Current Research Projects:

My current research examines the changing nature of warfare in the Middle East today, particularly the American transition to counterinsurgency doctrine in Iraq and Afghanistan, the similarities between recent Israeli and American warfighting strategies and techniques, the rise of networked forms of organization and war-fighting and the evolution of “asymmetrical” tactics such as suicide bombings and car-bombings.  

The New Landscape of War in the Middle East:  Israel, America and Asymmetric War

I am working on a book project based on a series of articles I have written over the past few years that have investigated new practices, techniques and strategies of war-fighting in the Middle East.  This project traces the emergence of a new paradigm of asymmetric war-fighting that is being used by both Israel and the United States  and the rise of novel insurgent asymmetric strategies and tactics.  This research focuses on developments derived from the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) paradigm of high-tech network-centric warfare, some elements from classical counterinsurgency doctrine, and new techniques of biopower and spatial incarceration.  The project also examines the evolution of insurgent tactics, techniques and strategies that have developed in conjunction and in response, such as car-bombs, suicide bombings, IEDs and tunneling, as well as network-centric modes of organizing.  Case studies include:  American Special Forces operations undertaken by JSOC (Joint Special Operation Command); American Drone Warfare; Israel’s Separation Barrier and American wall-building in Iraq after 2007; the Israel-Hezbollah war of 2006; Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip in 2009, 2012 and 2014; the rise of Female Suicide Bombings in the Middle East and beyond; and other topics.

Israel’s Occupation, Military Violence and Palestinian Suicide Bombings

I have been writing a book on the history and strategy of Palestinian suicide bombings and their relationship to Israeli military violence.  While suicide bombings are often portrayed as individual and random acts of fanaticism or desperation, leading to an excessive focus on the “mind of the suicide bomber,” current research on suicide bombings shows that they are actually highly organized and patterned and frequently the product of a deliberate strategy by militant groups to both inflict costs on Israel and to mobilize popular support for their organizations.

Recent Conference Participation

Steve presented a paper at the Wars Beyond Wars workshop hosted by the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Colgate University in late March 2012 on new forms of American special operations warfare that will be published as part of the workshop proceedings and in an edited volume.

Steve participated in the “Shifting Borders:  American and the Middle East” conference held at The American University in Beirut in 2012, and presented his current research project on American special operations warfare entitled “Disappearing Warfare:  JSOC and the Dark Arts of the New American Counterinsurgency.” 

Steve participated in the annual Middle East Studies Association (MESA) conference in Fall, 2011 in Washington D.C.

Recent Publications

Book Reviews

Shadow Authority:  A Review of Surveillance and Control in Israel/Palestine: Population, Territory, and Power by by Elia Zureik; David Lyon; Yasmeen Abu-Laban in Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 41, no. 1, Autumn 2011.

Review of:  Zeev Maoz, Defending the Holy Land:  A Critical Analysis of Israel’s Security and Foreign Policy.  Journal of Palestine Studies, Jan 2008, Vol. 37, No. 2: 110-111.

Review of:  Peter Ezra Weinberger, Co-opting the PLO: A Critical Reconstruction of the Oslo Accords. Journal of Palestine Studies, Apr 2007, Vol. 36, No. 3: 102-104.

Review of Beyond Peace:  The Search for Security in the Middle East by Robert Bowker, Middle East Studies Association Bulletin (1998).

Review of After Colonialism:  Imperial Histories and Postcolonial Displacements, ed., Gyan Prakash, Millennium:  Journal of International Studies, vol. 25, no. 2, Summer.

Recent Articles

The ISIS Shock Doctrine,” The Immanent Frame, SSRC: Religion and Public Sphere, February 20, 2015.   

“Man-hunting in Africa,” Middle East Report, Blog, Nov. 18, 2013.

Disappearing Violence: JSOC and the Pentagon’s New Cartography of Networked Warfare,” Security Dialogue, 2013, Vol. 44, No. 3. 

“Israel’s ‘Operation Mow the Lawn’,” Middle East Report, Blog. December 7, 2012.

“The Matrix Comes to Libya,” Middle East Report, Blog, November 2, 2012.

Drawing the Wrong Lessons From Israel’s 2006 War in Lebanon,” in Middle East Report, Summer 2010. 

Laboratory of the Extreme:  Spatial Warfare and the New Geography of Israel’s Occupation,” in Logos:  A Journal of Modern Society and Culture, 2010, Vol. 9, Issue 1.  

Why suicide bombers are back in Iraq,” Asia Times (on-line), May 7, 2009.  

Martyrdom’s Strategy:  Iraq’s Suicide Bombers Target Obama’s Withdrawal Strategy,” Foreign Policy in Focus, May 5, 2009. 

Losing Hearts and Minds:  Israel’s Futile Way of War,” Seattle Times, January 16, 2009. 

War of Choice:  How Israel Manufactured the Gaza Escalation,” Foreign Policy in Focus, January 7, 2009. 

“Walling Off Iraq:  Israel’s Imprint on U.S. Counterinsurgency Doctrine,” Middle East Policy, Volume XV, Fall 2008, Number 3.

Behind the Surge in Iraqi Women Suicide Bombers,” Foreign Policy in Focus, August 11, 2008. 

The New Walls of Baghdad:  How the U.S. is Reproducing Israel’s Flawed Occupation Strategies in Iraq,” Foreign Policy in Focus, April 21, 2008.  

Behind the Current Israeli Escalation in Gaza:  Questions and Answers,” Dissident Voice, March 7, 2008. 

Counterinsurgency American Style:  The Symptomatic Case of Brian Baird’s Pro-War Conversion Counterpunch, October 17, 2007.

Baird’s visit to Iraq must have included trip to ‘Spin City’,” Tacoma News Tribune, October 7, 2007.  

A Time-Table for Withdrawing from Iraq:  How to Solve a Problem Like Maria’sSeattle Times, June 15, 2006.  

“The Hole in the Wall,” Al-Ahram Weekly, August 15, 2004. “Dangerous Illusions:  Why Israel’s Wall Will Fail to Provide Security,” Electronic Intifada, August 6, 2004.

“Israel Ignores the Lessons of History,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 29, 2004.

“Israel’s Assassination Will Only Fuel More Suicide Bombings,” Counterpunch Magazine, March 24, 2004.

“Israel’s Assassination Policy:  Trigger for Latest Suicide Bombings?” Counterpunch Magazine, August 27, 2003.

“A War Without Balance:  Rachel Corrie, Nuha Sweidan and Israeli War Crimes,” Counterpunch Magazine and Common Dreams, March 17, 2003.

“Bombings, Provocations and the Cycle of Violence,” Peace Review:  A Journal of Social Justice, Vol 15, No. 1, March 2003.

“A Predictable Cycle of Violence,” Al-Ahram Weekly, 27 Feb. – 5 March 2003, Issue No. 627.