OTPIC Officially Retired
As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.
The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.
International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict
Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA
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It is common for parties in conflict to fail to recognize the full range of force-based options available to them and their opponents. For example, some parties may consider only military options involving physical force, while others might think solely in terms of strikes, economic boycotts, or sanctions. Still others may focus on election strategies or litigation-based strategies designed to obtain support from the political system, the courts, or the police. Failure to consider the full range of available options may lead the parties to pursue confrontation strategies which are less likely to be successful. For example, a party may pursue lengthy election campaign when there are grounds for a lawsuit that would be much more likely to effectively advance their interests. Or, a group might pursue a violent, para-military resistance strategy when the strategy of non-violent protest is more likely to produce their desired change.
It is also important for the parties to honestly compare their force-based options with the options available to their opponents. Failure to do this can result in rapid defeat. For example, Iraq's failure to adequately assess the Coalition's force-based options led to a catastrophic defeat in the Gulf War. Another problem which often leads people to incorrectly assess available options is a failure to consider the potential for alliance formation and coalition building. Saddam Hussein may have under-estimated the ability of the U.S. to obtain support from other countries around the world (especially from other Arab countries and Russia), which may have caused him to miscalculate his chances to win a war in the Gulf.
People may also under-estimate their own ability to form coalitions. For example, a group being subjected to continuing human rights abuses might fail to consider the possibility and the advantages of soliciting support from international organizations (such as Amnesty International or the U.N.) or from foreign citizens or governments. Thus they may fail to build up their own power as much as they can to effectively combat the power of their opponent.
Pursuing Force to the Bitter End
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