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"

“Atrocity Prevention is a Core National Security Interest for the United States”

by Elliott Abrams

Over in Geneva, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall gave a speech yesterday to the United Nations Human Rights Council. It’s available at the State Department web site under the title noted above.  Here is an excerpt. Read more »

Haunted by Syria?

by Elliott Abrams

“When the history of the Obama administration is written, there will be a long and damaging chapter on its immense humanitarian and strategic failure in Syria. With three years of Obama yet to come, we have not even seen the full humanitarian disaster play out​—​nor have we yet confronted the dangers that are arising there from the vast jihadist presence.” Read more »

Palestinians From Syria: The Worst Treatment of All

by Elliott Abrams

There are over 500,000 Palestinian “refugees” in Syria, as counted by the UN agency handling Palestinian “refugees,” the UN Relief and Works Agency or UNRWA. The quotation marks are especially apt in this case, for the great majority of the “refugees” were born in Syria and have lived there all their lives. Only under UNRWA’s definitions of “refugee” (Palestinians who left what is now Israel in 1948, and all of their descendants until the end of time) would they qualify. 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 »

Syria: The (Non-Chemical) Killing Goes On

by Elliott Abrams

The emphasis on the need to stop the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons is understandable. We all want to maintain the international taboo on their use.

But people killed by the Assad regime are no less dead if more traditional means of attack are used. Yesterday, Assad’s forces bombed a field hospital in the province of Aleppo. The vast majority of the 100,000 (or many more) Syrians killed have been killed by bullets and artillery. A “solution” that forces Assad to give up using chemical weapons but does not address the regime’s campaign against civilians–which has also left 2 million Syrians as refugees and millions more as displaced persons–is no solution at all. As Fred Hof (formerly the administration’s chief expert on Syria) wrote today, Read more »

Degrading Bashar’s Air Power is Possible

by Elliott Abrams

Is there anything the United States can do to slow or stop the recent advances being made by Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria, who are getting valuable help from Iranian and Hezbollah troops?

Unfortunately, the message from the Obama administration and from the Pentagon is “no.” From those sources we hear that the only military options are hopelessly expensive and dangerous. CJCS chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey once said 700 sorties would be needed before we even start, to suppress Syrian air defenses, and billions of dollars would be spent. Sen. John McCain has rightly excoriated Gen. Dempsey and the others who are taking this misleading line. Read more »

Syria and the 700 Sorties

by Elliott Abrams

Yesterday the columnist Jeffrey Goldberg reported that Secretary of State Kerry argued, inside the Obama administration, for air strikes on Syrian regime air bases, especially those from which chemical weapons attacks were launched. Here is Goldberg’s account of a Principals’ Meeting last week, after Kerry made his pitch: Read more »