzachi Hanegbi talks with Mazal Mualem about Netanyahu and the peace process.
Number: 100, the number of Christians serving in the IDF.
The Middle East
To Read: Popular Egyptian journalist Bassem Sabry believes that a lot of the Egyptian hatred for the US derives from the US' stance on Israel-
In my opinion, the deeper direct causes are actually the almost cliché answers that many have given in previous discussions. Egypt remains, even with what appears to be newly rising nationalism, a strongly pan-Islamic and pan-Arab country. For example, the war in Iraq and the destruction that ensued (and continues to ensue) have left a strong scar on how Egyptians see the US. Every car bomb that explodes in Baghdad and makes it to the news rekindles that anger, and reignites the “blood oil” discussions. The most profound reason for anger and dislike comes from US policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict — a conflict with strong national, cultural, political and religious significance. Particularly, a profound reason for discontent has been what is seen as an unfair and disproportionate amount of support that Israel gets from the US. For most Egyptians, the US isn’t a balanced mediator of the conflict; it is willing to allow Israel to continuously change the facts of the situation on the ground to its favor, and allow Israel get away with violence against Palestinians.
Quote: "Considering the profuse experience you gained during eight years of worthy efforts, I appoint you as a member of the Expediency Council", Iran's leader Ali Khamenei appointing former President Ahmedinijad to Iran's top political council.
Number: 29, the percentage of Egyptians who had confidence in the Government right before it was toppled, according to a Gallup poll.
The Jewish World
To Read: An interesting Tablet piece takes a look at Nation of Islam's book on the role of Jews in the slave trade and at the real facts on the matter-
The Secret Relationship alleges that Jews were over-represented in the slave trade, but it goes about doing so in a funny way. For the author, the fact that Jews participated at all is tantamount to proof that without Jewish money and Jewish traders, the entire industry would have collapsed. For example, the book’s anonymous author cites the fact that in 1774, the Jews of Jamaica owned 310 slaves, which, horrific as it is, is only 4 percent of the total slave population in Jamaica at that time (7,424). A grand total of 12 Jews owned plantations, and yet this doesn’t stop the author from concluding that Jews dominated the trade.
Quote: "His selective and malicious prosecution violated his human rights through judicial misconduct, abuse of office, bias and prejudice", Dola Indidis, a Kenyan lawyer who is planning to sue Israel over the death of Jesus Christ.
Number: 2,200, the number of WW2-war-criminal-related documents the UN is declassifying.