Traditional knowledge regarding states engaging in talks with terrorist and insurgent organizations suggests that the process of negotiations will be accompanied by an increase in violence, as it signals that violence will encourage the state to make concessions. While this understanding appears to generally hold true, it does not properly isolate the driving mechanism for the elevated level of violence. This research analyses the source and motivation for the rise in violence seen alongside a peace process. Contrary to previous work, this evaluation separates the violent actions from Participating Groups—with a vested interest in the success of the negotiations, and the Excluded Groups—that were not permitted a seat at the bargaining table and therefore have little to gain, and much to lose, from a successful peace accord. Analyzing the violence stemming from the Islamic independence movement in the Mindanao region of the Philippines, and separating the attacks between the Participating and Excluded Groups, a distinct divide appears in the frequency and intensity of violence from each. Participating Groups are found to have a decline in attacks and casualties during times of negotiations, while Excluded Groups have a steep increase during the process. This suggests that negotiations served to reduce violence by Participating Organizations, and these organizations engaged in the peace process in good faith, seeking to reconcile with the government and terminate their violent campaign.
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