Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

Romney and Obama on Israel Policy

by Elliott Abrams Sunday, July 29, 2012

Because Mitt Romney has repeatedly said he would not criticize President Obama or U.S. foreign policy while abroad, it has been unclear what he would say in Israel to separate himself from current policy. “Because I’m on foreign soil,” Romney told CBS, “I don’t want to be creating new foreign policy for my country or in any way to distance myself from the foreign policy of our nation.” Read more »

National Security Leaks and the White House

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, July 26, 2012

Every administration suffers from leaks of classified information. Given the size of the government and the large number of people who have access to information that is not only highly classified but truly sensitive, some leaks are impossible to prevent. For example, every administration faces leaks from officials who have lost interagency fights and are using the press to attack policy decisions. Read more »

Egypt Opens To Gaza

by Elliott Abrams Monday, July 23, 2012
Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi (R) meets with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal at the presidential palace in Cairo, July 19, 2012. (Courtesy REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi (R) meets with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal at the presidential palace in Cairo, July 19, 2012. (Courtesy REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

From the moment when Hamas took over Gaza in 2007 while the West Bank remained under the control of the Fatah Party and the Palestinian Authority, the question of Gaza’s relationship to Egypt has been open.

Gaza was under Egyptian control from 1948 to 1967, under Israeli control from 1967 to 2005, and under PA control from 2005 to 2007. After the Hamas coup in June 2007, Egypt under Mubarak largely retained the border controls that Israel had put in place. Mubarak viewed Hamas with suspicion, as a radical group that was part of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Perhaps more surprisingly, Egypt’s new government, itself dominated by the MB, has continued those controls. Read more »

Does the United States Favor Democracy in El Salvador?

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Having undermined democracy in Honduras in 2009 and watched democracy disappear in Nicaragua as the Sandinistas regained power in 2011, it is perhaps not surprising that the Obama administration appears indifferent to the disappearance of democracy in El Salvador. But it is tragic to see the FMLN, the old communist guerrillas’ party, starting to subvert what has been decades of democracy since the Salvadoran civil war ended. Read more »

Secretary Clinton Visits Israel

by Elliott Abrams Monday, July 16, 2012
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shake hands during their meeting in Jerusalem July 16, 2012 (Courtesy REUTERS/Abir Sultan/Pool). Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shake hands during their meeting in Jerusalem July 16, 2012 (Courtesy REUTERS/Abir Sultan/Pool).

Secretary of State Clinton is in Israel today, which is a surprising fact. According to several news sites, she has not visited there in two years.

Secretary Condoleezza Rice visited there about 20 times, by my rough count. What accounts for this difference? Given the importance the United States usually places on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how is it that a secretary of state could be absent for two entire years? Read more »

Shia Unrest in Saudi Arabia

by Elliott Abrams Friday, July 13, 2012

Though there is not much Western reporting yet on this phenomenon, Shia unrest in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province appears to be growing.

Two recent reports, including interesting amateur films of demonstrations and some violence, can be found in this Arab web site and buried in the New York Times here. The key question is whether the unrest is over or will spread among Saudi Shia. Read more »

Young Jews and Israel

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The past year has seen a long debate about whether young American Jews are becoming alienated from Israel. This assertion was the central argument in an article and then a book by Peter Beinart, who argued that this is happening. As Beinart announces at his web site, “A dramatic shift is taking place in Israel and America….In the United States, the refusal of major Jewish organizations to defend democracy in the Jewish state is alienating many young liberal Jews from Zionism itself.” Read more »

Thinking About the International Criminal Court

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague delivered a sentence of 14 years yesterday against a Congolese warlord, Thomas Lubanga. This is not much cause for celebration, for it is the first sentence ever handed down by the ICC–after ten years of work, at a cost of about $100 million a year. The court suffers from a variety of ailments that go beyond being new; as an example, judges are chosen by its member countries through a political process that does not bring the best qualified jurists to the top. Read more »

Israel and the Palestinians: A Sad Tale of High Finance

by Elliott Abrams Monday, July 2, 2012

Who is helping the Palestinians in the financial crisis the Palestinian Authority now faces? The United States and the nations of the European Union are the largest donors. Arab nations, including the very wealthy oil producers, have never been particularly generous. Israel, of course, is almost universally reviled for its “oppression” of Palestinians.

But now we learn that it was Israel who intervened with the IMF to seek a one billion dollar loan for the Palestinian Authority. Read more »