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 "Syria"

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 »

The Syria “Cease Fire”

by Elliott Abrams

The Syrian American Council last week distributed a memorandum, whose full text is below, about the new cease fire that has been negotiated between John Kerry, Sergei Lavrov, and other parties. The Council, speaking on behalf of a number of Syrian groups that oppose both jihadis and Assad, found the agreement wanting, and explained why. Read more »

Syria Delusions, Round Two

by Elliott Abrams

In 2012, the group that is supposed to be the senior national security team–the secretary of state (Hillary Clinton), secretary of defense (Leon Panetta), and CIA director (David Petraeus)–urged President Obama to support the Syrian rebels. He rejected their unanimous advice, instead maligning the rebels (“pharmacists”) while they were risking and often losing their lives fighting the Assad regime and ISIS. In 2014, Clinton said “The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad … the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.” Read more »

“Pantomime of Outrage:” Obama and Syria

by Elliott Abrams

I’ve called attention to the writings on Syria of Amb. Fred Hof in several blog posts (here’s one). Hof, after a career in the U.S. Army, became the State Department’s resident expert on Syria and the Obama administration’s “Special Adviser” on Syria policy. He left the administration and joined the Atlantic Council, where he continues to write about  Syria. Read more »

Iran’s War in Syria

by Elliott Abrams

The war in Syria is becoming increasingly an Iranian war rather than a civil war.

Consider this new report by Now Lebanon, entitled “Syria Alawites reportedly clash with regime, Iran troops.” Two facts are striking. First, the Alawite regime of Bashar al-Assad is having enormous trouble recruiting Alawite youths to join the military. It has long been said that the Alawite community is his base and will fight for him, if only out of fear that if the regime falls they will pay the price when Sunnis attack Alawites. But more and more Alawites, it seems, do not wish to risk their lives for Assad. This should not be quite so surprising, because only the Alawite upper classes benefitted financially from the regime (and some became millionaires and even billionaires), while many Alawites remained in poverty. Read more »

Obama on Iran and Syria: See No Evil

by Elliott Abrams

The slaughter in Syria and the awful human rights violations in Iran cannot be denied by the Obama administration, but they sure can be downplayed and ignored.

On the Iran point, consider the release yesterday, four months late, of the State Department’s annual human rights reports. The reports were presented by Secretary of State Kerry and Assistant Secretary for human rights Tom Malinowski.  The Iran report is tough. Here’s an excerpt: Read more »