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.

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 »

President Sisi and the Status of Christians in Egypt

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, March 2, 2016

There are a lot of fans of Egypt’s President Sisi nowadays in Washington, who argue that he is fighting terrorism and deserves American support.

Those fans ought to be aware of the ongoing persecution of Christians, which Sisi could act strongly to prevent–but does not. A very good example is the case of four Christian teenagers who have just been convicted under Egypt’s “blasphemy” laws–and sentenced to five years in prison, the maximum penalty. Read more »

The Syria “Cease Fire”

by Elliott Abrams Monday, February 29, 2016

The Syrian American Council last week distributed a memorandum, whose full text is below, about the new cease fire that has been negotiated between John Kerry, Sergei Lavrov, and other parties. The Council, speaking on behalf of a number of Syrian groups that oppose both jihadis and Assad, found the agreement wanting, and explained why. Read more »

Abandoning Human Rights in Egypt Will Not Produce Stability

by Elliott Abrams Friday, February 26, 2016

In Congressional testimony yesterday, Secretary of State Kerry was challenged on administration efforts to abandon human rights in Egypt. As the law reads today, the administration must withhold a certain amount of U.S. aid to Egypt unless it can certify human rights progress, and even the withheld amount can be granted with a “national security waiver,” but the administration wants all connections between human rights and our aid program severed. Read more »

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 »