Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

No Substitute For Seriousness In Iraq

May 28, 2015  •  Washington Times

A recent weekend brought two very different dispatches from the front lines of the global war on terror. The first was a tale of tactical success; the second a narrative of strategic failure. On May 16, a detachment of U.S. special operators carried out a daring nighttime raid against Islamic State militants in eastern Syria. In the process, they killed Abu Sayyaf, a high-level official responsible for overseeing much of the group's oil revenues in Syria. But this good news was counterbalanced by a decidedly less favorable development, and on a much larger scale. Just a day after the Syrian raid, the Islamic State scored a major battlefield victory when it successfully seized control of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's western Anbar province. It did so despite significant opposition from Iraq's military, and in spite of nearly 200 airstrikes carried out there by the United States in preceding days. Washington and its allies, in other words, may be winning battles in the fight against the Islamic State. But they are now in danger of losing the war.

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The Economics Of Deterring Russia

May 22, 2015  •  The National Interest

When it comes to the prospects of war in Europe, perhaps we simply aren't asking the right questions. For months now, Russia watchers within the Beltway and in European capitals have been preoccupied with anticipating the next moves of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the year-old conflict taking place in Ukraine. But achieving a satisfactory answer to the question of what Russia might do has proven maddeningly elusive. This is because much of Moscow's policies to date have been opportunistic in nature - driven by perceived Western weakness and divisions within the NATO alliance, rather than by a clearly defined end state on the part of the Russian government. Given this state of affairs, Western capitals should focus less on possible Russian actions, and more on how to constrain its potential for aggression.

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What We Don't Know About Iran Could Hurt Us

April 30, 2015  •

To hear the Obama administration tell it, the framework nuclear accord agreed to between the P5+1 powers and Iran earlier this month in Lausanne, Switzerland is a good deal. The White House has pledged that the final agreement to be concluded in coming weeks, backed up by a robust monitoring and verification regime, will block Iran's pathways to a bomb for at least a decade—and perhaps considerably longer. But is this feasible? The Iranians, at least, appear to have other ideas. Iran's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has declared that he will not sign off on a final nuclear agreement unless the country's military facilities are declared off limits to Western oversight. Similarly, the deputy commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami, publicly equated the idea of opening up the Islamic Republic's military facilities to outside inspectors to a "national humiliation."

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Iran: Isolated No Longer

April 27, 2015  •  National Review Online

Less than a month after it was signed in Lausanne, Switzerland, the framework nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers is already beginning to pay dividends — for Iran, that is. Even before the April 2 accord, the enforced isolation that brought Iran's ayatollahs to the nuclear negotiating table back in 2013 had begun to erode, progressively undermined by hungry investors eager to return to "business as usual" with the Islamic Republic. But since the framework deal was signed, the floodgates have opened in earnest.

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5 Reasons Iran Nuke Deal Fails

April 9, 2015  •  USA Today

No sooner had the P5+1 powers and Iran announced on April 2 that they had agreed upon the frameworkof a nuclear deal than its supporters began to spin the results. To hear the boosters tell it, the preliminary agreement represents a victory for proponents of peace and a defeat for warmongers everywhere. That sort of simplistic rhetoric may play well on a political level, but there are real strategic reasons to be skeptical of the impending deal.

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Books by Ilan Berman

Cover of Implosion Cover of Winning the Long War Cover of Tehran Rising


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