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 "Saudi Arabia"

Israel and Saudi Arabia: Good Neighbor Policy

by Elliott Abrams

The recent announcement that Egypt was returning control over Tiran and Sanafir islands in the Gulf of Aqaba to Saudi Arabia has gotten some attention, but deserves more. It is a moment that reveals much about current Middle Eastern politics.

In 1950 the Saudis transferred control, but in their view never sovereignty, over the islands to Egypt to protect them from what it claimed was the threat of an Israeli takeover. During a visit to Egypt by King Salman this past week, control was transferred back. (There is a reasonably fierce debate in Egypt over whether in fact President Sisi has unconstitutionally abandoned sovereign territory– or anyway as fierce as debates can be given repression and censorship in Egypt.) Read more »

The President Gratuitously Damages American Alliances

by Elliott Abrams

American alliances are not in good shape these days, with many countries worrying that President Obama does not value the alliances, their own role in those alliances, or the commitments our alliances imply to the safety of states that are to some degree dependent on the United States. Read more »

World’s Largest Payoff

by Elliott Abrams

World’s largest payoff? Not really.

In Malaysia, hundreds of millions of dollars turned up in the personal bank accounts of prime minister Najib Razak. The facts appeared to suggest that the money had been siphoned off from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state investment fund. Not coincidentally, the prime minister was also finance minister and the chief advisor to 1MDB. The affair has rocked Malaysian politics. 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 »

Yemen and Gaza: Why the Different Reactions?

by Elliott Abrams

The Washington Post reported this today:

An airstrike killed dozens of people Monday at a camp for displaced people in northern Yemen, in what appeared to be the single deadliest attack since a Saudi ­Arabia-led coalition sent warplanes to target Shiite insurgents advancing across the country. Read more »