Why Do Peace Agreements Hold Or Fail

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The sudden new agreement in January `06 with the mediation of the Yemeni president within the framework of the Sana`a Forum leaves questions open and resolves a number of diplomatic issues. Unilateral actions by one group (Jowhar) have exacerbated the situation, including government appointments, military recruitment, membership of international organizations and the signing of agreements, the launching of development projects and the disbursement of aid. 2. Unilateral actions without consensus. 3. International and regional manoeuvres which are kept secret by one of the parties under the Agreement and which give rise to suspicion that the Agreement could in fact only be a cover.4. Sudden approval of war faction leaders without consensus within each group.5. Sudden change of hosts and power bases of peace talks from international to regional.6. Marginalization of powerful subgroups.7.

No clear apparatus for conflict stabilization. 8. No clear lines or rules on how to deal with major issues. It is rare that someone can be pushed into a corner from where there is no other way out than concessions. Sanctions that lead the other side to seek alternatives (new suppliers, new alliances, greater self-sufficiency) are generally detrimental to peace. Anger over the unilateral result culminated in a violent coup attempt and weeks of fighting between opposition-linked soldiers and regional peacekeepers. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has established an Interim Political Authority (IPA) to monitor reforms that would break Lesotho`s cycle of instability. This included the introduction of a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system that expanded Parliament to 120 seats – 80 in first-past-the-post voting (tied with constituencies) and 40 in proportional representation – to ensure that each party`s number of seats more or less reflected its share of the national vote.

Many of today`s conflicts in Africa are revivals of previous conflicts. These conflicts therefore reflect, to some extent, a collapse of previously negotiated peace agreements. A review of the experiences of three of these cases – Lesotho, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo – offers lessons that can help influence future agreements of this type. There are three strategies for managing spoilers, as Proposed by Stedman (in Ryan, 2000:41): incitement, socialization in a set of norms, and coercion; these refer to certain types of spoilers. .

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