Civil wars in international relations: Patterns, consequences, and conditions of termination

Jacob Bercovitch, Carmela Lutmar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


We propose to examine the nature, characteristics, and features of civil wars in international relations. Civil wars have become a major focus of scholarly interest in the last decade or so. The purpose of this chapter is to capture this interest, examine the nature and prevalence of civil wars, look at civil wars outcomes and consequences, and pay special attention to how civil wars can be terminated. We will argue that one of the main and neglected aspects of civil wars is that they tend to become intractable and produce deadlocks. These prevent any satisfactory termination, whether through negotiation or other means. We wish to add to the existing literature by examining how deadlocks affect civil wars and how best to break out of them. In this chapter we present some conceptual definitions and identify typologies that can help us discuss deadlocks in civil wars in a more systematic manner. We will then see how deadlocks may affect outcomes in civil wars. Our argument is that there are two main mechanisms that can be used to terminate deadlocks in civil wars; these are (a) mediation, and (b) a change in political leadership. We will distinguish between civil wars that are best suited to mediation from those where a change in leadership may bring about a termination. In doing so, we hope to make a substantial contribution to the literature on civil war termination.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWar
Subtitle of host publicationAn Introduction to Theories and Research on Collective Violence
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781612095929
StatePublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Medicine


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