U.S. Institute of Peace Press

TAMING INTRACTABLE CONFLICTS
Mediation in the Hardest Cases


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978-1-929223-56-5
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USIP Press Books
August 2004
224 pp. , 6" x 9"

Some conflicts seem to defy resolution. Marked by longevity, recurrent violence, and militant agendas, these intractable conflicts refuse to be settled either on the battlefield or at the negotiating table. The longer they fester, the stronger the international community's inclination to lose heart and to turn away. But, explain the authors of this provocative volume, effective mediation in intractable conflicts is possible—if the mediator knows what to do and when to do it.

Written from the mediator's point of view, Taming Intractable Conflicts lays out the steps involved in tackling the most stubborn of conflicts. It first puts mediation in a larger context, exploring why mediators choose or decline to become involved, what happens when they get involved for the wrong reasons, and the impact of the mediator's institutional and political environment. It then discusses best mediation tradecraft at different stages: at the beginning of the engagement, when the going gets very rough, during the settlement negotiations, and in the post-settlement implementation stage.

Forceful, concise, and highly readable, Taming Intractable Conflicts serves not only as a hands–on guide for would-be mediators but also as a powerful argument for students of conflict management that intractable conflicts are not beyond the reach of mediation.

 

Chester A. Crocker is the James R. Schlesinger Professor of Strategic Studies at Georgetown University where his teaching and research focus on conflict management and regional security issues. He served as chairman of the board of the United States Institute of Peace (1992-2004), and continues as a member of its board. From 1981-1989, he was U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs. As such, he was the principal diplomatic architect and mediator in the prolonged negotiations among Angola, Cuba, and South Africa that led to Namibia’s transition to independence, and to the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola. Dr. Crocker served as a staff officer at the National Security Council (1970-72) where he worked on Middle East, Indian Ocean, and African issues and director of African studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (1976-80). He serves on the boards Universal Corporation, Inc., a leading independent trading company in tobacco and agricultural products; Good Governance Group Ltd, a business intelligence advisory service; and Bell Pottinger USA, a communications and public relations firm. Dr. Crocker is a founding member of the Global Leadership Foundation, the Africa-based Housing for HIV Foundation and member of the Independent Advisory Board of the World Bank. Dr. Crocker is the author of High Noon in Southern Africa: Making Peace in a Rough Neighborhood (1993), co-author (with Fen Osler Hampson and Pamela Aall) of Taming Intractable Conflicts: Mediation in the Hardest Cases (2004), and coeditor of Leashing the Dogs of War: Conflict Management in a Divided World (2007), Grasping the Nettle: Analyzing Cases of Intractable Conflict (2005); Turbulent Peace: The Challenges of Managing International Conflict (2001); and Herding Cats: Multiparty Mediation in a Complex World (1999).


Fen Osler Hampson is professor of international affairs and director of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. Hampson was a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in 1993-94. He is chair of the Human Security Track of the Helsinki Process on Globalization and Democracy, a joint initiative of the governments of Finland and Tanzania.

Pamela R. Aall is the Provost for the Institute's Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding . She directs the education program, which focuses on strengthening teaching, learning, and research on conflict prevention, management, and resolution. Before joining the Institute in 1993, she was a consultant to the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and to the Institute of International Education. She held a number of positions at the Rockefeller Foundation. She has also worked for the European Cultural Foundation (Amsterdam and Brussels), the International Council for Educational Development (New York), and the New York Botanical Garden. She holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.A. from Columbia University and attended the London School of Economics, conducting research on political and economic integration in Scandinavia and Europe.

Browse Inside the Book

Contents

  • Introduction: Mediation and Intractable Conflicts
  • Part I: Understanding the Context
  • When Powerful States Mediate: Motives and Results
  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Fate of Forgotten Conflicts
  • The Mediator's Environment
  • Part II: Crafting the Response
  • Building a Negotiating Strategy
  • Hanging On, Hunkering Down, and Bailing Out
  • Recipes for Securing the Settlement
  • Making a Settlement Stick
  • Conclusion: Learning to Mediate

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