Power Dynamics and Spoiler Management: Mediation and the Creation of Durable Peace in Armed Conflicts
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The creation of durable peace following armed conflicts has been widely researched from a variety of perspectives. There is much less research, however, concerning when and why mediation can produce durable peace because most mediation research focuses on achieving a short-term success as indicated by the creation of a new peace agreement.
This is an exploratory study which examines several factors considered to be important for the creation of durable peace. This study finds that the two most important factors are the power dynamics between the parties and the management of spoilers. Moreover, this study finds that these two factors are interlinked inasmuch that changes to the parties' levels of power can facilitate the emergence of spoilers. These findings are based on the systematic examination of mediation in four cases of armed conflict by utilizing a modified contingency model of mediation which is tested against the mediations conducted in the 1973 Egyptian-Israeli war, the Bosnian war, the third Angolan war, and the first Chechen war.
This study argues that a well-designed agreement can shift the power dynamics between the parties so that their struggle for power will not take violent forms, and it can help prevent the emergence of new spoilers because it does not favor one party more than the other. Well designed agreements can be created even when the balance of power between the parties is unequal, and efforts to further weaken the already weaker party should be avoided because it can contribute to the emergence of spoilers from within the disputing parties.
An original model for durable peace which accounts for these new findings is then developed. This model argues that to create durable peace mediators must produce good agreements that are balanced and channel the struggle for power into nonviolent mechanisms and processes, and manage the spoilers who threaten the peace.