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.

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Showing posts for "Egypt"

What’s General Sisi So Scared Of?

by Elliott Abrams

This morning’s New York Times reveals the paranoia and vulnerability of the current Egyptian regime.

Michele Dunne, a former career diplomat who served in Cairo and also at the National Security Council (in the George W. Bush administration), is now a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment. She was refused entry into Egypt yesterday. Here is part of the Times story: Read more »

“Terrorism” in Egypt

by Elliott Abrams

There are acts of terror in Egypt, and there are terrorists–including some linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS.

But the government of President Sisi has decided to call every opponent, dissident, critic, and political activist a terrorist. Such a move makes the fight against terrorism much harder and ought to draw loud U.S. protests. Read more »

Closing Rafah: A Tale of Two Narratives

by Elliott Abrams

Think about this: Israel closes the major crossing point into Gaza. Thousands of Gazans are stranded in other countries and cannot get home.  In Gaza a thousand more people, in need of medical treatment outside, cannot get out. They are “suffering from medical problems including kidney failure, cancer and blood-related diseases [and] seek urgent treatment or further diagnosis….” A health ministry official says “If the closure continues, their health conditions will deteriorate and we may start to witness some deaths.” Read more »

What Relationship with the United States Does Sisi Want?

by Elliott Abrams

What kind of relationship with the United States does Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi really want? Friendly and cooperative, or characterized by hostile charges, suspicions, and conspiracy theories?

We have a much better idea today than we did last week, unfortunately. That’s because Sisi has just appointed as his national security advisor an official named Fayza Abu el-Naga. Read more »

Palestine in the Sinai?

by Elliott Abrams

Several days ago news reports “revealed” a proposal by Egyptian President Sisi to extend the territory of Gaza south into the Sinai. According to the story as Israel Army radio carried it, the area to be added to Gaza is five times the size of the current Gaza. The idea is that this area would accommodate all the Palestinian “refugees,” thus satisfying the demand for a “right of return.” Palestine would consist of this new area and the current Gaza, giving the Palestinians more territory than if the 1967 “borders” were restored. Read more »

The Gaza War and the Feeble PA

by Elliott Abrams

The Gaza war took a new turn today, when Hamas violated a cease-fire in order to kill and capture IDF soldiers. The reasonable conclusion to draw is that Hamas’s agreement to the cease-fire was a ruse, meant to give them this opportunity.

That action has several effects beyond destroying the cease-fire itself and prolonging the war. It certainly solidifies Israeli public backing for the war, which was extremely high anyway. The nature of the enemy is made even clearer. The contemptible nature of so much of the criticism of Israel around the world is also made clearer, coming from voices that appear indifferent to the nature and conduct of Hamas, to Israeli deaths, and to the deaths of Arabs anywhere else—in Syria, for example—as long as Jews are not responsible for those deaths and if there’s no opportunity to criticize Israel. Read more »

Gaza: More Negotiations

by Elliott Abrams

With Ban ki-Moon and John Kerry arriving in Cairo today, there will be lots of talk about a cease-fire deal. It is important that the United States keep Egypt in the forefront, and keep using the term “cease-fire.”

As to Egypt, it is not only that the Egyptian government shares our own view of Hamas as a terrorist group whose influence and military capabilities must be fought. That alone is a reason for the United States to want Egypt, not Qatar or Turkey, to be central. It is also that Egypt has genuine national security interests at stake here because it is a neighbor to Gaza. Terrorist activities in Gaza and Sinai matter to Egypt in a way that they do not to Qatar or Turkey. Any agreement that improves Hamas’s chances of importing more weaponry harms Egypt’s security, and the Egyptians have a right to a say in this. Read more »