Headline: Biden raises possibility of direct U.S.-Iran talks
To Read: In a new interesting and thorough report published by the CSIS, Anthony Cordesman weighs the alternatives the US has in dealing with the Iranian threat
… a continued focus on sanctions and arms control efforts must be supported by the continued development of military capabilities to deter and contain Iran. The US should preserve and enhance its ability to use force against Iran. The US and its allies should make it clear to Iran that if it conducts nuclear tests, is found to be assembling nuclear weapons, or deploys a nuclear weapon it will justify the use of military force…
At the same time, the real world political and strategic results of replacing sanctions and diplomacy with the use of force are so unpredictable, and the risks are so high, that force must be a last resort. The use of force may end the chance of diplomacy for the life of the Islamic Republic, lead Iran to lash out militarily or by using proxies, and create a major energy and economic crisis in the process.
Quote: “The ball is in the government of Iran’s court”, President Biden about the Iranian threat.
Number: 166, the number of times Israel was mentioned in the Hagel confirmation hearing.
Headline: Iran: Response will send Israel into coma
To Read: A JPost editorial tries to account for Israel’s decision not to appear at the UNHRC-
Not showing up was hardly ideal, but better this than more spectacles of the sort staged invariably by the UNHRC. For the same cogent reasons Israel is also likely will not play along with a brand new “investigation” into its alleged deployment of drones against Palestinian targets.
Quote: "what happened in Syria several days ago... (is) proof that when we said something we mean it – we say that we don't think it should be allowed to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon.", Ehud Barak about the alleged attack in Syria.
Number: 90, the percent of army positions in Israel open to women.
The Middle East
Headline: Syria opposition leader meets Russia and Iran
To Read: According to David Ignatius, forming a coherent policy in Syria should be John Kerry’s first priority-
Rebel military sources argue that the most effective step the United States could take would be to train hundreds of elite commando forces, which would be well-armed and have the strong command-and-control that has generally been lacking in the Free Syrian Army. These disciplined paramilitary forces, like groups the CIA has trained in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan, could shift the balance on the ground — away from the Assad forces but also away from the extremist Jabhat al-Nusra.
Quote: “The collapse of police will affect Egypt and transform it into a militia state like some neighboring nations”, Egyptian Interior minister, Mohammed Ibrahim, responding to the recent controversial beating of a naked man by the police.
Number: At least 30, the number of people dead in the recent suicide bombing in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk
The Jewish World
Headline: A 3-Term Mayor as Brash, Shrewd and Colorful as the City He Led
To Read: Jonathan Soffer remembers Ed Koch-
…His three epitaphs, chosen several years before his death, expressed the centrality of Judaism to his identity.
The first quotes the murdered journalist Daniel Pearl “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.” The second, is the Sh’ma, and the third, which the mayor wrote himself after suffering a stroke in 1987, reads: “He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith. He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people. Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America, in whose armed forces he served in World War II.”
Quote: "In elected office and as a private citizen, he was our most tireless, fearless, and guileless civic crusader”, Mayor Bloomberg about Ed Koch.
Number: 6,000, the number of readers of The Yiddish Forverts, which is now going online