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.

The EU’s Mrs. Ashton and the Invisible Jews

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, January 30, 2014

It’s becoming a habit. The EU’s “foreign minister,” High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, cannot seem to see Jews or anti-Semitism or to pronounce the word “Jew.”

In 2012 a terrorist murdered three Jewish children at a Jewish day school in Toulouse, France. Mrs. Ashton issued a statement saying that “When we think of what happened in Toulouse today, when we remember what happened in Norway a year ago, when we know what is happening in Syria, when we see what is happening in Gaza and Sderot and in different parts of the world, we remember young people and children who lose their lives.” It was beyond her to acknowledge what had just happened: the murder of Jewish children in Europe for the crime of being Jewish. Read more »

Is There an Iran Deal?

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, January 23, 2014

Two remarkable statements must be juxtaposed to understand how much trouble lies ahead in trying to get a nuclear deal with Iran. Thus far, the trouble has been over the temporary arrangements, meant to last six months and likely to be extended for another six. That deal was reached last year and an implementation agreement then took two more months to reach. The next task is to negotiate an arrangement that is comprehensive and permanent. How likely is that, and have we really thus far reached any agreement at all? Read more »

Egypt’s Referendum

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Egypt’s constitutional referendum this week should be no cause for celebration. It was not free and fair; the turnout did not suggest a consensus among Egyptians; and the future stability of Egypt is in doubt.

According to the Egyptian authorities, turnout was 38.6 percent,  and 98.1 percent of those Egyptians who voted said yes. The 98 percent figure should give anyone pause. If it is accurate, it’s obvious that everyone opposed to the new constitution stayed away–hardly a reliable basis for political stability and consensus. That more than 60 percent of Egyptians did not vote, despite a huge campaign by the government, is not reassuring either. Read more »

Vacant: The Post of Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom

by Elliott Abrams Friday, January 17, 2014

When the Obama administration began, the post of Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom was vacant. This post, at the State Department, was established by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 because Congress wanted State, and the entire Executive Branch, to pay more attention to the issue of religious freedom. (The act also established the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, of which I am a  member.) Read more »

Aiming for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Secretary of State Kerry continues his energetic efforts to get the Israelis and Palestinians to sign a comprehensive peace agreement. In a new Policy Innovation Memo for the Council, I argue that such an agreement is not possible right now and that there’s a better way forward. Read more »

Iran Mocks President Obama by Honoring Mughniyeh

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, January 14, 2014

President Obama has a full court press under way to stop Congress from passing new sanctions legislation that could–could, not will–impose sanctions on Iran one year from now if negotiations break down or Iran cheats. The idea seems to be that passage of the bill would signal mistrust of Iran, or would break the spell of sincerity being cast at the negotiating table. Read more »

Ariel Sharon, R.I.P.

by Elliott Abrams Monday, January 13, 2014

Former prime minister of Israel Ariel Sharon was buried today.

In Commentary Magazine, I offered my thoughts about the passing of a man I worked with closely during his years as prime minister, and some of the words President Bush had planned to say when attending Sharon’s funeral–in 2006. We had all expected that Sharon’s stroke in January 2006 would lead quickly to his death, and President Bush intended to attend the funeral. Read more »

Haunted by Syria?

by Elliott Abrams Monday, January 6, 2014

“When the history of the Obama administration is written, there will be a long and damaging chapter on its immense humanitarian and strategic failure in Syria. With three years of Obama yet to come, we have not even seen the full humanitarian disaster play out​—​nor have we yet confronted the dangers that are arising there from the vast jihadist presence.” Read more »

Iran Continues Subversion Despite the Nuclear Negotiations

by Elliott Abrams Friday, January 3, 2014

The Obama administration is fighting strongly to prevent Congress from adopting new sanctions legislation that would go into effect one year from now if, and only if, the nuclear negotiations fail or Iran cheats on its commitments. It seems that adopting such legislation would anger the Iranian regime, and would be contrary to the spirit of the talks. Or something like that. Read more »