'This is an important piece of work and one which will take its place at the forefront of contemporary efforts to understand the UN and its role in world politics. For too long we have lacked analyses that place the UN back into the political context out of which it was produced and which has shaped its subsequent development and forms of engagement, particularly with the global south. ... Taking seriously the point of view of those who have more often been on the receiving end of the UN and its interventions, Richard Al-Qaq shows us an institution that has always been part of how the great powers manage world affairs in their interest. ... Through a series of carefully-researched case studies, Richard shows what this means in practice, in the process providing new and compelling insight into how the UN works and for whom. Scholars and the broader reading public will be forced to engage with Richard's argument.' --Mark Laffey, Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London
'This book provides a much needed corrective to most, if not virtually all, the literature on the UN which almost entirely lacks any kind of critical dimension ... Richard Al-Qaq provides a much clearer account of the way in which the UN has changed against a background of the major changes in global politics since 1945. He provides a political analysis of that institution which strips away the mystique and hyperbole and presents it as initially an instrument of Western, and especially US, power and later a contested political arena as the 'Third World' attempted to make changes in its practices. The end of the Cold War produced a return to Western domination of the institution aswell as a re-definition of its primary purpose, namely a mechanism to supervise unruly parts of the world in Western interests. ... Al-Qaq has blazed a trail which others will have to follow.' --Tom Young, Department of Politics and International Relations, SOAS
'Up to now the role of the Secretaries General and Secretariat of the UN has been almost entirely ignored in the literature on North-South relations since the end of the Cold War. Richard Al-Qaq gives us the first scholarly and comprehensive analysis of the centrality of the Secretariat in this re-orientation both at the level of discursive strategies and legitimation and at an operational level. ... For those concerned with conflicts or humanitarian crises in Africa, Al-Qaq's case studies on Somalia, Rwanda and Angola raise disturbing questions about the role of the Atlantic powers and of the UN Secretariat in the region, questions which remain enormously relevant to current issues in the region. ... This book is essential reading for those concerned to understand the role of the UN in the post-Cold War South, for those wishing to grasp the role of the Atlantic powers in Africa over the last twenty years and for those concerned with the politics of so-called humanitarian intervention and peace-building.' --Peter Gowan, Professor of International Relations, London Metropolitan University
About the Author
Richard Kareem Al-Qaq holds a PhD in Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Between 2002 and 2007, Dr. Al-Qaq taught post-graduate International Politics at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS. He currently lives in Brazil, where he writes and consults on UN peacekeeping and UN reform.