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Leanings and Dealings: Exploring Bias and Trade Leverage in Civil War Mediation by International Organizations

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image of International Negotiation

Two characteristics of mediators – bias and leverage – are discussed intensively in the research on international mediation. However, whereas bias and leverage have been examined in mediation by states, relatively little is known about their role in mediation by international organizations (ios). This study provides new ways of conceptualizing io bias and leverage and utilizes unique data to measure the impact of io bias and leverage on mediation outcomes. Exploring all cases of civil war mediation by ios in the period 1975–2004, we find that ios where member states provide support to both sides in a conflict outperform ios whose member states remain disinterested. ios with significant trade leverage also increase the likelihood of mediation success. The study demonstrates that ios rarely have a neutral relationship to civil war combatants, that mediation by ios is laden with member state interests, and that such interests shape outcomes.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, Stockholm University106 91; 2: Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala UniversityBox 256, 751 05


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