What Fosters Enduring Peace? An Analysis of Factors Influencing Civil War Resolution

Madeleine O. Hosli 1  and Anke Hoekstra 2
  • 1 Department of Political Science, Leiden University, Leiden 2300RB, The Netherlands
  • 2 Partoer Frisian Institute for Social-Economic Research and Development, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Madeleine O. Hosli and Anke Hoekstra

Abstract

In literature on civil war resolution, several factors have been identified that may influence the peace process. In this paper, based on a combination of different datasets and additional information, we explore reasons for the initiation of negotiations and for the shortening of conflict duration based on 82 civil wars that took place between 1944 and 1997. Employing logistic regression, supplemented by graphical explorations, we demonstrate that the existence of a “mutual hurting stalemate” and partial instead of neutral intervention increase the probability that negotiations set in. In addition to this, somewhat counter-intuitively, our analysis shows that a larger number of warring parties – compared to conflicts based on two rival groups – enhance prospects that negotiations are conducted. This may partially be due to the fact that conflicting parties fear they may be excluded from negotiations on a potential settlement and with this, are more ready to engage in the bargaining process. The occurrence of a military stalemate in the course of a conflict, as our analysis based on proportional hazards survival regression demonstrates, shortens war duration. We put forward the idea that partial intervention to support the weaker party can create mutual hurting stalemates, and in this way, contribute to the ending of civil war. Our study partially confirms work in which the ripeness of a conflict or the existence of a mutual hurting stalemate was found to crucially affect prospects for conflict resolution, but also offers new insights into these themes.

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