Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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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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Crisis and Opportunity in U.S. Mideast Policy

May 2022  •  National Institute for Public Policy Occasional Paper

A great debate is underway in American foreign policy: a tug-or-war over the extent of U.S. interests in—and American engagement with—the Middle East. To some, the region has come to be seen as a "purgatory" that continues to leech valuable resources and national attention.[1] Others have contended that "the Middle East isn't worth it any more," and Washington should downsize its regional presence to a more modest and sustainable footprint.[2] Still others have argued that, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, engagement in the Middle East represents an "unnecessary expensive and wasteful" venture which should be terminated altogether.[3]

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How Not To Counter Disinformation

May 5, 2022  •  Newsweek

The Biden administration's unveiling, last week, of a new "Disinformation Governance Board" at the Department of Homeland Security touched off a firestorm of controversy within the Washington beltway. In the aftermath of the botched rollout, political opponents of the administration have decried the effort as an Orwellian exercise in thought control and moved to defund it, while White House officials have scrambled to reshape perceptions that have spun wildly out of control. But the frosty reception the new board is receiving should hardly have come as a surprise. The effort was bound to misfire, for at least four reasons.

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Russia's New Iron Curtain

April 3, 2022  •  National Review

A new iron curtain is descending upon Russia. Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, Western media outlets are closing up shop in the country, independent Russian outlets are being shuttered, and the last embers of press freedom are being extinguished. On March 5, U.S.-government broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) announced that it was suspending operations inside Russia after local tax authorities initiated bankruptcy proceedings against its Russian office. The move was the culmination of a long-running Kremlin campaign to impede and interrupt the outlet's operations. RFE/RL is hardly the only Western media outlet to withdraw from Russia. A slew of other print and media sources, from the New York Times to the BBC to Germany's ARD radio-and-television consortium, have all suspended their operations there as well. Others, such as the Washington Post, have changed the way they operate in Russia — hiding sources, obscuring bylines, and taking other measures in order to stay in business.

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Israel Considers Its Iran Options

April 1, 2022  •  Al Hurra Digital

For more than a year, reversing the "maximum pressure" policy of its predecessor and hammering out some sort of nuclear compromise with Iran has been the centerpiece of the Biden administration's Mideast policy. The resulting negotiations have been watched intently by regional governments, and their scrutiny has intensified in recent weeks as Washington and Tehran have neared a breakthrough. But no country is observing the ongoing talks more closely than Israel – and no nation is contemplating a more drastic potential overhaul of its security posture as a result of them.

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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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