In the Shadow of Settlement : Multiple Rebel Groups and Precarious Peace

Abstract: How can durable peace be achieved in the wake of a civil war settlement? Previous quantitative research on this topic has, so far, mainly focused on two parties – the government and the opposition – thereby failing to consider the complexity that may arise in conflicts where the rebel side involves several groups. This dissertation addresses this gap in the study of durable peace. It demonstrates theoretically and empirically that three aspects are of significance for lasting peace: (1) the number of warring parties, (2) the inclusion of rebel groups in peace agreements, and (3) the military strength of the signatories. The study applies a bargaining perspective, where uncertainty about the parties’ capability and resolve serves as a key explanation for why peace prevails or breaks down following a settlement. The empirical analysis is based on a unique set of data covering peace agreements in internal armed conflicts during the post-Cold War period. Employing statistical methods, it is found that, with an increasing number of warring parties, peace is less likely to endure. It is also found that more inclusive deals, contrary to a common view, do not increase the likelihood that peace prevails. However, inclusion can make a difference for some parties, as signatories are more likely to stick to peace than parties outside of an agreement. This suggests that no particular formula, in terms of the number of signatories, is required for peace to last. Peace is also shown to be more fragile if the signatory rebel group is strong rather than weak relative to the government, indicating that military power is of importance. In sum, the present research demonstrates that it is pivotal for our understanding of durable peace to consider the complexities that come with a multiparty setting.

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