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.

Baha’i Leaders in Iran Mark Six Years in Prison

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Today, May 14, marks six years in prison for the seven leaders of the Baha’i community in Iran. Their biographies can be found here, and they are citizens whose only crime is their religion.

They were arrested in 2008 and in 2010 were sentenced to terms of 20 years in prison for non-existent crimes against the state, nonsense like spreading “corruption” and engaging in espionage. Read more »

Will the Army Save Egypt’s Economy?

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The success of the most likely winner of the Egyptian presidential election, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, will in the medium- and long- run depend on his ability to revive the Egyptian economy. It’s already clear that the Army wishes to crush all internal opposition–not just from the Muslim Brotherhood, but from the liberal, secular, moderate, and democratic forces within the society. So the Army does not plan to win popularity through respecting citizens’ rights and their dignity. Does it plan to win popularity through rapid economic growth? Read more »

Still the Palestinian Authority Glorifies Terror

by Elliott Abrams Monday, May 5, 2014

It is Israel’s Memorial Day today, a good context in which to note that still now–in 2014, and after months of negotiations led by Secretary of State John Kerry–the Palestinian Authority refuses to stop glorifying terror.

Palestine Media Watch reports on the latest of the endless series of PA actions that do this. On August 9, 2001, at about 2 pm, a suicide bomber named Izz Al-Din Al-Masri blew himself up in the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, killing 15 people–7 of them children, as might have been predicted in a pizza parlor–and wounding 130. It’s hard to think of a better definition of a merciless terror attack than this. Al-Masri’s remains were transferred from Israel to the PA last week, so what did the PA do?  Read more »

Aid to the Palestinians: Why Rand Paul is Wrong

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, May 1, 2014

Senator Rand Paul has tried to attain some pro-Israel credentials by introducing S. 2265, the “Stand With Israel Act of 2014.” The bill would cut off every cent of aid to the Palestinian Authority unless various conditions were met. As Paul put it, “Today, I introduced legislation to make all future aid to the Palestinian government conditional upon the new unity government putting itself on the record recognizing the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state and agreeing to a lasting peace.” The bill covers “the Palestinian Authority, or any affiliated governing entity or leadership organization.” Read more »

Algeria’s Sad Inauguration

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Abdelaziz Bouteflika was sworn in yesterday for his fourth term as President of Algeria, but there was no joy in Algiers or anywhere else in the country.

Reuters reported that Bouteflika took the oath “in a weak, often wavering voice” and from a wheelchair, and this was his first public speech in two years–all of this from the effects of a stroke. Read more »

Will Kerry Continue the Jerusalem-Ramallah Shuttle If Hamas and Fatah Unite?

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Secretary of State Kerry has put enormous effort into the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Most recently, there has been talk of a three-way deal wherein Israel releases 426 prisoners (some of them murderers, and some of them citizens of Israel), the United States releases the spy Jonathan Pollard, and the PLO agrees to stay at the negotiating table for a year. Read more »

Bouteflika’s Last Election

by Elliott Abrams Friday, April 18, 2014

Yesterday was election day in Algeria, and President Bouteflika of course won re-election. Unfortunately, it is almost unheard of for an Arab president to run and be defeated– one of the reasons the “Arab Spring” uprisings took place. Opponents of the regime are alleging irregularities in the election, which is of course accurate: it was anything but a level playing field. In any free society, with open multi-party political competition, a very sick 77-year-old would not be running for and winning re-election. Read more »