CSS Research and Policy Seminar with Polina Beliakova

The Center for Strategic Studies hosted a Research and Policy Seminar with Senior PhD Fellow Polina Beliakova on March 2. Beliakova presented her research on Israeli civil-military dynamics during the first intifada, which is a historical case study in her dissertation.

Beliakova’s research on Israel tests the claims of her novel framework of erosion of civilian control during intrastate conflict, and is based on a close examination of how the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) responded to its new mission in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The mission took the IDF outside the boundaries of what it understood as its traditional responsibilities, triggering insubordination and bringing IDF officers into electoral politics.

Critically, Beliakova argues—in line with her broader theoretical work—that decisions by civilians were the catalysts for the erosion in Israeli civil-military norms. Not only did civilian leaders assign new missions that challenged IDF expertise and its sense of corporateness, they also deferred decisions to the IDF and used military leadership as political cover.

Seminar participants reviewed and discussed the evidence Beliakova introduced, providing feedback and advice on the extensive sources invoked in the study. Participants also suggested modifications to the structure of the chapter to better tie its empirical analysis to the theoretical innovations running through the dissertation.

CSS looks forward to her research gaining wider attention, and the publication of her other, equally intriguing case studies.

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