Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

The Limits Of Russo-Israeli Cooperation

February 21, 2019  •  The Hill

Can Israel really rely on the Kremlin to preserve its security? That question has preoccupied policymakers in Jerusalem ever since Russia's formal intervention into the Syrian civil war in September 2015. In the three-and-a-half years since, diplomatic contacts between Jerusalem and Moscow have ballooned, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making multiple, high-profile trips to the Russian capital to coordinate his government's approach to Syria with Russia's presence and priorities there. For a while, at least, this strategy seemed to work. Netanyahu received repeated assurances from the Kremlin that it was committed to protecting Israel's northern border, and Russia's military made that mission a major part of its operations in the Syrian theater. The two countries also established a formal "deconfliction" mechanism to prevent military mishaps — a system that, despite some slips, has largely functioned as intended. Increasingly, however, there are signs that the Russo-Israeli understanding over Syria has begun seriously fraying.

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4 Key Takeaways From Director Of National Intelligence Dan Coats Testimony About Iran

February 5, 2019  •  USA Today

Late last month, America's top spymaster, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, testified before the Congress regarding global threats confronting the country. His statement for the record — which doubles as the intelligence's community's most recent "worldwide threat assessment" — provides an extensive overview of the risks that the U.S. will face in the near future, from deepening Chinese authoritarianism to the proliferation of "disruptive technologies" like artificial intelligence. But the survey is valuable for another reason as well. It provides us with a detailed snapshot of the challenge that America's spies and intelligence professionals see emanating from Iran.

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Welcome To The Age Of Local Jihad

January 28, 2019  •  Al-Hurra Digital

President Trump's unexpected December announcement that America would pull its military forces out of Syria has reignited a debate over the future of U.S. counterterrorism policy in Washington. Experts and specialists have noted that, despite the almost-total defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the group retains a global operational presence, is still active in other theaters (like North Africa and Southeast Asia), and maintains a resonant ideological message that continues to draw recruits to its cause. Nevertheless, with the collapse of the ISIS "caliphate," it's clear that the complexion of the "war on terror" is changing – and doing so in significant ways. Simply put, the decline of ISIS has ushered in a new era of decentralized jihad.

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Marking Four Decades Of Iranian Decline

January 25, 2019  •  The Washington Times

Next month, Iran marks the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that catapulted the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his followers to power in Tehran. As that milestone approaches, the country's leaders are working overtime to paint their clerical regime as a resounding success. "In these 40 years 400 years' worth of service has been rendered to this country and we have had 400 years' worth of growth and progress; technology, gadgets, various equipment, population and lifestyle, and now it is totally different from the past," the Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, a member of the country's powerful Guardian Council, recently told the conservative Iranian Student News Agency. The data, however, paints a very different story. A veritable mountain of statistical evidence points to the fact that, in the past four decades of clerical rule, the Islamic Republic has experienced a precipitous decline in domestic prosperity and global standing.

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Israel's Dangerous Dalliance With China

January 14, 2019  •  Wall Street Journal

National security adviser John Bolton traveled to Israel this month to reassure jittery officials in Jerusalem that the Trump administration isn't planning a precipitous exit from Syria, notwithstanding the president's surprise December announcement to the contrary. But Mr. Bolton's most important message might have had nothing to do with America's commitment to fighting Islamic State or its efforts to roll back Iran's strategic influence in Syria and Iraq. The Trump administration, Mr. Bolton told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is concerned about the commercial relationship between Israel and China—and the strategic vulnerabilities those ties have created.

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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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