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Michael Wahid Hanna

Program Director, U.S.

Crisis Group Role

As U.S. Program Director, Michael Wahid Hanna leads the organisation’s research, analysis, policy prescription and advocacy on U.S. foreign policy in conflict settings. He joined Crisis Group in May 2021.

Professional Background

Hanna works on issues of international security, international law, and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and South Asia. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Reiss Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law. 

He has published widely on U.S. foreign policy in newspapers and journals, including articles in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, Democracy, Middle East Report, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and Survival, among other publications.

Prior to joining Crisis Group, Hanna was a senior fellow at The Century Foundation. He served as a consultant for Human Rights Watch in Baghdad in 2008. Previously, Hanna was a senior fellow at the International Human Rights Law Institute. From 1999 to 2004, Hanna practiced corporate law with the New York law firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. Fluent in Arabic, he was a Fulbright Scholar at Cairo University. He received a JD from New York University School of Law, where he was an editor of the Law Review.

Select Publications

  • Hybrid Actors: Armed Groups and State Fragmentation in the Middle East (2019)
  • Citizenship and Its Discontents: The Struggle for Rights, Pluralism, and Inclusion in the Middle East (2019)
  • Order from Ashes: New Foundations for Security in the Middle East (2018)
  • Arab Politics Beyond the Uprisings: Experiments in an Era of Resurgent Authoritarianism (2017)


  • English
  • Arabic (fluent)

In The News

10 May 2022
Egypt is something of a special case vis-a-vis the West because of both its robust relations with Russia and being a key US partner in the Middle East. The National

Michael Wahid Hanna

Program Director, U.S.
1 Sep 2021
The swiftness of the fall of Afghanistan in Taliban hands and the way the Americans pulled out is a black eye. But it’s not going to be irreparable. The National

Michael Wahid Hanna

Program Director, U.S.
12 Jul 2021
Egypt’s more constructive and pragmatic regional role in recent months has produced good will and breathing space for Cairo, but at root this approach to regional affairs is reflective of Egypt’s own self-interests and not a byproduct of its relationship with the United States. Politico

Michael Wahid Hanna

Program Director, U.S.

Latest Updates

No-Fly Zone in Ukraine: War with Russia by Another Name

Some current and former officials, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, call for Western powers to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine. This Q&A explains what a no-fly zone would entail, where similar zones have been established before and the dangers of that option in Ukraine.

How the Counter-terrorism Imperative Has Warped U.S.-Egyptian Ties

The conflict in Egypt’s Sinai offers insights into U.S. foreign policy priorities. As part of our series The Legacy of 9/11 and the “War on Terror”, Michael Wahid Hanna argues Cairo has used the jihadist spectre to scare off critics and keep U.S. military aid flowing.

Podcast / United States

Biden in Europe

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Crisis Group U.S. Director Michael Hanna about President Biden’s trip to Europe and what it revealed about his foreign policy priorities, especially with respect to Russia and China.