* Pentagon: Unchecked, Islamic State Could Resurge in Syria in 6-12 Months "Battled-hardened" Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) remnants in Syria "could likely" mount a resurgence in "six to 12 months" absent "sustained counterterrorism pressure" by American and local troops, the Pentagon's inspector general (IG) warned in a report released Monday.
* The Syrian war is not over, it's just on a new trajectory December 2018 marked a significant shift in the Syrian conflict. The end-of-year events put the country on a new trajectory, one in which President Bashar al-Assad looks towards consolidating his power and Islamic State sees a chance to perpetuate its existence.
* Israel's Red Lines in Lebanon and Syria The "War Between Wars" is an ongoing Israeli military and intelligence effort to disrupt the force build-up of the Iranian-Shiite axis throughout the Middle East.
* Netanyahu to meet Putin this month for Iran-Syria talks Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the February 21 visit will deal with Israel's efforts to prevent Iranian presence in neighbouring Syria.
* Build the Holy Temple: The central theme of Jewish life Why are there two months of Adar this year? Understanding the Jewish leap year.
* The significance of Pope Francis' UAE visit is impossible to exaggerate (Nobel Committee, take note) The crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, knew exactly what he was doing when he invited Pope Francis to visit the Arabian Peninsula to inaugurate the UAE's "Year of Tolerance."
* Rabbis and Christian Pastors Join Forces to Push Israeli-Arab Coexistence Persian Gulf states are now more willing to speak openly about their desire to have ties with Israel, a topic that was previously only hinted at behind closed doors.
* The Widespread Persecution of Converts to Christianity "For millions of Christians -- particularly those who grew up Muslim or were born into Muslim families -- openly following Jesus can have painful consequences. They can be treated as second-class citizens, discriminated against for jobs or even violently attacked."- Open Doors, World Watch List 2019
* Likud's active internal democracy is an election boon. How Gantz stumbled The spectacle of a major political party practicing undiluted democracy on live television contributed to the longtime popularity of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his Likud.
* Pope publicly acknowledges clergy sexual abuse of nuns Pope Francis on Tuesday publicly acknowledged the scandal of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns and vowed to do more to fight the problem, the latest sign that there is no end in sight to the Catholic Church's abuse crisis - and that it now has a reckoning from the #MeToo movement.