Elliott Abrams

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Disambiguation: Not to be confused with the meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

Elliot Abrams is a former head of the Middle East Desk at the National Security Council (2002-5).

As reported in the Christian Science Monitor:

In 1991, Abrams pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress about the Iran-Contra affair. President George H. W. Bush pardoned him in 1992.[1]

He was appointed on February 2, 2005, as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy.[2] Prior to that he was a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute from 1990 to the 1996 before becoming president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which "affirms the political relevance of the great Western ethical imperatives." Abrams also served as chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. In 1980, he married Rachel Decter, daughter of neocon veterans Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter.[3]

Contents

Education

  • Harvard University: B.A., 1969
  • London School of Economics: M.Sc., 1970
  • Harvard Law School: J.D., 1973

Congress

According to his White House biography, Abrams began his service in the U.S. Government in the 1970s as a Special Counsel to the neocon opponent of detente, Senator Henry Jackson, and as Special Counsel and then Chief of Staff to another neocon hawk, Senator Daniel P. Moynihan.

Reagan Administration

During the Ronald Reagan Administration, Abrams served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, and then as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.[4]

George H.W. Bush Administration

After Reagan left office in 1989, Abrams, like a number of other prominent neo-conservatives, was not invited to serve in the George H.W. Bush administration. Instead, he worked for a number of neocon think tanks and eventually became head of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) where he wrote widely on foreign-policy issues, including the Middle East, and the threats posed by U.S. secular society to Jewish identity. He also remained an integral part of the tight-knit neo-conservative foreign-policy community in Washington that revolved around one of his early mentors, Richard N. Perle and former UN Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

George W. Bush Administration

Abrams was first appointed to the National Security Council by George W. Bush. He served as Special Assistant to the Bush and Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs since December 2002. Prior to holding that position, he was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for "Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations". On February 2, 2005, he was appointed as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy. In this capacity, Abrams will assist Stephen J. Hadley "in work on the promotion of democracy and human rights, and will provide oversight" to the National Security Council's directorate of Democracy, Human Rights, and International Organization Affairs and its directorate of Near East and North African Affairs. Abrams will work with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Hadley, and "will maintain his involvement in Israeli/Palestinian affairs," the White House said. [2]

Controversy

PNAC

Abrams, considered to be a "neo-con", is a signatory of the January 26, 1998, Project for the New American Century (PNAC Letter) sent to President William Jefferson Clinton.[5]

Iran-Contra Scandal

Abrams was heavily involved in the Iran-Contra scandal. In 1991, Abrams was indicted by the Iran-Contra special prosecutor for giving false testimony before Congress in 1987 about his role in illicitly raising money for the Nicaraguan Contras. He pleaded guilty to two lesser offenses of withholding information to Congress in order to avoid a trial and a possible jail term.

He was pardoned by President George H.W. Bush along with a number of other Iran-Contra defendants on Christmas night 1992.[6]

2002 Venezuelan coup

The Observer has alleged that Abrams had advance knowledge of, and "gave a nod to", the Venezuelan coup attempt of 2002 against Hugo Chávez.[7] Other sources have alleged that Abrams and Otto Reich played an active role in planning the coup.[8]

Lebanon War 2006

Abrams accompanied Condoleezza Rice as a primary advisor on her visits to the Middle East in late July 2006 in the course of discussions relating to the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.[9]

Blocking Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations

According to Jim Lobe in an article he wrote for Asia Times, Abrams has been working systematically to undermine any prospect for serious negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.[10] "The Bush administration has done nothing to press Israel to deliver on its commitments, beyond Washington's empty rhetoric about a two-state 'political horizon'," Henry Siegman, the long-time director of the U.S./Middle East Project at the influential Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in the International Herald Tribune in February 2007. "Every time there emerged the slightest hint that the United States may finally engage seriously in a political process, Elliott Abrams would meet secretly with Olmert's envoys in Europe or elsewhere to reassure them that there exists no such danger," he complained.[11]

Alleged support for attacking Hamas

According to an article written by Mark Perry and Alastair Crooke at www.conflictforum.com and reprinted in Asia Times,[12] since at least January 2006, the United States has supplied guns, ammunition and training to Palestinian Fatah groups, allegedly to overthrow the democratically-elected Hamas government in the Palestinian territories. Under the direction of Elliott Abrams, the U.S. supply of rifles and ammunition has increased, and a large number of Fatah men have been trained at two West Bank camps, allegedly to attack Hamas supporters in the streets. The Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz reports that the U.S. has designated US$86.4 million for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' security detail.

The Abrams program was initially conceived in February of 2006 by a group of White House officials who wanted to shape a coherent and tough response to the Hamas electoral victory of January. These officials, we are told, were led by Abrams, but included national security advisors working in the Office of the Vice President, including prominent neo-conservatives David Wurmser and John Hannah. The policy was approved by Condoleezza Rice. The President then, we are told, signed off on the program in a CIA “finding” and designated that its implementation be put under the control of Langley.

However, in the face of CIA and Pentagon doubts about the program, it was subsequently handed over to the State Department.

Since at least August, Rice, Abrams and U.S. envoy David Welch have been its primary advocates and the program has been subsumed as a “part of the State Department’s Middle East initiative.”[13]

Quotes

On John Lennon's Death

I'm sorry, but John Lennon was not that important a figure in our times. Why is his death getting more attention than Elvis Presley's? Because Lennon is perceived as a left-wing figure politically, anti-establishment, a man of social conscience with concern for the poor. And, therefore, he is being made into a great figure. Too much has been made of his life. It does not deserve a full day's television and radio coverage. I'm sick of it.[14]

Affiliations

Published Works

  • Democracy How Direct?: Views from the Founding Era and the Polling Era 2002 ISBN 0742523187
  • The Influence of Faith 2001 ISBN 0742507629
  • International Religious Freedom (2001): Annual Report: Submitted by the U.S. Department of State editor 2001 ISBN 0756713382
  • Secularism, Spirituality, and the Future of American Jewry 1999 ISBN 0896331903
  • Close Calls: Intervention, Terrorism, Missile Defense, and 'Just War' Today 1998 ISBN 0896331873
  • Undue Process A Story of How Political Differences are Turned into Crimes 1998 ISBN 0029001676
  • Honor Among Nations: Intangible Interests and Foreign Policy 1998 ISBN 0896331881
  • Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America 1997 ISBN 0684825112
  • Security and Sacrifice: Isolation, Intervention, and American Foreign Policy 1995 ISBN 1558130497
  • Shield and Sword 1995 ISBN 002900165X

Resources and articles

Related

External articles

References

  1. Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/neocon/index.html Elliott Abrams], Last Updated June 2005, accessed 11 March 2009
  2. Announced by the The Whitehouse Personnel Announcement 2 February 2005, retrieved from the Web Archive of 6 October 2005 on 10 march 2009
  3. Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/neocon/index.html Elliott Abrams], Last Updated June 2005, accessed 11 March 2009
  4. White House News Releases, 28 June 2001
  5. Channel 4 News PNAC Letter
  6. Lawrence E. Walsh, United States v. Elliott Abrams, Chapter 25 from Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Affairs, August 4, 1993.
  7. Ed Vulliamy, Venezuela coup linked to Bush team, The Observer, 21 April 2002.
  8. Philip Stinard, Mastermind of the April 2002 coup d'etat, VHeadline.com: Venezuela's Electronic News, 24 July 2004
  9. [1] New York times, accessed 11 march 2009
  10. Jim Lobe, "Rice faces formidable White House foe," Asia Times, February 23, 2007
  11. Jim Lobe, "Rice faces formidable White House foe," Asia Times, February 23, 2007
  12. Mark Perry and Alastair Crooke, "No-goodniks and the Palestinian shootout," Asia Times, January 9, 2007. Originally appeared on www.conflictsforum.org, under the title "Elliot Abrams' uncivil war," Accessed June 30, 2007.
  13. Mark Perry and Alastair Crooke, "No-goodniks and the Palestinian shootout," Asia Times, January 9, 2007. Originally appeared on www.conflictsforum.org, under the title "Elliot Abrams' uncivil war," Accessed June 30, 2007.
  14. Sidney Blumenthal, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment: From Conservative Ideology to Political Power, pp. 161-162.
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