External Intervention in Civil Wars
: Successful Implementation of Peace Agreements and the Role of Security Guarantees

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Civil wars are notoriously difficult to terminate, with commitment problems increasingly seen as a primary cause for this failure. This thesis investigates the role security guarantees and peace enforcement plays in overcoming these difficulties. It diverges from the current literature in that it assesses the impact of security guarantees on the implementation of peace agreements in civil wars initiated between 1940 and 2007. This 67-year period is an improvement on standard studies which are often limited to circa 50 years. Additionally, the thesis looks again at the definition of a security guarantee, arguing that one must be credible to overcome the commitment problems faced by belligerents. To do this, it creates two datasets. The first uses the standard classification of a guarantee, including a promise to guarantee a party’s safety, whilst the second uses a new classification, arguing that a promise is unlikely to be enough to instil confidence in combatants. Logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard models are employed to evaluate security guarantees and how credible they must be. Additionally, case studies of the Ivoirian Civil War (2002-2007), and the continuation in 2010-2011, Liberian Civil War (1989-1996) and the Kosovan Civil War (1998-1999) are used to investigate the role of the separate, but closely related, concept of peace enforcement in a civil war context. Briefly, the results of this investigation show that a promise of a security guarantee is not as effective as a deployment of forces with a mandate to intervene and actively guarantee the existence of belligerents. Furthermore, the case studies indicate initial support for the idea of peace enforcement and provides evidence that peace enforcement should be studied further to establish a better understanding of its role. The implications of this thesis suggest third-party policymakers should give serious thought to providing provision for security guarantees, and potentially peace enforcement, as part of any peace agreement.
Date of Award1 Nov 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorChristopher Tuck (Supervisor) & Mats Berdal (Supervisor)

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