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Managing Internationalized Civil Wars

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In their seminal study “Resort to Arms,” Small and Singer (1982) defined a civil war as “any armed conflict that involves (a) military action internal to the metropole, (b) the active participation of the national government, and (c) effective resistance by both sides.” Internationalized civil wars constitute a newer classification, denoting a conflict involving organized violence on two or more sides within a sovereign state, in which foreign elements play a role in instigating, prolonging, or exacerbating the struggle. Small and Singer defined civil war as one in which a “system member” intervenes into a substate conflict involving organized violence. Although Singer and Small conceived “system members” narrowly as external sovereign states engaged in military intervention into the civil war in question, the definition has since been expanded by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) to include other foreign actors—such as nonstate or private actors, diasporas, IOs, corporations, or cross-border kin groups—any of which can intervene to intensify a domestic civil conflict. From superpower interventions during the Cold War to more recent conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, internationalized civil wars have garnered increasing scholarly attention, primarily because they tend to be far bloodier and more protracted than noninternationalized civil wars.

How to end such wars is a problem long bedeviling the international community. Civil wars are already more difficult to end than interstate wars partly because there are more players to satisfy in civil war settings, with multiple conflict parties coexisting on a single territory, and multiple factions within each conflict party—each constituting a “veto player” that might plausibly spoil a peace agreement should the agreement not satisfy their needs. This problem is exacerbated by an order of magnitude when a civil war becomes internationalized. When outside actors get involved in a civil war, the number of veto players rises correspondingly to include not only domestic players and internal factions, but also the involved external players, which may include foreign governments, diaspora groups, foreign fighters, and/or transnational social networks.

Managing or ending internationalized civil wars is thus a highly complicated balancing act requiring attention not just to internal, but also to external veto players represented by all involved parties both inside and outside the conflict state. The traditional methods of conflict management involve electoral engineering, power-sharing arrangements, or other peace deals that seek to satisfy the aspirations of involved internal parties, while ensuring that the peace deal is “self-enforcing.” This means that it will hold up even in the absence of outside pressure. In internationalized civil wars, however, conflict managers must also satisfy involved outside actors or otherwise neutralize external conflict processes. There are multiple methods for doing this, ranging from effective border control in cases of conflict spillover to decomposing internationalized conflicts into civil and international conflicts, which are solved separately, to outright peace enforcement involving international security guarantees.

Keywords: conflict management, internationalized civil wars, ethnic conflict, security regimes, mediation, empirical international relations theory


Internationalized civil wars are violent struggles waged between two or more armed groups, where foreign elements play a significant role in instigating, prolonging, or exacerbating the conflict. From superpower interventions during the Cold War to more recent conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, internationalized civil wars have attracted increasing scholarly attention because they tend to be bloodier and more protracted than purely domestic struggles.

How to end such wars is a problem that has long bedeviled the international community. Civil wars are already more difficult to end than interstate wars due to the lack of clear protocols for ending conflicts in a common state. In civil war settings, the powerful side (usually the government) cannot easily “credibly commit” to honor an agreement not to retaliate against the rebels, making them less willing to disarm (Weingast, 1994; Fearon, 1995; Lake & Rothchild, 1998). To make matters worse, civil wars include many more players who must be satisfied in order to end the violence—multiple conflict parties and sometimes multiple factions within each conflict party each serve as a “veto player” that might plausibly spoil a peace agreement should it fall outside of their respective bargaining ranges. This problem is exacerbated by an order of magnitude when a civil war becomes internationalized. When outside actors get involved in a civil war, the number of veto players rises to include not only domestic players and internal factions, but also external players—which range from foreign governments to diaspora groups to foreign fighters and/or transnational conflict networks. Before long, conflict managers find themselves playing something that looks less like two-level games and more like four-dimensional chess.

Managing internationalized civil wars is thus a highly complicated balancing act requiring conflict managers to pay attention to veto players both inside and outside the conflict state. Traditional methods of civil conflict often err by overemphasizing domestic solutions such as electoral engineering, power-sharing arrangements, or other peace deals aimed to satisfy the aspirations of involved internal parties. Once the civil war is internationalized, however, conflict managers must also satisfy outside participants and/or neutralize external conflict processes (Tsebelis, 2002). There are multiple methods for doing this, ranging from effective border control in cases of conflict spillover to managing outside interveners by decomposing internationalized conflicts into civil and international conflicts. The goal is to isolate or neutralize the external conflict dimension, after which the internal conflict might be more readily de-escalated or resolved.

Managing Internationalized Civil Wars

Civil wars consist of large-scale violence between one or more armed substate actors1 and the incumbent state government,2 which controls the state capital and has a claim to a monopoly of legitimate physical force over the territory of the state. With some exceptions, civil conflicts are waged over political power or territory. Either way, the hallmark of civil wars is large-scale and sustained violence. This marks them out from other types of political conflicts such as assassinations, coups, or organized crime. In the vast quantitative literature on the causes and effects of civil wars, researchers measure civil wars as political conflicts between two armed substate actors that have generated a significant number of casualties. The Correlates of War (COW) defines civil wars as domestic struggles between a government and armed opposition that have yielded at least 1,000 deaths a year, while the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) use a much lower casualty threshold of 25 battle-related deaths per year. The choice of threshold matters because a lower threshold of violence allows for an analysis of a much wider set of conflicts, including low-intensity struggles. By contrast, the COW data should be used when the researcher is interested in analyzing the causes and consequences of only the bloodiest substate conflicts (a subset of the former).

What makes a civil conflict “civil” is that military action is internal to the state (Small & Singer, 1982). However, a great proportion of so-called civil conflicts are actually “international” in the sense that, while the physical scope and stakes of the conflicts are local, they involve numerous outside actors and influences—affecting every stage in the life cycle from conflict initiation to conflict prosecution and, finally, conflict termination. The Syrian civil war is just one of the most recent examples of internationalized civil wars—internal wars with a significant international component ranging from military interventions by foreign actors to conflict spillover from neighboring states to diaspora interventions to cross-border flows of ideas, fighters, and war materiel.3 Nor are internationalized civil wars particularly rare. In fact, nearly half of all civil wars since WWII have featured foreign involvement (Cunningham, Gleditsch, & Salehyan, 2009), complicating the conventional view that civil wars are confined to the borders of a single state.

These facts are worrisome given that internationalized civil wars are on average longer and bloodier than noninternationalized civil wars. From superpower interventions during the Cold War to more recent internationalized civil conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, research has shown that external intervention tends to prolong civil wars (Balch-Lindsay & Enterline, 2000; Balch-Lindsay, Enterline, & Joyce, 2008; Gent, 2008). One reason, as noted above, is that external participants increase the number of “veto players” that can block a peace agreement to end the civil war if they are dissatisfied with the terms of a given peace agreement (Stedman, 1997; Cunningham, 2006).4 This has clearly impeded peace-making in Syria, as it has in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Congo, where multiple intervenors have brought their own agendas to the conflict (Cunningham, 2010). With some exceptions, outside participants escalate civil wars by complicating the stakes of the conflict, making peace harder to broker. They can also prolong conflict by empowering one or both sides to fight longer and harder. Sudden perceptions of enhanced leverage can make conflict resolution still more difficult. This illustrates the converse of Zartman’s dictum that successful resolution of civil war requires a “ripe moment” or “hurting stalemate” for all sides of the conflict (Zartman, 1995). Military interventions threaten to destroy such stalemates by empowering the losing side and encouraging it to fight longer.

Interventions on behalf of the opposition have a particularly deleterious impact, as they can provoke government repression against groups from which the armed rebels draw their recruits (Weinstein, 2006; Kuperman, 2008). These interventions sometimes encourage predation on the rebel side as well (Byman & Kreps, 2010; Salehyan, Siroky, & Wood, 2014; Popovic, 2015a, 2015b). South African support for the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone is an oft-cited example of how externally backed armed opposition groups can turn into a perpetrator of mass atrocities. Externally backed governments may also be emboldened to repress their domestic challengers more brutally as outsiders funnel them money and logistical support, not to mention regime legitimacy (Peksen, 2012). Conflict in neighboring states might also foil conflict resolution attempts due to the presence of cross-border sanctuaries that make rebels less amenable to cutting a deal. For example, the Tamil Tiger rebels used the neighboring Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a safe haven from which to strike back at the Sri Lankan government, helping to prolong the war in northeastern Sri Lanka despite efforts by international negotiators to facilitate a settlement to the conflict (Salehyan, 2009).

Some civil wars are internationalized laterally or incidentally, as the outgrowth of regional conflict processes. Regions plagued by chronic conflict spillover are sometimes described as “bad neighborhoods” (Weiner, 1996). Here, cross-border flows of refugees, weapons, and warriors serve to perpetuate civil violence in an endless feedback loop, making the entire neighborhood more dangerous (Lischer, 2003, 2006; Salehyan & Gleditsch, 2006; Salehyan, 2007; Lake & Rothchild, 1998). Such neighborhoods can compromise conflict management efforts. Third-party initiatives to manage a domestic conflict are likely to falter, for examples, when wars in neighboring countries spread across state borders. For instance, the 1997 civil unrest in Albania produced a flood of weapons that were trafficked over the border for use in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) insurgency against Belgrade. This directly undermined attempts by the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to contain escalating tensions between the Belgrade government and the separatist Kosovar Albanians. Similarly, U.S. weapons sent to the mujahedeen during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s were sold and resold in secondary arms markets in the region—ultimately winding up in the wars of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, where they spoiled long-term conflict management missions. Internal rebellions also foment insurgencies in neighboring countries. In 2001, former KLA fighters slipped over the Kosovo border into Macedonia to ignite a violent conflict between Skopje and the Albanian minority—disrupting a successful ongoing eight-year mediation by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Max van der Stoel. Finally, cross-border ethnic ties can ruin conflict resolution attempts by supporting a more radicalized position, as was the case in Macedonia in 2001 when remnants of the former Kosovo Liberation Army crossed the Macedonian border to mobilize the Albanian minority there.

Conflict managers very often fail to de-escalate internationalized civil wars because of their overemphasis on the domestic-level conflict environment. When civil wars have multiple external players, as in the case of internationalized civil wars, it becomes all the more difficult to find compromise agreements that can satisfy all players. Internationalized civil wars are also difficult to end because all sides need to be able to credibly commit to the terms of the peace in order to secure a lasting peace. What this means is that no matter how technically sophisticated the domestic postwar institutions, unresolved conflict processes in the wider environment can spoil domestic level peace initiatives through conflict spillover or diffusion (Salehyan & Gleditsch, 2006; Buhaug & Gleditsch, 2008; Kathman, 2011; Schutte & Weidmann, 2011).

Methods for Managing Internationalized Civil Wars

What can the international community do in practical terms to manage internationalized civil conflicts more effectively? If we accept that the solutions for conflicts depend at least in part on their causes, then it follows that the methods chosen for managing internationalized civil wars must address the ways in which the conflict in question was internationalized. Conflicts driven by spillover effects from civil wars in the neighborhood (such as conflicts in the Great Lakes region in Africa or in Syria and Iraq) require different solutions than civil wars internationalized due to border wars or other bilateral disputes between neighboring states. We believe that effective conflict management requires taking a broader perspective on the civil conflict environment. This calls for focusing on the region as a whole and assuming an “outside-in” approach to civil conflict management. By stabilizing the regional or wider environment, conflict managers create a condition of “nested security” within which domestic solutions are more likely to yield fruit (Jenne, 2015). We explore several different methods below; the choice, once again, should fit the nature of the internationalized civil war itself.

Method I: Managing Outside Interveners

One of the simplest and most efficient means of managing internationalized civil conflict is for peace managers to use carrots and sticks to induce external participants to withdraw from the war (Regan & Aydin, 2006). This method is appropriate for de-escalating civil wars that are driven or exacerbated by the deliberate actions of outside powers, principally foreign governments. Since most civil conflicts are waged between a rebel group and the state government, and since the side of the rebels is usually militarily weaker than that of the state, the easiest way to end the conflict is to get outside players to withdraw military assistance from the rebels. Indeed, the simple withdrawal of external support from the side of the armed opposition may be enough to end the conflict.5 Doing so tips the scales decisively on the battlefield, allowing for state victory and associated conflict termination. The disadvantage of this approach is that cutting off support to opposition groups often entails tremendous humanitarian costs due to state-led reprisals—not only against rebel insurgents, but also the wider group from which the rebels draw their recruits. Terminating support to the rebel group may therefore lead to a scorched earth campaign by state forces against civilians who are associated with the rebels.

To consider a few examples, in 1946 two separatist insurgencies emerged in northern Iran by the Kurds and Azeris who declared independent national states. The northern region had been occupied by the Soviets during the Second World War, and after the war Moscow helped to set up separatist states in the region. The separatist groups declared an independent People’s Republic of Azerbaijan and Republic of Mahabad, both of which were sustained by Soviet military and economic aid. The United States, however, backed the new Shah of Iran and put pressure on the Soviets to withdraw their aid to the rebel groups; an implicit promise of oil concessions helped convince the Soviets to comply with U.S. demands. Once Soviet support was withdrawn, Iran was able to crush the movements easily. The Azeri republic quickly gave up autonomy, and its leaders fled into Azerbaijan. At the same time, Iranian forces occupied the Kurdish republic, and the Kurdish leadership was tried and executed. The conflicts were effectively terminated due to the withdrawal of support to the rebels, but at tremendous human cost.

A particularly brutal case of reprisals can be seen in the aftermath of the Vietnam war. After years of propping up a South Vietnamese government that enjoyed little grassroots support, the United States abruptly pulled out its troops and other assistance in a 1975 helicopter evacuation called Operation Frequent Wind. While thousands of South Vietnamese who had collaborated with the U.S. were evacuated along with American personnel, many tens of thousands were left behind, and their fate after the North Vietnamese captured Saigon still is not known. According to the Vietnamese government, 200,000 were sent to “re-education camps,” where torture and malnutrition were common (Kirkpatrick, 1988, p. 31).

These cases show that simply withdrawing (or inducing outside interveners to withdraw) support from rebel forces often leads to a brutal rout of the rebels by government forces, followed by a vicious backlash against civilians residing on the disputed territory. Inducing outsiders to suddenly cut off support to rebel forces must therefore be viewed as a suboptimal means of terminating internationalized civil wars.

Method II: Managing Borders

Internationalized civil wars might also be de-escalated by managing state borders. This method is best suited to conflicts that have been and continue to be internationalized laterally—sparked and/or sustained through conflict spillover, diaspora intervention, or the existence of safe havens used by rebel groups to equalize their struggle against the government. A salient example of this is the decades-long separatist war in Sri Lanka. The rebel Tamil Tigers were able to sustain decades of warfare against government forces due to an active Tamil diaspora that sent funds to arm the rebel group as well as the availability of safe havens in the neighboring Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Despite many rounds of negotiations between Tamil leaders and government representatives, the conflict finally ended with a government victory over the rebels due to a massive interdiction of ships that smuggled arms and other assistance to the rebels as well as a global effort to disrupt diaspora funding to the insurgency (Jenne, 2003). Border management thus facilitated a decisive end to the Sri Lankan conflict. The downside of this method is similar to that of inducing outside interveners to withdraw. In the case of Sri Lanka, the costs of the final rout were enormous—the Tamil Tigers used civilians as human shields while the government closed in on rebel positions. Thousands of civilians were killed or injured in the final phase of the conflict and hundreds of thousands were displaced. The empirical record suggests that the first two methods have similar downsides, as they merely change the calculations on the battlefield, permitting government victory. The predictable consequence is a massive government-led or -sponsored backlash. To avoid these problems, conflict managers must not only engineer a resolution to the conflict on the battlefield, but also protect against government retaliation. Outside kin states might then help keep government retaliation in check by signaling their intent to retaliate against the government should it engage in predation against their beleaguered coethnics (Van Houten, 1998; Laitin, 1998). Unfortunately, outside kin states are notoriously inconsistent in their policies toward kin abroad (Saideman, 2001; Carment, James, & Taydas, 2006; Carment & Taydas, 2009), and hence are unreliable partners in the business of conflict management.

A more successful example of border management can be seen in the US/NATO resolution of the short-lived Macedonian conflict in 2001, in which a small band of Albanian Kosovar rebels crossed the Kosovo-Macedonian border to spark an insurgency in the northwest Macedonian territory. As the insurgents moved toward the Macedonian capital of Skopje, the U.S. and NATO pressured Albanian rebel leaders to agree to disarm and conclude a peace agreement with the Macedonian leadership, which also agreed to an extensive interethnic power-sharing agreement. This led to a swift de-escalation of conflict, the disarmament of Albanian rebels and the consolidation of an (albeit uneasy) peace. Conflict managers were largely able to accomplish this feat because of the carrot of EU and NATO accession that they were able to offer the Macedonian leadership in return for concessions (see Vachudova, 2005, and Kelley, 2006, for more on how NATO and EU conditionality was used to manage ethnic conflict in Central and Eastern Europe). The government thus constrained, no government reprisals occurred in the wake of the ceasefire or peace agreement. The success of this case illustrates the importance of combining border management with institutional constraints on the postwar government.

Method III: Regional Peace Agreements

Regional peace agreements (RPAs) are ideal typical cases of “outside-in” civil conflict management. This hybrid approach often combines Method I with Method II; the peace agreement includes border control and postwar political constraints, and the terms of the agreement are guaranteed by one or more regional powers. The use of RPAs is most appropriate to conflicts featuring both interventions by outside powers and the lateral spread of conflict processes across state borders. Here, an internationalized civil war is resolved by integrating external participants into the peace agreement itself, which includes extensive postwar institutional arrangements.6 These solutions are usually, although not necessarily, guaranteed by relatively powerful external state(s), alliances, or organizations—actors that wield big carrots or, more commonly, big sticks. Sometimes, regional peace agreements are imposed on the warring participants; other times, they are concluded through a series of carefully negotiated deals including different conflict participants—sometimes these are unilateral commitments; sometimes they are bilateral or collective agreements. The best of these combine disarmament of rebel organizations with constraints on the postconflict government. We believe that they are at once the most humane and effective method of resolving internationalized civil wars; they are optimal solutions for such conflicts, assuming the guarantors of the agreement are willing and able to hold it together.

An example is given by the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA), which was mediated by the United States at one of its military bases in Ohio. The DPA required both Serbia and Croatia to halt their support for Bosnian Serbs and Croats, respectively. The agreement divided Bosnian territory between Bosnian Serbs, Croats and Muslims and established guarantor roles for the external parties to the conflict, Serbia and Croatia. At the same time, the DPA included an extensive power-sharing agreement, written into the Bosnian constitution, that prevented the Bosniaks from discriminating against the minority Bosnian Serbs and Croats. The entire agreement was enforced by NATO troops. A similar case can be seen in the 1990s U.S.-mediated Oslo Peace Process, which aimed to resolve the Palestinian conflict. Oslo was conducted in parallel to interstate talks between regional players—Israel on one hand, and Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, on the other—over the wider Arab-Israeli conflict. Likewise, the conflict between the Philippine government and the Moros insurgency over the status of the southern region of Minandao raged for two decades before negotiations between the conflict parties induced a temporary peace in the early 1990s. Indonesia, Libya, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) mediated a succession of talks beginning in the late 1970s that eventually terminated the conflict and produced a peace agreement on the status of the region. What made this a regional peace agreement was that the Muslim states pressured their coethnic Moros insurgents to ratchet down their demands and simultaneously pressured Manila to engage in talks with the insurgents using the implicit threat of an oil embargo (Kramer & Aronson, 2009).

The empirical record of regional peace agreements reveals both advantages and disadvantages of this method as a means of resolving internationalized civil wars. The obvious upside, as mentioned above, is that such agreements tend to split the difference between the warring parties rather than institutionalizing a one-sided victory. The balanced approach is likely to minimize casualties on one or both sides. The downside, however, is also apparent in these cases: The settlements they produce often do not stick.7 The Oslo Peace Accords meant a temporary halt to the Palestinian conflict, but violence soon reemerged after the talks broke down at the end of the 1990s. Similarly, although the Moros insurgency was temporarily halted through the RPA, it resurged in the late 1990s with Manila’s decision to rout the insurgency militarily, leading to a resumption of hostilities in the 2000s. In other words, despite their many advantages, regional peace deals are notoriously fragile, as they are based on international settlements that can break down at any time. It is telling that of the cases discussed above, the resolutions that continue to hold up (North Borneo and the Bosnian Dayton Accords) do so because the regional parties keep the peace either through exogenous stabilization (Dayton Accords) or endogenous stabilization based on mutual interests (the treaty between Indonesia and Malaysia over the status of North Borneo).


The empirical record to date strongly suggests that domestic techniques of conflict management efforts by themselves (electoral engineering, minority protections, and the like) are likely to be insufficient for de-escalating conflict on the ground, as long as the wider neighborhood continues to fuel the conflict or otherwise disrupt the peace process. The concrete policy implications of this dynamic cannot be fully worked out here due to space limitations, but there are a few broad policy guidelines.

First, the mere presence of mediators is not sufficient for reducing violence. Conflicts undergoing peace negotiations may easily be “undone” when the external environment changes, despite the best efforts of the negotiators or the existence of well-designed peace arrangements. Second, if mediators ignore the conflict potential of external intervention and interstate rivalry (focusing solely on domestic level solutions such as power-sharing or electoral engineering), then they are unlikely to secure a significant reduction in violence. Third, the most violent civil wars appear to be waged over control of the government, in poor countries and in unstable neighborhoods, suggesting that reducing violence on the ground calls for regional solutions that support and strengthen the host government, while discouraging governments from violently repressing internal challengers. To achieve this, regional security regimes might be fruitfully paired with economic development funds aimed at creating incentives for governments of the region to work together to manage regime threats.


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                                                                                                                                                  (1.) One of the earliest definitions of civil war was proposed by Small and Singer (1982) as “any armed conflict that involves (a) military action internal to the metropole, (b) the active participation of the national government, and (c) effective resistance by both sides.”

                                                                                                                                                  (2.) Civil wars may feature clashes between two or more nonstate actors, and the Syrian conflict is the most recent example of this dynamic.

                                                                                                                                                  (3.) Originally, scholars of internationalized civil wars focused on interventions by foreign governments (Rosenau, 1968, p. 167; Regan, 2000). Under the original Singer & Small classification, an internationalized civil war was one in which a “system member” intervenes into a substate conflict involving organized violence. In more recent decades, researchers have broadened their scope to other types of interveners and to unintentional and even epiphenomenal conflict processes, such as diffusion of insurgency strategies (Beissinger, 2002; Bob, 2005) or direct conflict spillover from wars in neighboring countries (Salehyan & Gleditsch, 2006; Gleditsch, 2007; Forsberg, 2014). Still other scholars have focused on the mode of intervention—ranging from diplomatic and economic engagement (Regan & Aydin, 2006; McNab & Mason, 2007); to lethal support in the form of weapons, funding or sanctuary (Salehyan, 2009; Salehyan, 2010; Salehyan, Gleditsch, & Cunningham, 2011); to the outright deployment of troops (Regan, 2000; Balch-Lindsay & Enterline, 2000; Balch-Lindsay, Enterline, & Joyce, 2008). Meanwhile, civil war databases developed by PRIO and UCDP have begun to include information on nontraditional participants in civil wars—such as nonstate or private actors (Cunningham, Gleditsch, & Salehyan, 2009), foreign fighters (Hegghammer, 2013; Malet, 2013), diasporas (Angoustures & Pascal, 1996; Wayland, 2004; Smith & Stares, 2007; Orjuela, 2008; Adamson, 2013; Bakke, 2013; Schmitz, 2013), IOs (Howard, 2008), corporations, or cross-border kin groups (Jenne, 2004; Jenne, 2007; Saideman & Jenne, 2009)—as well as “systemic” influences, such as the diffusion of ideas, transnational social networks, diasporas, personnel, or other outside conflict processes (Salehyan, 2009; Buhaug & Gleditsch, 2008).

                                                                                                                                                  (4.) Bilateral rivalry between the embattled government and a neighboring state—what Goertz and Diehl (1995) have called “enduring rivalries”—can also frustrate mediation attempts, as one or both sides undermine technical agreements to keep a conflict alive to appeal to their own constituencies. For example, a rival state on the border of the conflict-ridden state can offer aid to an ethnic rebellion, undermining efforts by third parties to resolve the conflict in question. Revisionist states present a significant threat to mediation success in the immediate neighborhood—particularly so-called kin states with ties to a minority in the target state. Examples include Russian involvement in the insurgent breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, which foiled attempts by the OSCE to halt the escalation of hostilities in Ukraine in 2014. Similar bilateral rivalries keep the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh alive despite more than twenty years of peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group.

                                                                                                                                                  (5.) Scholars have found that an ongoing source of finances to the rebels will tend to prolong conflicts. See Fearon and Laitin (2003), Collier and Hoeffler (2004), and Ross (2004).

                                                                                                                                                  (6.) Powerful outside actors can also serve as critical guarantors of negotiated peace settlements, providing reassurance to the weaker side that the stronger side will not renege on its promises once the weaker side has disarmed reintegration (Walter, 1997).

                                                                                                                                                  (7.) This dilemma is ably outlined by Licklider (1995).