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.

Israel and Saudi Arabia: Good Neighbor Policy

by Elliott Abrams Friday, April 15, 2016

The recent announcement that Egypt was returning control over Tiran and Sanafir islands in the Gulf of Aqaba to Saudi Arabia has gotten some attention, but deserves more. It is a moment that reveals much about current Middle Eastern politics.

In 1950 the Saudis transferred control, but in their view never sovereignty, over the islands to Egypt to protect them from what it claimed was the threat of an Israeli takeover. During a visit to Egypt by King Salman this past week, control was transferred back. (There is a reasonably fierce debate in Egypt over whether in fact President Sisi has unconstitutionally abandoned sovereign territory– or anyway as fierce as debates can be given repression and censorship in Egypt.) Read more »

The Erdogan Visit to Washington

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, March 30, 2016

To welcome Turkey’s President Erdogan to Washington, a group of several dozen former officials, foreign policy analysts, and academics have written him an open letter. The letter can be found here, and signatories include two former U.S. ambassadors to Turkey and two former U.S. senators, in whose company I am happy to find myself. Read more »

Make Believe About Education in Cuba

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, March 24, 2016

“Cuba has an extraordinary resource – a system of education which values every boy and every girl.”

This is a remarkable statement to make about a communist dictatorship. It is disturbing and disappointing to find it coming from a high official of the Obama administration–Valerie Jarrett. Read more »

Senator Menendez Speaks About the Obama Visit to Cuba

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, March 17, 2016

On Thursday, Sen. Robert Menendez (D, NJ) delivered a long and heartfelt statement on the floor of the United States Senate about Pres. Obama’s  forthcoming visit to Cuba. The entire text is copied below because the remarks are worthy of note. Sen. Menendez believes, as I do, that this visit will weaken the chances for freedom in Cuba because it is organized around embracing the current regime rather than pressuring it for change. Read more »

March 15: Five Years of Disaster in Syria

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, March 15, 2016

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 »

The President Gratuitously Damages American Alliances

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, March 10, 2016

American alliances are not in good shape these days, with many countries worrying that President Obama does not value the alliances, their own role in those alliances, or the commitments our alliances imply to the safety of states that are to some degree dependent on the United States. Read more »