With mounting casualties, an expanding humanitarian crisis, and rising global political tensions, the question of how the war between Israel and Hamas might end is on everyone’s mind. To learn more, I reached out to Barbara F. Walter, who is the Rohr Professor of International Affairs at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego and one of the world’s leading experts on civil wars, violent extremism, and domestic terror.
Barbara recently wrote a New York Times bestseller “How Civil Wars Start and How to Stop Them.” But earlier in her career she wrote extensively on how civil wars end. For example, in an influential article in the journal International Organization she documented how parties in a civil war almost always fight until the end unless an outside power steps in to guarantee a peace agreement.
We talked about how the Israel-Hamas war can indeed be understood as a kind of civil war, why she expects Israel to fight until the finish, and what role various outside powers could play in ending the violence. We also discussed how the Oct. 7 terror attack and the war have affected Israeli domestic politics.