Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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The Other Iranian Threat

April 17, 2018  •  Al-Hurra Digital

Whatever happened to the Iranian cyberthreat? Not all that long ago, American officials were preoccupied with the growing disruptive capabilities that the Islamic Republic had begun to demonstrate on the World-Wide Web. That, however, was before the start of negotiations over Iran's atomic program in 2013. Those talks allowed Iran's cyber activities to recede from public view, as policymakers in Washington focused their attention on nuclear diplomacy with Tehran, while Iranian hackers temporarily became more cautious in their choice of targets and the visibility of their attacks. More recently, worries about Iran's cyber capabilities have taken a back seat to concerns regarding Iran's growing conventional military might, and its mounting regional adventurism in places like Syria and Yemen. But now, Iran's movements in cyberspace are receiving some much-needed renewed attention, thanks to a new report from one of the world's leading cybersecurity firms, which warns the cyberthreat posed by Iran is growing in both sophistication and menace.

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New Sanctions Rightly Tighten The Noose On Russia

April 9, 2018  •  The Hill

The new cold war between Moscow and Washington just got a little bit colder. On Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a new round of economic sanctions against 38 separate Russian personalities and businesses. The measure represents a major escalation of pressure against the Kremlin, because it singles out a number of key stakeholders as a way of ratcheting up the costs to Russia's leadership of their country's increasingly hostile international behavior.

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Trump's New Message To Iran

March 28, 2018  •  The Washington Times

In the fevered speculation now taking place over whether the Trump administration will truly "nix" the 2015 Iran nuclear deal when it comes up for renewal later this spring, another, equally seismic shift in U.S. policy toward the Islamic republic has gone largely unnoticed. On March 20, America formally reclaimed its historic role as a champion of the Iranian people.

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The Limits Of Saudi Reform

March 14, 2018  •  Al-Hurra Digital

Just how far-reaching are Saudi Arabia's reforms? These days, there is unbridled optimism in official Washington over what are widely seen as sweeping social and economic changes taking place in the historically-stagnant Kingdom. At first glance, Saudi Arabia does indeed appear to be on the march. Since 2016, when he formally unveiled his National Transformation Plan, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – better known as MbS – has presided over an ambitious initiative to overhaul the national economy and Saudi society. Most visibly, this has entailed significant upgrades to the status of women, including the long overdue rights to drive, to attend public sporting events, and to participate more fully in business. Simultaneously, the Kingdom has begun reducing the pervasive – and costly – culture of economic subsidies which predominated in past years. The Saudi government likewise has commenced a serious effort to reorient the country away from its current, deep dependence on energy exports toward a truly post-oil economy. What the reforms haven't entailed, however, is a real rethink of the underlying tenets of the Saudi state. In multiple speeches and pronouncements, MbS has made clear that he has no plans to abandon the Kingdom's creed, or to repudiate the austere Wahhabi strain of Islam that serves as the country's organizing ideology. Nor has he given any indication that he intends to reign in the main communicators of that radical message: the country's powerful conservative preachers.

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What Iran Can Teach Us About North Korea Summit

March 12, 2018  •  USA Today

You could call it the Iranian negotiating model. After months of escalating tensions with the United States, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has offered to meet directly with President Trump, engendering cautious optimism from many who see this as a necessary first step to de-escalation in Asia. The White House has tentatively agreed to the meeting. And yet, without deft handling, this dialogue could allow one of the world's worst rogue states to reap enormous dividends as a result of its irresponsible conduct — much as happened with Iran in the not-so-distant past.

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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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