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.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Uncategorized"

March 15: Five Years of Disaster in Syria

by Elliott Abrams

Today, the Ides of March, marks the fifth anniversary of the rebellion in Syria against the Assad regime.

These five years have brought an amazing humanitarian disaster: perhaps 350,000 dead, half the population driven from their homes, 4 million refugees. The  impact has been enormous: from destabilizing the politics and economics of Jordan and Lebanon, to increasing the Iranian role in the Arab Middle East greatly, to bringing Russia back into the region, to the destabilization of the European Union through massive refugee flows. Read more »

Iran’s Ruthless Persecution of the Baha’i Continues

by Elliott Abrams

The vicious persecution of Iran’s Baha’i community continued this past week. A court sentenced 24 Baha’i to prison sentences of up to 11 years. These are heavy sentences even by Iranian standards.

Their crime? Being Baha’i, and nothing more. The court made not even a pretense that they had committed acts of violence or otherwise broken the law. Their faith has been criminalized in the Islamic Republic. Read more »

“Every One Shall Sit in Safety Under His Own Vine and Fig Tree”

by Elliott Abrams

In August, 1790 George Washington visited Newport, Rhode Island. That visit occasioned a famous exchange of letters between Washington and the “Hebrew Congregations of Newport,” in which the Jews of Newport addressed their president–and he replied.

Several sentences from Washington’s letter came to mind today: Read more »

Reassuring, Not Challenging, Iran

by Elliott Abrams

Since the signing of the nuclear deal with Islamic Republic of Iran, that government has treated the Obama administration with contempt. U.S. officials might have hoped Iran’s conduct would improve, but it has worsened. Iran sent more Revolutionary Guard troops to fight in Syria, for example; it conducted two ballistic missile tests in violation of a Security Council resolution; leaders continue to chant “Death to America;” and it has imprisoned more Americans. Read more »

Saving Middle Eastern Christians

by Elliott Abrams

In remarks yesterday from Turkey, President Obama called a refugee policy that singled out Middle Eastern Christians for help “shameful.”

I don’t agree. Middle Eastern Christians (and other minorities, such as the Yezidis) face exceptional violence and discrimination, and deserve special treatment. That is not an argument for barring Muslim refugees, just a realistic assessment of the risks Christians face. I made the argument first in an article in The Weekly Standard a month ago entitled “Why Do We Not Save Christians?” Given the President’s comment that helping Christians would be “shameful,” I wrote in the Standard again today in an article called “Obama’s ‘Shameful’ Policy Toward Middle Eastern Christians.” Read more »

Leopoldo Lopez , John Kerry, and the Uses of English

by Elliott Abrams

In Venezuela, Leopoldo Lopez was sentenced this past week to 13 years and 9 months in prison. Lopez, a successful political leader who threatened the vicious and repressive Venezuelan regime, is Venezuela’s most famous (but not its only) political prisoner. This grotesque sentence follows a grotesque “trial” that violated every definition of due process and fair play. Read more »

Putin in Syria

by Elliott Abrams

Most Americans are aware of the aggressive Russian actions in recent years in Ukraine (seizing Crimea and participating in efforts to destabilize the rest of the country) and Eastern Europe. What is less well known is Putin’s effort in Syria.

A story by Michael Weiss in The Daily Beast tells us what is actually happening, as its title conveys: “Russia Puts Boots on the Ground in Syria.” Not only is Russia arming the Assad regime, but there is now evidence that Russians are on the ground with Assad’s forces actually operating the equipment. Weiss refers to “compelling evidence that Russians have embedded with the Syrian military.” Assad recently told Hezbollah’s TV station that “We have strong confidence in the Russians, as they have proven throughout this crisis, for four years, that they are sincere and transparent in their relationship with us,” and he appears to be right. Read more »