Why Is Mediation So Hard? The Case of Syria

  • Chester A. Crocker
  • Fen Osler Hampson
  • Pamela Aall
  • Simon Palamar


This chapter examines how changes in the types of conflicts, the variable availability of mediators, and the international environment affect current mediation. In so doing it looks at external forces that support or undermine a nascent peace process; the complications associated with such issues as legitimacy, state capacity, perception, and the internationalization of civil/regional conflicts, as well as the number, quality, and coherence of institutions willing to undertake a mediation effort. This chapter analyzes these three challenges in the context of the Syrian conflict and explores how they affected the attempts to bring parties to the Syrian conflict to the negotiating table from March 2012 through December 2013. The chapter concludes with the argument that addressing the supply challenge through the effective coordination of different mediating bodies delivers a key component but notes that a mediation’s external, geopolitical environment will have a critical—and possibly negative—impact on even the best resourced mediation effort.


Mediation Third-party intervention Conflict management Internal conflict Syria Coordination Peacemaking Legitimacy Weak states Governance Identity-based conflict 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chester A. Crocker
    • 1
  • Fen Osler Hampson
    • 2
  • Pamela Aall
    • 2
  • Simon Palamar
    • 2
  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityWashington, D.CUSA
  2. 2.Centre for International Governance InnovationWaterlooCanada

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