Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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The Message Behind Nemtsov's Murder

March 3, 2015  •  U.S. News & World Report

Russia's political opposition has been put on notice. The Feb. 27 murder of prominent opposition leader Boris Nemtsov just steps from the Kremlin marks a dramatic escalation of the Russian regime's long-running war on its opponents. Nemtsov, after all, wasn't merely a dissenting politician. He was part of the old system, having served as a deputy prime minister in the government of President Boris Yeltsin in the late 1990s. Beginning in the early 2000s, Nemtsov had moved into the political opposition, emerging as a critic of Yeltsin's successor, Vladimir Putin, and his policies. Even so, his position as a member of Yeltsin's inner circle had given him a degree of immunity from official retribution. Until now. Nemtsov's murder marks the end of impunity for former government officials who have fallen out of favor with Putin's government. And it proves that truly no one is safe from the reach of the current regime.

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What Americans Really Think About Iran's Nukes

February 26, 2015  •  The Hill

To hear the White House tell it, our nagging Iranian problem might soon be a thing of the past. As the March deadline for nuclear negotiations nears, administration officials and sympathetic onlookers have become increasingly optimistic about an impending breakthrough with the Islamic Republic over its atomic ambitions. The American public, however, isn't nearly so sure. Those are the conclusions of a new survey on global threats from the Gallup organization. The poll, carried out in early February, found that more than three-quarters (77 percent) of respondents viewed Iran's development of a nuclear capability as a "critical threat" to American security.

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Watch Africa In Fight Against ISIL

February 25, 2015  •  USA Today

It's a truism of broadcast media that "If it bleeds, it leads." The field of counterterrorism functions much the same way, which is why in recent months the Islamic State terrorist group have become the overwhelming focus of Western law enforcement and intelligence. Yet an equally significant security challenge is incubating in Africa, where local conditions have sown the seeds for the next stage of global terror.

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A Global Popularity Contest

February 25, 2015  •  The National Interest

Is Russia making a global comeback in spite of Western sanctions and political pressure from the United States and Europe? On the surface, it certainly seems like it. Earlier this month, Russian president Vladimir Putin paid a very public two-day visit to Egypt, cementing the burgeoning strategic partnership he has diligently cultivated with the regime of Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. The lavish reception he received—complete with street placards bearing his likeness and wall-to-wall coverage in the Egyptian press—left no questions about Cairo's attitudes toward the Kremlin. New political forces on the Old Continent, like Greece's recently elected left-wing Syriza government, have likewise embraced an increasingly pro-Russian outlook. And the Russian leader apparently enjoys massive popularity in China, where his biography is a bestseller and his authoritarian political style is the subject of serious study. All of which led Foreign Policy magazine to dub Putin the "new model dictator," and the gold standard for autocrats everywhere. Perhaps he is. But look a bit closer, and you're liable to find that Russia's recent geopolitical advances are very much the exception rather than the norm. A year into the Kremlin's asymmetric campaign in Ukraine, its global image—and its alliances—is much the worse for wear.

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Ukraine: The West Has Promises To Keep

February 24, 2015  •  National Review Online

At a summit meeting in Minsk, Belarus, on February 12, Russia and Ukraine agreed anew to a cessation of hostilities in the year-old conflict between them. On hearing the news, Washington and other Western capitals let out a collective sigh of relief. But there was good reason from the start to be skeptical that the ceasefire would hold.

That's because the new ceasefire is strikingly similar to the one struck between Kyiv and Moscow back in September. That agreement was flouted by the Kremlin, which continued to prop up pro-Russia separatists operating in eastern Ukraine with troops and significant amounts of war matériel.

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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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