Will the US successfully broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas by the end of 2023?
100
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Jan 10
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chance

This market seeks predictions on the likelihood of the US mediating a successful ceasefire between Israel and Hamas by December 31, 2023. Amidst ongoing conflict and regional instability, US diplomatic intervention is pivotal. Participants are asked to consider the current political climate, diplomatic efforts, and historical precedents when making their predictions.

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predicts NO

Inactive/unresponsive creator, I can't see any evidence this happened, resolving NO.

predicts YES

@chrisjbillington Can we at least have a discussion about this? The US was significantly involved in the negotiation of the ceasefire.

predicts NO

@Shump sorry, I resolved without remembering the discussion thread below.

Happy to discuss, but it sounds like the facts are known and someone needs to make a judgement call as to whether the USs role counts. It makes sense that the judgement call should made by someone else though, since I have profit on the line.

The question to me indeed conjures a hypothetical about the US being the main entity brokering the agreement (It's "Will the US broker" not "Will the US help broker" or similar). Are there more arguments that can be made either way, or should I ask for a mod vote on the interpretation?

predicts NO

@Shump Actually, do you know if there is any claim the US spoke with Hamas? Or just Netanyahu and Qatar?

If the US did not at minimum speak with both sides, then I think I will insist that it can't be said that they brokered an agreement.

predicts YES

@chrisjbillington idk, I bought up after this happened on a different interpretation, this market mostly just went so low because people assumed that no resolution means it hasn't happened.

AP news says the deal was brokered by the US. Wikipedia uses the same language as well.

https://apnews.com/article/israel-hamas-war-ceasefire-what-to-know-af1cfbc9dcaa1485ed7a9efaca7ec2b7

Before the deal, Biden said

We have been working on getting hostages out for weeks

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/21/gaza-approaching-a-truce-agreement-with-israel-hamas-leader-haniyeh

It seems to me like this at least justifies an N/A

predicts NO

@Shump I'll unresolve for now and see if I can find any more info later, and ask other mods to weigh in. I'm busy for the moment, but will get back to this later, feel free to ping me if I forget.

It seems to me that the most likely state of affairs is that the US acted as a link in the communications chain between Qatar and Israel, which would mean it would be correct to say "the US and Qatar" brokered a deal (I don't know what Egypt's role was), but I wouldn't want to say "the US" brokered it unless they were speaking with Hamas and Israel both.

But given the language of the apnews article, I'm at least happy not to put my foot down and leave it up to other mods.

predicts NO

@Shump OK, here are my thoughts after reading some sources.

The title asks if the US will "broker" a ceasefire. The description says "mediate".

These words mean different things. A mediator is an ostensibly neutral third party in a conflict resolution process. A broker is anyone trying to arrange a deal between others, whether they're neutral or not.

A mediator is a broker, but a broker isn't necessarily a mediator. The title and description don't conflict, but the description is more specific.

In this AP news article, we see the US's role being described more as if they are are party to the deal than a mediator - they're pushing for their own interests (getting American hostages released). This article also confirms the US spoke to both Hamas and Israel:

The U.S. continuously pushed Hamas, with Qatar and Egypt acting as critical intermediaries. All the while, President Joe Biden and other senior U.S. officials assured distraught family members of hostages through emotional Zooms and in-person meetings that they were doing everything they could to secure their loved ones’ release.

The U.S. president was still working on the hostage deal as late as Wednesday in phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other world leaders, stressing the importance of moving from agreement to actual releases. Biden vowed that he would not relent until all American hostages in Gaza were released.

In the AP news article you cited, they're a broker:

The deal was brokered by Qatar, the U.S. and Egypt and announced on Wednesday.

Al Jazeera says here just that the talks were mediated by Qatar:

After weeks of war in the Gaza Strip, US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday of the talks mediated by Qatar: “We have been working on getting hostages out for weeks. We’re now very close.”

Reuters says Qatar mediated, and the US "played a crucial role" in negotiating the deal, and Egypt "has also been involved":

WHO NEGOTIATED THE DEAL?

Qatar played a major mediation role. Hamas has a political office in Doha and the Qatari government has kept channels of communication open with Israel, even though unlike some other Gulf Arab states it has not normalised ties with Israel.

The U.S. also played a crucial role, with the U.S. president holding calls with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the weeks leading up to the deal.

Egypt, the first Arab state to sign a peace deal with Israel and which has long played a mediation role over the decades of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has also been involved.

Wikipedia says near the start of the article that Qatar mediated:

The initial agreement, mediated by Qatar, stipulated [...]

which cites an Al Jazeera article that says the US was "coordinated with":

The agreement was mediated by Qatar, which had been leading negotiations between Israel and Hamas, while coordinating with other regional and global powers, including the United States and Egypt.

Then Wikipedia talks about negotiations for an extension to the ceasefire involving mediators from Egypt and Qatar (this is later though, not the original negotiations):

The mediators in Qatar and in Egypt reported they worked to negotiate a further extension of the truce.

Later Wikipedia says that all three countries "brokered" the deal:

On 22 November, an agreement was reached that was brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the U.S. after weeks of indirect negotiations

Since mediators are also brokers, this would be consistent with Qatar and/or Egypt being mediators still.

Here is an AP news article that says:

Qatar is uniquely positioned to break deadlocks in the cease-fire talks, which also involve the U.S. and Egypt.

[...]

In the Israel-Hamas hostage negotiations, Qatari mediators, joined by those from Egypt and the U.S., faced the task of getting the warring sides to put faith in diplomacy when trust was sub-zero.

Which implies the existence of US "mediators"

The US described Egypt's role as "mediator":

The United States commends Egypt’s crucial role in mediating the ceasefire agreement, which will prevent the further loss of civilian lives. We also recognize Qatar’s robust efforts to de-escalate the situation and end the hostilities, as well as the international community’s support for the ceasefire. Our team worked tirelessly in cooperation with our partners to support these efforts.

This ABC (Australia) news live update post says the US mediated the ceasefire:

However, Israel and Hamas are facing mounting pressure to extend the pause that was mediated by Qatar, the United States and Egypt.

So there are two references I can find to US's role as having mediators. But it seems like most reporters stop short of that and use the less specific "broker", presumably to not imply the US's role was a neutral one. I imagine the ABC reporter above doesn't have a primary source, they're likely paraphrasing other reports and have incorrectly equated "broker" with "mediator".

There is the AP news article above that refers to "US mediators", that's the strongest we've got.

There are a lot more articles out there describing just Qatar as the mediator, or Egypt, or saying the US "brokered" it, the above isn't an unbiased sample. I looked harder for anything describing the US as a mediator, and found two that I included.


It seems to me that the majority of reporting has not described the US as a mediator, and there seems to be a decent amount of reporting de-emphasising their role compared to others that are described as mediators, and it's also somewhat clear I think that they weren't playing a role of a neutral third party.

So we have two questions:

  • Were they a mediator? Most reporting saying the weaker "broker" or some other description of their role. Nonzero amount of reporting saying "mediated" or implying the existence of mediators, but not much. Whereas Qatar is much more consistently described as a mediator, except when they're listed alongside the US, when they all become "brokers". Egypt seems to be in between.

  • Is it enough if they were a mediator, if their role in mediation was less than that of Qatar and (probably) Egypt? Is the question about the US being the main entity mediating, or would it suffice for them to be one of many, and not the primary mediator?

The answer to both of these has to be yes for this question to resolve YES.


Let me know what you think, but I'll probably handball this to a mod vote.

@chrisjbillington Where do you / the mods stand on this?

predicts NO

Resolution please @KanYuenyong

bought Ṁ50 of NO

The current ceasefire was brokered by Qatar, and I suspect any other near term ceasefires will be as well. The US has more pull with West Bank Palestinian politics.

@Panfilo According to this article, "The United States also played a crucial role, with U.S. President Joe Biden holding calls with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the weeks leading up to the deal."

@KanYuenyong would this count as the US brokering the ceasefire?

bought Ṁ50 of NO

@Anovak I think the US is involved but that very quote makes it clear that Qatar is the hinge. I'm sure that Iran is talking to both Qatar and Hamas, for example, but most people would not say this was an Iran-brokered deal, just that they are the sponsor of Hamas the same way the US is of Israel.

bought Ṁ50 NO from 38% to 33%
predicts YES

@Panfilo I agree with your assessment of the facts, but nothing in this market requires the US to be the primary mediator. The US definitely did help broker the deal. Should be enough.

predicts NO

@Shump The description uses the word "mediate". Is a party considered a mediator if they are there on behalf of one half of a deal? This is separate from the question of what the market maker meant by "successful", of course.

predicts YES

@Panfilo From what I understand the US did more than that. They asked for guarantees to the safety of civilians, and were pressuring the Israeli government to agree to the deal. They weren't just there on behalf of Israel.

What qualifies as “US brokered” For instance: what if the US doesn’t formally oversee proceedings but gets Israel to accept the result?

bought Ṁ10 of NO

Being no since the americans took a side in the conflict so they can't mediate now

bought Ṁ25 of NO

Betting No on it being a successful ceasefire, since the precariousness with which it could be broken within a day or two, and thus be a failed ceasefire, is so high.

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