Incentives for Talking: Accepting Mediation in International and Civil Wars
2009 (English)In: International Interactions, ISSN 0305-0629, E-ISSN 1547-7444, Vol. 35, no 3, 249-271 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This paper examines the conditions under which warring parties will accept an outside party's offer to mediate. Specifically, we explore variation in the incentives for accepting third-party offers in interstate conflicts as compared to civil wars. We argue that since mediation in civil wars transfers legitimacy to the non-state actor and can generate a precedent of exceptions to the norm of sovereignty, the political cost associated with accepting international mediation will be substantially higher in civil wars compared to international conflicts. States should therefore only accept mediation in the most serious disputes, or when the costs of legitimizing an opponent are outweighed by the benefits of conflict resolution. Building on this theoretical reasoning, the paper analyzes the implications of differences in incentive structures between inter- and intrastate conflicts for offer and acceptance of mediation. We find an empirical discrepancy between interstate and civil wars in regard to demand-side (acceptance) of mediation, and to a somewhat lesser extent the supply-side (offer) of international mediation. In line with our argument, we find that the historical ties between the potential intermediary and at least one of the disputants play different roles in regard to acceptance of mediation in interstate compared to civil wars. This is important to take into consideration in the emerging debate on mediation bias.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Gordon and Breach , 2009. Vol. 35, no 3, 249-271 p.
mediation, conflict management
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-120695DOI: 10.1080/03050620903084521ISI: 000274366200002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-120695DiVA: diva2:303841
ProjectsRiksbankens Jubleumsfond The Luxury of Choice: Are States Throwing the Difficult Conflicts into the Lap of the United Nations?