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.

The President Ignores Human Rights in Iran–Again

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, March 20, 2014

Yesterday President Obama delivered his “Nowruz” message to Iran, on the occasion of that annual holiday. From the human rights perspective it is an appalling message. Ostensibly a message not just to Iran’s rulers but to its people, it lauds last year’s election of Rouhani as if that had been a democratic election and he the free choice of Iranians. The President makes one reference to the miserable human rights conditions in Iran, when he says “A comprehensive agreement on the nuclear issue—and an Iran that upholds universal rights, at home and abroad—would help move Iran along the new path that so many Iranians seek.” It isn’t even clear in this formulation –and may not be clear to Iranians– whether he is referring to universal rights related to nuclear energy or to human rights protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other documents. Once again, he refuses to use the term “human rights” when those are the precious rights Iranians seek, deserve, and are denied by the regime. Read more »

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

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, March 5, 2014

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 »

Ukraine and Iran

by Elliott Abrams Saturday, March 1, 2014

Today’s news from Ukraine is grim. It’s increasingly clear that Putin believes he has an opportunity to move in the Crimea, and perhaps to take eastern portions of Ukraine for Russia, while destabilizing the new government in Kiev. So far the American reaction has been pathetically weak: a few words from Kerry and Obama but no action. Not even diplomatic action like a UN Security Council session or a meeting of the NATO Council, or a Kerry visit to Kiev. Read more »

Huber Matos, R.I.P.

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, February 27, 2014
Photo: By Gabematos35 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Photo: By Gabematos35 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Huber Matos, a great hero of the struggle for freedom in Cuba died today at age 95.

Matos was a revolutionary comandante in the Cuban revolution, a leader of the struggle against the Batista dictatorship. He later broke with Fidel Castro when it became apparent that Castro was fighting for personal power and for a communist system, not for freedom. For this, Castro had him imprisoned for twenty years, from 1959 to 1979, and he described the maltreatment, brutality, and torture to which he was subjected in his memoir Como Llego La Noche (How The Night Came). Read more »

Algeria, Young and Old

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, February 27, 2014

The median age of the Algerian population is 27 years, and 46 percent of the population is under the age of 24. But its president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, is 76 years old, and is now set to take another five-year term that will have him in office at age 80. And Mr. Bouteflika is already suffering from poor health that has led him to spend months on end in France for medical treatment. Read more »