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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Why the News Stories About Sanctioning Israel?

by Elliott Abrams

There were several news stories over the last week suggesting that the Obama administration is considering some form of sanctions against Israel to punish it for “settlement construction.” One story, in the Washington Free Beacon, was typical in noting reports that the administration “is considering imposing sanctions on Israel for continuing construction on Jewish homes in Jerusalem.” Ha’aretz, the Israeli newspaper, headlined its story “U.S. mulls harsher action against settlement construction.” Read more »

Alan Gross, Year Six

by Elliott Abrams

Today Alan Gross will begin his sixth year in a Cuban prison. His “crime” was to deliver to the minuscule Cuban Jewish community some communications equipment supplied by the United States.

The Cuban government’s crime in keeping him imprisoned is vile, but unsurprising. The Castro regime remains a brutal and vicious dictatorship, and the way Gross is being treated is the way Cubans are normally treated if they oppose the regime. Read more »

Bombing Syria: Better Late Than Never, or Too Little Too Late?

by Elliott Abrams

Two years after he was first urged to take action in Syria by his own highest-ranking advisers (as well as critics such as this writer), President Obama has finally done so. The President has now undertaken training and equipping Syrian rebels with a more urgent program, and this week ordered the bombing of ISIS sites inside Syria as well as Iraq. Read more »

What is the Mission of the State Department?

by Elliott Abrams

What is the mission of the State Department, or more precisely what are its core missions?

Diplomacy? Avoiding war? Solidifying alliances? Explaining American policy?

Here’s a new one:

America’s faith communities, including American Muslims, are sources of strength for all of us. They’re an essential part of our national fabric, and we are committed to deepening our partnerships with them. We’re making these efforts to unite religious communities a core mission here at the State Department. Read more »

The Cease Fire That Broke Itself

by Elliott Abrams

The Spanish language uses reflexive verbs more than English, and one of my favorite has always been “se cayo.”  Roughly translated that means “it fell itself down” or “it broke itself.” The closest English might be the use of the passive voice, as in “the glass broke” or “the glass fell down” in place of “I broke the glass” or “I dropped the glass.” Read more »

Why Secretary Kerry Should Come Home

by Elliott Abrams

Secretary of State Kerry will go to Cairo on Tuesday, it seems, but it isn’t clear why. To push a Gaza cease-fire, the press reports, but his presence there will not help.

Why not? After all, he was successful just now in Kabul in helping negotiate a deal between the two presidential candidates. That showed energy, determination, and negotiating prowess. Read more »