Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor

Jelena Subotic

Second Advisor

Carrie Manning

Third Advisor

Louis-Alexandre Berg


The resolution of protracted (or “frozen”) conflicts in Cyprus and Kosovo has been a long-standing item on the agendas of the UN Security Council, European regional organizations, and powerful third states. This study conducts a multi-level analysis of conflict resolution in these protracted conflicts that conceptualizes actors within disputed territories not strictly as clients of powerful patron states, but as independent political actors with their own agency in conflict. While international negotiations proceed at one level, facilitated by international organizations and experienced mediators, actors ‘on the ground’ within ‘local regimes’ pursue their own interests and are often sites of conflict between hard-line ‘spoilers’ and more cooperative players who favor a settlement. In this study I conduct two in-depth case studies that trace the dynamics of local-level competition during negotiations to identify specific mechanisms that contribute to or spoil implementation of a settlement. Findings indicate that while powerful patron states (Turkey and Serbia) are willing to revise national policy towards the conflict when compensated by mediators (manipulative mediation), they face the uncertainty of local-level actors for whom a settlement is not necessarily beneficial. To reduce the uncertainty of potential ‘spoilers’ on the ground, patron states in turn manipulate local-level political competition to marginalize hardliners by altering reward structures and providing political patronage to cooperative players.


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