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"

The United Nations General Assembly, the Golan, and Theater of the Absurd

by Elliott Abrams

This past week the United Nations General Assembly commemorated once again the “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” and took the occasion to pass six anti-Israel resolutions.

Ranging from the despicable to the absurd, these resolutions of course have nothing to do with reality in the Middle East, nor do they bring peace one minute closer. Let’s take a look at one–the resolution entitled “The Syrian Golan.” Read more »

Kerry Drums Up Business for Iran While Treasury Warns Against It

by Elliott Abrams

On October 31, Secretary of State Kerry continued his remarkable campaign to drum up business for Iran. Speaking at Chatham House in London, here is part of what he said:

Iran deserves the credit of having met its part of the bargain, and it’s important for us and the rest of the world to meet ours, to make sure that the lifted sanctions are in fact not still impeding the ability to be able to do business, and to grant that Iran gets the benefit of the bargain that they made. And that is just plain, simple, good faith in international relations Read more »

What Are Israelis and Palestinians Thinking?

by Elliott Abrams

What are Israelis and Palestinians thinking about their own situations, about each other, and about peace? Two new October polls give us additional insight.

Tel Aviv University has just put out its “Peace Index.” There we learn that Israeli Jews favor renewing peace negotiations with the Palestinians (66% to 31%) but don’t believe anything will come of them. Twenty-five percent believe the negotiations will lead to peace “in the coming years,” and 71% do not. Read more »

Assad Bows to Iran, Even in Clothing

by Elliott Abrams

Check out these two photos of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, celebrating the Eid al-Adha in 2012 and 2016. The men to his left and right are the same people, dressed the same way. But Assad is now affecting Iranian style: ties are for the hated Western imperialists and colonialists, and Assad here renouncing them here just as Iranian officials always do. Read more »

Reading The Jerusalem Post in Riyadh

by Elliott Abrams

It is easy to exaggerate the opening that is occurring between Israel and several Gulf states, but it’s easy to underestimate it too.  The most recent change: Saudi Arabia has stopped blocking access to Israeli newspapers on line.

As Al Akhbar in Beirut reported in a story entitled “Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban on Israeli Press.” Here’s a part of the story: Read more »

A Candid Speech from President Abbas

by Elliott Abrams

There have been many attacks on aspects of Palestinian President Abbas’s speech to the UN General Assembly last week, but it had one saving grace: candor.

Let’s take just two examples. First, Mr. Abbas said this about the Temple Mount: Israel must cease its aggression and provocations against the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque,” and Israel “continues to commit aggressions and provocations against our Christian and Muslim holy sites, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque. The continuation of the Israeli aggressions against our Muslim and Christian holy sites is playing with fire.” Read more »

The Crime of Writing to The New York Times

by Elliott Abrams

You might think that publishing a letter to the editor in The New York Times cannot possibly be a crime. But you probably don’t live in Bahrain.

Nabeel Rajab has been in prison since June in Bahrain, facing a sentence of up to 15 years for things he has written criticizing that government’s repressive policies. From prison, he sent a letter to the Times which was published on September 4th and can be found here. Read more »

The United States Bars Christian, Not Muslim, Refugees From Syria

by Elliott Abrams

The title of this blog post–The United States Bars Christian, Not Muslim, Refugees From Syria–will strike many readers as ridiculous.

But the numbers tell a different story: The United States has accepted 10,801 Syrian refugees, of whom 56 are Christian. Not 56 percent; 56 total, out of 10,801. That is to say, one half of one percent. The BBC says that ten percent of all Syrians are Christian, which would mean 2.2 million Christians. It is quite obvious, and President Obama and Secretary Kerry have acknowledged it, that Middle Eastern Christians are an especially persecuted group. Read more »