Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

Deciphering Russia's Syria Strategy

September 29, 2015  •  USA Today

What is the Russian government up to in Syria? After weeks of agitating for the creation of an international "united front" to confront the Islamic State terrorist group (and rehabilitate its longtime ally in Damascus in the process), the Kremlinhas taken matters into its own hands. Beginning in early September, the Russian government commenced what amounts to a major intervention in the Syrian civil war. Over the past month, it has dispatched thousands of troops, established a new air base in the port city of Latakia and deployed heavy war materiel (including advanced T-90 tanks, howitzers and a contingent of fighter aircraft) to the Syrian battlefield. In the process, Russia has succeeded in dramatically altering the contours of the four-and-a-half-year-old conflict.

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Israel Braces For Obama's Bad Iran Deal

September 16, 2015  •

It's all over but the shouting. Over the past week, the political tug-of-war over President Obama's controversial nuclear deal with Iran has tilted decisively in favor of the White House. Despite widespread disapproval among the American electorate, and last-ditch attempts by some in Congress to delay its passage, it increasingly appears that the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, will soon be a done deal. Where does all this leave America's most important Middle Eastern ally?

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Paradise Lost In Crimea

September 9, 2015  •  Foreign Affairs

In mid-August, during the latest wave of violence in the long-running Ukraine crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin and a coterie of other Kremlin officials trekked out to Crimea. The high-profile visit was intended as a public sign of the Kremlin's enduring commitment to its newest territorial holding. But behind the headlines, the story is far less reassuring: Russia is realizing that its Crimean annexation has become an increasingly costly venture in both political and economic terms.

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Why Obama Will Open A US Embassy In Iran

August 18, 2015  •  New York Post

What's next after the Obama administration's opening to Cuba? Why, an embassy in Tehran, of course. On Aug. 14, in a ceremony replete with pomp and circumstance, Secretary of State John Kerry presided over the formal re-opening of the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba. The occasion marked the culmination of nearly two years of quiet diplomacy between the White House and the Castro regime. The initiative had been launched following Kerry's fall 2013 address before the Organization of the American States, in which he had announced with great fanfare that the "era of the Monroe Doctrine is over." That pronouncement — intended to reassure regional powers that America's sometimes-heavyhanded approach to countries south of our border was a thing of the past — touched off a series of negotiations with Havana, during which the Obama administration formally abandoned more than half a century of established US policy toward the island nation in favor of a diplomatic opening. Obama's diplomacy with Cuba has been roundly condemned by human-rights dissidents and democracy activists alike as a whitewashing of the country's brutal Communist rule. But, in the eyes of the White House, it's an unreserved success. Kerry himself has said as much, waxing poetic during his Havana visit that, thanks to the negotiations, the United States and Cuba had turned a historic corner and were no longer "enemies or rivals, but neighbors" who "wish each other well." As such, it's virtually guaranteed to not be an isolated occurrence.

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North Korea: Iran's Pathway To A Nuclear Weapon

August 13, 2015  •  The National Interest

A central plank of the Obama administration's case for the nuclear deal just concluded by the P5+1 powers is that the agreement closes off "all pathways" by which the Iranian regime could acquire a nuclear capability, at least for the coming decade. That, however, simply isn't true. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the new nuclear bargain is officially called, only addresses the overt means by which Iran might go nuclear. A covert path to the bomb, entailing the procurement of materiel from foreign suppliers, still remains open to Iran, if it chooses to take that route. If it does, the Islamic Republic will invariably look to Asia.

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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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