Elusive Peacemakers : A Bargaining Perspective on Mediation in Internal Armed Conflicts

Abstract: This composite dissertation explores mediation in internal armed conflicts from a bargaining perspective. Four separate essays investigate why mediation occurs, why it is successful, and why peace guarantors’ commitments are credible. Essay 1 examines the conditions under which mediation takes place. The study argues that whereas it is costly for governments to accept international mediation, it is a less costly intervention tool for potential third parties. This argument implies that mediation will be more likely when and where negotiated settlements are least likely to be reached, a contention that is supported by empirical tests. Essay 2 reviews the contemporary debate on what types of mediators that can disseminate information in a credible manner, and formulates a set of testable hypotheses on mediation partiality. The analysis shows that negotiated settlements are more likely if biased or interested mediators intervene, while neutral mediators are not associated with mediation success. Essay 3 elaborates on the role of biased mediators. It proposes that rebels face a commitment problem when negotiated settlements are to be reached, which government-biased mediators can mitigate. The study finds that such types of mediators outperform rebel-biased mediators in terms of helping combatants to settle the armed conflict. Essay 4 deals with the commitment problem that comes to pass between, on the one hand the primary parties, and on the other, the potential peace guarantors. The study probes the requests and promises for third-party security guarantees and suggests that the reputation of the United Nations (UN) enhances its credibility as peace guarantor compared to non-UN actors. It finds that although the UN is more restrictive with its promises, it is more likely that peacekeeping forces will be provided if the UN is one of the guarantors. In sum, utilizing unique data from two time-periods (post World War II and post Cold War), this dissertation arrives at new insights on the role of mediators in bringing about negotiated settlements of internal armed conflicts.