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Unofficial third-party intervention in international conflict: Between legitimacy and disarray

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Conclusions

The proliferation of unofficial third-party interventions in ethnic conflict is not, to date, based on the demonstrated and enduring value of their achievements. The growing interest in unofficial intervention is not based on clear goals and well-formulated underlying philosophies of the various methods, but more on general assumptions sometimes guided by goodwill and activism. It is quite likely that unofficial intervention in international conflict contributes in various ways toward the resolution of conflict, but, thus far, there is noempirical evidence that the field has contributed or can contribute to the resolution of ethnic conflict.

Scholars of unofficial third-party intervention in international conflict should consider a number of basic questions relating to its goals, the appropriateness of the various methodologies, the connection between methods and goals, characteristics and requirements of third parties, and the interplay between official and unofficial interventions. A major effort should be placed on evaluation, notably the development of frameworks that could be used to evaluate the effects of these efforts, whether positive or negative. Special attention should be directed at ethical considerations for intervention by practitioners of unofficial approaches in ongoing conflicts worldwide.

In addition, I suggest that practitioners of unofficial intervention focus and elaborate on the theoretical foundations of their methods and thereby explain how the designed intervention is supposed to contribute to conflict resolution. This is particularly important in light of the increasing use of psychiatric methods that focus on intrapersonal and interpersonallevels of analysis and ignore the underlying structural asymmetries, inequities, and inequalities in ethnic and international conflicts.

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He is also a founding member of the Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution (PICAR) based at the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. He co-chairs the PICAR Seminar on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

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Rouhana, N.N. Unofficial third-party intervention in international conflict: Between legitimacy and disarray. Negot J 11, 255–270 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02187220

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