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Analysis & Commentary - David Adesnik

David Adesnik's Latest Articles

17th July 2018 – FDD's Policy Brief

No Deal on Syria for Trump and Putin

David Adesnik

Despite considerable speculation, President Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin did not appear to reach agreement on how to limit Iranian influence in Syria. more...

6th July 2018 – The Hill

US must renew sanction enforcement on Syria’s Assad

David Adesnik

Assad is reportedly bombing hospitals again. He understands there will be no American airstrikes if he resists the temptation to use chemical weapons. more...

13th June 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

At Summit, North Korea Offers Vague Denuclearization Pledge

David Adesnik, Mathew Ha

In a joint statement with President Trump following their historic summit in Singapore, Kim Jong Un pledged “his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The statement does not include a timeline for denuclearization, nor does it require North Korea to take any specific steps toward that goal, although the president assured journalists that U.S. and international observers will verify Kim’s compliance. more...

25th May 2018 – CNBC

Trump should ‘keep cranking up the pressure’ on North Korea if he really wants Kim to give up nukes

David Adesnik

Visions of a Nobel Peace Prize can be very seductive. Even Jimmy Carter admitted that Donald Trump would deserve the prize if he brought peace to the Korean Peninsula. more...

25th May 2018 – National Review

Pompeo’s Encouragingly Tough Words for Iran

David Adesnik

‘We win and they lose” is how Ronald Reagan once summed up his policy toward the Soviet Union. At the time, almost all serious foreign-policy experts considered any talk of winning the Cold War to be delusional and possibly dangerous, but in hindsight, Reagan’s words come across as prophetic. more...

17th May 2018 – The National Interest

In Korea, the Same Old Tricks from a Brand New Kim

David Adesnik

North Korea long ago mastered the art of playing hard to get with American diplomats eager—or even desperate—to make a deal. Pyongyang’s sudden threatto cancel the June 12 summit in Singapore shows that Kim Jong-un has learned how to play the same games as his father and grandfather. more...

11th May 2018 – Fox News

America must respond to Iran’s attack on Israel to prevent a regional war

David Adesnik


12th April 2018 – The National Interest

What Comes after Airstrikes on Syria?

David Adesnik

Via Twitter, where his candor is often remarkable, President Donald Trump has already warned that missiles “will be coming.” If so, one hopes that the president and his advisers also have a clear strategy for what to do after the missiles slam into their targets. A sustained barrage might inflict substantial damage on Assad’s air force, such as the Mi-8 Hip helicopters apparently responsible for the chlorine attacks last Saturday. The United States and its allies should deprive Assad of his air force, yet it would be hard to call this justice for a war criminal with so much blood on his hands. more...

9th April 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Assad Chemical Attack Shows Failure of U.S. Deterrence

David Adesnik

Precisely a year and a day after the U.S. punished the Syrian regime with missile strikes for its use of chemical weapons, Damascus launched a new round of chemical attacks that killed at least 40 civilians in the besieged city of Douma east of the capital. Although last year’s punitive strikes deterred Assad for several months, he began probing U.S. resolve earlier this year with a series of chlorine attacks that prompted no response, thus exposing the inconsistency of American deterrence. more...

28th March 2018 – Fox News

US-North Korea summit: How Trump can score a major deal

David Adesnik

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Wednesday that “we feel like things are moving in the right direction” heading into a planned summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in May. If the meeting takes place, it will confront the U.S. president with the consummate test of his skills as a dealmaker, since no one has played American negotiators for fools more consistently than the North Koreans. more...

28th February 2018 – FDD's Iran Project

FDD Profiles of Leading Iranian-Backed Militias

David Adesnik

Iran has built a network of Shiite militias, now fighting across the Middle East, whose fighters number in the tens of thousands. These militias include battle-hardened fighters as well as poorly trained recruits. They hail from countries across the Muslim world and have varying motivations and interests, but they have one thing in common: they project the Islamic Republic’s power and promote its revolutionary ideology. Iran’s Shiite foreign legion has played an indispensable role in preserving the Assad regime in Syria, but all the groups have expressed a readiness to wage war against all enemies of the Islamic Republic. more...

16th February 2018 – Fox News

Militias in Syria could next attack Israel and launch a new war

David Adesnik

The Iranian drone launched from Syria that violated Israeli air space this past weekend sent an unmistakable message to the Jewish state: Iran has opened a new front on Israel’s northern border that could eventually erupt into war. more...

6th February 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Syria and Russia Test Trump’s Red Line on Chemical Weapons

David Adesnik

Just days after an explicit warning from Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Syria has launched another round of chemical gas attacks in the northwestern province of Idlib. Footage posted by volunteer rescue workers showed suffocating men being stripped of their clothes and doused with water. The attacks are part of an ongoing effort to test whether President Trump will enforce the red line on chemical weapons he put in place last year. more...

19th January 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Tillerson Revises U.S. Policy on Syria

David Adesnik

In a speech Wednesday at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson articulated the most detailed vision so far of the Trump administration’s Syria policy. Building on President Trump’s address last October that described his strategy for confronting Tehran, Tillerson warned that “U.S. disengagement from Syria would provide Iran the opportunity to further strengthen its position in Syria,” and further encourage Bashar al-Assad’s ongoing atrocities. more...

10th January 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Iran Spends $16 Billion Annually to Support Terrorists and Rogue Regimes

David Adesnik

“Leave Gaza, leave Lebanon, my life for Iran,” chanted a crowd of protesters at Tehran University. “Leave Syria, think of us!” demanded others. more...

19th December 2017 – The Hill

On North Korea, China is no partner

Mathew Ha, David Adesnik


8th October 2017 – Fox News

Trump should refuse to certify the Iran deal as the first step to fixing a deeply flawed agreement

Saeed Ghasseminejad, David Adesnik

The Washington Post and New York Times reported Thursday night that President Trump will soon announce his refusal to certify that the nuclear deal with Iran is in America’s national interest. This is the right call, because decertification is the indispensable first step toward fixing a deeply flawed agreement that puts Iran on the path to becoming another North Korea. more...

27th September 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Preventing a “Fait Accompli” in Syria

Preventing a “Fait Accompli” in Syria

David Adesnik

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with representatives of 17 like-minded nations to discuss the future of Syria last week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Following the meeting, Ambassador David Satterfield, acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, said the U.S. and its partners were firmly opposed to “accepting a fait accompli” in which the Assad regime and its Iranian patrons consolidate their grip on Syria with the expected defeat of the Islamic State. more...

8th September 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

The Assad Regime’s Chemical Weapons Problem

David Adesnik

Israeli warplanes struck a suspected chemical weapons facility yesterday morning in northwest Syria. Local observers said the airstrikes also targeted an adjacent military site where Iranian and Hezbollah personnel had previously been spotted. more...

7th August 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

U.S.-Russian Cooperation in Syria Will Fail Without U.S. Leverage

David Adesnik

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated last week that the U.S. has “chosen the theater in Syria as a place in which we test our ability to work together” with the Russians. This strategy is at odds with two core objectives of U.S. policy toward Syria, as defined by Tillerson: the replacement of the Assad regime and the end of “the direct presence of Iranian military forces inside Syria,” including proxies. more...