The UN is “part and parcel” of the modern history of the Middle East, but has also been “shaped” heavily itself by the region.
That’s one of the main themes of a new history of the world body’s involvement there, entitled: Land of the Blue Helmets, the United Nations and the Arab World.
Karim Makdisi is an academic based in the United States, and co-edited the collection of essays.
He says that the issue of Palestine, especially the role of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, UNRWA, is emblematic of the successes and failures of the UN’s record in the region.
Mr Makdisi spoke to Mustafa Gamal, and explained how the UN “came to life” in the Arab world.