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.

Egypt’s Referendum

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Egypt’s constitutional referendum this week should be no cause for celebration. It was not free and fair; the turnout did not suggest a consensus among Egyptians; and the future stability of Egypt is in doubt.

According to the Egyptian authorities, turnout was 38.6 percent,  and 98.1 percent of those Egyptians who voted said yes. The 98 percent figure should give anyone pause. If it is accurate, it’s obvious that everyone opposed to the new constitution stayed away–hardly a reliable basis for political stability and consensus. That more than 60 percent of Egyptians did not vote, despite a huge campaign by the government, is not reassuring either. Read more »

Vacant: The Post of Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom

by Elliott Abrams Friday, January 17, 2014

When the Obama administration began, the post of Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom was vacant. This post, at the State Department, was established by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 because Congress wanted State, and the entire Executive Branch, to pay more attention to the issue of religious freedom. (The act also established the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, of which I am a  member.) Read more »

Aiming for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Secretary of State Kerry continues his energetic efforts to get the Israelis and Palestinians to sign a comprehensive peace agreement. In a new Policy Innovation Memo for the Council, I argue that such an agreement is not possible right now and that there’s a better way forward. Read more »

Iran Mocks President Obama by Honoring Mughniyeh

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, January 14, 2014

President Obama has a full court press under way to stop Congress from passing new sanctions legislation that could–could, not will–impose sanctions on Iran one year from now if negotiations break down or Iran cheats. The idea seems to be that passage of the bill would signal mistrust of Iran, or would break the spell of sincerity being cast at the negotiating table. Read more »

Ariel Sharon, R.I.P.

by Elliott Abrams Monday, January 13, 2014

Former prime minister of Israel Ariel Sharon was buried today.

In Commentary Magazine, I offered my thoughts about the passing of a man I worked with closely during his years as prime minister, and some of the words President Bush had planned to say when attending Sharon’s funeral–in 2006. We had all expected that Sharon’s stroke in January 2006 would lead quickly to his death, and President Bush intended to attend the funeral. Read more »

Haunted by Syria?

by Elliott Abrams Monday, January 6, 2014

“When the history of the Obama administration is written, there will be a long and damaging chapter on its immense humanitarian and strategic failure in Syria. With three years of Obama yet to come, we have not even seen the full humanitarian disaster play out​—​nor have we yet confronted the dangers that are arising there from the vast jihadist presence.” Read more »

Iran Continues Subversion Despite the Nuclear Negotiations

by Elliott Abrams Friday, January 3, 2014

The Obama administration is fighting strongly to prevent Congress from adopting new sanctions legislation that would go into effect one year from now if, and only if, the nuclear negotiations fail or Iran cheats on its commitments. It seems that adopting such legislation would anger the Iranian regime, and would be contrary to the spirit of the talks. Or something like that. Read more »

Protests About Palestinians

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, December 31, 2013

There were protests this week about some construction notices issued by the Government of Israel. In tandem with the release of murderers from Israeli prisons–something the United States has indefensibly pushed–the Netanyahu government has sought to appease complaints within Israel by announcing new construction in settlements. Mind you, whether the construction will actually take place, or when, is unclear; the protests come nevertheless. Read more »