Handling Spoilers and the Prospect of Violence

Marie-Joëlle Zahar

in The Slippery Slope to Genocide

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199791743
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919222 | DOI:
Handling Spoilers and the Prospect of Violence

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This chapter focuses on the violence committed by ethnic nonstate armed groups (NSAGs). It develops an argument about the conditions under which mediators can successfully devise winning strategies to bring identity conflicts involving NSAGs to an end. In contrast to the literature that describes ethnic NSAGs as spoilers, the author contends that identity, though important, is not the only determinant of NSAG decision making. Instead, she argues that contextual factors provide a set of constraints on the ability of ethnic NSAGs to resort to violence. She then develops a typology of ethnic NSAGs and identifies the specific strategies most likely to bring different subcategories of NSAGs to the negotiating table and to ensure their commitment to peace. The contribution uses the Bosnian civil war as an example to probe the expectations of the model.

Keywords: nonstate armed groups; ethnic conflict; spoilers; violence; bosnia; credible commitment; mediation strategies; institutionalization

Chapter.  10159 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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