Complex Effects of International Relations

Intended and Unintended Consequences of Human Actions in Middle East Conflicts

By Ofer Israeli

Subjects: International Relations, Middle East Studies, Middle East Politics
Series: SUNY series, James N. Rosenau series in Global Politics
Paperback : 9781438479385, 310 pages, July 2021
Hardcover : 9781438479392, 310 pages, November 2020

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Table of contents


Part I: Theoretical Background

1. Researching Complex Effects of International Relations

2. Complex Effects of International Relations: Introduction

3. Complex Effects of International Relations: Causality

Part II: The Complexity of Unintended Consequences: Rebound Results

4. The June 1967 Six-Day War and Its Rebound Result: The 1973 War

5. Israel's Nuclear Amimut Policy: Prevented the Dire Rebound Results of Arms Race

Part III: The Complexity of Unintended Consequences: Derivative Products

6. The October 1973 Yom Kippur War: Link to Israeli‑Egyptian Peace Agreement

7. Abadan/AJAX‑Suez Hidden Linkage

Part IV: The Complexity of Intended Consequences

8. Circuitous Relationships Between Military Results and Political Outcomes: The October 1973 Yom Kippur War

9. The Circuitous Nature of Operation AJAX

Conclusion: Complex Effects of International Relations in Practice


Identifies the many ways in which unexpected outcomes are endemic to international relations due to the complexity of world politics.


In this comprehensive and unique theory-practice study, Ofer Israeli examines complex effects of international relations relating to various indirect—intended and unintended—consequences of intentional human action. These effects may be desirable or undesirable, overt or covert, anticipated or surprising, foreseeable but unanticipated, and anticipated but simultaneously neglected or discounted. Israeli focuses on six case studies from the Middle East, analyzing the unexpected and accidental results of interventions in this region by the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western powers during the Cold War. From this research, he develops a complex-causal mechanism or practical tool that countries may use to implement foreign policy, with the goal of reducing the number of conflicts and wars globally, especially in the Middle East.

Ofer Israeli is a Lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and a Senior Lecturer at Ashkelon Academic College. He also teaches at the Israel Defense Forces Academy for Strategic Commanders, the Israeli Air Force Academy, and the Israeli Naval Academy. His books include International Relations Theory of War.


"Ofer Israeli, in this book, offers us an original and encompassing study of the complex effects of international relations, elucidating for readers the intended and unintended consequences of human action … Israeli offers a rich texture in the case studies he provides working through such an innovative and fresh perspective on the problem." — ID: International Dialogue

"…an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, university library Contemporary International Relations collections in general, and Middle Eastern Studies supplemental curriculum lists in particular." — Midwest Book Review

"An international relations theory stunner. Relying on key concepts of complexity theory and based on penetrating and comprehensive case studies focusing on the international politics of the Middle East, this exceptionally conceived and researched book is one of the most ambitious studies of dynamic complex international systems since Robert Jervis's System Effects." — Emanuel Adler, author of World Ordering: A Social Theory of Cognitive Evolution

"Statesmen make critical decisions amid intense pressure and daunting uncertainties. They almost always do so with incomplete information and uncertainty of outcomes. With these contingencies in mind, Ofer Israeli's new book offers a welcome and provocative treatment of the intended and unintended consequences of human actions in Middle East conflicts." — Robert J. Lieber, author of Retreat and Its Consequences: American Foreign Policy and the Problem of World Order