Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

Why Iran Fears Its Women

August 13, 2019  •  The National Interest

In late July, Mousa Ghazanfarabadi, the conservative head of Tehran's Revolutionary Court, announced publicly that the Iranian regime had identified a new "hostile government" with whom interaction was henceforth banned, punishable by up to a decade in prison. That entity wasn't the Trump administration, which has launched an escalating campaign of economic pressure against the Islamic Republic over the past year. That entity wasn't Israel, which Iranian officials have blamed over the years for everything from promoting global homosexuality to using pigeons as nuclear spies. Rather, the target of the blacklisting was a petite forty-two-year-old Iranian-American activist named Masih Alinejad.

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A Resilient ISIS Roars Back

August 12, 2019  •  Al-Hurra Digital

This Spring, U.S.-backed opposition forces retook the last remnant of Syrian territory still under the control of the Islamic State, marking the formal end of the terrorist group's short-lived experiment in statehood. Yet, less than half-a-year later, ISIS is already poised for a significant comeback. That's the conclusion of the latest report to Congress of the Pentagon's Office of Inspector General (OIG) on "Operation Inherent Resolve," as U.S.-led counterterrorism efforts against the Islamic State are known. The study, released publicly in early August and covering the period of April 1st to June 30th, assesses that over the past several months ISIS both "solidified its insurgent capabilities in Iraq and was resurging in Syria."

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Tehran's Risky Maritime Maneuver

July 23, 2019  •  Radio Farda

Last week, Iran raised the stakes in its intensifying standoff with the West still further when it seized a British oil tanker and briefly detained another British vessel in the Persian Gulf.

To hear regime officials tell it, the seizure was fully justified – a simple enforcement of the country's sovereign rights under international law. But there's ample reason to believe that, contrary to Tehran's claims, the British ships were not in fact encroaching on Iranian territorial waters, and the move was instead intended as a political signal to London and other Western capitals.

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The "China Model" Comes To The Middle East

July 17, 2019  •  Al-Hurra Digital

For Middle Eastern nations, China's expanding stake in the region ranks as one of the most consequential, albeit underreported, trends of recent years. Already, Beijing's growing foothold is beginning to reshape regional markets, as local governments reorient their economies to take advantage of Chinese investment. But the PRC's presence might end up coming at a high political price, because the proliferation of Chinese influence – and the spread of its model of technologically-empowered censorship – could reinforce some of the worst political impulses of the region's autocrats. Less than a decade ago, Chinese engagement with the Middle East was confined to just two priorities: the sale of arms to weapons-hungry regional clients and the acquisition of Gulf energy to fuel its ongoing economic expansion. But the last several years have witnessed an explosion of China's interest in, and involvement with, the region.

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Trump's Strategy Is Turning Europe Against Iran

July 11, 2019  •  The Hill

It's hardly a secret that European leaders dislikeDonald Trump. Over the past two years, the U.S. President's divisive personal style, and his confrontational rhetoric on everything from Europe's deficient defense spending to bilateral trade, have severely strained trans-Atlantic relations. And yet, on at least one issue — Iran — European countries are slowly but surely drifting into alignment with the White House, even if they are doing so grudgingly.

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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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