Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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Morocco's Liberal Challengers

October 5, 2016  •  Foreign Affairs

Ilyas El Omari is on the offensive. The bespectacled 49-year-old activist who heads Morocco's Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) has spent years honing PAM's political message and worldview. Now, with the Kingdom heading into what is shaping up to be a decisive general election on October 7, Omari senses a political opening. In recent months, the liberal PAM has steadily risen in prominence, emerging as the most significant sustained challenge to the prevailing conservative and religious status quo in Moroccan politics. Its success is all the more striking given its relative youth. The party was founded just over seven years ago, in February 2009. Its relatively sudden rise thus suggests that a major shift is underway in Moroccan politics.

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Mother Russia Is Still Struggling With Demography

October 3, 2016  •  The Moscow Times

How healthy is Russia, really? Over the past several years, the official narrative of Vladimir Putin's government has been clear and consistent: thanks to firm leadership, the demographic problems that once plagued Russia and the Soviet Union are now effectively a thing of the past. A close reading of the pace of Russia's population, however, suggests a very different state of affairs. Propelled by persistent and deeply adverse trends, Russia's population is today in major decline - with potentially catastrophic consequences for the country and its place in the world.

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Egypt's Economy Is In Big Trouble

September 29, 2016  •  The National Interest

Three years ago this summer, Egyptians took to the streets en masse to vent their frustration at the government of then president Mohamed Morsi. The source of their discontent was the widespread economic stagnation and ideologically driven policies that came to punctuate Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood–dominated government. The result was nothing short of a counterrevolution, as Morsi was ousted by the country's powerful military in an almost-coup led by his then minister of defense, Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. But now, Egypt's post-Islamist government is facing a remarkably similar situation. Beset by worsening economic conditions and rising discontent among the country's youth, the Egyptian regime, now headed by Sisi, is decidedly on the skids—with potentially dire consequences for the country, and the region as a whole.

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Iran And The New Monroe Doctrine

September 2, 2016  •  Foreign Affairs

In Washington, conventional wisdom has long held that Iran's presence south of the U.S. border constitutes little more than an axis of annoyance. In this telling, Iran's activities in Central and South America - from numerous commercial and trade deals with various nations to the establishment of cultural centers throughout the region - are disorganized, opportunistic, and ultimately of little consequence. That narrative has proved remarkably persistent, and - in part as a result - Washington has historically paid scant attention to Iran's presence in the hemisphere. But there is ample evidence to the contrary in the form of Iran's strategic cooperation with the region's anti-American regimes, and in well-documented instances of Iranian-sponsored subversion organized there and aimed at U.S. interests and allies. Now, with the Islamic Republic increasingly unfettered from sanctions as a result of last year's nuclear deal with the West, there are unmistakable signs that it is widening its presence in the Americas in earnest.

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Iran Agreement Won't Stop Growing Menace From Foe

August 31, 2016  •  Orlando Sentinel

Years from now, historians are sure to view the nuclear deal concluded last year between Iran and the P5+1 powers - the U.S., U.K., Russia, China, France and Germany - as the greatest foreign policy achievement of President Obama's second term. But it is far less clear that they will see the agreement as having advanced America's strategic interests. The deal, after all, isn't designed to be a lasting solution to Iran's nuclear ambitions. Most of its provisions become defunct after just a decade, while some (such as curbs on Iran's development of ballistic missiles, a key delivery system for nuclear weapons) expire even sooner. Moreover, even during the time that the agreement is in force, Iran will be able to continue advanced research and development on key nuclear technologies. And it will do so with international assistance, because under the terms of the deal the P5+1 powers have pledged to help Iran master key processes (like the fabrication of nuclear fuel) and strengthen its atomic infrastructure (for example, by enhancing the physical security of its nuclear sites). All of which means that Iran will be able to continue critical work on its nuclear program, even if it is forced to do so at a slower pace. As a result, when the terms of the agreement expire, experts say that the Islamic Republic will be significantly closer to nuclear "breakout" than it is today. But even before then, the nuclear deal will significantly expand the danger posed by the Islamic Republic.

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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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