The topic of this thesis is why some negotiated peace settlements succeed at ending communal violence, while others fail. About half of all negotiated settlements fail within five years of the signing of a peace agreement. It is therefore important to identify factors that influence the stability of peace processes and determine how they can affect stability.
As there is no coherent body of theory that treats this topic, I draw on several works to develop a framework that can be used to analyze settlement stability. The factors thought to influence settlement stability are grouped under four main headings: 1) mutually hurting stalemate and ripeness, 2) the terms of settlement, where underlying causes and the institutional guarantees in the agreement are discussed, 3) continuing conflict potential, that explores the areas of implementation, internal politics of each side, economic incentives, and spoilers, and 4) external factors, that examine systemic and regional actors and third parties acting as guarantors.
Comparative analysis is used to examine why some settlements fail and others succeed through case studies of Angola, Mozambique and Cambodia. In relation to Angola the main explanations for why peace has failed were that all the factors that can contribute to continued conflict were present. Elections were held before disarmament and demobilization were completed, internal disagreement over policy led both sides to fail to implement the accords, economic resources gave the opportunity to continue war as well as something to fight for, and spoilers were not managed correctly. In addition, neighboring countries have benefited by continued instability, and, the monitoring and observing mission that accompanied the Bicesse Agreement was not sufficient. The success in Mozambique was ascribed to several factors. Both regional and international actors supported the peace process. The peace agreement and its implementation were successful in reducing the parties security fears. Despite the delay in implementation, most items were implemented prior to the elections. The UN operation was a success in terms of facilitating implementation, reassuring the parties and identifying and dealing with spoiler behavior. Lastly, there were no resources over which to fight and the only resource that was abundantly available was the UN s and international donors millions. These millions gave the international community substantial leverage with the parties. In Cambodia, peace did not succeed immediately following the Paris Agreements as one of the parties to it, the Khmer Rouge, continued armed struggle. As in Angola, all the factors contributing to continued conflict potential were present. The weak guarantees in the agreement, together with lack of implementation, internal power struggles between and within the coalition parties, and failure to manage the CPP s spoiler behavior led to continued instability and war. Some of the factors that first contributed to the continuation of armed conflict later facilitated the cessation. Tightened Thai control over illegal timber and gemstone trade with the Khmer Rouge coupled with economic incentives offered by the Cambodian government led Khmer Rouge commanders to surrender. This also contributed to the fragmentation and eventual demise of the Khmer Rouge, and thus the end of the war.
There are several points where a peace agreement can fail. The problems can lie in the agreement itself, which can both lack the provisions needed for the parties to feel secure, as well as contingency plans for what is to be done in case the parties do not live up to their commitments. However, a peace agreement with defects can work if the parties are willing and in a position to renegotiate. A third party who can enforce an agreement can also help salvage a flawed agreement. In addition, third parties have a role to play by offering economic incentives to the parties and develop strategies to manage spoilers and limit illegal arms trade and looting of natural resources.
There are several sources of continuing conflict potential. New funding for warfare can change the calculation of the parties. External actors or lootable natural resources can supply means for continued war effort. The fragmented internal politics of the parties can be another basis for continued conflict. Finally, spoilers that are not managed correctly are a threat to the stability of peace processes.
Evidence from the case studies and the evaluation of the various factors led to the conclusion that hurting stalemates do not explain settlement stability, while systemic changes contributed to the onset of negotiations, but not to the implementation, and are not in the future likely to account for why some settlements succeed while others fail. The factors that are likely to influence settlement stability and should be given attention when examining settlement stability are: the settlement provisions, continuing conflict potential, and third parties.