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.

Syria Delusions, Round Two

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, February 24, 2016

In 2012, the group that is supposed to be the senior national security team–the secretary of state (Hillary Clinton), secretary of defense (Leon Panetta), and CIA director (David Petraeus)–urged President Obama to support the Syrian rebels. He rejected their unanimous advice, instead maligning the rebels (“pharmacists”) while they were risking and often losing their lives fighting the Assad regime and ISIS. In 2014, Clinton said “The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad … the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.” Read more »

The Disgraceful Obama Trip to Cuba

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, February 18, 2016

Eight months after the U.S. Embassy opened in Cuba, what is the effect of this much-celebrated opening of diplomatic relations? Who has benefitted?

The Washington Post noted today that “there has been little movement on political freedoms…and the number of dissidents in detention has steadily increased in recent months.” In fact there has been no progress on freedom whatsoever. So far, the real effect of the Obama “opening” is an increase in the flow of funds to the Castro regime through tourism and business with state-owned companies. Read more »

Kerry’s Fantasy Egypt

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Under Secretary of State for “Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights,”  Sarah Sewall, is today in Egypt. She might as well have stayed home.

Because today, Secretary of State Kerry did a joint press appearance with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and showed that he has zero interest in “Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights” in Egypt. Read more »

Iran’s Ruthless Persecution of the Baha’i Continues

by Elliott Abrams Monday, February 8, 2016

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 »

Castro Mocks the American Outreach

by Elliott Abrams Friday, February 5, 2016

The efforts of the Obama administration to ‘normalize’ relations with Cuba have been mocked this past week.

The U.S. Southern Command holds an annual regional security conference. For decades one of its main purposes was to protect the region against Cuba, but this time the Obama administration made sure that Cuba was invited to attend. The conference was held at the very end of January. Read more »

The “Stabbing Intifada” Gets Worse (But Not on CBS)

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, February 4, 2016

The stabbing attacks that have plagued Israel in the last several months have generally been “lone wolf” attacks. That is, as bad as the attacks were, they have been actions by single individuals. Yesterday that situation changed.

In Jerusalem, at the Damascus Gate to the Old City, three Palestinians attacked when they were approached by border police, killing an 18 year old border policewoman and wounding another. The three terrorists were armed not only with knives, but also with automatic weapons and explosive devices. It seems obvious they were planning a larger event, with many fatalities. So this was no lone wolf attack, but a planned conspiracy to inflict mass casualties. Read more »

World’s Largest Payoff

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, January 27, 2016

World’s largest payoff? Not really.

In Malaysia, hundreds of millions of dollars turned up in the personal bank accounts of prime minister Najib Razak. The facts appeared to suggest that the money had been siphoned off from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state investment fund. Not coincidentally, the prime minister was also finance minister and the chief advisor to 1MDB. The affair has rocked Malaysian politics. Read more »