Elusive Peace: Negotiating an End to Civil Wars

Elusive Peace: Negotiating an End to Civil Wars

Elusive Peace: Negotiating an End to Civil Wars

Elusive Peace: Negotiating an End to Civil Wars

Synopsis

"Elusive Peace brings together a host of international experts on area studies and conflict resolution to examine various current and ongoing cases of internal conflict worldwide. Recognizing that internal dissidence is the legitimate result of the breakdown of normal politics, the authors explore how conflicts can be resolved through negotiation rather than combat. They provide a revealing look at the nature of internal conflicts, explain why appropriate conditions for negotiation and useful solutions are so difficult to find, and offer ways of finding solutions. The authors offer a series of case studies of ongoing conflict in Angola, Mozambique, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Africa, Southern Sudan, Lebanon, Spain, Colombia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. They examine the characteristics of each confrontation, including past failed negotiations, and in each case make suggestions for changes in negotiating strategies that could lead to a more successful outcome." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

INTERNAL CONFLICTS--civil wars--are the most difficult of conflicts to negotiate. Only a quarter to a third of modern civil wars (including anticolonial wars) have found their way to negotiation, whereas more than half of modern interstate wars have done so. About two-thirds of the internal conflicts have ended in the surrender or elimination of one of the parties involved; fewer than a quarter of the international conflicts have so ended. Yet in internal conflicts more than in interstate wars, defeat of the rebellion often merely drives the cause underground, to emerge at a later time. On the other hand, in principle, negotiation is the best policy for both parties in an internal conflict. It is the government's job to be responsive to the grievances of its people; it is the insurgents' purpose to draw attention to their grievances and gain redress. Negotiation is the natural meeting point of these needs, an extension of the "normal politics" that should characterize a well-functioning polity. Yet internal conflict works against its own best outcome.

The challenge confronted in this book is to explain why internal conflict is so obdurately resistant to negotiations and then to turn that explanation on its head to find ways to bring about successful negotiations. Structurally, internal conflict is marked by asymmetry, a characteristic generally considered unconducive to negotiation, and attempts to redress asymmetry only . . .

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