Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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The "China Model" Comes To The Middle East

July 17, 2019  •  Al-Hurra Digital

For Middle Eastern nations, China's expanding stake in the region ranks as one of the most consequential, albeit underreported, trends of recent years. Already, Beijing's growing foothold is beginning to reshape regional markets, as local governments reorient their economies to take advantage of Chinese investment. But the PRC's presence might end up coming at a high political price, because the proliferation of Chinese influence – and the spread of its model of technologically-empowered censorship – could reinforce some of the worst political impulses of the region's autocrats. Less than a decade ago, Chinese engagement with the Middle East was confined to just two priorities: the sale of arms to weapons-hungry regional clients and the acquisition of Gulf energy to fuel its ongoing economic expansion. But the last several years have witnessed an explosion of China's interest in, and involvement with, the region.

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Trump's Strategy Is Turning Europe Against Iran

July 11, 2019  •  The Hill

It's hardly a secret that European leaders dislikeDonald Trump. Over the past two years, the U.S. President's divisive personal style, and his confrontational rhetoric on everything from Europe's deficient defense spending to bilateral trade, have severely strained trans-Atlantic relations. And yet, on at least one issue — Iran — European countries are slowly but surely drifting into alignment with the White House, even if they are doing so grudgingly.

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Making Sense Of The MeK

July 4, 2019  •  The National Interest

To its supporters, it is the most organized and disciplined alternative to the current clerical regime in Tehran, and the only one that is truly capable of establishing a democratic, secular Iran. To its detractors, it represents a fringe element that promotes an unpopular, unworkable vision of Iran's future. Even by the notoriously fractious standards of Iranian opposition politics, the Mujahedin e-Khalq (MeK) is a controversial entity—one all too often misunderstood by U.S. policymakers and demonized by its competitors. Yet it is also an important part of any serious conversation about the future of Iran, such as the one now taking place in Washington, DC as the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against the Islamic Republic takes hold in earnest.

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Political Earthquake In Istanbul

June 26, 2019  •  The Hill

Turkish democracy isn't dead. That was the central message behind this past weekend's rerun of the mayoral election in Turkey's famous city, Istanbul. The outcome, a resounding repeat victory for opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu over the Turkish government's pick, former Prime Minister Binali Yilderim, is more than simply a milestone in Turkish politics. It is an event that could presage a major shift in Turkey's political direction.

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How To Turn Iran's Tanker Mischief Against The Islamic Republic

June 19, 2019  •  USA Today

By now, there is ample evidence that last week's attack on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz was the work of the Iranian regime, as the Trump administration has alleged. A video released by the U.S. military in the aftermath of the incident documents Iranian sailors removing what appears to be an unexploded mine from one of the tankers, the Japanese-owned Kokura Courageous. This, coupled with assessments from the U.S. intelligence community, have forced even President Trump's fiercest critics to concede that Tehran was the likely culprit. But what, exactly, should Washington do in response? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made clear that the United States is not seeking conflict with Iran, despite the provocation. Yet some sort of American response is clearly required, lest the Iranian regime be emboldened to carry out additional acts of sabotage in one of the world's most vital commercial waterways, through which a fifth of world oil transits.

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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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