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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In What Country is Shimon Peres Buried?

by Elliott Abrams

Last week President Obama spoke at Shimon Peres’ funeral and watched him buried–in some sort of No Man’s Land. Not in Israel, it seems.

The Obama White House actually issued a correction of its press release of Obama’s remarks, to strike the world “Israel.” You can see a screen shot of the corrected release here at the McClatchy news site. Read more »

The Syria Red Line, Three Years Later

by Elliott Abrams

It was three years ago, Labor Day weekend in 2013, that President Obama reversed himself and refused to enforce his “red line” against use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.

What’s the outcome of that decision? In July, 2016, former Obama administration official Derek Chollet wrote an article in Politico with this subtitle: “The offhand remark spurred a massive success in Syria. Why does the foreign policy establishment consider it a failure?” Read more »

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 »