Sample Book Review Paper on Nothing but failure


Essential Information about the Book

This is an analysis of the book ‘Nothing but failure? The Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council as a Mediator in Middle Eastern Conflicts,’ which Marco Pinfari wrote and London School of Economics and Political Science published it. The book was written as a combination of articles that developed when UN members decided to meet to compose the UN draft, which would compose the orders that would apply for the new world[1]. The book gives the need to make arrangements in the region wisely to promote peaceful ways of the member countries to solve their disputes. For instance, the book narrates that before the conference was held, a month ago, Arab League had been formed and was the oldest organization in Middle East. The book also defines the history that led to formation of the council. The author, states that in order to achieve the goal, which is promotion of projects that are political, member states agreed that they would not settle disagreements among them forcefully. Therefore, a council had been formed to provide a mediating platform to avoid using force in solving of disputes among countries in the region.

Analysis of the Summary

 However, the organization had been formed long in 1945, but since then, there were many wars that were witnessed in the region. The book therefore shows the great extent to which the organization had failed. From the book, these wars led to many people in the region being killed, and other millions of people were displaced from their homes. This reflects the failure of performance of the organization, according to Fred, which ought to offer a mediation platform for the countries that had disputes[2]. From this failure, a discussion about the situation in the region does not require any judgments concerning the performance of the organization but what leads to that failure as Raymond advises in his book[3]. Therefore it will involve eliminating the notion that the league was designed to fail with the idea that the league has just failed in designing the strategies to use in performance of its objective. From the data that has been provided from the book, there is a need for the organization to be fast in mediation of conflicts that rise between citizens in the Middle East countries. The failure of the league narrated by the book not only reflects the narrow boundaries that it kept in an attempt to solve minor wars thus failing to pay attention to wars that were termed as major, but also lack of evidence to show that any local conflicts that erupted were solved. The author portrays that the failure could also mean that it has little or no access to resources that it meant to invest in to bear good results in preventing wars. These resources were financial, ideological, and political.

The book further gives an alternative, which has been used to combat increased wars in the region. Other bodies, such as GCC were later formed in an attempt to improve the situation on the ground. However, their strategies in managing conflicts in the region reflect the biasness that exists in the organizations in terms of assessing achievements that could be termed as real[4]. Therefore, they have been underperforming, which implies that they need to increase both their effectiveness as well as efficiency to be able to handle the prevailing conflicts in Middle East. From the book, underperformance reflects the proud over ambitious aims that imply that the founders of civil rights organizations just use the organizations as a medium for transition from a symbolic association with power to an ideological platform for the nations. Michael and Bannerman argue that several organs of these organizations are tied to a common rule yet the organs have different desires depending on the prevailing situation in the respective country where the organ is situated[5]. This shows that some of them organs are just formed to serve symbolic representation of power, but they do not bear any desired outcomes. The desires of the countries making up the organs are thus ignored due to reluctance by the organization to assign power to them. Tareq shows how functions of civil rights organizations have been monopolized because of the movements with nonalignation to solve arising conflicts[6].  

Significance of the Book

Competition facing the league for instance from GCC, shows the extent to which the things that fail the league has affected it. Therefore, there are issues that the league has to ensure for its success in its operations. For instance, the council could coordinate matters related to security within respective countries that are members to the organization[7]. For success to be realized, Louise states that the structure of civil rights organizations has to be changed, as it will lead to establishment of better strategies to be used to perform. However, for the sub organs formed by the organization, their structure is hard to change because of the high level of diversification in their mandates mainly determined by their different locations. Middle East has been faced with consensus that is overwhelming in various regions. However, with a close examination, empirical bases for this particular claim are weak and thus a need to carry out comparative studies concerning the outcomes realized in the performance of the league. These comparative studies would be done in respect to various wars that have arisen in different times in Middle East. This would be effective in measuring the performance of the organization because different conflictual conditions will be analyzed depending on their technicality, and the resources that were used. Improvement in the performance of the league would be first to recap on the data that has been provided about any past details concerning the performance then updating such information[8]. This would therefore help in getting the causes of conflicts among different people in the region, as Kevin writes.


A comparison between civil rights organization such as the league and GCC, which has bore more success, is necessary starting from when they were individually formed as Peters describes [9]. Such a comparison would be done by considering several major wars in Middle East, and the role the two organizations played in combating them, and their effects to the citizens and the government. This information would be available in secondary literature materials. By identifying episodes involved in mediation processes to define the best criteria to use in classification of whether interventions have been successful or not would be necessary. Episodes used in mediation when chosen by organizations’ organs helps in solving various conflicts. This would help in civil rights organizations playing its role in mediating between the countries in Middle East whenever conflicts arise irrespective of the boundaries between them as Hatem in his book says[10]. However, it would be necessary that the league observe such boundaries, as they would help it to determine which conflicts the league is to solve. This ensures that only the targeted regions are attended, and thus increase chances of bringing success to the region.


Abu-Lebdeh, Hatem Shareef. “Conflict and peace in the Middle East: national perceptions and United States-Jordan relations.” Lanham: University Press of America, 1997.

Avruch, Kevin. “Culture & conflict resolution.” Washington, D.C.: United States Inst. of Peace Press, 2006.

Brown, Carl. “Diplomacy in the Middle East: the international relations of regional and outside powers.” London [u.a.]: Tauris, 2001.

Davis, Michael and Joel, Bannerman. “Politics and international relations in the Middle East: continuity and change : dedicated to the memory of J.P. Bannerman.” Aldershot [u.a.]: Elgar, 2005.

Fawcett, Louise L’Estrange. “International relations of the Middle East.” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Halliday, Fred. “The Middle East in international relations: power, politics and ideology.” Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Hinnebusch, Raymond. “The international politics of the Middle East.” Manchester [u.a.]: Manchester Univ. Press, 2013.

Ismael, Tareq. “International relations of the contemporary Middle East: a study in world politics.” Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press, 2006.

Peters, Joel. “The European Union and the Arab Spring: promoting democracy and human rights in the Middle East.” Lanham, Md: Lexington Books, 2012.

Pinfari, Marco. “Nothing but failure?: the Arab league and the Gulf Cooperation Council as mediators in middle eastern conflicts.” London: Crisis States Research Centre, 2009.

[1] Marco Pinfari. Nothing but failure?: the Arab league and the Gulf Cooperation Council as mediators in middle eastern conflicts. (London: Crisis States Research Centre, 2009), 2.

[2]Fred Halliday. The Middle East in international relations: power, politics and ideology. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 189.

[3]Raymond Hinnebusch. The international politics of the Middle East. (Manchester


: Manchester Univ. Press, 2001), 217.

[4] Carl Brown. Diplomacy in the Middle East: the international relations of regional and outside powers. (London [u.a.]: Tauris, 2001), 159.

[5] Michael Davis and Bannerman Joel. Politics and international relations in the Middle East: continuity and change : dedicated to the memory of J.P. Bannerman. (Aldershot [u.a.]: Elgar, 2005), 234.

[6]Tareq Ismael. International relations of the contemporary Middle East: a study in world politics. (Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press, 2006), 190.

[7] Louise L’Estrange Fawcett. International relations of the Middle East. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 219.

[8] Kevin Avruch. Culture & conflict resolution. (Washington, D.C.: United States Inst. of Peace Press, 2006), 145.

[9]Joel Peters. The European Union and the Arab Spring: promoting democracy and human rights in the Middle East. (Lanham, Md: Lexington Books, 2012), 167.

[10] Hatem Shareef Abu-Lebdeh. Conflict and peace in the Middle East: national perceptions and United States-Jordan relations. (Lanham: University Press of America, 1997), 126.