In the current study, the author evaluated conflict management with respect to the available options for its resolution. From the onset, mediation is outlined as the preferred option in resolving conflicts and other forms of disagreements in the society. To this end, a historical perspective of this alternative form of settling disputes is outlined in the introduction chapter. The topic is further expounded on in the literature review section. The research undertaking sought to explain the rationale behind mediation based on the resolution efforts made in Cyprus and Northern Ireland.
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The study was carried out based on an exploratory research design. Secondary sources of data were used to obtain the necessary information. In light of this, peer reviewed journals and books relating to conflict management and resolution were used. A total of 82 sources were used to support the discussions made in the study. The case study of the conflicts in Cyprus and Northern Ireland also helped to advance the thesis statement.
The analysis of the two case studies revealed a number of issues relating to mediation. In the first instance, this form of conflict resolution was seen as the preferred mechanism owing to its ability to improve relations between the various stakeholders involved. However, based on the failure of mediation efforts made in Cyprus, the study indicated the need to adhere to the theory of Ripeness. In addition, the study found that public participation is necessary to enhance the effectiveness of mediation processes.
The current chapter lays the foundation for conflict and the various resolution strategies used to handle it. There are a number of aspects that relate to conflict and its resolution. However, the current study emphasises on mediation as a suitable dispute resolution mechanism. The strategy is associated with a number of benefits to the warring parties and other stakeholders involved in the dispute.
The author of the current study is alive to the fact that conflict is inevitable in any modern society.1 In fact, it is part of human nature. In addition, it is noted that conflict can be resolved using a number of different processes. However, the current research undertaking outlines the rationale for mediation as the preferred conflict resolution mechanism. Background information on the subject matter highlights the problem for the study. The research undertaking intends to illustrate the successes and failures of mediation as the ideal conflict resolution strategy. A comparative analysis of two conflicts will help in the realisation of this objective. The two are Cyprus and Northern Ireland disputes. They act as the two case studies for the current study.
Conflict is a major component of the human interactions in a given society. Considering the dynamic nature of human interactions, conflict is assumed to have a similar nature.2 What this means is that different forms of disputes exist between members of a particular community. Conflict occurs from the rudimentary unit of a society, which is the family. It extends to larger set ups of the community, such as countries and regions.3 A number of studies conducted in this field indicate that conflict is a paradoxical concept. In essence, it is assumed that disputes are some of the forces that destroy relationships in the society. Consequently, the need for conflict resolution mechanism arises. The strategies are used to enhance peaceful coexistence between different individuals and parties.
With respect to the magnitude of conflicts, it is possible to have an escalation of the same on an international level. The result of such crises is instability and an endangerment to the existing systems in a given society.4 To this end, conflict resolution is seen as an avenue through which crises, of whatever magnitude, can be averted. The study focuses on mediation, as a preferred technique for conflict resolution.
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Conflict is a common phenomenon in any setting. In the business and political landscapes, there are various issues that destabilise the harmony among various parties. The result is a conflict that brings about instability of the immediate environment.5 The current paper is developed with the intention of providing a framework of conflict resolution through mediation. Notwithstanding the success rate of mediation efforts, there are cases where the same has not been a success. To this end, the paper seeks to evaluate how best the same can be applied in various conflicts to ensure an amicable solution is obtained.
The research undertaking, while supporting the efficiency of mediation, evaluates the mediation initiatives in two main conflicts. The conflict in Northern Ireland is considered one of the most phenomenal in terms of the duration and resolution.6 The mediation process was successful and the information will prove important in helping to resolve other conflicts of a similar nature. Separately, the mediation process in Cyprus is outlined
The major problem, with regards to conflict resolution, is when certain techniques fail to yield the desired expectations. An example is the conflict in Cyprus where mediation efforts did not achieve the intended objective of peace.7 The same informs an analysis of the mediation process in Cyprus to determine what went wrong. The problem statement of the current study is based on the ineffectiveness of the mediation efforts. To this end, the current study is carried out based on the thesis statement that, “addressing the flaws made in mediating the Cyprus conflict will develop a suitable template for mediation in future conflicts”. The same forms the basis of the comparative analysis between the mediation processes in the two main conflicts highlighted in the current study.
The current study is a comparative analysis. Such a research undertaking requires a unique design. According to Creswell, adopting a suitable research design allows the activities of the study to yield the expected results.8 The current study intends to examine mediation, as a preferred conflict resolution mechanism. The same will be examined based on the mediation efforts in two separate conflicts. To this end, the study makes use of a hybrid research design based on exploratory and case study techniques.
The method of research adopted for the current study intends to exhaust all the information pertaining to mediation. The case study will expound upon the existing concepts of mediation. The various techniques of mediation used in both conflicts are discussed in the cases study. The exploratory research design allows for the use of secondary information to argue the fundamentals of the study. The same is evident in the literature review provided upon in the study. The information obtained will form the basis of the discussion of the results of the comparative analysis of the case study.
The current study focuses on the issues surrounding conflict and conflict resolution. There is a need to come up with comprehensive mechanisms of conflict resolution. The study is meant to contextualise mediation as the most preferred technique of conflict resolution.
The study largely relies on secondary sources of data from which the information pertaining to mediation is obtained. Secondary information is obtained from books and journals on the subject of mediation. The necessary adherence to ethics was taken into account. The resources used for the study based on their relevance and currency.9 The sources used were from as early as 2005. However, there are others, published much earlier, which are used owing to the information they contain.
Methods of Data Collection
As already mentioned, the data necessary for this study is sourced from secondary sources. The fists step involves identification of the sources relevant to the research undertaking. The primary method of data collection will involve a web based search.10 To this end, there are a total of 100 sources which were obtained. From the web based search. There were also a number of printed materials used for the study. However, due to the evaluation criteria outlined, only 82 sources were used to carry out the research.
The data is analysed in two phases. The first phase involves a comparative analysis. In this phase, mediation efforts in both Northern Ireland and Cyprus are outlined. The analysis involves comparing the techniques of mediation that are shared in both cases.11 At the same time, the respective points of departure will be analysed. The second phase of data analysis will involve a comprehensive discussion of the findings from the comparative analysis. The discussion is based on how the findings of this study relate to the information sources from the secondary sources.
Mediation, as already discussed, is one of the many techniques that are used to resolve conflicts. The current study intends to illustrate its effectiveness based on the comparative analysis of mediation in Cyprus and Northern Ireland. To this end, the study has one major objective and four main objectives.
To establish the effectiveness of mediation in conflict resolution
- To explain mediation with reference to conflict resolution
- To establish the techniques of mediation
- To analyse conflict resolution in Cyprus and Northern Ireland.
- To find out why mediation in Northern Ireland was a success.
- To find out the mistakes made in the mediation process in Northern Ireland.
The first chapter is the introduction chapter where key aspects of the study are outlined. A background on conflict and conflict resolution is outlined. Also a thesis statement is provided alongside specific objectives and research questions to be addressed. Details of the research methods are also illustrated. The chapter also highlights the research perspective to be undertaken by the study. The necessary objectives and research questions are outlined. The second chapter is a review of the literature associated with the subject.
Conflict resolution through mediation has been developed over a number of styles. In this literature review, the same are explained from a historical perspective on the subject. The studies examined in this section include previous conflicts, where mediation was used as a preferred conflict resolution technique. The literature review also illustrates the various studies that seek to explain the factors that promote success in the whole mediation process. At the same time, there are instances where mediation was not a success. Courtesy of this review, the necessary theoretical frameworks are examined. At the end of the review, the gaps in literature become apparent.12 The same provides a rationale for the current study.
As already discussed in the back ground review, mediation is a form of conflict resolution mechanism. The process involves a neutral third party is involved in ensuring two parties, to a conflict, reach an amicable agreement.13There are a number of studies which have sought to illustrate the historical perspective if the concept. Astor and Chinkin argue that, mediation requires a number of techniques, to ensure parties settle upon a common interest.14 However, historically, mediation has been confused with arbitration.
The mediation process makes use of mediators as facilitators to an agreement. On the other hand, arbitration involves a third party whose role is to make a decision based on the conflict at hand. In the analysis of the mediation process, there are studies where the distinction between the two is made clear.15 16The main difference is that an arbitrator makes a decision while a mediator does not.
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Mediation has been used in a number of instances to solve conflicts in a number of societies. Asia and, by extension, China is one of the areas where the process is known to have been used to solve conflicts.17Confucius held the opinion that moral persuasion is the best way to resolve any form of conflict.18Given that arbitration involves a decision made a third party, some sense of coercion is involved. In the traditional Chinese setting, the school of thought derived by Confucius was such that compromise is a core element of dispute resolution. To this end, cultures in China resort to litigation as a last resort when it comes to dispute resolution.
In a country like Japan, the concept of mediation is deeply entrenched. Traditionally, the head of a given village had the role of enabling people arrive at an amicable solution to a conflict.19 Given the heavy reliance on mediation, in the Japanese society, litigation became highly discouraged. The tradition has carried on to present times, where mediation is used in resolving disputes of a business nature.
In the African cultures, mediation was also practiced. According to Chouliaraki,20 mediation worked so well in the African setting owing to the extended kinship ties within a given community. With respect to Islam, the role of the quadis is evidence of the society’s preference for mediation when it comes to resolving conflicts.21 Essentially, the quadis are intermediaries in a given conflict. Their role was basically to reach out to parties in a dispute with an objective of bringing about social harmony.
In the twentieth century, mediation was practiced by several ‘civilised’ societies. At the time, civilisation was largely associated with the United Kingdom (UK). The need for a suitable conflict resolution mechanism saw the institutionalisation of mediation in the UK.22 There are a number of studies that cite the Conciliation Act as a part of the institutionalisation of mediation in the UK society.23 The same was replicated in the United States (U.S.) where the U.S. Department of labour came up with a body referred to as the Commissioners of Conciliation.24 The commissioners were tasked with coming up with a alternative dispute resolution mechanism with respect to labour related conflicts.
Conflict is not a new phenomenon in the current social dispensations. Over the years, conflict has characterised a number of human interactions. In this section, the conflict in Somalia and the role of mediation in resolving the dispute is outlined.25 The section also examines the Mediation efforts in the Middle East, particularly with reference to the Israel-Palestine conflict.26 The conflict between the Kurds in Turkey is also outlined.27 The literature review will outline the techniques of mediations that have been used in each of the scenarios mentioned.
The Somali Conflict
The war torn regions in Somali began to experience conflict as early as 1897. During the period when colonial powers scrambled for a piece of the African continent, Somali was divided among the Italian, French and British colonial powers. The conflict was exasperated by the coup orchestrated by Mohamed Siad Barre in 1969.28 Also, the battle for the control of Ogaden in 1978 plunged the country into more chaos. However, the collapse of the Siad Barre-led regime put the conflict in Somalia on an international watch list. The same necessitated a suitable resolution, in which mediation was used.
The most notable peace accord was arrived at in 2004. Dubbed the Mbagathi Peace Process,29 the mediation efforts were facilitated by the regional and international authorities. The dispute was mainly brought about by the need to control the country by different factions made up by the warlords.30 The nature of the conflict was traced down to the supremacy battles between the different clans. To this end, the mediation process sought to come up with a formula that would ensure power is shared among the clans.
The mediation efforts that gave rise to the Mbagathi Peace Process are regarded as a success. The opinion is shared by various scholars of political science where mediation is outlined as a preferred dispute resolution mechanism.31 The success of the mediation efforts is evident since decades after the fall of the Siad Barre administration the country would go back to democracy under a Federal form of government. Courtesy of the mediation efforts, the interests of the parties in disputes are addressed.
The Kurdish-Turkey Conflict
In Turkey, the central government is embroiled in a long standing conflict with members from the Kurd community, based in Iraq. At the heart of the conflict is the role of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the guerrilla attacks experienced in Turkey.32 The Turkish government has accused the Iraq government of supporting the activities of the PKK. Mediation efforts have been on-going for years. Presently, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has been appointed as the mediator between the two parties.
In the process of an on-going conflict, it is imperative that the parties exercise some form of restraint. The mediating party is meant to facilitate a temporary truce between the parties. Unfortunately, the OIC appear not to understand their role as a mediator. In 2007, there were reports which indicated that the Turkish government did not observe a cessation of armed conflict.33 Both parties engaged in armed conflict leading to the deaths of several civilians. The role of the OIC as an effective mediator was brought into sharp focus.
The objective of a mediation process is to foster goodwill between any two parties. Unfortunately, in this conflict the mediator appeared to have lost the political goodwill essential for an amicable solution to the conflict. The result has been a prolonged armed conflict whose result has been the loss of many lives.34 The development of a suitable framework for conflict resolution will enable the realisation of peace in such areas as the Kurd populated Turkey and Iraq.
Mediation in the Middle East
The Middle East is perhaps the region characterised with some of the longest conflicts. For instance, the Israel-Egypt and Israel-Palestine conflicts are some of the few where mediation has been used.35 As a mechanism of conflict resolution, mediation has some notable successes. That notwithstanding, there are cases where mediation efforts have failed to bear any fruits in the Middle East region.
The notable success of mediation in conflict resolution, in the Middle East, was evident after the 1978 peace accord between Egypt and Israel. There are a number of studies that sight this technique in use within the region. The study by Joffe, for example, examines mediation in the Middle East.36 Jimmy Carter acted as mediator in the conflict where Presidents Sadat and Begin came to a compromise regarding the conflict between the two patties. The success of this accord was attributed to the political will from the parties.
The role of a mediator is crucial in ensuring the parties come to an amicable solution. Presidet Clinton, was mediator seeking to bring to an end, the conflict between Israel and Palestine.37 However, unlike his predecessor, the Clinton-led Mediation efforts were not as successful as the one led by Carter. Several studies have so far examined the reasons that led to the failure of the Clinton-led mediation efforts attribute the same to the absence of a political will. The same can be said for the mediation efforts aimed to quell the crisis in Syria. There have been two mediators since the peace talks began and in both cases, the conflict has not been resolved. Evidently, it boils down to the willingness to cede ground from both parties.
Factors that enhance the success of mediation in conflict resolution
Conflict resolution is regarded as an avenue through which a particular crisis successfully brought to an end. To this end, there are a number of techniques that act as the promoting factors which enhance the resolution of a given conflict. Several studies have been carried out to examine the same. The study by Maney, Ibrahim, Higgins & Herzog examined some of the factors while illustrating the common reasons that bring about failure in the mediation process.38 Mareschal also examines some of factors, albeit from a psychological perspective.39 Understanding the factors that promote the success in mediation enhances conflict resolution holistically.
In the first instance mediation is only as successful as the appropriateness of the mediator involved. The study by Maney et al suggests that every dispute has its unique features.40 To this end, the involvement of a mediator with the relevant experience in the matters in disputed upon is tied to the success of the mediation. The experience, skill and tact adopted by a mediator is very important when it comes to the intended outcome of a mediation process. Consequently, studies affirm that mediation is indeed as good as the mediator.
Commitment to resolve a given conflict is, perhaps, the most common factor that influences the success of a mediation process. In most cases, disputes collapse due to the absence of goodwill regarding the resolution of a given conflict.41 There are cases where one of the parties in a dispute makes it clear on their intention not to carry on with the mediation process. The absence of commitment from both parties brings about frustration in the mediation process. In such cases, it becomes imperative that the mediator ensures there is goodwill from both parties.
The history of the parties also plays a role in resolving a conflict. The mediation process requires an understanding of the root cause of the dispute at hand. The study by Markides and Coufoudakis indicates that mediation efforts succeed in cases where the mediator has a firm grasp of the history of the two parties.42 In the absence of the history to a given conflict, the parameters that would necessitate a solution become difficult to identify. To this end, the mediation process stalls or collapses altogether.
The success of a mediation process is also determined by proper preparation. The mediation process requires adequate preparation.43 Lack of preparation becomes evident in cases where the parties fail to disclose the requisite information pertaining to the discussions. Instances where parties to a dispute fail to prepare, delays in the conflict resolution persist. The ripple effect of a prolonged conflict is harmful to both societies. To this end, scholars maintain that preparation is paramount to the success of a mediation process.
The stability of the parties to a dispute is also a contributing factor to the success of a mediation process. The same is discussed in a number of studies which seek to come up with ways to in which mediation can yield results in conflict resolution.44 Ideally, the stability of a disputant is brought about by the shifting of goals by respective parties. For instance, a
Incidences where mediation failed in conflict resolution
Conflict resolution, through mediation, has not always yielded the expected results. Conflicts have either escalated or kept the momentum. To this end studies relating on the same have been outlined. According to Meadow, there are a number of conflicts where mediation was suggested as a solution but the same never yielded the required results.45 Examples include the following:
- The Israel-Palestine conflict
- The Syrian conflict
- The Somali conflict
There are a number of studies that illustrate the various theories relating to the subject. The literature review discusses a number of the theories. They include the following:
Understanding conflict resolution requires an in-depth analysis of the conflict theory. The theory can be traced back to the Karl Marx. Several studies describe the conflict theory based on its role of coercing disputants to arrive at an amicable solution.46 The theory assumes that a society is made up of constituent elements that compete for the available resources. The only way to maintain the social order is through domination. However, there are cases when the harmony in the society is disturbed. Conflict is the result of the destabilised harmony of a society.
The conflict theory assumes that inequality, in a society, whenever there is a disproportionate sharing of the resources. The theory goes on further to explain that the harmony that exist in a society is not due to the shared values but from the coercion that is in the authorities.47Under this theoretical framework, social control is important to ensure the stability of a people. To this end, mediation efforts need to employ some form of coercion to achieve the harmony required in a society.
The role of a mediator is meant to ensure that disputants to a conflict are able to arrive at an amicable solution. The conflict theory allows the mediator to use diplomacy to coerce the parties to enter into an agreement. The coercion, referred to in this theoretical framework is not the kind where actual force is used. The parties are made to appreciate the need for peace and the benefits of a mutual coexistence. Conflict theory was advanced in the Northern Ireland mediation efforts.48 Both parties were made aware of the ramifications of the armed conflict. Consequently the mediation efforts were able to achieve the intended results owing to the parties having to decide to drop arms in favour of a harmonious coexistence.
The Cooperative theoretical framework
The process of mediation, in conflict resolution is one where the need for cooperation is very important. To this end, the cooperative model was developed with the intentions of fostering reconciliation initiatives between disputing parties. The cooperative model was developed by one Morton Deutsch.49 The theory is developed based on the nature of the dispute. Other studies indicate that this model requires that parties identify the respective terms intended to be achieved out of a mediation process. The resolution of the Egypt-Israel conflict can be explained based on this model.50 The cooperative theoretical framework requires commitment from both parties in the resolution of the conflict.
The cooperative theoretical framework exists based on competition and cooperation as the main orientations. The two orientations are observed in relation to how the disputants in a given conflict end up interacting.51 In the advancement of this theoretical model, Deutsch argues that the mediation process is determined based on the nature of the interaction between the parties. Based on the Israel-Egypt mediation, at Camp David, the nature of interaction was laced with political goodwill from both sides.52 To this end, cooperation was seen to occur and further foster cessation of conflict. Based on this model, conflicts like the one in Syria can be resolved if the mediators focus more on ensuring cooperation from the disputants.
Cooperation theory has been mentioned in a series of studies. In most of the cases, cooperation is outlined as the backbone to the success of a mediation process.53 The number one reason as to why many mediation efforts do not bear fruit is the absence of goodwill. The cooperation theory is outlined as a means through which disputants can meet each other halfway for the amicable resolution to a conflict.
The Principled Negotiation Theory
The process of mediating a conflict involves negotiations to address the pertinent issues that bring about the conflict. To this end, the principled negotiation framework was developed. The theory is seen as a build up to the cooperation theory and was advanced by Roger Fisher and William Ury.54 Under this theoretical framework, conflict is resolved only through a structured process of negotiation. To this end, the principled negotiation framework is understood from the constituent principles.
The primary principle of this theory is the separation of the parties from the problem presented in the conflict. In most cases, conflicts persist when parties retain hard line stances in a dispute.55 The detachment of the parties from the issues at hand enables both sides of a dispute to focus more on resolving the crisis. The crisis between Israel and Palestine has been cited in many studies as being prolonged since the parties are not detached from the problem.56 The detachment allows for the mediation process to address the substantive issues that are presented.
The second principle of this model is for the parties to focus on the main interest rather than the positions. There are a number of instances where mediation becomes necessary to resolve a political crisis.57 At the heart of such conflicts the disputants mostly focus on the positions. An example of such a scenario is after a general election and the dispute that results from the contestation as to who won the presidency, for example. Based on the principled negotiations theory, the parties should ignore the positions claimed in the dispute and focus more on addressing the substance of the dispute.58 The other principle of this theory is the generation of a variety of options that will allow for a final agreement to be settled upon.
The Effectiveness of Mediation
Literature on the effectiveness of mediation focuses on three main aspects that relate to the process. The characteristics of the disputants and mediator are paramount to the success of a mediation process.59 Also, the characteristics of the dispute feature greatly when there is a need to evaluate the effectiveness of the mediation process. Prior to the actual negotiations in during mediation talks, the parties must critically evaluate the properties of the dispute in reference. To this end, there are a number of studies which separately explain how to realise the nest out of a mediation process based on the three aspects suggested.
Effectiveness based on the characteristics of a dispute
A mediator can easily predict the success of a mediation process based on the nature and characteristics of a dispute. In previous studies, the issues that bring about a given dispute are often evaluated based on their complexity.60 There are certain disputes that have multiple issues that require to be addressed. To this end, the characteristics of a dispute ought to be enumerated and categorised based on the urgency to solve.
Addressing a dispute based on the complexity of the issue raised, has been a subject of study by various scholars in the past. For instance, there are negative notions regarding grading the complexity of the issues, in a dispute, based on their complexity. Based on such notions, it is assumed that increasing the complexity of the issues at hand, makes it difficult for an effective resolution of the issues raised in the conflict.61 However, other studies hold an opposing opinion arguing that increased complexity of the issues allows for greater tradeoffs.
Evaluating a dispute based on the intensity inhibits the mediation process. The same is brought about by the challenges of definition and operationalisation. Kressel and Pruit have been quoted in a number of studies illustrating the inability to quantify certain aspects of a dispute.62 Examples of the same include the categorisation of conflict based on the severity of conflict and also based on the intensity of feeling.
There is a divergence of opinion when it comes to addressing mediation based on the duration of the dispute. The subject has been studied in previous studies with respect to when intervention becomes necessary.63 To this end, mediation efforts should be informed by certain theories relating to the intervention of a conflict. One such theory is the theory of Ripeness which proposes that mediation be carried out once the parties indicate their willingness to end the conflict.64 However, there is a general view that the best time to end a dispute is when it is at its infancy. Allowing a conflict to escalate makes the mediation process difficult to realise.
The nature of the parties to a dispute
A mediation process becomes successful once the mediator has established the characteristic traits of the opposing parties to a conflict. The primary feature that disputants ought to have is a clear identification of an identity.65 Once the identities are well defined, it becomes easier to know how to interact with the participants. Consequently, the objectives of a given mediation process are realised easily.
The mediation process does not involve the actual disputants. In most cases, the disputants nominate parties who will represent their interests. Under such circumstances, it is expected that the representatives carry out their responsibilities in a legitimate manner.66 Also, the representatives must have an authority to negotiate of behalf of the actual disputants.
In cases where the disputants’ representatives are unable to exercise their full authority, the effectiveness of the mediation process is reduced. For instance, when the representatives have to confer with their principals whenever decisions need to be made, then the process becomes prolonged.67 To this end, it is important that the disputants exhibit characteristics that will enhance the mediation process. The mediator is expected to understand the traits of the disputants to enhance the effectiveness of the mediation process.
Characteristics of the mediator
The effectiveness of the mediation process is mostly informed by the nature of the mediator. Primarily, a mediator is required to carry out their activities devoid of any biases. The same is driven by the fact that mediation relies mostly on trust. In cases where the disputants do not trust the mediator, the negotiations are stalled.68 An unbiased mediator is one whose main interest is putting an end to conflict. A mediator must detach themselves from the emotions that are characterised by such negotiation processes.
In cases when a conflict has taken an international dimension, the mediator is required to have sufficient knowledge on how to handle such conflict. Studies indicate that a mediator should be skilled on how to handle conflicts of a multiple dimension. The experience of the mediator becomes an important aspect in tackling the hurdles that present themselves in cases of disputes.
The second chapter is the literature review where previous studies relating to conflict resolution are illustrated. The study restricts itself to mediation as the preferred dispute resolution mechanism. To this end, a historical perspective of the same is outlined. There are a number of studies that indicate how the mediation process works. Consequently, the literature review examines some conflicts which have been resolved through mediation. The review further examines factors that promote the success of mediation, theoretical perspectives and the effectiveness of mediation. The next chapter provides for the respective case studies selected.
Northern Ireland Conflict: A Case Study
The conflict in Northern Ireland is one of the most unique with reference to its resolution. The main parties to the conflict were the Protestants and Catholics both of whom are occupants of the Irish island.69 The current case study illustrates how the mediation efforts in Northern Island were carried out. The Northern Ireland conflict escalated into violence. To this end, mediation was seen as a preferred option to resolve the conflict.
The case study gives a background into the historical perspectives of the inhabitants of the Irish island. Various accounts of literature indicate that the region is laced with a long history of conflict.70 The details into the past conflicts enable one to appreciate the need of mediation. The same also explains why there have been multiple peace agreements and the reasons they were not a success.
The Northern Ireland conflict was resolved in an agreement referred to as the Good Friday Agreement. The conflict was mediated upon by a panel of impartial individuals with international recognition.71 The case study provides a framework that can be used to resolve conflicts of a similar nature in a different setting. Consequently, the case study is divided into three main parts. The Situation provides for the rationale of the study while the problem section illustrates the constituent elements of the conflict. In the solution section, the actual techniques used to resolve the conflict are outlined.
The findings of this case study will be compared to the mediation efforts used to resolve the Cyprus conflict. Similarities and differences of the conflict re outlined. The success of the Northern Ireland conflict is outlined in this case study. The same will be used to evaluate the performance of other mediation conflicts in different locales.
The conflict resolution efforts in Northern Ireland are considered as fundamental reference point in terms of conflict resolution. With reference to mediation, as a preferred conflict resolution mechanism, the Northern Ireland conflict presents a key milestone in its evolution.72 Conflict resolution is a vital component of enhancing the co-existence of a people within a given society. The conflict in Northern Ireland had a huge impact on the society, creating the need of mediation efforts.
The case study is developed to illustrate several theoretical frameworks of conflict resolution. As illustrated in the literature review section, mediation is used to resolve conflicts based on certain theoretical perspectives around the conflict at hand.73
The Northern Ireland conflict presents a scenario where theories like that of the Effectiveness of a Mediator.74 Also, the conflict sheds some light into the Ripeness theory. Both theories were properly used resulting in the success of the mediation process.
In the current global arrangement, there are various regions which are plagued with violence of an international magnitude. An example is the in the Middle East where internal strife in Syria has led to a prolonged civil war. Such longstanding conflicts can be resolved through mediation.75 However, an improper approach to mediation is one of the reasons as to why the conflicts remain unresolved in the modern times.
The case study is elaborate to allow stakeholders obtain the necessary information pertaining to mediation. The information presented in this case study allows for students of political science to evaluate the ideal techniques of mediation.76 The same will make it easier for comprehension of the necessary theories relating to mediation. Based on the findings of this cases study a suitable framework for conflict resolution will be proposed.
Several pieces of literature date the root of the conflict to as early as 1968. However, historical accounts of the conflict in Northern Ireland trace the origin of the conflict to as way back as a millennium prior to the recorded accounts of 1968.77. At the heart of the conflict are the Irish and the Normans. Historical accounts indicate that the latter sought to expand their kingdom. The same led to their invasion of the lands owned by the Irish and subsequently conquered.
The region that is the Republic of Ireland is essentially an island. Every dispute has claimants claiming an entitlement to a particular entity. The case is Northern Ireland is not any different. For years, the two parties have been engaged in a dispute as to the ownership of the island in reference.78 A dispute where there are aspects of ‘who-was-there-first’ has been the subject of conflict resolution research, with reference to the region, for years.79 In places where such disputes exist, none can actually claim victory due t the nationalist emotions that end up being whipped up. The same was the case in the Northern Ireland conflict.
The entire region that makes up Ireland has had a long history of conflict. In the 17th and 16th centuries, the Scottish and English settled on the island.80 Part of their settlement involved the introduction of the protestant faith of Christianity in an area where Catholicism was the order of the day.81The settlers went further to place the Protestants in positions of authority. The same brought about conflicts with the natives who were Catholics. At the time, the conflict was mostly political and not religious, notwithstanding the respective points of departures religiously.
The settlers were part of the United Kingdom. Consequently, the conflict took on a nature of preferred form of governance.82The natives preferred independence from the English monarchy while the settlers wanted the island to remain part of the monarchy. Control for the island led to its splitting with the British Government retaining control of the mostly protestant north.
The splitting of the rights to ownership of island that is Ireland was carried out in 1920. The division between the two parties was seen as attempts to appease both sides, when in essence, both parties did not realise their intended objectives.83 The southern Ireland became an independent state while the north remained part of the UK. The discrimination against the Catholics who resided in the North persisted, prompting further conflict.
The continued oppression of the Catholics in Northern Ireland can be likened to the civil rights struggle in the United States. The Catholics in Northern Ireland were completely locked out of the sharing of the resources in the local counties.84 The situation was so bad to the extent that the Catholics felt cut out from the public life in the region. To this end, it is common for minority groups to form their own associations. The same explains the birth of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA).85The operations of NICRA whipped up euphoric sentiments that aimed at galvanising support for the pro-Catholic political stand points. As already mentioned the activities of the NICRA were similar to those of the civil rights movement across the Atlantic Ocean in America.
Essentially, the group was engaged in peaceful demonstrations to create awareness about their plight. However, the conflict resulted from aggression upon the protesters by the authorities. The brutality of the police on the protestors attracted a response from the Irish Republican Army (IRA).86 The most notable highlights of the conflict include the Battle of Bogside where hundreds of protestors were injured. The battle lines, in Northern Ireland, were clearly drawn between the republicans and the loyalists.87 The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Ultra Defence Association (UDA) were formed to respond to the violent activities of the IRA by the loyalists.88 The result was the three decade long conflict that characterised the chaos in Northern Ireland.
The so called, Troubles took place between 1969 and 1994. Both sides of the conflict were responsible for a number of terror-related activities. There are different accounts as to the specifics of the conflict with indications that there were incidences of targeted killings.89 The brutality associated with the conflict attracted international calls for peace wherein negotiations became necessary. To this end, negotiations took part after every decade during the conflict. The political connotations of the conflict required an equally political solution. To this end, the negotiations were largely based on the politics of the preferred form of governance.
The political conflict in Northern Ireland had required a political solution, as already mentioned. To this end, mediation was used as a preferred conflict resolution mechanism.90 Considering the use of the technique, it is imperative to revisit its definition with respect to conflict. Mediation is regarded as a means through which parties are facilitated to arrive at an agreed upon solution to a dispute or conflict.91 The nature of a mediation process needs to incorporate several components like boundaries, facilitation, diplomacy and conciliation.92 The mediation efforts in the Northern Ireland conflict are seen as an avenue where all the features of an ideal mediation were employed.
The effectiveness of a mediation process, in conflict resolution, requires that most (if not all) of the characteristics of the process be applied. The effectiveness of the process can be observed by the specific paradigm of mediation used in the entire process. Studies suggest that the mediation process was strict in its adherence to the dispute-disputant-mediator paradigm.93 The paradigm is applied in instances where the rationale for application of mediation in conflict resolution becomes necessary.
Understanding the solutions to a conflict resolution process requires that one understands the dynamics involved. The mediation efforts in Northern Ireland led to the Good Friday Agreement.94 The characteristics (or dynamics) of the mediation efforts in the conflict were characterised by three main principles namely independence, ideology and security.95 Disputes of such a nature, often involve the notions of territory.96 However, the tumult in Northern Ireland was not about independence from unfair political practices and not right of ownership.
One of the reasons as to why the mediation efforts in Northern Ireland were a success was the absence of a territorial contention as part of the mediation terms. In the literature review, the mediation efforts in the Middle East have stalled largely due to the territorial contention being o the table. Focusing on the territorial claims, in a dispute often prolong and even scuttle any peace efforts.97 The absence of the territorial claim brought an element of objectivity to the entire mediation process.
With respect to the independence sought after by the republicans, an element of constitutionality became necessary. The constitution of the Irish Republic defined its territory as the entire island that makes up Ireland.98 The British government, on its part, laid claim to the northern part of the island. Consequently, as part of the solution to the conflict, the Irish constitution had to be amended to respect the boundaries as per the initial division of the island.99 Both parties agreed to allow the residents of the Northern Ireland to determine their preferred allegiances. The goodwill from the Irish Government is the reason as to the resolution of the independence claim through constitutional avenues.
Security was also a major concern during the conflict. Under such circumstances, the goodwill of the respective parties is usually called upon to ensure the conflict is resolved amicably. The British responded to this by reducing the number of armed personnel in the Northern Ireland region. The crux of the security problem was in relation to the policing measures.100 As already mentioned, the policing measures in place were such that there was immense brutality being meted upon the protestors. The same was one of the reasons that fuelled the armed nature of the conflict. Both sides agreed to the establishment of a new and fair police force.
Notwithstanding the need for security and independence, the conflict in Northern Ireland was brought about by the differences in ideology between the disputants. Ideology is often a complex aspect in any dispute.101 The same is visible in the conflict in question. The Republicans and loyalists both had different political schools of thoughts. The same were brought about by historical connotations as to the history of the island. As already mentioned, hostility existed between the two groups from centuries back. During the mediation process, attempts to resolve the ideological differences were avoided. Instead, both parties agreed to allow for future discussions on the fundamental differences on ideology.
The current chapter provides a case study for the conflict in Northern Ireland. The rational for the case study is outlined in the situation section. The problem section delves into a deeper elaboration of the specifics of the conflicts. The chapter points out the necessary solutions that were carried out with respect to solving the conflict. The next chapter is a case study on the Cyprus conflict.
Cyprus Conflict: A Case Study
In the current case study, an analysis of the mediation efforts between Cyprus and Turkey are outlined. The most striking feature about this case study is that the discussions are centred on the reasons that led to the failure of the mediation efforts in resolving the said conflict.102 The case study will outline the situation as presented in the said mediation efforts. The problem at hand will be expounded upon in great details. Also, the case study will outline the solutions with regard to the technique of mediation that was employed in the conflict.
A mediation process is incomplete without a specific set of mediators. To this end, the case study outlines the specific mediators involved in the study. A mediation process has a number of mediators that include the primary and quasi mediators. There are studies which indicate that the failure of the mediation efforts in the region were brought about shortcomings from the mediators.103 To this end, the roles played by the two types of mediators, in this conflict, are highlighted in the solutions section.
As discussed in the literature review section, conflict resolution is achieved once all the conceptual issues are addressed. With respect to this case study the external and internal conceptual issues are discussed based on whether they were addressed as required. For instance, the enforcement of certain treaties relating to the dispute is outlined. The role of Greece as a mediator, to that effect, is also discussed. Ultimately, the discussions from this case study will illustrate the mistakes that are often made in mediation processes.104 The same will allow for a comparison with the mediation efforts of the Northern Ireland conflict.
The Cyprus conflict is also unique in its own way. The conflict illustrates the effects of post the post imperialism of the British. The disputants are the Turkish and Greek Cypriots.105 The conflict bears the hallmarks of a dispute fuelled by external parties. The crux of the problem is nationalism that is sought by the two main protagonists to the conflict.106 Each side has their own preferred version of nationalism that they intend to implement.
Interestingly, the inhabitants of the Republic of Cyprus do not have a history of strife. At the time when the Ottoman Empire had control of the island, the natives coexisted peacefully with the immigrant settlers.107 However, conflict emerged once the British colonised the region, pitting the Greeks against the Turkish occupants. Discussions around this conflict present a unique insight into the process of mediation for conflicts that do not have a historical twist.
The information obtained from the case study will indicate some of the reasons why mediation efforts collapse. The mediation process in Cyprus has not been effective, given the disregard of the Annan Agreement. To this end, the case study provides an opportunity to propose solutions to crises of a similar nature.108The findings will also be used for the comparative analysis expected of the entire study.
In most cases where mediation efforts do not realise the intended objective, the same can be attributed to the inapplicability of the necessary techniques. Case studies of this nature are able to point out some of the errors made during mediation processes.109Consequently, the case study is developed with the intention of explaining the necessary solutions to conflicts of a similar nature as the one in Cyprus.
The Republic of Cyprus was established upon the conclusion of the agreements between the United Kingdom, Turkey and Greece. The citizens of the new republic would later be referred to as Cypriots. Their background was drawn from Greece and Turkey. However, as common in areas occupied by people from different backgrounds, there was a lack of harmony between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots. There was strife between the two factions long before the country was declared an independent state. By 1963, the chaos had escalated to a point where the republic ended up collapsing.
The region that covers the Republic of Cyprus is basically an island. However, disagreements between the two main ethnic groups resulted in a situation where the Greek Cypriots take charge of the Republic.110 It is important to appreciate that the Republic of Cyprus as known by the time, was only the regions south of the island. The Turkish Cypriots, on the other hand, had their own form of government as a separate entity from the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus where the Greek Cypriots are in-charge. The dispute between the two parties was brutal to the extent that mediation efforts were extremely necessary. By 1964, the need for peace in the region would see the United Nations step in as the primary mediators.
Cessation of violence in an armed conflict is the first task that a mediator ought to address. The United Nations under the auspices of the United Nation’s Security Council adopted a resolution to send a peacekeeping force to the Republic of Cyprus to put an end to any further conflict.111 The Peacekeeping mission was referred to as the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).112Notwithstanding the clout of the primary mediator, violence still persisted.
The first failure of the mediation efforts was evident, when the military wing of the Greek Cypriots planned to topple the leadership of the country. At the time the President was a from the Turkish Cypriot community.113 By this time the main players of the dispute were Greece and Turkey since militaries from both sides were engaged in the armed conflict for control of the Republic of Cyprus. The coup attempt, by the Greece, was responded to by an intervention from the Turkish army.
The offensive launched by the Turkish backed army was mandated to occupy and take control of the entire island of Cyprus. The prolonged conflict resulted in the Turks controlling 37% of the island’s northern region.114 Prolonged conflict between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots resulted in the realisation that peace was essential from both sides. To this end, peace agreements between the two sides were signed between President Rauf Denktas and Archbishop Makarios.115 The arrangement was such that the Island would be split to accommodate regions where both sides were a majority.
The agreements that led to the partitioning of the island gave each side the authority to legislate upon laws that would suit their interests. However, some of the laws were seen as retrogressive to the mediation efforts that were ongoing. For instance, the administration led by the Turkish Cypriots sought to retain some of the Turkish cultures.116 Consequently, they ended up forming administrative structures with an inclination to their native Turkey. Examples include the Provisional Turkish Cypriot Administration and the Turkish Federal State in Cyprus.
The enactment of the laws that appear to be retrogressive towards the realisation of one united Cyprus were part of the reasons why the conflict persisted. The same is explained by the fact that the Republic of Cyprus was an international recognised entity.117 However, as already mentioned, the republic in reference was the one where the Greek Cypriots occupied to the south of the country. The attempts by the Turkish Cypriots to set up the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus failed since the same was rejected by the United Nations Security Council.
Notwithstanding the ‘nascent’ peace that existed between the two parties, armed conflict was looming in the years after the partition. By 1993 it became evidently clear that the two communities were advancing the conflict under the patronage of Greece and Turkey.118 The Joint Defence Dogma was affiliated to Greece while Turkey was behind the Concept of Common Defence. Both sides were prepared for an escalated war by 1997 when the Republic of Cyprus upgraded their air force power through the acquisition of long range missiles.
The escalation of conflict from both sides is a clear indicator that the primary mediators had lost charge of the situation. The same prompted the intervention of a secondary mediator to help bring the conflict to a much needed resolution. Consequently, European Union came in the secondary mediator.119 The EU brought the two parties together for the first time in 1997 with the intention of finding a lasting solution to the conflict.
In the renewed mediation efforts, the Greek Cypriots supported a united state while the Turkish Cypriots were in favour of the formation of two states each with their own sovereignty. The second round of mediation efforts appeared to bear fruits when the two sides met face to face in 2001.120 The two sides began intensive mediation efforts in 2002 with the emergence of political will from both sides. Evidently, the mediation efforts by the United Nations were unsuccessful due to the techniques of mediation involved.
The process of resolving the Cyprus conflict was mainly due to the involvement of the two main mediators. In the 1990s the secondary mediator, the European Union, was concentrated on establishing peace in the region. To this end, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership was formed.121 The organisation’s main objective was to ensure that there was no spill over of crisis into the geographical expanse of the EU. As a mediator, the EU had in interest in ensuring the conflict was resolved amicably. The ripple effects of the conflict would affect the normal operations in the region.
The role of a mediator in an armed conflict is to improve the relations between the disputants. The European Union’s role in the mediation effort ended up improving the relationship between Greece and Turkey.122 On the other hand the United Nations, as the primary mediator, was not able to realise the intended objective of pacifying the disputants. One of the reasons that led to the inability to realise peace was the lack of political will from the disputants.
A mediator is required to influence the parties to drop any hard line stances. Based on the dynamics of the Cyprus conflict, the United Nations was only able to facilitate the partitioning of the island that is Cyprus. The result was the formation of the Republic of Cyprus, which was mainly the southern part of the country. The same was coupled by international recognition of the country under the control of Greek Cypriots. The UN was unable to satisfy the nationalist calls from the Turkish Cypriots. Consequently, the conflict escalated.
The mediation efforts in Cyprus failed to adhere to certain theoretical concepts of conflict resolution. In the first instance, a mediator is required to establish whether the circumstances in a conflict are ripe for conciliation.123 The same is usually informed based on the Theory of Ripeness. The theory assumes that all conflicts undergo a cycle to a point where the parties have no option but to accept to the terms of peace. Unfortunately, the mediation process in Cyprus did not make proper use of the Theory of Ripeness. The same explains the prolonged conflict.
As indicated in the problem section, the Cyprus conflicts had all the features of political involvement. Conflicts of such a nature are usually difficult to resolve since the politicians end up locking out public participation.124 Notwithstanding the vested interests of the politicians in a conflict, the mediator is required to use their wealth of experience to convince both parties on the need for public participation. Consequently, the theory of Effectiveness of Mediator is brought into focus. With respect to the Cyprus conflict, the same was not properly used, thereby resulting in the inability to realise an amicable solution to the conflict.
The solutions put on the table with respect to the conflict in Cyprus, were mostly short term. Mediation is used in conflict resolution to provide with long lasting solutions to the problems that are presented in a given conflict.125 The piece-meal solutions that were proposed in the Annan Agreement were unable to improve the relationships of the two parties to the dispute. To this end, the mediation process needs to focus more on detaching the parties from the dispute and the same can be realised based on the principled model described in the literature review section.
The current chapter provides a case study for the conflict in Cyprus. The rationale for the case study is outlined in the situation section. The problem section delves into a deeper elaboration of the specifics of the conflicts. The chapter points out the necessary solutions that were carried out with respect to solving the conflict. The next chapter is a discussion on the findings from the 2 case studies.
Results and Discussion
The two conflicts surveyed in the current study, present a unique opportunity to evaluate conflict resolution measures. Information obtained from the review of literature illustrates that mediation is used to resolve conflict based on the various theories of conflict that exist.126 To this end, the results indicated in this section are indicative of the techniques used in the two countries. The discussion will illustrate whether the results have a bearing on the theoretical frameworks of conflict and mediation, respectively.
Results from the Northern Ireland Mediation
The island that makes up the entire Irish republic has been characterised by conflict dating back to the 15th century. However, the most common conflict in the region is the one between the British Government and the citizens who prefer an Irish republic to the monarchy.127 The conflict escalated to violence and at some point many lives were lost. Consequently, the need for a lasting solution prompted the need for mediation efforts in the region.
In the first instance, mediation efforts are brought about by the need to resolve a long standing conflict. Based on the case study of the conflict in Northern Ireland, both parties are indicated as having a genuine desire to end the conflict.128 The conflict had resulted in a loss of lives both from the IRA and British Army, not forgetting the civilians. The second rationale for the mediation process is the need for a neutral party. The conflict was brought about by the injustice suffered by the minority Catholics in the North. To this end, the international community acted as the third party.
The mediation efforts in the conflict were successful owing to the use of a principled theoretical model. From the beginning of the mediation process, the two parties indicated the need to detach themselves from the problems at hand.129 The partition that divided the island into North and South was the result of the structured negotiations that both sides had engaged in. The mediation efforts in the Northern Ireland conflict were less about entitlement and more about a struggle for independence. The same was true regardless of the historical background of the two feuding communities.
Results from the Cyprus Conflict
The conflict in Cyprus presents a unique insight into conflict management for conflicts that have undertones of entitlement.130 As mentioned earlier, the two main parties to the dispute are the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots.131 Both sides of the conflict were interested in having ultimate control over the Republic of Cyprus. As with typical characteristics of a conflict the Cyprus conflict was laced with incidences of violence. The same attracted the need for mediation from the international community. To this end, the United Nation and the European Union became the main mediators in the conflict.132
The process of mediation led by the United Nations indicated certain techniques which are retrogressive to mediation. When the United Nations recognised the legitimacy of the Republic of Cyprus, the act was considered as biased.133 The clamour for nationalism was no fully addressed. The Turkish Cypriots felt denied of the opportunity to realise their own sovereignty. The mediation efforts felt to realise the ultimate objective of ensuring peace prevails. The Annan Agreement was not satisfactory to both parties to the dispute.
The two cases, of conflict, presented in this study have a number of structural similarities. Having evaluated both crises, it becomes difficult to alienate the differences. There are studies which indicate that the similarities presented in the two studies make it difficult for the two to be used reference points in the evaluation of conflict resolution techniques.134 To this end, the similarities presented in the two cases are mostly phenomenological. The term, “phenomenological” is used to describe the similarities which cannot be observed at first glance.
The first similarity is observed from an historical perspective. In both cases the disputants lay claim to islands which are both situated on peripheries on different points in Europe.135 In both cases, the disputes emerged from the occupation of the islands. The settlers had inclinations to the imperial masters of the time. To this end, the settlers in Ireland had backing from the British Empire while the Turkish Cypriots had support from Turkey. In both instances, the settlers enjoyed more privileges in comparison to the natives.
From a political point of view, the conflict in the region also had a number of similarities. In both cases, there were periods where the British played an administrative role in the management of the affairs of state in the two countries.136 Ireland gained independence in 1921 while Cyprus gained their independence in 1960. In both cases, the political influence of the British resulted in the subdivision of the islands between the respective feuding groups. Interestingly, upon the subdivision, majority of the power still resided in the hands of the community that had inclinations to the respective imperial powers.
The two conflicts also share similarities from an ethnic perspective. In both cases, the disputes are fuelled by the ethno-nationalism.137 The divided hegemony that was brought about by the geographical partitioning of the islands resulted in struggles of ultimate independence from the former colonial masters. Consequently, both conflicts were laced with incidences of violence and terror which are common in feuds that take an ethnic dimension.
Similarities in the two conflicts are also observed based on the effect they had on their respective regions. As already mentioned, the ethno-nationalism was brought about by the influence of the ‘mother’ countries on the independent states. In the case of Northern Ireland, the conflict had a regional dimension owing to the involvement of Britain.138 Separately, the Cyprus conflict had a regional impact owing to the involvement of both Greece and Turkey. In the latter, the feuding parties had patronage from two different countries.
Finally, the similarities of the two conflicts are observed based on the changes in certain external parameters. The most notable change was the formation of the European Union. In both cases, the key players to the dispute are being consolidated into a single block that is the EU. Britain, Greece and Southern Cyprus are all members of the European Union.139 Turkey’s application to join the EU is still under review. That notwithstanding, the incorporation of all feuding parties into one block changes the international context of the disputes, particularly in Cyprus.
Historical and Economic Points of View
The primary comparison that can be drawn from the two conflicts is based on a historical and economic point of view. In both cases, the inhabitants of the geographical areas under dispute are of a mixed ethnic background.140 The situation in Ireland was such that, prior to its conquest by the British rule in 1541, the island was ruled by the Normans. On the other hand, the territory that makes up the Island of Cyprus comprised of Greeks who rented out lands from the Venetians. In both cases, Ireland and Cyprus had a peripheral role on the economies of the British and Ottoman Empires respectively. That notwithstanding, the two countries had an important role with respect to the regional stabilisation of the two empires.
In both countries, the conquering powers brought with them immigrants to the new lands. The colonisation of Ireland by the British, as already indicated in this paper, led to the displacement of the natives. The natives were mainly Irish Catholics. Consequently, the British (mostly Protestants) occupied large tracts of lands that were originally occupied by the Catholic natives.141 The settlement was more pronounced in the northern part of the island. Continued settlement, by the Protestants, persists to date with laws barring land ownership by the Catholic being enforced.
The point of departure, in terms of settlement was completely different in Cyprus. The control of the island by the Ottoman Empire ensured that the Turks had an administrative control over the island.142 Contrary to the British, the Ottoman Empire had an administrative system that did not foster any form of discrimination due to religion and ethnicity.143 Under the system, the natives144 were allowed to practice cultural autonomy. Under the system, the Greeks were allowed to practice their cultural activities without any form of prefecture from the Ottoman empires.
Differences between the two cases, is presented in the loss of entitlement to the landed property. The case presented in Ireland is such that the British simply took control of the lands in the island. Consequently, the natives were obliged to feel some sort of loss of entitlement to what was originally theirs.145 The situation in Cyprus, on the other hand, was different. The lands were initially owned by the former rulers who were of Latin decent. To this end, the Greek Cypriots cannot claim to have lost a right of entitlement since the lands were not originally theirs.
Contrary to the Irish history of enmity, the situation in Cyprus is quite different. The invasion and conquer of the island of Cyprus, by the Ottoman Empire, can be observed as some form of salvation. The previous rulers, who had the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, had neglected Cyprus.146 However, with the conquest of the island, the Ottoman Empire managed to restore certain religious sites like the churches. From the time the Ottoman’s conquered the island, occupied by the Orthodox Cypriots to the clamour for independence by the Greeks, the two communities resided peacefully in a period spanning 250 years.
With reference to the historical perspectives of the two regions, the only common phenomenon was the forced coexistence of two communities. The communities shared a common disproportion in terms of numerical strengths and territorial occupation.147 The difference, in terms of segregation, was largely based on the quality. In the Cyprus setting, the Muslim settlers and Christian natives coexisted in a mutually respectful atmosphere. However, the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland had a hostile and antagonistic relationship.
There were economic parallels in the conflicts presented in the two cases. In Ireland, the British Empire restricted the development to areas where the Protestants were a majority. For instance, Belfast bore the hallmarks of development due to the economic gains of Britain, with respect to the industrial revolution in Europe.148 The British government ignored making developments in regions considered to be pro-Irish territories. The situation in Cyprus was different given the decline of the Ottoman Empire coupled in the lack of interest by the British in the Mediterranean.
The economic disputes are considered to be the cause of the feuds experiences in both countries. The decline of the Ottoman Empire meant that the Turks lost the clout that came with the Millet system. The Greeks, on the other hand, preferred nationalism. Consequently, the support for the British Empire was mainly from the Greek residents of Cyprus.149 The need to benefit from the economy of Cyprus made the Turkish Cypriots saw it fit to remain under the British Empire as well. Britain’s control of both islands would later be the reason as to why the conflict would persist into the 19th century.
Based on the historical discussions surrounding the conflict in Northern Ireland and Cyprus, the British Empire is right at the middle of the equation. To this end, there is a need to examine the separate conflicts from a political dimension. A historical perspective into the political nature of the two societies, presents a situation where monarchies reigned supreme.150 In Ireland, the British brought about the Kingdom of Ireland, while Cyprus had the Ottoman state which had the millet form of governance. In both cases, the imperialist influence had a direct impact on the governance that would ensue in the years to follow.
Evidently, the conflicts in the two regions are traced back o the political arrangement that was in place at the time. In Ireland, the protestants who were in power, marginalised the Catholics.151 The Catholics would later contest the legitimacy of the Westminster type of political administration given the torment they had to endure. The governance that was established by the British in Ireland was retrogressive due to the blatant disregard for human rights and equality based on socio-economic parameters. The result of this political stand-off was the conflict that ensued between the catholic factions that supported the formation of a republic, against the Protestant group that rooted for the status quo.
Nationalism was also a clarion call for the communities that resided in Cyprus, The political ideology of the Greek Cypriots was to have a political union between Cyprus and Greece. On their part, the Turkish Cypriots were a minority. Clamor for political independence began after Cyprus had gained independence from Britain as one entity.152 To this end, the political ideologies of the two countries are different. The difference is evident in the kind of nationalism claimed by each side.
The conflict in Ireland was brought about by Britain’s intent to support a secession of Ulster, which is in the north of Ireland. In Cyprus, the conflict emerged due to the toll of the British. The British administration in Cyprus appeared to side with the Turkish Cypriots. The revolt, that emerged, was triggered by Britain’s opposition to the nationalism claimed by the Greek Cypriots.
The different political schools of thought explain the violence that ensued in the region after the respective parties failed to reach an agreement. The result of the disputes was a partition of the certain areas in the two islands.153 In Ireland, the role of the Irish Republican Army led to the country’s independence from Britain. However, given the high population of the Protestants in the North, the Island was split to give the Irish Catholics their own sovereignty. The Ulster region remained on British territory while the independence was only in the south of the country. Continued discrimination of the minority Catholics, who remained in the north, led to further conflict.
The situation in Cyprus was similar, since the Greek and Turkis Cypriots also engaged in an armed conflict. The difference between the start of hostility, in the two cases, was mainly based on the time factor. In the case of the Northern Ireland conflict, the antagonism arose fifty years after independence.154 However, the time difference in the Cyprus conflict was only three years. Further differences in the post-partition conflict can be attributed to the wordings of the constitution. Upon independence, the Republic of Cyprus gained international recognition while forbidding any allegiance to a foreign state. In Northern Ireland, there were no laws that forbade the region from allegiance with a foreign state. The same explains its ties with Britain.
The difference of opinion, from a political standpoint was also evident in the manner through which the constitution was worded. In the Cyprus case, the constitution promoted the need to have ethic balance as opposed to the majority rule.155 In Northern Ireland the laws that were enacted were targeted a oppressing the minority catholic community. In both cases, the partitioning of the island did not bear any fruits in quelling the feuds that would emerge.
Characteristics of the Mediator in the Northern Ireland Conflict
The mediation efforts in Northern Ireland were referred to as the God Friday agreement. The main mediators were, George Mitchell, John de Chastelain, Harri Holkeri.156 The latter two were the joint chairmen of the committee and reports indicate that the mediation process was given the necessary dynamism by Holkeri. Accounts by one Mark Durkan suggest that Holkeri ensured that the parties were able to detach themselves more from the problem at hand.
The Good Friday Agreement was largely associated with George Mitchell. Different accounts of the mediation process indicate that Mitchell’s nationality, as an American, eclipsed that of the other two mediators.157 Mitchell had family obligations and had to shuttle between Belfast and the United States. The peace efforts were supported by the US consular, in the absence of Mitchell. Notwithstanding the absence of an individual mediator, impartiality is paramount to the entire process. The unionists from both sides of the divide accepted the role of Mitchell as a mediator, owing to his record of neutrality in conflict resolution.158 The same was maintained by the respective consulars that held brief in Mitchell’s absence.
The need for neutrality makes it necessary for the parties to a dispute to review the history of the mediator. Mitchell was initially viewed as impartial by the British side owing to his Irish and catholic heritage. Suspicion as to the impartiality of the Americas was further compounded by the Irish heritage of the then US president, Bill Clinton. The role of Mitchell as a mediator was approved owing to his experience as a senator in the United States.159 During his stint as a senator, Mitchell was involved in various high profile cases of negotiations which made him equal to the task at hand in Northern Ireland.
The Good Friday Agreement
The agreement that brokered a cessation of conflict between the two main factions in Northern Ireland was agreed upon in 1998. However, critics argue that the deal was not unique at all.160 In 1973 similar terms were on the table. However, the agreement in 1973 was not implemented given the violence that ensued thereafter. One of the reasons as to why a peace deal was not arrived at in 1973 was the simple fact that the conflict was not ripe for mediation.161 To this end, it is important to appreciate that mediation is only necessary once a given conflict indicates willingness to negotiate from the main parties.
While discussing the mediation process, it is important to appreciate the features that indicate a conflict is ripe for mediation. With reference to the Northern Ireland conflict, Schulze argues that there were a number of activities which gave the tale tell signs of the need for mediation.162 The main feature that suggests the ripeness for mediation in a conflict is the willingness of the parties to dialogue.
The 1973 agreement was referred to as Sunningdale had different composition of parties. The disparity in the two agreements is an example of conciliation that is referred to as interethnic.163 Under this technique of conciliation compromise is a major component that ought to be factored in the mediation process. The parties are implored to fend off any uncompromising extremes.
The key players in the Sunningdale Agreement were the SDLP, the UUP, and the Alliance Party. During the 1973 talks, the parties exhibited uncompromising extremes. One of the reasons as to why the peace talks collapsed was the fact that the uncompromising extremes could not be fended off Interethnic conciliations require an inclusion of the extremes.164 Experts argue that the inclusion allows for the sapping of vitality from a conflict.
Once the vitality of a conflict is sapped out, the parties to a dispute are guaranteed to benefit from the settlement that emerges from the peace initiative. Notwithstanding the result of a conciliation using this, sapping out technique, its application is somewhat complex.165 The difficulty is in ensuring that the conflict is brought to a complete conclusion. With reference to Sunningdale the best that the agreement would achieve was a temporary cessation of the conflict. To this end, the mediation efforts in the Good Friday Agreement became necessary.
The Good Friday Deal was representative of key concessions from the main disputants to the conflict. Based on the Principle theory of mediation, parties in a dispute are required to come to an agreement based on specific terms in the negotiations.166 To this end, the nationalists were assured of self-determination while the unionists were guaranteed their claims for a complexity in the voting procedure. The Good Friday Agreement was a success largely due to the demonstration of good faith from both parties to the conflict.
High-Level Mediation in Northern Ireland and Cyprus
The two case studies indicate that the conflict was fuelled by politicians. Consequently, the mediation processes were characterised by an inaccurate portrayal of the people’s view by the politicians.167 An example is illustrated in Cyprus. The citizens were allowed to be part of the peace process as was the case in Northern Ireland. However, the mediation process was hampered by the vested interests from the elite groups in Cyprus. Contrary to the minority groups in the country, the politicians indicated that inclusivity was not on the table. The same contributed to prolonging the conflict.
The dynamics of the political arrangement in any conflict has a direct impact on the outcome of a mediation process. The political dynamics determine the willingness by the parties to engage in negotiation processes.168 The goodwill required in mediation processes relies on the internal dynamics of the political machinations in a given country. The dynamics rely on the form of governance. However, given the nascent democratic space in Northern Ireland and Cyprus, the political influence played a key role in influencing the outcome of the mediation.
The Good Friday Agreement was a success, partly due to the role played by public opinion. Courtesy of the public opinion, the mediation process focused more on the need to solve the problem at hand.169In Cyprus, the lack of involvement of the public in the peace process, contributed to the failure of the Annan Plan. Although the British and Irish disputants had initially opposed the public opinion technique, Mitchell used his negotiation skills to convince the parties on the need to incorporate the same in the process.
The public opinion is usually sought out through a series of polls. In Northern Ireland the polls were carried out with the sole objective of to indicate the intent of support for the peace agreement.170 Also, the public polls were carried out to test the packages that were agreed upon in the mediation process. Based on the outcome of the opinion polls, the same allows for confidence building based n the terms agreed. The involvement of the public is part of a culture of structured negotiation. Ultimately, the agreement was ratified in a referendum.
The chapter provides a comparative analysis of the findings from the two case studies. The similarities and differences are illustrated separately. The discussions are compared against the information highlighted in the literature review. In this section, the rationale for mediation as a conflict resolution mechanism is highlighted and expounded upon. The key theoretical aspects associated with mediation and conflict resolution are outlined. The next chapter concludes the research undertaking by illustrating the theoretical implications and making the necessary recommendations.
Theoretical Implications, Recommendations, and Conclusion
In the literature review section of the paper, a number of theoretical frameworks were outlined. The case of the conflict resolution in Northern Ireland presents a number mediation related theories that can be used in future conflicts. One such theory was the theory of mediation effectiveness which was developed by Bercovitch and Langley.171 Also, from the discussion, the ripeness theory was used in the mediation efforts in Cyprus and Northern Ireland. The success of the Northern Ireland mediation process is credited to the correct use of the ripeness theory. The same can be used in future conflicts to gauge the exact moment of ripeness.
The theory of the mediator effectiveness is seen in both Northern Ireland and Cyprus. The objective of this paper was to illustrate the effectiveness of mediation in resolving conflict. Based on the theory of mediator effectiveness, mediation is only successful once the mediator adheres to certain characteristics.172 The mediator is required to demonstrate absolute impartiality to ensure that the outcome is agreeable to both parties.
As already mentioned, George Mitchell was the main mediator in the Northern Ireland conflict. The Good Friday Agreement is credited to his neutrality and skill as a negotiator. To this end, the theory of mediator effectiveness ensures that the mediator plays the roles that are defined in the title of a mediator. With respect to the Cyprus conflict, the Anan Plan was not successful owing to the limited use of the theory of effective mediation.173 An example is seen in the manner through which the mediator in Cyprus was unable to galvanise support for a public opinion poll.
The ripeness theory is described, elsewhere as the “Shadow of the Future Theory”. While advancing the theory, Axelrod opined that mediation is expected to build long lasting friendships between the parties to a conflict and their historical backgrounds.174 That notwithstanding, the success of a mediation process, based on this theory, relies on the fact that actions that the disputants take with respect to the conflict at hand.
The ripeness theory presented itself properly in the Northern Ireland conflict. As already discussed the parties had a history of conflict dating back to the 15th Century. However, the resolution came with the realisation that peace is the only solution to the enjoyment of the resources.175 The parties to the dispute saw the God Friday deal as the right time for glory, bearing in mind the failure of the previous agreement in 1973.176 To this end, mediation works best when the circumstances have been evaluated and the environment is ripe for a resolution of the conflict.
The ripeness theory is also used to illustrate the prowess of a mediator. In the Northern Ireland conflict the theory helped to outline the skills possessed by George Mitchell. A mediator is required to evaluate and identify when a conflict is ripe for solving.177 Drawing from his experience as a negotiator, Mitchell was able to identify the ripeness in the Northern Ireland conflict. Once a mediator has established the ripeness in resolving a conflict, they are required to steer the parties to arrive to an amicable solution. The ripeness theory also plays a significant role on that regard.
The role of the mediator is explained in various other theories of conflict resolution. As already mentioned, impartiality is very important when it comes to the effectiveness of a mediator. From the two crises outlined in this study, the utility of bias and utility of impartiality emerge as the ideal theories explaining the role of a mediator.178 For instance, Mitchell’s role in mediating the Northern Ireland conflict is an example of how the two theories can be exhibited. Mitchell was biased towards the SDLP but remained unbiased towards the main parties in the Good Friday agreement.179A strong mediator is one who is completely impartial.
The discussions in this paper illustrate the negative impact of conflict to a given society. To this end, mediation is seen as the best method of conflict resolution.180 The same can be attributed to two main factors. First, mediation tends to foster good relationships between the parties. Secondly, mediation involves public participation to ensure the problems at hand are fully addressed.
Based on the preference of mediation as an ideal conflict resolution mechanism, the following recommendations become necessary;
- The mediator should be impartial – The mediation process requires a third party to facilitate the negotiations aimed at resolving the problems at hand. The success of the mediation process requires that the mediator drop all biases. The same allows for genuine negotiations.
- Mediation processes should evaluate the circumstances for the ripeness – Based on the theory of Ripeness, conflicts are assumed to have a maturity cycle. To this end, the mediator must ensure that a comprehensive evaluation of the dispute is carried out. The same will enable the mediator to gauge the willingness to resolve the dispute from the disputants.
- Mediation processes should foster goodwill – The negotiations involved when mediating upon rely on the goodwill from both parties to resolve the conflict. To this end, the onus falls on the mediator to ensure that both parties appreciate the need for goodwill to resolve the conflict.
- Mediation processes should allow for public participation – In the event of a conflict that affects individual members of a society, seeking their opinion becomes necessary. Consequently, opinion polls become necessary, The same will enable the mediation process to gauge the mood of the public and whether the agreements augur well with the public.
Regardless of the nature of a given conflict, the results are usually catastrophic with respect to the harmony in a society. To this end, conflict resolution mechanisms are necessary to ensure that conflicts are resolved as soon as possible.181 The current study has outlined the rationale for using mediation as an ideal mechanism for conflict resolution. Mediation is depicted as an avenue through which long lasting relationships are fostered. In the current paper, the same has been depicted in the manner through which mediation was carried out in the two conflicts.
The mediation efforts of both Northern Ireland and Cyprus have presented an opportunity to evaluate the various theories relating to mediation. The theory of ripeness, as depicted in the Northern Ireland conflict is an indicator that mediation efforts become necessary once the parties are willing to end antagonism.182 In the case of the Cyprus conflict, the mediator did not factor in the theory of ripeness. The parties were evidently unwilling to compromise on their hard line stances. The inability to assess the ripeness of a conflict for mediation calls on the skill evels of a mediator.
The discussions in this paper are an indicator that mediation efforts call for the experience of the mediator. As illustrated in the Good Friday agreement, the deal would not have been brokered had it not been for the prowess of Mitchell.183 Mediation processes where the mediator is not experienced or sufficiently skilled end up collapsing. To this end, mediation processes must be carried out by seasoned negotiators to ensure the process is conducted above board.
In conclusion, the mediation process has proven to be deal for conflict resolution processes. Based on the Good Friday agreement, parties who have had a history of conflict ended up resolving their dispute. The same affirms that mediation fosters good relationship among a people.184 However, based on the discussion around the Cyprus conflict mediation is depicted as having hiccups with regards to its implementation. The same calls for adherence to theoretical concepts of conflict resolution. However, more research is necessary to solve the grey areas that inhibit the ease in
In this concluding chapter, the discussions of the study are related to the thesis statement. Indeed, mediation was seen as the best method of conflict resolution. Based on the theoretical implications, the mediator’s skill and character is necessary to ensure that the process is successful. However, the study is alive to the fact that there are grey areas which need to be addressed. The chapter lays the ground for future studies in the field.
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