Middle East Update with Elliott Abrams – Wednesday, April 17th

TCG Live Event, Middle East Briefing Elliott Abrams

Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and former adviser to two Presidents, will join The Common Good as part of our Middle East Series, for a luncheon briefing on security concerns in the region, the Arab “Autumn,” and updates on Syria, Israel, Egypt and Pakistan.

Wednesday, April 17th

$75 Sponsor, $100 Non-Sponsor GuestsRSVP:


Elliott Abrams

Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern StudiesElliott AbramsElliott Abrams is senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, D.C. He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser in the administration of President George W. Bush, where he supervised U.S. policy in the Middle East for the White House.

Mr. Abrams was president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., from 1996 until joining the White House staff. He was a member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom from 1999 to 2001 and chairman of the commission in the latter year, and in 2012 was reappointed to membership for another term. Mr. Abrams is also a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, which directs the activities of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He teaches U.S. foreign policy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Mr. Abrams joined the Bush administration in June 2001 as special assistant to the president and senior director of the NSC for democracy, human rights, and international organizations. From December 2002 to February 2005, he served as special assistant to the president and senior director of the National Security Council for Near East and North African affairs. He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy from February 2005 to January 2009, and in that capacity supervised both the Near East and North African Affairs and the democracy, human rights, and international organizations directorates of the NSC.

He is the author of four books, Undue Process (1993), Security and Sacrifice(1995), Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America (1997), and the recently released Tested by Zion: the Bush Administration and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2013); and the editor of three more, Close Calls: Intervention, Terrorism, Missile Defense and “Just War” Today; Honor Among Nations: Intangible Interests and Foreign Policy; and The Influence of Faith: Religion and American Foreign Policy.



Demonstrations in Tahrir Square: Two Years Later, What Has Changed?

Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations (February 26, 2013)In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, Elliott Abrams argues that the timing, conditionality and composition of U.S. aid to Egypt should be re-examined in light of governance issues that have stalled its progress toward democracy.

Mr. Obama Goes to Israel

Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times OP-ED Columist, March 12, 2013In case you haven’t heard, President Obama leaves for Israel next week. It is possible, though, that you haven’t heard because it is hard for me to recall a less-anticipated trip to Israel by an American president. But there is a message in that empty bottle: Little is expected from this trip — not only because little is possible, but because, from a narrow U.S. point of view, little is necessary. Quietly, with nobody announcing it, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has shifted from a necessity to a hobby for American diplomats. Like any hobby — building model airplanes or knitting sweaters — some days you work on it, some days you don’t. It depends on your mood, but it doesn’t usually matter when that sweater gets finished. Obama worked on this hobby early in his first term. He got stuck as both parties rebuffed him, and, therefore, he adopted, quite rationally in my view, an attitude of benign neglect. It was barely noticed.

Investment Grade Prospects Fading for Turkey?

By Yeliz Candemir, Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2013Back in November, it seemed like only a matter of time.
Turkish assets were leaping to record highs after Fitch Ratings awarded Turkey its first investment grade credit rating for nearly two decades. With Turkey’s economy rebalancing more rapidly than expected, market analysts confidently predicted Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service would also upgrade Turkey in 2013, a move that promised to send waves of fresh foreign investment to the Turkish economy.
But in recent weeks, confidence over fresh ratings upgrades has been replaced by uncertainty.

Egypt’s Islamists spar as elections loom

Alaa Bayoumi, March 11th, 2013The growing public split between the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis has grabbed the headlines in Egypt over the past few weeks as the Islamist factions jockey for power ahead of parliamentary elections.

Syria opposition seeks road to peace through Moscow

March 11th, 2013A top Syrian opposition official met Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday in a bid to reverse Moscow’s refusal to back calls on President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
Haytham Manna of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change—Syria’s second-largest anti-Assad group—said he thought the road to peace in Syria ran through Moscow

Pakistan, Iran launch controversial gas pipeline project

By Alex Rodriguez, LA Times, March 11, 2013Work formally began Monday on a controversial pipeline that would feed energy-starved Pakistan natural gas from Iran, a project that has drawn stern warnings from the U.S. of possible sanctions against Islamabad if the South Asian nation doesn’t reverse course.

President Asif Ali Zardari led a 300-member delegation from Islamabad to Iran, where officials from both countries attended a ceremony inaugurating the project. The 1,244-mile pipeline would each day transport more than 750 million cubic feet of natural gas to Pakistan from Iran’s South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf.

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