Mediation styles and outcomes of intractable conflict resolution: a comparative analysis of Sudan and Somalia Peace processes
Mwagwabi, Lawrence W
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The study provides an overview of the Sudan and Somali conflicts. It analyzes critically the importance of mediation styles in a mediation process, the impact of mediation styles on disputant relationship and whether there is a relationship between mediation styles and outcomes of resolving intractable conflicts. The study explores the linkages between mediation styles and outcomes of intractable conflict resolution. The study answers the question on the extent to which mediation styles have managed to transform both Sudan and Somali conflicts, the behaviour of the mediators, their strategies and skills in resolving intrastate conflicts and more so intractable ones like the Sudan and Somali conflicts. This study also examines the various peace processes in the two cases and identifies elements that made the mediation process a success or failure. The study explores the three mediator styles: communication-facilitation, formulative (procedural) and directive (manipulative) styles and their effectiveness in resolving conflicts. The theoretical framework for this study is based on three theories: mediation theory by Jacob Bercovitch; Ripeness Theory by Ira William Zartman; and, Spoiler Management Theory by Stephen Stedman. This study argues that the nature of the conflict dictates the mediation style to be used and the conflict's likely outcome. Thus, the study contends that mediators in the Sudan and Somali conflicts adopted mediation styles that were dictated by the nature of the two conflicts. Indeed, the study also postulates that relative to other styles of mediation, directive mediation style is more likely to bring about negotiated agreements that are more formal and comprehensive. The study finds, amongst other things that while directive mediation style was the most dominant of the three strategies adopted by mediators to settle the Sudan conflict that culminated in a formal and comprehensive agreement, the Somali case was dominated by communication-facilitative and procedural mediation styles that contributed to failure as an outcome to the mediation process.