Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

The Logic of Israel's Laser Wall

June 23, 2022  •  National Institute for Public Policy Information Series No. 526

In early February, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced a major new defense initiative when, in an address to Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Strategic Studies, he laid out his administration's plans for a "laser wall" to protect the country from rockets, missiles and UAVs. "In about a year, the IDF will launch a laser interception system," Bennett explained. "At first experimentally and later it will become operational. First in the south and then elsewhere. This will allow us, in the medium to long term, to surround Israel with a laser wall that protects us from missiles, rockets, UAVs and other threats."[1] The announcement marked the public unveiling of a capability that has been an area of intense focus for the Israeli government and industry for some time, with hundreds of millions of shekels allocated to its development to date. It represents an attempt to address what has become a long-standing problem: the war of economic attrition being waged against Israel by Hamas and other militants.

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Africa's Coming Food Crisis – And How To Help Alleviate It

June 20, 2022  •  Al Hurra Digital

Earlier this month, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme issued a grim new report examining the increasingly precarious state of global food security. Its conclusions were simple, and stark: Africa is facing a full-blown food crisis as regional stocks dwindle and global disorder mounts. Of the more than twenty "hunger hotspots" identified by the study, the overwhelming majority are located in Africa. They include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where some 26 million people are expected to be in food crisis by this summer, as well as Nigeria, where 12% of the population – roughly 19.5 million people – will be. Other regional states, such as Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somalia similarly have millions facing a food emergency. The causes are manifold, and include persistent regional drought conditions, civil strife and weak governance. But it's undeniable that Russia's war in Ukraine has made matters much, much worse.

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The Ukraine War Has Become A Waiting Game

June 7, 2022  •  Newsweek

The trajectory of the war in Ukraine, now in its fourth month, can be characterized by one word: patience. The early phases of the conflict saw an unprecedented show of Western unity against Russia's aggression, buoyed by Moscow's dramatic military missteps and battlefield blunders, as well as by Ukraine's surprising strategic and informational competence. There can be little doubt that, if Russian forces had managed to rapidly overrun Ukraine's capitol, Kyiv, or other major cities, as many had expected, the global conversation would have rapidly shifted toward pressing Ukraine into some sort of accommodation with the Kremlin. But Moscow's offensive didn't go according to plan, and the sputtering Russian war effort provided an opening for successive rounds of U.S. and European sanctions that have cumulatively devastated the Russian economy, caused the country's stock market to tank, precipitated an exodus of foreign corporations and wiped out decades of post-Cold War economic progress. As yet, however, those measures have not caused the Kremlin to reverse course or give up on its war aims. So Europe is now ratcheting up the pressure still further. Late last month, after weeks of deliberation and debate, the European Union passed a sixth package of sanctions targeting Russia. The new measures include a phased oil embargo that would curb nearly all European imports of Russian oil by the end of this year. Clearly, the hope in Brussels and other EU capitals is that, over time, this added pressure will blunt Moscow's war effort by finally making continued aggression against Ukraine a financially and politically unsustainable venture.

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A Paradigm Shift For The Russian-Iranian Alliance

May 28, 2022  •  Al Hurra Digital

The longstanding strategic partnership between Moscow and Tehran is changing. In recent days, the Kremlin and Iran's clerical regime reportedly agreed to deepen their cooperation in a number of ways. The understandings, concluded during Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak's most recent state visit to Iran, are said to include plans for new energy swaps and the establishment of a transportation and logistics hub to facilitate trade between the two countries. These are arrangements in which, by all indications, Iran will serve as the senior partner while Russia plays the role of supplicant.

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News Flash: The Islamic Republic Is Far From Popular

May 24, 2022  •  Newsweek

Just how durable is Iran's clerical regime, really? For years, Iran's ayatollahs have worked diligently to convince the world that their Islamic revolution is a popular—and permanent—enterprise. The reality, however, is very different. Forty-three years after the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Islamic Revolution swept the shah of Iran from power and turned that country from an erstwhile ally into an implacable adversary of the United States, the legitimacy of its radical ideology is clearly waning. That's the conclusion of the newest survey published by the Netherlands-based GAMAAN institute. The poll, the results of which were released in late March, asked nearly 20,000 Iranians (most of them inside the country) about their political preferences and their thoughts regarding the system that should ideally govern their country. The responses were striking—and amounted to a profound repudiation of Iran's clerical regime and its priorities.

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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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