Since violent conflict typically produces death, destruction suffering and misery, and given that nearly all international political and social actors laud the use of violence – though tend to use it regardless – the use of mediation for conflict resolution is among the most significant tools. Indeed, over the last decades, mediation has played a vital role in ending decades-long civil violence, enduring rivalries and interstate conflicts; hence the volume of research on this topic has steadily been expanding. Greig and Diehl’s work: International Mediation, effectively summarises a chunk of the contemporary literature, deploys systematic data analysis and case studies and therefore have constructed a solid contribution to the field.
The book is divided into six chapters; each logically connected to the previous and subsequent chapters, providing readers with a strong flow of information that reinforces the arguments presented throughout.
The first substantive chapter – which also serves as the work’s introduction – seeks to answer what mediation is, how it is used to manage conflicts in the international system and how it differs from other conflict management approaches. To do so, Greig and Diehl, attempt to explain the phraseology connected to mediation by evaluating some of the key terms such as: conciliation, consultation, pure mediation and power mediation. Attention is also paid to goals of mediation and the role of mediation in different stages and phases of conflict such as pre-violence, armed conflict, after a cease-fire and following a peace agreement. This chapter is concluded with a discussion of historic mediation efforts, the Oslo Accords and those embarked on to solve the Beagle Channel Dispute, which act as an empirical anchor.
Chapter two deals with changes to mediation over time, emphasising its frequency and explores the geographic areas where mediation is most commonly applied. To do so, Greig and Diehl deploy Bercovitch’s International Conflict Management and the Correlates of War Project datasets. The collection begins immediately following WWII and extends through until 1999, during which some 2632 mediation attempted, in 333 different conflicts, have been attempted. Given the extensiveness of such research, it is fairly certain that conclusions drawn may be considered as representative.
The third chapter investigates those who provide mediation to conflicts and seeks to understand the interests (actual or needed) for third parties to expend its energies helping to resolve a conflict. Greig and Diehl focus on states, international organisation, non-governmental organisations, individuals and also cases where multiparty mediation is prioritised; balancing the pros and cons of each. This chapter is concluded with two case studies: mediation in the Burundian Civil War (1994-2005) and in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
The subsequent chapter (4) is devoted to successes and failures of mediation. Instead of paining in broad strokes, Greig and Diehl are concerned with the different stages of the mediation process: getting to the table, achieving some type of agreement and the implementation and durability of settlements. This chapter also finishes with empirical cases; this time on the development of MHS during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) and the external intervention (and MHS) during the Bosnian War.
Chapter five looks at how mediation attempts are sequenced in relation to each other as well as other conflict management approaches and how peacekeeping operations influence the effectiveness of mediation. Key factors that affect settlement durability are also addressed here. The case Cyprus is deployed in this chapter.
Finally, the concluding chapter explores some challenges for further research and identifies problems that retaining an ad hoc system of mediation produce. Greig and Diehl explore several dimensions of the mainstream definition of mediation and provide readers the intellectual space to form their own opinion. Yet, towards the end of such definitional work they articulate their own approach as an extension of peaceful conflict resolution which involves an outsider – an individual, a group or an organisation – and which is non-coercive, non-violent and non-binding and usually developed on an ad hoc basis.
Greig and Diehl assume that states continue to be dominant in international relations and hence are providers of mediation—especially the US, UK, France and Russia. However, they do not omit the role of international organisations such as the UN, African Union, Organisation of American States, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Arab League. Additionally, not only the activities of non-governmental organisations such as the Catholic Church, the International Red Cross and the Quakers but also the activities private individuals with significant experience in governance, leadership in religious organisations or key positions in international organisations are evaluated. Regarding the motivations behind mediation, Greig and Diehl believe that humanitarian motives, national and organisational interests are the main engines behind third party involvement.
This book is broadly appealing to students, scholars and the interested public; it is replete with theories, reinforced by adequate case studies to facilitate greater – and more comprehensive – knowledge of the subject. Readers will surely appreciate the work’s graphical layout, its contents enables easy navigation while appropriate appendixes include mediated conflicts with the start date and also number of total mediation efforts in the monitored period 1945-1999 certainly add an important exclamation point to this highly readable and informative text.