Rebels at the Gates: Civil War Battle Locations, Movement, and Openings for Diplomacy

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Date: Dec. 2015
From: International Studies Quarterly(Vol. 59, Issue 4)
Publisher: Wiley Subscription Services, Inc.
Document Type: Report
Length: 227 words

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Abstract :

Byline: J. Michael Greig In this paper, I build upon the conflict management, civil war, and bargaining literatures to develop and test a theoretical model that links openings for diplomacy to where civil war battles occur and how these locations change over time. I argue that the locations and movements of civil war battles provide information to both governments and rebels that influences their willingness to engage in mediation and negotiation. By identifying how civil war battles influence the willingness of warring sides to participate in diplomacy, I suggest that it is possible to identify other windows of opportunity for effective conflict management beyond waiting for a conflict to evolve into a hurting stalemate. The results of my analysis of 46 African civil conflicts shows that battle locations, battle velocity, and battle dispersion each influence the occurrence and outcomes of peace talks. Article Note: J. Michael Greig is Associate Professor of Political Science and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of North Texas. An earlier version of this paper was presented at a meeting of the Folke Bernadotte Academy Conflict Prevention Working Group, May 30-31, 2012, in State College, Pennsylvania. I am grateful for the helpful comments and suggestions from Kyle Beardsley, Bernd Beber, Joanna Birnir, Jackie DeMeritt, Andrew Enterline, Scott Gartner, Jesse Hamner, Dennis Jett, and David Mason. Replication data can be found at

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A439973062