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Sunday Reads: On Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” Moment, Being Jewish in Erdogan’s Turkey

by Shmuel Rosner

June 15, 2014 | 4:06 am

Photo by Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

US

Gordon Adams thinks that the real lesson to be learned from the recent disaster in Iraq concerns the US military –

Why do we repeatedly do so badly when trying to bring security to troubled countries? Because our military doesn't do it very well. Because we don't have the military or civilian capacity -- nor the wisdom -- to build other countries' forces. And that is because it is almost impossible to do. The very attempt to provide security and build stability in another country is tragic in the most pure, Greek sense: We head toward a doomed fate, doing what we believe to be right, only to have our efforts undone by the effort itself, since occupation always creates resistance and opposition.

Die Welt’s Clemens Wergin remembers President Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” moment in Iraq –

The "Mission Accomplished" banner earned Bush much ridicule and criticism from Barack Obama's Democrats - even years later, when Bush's embattled decision to deploy additional troops and apply a new surge strategy to fighting the rebels really did turn a page.

Now it is time to point out Obama's "mission accomplished" moment. In December 2011, when the troops were about to come home, the president gave a speech at Fort Bragg in which he applauded this "moment of success" and claimed that America was leaving behind a "sovereign, stable and independent Iraq."

Israel

Avi Isacharoff discusses the origins and the possible consequences of the recent kidnapping of three young settlers –

 If Hamas is found to be responsible for an incident of this gravity, Israel is unlikely to exercise restraint. That could mean the targeting of Hamas leaders in Gaza, and the arrests of Hamas leaders in the West Bank. And that, in turn, would likely bring a Hamas response, including rocket fire from Gaza on Israel cities including Tel Aviv. So Israel could easily find itself embroiled in a strategic upsurge of hostility that would reshape the security environment for some years. If, that is, again, it becomes clear that Hamas kidnapped the three Israeli teenagers.

Gilead Sher argues that instead of complaining about the Palestinian unity government, Israel should start making demands and do its best to separate from the Palestinians –

Hamas' takeover of Gaza exactly seven years ago split the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – politically and territorially – into two separate entities. Now the Palestinian unity government and even the international community are expected to demand movement between Gaza and the West Bank, which is fixed in the agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israel should demand as a precondition that the PA and its government take responsibility for the entire territory, including the Gaza Strip.

Middle East

WSJ’s Bill Spindle and Gerald Seib believe we might be witnessing the redrawing of the map of the Middle East (by Islamist militants) –

Governments and borders are under siege elsewhere, as well. For more than a year, Shiite militias from Lebanon have moved into Syria and operated as a virtual arm of the Syrian government. Meanwhile, so many Syrian refugees have gone in the opposite direction—fleeing into Lebanon—that Lebanon now houses more school-age Syrian children than Lebanese children.

Michael Young examines Iran’s strategy of encouraging sectarian strife in the Arab world –

Iran’s strategy in the Arab world is, to a great extent, based precisely on the type of behavior that led to catastrophe in Iraq. In Iraq and Syria in the past three years, where their allies have not had a realistic chance of co-opting enraged Sunni communities, Iran has encouraged fragmentation. It has done so on the assumption that the Islamic Republic is better able to exert its influence in divided, conflictual Arab societies than in ones that are unified and can stand up to Iranian hegemony.

Jewish World

Elhanan Miller writes about the complicated reality of Jews living in Erdogan’s Turkey –

Today, visitors to Bet Israel must send their passports to the community days in advance in order to gain access to Friday night services. Worshipers pass through a metal detector in a sealed room before entering the sanctuary. After prayers, the Jews cram back into the passageway where a metal door locks behind them before the exit door is opened, as they deposit their shiny white skullcaps in a wicker basket.

Tablet’s Marjorie Ingall lists the 13 worst Jewish fathers in literature –

We are a people with mommy issues. Jewish mothers, after all, are the ones we joke about, obsess over, stereotype—and spend hours discussing with our therapists. But what about the Jewish dads? You think they’re all prizes? If you look at literature through the ages, you’ll see that they’ve had their own mishegas, right from the very beginning. So, in honor of Father’s Day, here’s a list of bad Jewish dads that’ll make you appreciate your own father.

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