Might the Next UN Chief Be a Muslim?

Might the Next UN Chief Be a Muslim?

Kofi Annan's term as secretary general of the United Nations will end on Dec. 31, and he is trying to make the most of the few months left. Annan has recently completed an eleven-day trip to a dozen countries in the Middle East and Europe, trying to elicit the widest support -- from Israel to Iran -- for the 15,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission to Southern Lebanon.

The tour, which Annan described as the most strenuous and demanding of his career, is an attempt to conclude his eight-year tenure with a UN success in the Middle East, a region whose population has tasted far less than its share of the peace, democracy, and wealth that globalization had promised. In other words, the region where the United Nations has most failed its mandate.

And quite a failure it has been in the last few years. All of the thorniest issues facing the international community are nested inside the Middle East, and the UN has proved unable even to frame itself as an impartial interlocutor or to diffuse the popular view that Islam is misunderstood and under siege. Iran's quest for nuclear power, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the sectarian carnage in Iraq: These are all crises that feed on the gradual alienation of the Muslim populations from the rest of the world, multilateral organizations included.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.