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.

Nicaragua and the Russians–Again

by Elliott Abrams Monday, May 16, 2016

According to USAID, “with a per capita income of $1,239 in 2011, Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.” Moreover, “the average number of years of schooling in Nicaragua is 5.8, the second lowest in the sub-region” and in Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast region, “45 percent of school age boys and 40 percent of girls are not in school, and 25.6 percent of girls and 25.2 % of boys are illiterate.” Read more »

Obama, the EU, Brexit, and Syria

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, April 26, 2016

President Obama has been in Europe this week. In the U.K., he told the Brits not to think of leaving the E.U. In Germany, he said that

So this is a defining moment. And what happens on this continent has consequences for people around the globe. If a unified, peaceful, liberal, pluralistic, free-market Europe begins to doubt itself, begins to question the progress that’s been made over the last several decades, then we can’t expect the progress that is just now taking hold in many places around the world will continue. Instead, we will be empowering those who argue that democracy can’t work, that intolerance and tribalism and organizing ourselves along ethnic lines, and authoritarianism and restrictions on the press — that those are the things that the challenges of today demand. Read more »

Obama, Netanyahu, and Selective Outrage

by Elliott Abrams Saturday, April 23, 2016

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last year about the Iran nuclear deal was viewed by President Obama as an outrageous intervention in what should have been an Americans-only internal decision.

It was true, of course, that Obama did not have the votes in Congress for his deal, which is why he did not submit it as a treaty. And it was true, of course, that Israel’s fate, its security, perhaps its existence, was in its prime minister’s eyes at risk in the nuclear deal. Read more »

Biden’s Untimely Assault on Israel

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Yesterday, Israel was assaulted twice: once by terrorists, and once by the Vice President of the United States.

The physical attack was in Jerusalem, where a bomb injured 21 people in a bus, several of them seriously.

On the very same day, the VP addressed the group called J Street and shared with it not solidarity with Israelis under attack but–with remarkable timing–a rhetorical attack on the government of Israel. Read more »

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 »