Arab Approaches to Conflict Resolution : Mediation, Negotiation and Settlement of Political Disputes
This book examines Arab approaches to mediation, negotiation and settlement of political disputes, where such forms of conflict resolution might be distinctive from other cultural approaches in terms of processes and outcomes.
A particular sub-focus of this book is the role of the Arab League in its history of involvement in crisis and conflict situations, along with the roles of individual leaders and emissaries undertaking mediation initiatives either regionally or in conjunction with extra-regional actors such as IGOs (Inter-Governmental Organisations). IGO and Arab League activity has taken on new importance since the various intervention attempts in connection with the 'Arab Spring' since 2011.
Two clusters of independent variables are posed as potentially responsible for the distinctive nature of Arab conflict resolution in such situations: first, those linked with Arab political regimes and imperatives, and those linked with Arab and /or Islamic culture. For example, during the negotiation process, most Arab regimes tend to view conflicts within a broad historical context, which also makes conflict resolution a difficult task (leaders tend to view disputes and conflicts in the region as a repetition of their past historical experiences). Moreover, in Islamic cultural experience, priority is given to the cohesion of the community and internal stability of the state over individual autonomy. This has created an authoritarian style of leadership, with subjects reluctant to question or challenge the leader’s authority. In practice, leaders in the Middle East have had near absolute authority (autocratic leadership) and great authority (as in authoritarian leadership) in the decision-making process—a fact which will have a lot of weight in conflict management and whether peace will endure for a long period of time.
This book is unique in studying these clusters through comparative systematic case study analysis of cases prior to and subsequent to the 'Arab Spring', augmented by a quantitative analysis of sample data on Arab disputes, compiled from a larger and newly augmented study comprising the years 1945-2000. Complementary data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program’s (UCDP) data base of armed conflicts since 1975 is also utilized.
This book will be of much interest to students of conflict resolution, peace and conflict studies, Middle Eastern politics and IR in general.