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Pressure Points

Abrams discusses U.S. foreign policy, focusing on the Middle East and democracy and human rights.

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Iran's Imperial Ambitions Challenge Middle East Borders

In May, 2017 Major General Qassem Soleimani, chief of the Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps’ foreign operations branch known as the Qods Force, visited the Iraq/Syria border in the company of an Iran-backed Shia militia. A spokesman for the militia, called the Popular Mobilization Forces, was quoted in Newsweek: Read More

January 24, 2018

Lebanon
Should the United States Be Supporting the Lebanese Army?

In testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee last November, I raised some doubts about U.S. military aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). My main concern was that the LAF "is increasingly intertwined with Hezbollah."

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January 23, 2018

Egypt
Egypt's Putinesque Election

With an election looming, the incumbent president arrests and disqualifies all possible opponents, one after another. Vladimir Putin? Yes, as we see in his treatment of Alexei Navalny. (The BBC tells part of that story here.) And these moves by Putin have been widely denounced and seen for exactly what they are: a destruction of freedom and democracy in Russia. 

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January 17, 2018

Israel
Is Israel's International Isolation Growing or Diminishing?

The lopsided December 2017 vote on Jerusalem in the UN General Assembly gave the impression that Israel's international isolation may be growing. In fact, the opposite is true--and UN votes are a misleading indicator. I tell the story in a new Council on Foreign Relations "Expert Brief," found here on the CFR web site. Especially in Asia, and even in the Arab world, Israel is forging new relationships. The Brief concludes this way:

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