Category Archives: News notes

Is it enough to be a big power to get a ceasefire?

The war in Nagorno Karabakh, which began on 27 September 2020, between Armenia and Azerbaïdjan has just experienced its third attempt at a ceasefire and a new ceasefire failure.

The first ceasefire was negotiated by Moscow and its Foreign Minister who summoned his peers to Moscow. After long talks (more than 10 hours), a ceasefire was announced. They had not had time to define a means of monitoring the ceasefire or to specify what was to follow. It did not hold.

The second ceasefire was announced from Paris. The foreign ministers of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group in charge of the Armenia-Azerbaijan negotiations (USA, Russia, France) met and announced a ceasefire. It did not hold.

The third ceasefire was announced from Washington by the United States of America and its Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. On October 26, each side accused the other of violating the ceasefire.

These 3 attempts were made by 3 major powers, alone or together: United States, Russia, France.

If it was enough to be a great power to get a ceasefire, there should have been a ceasefire.

So why can’t they succeed in obtaining a ceasefire? Are they incompetent?

Is there any knowledge to achieve a ceasefire? To my knowledge, none that is internationally recognized. There are studies on ceasefires. There are courses at the UN for those who are going to do peace missions, but no one cares whether the principles proposed are verified by the facts and ceasefires that really hold.

There are different people who have “recipes” for achieving a ceasefire. And if one person indicates what should be done and it is actually done, it is impossible to know what has or has not been implemented. So, if that person has actually had an influence on a successful ceasefire, in the next war he might say that there is no point in trying a ceasefire if no one is willing to take stock of what has been done.

What’s up? There are attempts by 3 major powers and nothing else: it doesn’t bother anyone that they are unable to reach a ceasefire. Nor does it bother those who have done studies on the subject: what’s the point if we are unable to simply know what has really been tried. Nobody wants to take stock? Let them deal with their self-importance on their own.


October 27, 2020

Is there a “Peace Cycle”

Since there is a “Cycle of Wars”, is there a “Cycle of Peace”?

What is called the “War Cycle” has periods of amplification followed by periods of attenuation. These periods of attenuation could be considered the “Cycle of Peace”, except that it is difficult to demonstrate. This lack of credible demonstration for a “Cycle of Peace” would mean that this “Cycle of Peace” would never be recognized and admitted.

One could have given to the “War Cycle” the name “War and Peace Cycle”. But as easy as it is to have some statistical data from the dates of the outbreak of the wars, there is no possibility of having credible statistical data from the peace initiatives and their outcome.

Mitigation periods have been found to be more conducive to the cessation of wars and the completion of peace initiatives.

Thus the mitigation period 2018-2022 has seen for the time being:

  • End of the Islamic State and its war
  • peace initiative in Yemen with negotiations, ceasefire, etc.
  • the War in Libya is experiencing positive developments in 2020: negotiations, cease-fire
  • The war in Ukraine saw, for the first time since 2014, a ceasefire that resembles a ceasefire
  • Historic agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain are another manifestation

There are conflicts in which this trend toward peace or agreement is visible and known.
In the “context of the Arab-Israeli conflict“, this is visible and foreseen for this current period.

But it is not systematic as with wars.

Whether in the Arab-Israeli conflict or in Europe, there is practically at least one war in every period of amplification, but we cannot say that there is a peace initiative that results in every period of attenuation.

Moreover, the path that leads to war is usually fast, giving a date that makes sense. In the case of peace, it is more tortuous and the passage to action is not immediate and the resulting dates have little meaning from a statistical point of view (in addition there are too few data.).

Strictly speaking, there is no “Cycle of Peace” as there is a “Cycle of War”, but there are tendencies for wars to stop during periods of mitigation. There are also successful peace initiatives. Most of the peace agreements in the Arab-Israeli conflict are in the periods of mitigation, but these same peace agreements can be challenged in the periods of amplification that follow. If the negotiated agreement is not strong enough, it can be shattered as soon as tensions return.

From a “forecasting” point of view, it is integrated that periods of attenuation can give rise to peace agreements, but it is not used to make forecasts as is done with wars. Trends are predicted, but they are not transformed into a predictable fact.

October 24, 2020

Ukraine – Cease fire – Finally!

Since July 27, 2020, there is finally something that looks like a ceasefire. Certainly there are still some violations, but there have been days without any violations, which has never happened since the beginning of the war in 2014.

Although research on the ceasefire is marginal on this site, it is recommended that you consult the following two documents. These 2 documents were written in 2017, explaining the reasons why the ceasefire did not hold. While there is no evidence that these documents were taken into account by local actors, as if all of this is simply a matter of chance, there is, on the other hand, confirmation that the analysis made in 2017 was accurate.

2 elements suggest that the July 2017 text ND201707003 has reached SMM:

  • verification by SMM observers of what had actually been transmitted to the combatants after a ceasefire,
  • the modification of SMM reports by allowing a better immediate readability by graph.

These 2 elements can be considered as simple coincidences since the author that I am has never received confirmation of its transmission to SMM.

Between the summer of 2017 and July 2020, did this same text have such an influence that it helped to allow the establishment of a real ceasefire? Not knowing the path followed within the SMM or elsewhere, it is therefore impossible to confirm it. It is therefore an unconfirmed experiment, proving the accuracy of an analysis in 2017 but not proving, for lack of evidence, that it was used to bring about the ceasefire of 2020..

All the author can say is that if the right analysis had reached the right decision-makers in 2017 and had been taken into account, we would have gained 3 years to establish a credible ceasefire. The texts written in 2017 and accessible at the end of this article could have been the basis of an excellent and successful experiment, even if this experiment appears imaginary today.

Being right was not enough to mobilize the actors to make this ceasefire a reality. Time and successive failures have allowed the actors to become more realistic and finally achieve a more credible ceasefire. This is certainly the most likely explanation and the one that will be put forward by all the official actors who will laugh at these coincidences. Is it the truth? No one can say for sure.

We have gone from an average of more than 800 violations per day to a few violations per week: a considerable progress, even if nothing is resolved and the local actors see no common future.

75% of the reasons explained at the time were taken into account. The ceasefire remains fragile as long as there is no shared future, but it is an important step in the right direction, hopefully for the long term.

We will devote several news notes in the days and weeks to come on this subject of the Ukrainian conflict, even if probably none of them will be read and used.

You will find here the two 2017 documents updated with some current comments.

ND201707003 Ukraine Ceasefire – update – 2020-09-23 EN-US

ND201709001 Active Cease-fire control System – update – 2020-09-14 EN-US


Note of 22/10/2020: in 2020, ND202004001 (a version derived from ND201707003) was made for the Ukrainian authorities. There is no indication whether this last text reached the Ukrainian authorities and what they think about it, but it may be the text that was actually used. There were 3 actions identified. Only the action related to the ceasefire led to a result. The others did not succeed and gave no visible result. It is a pity not to know. A coincidence? Maybe

ND202004001-6a Variant from ND201707003 for ukrainian authorities EN-US

September 23, 2020 updated and translated on October 22, 2020

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