Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

Fear And Loathing In Morocco

September 20, 2018  •  The Washington Times

Why is Nasser Bourita worried? The soft-spoken 49-year-old career diplomat, who serves as the Kingdom of Morocco's minister of foreign affairs, already handles an exceedingly complex international portfolio — one encompassing Islamic radicalism in Libya, the status of the contested Western Sahara region and the potentially dire consequences of secession in neighboring Algeria. Of late, however, Mr. Bourita's attention has been consumed by another, largely unexpected issue: a growing Iranian effort to infiltrate his neighborhood.

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Understanding Putin's Paranoid Style

September 1, 2018  •  The National Interest

Just why is Vladimir Putin so popular? Practically since Russia's president first ascended to power in the last days of 1999, observers have puzzled over his broad base of support and enduring appeal, which has persisted despite needless and costly foreign entanglements and notwithstanding widespread and flagrant corruption in the Kremlin. The answer, one of Russia's leading opinion centers has concluded, has everything to do with a pervasive sense of cultural siege. According to the latest poll released by the Moscow-based Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), the results of which have been detailed in The Moscow Times, a majority of Russians now believe that their country is the target of a vast, organized conspiracy aimed at weakening Russia by subverting its society and culture.

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Iran's Complicated Post-JCPOA Nuclear Path

August 2018  •  Iran Strategy Brief No. 11

In the aftermath of President Donald Trump's May 8th decision to formally end America's participation in the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), there has been significant speculation about potential responses on the part of the Iranian leadership. Iranian officials have threatened a range of possible consequences stemming from the U.S. decision, up to and including a resumption of nuclear development and associated processes by their government. But just how likely is Iran to make good on these threats? And is a sustained "sprint" toward nuclear status really within the capabilities of the Iranian regime, should Tehran and the remaining members of the P5+1 fail to come to terms on a new framework accord? Official Iranian rhetoric notwithstanding, a confluence of contemporary social, economic, and strategic factors suggest that it will be difficult for the Iranian regime to significantly advance the capabilities and scope of its nuclear program, even if it makes a strategic decision to do so.

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Iran's New Revolutionary Moment

August 9, 2018  •  Al-Hurra Digital

Thirteen years ago, as the Bush administration and its "freedom agenda" entered its second term in office, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman took the pulse of popular sentiment in Iran, and came away with some surprising conclusions. Iran, Friedman heard from Iranian expatriates and regime insiders, was the ultimate "red state," where the population did not share the ruling regime's hatred of the West and where people craved greater freedom and democracy. Back then, the prediction turned out to be premature. Whatever its internal problems, Iran's clerical establishment succeeded in weathering discontent with its rule – both then and again just a few years later, when the fraudulent summer 2009 reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad brought millions into the streets in popular protests that coalesced into the so-called "Green Movement." But the assessment Friedman heard back in 2005 may be more apt now. That is because, over the past half-year, Iran has been convulsed by persistent protests that have presented its leaders with the greatest challenge to their legitimacy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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U.S.-Turkish Relations In A Tailspin

August 8, 2018  •  The Washington Times

It's official: U.S.-Turkish relations are in a tailspin. The once-robust ties between Washington and Ankara have frayed considerably in recent years, riven by strategic issues like Turkey's growing strategic proximity to Russia and its cozy relationship with Islamist actors, as well as its increasingly conspiratorial, anti-American political discourse. But what may end up causing a lasting rupture between the two Cold War-era allies is an altogether different — and unexpected — issue: The fate of an American pastor named Andrew Brunson.

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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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