Based on two case studies from Syria, this article argues that unilateral external intervention in protracted conflicts is not only about military and financial support to one or other warring party. Unilateral external actors often get involved in the negotiation of local agreements, creating a hybrid form of intervention that combines the roles of warfighting, mediation, and policing. In this context, external actors are able to transform their military, financial and logistical support to states and non-state armed groups into leverage and negotiating power that determines the outcome of local negotiations, thereby gearing the dynamics of the conflict towards their own interests and away from the local agenda. This hybrid external intervention may, in some circumstances, contribute to an unjust and uncertain stabilisation process, while in other circumstances, it can undermine local peace efforts. The clear implication is the need for a greater role and mandate for multilateral actors.
Author: Rim Turkmani
This article was published in Peacebuilding.