Why Is It So Difficult to Resolve Intractable Conflicts Peacefully? A Sociopsychological Explanation

Daniel Bar-Tal*, Eran Halperin, Ruthie Pliskin

*Corresponding author for this work

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

8 Scopus citations


This chapter examines how changes in the types of conflicts, the variable availability of mediators, and the international environment affect current mediation. In so doing it looks at external forces that support or undermine a nascent peace process; the complications associated with such issues as legitimacy, state capacity, perception, and the internationalization of civil/regional conflicts, as well as the number, quality, and coherence of institutions willing to undertake a mediation effort. This chapter analyzes these three challenges in the context of the Syrian conflict and explores how they affected the attempts to bring parties to the Syrian conflict to the negotiating table from March 2012 through December 2013. The chapter concludes with the argument that addressing the supply challenge through the effective coordination of different mediating bodies delivers a key component but notes that a mediation’s external, geopolitical environment will have a critical—and possibly negative—impact on even the best resourced mediation effort.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationHandbook of International Negotiation
Subtitle of host publicationInterpersonal, Intercultural, and Diplomatic Perspectives
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319106878
ISBN (Print)9783319106861
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015.


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