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 "Middle East"

IMF Realism About the West Bank and Gaza

by Elliott Abrams

In the aftermath of the last round of conflict between Israel and Hamas, in the summer of 2014, many donors made big pledges of aid for Gaza at a special conference in Cairo. And many haven’t paid up.

This is one conclusion that emerges in the newest IMF report on the Palestinian economy, dated May 18, 2015. It is a report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, the donor group that meets to coordinate aid. In the report the IMF decries “shortfalls in donor aid relative to Cairo pledges.” The IMF notes that “the reconstruction process in Gaza is moving far more slowly than expected,” and one big reason is “unfilled donor pledges.” Because the United States has met its pledges, it seems likely that the unmet pledges are from Arab donors—or to be more precise, from Arab non-donors. Read more »

Guess Who’s Coming to (the GCC) Dinner?

by Elliott Abrams

On May 13 and 14, President Obama will be hosting a summit meeting with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation. The members nations are Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar.

The problem is, it may not exactly be a “summit” meeting at all. Sultan Qaboos of Oman has been ill, as is Sheik Khalifa, president of the UAE. Two down. I imagine the king of Bahrain, King Hamad, will attend, and so will the young Emir of Qatar, Sheik Tamim. Read more »

Senegal vs. Iran?

by Elliott Abrams

One of the oddest news stories of the week reported that:

Senegal will send 2,100 troops to Saudi Arabia as part of an international coalition combating Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, the West African nation’s foreign minister said on Monday….”The international coalition is aiming to protect and secure the holy sites of Islam, Medina and Mecca,” Senegalese Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye told parliament. “The president…has decided to respond favourably to this request by deploying a contingent of 2,100 men in the holy land of Saudi Arabia,” he said. Read more »

The Saudis Make Some Changes

by Elliott Abrams

The Saudi Royal court announced several important decisions yesterday. The most significant are the retirement of Saud Al-Faisal as foreign minister and his replacement by Adel Al-Jubeir, who has been Saudi ambassador to the United States, and most important of all a change in the line of succession. Crown Prince Muqrin is out, deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (MbN) is now first in line for the throne, and the new deputy crown prince is the king’s son Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). Read more »

Is There Such a Thing as “Winning” Against ISIS?

by Elliott Abrams

In an interesting article at the Foreign Policy website and entitled “The World War Inside Islam,” James Traub asks whether there’s a central American role in the struggle against violent Islamist extremism. His answer is delivered in the subtitle: “Why the United States can do very little to alter the course of events in the Middle East right now.” Read more »

Schabas Resigns….A Bit Late

by Elliott Abrams

How does this seem, for basic fairness:

A judge presides over a trial. The defendant complains about his bias, but the judge does not recuse himself. He runs the trial, and at its end he writes his verdict and decides on the sentence. Then, because he does not want his own biases to become a matter of controversy again, he decides to step aside at the last minute so that another judge can read out what he has written. Same trial, same verdict, same sentence, different voice. Read more »