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Nipping Them in the Bud: The Onset of Mediation in Low-intensity Civil Conflicts

Journal of Conflict Resolution

Published online on


Civil conflicts constitute one of the most significant threats to human security. Understanding when belligerents are willing to undertake conflict management efforts is an important first step in better understanding how civil conflicts can be dealt with by the international community. In this article, I examine the occurrence of mediation in low-intensity conflicts. Drawing on insights from the war termination literature, I develop a theoretical argument that links mediation in low-intensity conflicts to the evolution of fighting. I argue that, while the characteristics of a conflict and its belligerents influence when mediation happens, how events unfold on the battlefield also influences the occurrence of mediation. I test this argument by looking at low-intensity conflicts in Africa from 1997 to 2004 using data on mediation in low-intensity conflicts and battle-level civil conflict events. The analysis highlights the important effect of battlefield outcomes and locations upon the occurrence of mediation in low-intensity conflicts.