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.

How Many Israelis Live in “Settlements?”

by Elliott Abrams Monday, July 29, 2013

This may seem to be a simple question, but efforts to answer it show that it is actually complex. For one thing, what’s a “settlement?” What are the “major blocks?” How many Israelis live in the major blocks and how many in smaller settlements beyond the security fence? Are those settlements growing? Read more »

Why Is the United States Asking Israel to Release Terrorists?

by Elliott Abrams Monday, July 29, 2013

The Government of Israel has announced that it will release 104 “security prisoners” in an effort to induce the PLO to return to the negotiating table. This was a PLO demand that was backed by the United States, as part of Secretary Kerry’s efforts to get talks restarted. Read more »

About That Coup: Nevermind

by Elliott Abrams Friday, July 26, 2013

There are many good reasons to maintain U.S. aid to Egypt under current circumstances, but American law presents a problem: under the Foreign Assistance Act, “none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by a military coup or decree.” Read more »

A Word About the British Monarchy

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The birth of a great-grandson to Queen Elizabeth made me do some math.

The Queen is 87. If the new baby were to rule as King of England until that age, the year would be 2100. That is 146 years after the Queen ascended to the throne herself.

To bring a bit of perspective to those numbers, 146 years before Elizabeth II became queen, the year was 1806. The king was George III, monarch during the American Revolution, who died that year. Read more »

Cuba’s Criminal Regime and North Korea

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, July 16, 2013

After all the talk about hope and change and reform in Cuba, the old Stalinist regime of the Castros turns out to be in bed with North Korea and to be violating UN sanctions on that other Stalinist regime. Birds of a feather….

Today’s news tells us that a North Korean vessel traveling from Cuba to North Korea was stopped and searched near the Panama Canal. Lo and behold, hidden in the sugar were missile parts. As one news report put it, Read more »

“A Nation of Laws”: The Egypt Aid Debate

by Elliott Abrams Friday, July 12, 2013

American law requires suspension of aid to any country that undergoes a coup against a democratically elected government. Egypt just suffered, or benefited, from what was clearly a coup: the Army removed an elected president. The argument about whether to suspend aid or ignore the law is a dangerous one, I argue in the Weekly Standard: Read more »

The Near East Bureau at State: Nobody Home, Year Two

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, July 9, 2013

On May 31, 2012 the Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East, Jeffrey Feltman, resigned his post. Feltman, a senior career diplomat who had been a superb ambassador to Lebanon, is now the number three official at the United Nations.

Amazingly enough, we are now well into the second year with that key post remaining vacant. Read more »

About Military Aid to Egypt

by Elliott Abrams Monday, July 8, 2013
Egyptian military jets fly over Tahrir square as protesters who are against former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi gather, in Cairo July 7, 2013. (Courtesy REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) Egyptian military jets fly over Tahrir square as protesters who are against former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi gather, in Cairo July 7, 2013. (Courtesy REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Should U.S. military aid to Egypt now be suspended, as the law appears to require when there has been a military coup?

My answer is yes. First, it should be clear that there was a coup: the Army overthrew an elected president, and did so without judicial or legislative justification. I discussed this at greater length last week in National Review. Second, we should follow our law and explain to the Egyptian military why we are doing so and what it means–and does not mean. Read more »

Israeli and Palestinians: What If They Get to the Table?

by Elliott Abrams Monday, July 1, 2013

Secretary of State Kerry has dedicated enormous amounts of time to getting the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.  The last serious negotiations took place toward the end of the Bush administration, and failed when the PLO rejected a remarkable offer from then-prime minister Ehud Olmert. An attempt to get negotiations started was made by the Obama administration on September 1st, 2010, but after a round of talks in Washington things broke down very quickly. Read more »