Getting to the table : explaining the incidence of mediation in the insurgencies of Indonesia
Author(s)Tan, Keng Meng
Explaining the incidence of mediation in the insurgencies of Indonesia
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science.
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Indonesia has experienced six insurgencies since it declared independence in 1945. Of these insurgencies, three were resolved through negotiations. There is great variation in the manner the negotiations occurred. The state negotiated with Portugal over East Timor with the United Nations (UN) as mediator while negotiations with the Acehnese were first mediated by the Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HDC) and later the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI). Finally, the state refused any mediators in the case of West Papua, where Indonesia's longest and bloodiest insurgency continues to take place. What explains the variation in the decision to have mediation and the choice of mediators? This is the central question of the thesis. In examining this variation, I hope to contribute to the literature on bargaining in insurgencies as well as examine the effectiveness of mediation, which is disputed. I argue that a state that is not committed or has very low levels of commitment to negotiations will not have a mediator. The more committed the state is to negotiations, the stronger the mediator the state will seek. The level of commitment is a function of the balance of power between the incumbents and insurgents, domestic support, and international pressure for peaceful resolution. Domestic support is the pivotal factor with the military being the most decisive actor. Based on this argument, I develop a scenario-based framework in which states could possibly find themselves in and test it on the three cases of insurgencies in Indonesia. The findings show that the state was more committed to reaching a settlement in East Timor and Aceh than in West Papua and so had mediators to ensure the success of the peace processes, which would not have occurred otherwise. In addition, the findings also suggest that a hurting stalemate is not a necessary precondition for successful mediation, contrary to the literature on mediation. The thesis concludes by drawing some policy implications and directions for further research.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Political Science, 2014.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 158-173).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology