We consider gray zone factors that hinder the success of mediation of both state-based and multilateral mediation efforts. We argue that a key obstacle facing mediators in gray zone conflicts is situational ambiguity regarding the techniques utilized by belligerents against each other, as well as the uncertainty associated with the perception of the point of victory. Our research shows that, lacking full information regarding belligerent intent and resolve, third parties on both sides are augmenting mediation through alternative strategies consisting of positive and negative incentives that strengthen their broader strategic objectives (for example supplying weapons, training and personnel as well as imposing economic sanctions). Such efforts increase both the number of parties who can veto a settlement and the amount of time required to reach a settlement.
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