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Turning Weakness into Strength


  • Desirée Nilsson

    (Uppsala University, Sweden,


The fact that many civil wars involve several warring parties is often highlighted as an obstacle to conflict resolution. However, this issue has so far attracted little attention in previous research. This article aims to contribute to filling this gap. It is argued that whereas only very strong rebel groups should be able to force concessions, a multiparty context can turn the tables and increase the chances for weak rebel groups to reach a deal. The empirical analysis is based on dyadic data covering the government and each rebel group in all internal armed conflicts, 1989—2003. In accordance with the theory, it is found that the likelihood that the government and a weak rebel group will reach a negotiated settlement increases with the number of warring parties in the conflict.

Suggested Citation

  • Desirée Nilsson, 2010. "Turning Weakness into Strength," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 27(3), pages 253-271, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:compsc:v:27:y:2010:i:3:p:253-271

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Bassetti & Raul Caruso & Darwin Cortes, 2015. "Behavioral differences in violence: The case of intra-group differences of Paramilitaries and Guerrillas in Colombia," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Politica Economica ispe0073, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).


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