Why do some peace agreements end civil conflict while others break down? Empirical evidence underscores the importance of sustainability: the Rwandan genocide succeeded the 1992 Arusha peace agreement; likewise, some of the worst violence in Angola, Sri Lanka and Cambodia (among others) followed the breakdown of peace accords.
- Opportunity Structure
- Commitment Problem
- Peace Process
- Ethnic Conflict
- Civil Conflict
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
The author would like to thank Lynn Eden, Page Fortna, Barry O’Neill and Steve Stedman for many useful discussions. The financial assistance of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada is gratefully acknowledged.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
S. J. Stedman, ‘Spoiler Problems in Peace Processes’, International Security, 22, 2 (Fall 1997), 5.
This ‘tactical acceptance’ thesis is mostly promoted by D. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985).
See N. Sambanis, ‘Conflict Resolution Ripeness and Spoiler Problems in Cyprus: from the Intercommunal Talks (1968–1974) to the Present’, paper presented to the American Political Science Association (25 September 1998).
For a rebuttal of the thesis that Arafat has never been interested in peace see D. Sontag, ‘Quest for Mideast Peace: How and Why It Failed’, New York Times, 26 July 2001.
See also H. Agha & R. Malley, ‘Camp David: the Tragedy of Errors’, The New York Review of Books, 9 August 2001.
See R. Brynen, A Very Political Economy. Peacebuilding and Foreign Aid in the West Bank and Gaza (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2000), p. 40; see also ‘Downsizing amid the Uprising’, The Economist, 10 August 2001.
See especially B. R Walter, ‘The Critical Barrier to Civil War Settlement’, International Organization 51, 3 (Summer 1997).
For a discussion of the security dilemma in civil wars see Barry Posen, ‘The Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict’, in Michael Brown (ed.), Ethnic Conflict and International Security (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993).
B. F. Walter, Designing Transitions from Violent Civil War, IGCC Policy Paper 31 (San Diego: UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, 1998), available at http://www-igcc.ucsd.edu/igcc2/PolicyPapers/pp31.html; Internet.
A modified version of the argument was subsequently published in International Security, 24, 1 (1999).
Walter, ‘The Critical Barrier to Civil War Settlement’. See also Fen Osier Hampson, Nurturing Peace (Washington: USIP, 1996). This argument is very similar to the standard IR argument about the role of institutions or regimes in fostering cooperation under anarchy.
On the differentiated role of implementers see particularly the conclusions of the Stedman et al. study. S. J. Stedman, ‘Implementing Peace Agreements in Civil Wars: Lessons and Recommendations for Policymakers’, IPA Policy Paper on Peace Implementation (New York: International Peace Academy, May 2001).
M. Zahar, ‘The Problem of Commitment to Peace: Lessons from Bosnia and Lebanon’, paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Atlanta, 2–5 September 1999.
This assumption is common in game-theoretic analyses of decision-making. It is also eminently reasonable, as no leader should be expected to sign on his demise. See R. Putnam, ‘Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: the Logic of Two-Level Games’, International Organization, 42, 3 (Summer 1998).
The financial rewards gleaned by the Khmer Rouge in the ruby-mining business, by UNITA in the diamond trade and by the Shan United Army in the opium trade illustrate the importance of the war economy. For a discussion of this phenomenon see M. Berdal & D. Keen, ‘Violence and Economic Agendas in Civil Wars: Some Policy Implications’, Millennium, 26, 3 (1988).
S. W. R. de A. Samarasinghe and R. Coughlan (eds), Economic Dimensions of Ethnic Conflict (London: Pinter Publishers, 1991), p. 184.
T. D. Sisk, Power Sharing and International Mediation in Ethnic Conflicts (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 1996), especially Ch. 5.
C. Hartzell & D. Rothchild, ‘Political Pacts as Negotiated Agreements: Comparing Ethnic and Non-Ethnic Cases’, International Negotiation, 2 (1997), 147–71.
E. J. Wood, ‘Civil War Settlement: Modeling the Bases of Compromise’, paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Atlanta, 2–5 September 1999.
P. Kecskemeti, ‘Political Rationality in Ending War’, in W. T. R. Fox (ed.), How Wars End (Philadelphia: The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1970), pp. 105–15.
See M. Zahar, ‘Fanatics, Mercenaries, Brigands… and Politicians: Militia Decision-Making and Civil Conflict Resolution’, PhD dissertation, McGill University, Canada, 2000. See also Wood, ‘Civil War Settlement’, and Sisk, Power Sharing and International Mediation in Ethnic Conflicts.
Walter, ‘Designing Transitions from Civil War’; M. Zahar, ‘The Problem of Commitment to Peace: Actors, Incentives and Choice in Peace Implementation’, paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, 31 August-3 September 2000.
J. Fearon, ‘Commitment Problems and the Spread of Ethnic Conflict’, in D. Lake & D. Rothchild (eds), The International Spread of Ethnic Conflict: Fear, Diffusion, and Escalation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998), pp. 107–26.
In my dissertation research, I established the importance of intra-factional politics for leaders’ decisions to accept or reject peace settlements. See also S. Stedman, Peacemaking in Civil Wars: International Mediation in Zimbabwe, 1974–1980 (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1991).
For a discussion of similar dynamics in international crises see J. Fearon, ‘Domestic Political Audiences and the Escalation of International Disputes’, American Political Science Review, 88, 3 (September 1994), 579–81.
Editors and Affiliations
© 2003 Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited
About this chapter
Cite this chapter
Zahar, MJ. (2003). Reframing the Spoiler Debate in Peace Processes. In: Darby, J., Ginty, R.M. (eds) Contemporary Peacemaking. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781403918475_11
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London
Print ISBN: 978-1-4039-0139-2
Online ISBN: 978-1-4039-1847-5
eBook Packages: Palgrave Political & Intern. Studies CollectionPolitical Science and International Studies (R0)