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Events

Crossing the Red Line: The Crisis in Syria and the US Response

3rd September 2013 - 12:00 PM

A Conversation with John Hannah, Tony Badran, and Cliff May

Strong evidence that the regime of Bashar al-Assad used chemicals weapons against civilians – thereby crossing what President Obama has called a “red line” – has led to reports that the U.S. could hit Syrian targets as early as next Thursday.  What should be the objective of any response? Can the United States and its allies prevent further humanitarian catastrophe? Is that their responsibility and at what cost? What will the American response mean for other regional actors—Lebanon, Israel, Iran and Turkey among them?  

John Hannah brings almost two decades of experience at the highest levels of U.S. foreign policy to his work as a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. From 2001-2009, Mr. Hannah served as one of Vice President Dick Cheney's most trusted aides on national security issues. During the first term of President George W. Bush, he was the Vice President's deputy national security advisor for the Middle East, where he was intimately involved in U.S. policy toward Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, the peace process, and the global war on terrorism. In President Bush's second term, Mr. Hannah was elevated to the role of Vice President Cheney's national security advisor, where he served as the Vice President's top advisor on the full panoply of international issues from the Middle East to North Korea to Russia. In his previous government service, Mr. Hannah worked as a senior advisor on the staff of Secretary of State Warren Christopher during the administration of President William J. Clinton.

Tony Badran is a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. His research includes US policy towards Lebanon and Syria; Syrian foreign policy, with a focus on its regional relations and its ties to militant non-state actors and terrorist groups. Born and raised in Lebanon, Mr. Badran also specializes in Lebanese affairs, including the military history of the Lebanese civil war, and has written extensively on Hezbollah. Mr. Badran has testified on Syria before the House of Representatives and the European Parliament and speaks frequently at leading policy research institutes. Mr. Badran’s writings appear regularly in a range of publications including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, ForeignPolicy.com, ForeignAffairs.com and The Weekly Standard, among others, and he writes a weekly commentary for NOW Lebanon, a news site that covers the Middle East, with a focus on Lebanese and Syrian affairs.

Clifford D. May is President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He has had a long and distinguished career in international relations, journalism, communications and politics. Cliff spent nearly a decade with The New York Times as a reporter, editor and foreign correspondent. He is a frequent guest on national and international television and radio news programs including CNN, Fox and MSNBC, providing analysis and participating in debates on national security issues. He writes a weekly column that is nationally distributed by Scripps Howard News Service and he is a regular contributor to National Review Online, The American Spectator and other publications.