Rebellion, mediation, and group change: An empirical investigation of competing hypotheses
Multilateral and diplomatic resolutions to intrastate conflicts are the preferred method of termination. However, mediated settlements tend toward failure and conflict recurrence. A significant factor in this failure is that government and groups are heterogeneous. While the demands, goals, preferences, and intentions of both sides are sometimes viewed as being held in common, they are potentially as diverse as the groups' members. Understanding the relationship between resolution efforts and group heterogeneity is complicated but crucial to improving mediation success. The current article examines all intrastate conflicts for the period 1945-1999, in order to test two competing propositions found in the literature on group change and the occurrence of mediation. The primary question of interest is whether group change tends to result from or precede mediation attempts. In other words, is group change an impetus to engage in mediation or do mediation processes tend to result in altered group characteristics. The findings support only the proposition that when governments engage rebels in mediation, rebel group changes are significantly more likely to occur than without mediation. The implications of the findings are also discussed.
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