This book examines the role of the United Nations in the confounding geopolitical tensions arising from key international conflicts in the Cold War and post-Cold War periods, including the hostilities between Palestine and Iraq and between Libya and Syria. It explores how the UN has been shaped by the Palestine question and how the struggle over Palestine produced the institutions of “peacekeeping” and of the “UN mediator.” It also discusses the politics around the UN and shows that it is always constrained by geopolitics despite serving as a site of struggle over legitimacy claims by warring factions. The book is divided into four sections dealing with themes that are considered the most important elements of UN work in the Arab world: diplomacy, enforcement and peacekeeping, humanitarianism and refugees, and development. This introduction provides an overview of the literature on the UN that emerged in the post-Cold War period in line with the complexity and reach of various UN missions and agencies.
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