Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

A Moment Of Truth For Morocco

April 14, 2021  •  Newsweek

What a difference a few months can make. Back in December, the Kingdom of Morocco became the fourth Arab nation to join the Abraham Accords when it agreed to begin normalizing relations with Israel. The move was backed by the outgoing Trump administration, which contributed a crucial piece of the puzzle: formal U.S. recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the long-contested territory of the Western Sahara. Today, however, the kingdom finds itself on tenterhooks as the Biden administration ponders whether to honor its predecessor's commitments. Since taking office in late January, the new White House has launched a comprehensive review of a range of Trump-era policies. In the realm of foreign affairs, such reevaluations have already yielded significant changes, including a reversal of the "maximum pressure" approach toward Iran and a more punitive policy vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia. And while some things have not changed—for instance, a U.S. commitmentto great-power competition with China—the new administration's policy shifts have profoundly unsettled many of America's international partners, Morocco among them.

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China Chooses Sides In The Middle East

March 29, 2021  •  Al-Hurra Digital

China's geopolitical ambitions in the Middle East took a giant leap forward over the weekend, when Chinese and Iranian officials convened in Tehran to formally sign a massive new cooperation agreement. The summit, which took place during a state visit to the Islamic Republic by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, codifies a trend that has been in the works for some time: a major strategic alignment between Beijing and Tehran.

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Iranians Are Looking Beyond Ayatollahs And The Islamic Republic

March 24, 2021  •  The Washington Times

What happens when most of your population wants you to go out of business? For Iran's ayatollahs, the answer may come sooner rather than later, as evidence mounts that the captive population they control is seeking fundamental change. Just how much is showcased in the most recent survey of Iranian attitudes by GAMAAN, the Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in Iran. The GAMAAN poll of over 20,000 Iranians in 31 provinces, carried out last month, found that some 53% of respondents self-identified as outright proponents of regime change, while an additional 26% supported "structural transformation and transition away from the Islamic Republic." By contrast, merely a fifth (21%) of those polled by the Netherlands-based center expressed support for the principles undergirding the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Islamic Revolution or said they preferred to work within the current system in order to amend it.

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Iran's Opposition Is Sending Washington A Message

March 15, 2021  •  Newsweek

Something profound is taking shape inside Iran. Mere months from the country's next presidential election, and in the midst of a U.S. push for reengagement with its clerical regime, recent days have seen new signs of life from—and coordination among—Iran's notoriously fragmented opposition. As The Foreign Desk first reported, a new civic campaign launched by dissidents inside Iran has begun to percolate among opposition elements both inside and outside the country. The grassroots effort, dubbed "No to the Islamic Republic" (and boasting a distinctive graphic and anthem) has emerged in recent days in Iran's bazaars and public places in the form of pamphlets, graffiti and other media. Since then, Iran's former crown prince, Reza Pahlavi, as well as hundreds of influential artists, musicians and cultural personalities, have embraced its call for an abolition of clerical rule.

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Biden Has A Mandate To Compete With China

March 10, 2021  •  The Hill

Will he or won't he? Since the very start of President Biden's term in office, speculation has swirled about whether his administration — which is now busy reshaping U.S. policy toward the Middle East and Europe — will stay the course when it comes to the People's Republic of China (PRC). The indicators are mixed. During its tenure, the Trump administration made the idea of "great power competition" with the PRC a central tenet of its foreign policy, codifying it in multiple national level documents and strategic directives. President Biden, in turn, has declared publicly that the United States needs to pursue "long-term strategic competition" with China. But lingering worries remain that the White House, faced with competing strategic priorities, will back away from such a commitment in order to secure Beijing's cooperation on issues such as climate change or a new nuclear deal with Iran. Notably, however, such horse-trading would run counter to the will of the American people, who are now more inclined than ever to view China as an adversary and competitor.

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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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