The Hurting Way Out: Group Cohesion and the Mitigating Potential of Private Actors in Conflict Negotiation

Originally published in December 2016screen-shot-2017-01-29-at-12-38-18

According to William Zartman the elements necessary for a ripe moment are a Way Out and a Mutually Hurting Stalemate. This paper further develops ripeness theory by taking a closer look at these two conditions of ripeness. It finds that the two necessary elements of ripeness – Way Out and Mutually Hurting Stalemate – constrain each other. If there is a generous offer for a Way Out, the Mutually Hurting Stalemate will not be reached by all factions of a conflict party simultaneously. If the Way Out is not very far-reaching, it is more likely that a Mutually Hurting Stalemate is commonly perceived by all factions.

In order to determine what can be done to exit this intricate relationship between Way Out and Mutually Hurting Stalemate and to bring a ripe moment about, this paper looks at the role that states and private actors can play in enhancing the negotiation willingness of non-state armed groups. The peace efforts by Ehud Olmert and the Carter Initiative in 2008, and the Road Map and the Geneva Initiative in 2003 serve as an illustration that private actors can play a key role in bringing ripeness about.