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A Civil War, a Sectarian War and a Proxy War: Problems of Negotiated Settlement in the Syrian Civil War

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This paper examines the Syrian Civil War using seven different civil war settlement theories in order to assess the likelihood of a negotiated settlement ending the conflict. The costs of war, balance of power, domestic political institutions, ethnic identity, divisibility

This paper examines the Syrian Civil War using seven different civil war settlement theories in order to assess the likelihood of a negotiated settlement ending the conflict. The costs of war, balance of power, domestic political institutions, ethnic identity, divisibility of stakes, veto player, and credible commitment theories were used in a multi-perspective analysis of the Syrian Civil War and the possibility of a peace settlement. It was found that all of the theories except for costs of war and balance of power predict that a negotiated settlement is unlikely to resolve the conflict. Although the Syrian government and the Syrian National Coalition are currently engaged in diplomatic negotiations through the Geneva II conference, both sides are unwilling to compromise on the underlying grievances driving the conflict. This paper ultimately highlights some of the problems inhibiting a negotiated settlement in the Syrian Civil War. These obstacles include: rival ethno-religious identities of combatants, lack of democratic institutions in Syria, indivisibility of stakes in which combatants are fighting for, number of veto player combatant groups active in Syria, and the lack of a credible third party to monitor and enforce a peace settlement.

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2014-05

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Values, goals, and threats: value incompatibilities--more than dissimilarities--predict prejudices

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Existing work suggests that intergroup negativity is caused by dissimilarities of values between groups. In contrast, I propose that incompatible values--regardless of whether they are similar or dissimilar--cause intergroup negativities. Because values act as cues to tangible goals and interests,

Existing work suggests that intergroup negativity is caused by dissimilarities of values between groups. In contrast, I propose that incompatible values--regardless of whether they are similar or dissimilar--cause intergroup negativities. Because values act as cues to tangible goals and interests, groups' values suggest desired outcomes that may conflict with our own (i.e., incompatible values). The current study conceptually and empirically disentangles value-dissimilarity and value-incompatibility, which were confounded in previous research. Results indicated that intergroup negativities were strongly predicted by value-incompatibility, and only weakly and inconsistently predicted by value-dissimilarity. I further predicted that groups' values cue specific threats and opportunities to perceivers and that, in reaction to these inferred affordances, people will experience threat-relevant, specific emotional reactions (e.g., anger, disgust); however, results did not support this prediction. I also predicted that, because the inferred threats that groups pose to one another are not always symmetric, the negativities between groups may sometimes be asymmetric (i.e., Group A feels negatively toward Group B, but Group B feels neutral or positively toward Group A). This prediction received strong support. In sum, reframing our understanding of values as cues to conflicts-of-interest between groups provides principles for understanding intergroup prejudices in more nuanced ways.

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2017

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The Internet and Ethnic Riots

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In this dissertation i argue that the internet has a positive impact on the likelihood of ethnic riots. To make this argument I put forward three major claims. First, ethnic riots are best understood as performances that aim to clarify

In this dissertation i argue that the internet has a positive impact on the likelihood of ethnic riots. To make this argument I put forward three major claims. First, ethnic riots are best understood as performances that aim to clarify ambiguities in the social order. Second, communication technologies structurally constrain the flow of information passing through them. Third, the internet is unique among modern Information Communication Technologies in its capacity for inducing ethnic riots. I provide two types of empirical evidence to support these claims: a cross-national analysis of internet penetration and a case study of India. The former provides evidence for the central claim, finding that the internet has a positive effect on the likelihood of ethnic conflict after a threshold of internet penetration is met. The latter sketches the limits of the proposed theory, finding that internet penetration decreased the likelihood of ethnic riots in India. I argue this is a result of welfare contextualization of the internet.

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2020