Power politics and peace policies : Intra-state conflict resolution in southern Africa

Abstract: Why do some peace agreements after intra-state war fail, while others succeed? The dissertation focuses this question, with specific attention to intra-state wars in regional security complexes. The aim of this comparative study is theory building. Propositions, indicators and research questions are derived from a typology of explanatory variables. The research design is applied to eight conflict resolution processes in Southern Africa. An analysis of bivariate covariation, variable interaction and causal patterns in the cases is used to transform the typology into a preliminary theory.Conflict resolution is a phased process: power-related factors-such as military, diplomatic and economic pressures-tend to bring about a peace agreement, while peace-related factors-such as genuine political will and increased trust between former belligerents-need to be added for the agreement to hold. While there are different paths to conflict resolution, the study identifies common causal patterns. It takes more to end a war, than to start one. A positive interaction between several variables at different levels of analysis was needed to produce a 'No War'-outcome. Specifically, interaction between experiential learning, the regional conflict dynamic, military support, leadership consolidation aspects and third party behaviour is found to have a causal impact on the dependent variable.The attitudes of primary parties to mechanisms for distribution of political power after a war is more important than the specific nature, such as 'power sharing', of the political mechanism. If parties opt for a mechanism they can live with if they lose by it, peace is more likely to be durable. If they seek a mechanism that will maximize their advantage if they win by it, then the likelihood of a return to war increases. This underlines the role of experiential learning and political will for durable resolution of intra-state conflicts.

  This dissertation MIGHT be available in PDF-format. Check this page to see if it is available for download.