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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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Can Bahrain Be Saved?

Yesterday the government of Bahrain condemned a leading human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab, to five years in prison. His crime: tweeting. Read More

February 5, 2018

Iran
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:

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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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