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 "Russia"

Obama, the EU, Brexit, and Syria

by Elliott Abrams

President Obama has been in Europe this week. In the U.K., he told the Brits not to think of leaving the E.U. In Germany, he said that

So this is a defining moment. And what happens on this continent has consequences for people around the globe. If a unified, peaceful, liberal, pluralistic, free-market Europe begins to doubt itself, begins to question the progress that’s been made over the last several decades, then we can’t expect the progress that is just now taking hold in many places around the world will continue. Instead, we will be empowering those who argue that democracy can’t work, that intolerance and tribalism and organizing ourselves along ethnic lines, and authoritarianism and restrictions on the press — that those are the things that the challenges of today demand. Read more »

Lebanon’s “Worthless” Government and the Fight Over the Presidency

by Elliott Abrams

It is rare for the prime minister of any country to call its government “worthless,” but Prime Minister Tammam Salam of Lebanon just did. For 19 months Lebanon has been unable to elect a president, and its government is largely paralyzed. Even collecting the garbage has been a problem, leading to the creation of a protest group called “You Stink” whose name reflects what happens when refuse is left in the streets. Read more »

The S-300 Missile System Goes from Russia to Iran

by Elliott Abrams

Today, The Wall Street Journal reported that “the Kremlin has formally lifted its own ban on the delivery of S-300 missiles to Iran, setting the legal groundwork for the possible Russian sale of a powerful air-defense system to Tehran.” Initially they were to be delivered in 2007, but in 2010 Russia suspended the delivery. This was an important gain for the United States and for Israel: among other things, possession of the system would make an air strike at Iran’s nuclear weapons program far more difficult. 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 »

Electing the New UN Human Rights Council

by Elliott Abrams

Next week, on November 12, new members of the UN Human Rights Council will be elected. Among the candidates are nations that should never be allowed on the Council, and indeed whose presence will make the Council a mockery: Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, and Vietnam. Read more »

The Syria Deal

by Elliott Abrams

The text of the framework agreement between the United States and Russia leaves one with more questions than answers.

Until last week Syria denied having any chemical weapons, so its willingness to account for 100% of them is, to say the least, in doubt. Secretary Kerry himself said, when he first mentioned a possible deal, that it couldn’t work. And our partner in this endeavor, Russia, has itself failed to meet all its obligations with respect to chemical weapons. Worse, it remains the key conventional weapons supplier to Syria. Read more »

Life in Putinland

by Elliott Abrams

As we watch the Snowden (NSA leaker) episode unfold in Moscow, it is worth recalling the backdrop to Vladimir Putin’s defense of the rule of law in Russia.

Yesterday Putin told the media that Snowden was in transit and thus never admitted to Russia, and anyway Russia has no legal authority to extradite him. Speaking of Snowden and Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, Putin added that “Assange and Snowden consider themselves human rights activists and say they are fighting for the spread of information. Ask yourself this: should you hand these people over so they will be put in prison?” Read more »