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Analysis & Commentary - John Hannah

John Hannah's Latest Articles

16th April 2018 – Foreign Policy

Trump Was Right to Strike Syria

John Hannah

Let’s give credit where credit is due. First, U.S. President Donald Trump set a red line and enforced it. He warned that the large-scale use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime would trigger a U.S. attack. When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad crossed that red line a year ago, Trump responded with 59 cruise missiles that took out about 20 percent of Syria’s operational aircraft. more...

2nd April 2018 – Foreign Policy

Trump Can’t Afford to Forget About Iraq

John Hannah

In January, with an eye toward national elections on May 12, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stunned many observers when he agreed to a political alliance with a group representing the country’s most hard-line Shiite militias — some of them designated by the United States for terrorism, all of them loyal instruments of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). more...

15th March 2018 – Foreign Policy

Saudi Arabia Can Win Islam’s War of Ideas

John Hannah

When U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the White House later this month, there will be no shortage of urgent issues to discuss — from the crown prince’s ambitious modernization agenda to joint efforts against Iranian aggression. But near the top of the president’s priorities should also be securing the crown prince’s commitment to lead the ideological war against the scourge of violent jihadism. more...

22nd December 2017 – Foreign Policy

Iran’s North Korean Playbook to Protect Its Nuclear Program

John Hannah

Anyone watching the systematic consolidation of North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability over the past decade can’t help but worry about the parallels with Iran. more...

29th November 2017 – Foreign Policy

Two Cheers for Rex

John Hannah

The secretary of state has been going through a rough patch, but not all of his endeavors deserve to be pilloried. more...

8th November 2017 – Foreign Policy

Does Trump Realize That His New Iran Strategy Could Suffer a Fatal Blow in Syria?

John Hannah

Note to President Trump: The new Iran strategy that you announced just three weeks ago is hanging by a thread. Its fate will likely be decided in the next few months on the Syria-Iraq border. more...

7th November 2017 – The Hill

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Saturday Night Massacre’ might play right into US interests

John Hannah

Most of us have told our kids that the ends don’t justify the means. But what if your objective is something as audacious as rapidly modernizing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? What if your aim is to break the kingdom’s support for the extremist form of Islam — known as Wahhabism — that has served as the essential source material for ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the jihadist ideology that American troops have been at war with since 9/11? How much centralization of power, even absolutism, would you put up with to see that revolutionary program succeed? more...

2nd October 2017 – Foreign Policy

The United States Must Prevent Disaster in Kurdistan

John Hannah

You have to hand it to them. U.S. officials nailed it. Prior to the Sept. 25 independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, they couldn’t have been clearer in setting out the parade of horribles that might come to pass if the vote went ahead. more...

22nd September 2017 – Foreign Policy

A U.S. President Is Finally Speaking Up for the People of Iran

John Hannah

While his lambasting of the nuclear deal garnered the greatest attention, it would be a mistake to overlook the president's extended focus on the plight of the Iranian people. It’s almost certainly significant — an important indicator of the administration’s future direction when it comes to Iran policy. more...

3rd September 2017 – Interviewed by Laurie Mylroie - Kurdistan 24

John Hannah: US and the Kurdistan Region need to work together closely

John Hannah

John Hannah served as national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, and he is now a senior counselor at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. more...

1st September 2017 – Foreign Policy

Trump’s Afghanistan Strategy Could Actually Work

John Hannah

While I support President Donald Trump’s decision last week to recommit the United States to the war in Afghanistan, it’s not hard to understand why — 16 years on — people are cynical that the addition of several thousand more U.S. and NATO troops will have much of an impact on the conflict’s trajectory. more...

24th August 2017 – Foreign Policy

Does Trump Intend to Thwart Iran’s Ambitions in Syria?

John Hannah

As if President Donald Trump isn’t facing enough problems already (some, unfortunately, of his own making — see Charlottesville, Virginia), here’s one more to add to the list: If he’s not careful, the president risks going down in history as the man who defeated the Islamic State only to make the Middle East safe for Iranian hegemony. more...

18th July 2017 – Foreign Policy

If Trump Is Serious About Curbing Iran, He’ll Kill Boeing’s Plan to Sell It Planes

John Hannah, Saeed Ghasseminejad

If the president and his administration are as committed to combating terrorism and Iranian aggression as they’ve suggested, blocking the Boeing and Airbus deals really shouldn’t be too hard of a call. more...

27th June 2017 – Foreign Policy

It’s Time for the Trump Administration to Step Up in the Qatar Crisis

John Hannah

Late last week, the Gulf crisis took a new turn when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain at long last presented the regime in Qatar with a list of 13 demands that must be accepted before they are prepared to reestablish normal political and economic relations. more...

22nd May 2017 – Foreign Policy

Qatar Needs to Do Its Part

John Hannah

An important goal of President Donald Trump’s meetings with Arab and Islamic leaders this past weekend was to encourage them to shoulder more of the burden in defending our common interests, particularly in combating the threats from terrorism and Iran. more...

18th May 2017 – Foreign Policy

Why Trump’s Iran Sanctions Waiver Should Worry the Mullahs

John Hannah

As part of the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that he inherited from his predecessor, President Donald Trump yesterday was forced to decide whether to renew the U.S. waiver on sanctions targeting Iran’s oil exports. Rather than violate the JCPOA and risk an early diplomatic crisis, the president — who has dubbed the nuclear deal the “worst” in history — swallowed hard and waived. more...

2nd May 2017 – Foreign Policy

Don’t Waste Arab-Israeli Cooperation on the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

John Hannah

With Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas set to visit the White House on Wednesday, speculation is rife that later this year President Donald Trump will seek to enlist a group of Sunni Arab states in efforts to jumpstart moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Think not only Egypt and Jordan, countries that already have treaties with Israel, but also countries still technically at war with the Jewish state, like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. more...

23rd March 2017 – Foreign Policy

In Venezuela’s Toxic Brew, Failed Narco-State Meets Iran-Backed Terrorism

John Hannah, Emanuele Ottolenghi

As if the political and economic chaos wracking Venezuela wasn’t worrying enough, a couple of recent stories underscore the potential national security threat brewing there. more...

21st March 2017 – Foreign Policy

Rouhani, the Deceiver

John Hannah, Saeed Ghasseminejad

In two months’ time — on May 19, to be exact — Iran will hold presidential elections. As things currently stand, odds are that the incumbent, Hassan Rouhani, will win a second term. more...

23rd December 2016 – Foreign Policy

To Combat Illegal Immigration, Trump Should Target Latin America’s Hezbollah-Narco Nexus

Emanuele Ottolenghi, John Hannah

President-elect Donald Trump staked much of his successful campaign on stopping illegal immigration. Yet the flow of migrants is symptomatic of a much larger danger to U.S. security that is rapidly gathering on our southern doorstep. more...