International Mediation Quo Vadis? The UN in Yemen's Civil War
Master's Thesis from the year 2019 in the subject Politics - International Politics - Topic: Peace and Conflict Studies, Security, , language: English, abstract: This thesis provides a nuanced assessment of the effectiveness of the UN-led mediation process in Yemen's civil war between April 2015 and February 2018 in order to detect lessons learned for one of the main challenges of our time: effective conflict management. Based on latest developments in armed conflicts, civil wars are the most destabilizing threats in the current international system as well as the most difficult types of conflicts to manage and terminate. Especially since 2011, revolutionary dynamics and state fragility in the MENA region led to highly complex internationalized civil wars that involve major-power tensions and features of proxy-warfare. Against this backdrop, the very limits of the "standard regime" employed by the international community to manage civil wars in the post-Cold War era, namely: mediation and peacekeeping, are being tested sharply. This thesis contributes to one possible way the regime could survive, namely though lessons learned. While mich is known about UN peacekeeping, less so about UN civil war mediation. Hence, the thesis focuses on third-party mediation as the most common form of conflict management with a special emphasis on the effectiveness of the UN as a leading actor in applying this standard treatment.
Through utilizing six key conditions for mediator effectiveness from Bergmann (2017) in expert interviews, the thesis finds that the low degree of UN mediator effectiveness in Yemen was mainly related to the (coherent) partisanship of the UNSC, whose Chapter VII resolution 2216 functioned as mediation mandate and rendered an impartial and balanced process impossible. This added to the missing leverage of the mediator on all sides and to the missing willingness of the parties to compromise as well as to the restraint of major P-5 and western governments to reign the regional actors in. Most apparent lessons learned include the need to reflect the complexities involved in the mandate and throughout the process. The mandate should allow for the inclusion of all actors directly or indirectly involved through negotiation formats on several levels. Incentives and disincentives need to be revised, highest priority and sufficient funds should be allocated to UN mediation and above all, an impartial and balanced process should be safeguarded against all odds as this tackles the trust in and the very credibility of the UN and the integrity of the rules-based system of international relations as a whole.