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"

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 »

Why Did Hamas Provoke a War?

by Elliott Abrams

The current battles between Israel and Hamas were provoked by Hamas. Why?

When increased levels of rocket fire began about a week ago, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu responded with restraint. He sent clear messages to Hamas in public statements, and via Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt, that he wanted no war, and no incursion into Gaza; if the rocket attacks ended, this confrontation would be over. Read more »

Israel: BDS in the West, Integration in the Middle East?

by Elliott Abrams

Efforts continue in Europe and the United States to boycott Israel or at least Israeli goods “tainted” by their production in settlements in the West Bank, and to disinvest in Israeli companies or in U.S. firms doing business there. Most recently, the Presbyterian Church USA joined in, voting that it would divest its shares in Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions because of their sales in Israel. Read more »

Will Hamas Choose War?

by Elliott Abrams

As the United States enters the July Fourth weekend, the Hamas leadership in Gaza faces a difficult and potentially important decision.

The last couple of years have hurt Hamas. The level of support it receives from Iran has declined, so it is short of cash. The Egyptian Army has closed the smuggling tunnels between Sinai and Gaza, further hurting the Gaza economy and Hamas’s tax revenues. The kidnappings in the West Bank last month turned into a disaster for Hamas: instead of having captives to trade for Israeli prisoners, Hamas was condemned universally for the crimes and suffered severe blows to its organization in both the West Bank and Gaza. Read more »

The Muslim Brothers in Egypt

by Elliott Abrams

Doing some research for a project,  I came across this interesting assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its role in politics there:

The record of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt following [Hassan al] Banna’s assassination shows that this essentially popular protest movement directed against misgovernment and oppression by the rulers sought total power for itself as the only efficacious remedy for social and political ills. After the military coup d’etat of 1952,the Brothers were in hopes that the new regime, which included officers who had sympathized with, or even belonged to, the movement, would move to institute the godly rule for which it hankered. The Brothers were sorely disappointed. The new rulers, led by Nasser, were willing neither to accept the Brothers’ ideology nor to allow them even a share of power. Read more »

Egypt’s Referendum

by Elliott Abrams

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 »

Egypt Ends the Year With Prison Sentences

by Elliott Abrams

On December 18, Egyptian security forces raided the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), a leading think tank.  The timing is extraordinary, because foreign diplomats and human rights activists were still in town after the December 16-17 meeting of the “Forum for the Future.”  The Forum was a G-8 Initiative established during the Bush years to promote closer cooperation between governments and civil society organizations in the Middle East, and thereby help promote human rights and democracy. The full story is told by Michele Dunne and Amy Hawthorne here. Read more »