302 GRIGORESCU, MELIN
C R Q • DOI: 10.1002/crq
through the Arab League) rather than bilaterally (as India and Pakistan
did in 1972) or through other third-party conﬂ ict managers (as India and
Pakistan did with the USSR in 1965 and Iraq and Kuwait did with Saudi
Arabia in 1973)?
States have a multitude of tools for dispute resolution at their disposal.
Some states prefer resolving their disputes through direct bilateral negotia-
tions with their adversary. Others turn to third-party states to mediate such
negotiations, and yet others seek the assistance of international organiza-
1 Recent trends show states are increasingly turning to IOs as
a forum for conﬂ ict management. For instance, while between 1961 and
1970 there were nine instances of IOs acting as third-party mediators in
disputes between states, between 1991 and 2000 they were involved in
twenty-two instances of dispute resolution. We are at a point where the
role of IOs in conﬂ ict resolution deserves closer attention.
While the literature has oﬀ ered numerous arguments explaining when
states are more likely to negotiate through a third-party mediator and when
they are more likely to seek a resolution to their disputes bilaterally, we still
need to better explain why states are more likely to seek IOs for such tasks.
e present study complements existing works by seeking to understand
which disputants are more likely to turn to IOs for resolving their disputes.
By identifying the types of disputants that prefer certain types of conﬂ ict
management mechanisms, we can then better design such mechanisms to
fulﬁ ll the needs of the states that use them.
e following section reviews the existing literature addressing IO
involvement in conﬂ ict resolution. We then proceed to discuss what we
consider to be the most important diﬀ erences between IOs and other
types of actors as third-party mediators: their multilateral and institu-
tional character. e institutional character of IOs refers to their role in
reducing uncertainty through conveying information, and their multilat-
eral character refers to the multiple actors involved in IOs. We derive a
set of hypotheses based on our expectations that, due to the institutional
and multilateral characteristics of IOs, certain states will turn to them to
resolve their disputes while others will avoid them. We argue that states
that do not highly value private information, such as those with member-
ship in highly institutionalized IOs and those without additional ongo-
ing disputes, are more likely to employ IO conﬂ ict managers. In addition,
certain states may develop institutionally oriented preferences. We argue
that states with a history of IO-led conﬂ ict management are more likely
to choose this forum once again, as the process creates changes in a state ’ s