At first glance armed conflict can seem to be a constant and unrelenting state of affairs across the world. The media brings us reports of conflict in countries as far apart as Mali, Darfur, Syria and Afghanistan and as some conflicts, such as the wars in the former Yugoslavia, have ended others such as the civil war in Ukraine have begun. The prospect of conflict in hotspots such as Israel and the Korean peninsula is evident as tensions remain high. It is often forgotten that nuclear powers maintain their arsenals and capabilities and superpower rivalries remain. A final example is the ‘terror wars’ of the 21st century.
The existence and varied type of such armed conflicts and the harm that they do calls for a committed and long term response- resolving or transforming a conflict does not guarantee that it will not begin again at a later date- and in some cases it may seem that the violence will never end. Yet armed conflicts do end , sometimes due to an outright victory by one party over another, but often due to a negotiated settlement in which the new battle is to maintain the peace. One aspect of Conflict Analysis and Resolution is the study of the reasons why armed conflicts come to an end and the application of what has been learned to other conflicts.