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Throwing in the Towel: Why Insurgents Negotiate

Clarke, Colin (2013) Throwing in the Towel: Why Insurgents Negotiate. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Negotiating with insurgents can be a perilous endeavor and talks do not always succeed in ending the conflict. A comprehensive review of the counterinsurgency (COIN, henceforth) literature reveals an emphasis on “how to win” in COIN, in addition to an overrepresentation of the same handful of case studies—Algeria, Malaya, Vietnam—with little to offer in the way of concrete policy prescriptions regarding conflict resolution. By examining four more recent insurgencies (Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, and South Africa) and the operational and organizational capacities of each group, this dissertation identifies several factors related to an insurgent group’s likelihood of negotiating with the host-nation government, including sanctuary, financing, group composition, popular support, and a military stalemate. After completing a cross-case comparative analysis of the four groups, policy implications and recommendations are provided for the Afghan Taliban. This research relies on archived documents, books, journal articles, semi-structured interviews with subject matter experts, media accounts, and other open sources in order to outline specific conclusions and recommendations while also providing decision-makers with a foundation for related policy on how to approach negotiations with insurgents, both now and in the future.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Clarke, Colincpc8@pitt.eduCPC8
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWilliams, Philip
Committee MemberGormley, Dennis
Committee MemberGoldstein, Donald
Committee MemberMorgan, Forrest
Date: 30 January 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 18 October 2012
Approval Date: 30 January 2013
Submission Date: 6 January 2013
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 500
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: insurgency, counterinsurgency, asymmetric warfare, irregular warfare, low-intensity conflict, Taliban, negotiation, conflict resolution
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2013 19:59
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2018 06:15


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