Mediation in IR

When the conflicting parties cannot find a way out, the need might arise for a third party intervention. In international conflicts this intervention can be in forms of facilitation, arbitration, adjudication and mediation. In ‘The Politics of International Arbitration and Adjudication’(2013) by Stephen E. Gent, we see when, why and over which issues the states choose arbitration and adjudication, which is the most binding type of intervention as it is conducted by international law and courts, here of course we put aside the discussion about the international law itself, in an anarchical structure. In his article ‘Using the Right Tool for the Job: Mediator Leverage and Conflict Resolution’(2013), Beardsley discusses the styles for a mediator using leverage as a persuasion method over the conflicting parties with its strengths and weaknesses. Among the all articles, however, I found the Zartman reading ‘International Mediation’ the most comprehensive one as he looks at also the question by which motivations a third party intervenes into a conflict besides the motivations of the conflicting parties to consider mediation as an attempt to resolve the conflict. In addition, he also gives prescription for the timing of the intervention, underlining the ripe moment and the importance of persuasion not only showing the resolution something desirable but also by using power. He also frames the ways which the power changes the form according to ‘triangle’, mediator as communicator, as formulator and manipulator based on the stage of the conflict. However, after all these 3 pieces, I would also like to read the place, tactics, role of spoilers in a mediation as the mediator also have to keep them under control. In addition, as we know from mediation literature, generally the moderate ones in a party mostly take the prior roles in a mediation process. Therefore, I wonder how to keep the balance with those moderate and hard-liners in a party. I would consider the question, what would a mediator should do when there is a power asymmetry among/ between parties, as sometimes mediators choose the way to strengthen the weaker party but Zartman already puts the importance of being more powerful vis-à-vis other party to accept the mediation.

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