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.

Gaza at Year End

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, December 23, 2014

At the end of last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas, all sorts of pledges were made about rebuilding Gaza. Hamas in particular claimed victory because it had broken the “siege of Gaza” and now all Gazans would benefit.

This was nonsense, and clearly so back then. It was obvious from previous experience that goods would not flow easily into Hamas-controlled territory, especially with Egypt smashing the network of smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Sinai. Read more »

What Did President Obama Trade for Alan Gross?

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, December 17, 2014

There is wonderful news this morning: that Alan Gross is finally free, out of a Cuban prison and back on American soil. For his family, this is the answer to prayers and the right outcome to a long struggle.

Gross was unjustly imprisoned by the Castro regime. The Obama administration finally gave in and traded three Cuban spies for Gross. Whether that was a smart move can be debated. Some would argue that as Gross’s health deteriorated, the Castro regime would release him rather than see him die in their prisons. But that’s playing with Gross’s life, and it’s pretty clear that his health has already deteriorated badly. Read more »

Predictions for 2015

by Elliott Abrams Monday, December 15, 2014

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” Yogi Berra once said. But it’s also necessary, and the Council on Foreign Relations tries it at the end of each year. The Center for Preventive Action at CFR surveys 2200 foreign policy officials, academics, and experts to see what they think will emerge as the toughest and most dangerous problems of the coming year. Read more »

The Scholars Who Ban Disagreement

by Elliott Abrams Sunday, December 14, 2014

Here’s a thought: when American scholars disagree with foreign officials, they should join together to try and ban those officials from entering the United States or any country in the European Union. Moreover, they should seek a freeze on any assets those officials may have–a bank account in the United States, for example. Read more »

What’s General Sisi So Scared Of?

by Elliott Abrams Saturday, December 13, 2014

This morning’s New York Times reveals the paranoia and vulnerability of the current Egyptian regime.

Michele Dunne, a former career diplomat who served in Cairo and also at the National Security Council (in the George W. Bush administration), is now a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment. She was refused entry into Egypt yesterday. Here is part of the Times story: Read more »

Why the News Stories About Sanctioning Israel?

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, December 9, 2014

There were several news stories over the last week suggesting that the Obama administration is considering some form of sanctions against Israel to punish it for “settlement construction.” One story, in the Washington Free Beacon, was typical in noting reports that the administration “is considering imposing sanctions on Israel for continuing construction on Jewish homes in Jerusalem.” Ha’aretz, the Israeli newspaper, headlined its story “U.S. mulls harsher action against settlement construction.” Read more »

Israel’s Election Timing

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, December 4, 2014

Israel will have an election next year on March 17. (St. Patrick’s Day is not widely celebrated there.)

Given the usual weeks needed to assemble a coalition, a new government will be formed only in April 2015, perhaps the end of April. It is then just a matter of weeks until the summer– and what follows the summer is the American election season. Of course, there is a tradition of late and even last minute American efforts at peacemaking: Clinton at Camp David, Bush at Annapolis. But both failed, and the clock ran out. Read more »

Alan Gross, Year Six

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Today Alan Gross will begin his sixth year in a Cuban prison. His “crime” was to deliver to the minuscule Cuban Jewish community some communications equipment supplied by the United States.

The Cuban government’s crime in keeping him imprisoned is vile, but unsurprising. The Castro regime remains a brutal and vicious dictatorship, and the way Gross is being treated is the way Cubans are normally treated if they oppose the regime. Read more »