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Project: Spoilers and Peace Processes

This research project will explore the factors that promote or obstruct conflict settlement processes by focusing on the 'spoilers': groups that actively seek to hinder or undermine conflict settlement through a variety of means and for a variety of motives. It will:
  • Identify the comparative dynamics of 'spoilers' across a wide variety of cases in order to demonstrate patterns in tactics, motivations and funding;
  • Identify patterns in environmental variables (such as nature of peace settlements, the role of external actors, the political economy) that give rise to the ability of spoilers to exert leverage;
  • Assess the response and success of local and international actors - including incentives, sanctions, coercion - to deal with 'spoilers';
  • Suggest methods and approaches that can be employed (at a number of levels by different actors) to deal with spoilers and bring disaffected groups into peace processes. The project will represent a contribution to the understanding on the shortcomings of international efforts at peacemaking, peace processes, and their implementation in intractable conflicts. It will involve people directly familiar with peace processes in a number of contexts.