Research Handbook on Mediating International Crises
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Research Handbook on Mediating International Crises

Edited by Jonathan Wilkenfeld, Kyle Beardsley and David Quinn

Current conceptions of mediation can often fail to capture the complexity and intricacy of modern conflicts. This Research Handbook addresses this problem by presenting the leading expert opinions on international mediation, examining how international mediation practices, mechanisms and institutions should adapt to the changing characteristics of contemporary international crises.
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Chapter 15: Mediator identity in intrastate African crises

Roudabeh Kishi, David Quinn, Jonathan Wilkenfeld and Michele Gelfand


This chapter focuses on the mediation of violent, ethnicity-based intrastate crises in Africa for the period 1990–2005. Mediators are classified into three categories: Western, regional, and domestic. Mediators are assessed on their relative impact in terms of four mechanisms through which mediators can influence the outcomes of crises: (1) leverage, (2) decision-making processes, (3) proximity to the disputing parties, and (4) interest/stake in the crisis. The impact of mediation is assessed in terms of short-term crisis management and long-term conflict resolution. Finally, the chapter examines the relative impact of three styles of mediation: manipulation, formulation, and facilitation. Mediation is found to be effective in achieving short-term conflict management, particularly when Western mediators are involved and they employ manipulative techniques. Mediation was found to be generally ineffective in achieving long-term conflict resolution, although the inclusion of domestic mediators alongside other mediators shows some promise. The United Nations was found to be particularly ineffective, appearing to actually have a negative effect on both crisis management and conflict resolution.

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