Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Biden visits Jordan in 2016. Photo: Khalil Mazraawi/AFP via Getty

Biden and his team are in the early stages of staffing his administration, and I've been sounding out my sources on who is expected to handle Middle East policy at the National Security Council, the State Department and the Pentagon.

The state of play: Nothing is set in stone, but several people in Biden's foreign policy circle said they expect many of the senior staffers to be veterans of the Obama administration.

Driving the news: Biden’s review team for the State Department included three Middle East experts, in a likely sign they'll have roles in the new administration.

  • Puneet Talwar was a top Middle East adviser to Barack Obama and helped open talks with Iran prior to the nuclear deal. He later served as assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs under John Kerry.
  • Hady Amr was the deputy special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process under Kerry, focusing on economic issues. More recently, he worked at the Brookings Institution.
  • Dana Stroul was a Middle East adviser at the Pentagon under secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, and she later served as a Middle East adviser to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She's now a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Several other Obama-era officials are also likely to play a role in the new administration.

  • Robert Malley, Obama's senior Middle East adviser and now the CEO of the International Crisis Group, is mentioned as a possible Iran negotiator in the new administration.
  • Dan Shapiro, who was senior director for the Middle East at the National Security Council and later served six years as ambassador to Israel, is a likely candidate for a senior post in Washington or, potentially, to return for a second stint as ambassador.
  • Tamara Cofman Wittes, who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs under Hillary Clinton, is also a candidate for a senior post on the Middle East.
  • Dafna Hochman Rand, one of Wittes’ successors, is also mentioned as a likely appointment.
  • Mara Rudman, who was Middle East director at USAID during the Obama administration and advised the Biden campaign on Middle East policy, is also a likely pick.

Three other names that I've heard floated for senior roles:

  • Ilan Goldenberg, who worked on Kerry's Middle East peace team and is now a fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
  • Andrew Miller, who worked on Middle East issues on the National Security Council in the Obama administration.
  • Daniel Benaim, who was Biden’s Middle East adviser when he was vice president.

The bottom line: Apart from Iran, the Middle East doesn't rank high on Biden's agenda. But as his predecessors have found, the Middle East will produce a lot of work for the new administration whether they like it or not. 

Go deeper: Israel's plan to influence Biden on Iran

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - World

Biden turns the page on Trump's Israel-Palestine policies

Biden with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010. Photo: David Furst/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration laid out its Israel-Palestine policy at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, highlighting the importance of repairing ties with the Palestinian Authority.

Driving the news: According to the new policies, the U.S. will resume aid to the Palestinians and reopen the PLO office in Washington and the consulate in Jerusalem.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
19 mins ago - Economy & Business

Coinbase files to go public

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase on Thursday filed to go public via a direct listing.

Why it matters: This comes in the midst of a crypto boom, and the listing may further legitimize the industry.

Trump’s blunt weapon: State GOP leaders

Trump supporters rally near Mar-a-Lago on Feb. 15. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump didn't have to punish his critics in Congress — his allies back in the states instantly and eagerly did the dirty work.

Why it matters: Virtually every Republican who supported impeachment was censured back home, or threatened with a primary challenge.