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 "Jordan"

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 »

Our New Ally Iran?

by Elliott Abrams

Will the crisis in Iraq lead to a rapprochement with Iran? Will the effort to strike a nuclear deal expand into a broader agreement?

That is the nightmare of many of our allies in the Middle East, including the Gulf Arab states, Jordan, and Israel. My colleague Max Boot in his blog today explains why it is a dangerous idea to think that we have common interests with the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.  At the Commentary Magazine web site, Max has written “Getting Fooled by Iran in Iraq.” Here is an excerpt: Read more »

GCC Nations: Protections and Risks

by Elliott Abrams

With the exception of Yemen, the member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council range from prosperous to extremely rich—but they are also vulnerable to security threats from terrorists and from Iran. The gathering in Syria of perhaps 25,000 jihadis, the Iranian nuclear weapons program, and Iranian subversion are the major perils they face, but the risks associated with such challenges are magnified when their major outside ally, the United States, appears determined to reduce its role in the region. Read more »

For the First Time, American Loan Guarantees for Jordan

by Elliott Abrams

Yesterday the United States announced that it would guarantee up to $1.25 billion in loans to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The announcement from the State Department said this:

The United States today re-affirmed its strong commitment to the people of Jordan by signing a sovereign loan guarantee agreement with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The United States’ guarantee makes it easier for the Government of Jordan to borrow money from international capital markets and provide critical services to its citizens as it enacts economic reforms while also hosting more than half a million refugees fleeing the violence inside Syria. The signing of this loan guarantee agreement fulfills the commitment made by President Obama in Amman, Jordan, March 22, 2013, when he announced his intention to work with Congress to provide loan guarantees to Jordan this year. This will be the first U.S. loan guarantee to the Government of Jordan. Pursuant to the loan guarantee agreement, the United States would guarantee repayment of principal and interest on the issuance of up to a $1.25 billion, seven-year Jordanian sovereign bond. Read more »

Jordan and Palestine

by Elliott Abrams
Jordan's King Hussein (R) and Crown Prince Hassan pose for photographers at Amman airport February 11, 1996. (Courtesy REUTERS). Jordan's King Hussein (R) and Crown Prince Hassan pose for photographers at Amman airport February 11, 1996. (Courtesy REUTERS).

The relationship between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the West Bank, which it ruled from 1948 to 1967, remains in question despite the late King Hussein’s renunciation of all claims to the West Bank in an interesting address to the Jordanian people in 1988.  Here are excerpts: Read more »

Do the Saudis Have a Brezhnev Doctrine?

by Elliott Abrams

Saudi Arabia has reacted to the Arab Spring by pledging $4 billion in aid to Egypt, and it is expected to help Tunisia as well. Has it become enamored of youthful protests for democracy? The fact that Saudi troops remain in Bahrain, helping crush the movement for greater democracy there, suggests something else is going on. And the invitation from the Gulf Cooperation Council or GCC to Morocco and Jordan to join the group points in the same direction.

My theory is this: for the Saudis, it’s fine if citizens of a fake republic like Tunisia or Egypt demand a real republic with real elections and democracy. But they draw the line at monarchies: kings have to stay in charge. So they lecture the kings of Morocco and Jordan to be careful about too many reforms (if the rumors are correct), and invite them to join the Club of Kings that is the GCC. Presumably financial benefits will follow, so long as the kings don’t play around with any experiments that might give Saudi subjects ideas of their own. And in Bahrain, they put down a revolt that might have brought constitutional monarchy—though admittedly that situation appears far more complex in the eyes of  Saudi royals, as the Bahrainis who would be empowered are Shia whose success might give Saudi Shia unacceptable ideas about their own fate.

Brezhnev explained himself in 1968 as follows in answering claims that after the “Prague Spring,” Czechoslovakia should be allowed to determine its own fate: “the implementation of such ‘self-­determination,’ in other words Czechoslovakia’s detachment from the socialist community, would have come into conflict with its own vital interests and would have been detrimental to the other socialist states.”

Read more »

Catching Up with the Middle East

by Elliott Abrams
People carry the body of a protester killed on Monday, February 14, 2011 in Bahrain.

People carry the body of a protester killed on Monday, February 14, 2011 in Bahrain. (Hamad I Mohammed/Courtesy Reuters)

The Middle East has for decades seemed to be in permanent stasis, with little political change despite the statistics showing very young and frustrated populations. It was a commonplace that no regime had been overthrown in decades except by force of American arms and aging rulers could expect to die safely in bed.

Those years are over. Some thoughts about aspects of the current situation follow. Read more »