An uneasy ceasefire has held in Western Sahara since 1991, largely preventing a resumption of armed conflict. Yet a final status agreement to sustainably resolve the conflict has proved elusive. This case describes the strategy and tactics employed by former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker to mediate an end to the Western Sahara territorial dispute from 1997 to his resignation as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Personal Envoy in 2004. A highly skilled and accomplished international diplomat, Baker’s attempts to resolve the Western Sahara conflict were ultimately unsuccessful. The case maps out a complex web of relationships between Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, the US, France, UK, Spain and the “Frente Polisario” movement in Western Sahara. Every time the negotiations appeared to take a step forward, the process was put two steps back a matter of weeks or months later. Little changed on the ground in Western Sahara. The obstacles to determining the final status of the disputed territory had only grown increasingly entrenched during Baker’s fruitless efforts to negotiate a solution. Through the late 2010s, Western Sahara continues to be an important, if relatively neglected, conflict in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Negotiation practitioners today struggle to manage complex political, economic, and cultural disputes that often involve an array of intertwined issues, parties, process choices, and consequences – both intended and unintended. To prepare next-generation negotiators for these multifaceted challenges, negotiation instructors must keep pace with the rapidly evolving complexity of today's world. In this article, we introduce systemic multiconstituency exercises (SMCEs), a new educational tool for capturing this emerging reality and helping to close the experiential learning gap between the simulated and the non-simulated environment.
We discuss our pedagogical rationale for developing The Transition, a seventy-two-party SMCE inspired by the complex conflicts in Afghanistan and Central Asia and then describe our experiences conducting multiple iterations of this simulation at Harvard University. We argue that SMCEs, in which stakeholders are embedded in clusters of overlapping networks, differ from conventional multiparty exercises because of their immersive character, emergent properties, and dynamic architecture. This design allows for the creation of crucial negotiation complexity challenges within a simulated exercise context, most importantly what we call “cognitive maelstroms,” nested negotiation networks, and cascading decision effects. Because of these features, SMCEs are uniquely suited for training participants in the art of network thinking in complex negotiations. Properly designed and executed, systemic multiconstituency exercises are next-generation teaching, training, and research platforms that carefully integrate negotiation, leadership, and decision-making challenges.
With the Arab Spring, the Iran nuclear deal, and the rise of ISIS, the reality in the Middle East and North Africa has changed fundamentally over the past few years. This report aims to make contributions to the understanding of the interconnected conflicts in the MENA region. It assesses the shifted network of relationships and alliances in the Middle East and North Africa and helps evaluate the effectiveness of future negotiation strategies to be employed by key actors with influence in the region.
Im HSFK Report Nr. 1/2017 "America first: Die Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik der USA unter Präsident Trump", herausgegeben von Caroline Fehl und Marco Fey, gehen Expertinnen und Experten der HSFK der Frage nach, wie die amerikanische Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik unter Präsident Trump aussehen könnte. Wird sie von Kontinuität geprägt sein? Oder wird es gravierende Brüche geben? Wie werden sich die diplomatischen Beziehungen zu einzelnen Staaten ändern? Der Report wirft darüber hinaus einen Blick auf Themen wie Terrorismus, Rüstungskontrolle und Demokratie, die aus Sicht der Friedens- und Konfliktforschung besonders relevant sind.
This report assesses the interests of the most relevant state and non-state actors in Afghanistan and Central Asia in the aftermath of the 2014 Afghan presidential election. It is guided by the premise that the armed conflict in Afghanistan should be understood as being heavily intertwined with regional politics. Its purpose is to serve as an overview of the negotiation environment in Afghanistan and Central Asia. It identifies actors, interests, and relationships that are helpful to take into consideration when sequencing and orchestrating a peace process that could de-escalate the war in Afghanistan and help build a more stable and cooperative region. The majority of the PRIF Report focuses on relevant actors and their network of relationships, and the conclusion details three future scenarios and a set of recommendations that could facilitate a coordinated negotiation process.
This paper maps out the negotiation environment of the Afghanistan conflict. So far, all attempts to end the violence between the Afghan government, insurgency, and US and NATO through negotiations have failed. Key obstacles to negotiations are the complexity of the conflict and the variety of state and non-state actors that are directly or indirectly involved. This paper explores the interests and relationships of these actors and highlights the most important alliances and connections. Finally, these connections are visualized in a network diagram.
Resistance to negotiation and the continuation of violence dictate the course of events in the Afghanistan conflict. However, several studies have thoroughly explored the interests of the main parties to the conflict and a settlement that respects their key demands is possible. The current military situation resembles a “hurting stalemate,” which according to rationalist assumptions should compel the parties to move toward negotiations. This article argues that the main obstacle to negotiation is an underlying and unaddressed conflict of recognition between the United States, the Afghan government, and the Taliban. While each party believes it is driven by justice claims, they perceive their opponents to be driven by a hostile strategy informed by incompatible interests. Relying on the Cultural Theory of International Relations, this article explores the parties’ motives in the conflict, focusing on the need to strive for esteem and honor. It suggests that the reciprocal acknowledgement of legitimate identity-related justice claims could remove a key obstacle to formal negotiation.
Afghanistan befindet sich seit über 30 Jahren im Bürgerkrieg. Mit Blick auf den für 2014 geplanten Abzug der UN-mandatierten und NATO-geführten ISAF-Truppen analysiert der vorliegende Report die verschiedenen Konflikte, die der derzeitigen Phase des Krieges zugrunde liegen. Er argumentiert, dass die komplexe Konfliktsituation durch die Strategie der „Sicherheitsübergabe“ nicht bearbeitet wird und plädiert dafür, den afghanischen Bürgerkrieg durch offizielle Friedensverhandlungen zwischen den zentralen Konfliktparteien zu deeskalieren. Hierzu werden konkrete Vorschläge gemacht, wie die USA, die NATO und Deutschland einen formalisierten und inklusiven Friedensprozess in Afghanistan unterstützen können.
The Peace Report (Friedensgutachten) is the joint yearbook of the institutes of peace and conflict research in Germany. It has been published annually since 1987. Researchers from various disciplines examine ongoing international conflicts from the perspective of peace strategy. Their analyses are the basis for the editors’ statement which summarizes and assesses the results and formulates recommendations for peace and security policies in Germany and Europe.