Abstract

The conventional wisdom among scholars and policymakers opposes solving ethnic conflicts by drawing new borders and creating new states. This view, however, is flawed because the process of fighting civil wars imbues the belligerents with a deep sense of mistrust that makes sharing power after the conflict difficult. This is especially true in ethnic civil wars, in which negotiated power-sharing agreements run a high risk of failing and leading to renewed warfare. In light of these problems, this article argues that partition should be considered as an option for ending severe ethnic conflicts. The article shows how failure to adopt partition in Kosovo has left that province in a semi-permanent state of limbo that only increases the majority Albanian population's desire for independence. The only route to long-term stability in the region—and an exit for international forces—is through partition. Moreover, the article suggests that the United States should recognize and prepare for the coming partition of Iraq rather than pursuing the futile endeavor of implementing power-sharing among Iraq's Shi'ites, Kurds, and Sunnis.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-4724
Print ISSN
1945-4716
Pages
pp. 49-61
Launched on MUSE
2006-05-11
Open Access
No
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