Dalia Dassa Kaye

Photo of Dalia Kaye
Adjunct Political Scientist
Off Site Office

Education

Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. in political science, University of California, Berkeley

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Overview

Dalia Dassa Kaye is an adjunct political scientist at the RAND Corporation. She is also a senior fellow at UCLA's Burkle Center for International Relations. In 2020–2021 she was a visiting scholar at the Wilson Center. She served as the director of RAND’s Center for Middle East Public Policy 2012–2020. Before joining RAND in 2005, Kaye lived in The Netherlands where she was an advisor at the Dutch Foreign Ministry, a visiting professor at the University of Amsterdam and a research scholar at The Netherlands Institute of International Studies. Kaye began her academic career as assistant professor of political science and international affairs at The George Washington University. A life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she is the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including a Brookings Institution research fellowship and The John W. Gardner Fellowship for Public Service. Kaye publishes widely, including in outlets like The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Reuters, Al-Monitor, The National Interest, Newsweek, Survival, and the Washington Quarterly. She has appeared in many media outlets, including BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. She is the author of two books, Talking to the Enemy: Track Two Diplomacy in the Middle East and South Asia and Beyond the Handshake: Multilateral Cooperation in the Arab-Israeli Peace Process, as well as dozens of journal articles, op-eds, and RAND studies. Kaye earned her Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Senior Fellow, UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: ABC Online, Australia; Al Jazeera America; Al-Monitor; BBC News; The Centry Foundation; CNBC; CNN; CNN International; Deutsche Welle; Here and There, Santa Fe Public Radio; The Hill; Israel Policy Forum; KABC; KCBS-AM; KCRW-FM; KFI, Los Angeles; KPCC-FM; KQED; NPR News; NPR Weekend Edition Saturday; PRI, The World; UCLA News; United Press International; Voice of America; Xinhua News Agency

Commentary

  • Arms Proliferation and Control

    A Renewed Nuclear Deal With Iran: Turning Back the Clock?

    Diplomats from Europe, the United States, Russia, China, and Iran are in Vienna trying to revive the Iran nuclear agreement of 2015. But even if negotiations succeed, the post-deal environment could be much more unstable than it was seven years ago.

    Mar 4, 2022

    Los Angeles Times

  • International Economic Relations

    China Does Not Have to Be America's Enemy in the Middle East

    China and Iran made a deal in which China promised to boost its investment in Iranian infrastructure in exchange for a steady supply of oil. This uptick in Chinese influence does not necessarily erode U.S. power in the region. The United States may even find overlapping interests with China since both have a stake in containing conflicts and instability.

    Apr 19, 2021

    War on the Rocks

  • Nuclear Deterrence

    The Biden Administration Will Find It Difficult to Contain Israel and Iran's Escalating Tensions

    Iran is blaming Israel for a blackout at one of its nuclear research facilities. This attack is likely to complicate nuclear diplomacy and further erode trust between Tehran and Washington. Also, it may only incentivize Iran to advance its nuclear program.

    Apr 14, 2021

    The Washington Post Monkey Cage Blog

  • International Diplomacy

    Why Israel-UAE Deal Doesn't Merit the Hype

    Some have called the Israel-UAE normalization agreement a geopolitical earthquake. But the hyperbole is not warranted; this deal is unlikely to be a strategic game changer in the Middle East.

    Aug 18, 2020

    Al-Monitor

  • Low-Intensity Conflict

    An Israeli Escalation Against Iran?

    Israeli involvement in recent attacks on Iran would not be surprising, and more such attacks might be coming. However, Israel's bet that the Iranians will not respond is risky. It's hard to control escalation when things are so volatile, especially as hardline Iranian leaders may increase pressure to retaliate.

    Jul 15, 2020

    The Washington Post Monkey Cage Blog

  • Turkey

    A Way Forward for the United States and Turkey

    Relations between the United States and Turkey, while fraught with tension, must also align with a mutual interest in stability in the Middle East and preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It may be important for the region's stability and prosperity to find constructive ways for the United States to work with Turkey in the years ahead.

    Jul 9, 2020

    Al-Monitor

  • Middle East

    COVID-19 Impacts on Strategic Dynamics in the Middle East

    The pandemic is sure to have transformational effects everywhere, and the Middle East is no exception. But it's unlikely that the crisis will lead to new regional strategic dynamics. Rather, it's more likely to reinforce existing and largely negative trend lines.

    Mar 26, 2020

    The RAND Blog

  • International Diplomacy

    Peace with the Region Is Not a Peace Plan

    Acceptance of Israel from the broader Arab world will not resolve the dilemma of how the Israelis and the Palestinians can agree to live on the same land together. A viable plan for the future, one that is about real peace and not a one-sided political gambit, must recognize these realities.

    Feb 13, 2020

    Al-Monitor

  • Iran

    With Chaos in the Streets of Iran, Here's How the United States Could Help the Iranian People

    The Iranian people deserve American support. But current U.S. policies are hurting the cause that Iranians are fighting for while failing to achieve any strategic objectives.

    Dec 3, 2019

    Los Angeles Times

  • Israel

    Israel’s War with Iran May Be Going Too Far

    Israel has a right to defend itself from Iranian threats to its country. American leaders should consider balancing support for Israel's efforts to counter Iran with firm redlines about activities negatively impacting American interests.

    Sep 16, 2019

    The National Interest

  • Iran

    The Costs of Confrontation with Iran Are Mounting

    Even if the United States and Iran avoid a direct military clash, recent escalation and the U.S. maximum pressure campaign are exacting long-term costs for U.S. interests and regional stability in ways that may be difficult if not impossible to reverse.

    Jun 17, 2019

    The Hill

  • International Diplomacy

    The Warsaw Summit Is No Madrid

    The peace process begun in Madrid nearly 30 years ago showed promise, but ultimately stalled, and will need rethinking to adapt to today's Middle East. The world could use a worthy successor. The Warsaw summit probably isn't it.

    Feb 13, 2019

    New Republic

  • Lebanon

    Helping Lebanon Succeed Is More Than About Countering Iran

    As tensions increase on the Israeli-Lebanese border the possibility is growing that a confrontation with Iran may move from Syria to Lebanon. For the United States, turning its back on this small but strategically critical country and conflating U.S. interests in Lebanon solely with countering Iran could be short-sighted, and a missed opportunity at a time when the region has few.

    Jan 16, 2019

    The National Interest

  • Iran

    Bringing Back Sanctions Will Hurt U.S. Allies and Iran, but Will It Help the U.S.?

    What happens if leaving the Iran nuclear deal and applying “maximum pressure” doesn't lead Iran to change its behavior or the regime to collapse? The Trump administration may find that it's much easier to break a deal than to replace it with something better.

    Aug 7, 2018

    The Hill

  • U.S.-European Relations

    The Strategic Fallout of U.S. Withdrawal from the Iran Deal

    President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement. What will happen next? Friction between the United States and its European allies will likely increase, while Iran moves closer to China and Russia. Also, the resentment of a new generation of Iranians toward America is likely to grow.

    May 10, 2018

    The Hill

  • International Diplomacy

    Can Europe Save the Iran Nuclear Deal?

    In mid-January, President Trump threatened to withdraw from the Iran agreement if Europe does not “fix” it within four months. There are viable steps Europe could take to address Trump's concerns about the deal — on missile development, inspections, and sunset clauses. However, if the U.S. withdraws, Europe could still work with other international powers to keep the deal alive.

    Mar 12, 2018

    Reuters

  • International Diplomacy

    What to Make of Trump's Decision on Jerusalem

    While the Israeli-Palestinian issue is not a high priority in the Arab world today with all the other turmoil engulfing the region, not even the Trump administration's closest allies support the president's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. And it risks inflaming regional tension and increasing anti-American sentiment.

    Dec 28, 2017

    Jewish Journal

  • Nuclear Deterrence

    Decertifying the Iran Nuclear Deal Would Not Increase U.S. Leverage

    The Iran nuclear agreement is not perfect, but it is working. Iran is no longer on the brink of being able to produce a nuclear weapon as it was two years ago. The suggestion that decertifying would increase U.S. leverage to renegotiate and strengthen the agreement is unrealistic.

    Oct 5, 2017

    Jewish Journal

  • Middle East

    State Competition, Not Sectarianism, Key Driver of Middle East Politics

    Sectarianism is real and dangerous in the Middle East, but the region is more complicated. The next leaders in Iran and Saudi Arabia, under pressure from youthful populations and worsening economic challenges, may no longer see value in a costly sectarian agenda.

    Aug 3, 2017

    Axios

  • International Diplomacy

    Time for Quiet Diplomacy, Not Taking Sides

    Disputes within the Gulf Cooperation Council are inevitable given differing threat perceptions and political interests, but there is no reason for the U.S. to pursue policies that aggravate the differences and risk fueling greater instability. Instead, Washington could assure both sides that it will support any agreement they reach.

    Jun 7, 2017

    The National Interest

  • Middle East

    What to Expect in the Middle East: Q&A with Dalia Dassa Kaye

    Dalia Dassa Kaye explains why there's more to the Middle East than what appears in daily headlines, how RAND is working to help people in the region, and more.

    Apr 24, 2017

  • Syria

    The Limits of Going It Alone in Syria

    Very little on the ground in Syria has changed since the U.S. missile strikes against the Assad regime. To translate this military action into policy gains, it will be necessary to follow up with increased diplomatic coordination with international partners and institutions.

    Apr 18, 2017

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Security Cooperation

    Hidden Dangers of Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

    Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem would antagonize partners in the Islamic world who are key to fighting ISIS. And any potential cooperation that might have developed between Israel and Arab states over common concerns about Iran could suffer.

    Dec 28, 2016

    Newsweek

  • Iran

    RAND Experts Q&A on the Iran Nuclear Deal, One Year Later

    Looking back on the past year, five RAND experts respond to a series of critical questions about the Iran nuclear deal, its implementation, and potential challenges ahead.

    Jul 12, 2016

  • International Diplomacy

    The Iran Deal Is Working: What Now?

    U.S. policy will likely continue to balance the tensions between containing and deterring Iran with regional allies, while testing areas where engagement with Iran might either be unavoidable (as in Syria) or desirable (such as in counternarcotics cooperation or efforts to stabilize Afghanistan).

    Mar 9, 2016

    The National Interest

  • Iran

    A Better Deal for Iran

    It is critical for lawmakers to understand there will be serious consequences for rejecting the Iran deal. And those consequences look a lot worse for the United States and its partners than for Iran.

    Aug 24, 2015

    The Hill

  • International Diplomacy

    Peace in the Middle East: America's New Post-Iran Deal Challenge

    It is no surprise that the final Iran nuclear deal was met with opposition in Israel and Saudi Arabia. For all the talk about whether or not this is a good deal, negotiating with Iran was the original sin from their perspective.

    Jul 20, 2015

    The National Interest

  • Iran

    The Iran Nuclear Deal: RAND Experts Answer Questions About the Days Ahead

    Diplomats have reached a nuclear agreement with Iran. Now, the United States faces important policy decisions that will help shape the days ahead and the relationship that emerges between Iran and the other parties involved.

    Jul 14, 2015

  • International Diplomacy

    Here's What Will Happen If the Iran Deal Falls Through

    Even a strong nonproliferation agreement that prevents all pathways toward the Iranian bomb won't magically transform the Middle East. But on balance, the region would be better off with a good nuclear deal than without one.

    Jul 7, 2015

    Foreign Affairs

  • Iran

    Don't Call It a Shakeup: Why the Nuclear Deal Won't Change U.S. Regional Politics

    The United States can't wait for a final nuclear deal with Iran to begin thinking through how to manage its aftermath. The challenges ahead are already clear. Washington should prepare for them by setting aside old formulas that have failed to advance stability.

    Apr 10, 2015

    Foreign Affairs

  • Iran

    RAND Experts Q&A on the Iran Nuclear Framework

    President Barack Obama hailed last week's framework for an Iranian nuclear accord as a 'historic understanding,' and there was celebration in Iran, but many challenges remain.

    Apr 6, 2015

  • Tunisia Could Be a Model for What Works in the Mideast

    Tunisia has a shot at showing that a different model in the region can succeed, a model of inclusion, tolerance and economic prosperity. It has a lot of work ahead of it, but the vision is there.

    Mar 24, 2015

    Los Angeles Times

  • Israel

    New Israeli Government, New Position on Iran?

    With elections taking place in Israel today, would a change of leadership lead to a fundamentally different Israeli stance on a nuclear deal? You'd think the answer was easy. But it's not.

    Mar 17, 2015

    Newsweek

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    Experts React to ISIS's Gruesome Execution of Jordanian Pilot

    A grisly video released yesterday by ISIS appears to show Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh burned alive in a cage. Why the shift away from beheadings? What does the execution mean for Jordan? What implications will it have for ISIS?

    Feb 4, 2015

  • Refugees

    Syrian Refugees: A Blessing in Disguise?

    To avoid further resentment and restrictions on Syrians desperate to escape their war-torn country, as well as the instability such attitudes generate, the international community must work with host governments to increase and highlight the benefits refugee populations can bring to neighboring states.

    Feb 2, 2015

    The National Interest

  • International Diplomacy

    An Iran Nuclear Deal Is Still Possible, and Here's Why

    The United States and other world powers returned to the negotiating table this week to try to finalize a nuclear agreement with Iran after announcing a seven-month extension in late November. How did the parties get this far?

    Dec 19, 2014

    U.S. News & World Report

  • Arms Proliferation and Control

    Not to Worry, Israel

    Some Israelis worry that America's fight against the Islamic State group is distracting from the Iranian nuclear challenge. But the idea that the U.S. would make additional concessions to Iran in the nuclear negotiations because of the anti-Islamic State group effort is not based on realities on the ground.

    Oct 23, 2014

    U.S. News & World Report

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    The U.S. Can't Count on Regional Support in the Fight Against ISIS

    Regional governments may put some of their differences aside to help fight ISIS. But in a region rife with turmoil and multiple internal fissures, Washington cannot count on its confrontation with ISIS as its partners' overriding priority.

    Sep 16, 2014

    The New York Times

  • The Islamic State (Terrorist Organization)

    RAND Experts Discuss U.S. Strategy on ISIS

    President Obama outlined a strategy last week to deal with the threat posed by the terrorist group known as ISIS. RAND experts discuss the speech and the follow-up efforts so far.

    Sep 15, 2014

  • Nuclear Disarmament

    Gaza and the Nuclear Negotiations

    Whether a deal materializes that meets Iranian demands for a civilian nuclear program, but is limited enough to satisfy the United States and its partners remains to be seen. But the longer the Gaza conflict continues, the harder it'll be to insulate the negotiations from broader regional trends, which doesn't bode well for a successful outcome.

    Jul 28, 2014

    Foreign Affairs

  • Iran

    The Fallacy of Iranian Leverage

    Rather than helping Iran in the nuclear negotiations, Iran's battle against the ISIS could actually hurt it. The broader strategic dynamics were already working against Iran, and the situation in Iraq has only made that more true.

    Jun 27, 2014

    Foreign Affairs

  • Nuclear Deterrence

    Iran Deal: Will Israel Play Spoiler?

    Israel will not embrace an agreement that is likely to leave in place some limited Iranian nuclear enrichment and infrastructure, but it nonetheless will not likely derail a deal with actions like a military strike.

    Mar 12, 2014

    The National Interest

  • International Diplomacy

    A Different Israeli Take on Iran

    An agreement did not come out of last week's talks. But when the participants resume negotiations later this month, they should keep one thing in mind: Not all Israelis are as alarmed about a potential deal as Netanyahu. Despite Netanyahu's hard line, many Israelis believe diplomacy can work.

    Nov 12, 2013

    Los Angeles Times

  • Arms Proliferation and Control

    US Should Keep Focus on Syria, Not Iran

    Those arguing for US-led airstrikes based on the premise of preventing a precedent with Iran would only make it easier for Iran and Syria to paint military action against the brutal Assad regime as an Israeli-inspired scheme rather than a regionally and internationally supported option, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Sep 6, 2013

    Al-Monitor

  • Syria

    Learning the Wrong Lessons from Israel's Intervention in Syria

    The lesson here is not that countries should act for the sake of maintaining credibility but that they should act when they believe it serves their interests and might make a difference, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    May 14, 2013

    Reuters, The Great Debate blog

  • Israel

    Israeli Election Not Likely to End Pressure on Obama for Iran Action

    In the absence of any diplomatic breakthrough and the continued advance of Iran's nuclear enrichment program this year, we can expect Israeli leaders across the political spectrum to press the Obama administration for military options, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Jan 23, 2013

    The RAND Blog

  • International Diplomacy

    A Crucial Difference on Iran

    The dilemma is how sanctions and pressure would dissuade Iran's leaders from pursuing their nuclear program (as Mr. Romney recommended) if a President Romney wouldn't agree to sit down and talk with them, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Oct 23, 2012

    NYTimes.com

  • Nuclear Deterrence

    Israel, Iran, and the Redline Debate

    Politicizing the Iran-Israel issue at Monday's presidential debate could prove a setback for efforts to ultimately prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Oct 18, 2012

    The RAND Blog

  • Iran

    How to Tackle Iran

    Instead of committing the United States to take military action against Iran, a better option would be convincing more Israeli leaders and people that a military attack is still a bad idea if the goal is to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Sep 6, 2012

    CNN

  • International Diplomacy

    Concerns Over Protecting Israel's Credibility May Heighten Odds of Iran War

    Despite the unprecedented levels of U.S. assistance and military cooperation with Israel in recent years, Netanyahu's government does not appear convinced that the United States will deal with Iran down the road if Israel holds off now, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Sep 5, 2012

    The Atlantic

  • International Diplomacy

    The Right Way to Help Syria's Rebels

    The Obama administration has led international efforts to isolate and sanction those most responsible for the regime's violence, and those efforts—along with diplomacy to bring Russia and China along—should be strengthened, write Dalia Dassa Kaye and David Kaye.

    Aug 9, 2012

    Los Angeles Times

  • International Diplomacy

    Israel's Risky Option on Iran

    While a nuclear-armed Iran that hasn't been attacked is dangerous, one that has been attacked may be much more likely to brandish its capabilities, to make sure it does not face an attack again, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Feb 21, 2012

    Los Angeles Times

  • International Diplomacy

    Do Israelis Really Want to Bomb Iran?

    Much has been made over differences between the U.S. and Israeli threat perceptions of Iran, but in fact internal Israeli divisions suggest that the gap may not be as great as some suggest, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Jan 12, 2012

    ForeignPolicy.com

  • International Diplomacy
  • Iran

    A WikiLeaks Disconnect

    Given domestic pressures and intra-Arab rivalries, all Arab states hedge in their policies toward Iran, seeking to rein in Iranian influence but also being mindful of the permanence of Iranian power and the costs of antagonizing it, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Dec 6, 2010

    Los Angeles Times

  • Iraq

    Fifth Columns in the Gulf?

    While the full extent of Iran's current clandestine influence remains murky, the "proxy narrative" is instructive more for what it reveals about Gulf insecurities than any truths about Iran's capabilities or intentions write Frederic M. Wehrey and Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    May 24, 2010

    ForeignPolicy.com

  • Counterterrorism

    Fighting Terror the Cold War Way

    With much talk about how to “win hearts and minds” in the Muslim world, it's surprising that few are looking back to a global contest of ideas that the U.S. and its allies categorically won: the Cold War, write Todd C. Helmus and Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Oct 14, 2009

    ForeignPolicy.com

  • Iran

    Defeating Hamas Will Not Defeat Iran

    In the absence of clarity of what Israel hopes to leave behind in Gaza, some observers speculate that the offensive against Hamas has a second target: Iran.... Although Hamas surely benefits from Iranian support, Iran's regional position has little to do with Hamas, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Jan 14, 2009

    Foreign Policy

  • Lebanon's Sectarian Aftershocks

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Lebanon's Sectarian Aftershocks, in United Press International.

    Aug 8, 2006

    United Press International

Publications