14 Items

a cameraman films Aramco's oil processing facility after the recent Sept. 14 attack

AP/Amr Nabil, File

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Saudi-Iranian Agreement is a Positive Development, but Not a Game-changer

| Mar. 16, 2023

Daniel Sobelman argues that the Middle East is today characterized by a deep geopolitical competition over the region's political order and orientation. This reality is the result of the failure, over the past two and a half decades or so, to establish a Western-oriented regional order on the one hand, and the rise of a regional strategic camp seeking to introduce an anti-Western order, whose core values are "resistance" to U.S. influence and the rejection of Israel's existence, on the other hand.

People inspect the wreckage of buildings that were damaged by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

AP Photo/Hani Mohammed

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Significance of the Iran-Saudi Arabia Agreement Brokered by China

Belfer Center experts on the U.S.-China relationship and Middle East issues shared thoughts on the significance of the unexpected Iran-Saudi Arabia agreement brokered by China. 

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks to members of the media

Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool

Journal Article - Contemporary Security Policy

Coercive Disclosure: The Weaponization of Public Intelligence Revelation in International Relations

| 2023

Can intelligence serve as a coercive instrument in international relations? While coercion literature mostly addresses military and economic means, this article argues that coercion can also include the deliberate public disclosure of intelligence. Intelligence can be employed to threaten adversaries, reduce their latitude, and force them to adjust their plans and operations

British Foreign Minister Lord Edward Halifax, left, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, back to camera, shaking hands with French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier.


Journal Article - Cooperation and Conflict

Re-conceptualizing Triangular Coercion in International Relations

| 2022

By forcing an otherwise uninvolved intermediary to align with the coercer, a coercer can alter the balance of vulnerability vis-à-vis its otherwise resilient target and enhance its susceptibility to coercion, albeit by extension. Existing scholarship tackles triangular coercion from different angles and mostly focuses on actor typology. This article seeks to promote scholars' and policymakers' understanding of this strategy by proposing a conceptual model that distills its logic into the abstract components of vulnerability, resilience, and leverage.

Thaad north korea alaska

US Defense Department

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Lessons for the U.S. from Israel’s Iran Experience

| Aug. 21, 2017

In its attempts to deter North Korea from developing the capability to credibly threaten the continental United States with a nuclear weapon, Washington now finds itself in a crueler version of the strategic dilemma Israel faced in 2011 amid what it saw—or at least presented—as a closing operational window of opportunity to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. In his piece for Iran Matters, Daniel Sobelman argues that the basic structure of the crisis between the United States and North Korea is analogous to the challenge Israel faced when trying to dissuade or stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Learning to Deter: Deterrence Failure and Success in the Israel-Hezbollah Conflict, 2006–16


Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Learning to Deter: Deterrence Failure and Success in the Israel-Hezbollah Conflict, 2006–16

| Winter 2016/17

Comparing Israel and Hezbollah’s interactions before and after the 2006 Lebanon War offers insights into the sources of deterrence stability. Since 2006, Israel and Hezbollah have learned to apply rational deterrence theory. Careful communication of capabilities and resolve has contributed to a decade without war. This history also illustrates how a weak actor can deter a stronger adversary by minimizing its own vulnerability and maximizing that of its opponent.

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Daniel Sobelman: Learning to Listen to the “Other Side”

  • Bridget Reed Morawski
| Fall/Winter 2015-2016

A graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a former correspondent for the newspaper Ha’aretzDaniel Sobelman arrived at the Belfer Center in the summer of 2014 at a time when Israel was embattled in a confrontation with Hamas. Large portions of the country were coming under daily rocket fire from Gaza....

At the Belfer Center, Sobelman is researching the conceptual and military implications of “asymmetric conflicts,” focusing on the evolution of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.


Tipping the Balance?

| December 2015

Standing before the United States Congress early in March 2015, in the face of a looming deadline in the Iran and P5+1 talks over the Iranian nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu portrayed the negotiations in stark terms. Drawing a direct parallel between biblical plots to persecute Jews in pre-Islamic Persia and modern Iran’s nuclear program, Netanyahu framed Iran as nothing less than an existential threat to Israel. Anything short of a practical dismantling of Iranian nuclear infrastructure would be unacceptable. Largely perceived as an attempt to undermine President Barack Obama’s efforts to reach a negotiated settlement with Iran, Netanyahu’s actions thus proved quite contentious inside the United States.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Hezbollah's Friends in Yemen are Trying to Lure the Saudis into a Ground War

| June 12, 2015

Daniel Sobelman, research fellow with the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, writes in Foreign Policy that the Houthi rebels in Yemen are following a similar operational strategy to the one pursued by Hezbollah during its 2006 war with Israel. He argues that the Houthis share operational links with Hezbollah. These links between the organizations can be best discerned by analyzing the rhetoric of Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, who has stated that Hezbollah's fight against Israel in 2006 provides a model for organizations and groups operating against militarily superior forces. In this model, the actions of the Houthis to attack Saudi border towns and garrisons are part of a broader strategy of forcing Saudi Arabia to deescalate its air campaign or force it to engage with ground forces, an outcome that would favor the Houthis. He concludes that while it is impossible to know what the exact effects of the Houthi retaliatory measures against Saudi targets, it is clear that more than air power will needed to end the Houthi threat to Saudi Arabia.