The limits of mediation in the Arab Spring: the case of Syria
Akpınar, Pınar The limits of mediation in the Arab Spring: the case of Syria. (Accepted/In Press)
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2016.1218273
This article investigates the limits of mediation during the Arab Spring by focusing on the case of Syria. It examines international mediation attempts by states, non-governmental organisation, and regional and international organisations. Drawing largely on Bercovitch and Gartner’s framework of mediation outcomes, the study suggests that the directive strategy applied by Staffan de Mistura through the United Nations–Arab League joint effort has achieved the closest outcome towards a full settlement. Mediation in the Syrian crisis has been limited by disagreement among key actors, lack of commitment and of coordinated efforts, questions of representation and legitimacy, and lack of neutrality and of inclusiveness. Despite its limits, mediation has been able to achieve important gains such as the longest and broadest ceasefire, access to the majority of besieged areas, considerable de-escalation of violence, commitment among key actors towards a resolution, and resolution of incidents of hostage crises. Despite its limits, mediation is likely to play an important role vis-à-vis the Arab Spring.
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