Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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Iran: Isolated No Longer

April 27, 2015  •  National Review Online

Less than a month after it was signed in Lausanne, Switzerland, the framework nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers is already beginning to pay dividends — for Iran, that is. Even before the April 2 accord, the enforced isolation that brought Iran's ayatollahs to the nuclear negotiating table back in 2013 had begun to erode, progressively undermined by hungry investors eager to return to "business as usual" with the Islamic Republic. But since the framework deal was signed, the floodgates have opened in earnest.

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5 Reasons Iran Nuke Deal Fails

April 9, 2015  •  USA Today

No sooner had the P5+1 powers and Iran announced on April 2 that they had agreed upon the frameworkof a nuclear deal than its supporters began to spin the results. To hear the boosters tell it, the preliminary agreement represents a victory for proponents of peace and a defeat for warmongers everywhere. That sort of simplistic rhetoric may play well on a political level, but there are real strategic reasons to be skeptical of the impending deal.

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Kremlin Fight Club

April 3, 2015  •  Foreign Affairs

At first glance, Grozny seems like an odd place for a gathering of the world's best fighters. The capital of Russia's restive Chechen Republic, Grozny is in a better place today than it was in the 1990s and early 2000s, when it was ground zero for two brutal wars between Islamist insurgents and the Russian state. But the city, like the region it inhabits, still ranks high on the misery index. Despite a major rebuilding effort on the part of the government, Chechnya's unemployment and poverty rates are among the highest in the Russian Federation, and the region has emerged as a significant source of angry young men who have traveled to the Middle East to join the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. In mid-March, however, Grozny saw a different sort of fighting, as it played host to some of the most recognizable faces in mixed martial arts, a sport that combines multiple disciplines, including boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, jujitsu, and submission grappling. Among them were Chris Weidman, the reigning middleweight champion of the sport's premier franchise, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and heavyweight contenders Frank Mir and Fabricio Werdum. They had arrived for the inaugural fight show put on by the "Akhmat MMA" promotion, named for Akhmad Kadyrov, the former president of the Chechen Republic, who was assassinated in 2004. Not much is known about the company outside of Russia. But given its name - and the prominence of the sports personalities it managed to attract - it's safe to assume that it operates with the knowledge and approval of the current president, Ramzan Kadyrov, Akhmad's son - and, by extension, of the Kremlin itself.

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Netanyahu's Win

March 21, 2015  •  World Affairs Journal

The Israeli electorate has spoken. After a bitterly acrimonious political campaign, and an election on March 17th that saw the highest voter turnout (72.3 percent) in recent memory, Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu has received a reinvigorated mandate to govern. That outcome was almost completely unexpected. On the morning of election day, conventional wisdom in both the US and Israel was that the center-left Zionist Union (ZU) bloc would be the runaway winner, routing Netanyahu's Likud Party and ushering in a new era in Israeli politics. By that afternoon, the polls had tightened into a virtual dead heat between Likud and the ZU, leading one observer to wryly comment that "trying to be an expert in Israeli politics is hazardous to your professional health." By the following morning, Netanyahu had scored a stunning come-from-behind victory to claim an unprecedented fourth term as prime minister.

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Congress Must Derail Obama's Iran Debacle

March 18, 2015  •  The National Interest

You wouldn't know it from the mainstream media, but President Obama has an Iran problem. His administration has wagered – and wagered big – on the idea of a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic. But the effort is increasingly unpopular, and a hard sell among the American electorate.

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Books by Ilan Berman

Cover of Implosion Cover of Winning the Long War Cover of Tehran Rising

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