Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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What Israel Is Telling Biden About Iran

February 23, 2021  •  Al-Hurra Digital

Earlier this month, Israel's intelligence community took the unprecedented step of publicly airing its most recent assessment of Iran's nuclear progress. Iranian investments in atomic development are today at a "low point" as a result of U.S. and Israeli pressure, Major General Tamir Heiman, the head of Israeli military intelligence, told reporters at a press briefing. As a result, Iran is "at least two years" away from developing a nuclear weapon.    The disclosure was nothing short of unprecedented. Israel's intelligence organs are among the most secretive in the world, and notoriously tight-lipped about their operations and strategic estimates. Public comments of this kind would undoubtedly have needed authorization from the highest echelons of the Israeli government to be aired. That they were speaks volumes about Israel's mounting fears that the new U.S. administration's is rushing to reengage with Iran, with potentially catastrophic consequences. 

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Joe Biden's Secret Weapon For Resetting Iran Policy

February 17, 2021  •  Politico

On Inauguration Day, Michael Pack, the controversial CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), became the very first personnel casualty of the Joe Biden administration. In the days that followed, Pack-appointed leaders at the USAGM-managed Voice of America (VOA) and other USAGM entities, including Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia, were also summarily axed. Pack's short tenure at the helm of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM)—which he headed from his Senate confirmation in June 2020 until Inauguration Day—was rife with controversy over political overreach and skewed priorities. It's not surprising, then, that critics have hailed Pack's departure, and the personnel reshuffle that followed, as an overdue course correction that has brought back normalcy to a well-functioning bureaucracy. But the problems at USAGM go much deeper than a controversial CEO. In fact, some of Pack's initiatives—such as trying to impose accountability among unruly government entities and to rectify security clearance irregularities among employees and contractors—were aimed at fixing problems that ailed U.S. broadcasting before he ever arrived at USAGM's headquarters on Independence Avenue. And it's more crucial now than ever to fix some of these deep-rooted problems, as the Biden administration attempts to reshape U.S. foreign policy.

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Ideology Is Making Iran Even Sicker

February 4, 2021  •  Al-Hurra Digital

A year into the coronavirus, the progression of the disease in the Middle East is decidedly mixed. Some countries, such the nations of the GCC, have weathered the pandemic comparatively well as a result of what scholars have termed "authoritarian management." Other nations, however, have been profoundly ravaged by the illness.   Of those, Iran has been the most deeply affected. According to official statistics, more than 1.2 million of its roughly 85 million citizens have fallen ill from the disease, and some 56,000 have died from it. Unofficially, however, the situation appears to be much, much worse – with multiple millions infected and perhaps as many as 209,000 casualties, equivalent to 0.25% of the country's population.   The causes of the Islamic Republic's illness are numerous. They range from a disdain for modern medicine among the country's clerical elite to the Iranian regime's extensive cooperation with China, the original source of global infection. Yet, instead of pursuing all possible remedies, Iranian officials are sticking to their ideological guns – even if it helps make their country sicker.

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Iran's Ayatollahs Want A New Deal

February 1, 2021  •  Newsweek

Make no mistake. Whatever they might proclaim publicly, Iran's leaders are desperate for a new diplomatic agreement with the West. In recent weeks, Iranian officials have redoubled their efforts to convince the new administration in Washington that the policies of its predecessor were an abject failure—and that the Islamic Republic remains unbowed. Behind the scenes, however, a very different situation has unfolded.

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What Will Joe Biden Do About The Iran-al-Qaida Connection?

January 14, 2021  •  USA Today

When it comes to foreign policy, it's already clear that one of the biggest differences between the outgoing Trump administration and the incoming Biden team will be Iran. In contrast to the current U.S. policy of "maximum pressure" toward the Islamic Republic, President-elect Joe Biden and his advisers have already promised a more conciliatory approach centered around a revival of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.  But what about Iran's role as the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism? That's a title the Iranian regime has held since the U.S. government began formally keeping track of terrorist trends since 1984. Nevertheless, American attention to the issue has waxed and waned over the years in tandem with the priorities of successive administrations in Washington. The present White House, though, sees it as a major issue — and, in its final days in office, is working to make sure that the next one does as well.

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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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