Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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Toward A New Uzbekistan

November 22, 2017  •  U.S. News & World Report

You could call it "Extreme Makeover: Central Asian Edition." Today, among the five post-Soviet republics that make up the region, there are heartening signs of political dynamism and a newfound drive for integration. At the center of these changes is the Republic of Uzbekistan, which has launched a far-reaching program to reform and modernize the state. This effort finds its roots in the passing of Uzbekistan's first president, Islam Karimov, last September, which precipitated a far-reaching policy rethink on the part of his successor, Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The product was "Uzbekistan's Development Strategy for 2017-2021," formally adopted by the country's government back in January.

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Iran's Imperial Project

November 21, 2017  •  The Washington Times

Iran is on the march in the Middle East. Over the past year, a steady drumbeat of news reports from the Persian Gulf, intelligence assessments regarding Syria's civil war, and firsthand accounts out of Iraq, Lebanon and beyond has pointed to an inescapable conclusion: Iran is erecting a new empire in the region.

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The Russian War On Terror

November 3, 2017  •  The National Interest

Which country ranks as the largest source of foreign fighters for the Islamic State's "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq? That dubious distinction doesn't belong to a Middle Eastern state, despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia have historically been major contributors of radicals to the Islamic State's ranks. Nor is it a North African nation, even though Tunisia had previously served as the preeminent supplier of fighters for the Syrian front. Rather, the most active contributor to the current contingent of jihadis supporting the Islamic State is none other than the Russian Federation. That is the finding of a new report from the Soufan Group, a leading U.S. counterterrorism consultancy. The study, entitled "Beyond the Caliphate: Foreign Fighters and the Threat of Returnees," notes that - while the number of foreign fighters from places like Tunisia has declined appreciably over the past two years - those of Russian origin have not.

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Targeting Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Priorities for the Trump administration

October 2017  •  AFPC Iran Strategy Brief No. 9

The passage this summer of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act[1], a wide-ranging legislative package that imposed new economic pressure on Russia, Iran and North Korea, reignited the debate over U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic. The relevant provisions of the Act require the White House, pursuant to Executive Order No. 13224, to formally designate the totality of Iran's clerical army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), as a terrorist organization by no later than October 31st of this year.[2] In his October 13th speech on Iran policy, President Trump confirmed that he will do so.[3] Such a step is hardly unprecedented. In its early days in office, the Trump administration seriously explored the possibility of a similar blacklisting of the IRGC.[4] However, resistance within the Federal bureaucracy (coupled with the unfortunate conflation of action against the IRGC and the potential designation of the Muslim Brotherhood, a different - and more controversial - entity) conspired to stymie that effort. The passage of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act effectively reopened this conversation as it relates to the Revolutionary Guards, and empowered the White House to take meaningful action against them.

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President Trump Takes A Wise Middle Course On The Iran Nuclear Deal

October 20, 2017  •  Orlando Sentinel

In his policy speech last Friday, President Trump did not scrap the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, as some prominent conservative thinkers had suggested he should. Nor did he simply leave the deal intact, as proponents of the agreement had previously counseled. Instead, the president charted a middle way intended to give America greater leverage over Iran's nuclear program and processes.

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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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