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Analysis & Commentary - John Hannah

John Hannah's Latest Articles

28th September 2018 – Foreign Policy

Trump Needs to Start Worrying About Saudi Arabia’s Reform Efforts

John Hannah

For those of us who have been strong supporters of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s unprecedented reform efforts, the past several months have given cause for concern. There’s been a steady stream of bad news, and good news has grown less frequent. more...

10th August 2018 – Foreign Policy

Energy Security Is the Real Way to Put America First

John Hannah

Since withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal in May, the Trump administration has faced a serious dilemma. more...

15th July 2018 – The Hill

Helsinki summit an opportunity to win Russia’s support for constraining Iran in Syria

John Hannah

Amid the specter of a possible Israeli strike against Iran, a top U.S. official and his Russian counterpart met one-on-one to address the Iranian threat. The year was 2010, and then Defense Secretary Robert Gates pressured his Russian counterpart to rescind military assistance to Tehran, specifically the promised delivery of the advanced S-300 air defense system. Ultimately, the Russians agreed to postpone their deal with Iran, essentially selling out their client. more...

13th July 2018 – Foreign Policy

Putin Sees Trump as an Easy Mark on Syria

John Hannah

As U.S. President Donald Trump approaches his July 16 summit in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, there’s much speculation that Syria will be near the top of the agenda. more...

21st June 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

U.S. Urges Saudis to Stabilize Oil Prices, Underscoring Continued Energy Insecurity

John Hannah

Tomorrow in Vienna, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet with several non-OPEC producers, including Russia, to chart the future of the global oil market. The group – informally known as OPEC plus – will decide whether to ease production cuts that were implemented in 2016 in an effort to drive up prices, which had crashed to a 13-year low. more...

21st June 2018 – Foreign Policy

Singapore Was John Bolton’s Worst Nightmare

John Hannah

If someone had deliberately designed an international event with the sole objective of giving John Bolton, America’s hawkish White House national security advisor, maximum heartburn, they couldn’t have done much better than the June 12 summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. more...

25th May 2018 – Foreign Policy

How Far Is Trump Willing to Go to Change Iran’s Behavior?

John Hannah

"Surrender Dorothy.” That’s the phrase from The Wizard of Oz that I couldn’t quite get out of my head as I read through Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech on Iran — the first major policy address of his tenure, which he delivered this week. more...

11th May 2018 – Foreign Policy

Will the End of the Iran Deal Mark the Beginning of an Iran Strategy?

John Hannah

The deed is done. U.S. President Donald Trump has kicked the Iran nuclear deal to the curb — just as he promised that he would, repeatedly, over the past two and a half years. Say what you will about the president, but he’s been true to his word. Campaign promises made; campaign promises kept. Trump’s critics may scoff derisively at the notion in light of the geopolitical stakes at play, but they’d be wrong to dismiss its deep resonance with the tens of millions of Americans who put Trump in the White House. A politician who actually does what he says he’s going to do. Go figure. more...

30th April 2018 – Foreign Policy

Trump Is Right to Target Saudi-Russian Collusion

John Hannah

For those who want to see what a real case of Russian collusion looks like, check out what has been happening in global oil markets for the past year and a half. In late 2016, Russia and Saudi Arabia conspired to cut supply and raise prices. more...

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...