Power Politics & Peace Policies
Intra-State Conflict Resolution in Southern Africa

By Thomas Ohlson
March 1998
Uppsala University Press
ISBN: 91-506-1311-1
199 pages, 6 1/2" x 9 1/2"
$38.50 Paper Original

Why do some peace agreements after intra-state war fail, while others succeed? The dissertation focuses this question, with specific attention to intra-state wars in regional security complexes. The aim of this comparative study is theory building. Propositions, indicators and research questions are derived from a typology of explanatory variables. The research design is applied to eight conflict resolution processes in Southern Africa. An analysis of bivariate covariation, variable interaction and causal patterns in the cases is used to transform the typology into a preliminary theory. The attitudes of primary parties to mechanisms for distribution of political power after a war is more important than the specific nature, such as "power sharing", of the political mechanism. If parties opt for a mechanism they can live with if they lose by it, peace is more likely to be durable. If they seek a mechanism that will maximize their advantage if they win by it, then the likelihood of a return to war increases. This underlies the role of experiential learning and political will for durable resolution of intra-state conflicts.

Uppsala University Department of Peace & Conflict Research, Report No. 50

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