Daring Raid — U.S. Special Forces swooped into Somalia on Wednesday, and rescued two hostages, including an American woman, who had been kidnapped by pirates. The New York Times pieces together the details, noting that it “appeared that President Obama was fully aware of the raid as he was about to give his State of the Union speech.”
Egypt Update — On the first anniversary of Egypt’s revolution, Foreign Policy profiles five influential Egyptian protesters who look back on a tumultuous year. Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs‘ Steven A. Cook takes stock from Ain Sukhna, a town two hours east of Cairo where the falool – the elite of the Mubarak regime – fled when their leader fell. And TIME’s Abigail Hauslohner delves into mixed feelings from the Egyptians themselves.
Mercenary Motives — As the E.U. and U.S. turn the sanctions screw against Iran, Spiegel Online looks at how the Revolutionary Guards are profiting. “They are prepared to turn a blind eye to smuggling in exchange for payment. In addition, the Revolutionary Guards, who are the military and economic backbone of the regime, also control the Iranian black market in Western goods and foreign currency,” it writes.
Staged Intervention — Author and former Wall Street Journal correspondent G. Pascal Zachary examines the case for a global role in breaking up Nigeria in the Atlantic, as violence continues to spiral in the separatist-minded north. His take: “The fiction that is called the Nigerian government needs assistance, even if the ultimate price for this assistance is the dissolution of the state as the world currently knows it.”
Louvre of Arabia — Abu Dhabi’s new “shock and awe” museums arrive in the UAE, reports the New York Times. Guggenheim and Louvre, welcome to the desert.
Doubting Davos — Trust me, I’m a global elite? Not so much, say the hoi polloi of the world, according to a new poll of faith in political leaders. Can politicians and businessmen salvage their reputation at the World Economic Forum? The Economist reports.