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"

“We Stand with UNIFIL”

by Elliott Abrams

The recent violence between Hezbollah and Israel elicited a statement from the State Department yesterday. It’s a marvel of moral equivalency and confusion.

Here it is, in full:

The United States strongly condemns Hezbollah’s attack today from Lebanon on Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in blatant violation of the cease fire between Lebanon and Israel and UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks. We support Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense and continue to urge all parties to respect the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon. We urge all parties to refrain from any action that could escalate the situation. Read more »

The al-Saud Do It Again

by Elliott Abrams

In 2001 to 2003, after the 9/11 attacks, more and more analysts predicted the demise of the House of al-Saud. I recall classified intelligence analyses saying this, and a good example of the journalism of the time is “The Fall of the House of Saud” by Robert Baer (a former intelligence officer) in The Atlantic. The last line of that piece was “sometime soon, one way or another, the House of Saud is coming down.” Read more »

Bahrain: “Insulting a Public Institution” Means Prison

by Elliott Abrams

Americans who complain about the post office, or more seriously the police, or (God forbid) whoever happens to be president do not expect to be jailed, but Bahrainis do.

This week a leader of the (peaceful) opposition and founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab, was sentenced to six months for the crime of “insulting a public institution.” His criminal act was publishing a tweet last September that said, in full, this: Read more »

Gaza at Year End

by Elliott Abrams

At the end of last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas, all sorts of pledges were made about rebuilding Gaza. Hamas in particular claimed victory because it had broken the “siege of Gaza” and now all Gazans would benefit.

This was nonsense, and clearly so back then. It was obvious from previous experience that goods would not flow easily into Hamas-controlled territory, especially with Egypt smashing the network of smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Sinai. Read more »

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 »

Israel’s Election Timing

by Elliott Abrams

Israel will have an election next year on March 17. (St. Patrick’s Day is not widely celebrated there.)

Given the usual weeks needed to assemble a coalition, a new government will be formed only in April 2015, perhaps the end of April. It is then just a matter of weeks until the summer– and what follows the summer is the American election season. Of course, there is a tradition of late and even last minute American efforts at peacemaking: Clinton at Camp David, Bush at Annapolis. But both failed, and the clock ran out. 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 »

Business as Usual with UNRWA

by Elliott Abrams

Business as usual is nicely defined as “Persistence in the ordinary course of events despite difficulties, morality, and other hindrances.”

This month the Department of State published its “Framework for Cooperation Between the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the Government of the United States of America for 2015.”  Near the top it states that: Read more »