Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

Iran's Indian Opening

June 8, 2016  •  Washington Times

Nearly a year after its passage, the nuclear deal with Iran — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — remains a political football in Washington. In response to pressure from Tehran, the Obama administration continues to seek ever-greater sanctions relief for the Iranian regime. The justification propounded by administration officials, from Secretary of State John Kerry on down, is that Iran has yet to reap real benefits from the deal and, therefore, a further sweetening of the pot is necessary to ensure its continued compliance with the terms of the deal. In Asia, however, a very different picture is taking shape. Recent weeks have seen Tehran boost bilateral relations with countries such as South Korea and Turkmenistan on everything from trade to security cooperation in a clear indicator that, with the passage of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Islamic republic is now well and truly out of the sanctions "box." Of the nations seeking to re-engage Iran, however, by far the most significant is India. Long stifled by international sanctions, bilateral ties between Tehran and Delhi are now expanding rapidly — and doing so in ways that could reshape the Asian geopolitical order.

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Morocco's Islamic Exports

May 13, 2016  •  Foreign Affairs

At first glance, Madinat Al Irfane seems like an odd location from which to launch a global war of ideas against Islamic radicalism. The upscale middle-class suburb of Rabat is packed with nondescript office buildings and recently built apartment blocks, telltale signs of the widening prosperity of Morocco's capital. But nestled behind these structures is a marker of a very different sort: a multimillion-dollar academic campus that houses the kingdom's premier religious training academy, formally known as the Mohammed VI Institute for the Training of Imams. Launched in late 2015, the institute is the central "professionalization" school for religious education in the country, subsuming other official training programs that had previously been carried out elsewhere. But it is also much more. The facility, and the ideas it promotes, lies at the center of the complex counterterrorism effort that Morocco has erected over the past decade and a half - one that has put the North African state on the frontlines of the intellectual struggle against radical Islam.

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Al-Qaeda Resurrects Under ISIL Shadow

May 13, 2016  •  USA Today

Whatever happened to al-Qaeda? A decade-and-a-half ago, it perpetrated the single largest act of international terrorism to ever take place on American soil. Yet, these days, Osama bin Laden's terror network barely warrants a mention in the mainstream news media. Instead, it is al-Qaeda's onetime Iraqi franchise, now known as the Islamic State, or ISIL, which commands near total attention in both politics and the press. That has never been more true than on Iraq's bloodiest day of 2016 when bombs swept through Baghdad killing at least 93. Perhaps that's understandable. Bin Laden was killed in a U.S. special operations raid in Pakistan in 2011. And over the past two years, ISIL's explosive growth in Iraq and Syria, its unparalleled brutality and its ability to mobilize disaffected Muslims have helped catapult the terrorist group to the status of global public enemy No. 1. Despite notable gains by the expanding military coalition being marshaled against it, the group for the moment remains a formidable and entrenched foe. But recent days have also brought a timely reminder that ISIL's progenitor, too, is still alive and kicking.

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Closing The Archives
What Russia's Renewed Secrecy Says About Putin

April 25, 2016  •  Foreign Affairs

It is widely known that Russia has a difficult relationship with its past. In the quarter-century since the collapse of the Soviet Union, successive governments in Moscow have been conspicuously consistent in skirting serious questions about the repressive nature of the now-defunct Soviet state and minimizing the shadow that it continues to cast over the Kremlin.

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Putin Consolidates Domestic Power

April 19, 2016  •  World Affairs Journal

Largely unnoticed by the West, Vladimir Putin has just launched a radical overhaul of power in Russia. On April 5th, the Russian President formally announced the creation of a new National Guard intended to serve as an umbrella organization and coordinating body for the country's numerous "force ministries." The scope of the envisioned overhaul is enormous. As political scientist Nikolai Petrov notes in The Moscow Times, "practically every branch of the siloviki [force structures]" that cumulatively serve as the guarantors of the contemporary Russian state will be affected by the change.

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Books by Ilan Berman

Cover of Iran's Deadly Ambition Cover of Implosion Cover of Winning the Long War Cover of Tehran Rising

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