THE MASTER PLAN
Civil wars follow strange patterns. When the battle begins, both the government and the guerrillas seek support for their causes. They spend time gathering followers and winning over those on the margins of the war through fighting, propaganda, and civic programs. As the battles become more intense, these people on the margins have less room to maneuver. They are frequently given a choice by those who seek their support: join or die. Eventually, when one or the other side has a clear advantage and wins or when there is a stalemate, the two start to talk. Dialogue frequently coincides with some of the heaviest fighting as both sides jockey for position at the negotiating table. The months leading up to any peace talks are often the bloodiest of all.