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Periods of Respite & Routine of Hostility in Rivalries: The Arab-Israel Conflict

Thu, August 31, 8:00 to 9:30am, Parc 55, Balboa


This study explores how rival states interact in the absence of militarized disputes. For example, what happens in the period after Israel and Syria stop cross-border fire but before new fighting erupts? Existing research often overlooks such questions or implicitly assumes that the intervals between repeated confrontation are periods of peace. I challenge this assumption and argue that hostile actions characterize periods between repeated militarized disputes. Based on the “linked conflict” logic of the enduring rivalries approach, I first theorize how and why rivals are expected to interact in the absence of military confrontations. I then examine the occurrence and severity of hostile interactions between rival states in the Arab-Israel conflict from 1948 to 2010. I consider the entire conflict process, which includes both militarized disputes, as in previous studies, and hostility during the periods between repeated disputes. The study uses Maoz’s Dyadic MID 3.1 data, and events databases, including COPDAB 1948–78 (Azar 1980), WEIS 1966–78 (McClelland 1999), 10 Million International Dyadic Events 1990-2004 (King and Lowe 2008), and ICEWS 1995-2015 (Boschee et al. 2015). The study shows that hostile interactions between rivals continue even with termination of militarized disputes. Understanding how rival states spend breaks between military confrontations can provide new insights on conflict processes in rivalries, including the processes of recurrent militarized disputes.