Struggles involving civil wars, local insurrections or ethnic violence far outnumber those stemming from external aggression or conflict between states, especially in recent years. These internal conflicts, over identity, government or territory, are arguably more difficult to resolve through peaceful negotiation than their interstate counterparts. Groups with a tendency to solve their political and ethnic differences through military means post a danger to international order and to other groups in a number of important ways. Non-combatants are at risk of large-scale violence, armed militias generally operate outside the purview of authority structures, and many internal conflicts spillover into the international domain adding complexity to overburdened management strategies.

The Effectiveness of Mediation to End Internal Conflict: Some Preliminary Results