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.

Senegal vs. Iran?

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, May 5, 2015

One of the oddest news stories of the week reported that:

Senegal will send 2,100 troops to Saudi Arabia as part of an international coalition combating Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, the West African nation’s foreign minister said on Monday….”The international coalition is aiming to protect and secure the holy sites of Islam, Medina and Mecca,” Senegalese Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye told parliament. “The president…has decided to respond favourably to this request by deploying a contingent of 2,100 men in the holy land of Saudi Arabia,” he said. Read more »

The Saudis Make Some Changes

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Saudi Royal court announced several important decisions yesterday. The most significant are the retirement of Saud Al-Faisal as foreign minister and his replacement by Adel Al-Jubeir, who has been Saudi ambassador to the United States, and most important of all a change in the line of succession. Crown Prince Muqrin is out, deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (MbN) is now first in line for the throne, and the new deputy crown prince is the king’s son Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). Read more »

Gov. Cuomo Visits Cuba, and What Could Be Wrong with That?

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, right, talks with Cuba's Josefina Vidal, director general of the U.S. division at Cuba's Foreign Ministry, left, and Gustavo Machin, Cuba's deputy chief of North American affairs, center, before a meeting with Cuba's Minister of Foreign Trade Rodrigo Malmierca at the Hotel Nacional in Havana, Cuba, Monday, April 20, 2015. (Ramon Espinosa/Courtesy: Reuters)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, right, talks with Cuba’s Josefina Vidal, director general of the U.S. division at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, left, and Gustavo Machin, Cuba’s deputy chief of North American affairs, center, before a meeting with Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade Rodrigo Malmierca at the Hotel Nacional in Havana, Cuba, Monday, April 20, 2015. (Ramon Espinosa/Courtesy: Reuters)

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Cuba and Terrorism

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, April 16, 2015

President Obama has moved to take Cuba off the “terrorism list.”  The administrations defends its move in a lengthy memorandum from the State Department to Congress, but the more they explain it the less defensible it seems.

The problem is that the memorandum defends not only the Obama decision, but the Castro regime.  With the help of an accounting by Capitol Hill Cubans and an article by James Kirchick in the Daily Beast, here are some things to keep in mind. Read more »

The S-300 Missile System Goes from Russia to Iran

by Elliott Abrams Monday, April 13, 2015

Today, The Wall Street Journal reported that “the Kremlin has formally lifted its own ban on the delivery of S-300 missiles to Iran, setting the legal groundwork for the possible Russian sale of a powerful air-defense system to Tehran.” Initially they were to be delivered in 2007, but in 2010 Russia suspended the delivery. This was an important gain for the United States and for Israel: among other things, possession of the system would make an air strike at Iran’s nuclear weapons program far more difficult. Read more »

Yemen and Gaza: Why the Different Reactions?

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Washington Post reported this today:

An airstrike killed dozens of people Monday at a camp for displaced people in northern Yemen, in what appeared to be the single deadliest attack since a Saudi ­Arabia-led coalition sent warplanes to target Shiite insurgents advancing across the country. Read more »