Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes and Consequences


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Zartman concludes that negotiations with true believers take longer to come to fruition because ripe moments are harder to find. He emphasizes that, when ripeness exists, practitioners need all their skills to turn it into a successful peacemaking process. Ripeness, when created, only provides an opportunity for substantive knowledge and techniques of negotiation to come into play. Chapters 7 through 10 discuss conflict resolution techniques that rely heavily on the strategy of conflict transformation. Chapters 7 and 8 focus on unofficial efforts by citizens outside government who use organized processes of dialogue, analysis, and the like to change conflictual relationships.

Interactive conflict resolution is a well-defined and systematic approach used in small unofficial meetings of members of groups in tension or violent conflict to stimulate their talk together about the problems that divide them and the relationships that underlie these problems. The objective, as Harold Saunders argues in Chapter 7 , is different from official processes of conflict resolution. It is primarily to redefine problems and develop new frameworks of interaction.

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Interactive conflict resolution is especially useful for subjects that are taboo on official agendas and when formal contacts between official representatives are politically impossible. It can help to pave the way for negotiation, address the obstacles to progress, and work in the larger society where peace will be made. The two chapters approach the same topic from quite different standpoints. Chapter 7 examines it from the standpoint of its practitioners, explaining what interactive conflict resolution activities try to do and providing the experience-based judgments of practitioners about how and why it succeeds or fails.

It approaches the issue of evaluation theoretically and methodologically with a conceptual analysis of the ways that workshops might transform conflict and a set of hypotheses that can be tested in evaluations of the technique by future analysts.

In Chapter 7 , Harold Saunders points to the difficulty of using standard instruments to evaluate public peace processes and sets as the crite-. He sees processes as successful if they help to define and diagnose the problem, establish a strategic and operational framework, and design a tactical framework or possible course s of action. Saunders and his collaborators present six case examples: early experiences with Israelis and Palestinians in the s, meetings of a group of political leaders from opposing parties in Northern Ireland that came together to create a bill of rights, an expanded process in the Middle East, a six-year process in Tajikistan, a series of dialogues in newly independent Estonia, and a program of training workshops in Cyprus.

The experience of 30 years has produced a significant track record for interactive conflict resolution. According to Saunders, the work of citizens outside government in a multilevel peace process is increasingly fruitful as one moves across a spectrum from quasi-official situations— those in which the primary task is to develop analysis of conflict not available to government, provide a channel of communication where none exists, or find a particular solution to a problem in negotiation—to those situations where the main task is to analyze the dynamics of relationships and design ways to work in the body politic to change them.

Saunders finds that the contribution of interactive conflict resolution increases as the capacities of government diminish.

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Governments, Saunders concludes, desperately need this added tool for peace making and peace building. As their skills increase, their sense of possibility increases. Saunders also concludes that policy makers working to resolve conflict in divided countries can extend the reach of peace making and peace building by consciously seeking ways of bringing both governmental and unofficial work under the same conceptual umbrella. In Chapter 8 , Nadim Rouhana examines the major theoretical and methodological issues in analyzing and evaluating processes of interactive conflict resolution.

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He develops a conceptual framework that links the activities of problem-solving workshops to their microobjectives for the workshop participants and their macrogoals in terms of the larger conflict. Rouhana argues that it is important to develop taxonomies of practice in order to identify which methods work in what types of conflict, at what stage of conflict, and under what conditions.

In his view it is necessary to develop programs that provide training in intervention tech-.

Problem-solving workshops, if they are to achieve their microobjectives, must generate new learning among the participants, who must retain part of that learning when they return to the conflict arena and demonstrate that learning in their political discourse and behavior. Problem-solving workshops that are successful at the macro level tend to be those that create visions of peace before official processes begin, help to overcome obstacles during negotiations, and help to create supportive dynamics in the society that can sustain peaceful relations once formal negotiations have concluded.

Rouhana suggests that workshops may contribute through their exploratory function, their innovative function, their capacity to legitimate discussion among adversaries, by accumulating public support over time, by clarifying what can and what cannot be agreed, and by preparing the terrain for political action. Rouhana examines how the effects of interactive conflict resolution may relate to the dynamics of conflict, proposes ways to conceptualize these effects, and examines how the impact of these processes on the dynamics of conflict can be assessed.

He offers three tentative conclusions about how to enhance the effect of interactive conflict resolution workshops on the larger conflict. First, third parties can take on a more active role in increasing the impact of the problem-solving workshop, provided that the role itself is carefully coordinated with participants and is part of the design of the problem-solving workshop.

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Second, future workshops will have broader societal impact if conceived of as a joint learning opportunity for both participants and third party, on whom equal responsibility rests for transfer of insights into the broader societal context. And third, problem-solving workshops can be used as laboratories for conflict analysis. Understanding of the political needs of each party, their internal dynamics, their limitations and constraints, and the views of the other party of these constraints is important material to transmit to experts, publics, and decision makers.

In Chapter 9 , Priscilla Hayner considers official truth seeking—one of the available mechanisms for confronting past crimes of a prior regime or its armed opposition—as a mechanism for resolving and preventing violent conflict. Official truth-seeking efforts are sometimes advocated as a way to heal the wounds of past conflicts—to transform a conflictual atmosphere into one more conducive to peaceful intergroup relations. Hayner notes an irony in this expectation that official truth seeking has come to be seen as a peace-making tool, considering that the process of digging into.

This potential is sometimes seen in the fear felt by victims and witnesses when providing testimony to a truth commission. The chapter summarizes the experience of over 20 truth commissions and considers three ways they may help with conflict resolution. First, the proposal to establish a truth commission may represent one of the positive components of a peace accord that entices the parties to a conflict or perhaps one of the parties to agree to a peace.

Nevertheless, the negotiation of a mandate for a truth commission is often very difficult.

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Whether a truth commission is adopted, and what shape it takes, depends on the perceived interests of the parties, perceptions about whether truth seeking would spark new violence, and whether indigenous mechanisms are available to deal with past abuses. This positive effect of a truth commission happens, when it does, before the commission takes any action. However, the factors that determine whether a truth commission comes into being also affect its mandate, which in turn affects the chances of future violence.

Second, a truth commission may defuse conflicts over the past through reconciliation, that is, by conflict transformation. Hayner identifies several indicators that reconciliation may be occurring e. These include the extent to which the commission reaches out to all victims, provides for their security and psychological support, holds hearings in public, makes efforts to be fair in its process and its report, and invites the participation of all segments of society, including perpetrators. Two classes of reforms are judged relevant for conflict prevention: those that hold those responsible for abuses to account including legal and institutional reforms and those that strengthen institutions for democratic conflict management e.

One is the strength of the commission its resources, funding, breadth of investigation, etc. Another is the extent to which careful advance thought was given to the kinds of structural reforms that may be needed. A third is the strength of the forces internationally and. These conclusions imply that international support for strong truth commissions, civil society organizations, and domestic institutions for peaceful conflict management can all contribute to peace making in transitional countries.

Humanitarian assets thus fuel rather than resolve the conflicts. Given the privatization of assistance and the retreat of the major powers as well as the United Nations from involvement in many world regions in recent years, Stein expects that NGOs will play an even larger role in the regulation of conflicts than they have in the past. They will continue to face situations in which a security vacuum exists and the perpetrators of violence will be tempted to use humanitarian aid as a weapon.

Stein assesses the troubling evidence that humanitarian NGOs have at times contributed inadvertently to the escalation of violence rather than to conflict resolution.

The central challenge for NGOs is to find ways of minimizing the negative externalities of assistance as aid flows to the most vulnerable populations. These strate-. Stein examines three explicit strategies, some of them counterintuitive, which could contribute to the mitigation of violence, and offers three recommendations to NGOs and international organizations. First, she calls on humanitarian NGOs to think politically and coordinate with diplomatic and military institutions.

NGOs must acknowledge that their actions in a complex emergency can have profound political consequences. Even as they insist on the imperative of legitimate authorities assuming responsibility, they must explicitly analyze the political consequences of their strategies to mitigate violence—relief delivery, refugee protection, election monitoring, postwar reconstruction, peace building—and plan for these consequences.

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Stein calls on NGOs to 1 improve their analytical capacity so that they can participate more effectively at global policy tables; 2 improve their capacity to monitor the consequences of their actions so that they can properly assess the consequences of their strategic choices e. Second, Stein recommends that the UN secretary-general consider providing security from private markets when and only when public security for humanitarian operations is unavailable from global or regional institutions. Paid, volunteer, or professionally trained security personnel, employed without regard to national origin and beholden to their employer rather than to any single government, could reduce the likelihood of systematic diversion of humanitarian assets to fuel violence.

Third, Stein advocates that NGOs be prepared to consider seriously the option of temporary withdrawal when assistance intended for humanitarian purposes is being diverted into renewed cycles of conflict. Such a strategy requires coordination among the principal NGOs that are providing assistance and a clearly stated set of conditions for return.


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Chapters 11 through 13 discuss conflict resolution techniques that rely primarily on the strategy of structural prevention: creating organizations or institutions that are intended to direct social conflict into nonviolent channels. The chapter classifies the great variety of electoral systems in use in the modern world and discusses them in the context of four broad strategies of constitutional design for divided societies, each of which features a particular electoral system.

In addition, the electoral system that is most appropriate for initially ending internal conflict may not be the best one for long-term conflict management. Moreover, not all imaginable options are politically viable. As another example, systems that allocate seats by ethnic category tend to ensure ethnic representation but also entrench ethnic divisions; as a result, they seem advisable only in countries where these divisions are already very deep.

Reilly and Reynolds note that new and established democracies have different requirements in electoral system design. For instance, the need for inclusiveness may decline, and the need for geographic accountability may increase, as democracy becomes more firmly established. As a result, a system that works well for an initial election or two in a transitional democracy may not seem so good when the democracy becomes established.

The fact that each electoral system has strengths and weaknesses implies that electoral design involves tradeoffs. It is necessary for the designers to choose among desiderata for the electoral system. Consequently, for a system to work well over time, the involvement of local actors in making the design decisions is key. Electoral system designers must also choose. The evidence suggests the value of making moderate changes that take advantage of what familiar systems do well and changing only what they do not. In Chapter 12 , Yash Ghai considers autonomy as a strategy for conflict management.

Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes and Consequences Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes and Consequences
Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes and Consequences Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes and Consequences
Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes and Consequences Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes and Consequences
Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes and Consequences Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes and Consequences
Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes and Consequences Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes and Consequences
Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes and Consequences Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes and Consequences

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