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!

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!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Israel plans to lobby the incoming Biden administration to avoid confrontations over human rights and other contentious issues with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, senior Israeli defense officials tell me.

Why it matters: President-elect Biden has promised to put human rights and democracy at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy, and he skipped over all three when placing phone calls to the leaders of 17 countries after his election victory. He was particularly critical of Saudi Arabia during the campaign over the war in Yemen and human rights issues.

  • Israel sees its security and intelligence relationships with the three countries as central to its strategy to counter Iran and an important pillar in regional security.
  • Now, Israel fears that Biden will not only seek a deal with Iran, but also cool relations with America's Arab partners.

Driving the news: Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt all welcomed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s controversial decision this week to designate Yemen's Houthi rebels as a terror organization.

  • Israel hasn’t taken any position on that decision — which some Democrats are already lobbying Biden to reverse — but has been placing new emphasis on the situation in Yemen in recent weeks.
  • That's due in part to threats from the Iran-backed Houthis on Israeli shipping in the Red Sea, but mainly because of the implications of further Iranian entrenchment in the country for Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Israeli officials say.
  • What to watch: The Israelis know Biden will have a very different policy on Yemen than Trump, particularly when it comes to the Saudi role in the war. But they plan to encourage the new administration to make sure its policy shifts don't deepen Iranian influence or jeopardize regional cooperation on other issues.

Behind the scenes: The Israeli defense officials tell me they plan to make the case to the Biden administration that the region has changed over the last four years, with a new regional alignment forming as Israel strengthens its ties with Arab countries.

  • Israel hopes the new administration will prioritize that process over its concerns about the war in Yemen or human rights abuses.
  • On the one hand: The officials say Israel has encouraged Egypt and Saudi Arabia to take steps on human rights issues in order to improve the atmosphere for dialogue with the Biden administration.
  • On the other: They also plan to warn Biden's team that a crisis in relations with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt could push those countries away from the U.S. and toward Russia and China.

What they're saying: “We were very close to losing Egypt several years ago and our message to the Biden administration will be: 'Take it slow, dramatic changes took place, don’t come with predispositions and don’t harm relations with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE,'" a senior Israeli official told me.

Go deeper

Schiff asks new intel chief Avril Haines to declassify Jamal Khashoggi report

Photo: congress.gov via Getty Images

House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff on Friday formally asked Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to declassify a report on the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Why it matters: The Washington Post has reported that the CIA concluded with a high degree of confidence that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — a close ally of the Trump administration — ordered Khashoggi's assassination. The Trump administration never released the report to the public.

19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's latest executive order: Buy American

President Joe R. Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services.

Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.