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Arab League

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جامعة الدول العربية
Jāmaʻat ad-Duwwal al-ʻArabiyya
Arab League
Emblem of the Arab League
Headquarters Cairo, Egypt1
Official languages Arabic
Membership 22 Arab states
3 observer states
 -  Secretary General Amr Moussa (since 2001)
 -  Council of
the Arab League

 -  Speaker of
the Arab Parliament

Nabih Berri
 -  Alexandria Protocol March 22, 1945 
 -  Total 13,953,041 (Western Sahara Included)
13,687,041 (Western Sahara Excluded) km2 ( 2nd2)
? sq mi 
 -  2007 estimate 339,510,535 ( 3rd2)
 -  Density 24.33/km2
63/sq mi
GDP ( PPP) 2005 estimate
 -  Total $1,564,789 million ( 10th2)
 -  Per capita $7,890
Currency see footnote 3 below
Time zone ( UTC+0 to +4)
1. From 1979 to 1989: Tunis, Tunisia.
2. If ranked.
3. ISO 4217 codes bracketed:
Algerian dinar (DZB) • Bahraini dinar (BHD) • Comorian franc (KMF) • Djiboutian franc (DJF) • Egyptian pound (EGP) • Iraqi dinar (IQD) • Jordanian dinar (JD) • Kuwaiti dinar (KWD) • Lebanese livre (LL, LBP) • Libyan dinar (LYD) • Mauritanian ouguiya (MRO) • Moroccan dirham (MAD) • Omani rial (OMR) • Qatari riyal (QAR) • Saudi riyal (SAR) • Somali shilling (SOS) • Sudanese pound (SDD) • Syrian pound (SYP) • Tunisian dinar (TND) • United Arab Emirates dirham (AED) • Yemeni rial (YER)

The Arab League (Arabic: الجامعة العربية‎), also called League of the Arab States (Arabic: جامعة الدول العربية‎), is a regional organization of Arab States in the Middle East and North Africa. It was formed in Cairo on March 22, 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan (renamed Jordan after 1946), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a member on 5 May 1945. It currently has 22 members.

The main goal of the League was to:

"draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries."

The Arab League is involved in political, economic, cultural, and social programs designed to promote the interests of member states. The Arab League has served as a forum for member states to coordinate their policy positions and deliberate on matters of common concern, settling some Arab disputes and limiting conflicts such as the Lebanese civil wars of 1958. The Arab League has served as a platform for the drafting and conclusion of almost all landmark documents promoting economic integration among member states, such as the creation of the Joint Arab Economic Action Charter, which set out the principles for economic activities of the League. It has played an important role in shaping school curricula, and preserving manuscripts and Arab cultural heritage. The Arab League has launched literacy campaigns, and reproduced intellectual works, and translated modern technical terminology for the use of member states. It encourages measures against crime and drug abuse and deals with labor issues (particularly among the emigrant Arab workforce).

The Arab League has also fostered cultural exchanges between member states, encouraged youth and sports programs, helped to advance the role of women in Arab societies, and promoted child welfare activities.

Each member has one vote on the League Council, decisions being binding only on those states that have voted for them. The aims of the League in 1945 were to strengthen and coordinate the political, cultural, economic, and social programs of its members, and to mediate disputes among them or between them and third parties. The signing on April 13, 1950, of an agreement on Joint Defense and Economic Cooperation also committed the signatories to coordination of military defense measures.


The British Empire realized the Urge of Unity Within Arab States ( Pan Arabism) in the early part of the twentieth century, which helped them secure the cooperation of the Arabs, leading them to revolt against the Turkish-ruled Ottoman Empire during World War I. The British promised to help the Arabs establish a united Arab kingdom under Sherif Hussein of Mecca, which would encompass the Asian part of the Arab World (including the modern day Arabian peninsula, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel and Jordan). After winning the war, however, the British betrayed Sharif Hussein and instead helped divide the region into mini states, implementing their policy of "Divide and Rule."

The British needed Arab cooperation once more during World War II, and again returned to play the Pan-Arabism card by encouraging the formation of the League. Many Arab intellectuals believe that the British did not want the League to act as a step towards Arab unity, but actually used the League to prevent it.

The Egyptian government first proposed the Arab League in 1943. Egypt and some of the other Arab states wanted closer cooperation without the loss of self-rule that would result from total union. The original charter of the Arab League created a regional organization of sovereign states that was neither a union nor a federation. Among the goals the league set for itself were winning independence for all Arabs still under alien rule, and to prevent the Jewish minority in Palestine (then governed by the British) from creating a Jewish state. The members eventually formed a joint defense council, an economic council, and a permanent military command.

The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative

At the Beirut Summit on 28 March 2002 the Arab League adopted the Arab Peace Initiative , a Saudi-inspired peace plan for the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

The Initiative offered full normalization of relations with Israel in exchange for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all the Occupied Territories, including the Golan Heights, the recognition of "an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital" in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as a "just solution" for the Palestinian refugees.

The Peace Initiative was again endorsed in 2007 in the Riyadh Summit. In July 2007 the Arab League sent a mission, consisting of the Jordanian and Egyptian foreign ministers, to Israel to promote the Initiative, which has been welcomed by Israel, with reservations.


The Arab League is rich in resources, with enormous Oil and Natural Gas resources; it also has great fertile lands in South of the Sudan, usually referred to as the food basket of the Arab World. The region's instability has not affected its tourism industry, that is considered the fastest growing industry in the region, with Egypt, UAE, Lebanon, Tunisia and Jordan leading the way. Another industry that is growing steadily in the Arab League is telecommunications. Within less than a decade, local companies such as Orascom and Etisalat have managed to compete internationally.

Economic achievements initiated by the League amongst member states have been less impressive than those achieved by other smaller Arab organizations such as the GCC. However, several promising major economic projects are set to be completed soon. Among them are the Arab Gas Pipeline, scheduled to be finished by the year 2010, which will connect Egyptian and Iraqi Gas to Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, and also to Turkey (and, therefore, Europe), as well as a free trade Agreement ( GAFTA) stated for completion by the 1st of January 2008, making 95% of all Arab products free of customs.

Economic development in the Arab League is very disparate, with a significant difference in wealth and economic conditions between the rich oil states of the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain, on the one hand, and poor countries like the Comoros, Mauritania, and Djibouti, on Somalia.

Arab Economic Funding is being made, the Arab League agreed to Aid Sudanese Region of Darfur with 500 million dollars, and Egyptian and Libyan Companies are planning on building Several wells in the dry region.

List of member states by GDP

Arab Countries by nominal GDP.
Source: IMF (2005)
Rank Country GDP (millions of USD)
-  Arab League 1,019,770
1  Saudi Arabia 307,770
2  Egypt 178,350
3  United Arab Emirates 133,768
4  Algeria 102,026
5  Kuwait 74,598
6  Morocco 51,986
7  Libya 38,738
8  Qatar 37,852
9  Oman 30,326
10  Tunisia 30,185
11  Sudan 27,699
12  Syria 26,442
13  Lebanon 22,052
14  Yemen 15,193
15  Bahrain 12,921
16  Jordan 12,861
17  Mauritania 1,938
18  Comoros 370


Arab League Member states divided in the two continents of Asia and Africa

The area of members of the Arab League covers around 14 million square km and straddles two continents: Asian Middle East and North Africa. The area consists of large arid desert areas (eg The Sahara) but also has several very fertile lands in the Nile Valley and the High Atlas Mountains of North Africa and the fertile crescent stretching from Iraq to Syria Lebanon and Palestine. It also has deep forests in southern Arabia and south Sudan. It has the longest river (The Nile).

The area has witnessed the rise and fall of many ancient civilizations - Ancient Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Phoenicia, Carthage, Kush, Nabateans, and Axum all lived within its modern day borders.


The Arab League was founded in Cairo in 1945 by Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Transjordan (Jordan from 1950), and Yemen. the League had Great Enlargements the second half of the 20th Century, with 15 more Arab states joining the League and 3 Observing Nations.

Egypt's membership was suspended in 1979 after it signed a peace treaty with Israel. The league's headquarters was moved from Cairo, Egypt, to Tunis, Tunisia. In 1987 Arab leaders decided to renew diplomatic ties with Egypt. Egypt was readmitted to the league in 1989 and the league's headquarters was moved back to Cairo. In September 2006, Venezuela was accepted as an observer member of the Arab League.

The current members and observers of the Arab League and their dates of admission (observers in italics):

 Saudi Arabia  
March 22 1945a
 Yemen May 5 1945
 Libya March 28 1953c
 Sudan January 19 1956
October 1 1958
 Kuwait July 20 1961
 Algeria August 16 1962
September 11 1971
 Oman September 29 1971
 Mauritania   November 26 1973
 Somalia February 14 1974
Palestinian National Authority  Palestinee September 9 1976
 Djibouti April 9 1977
 Comoros November 20 1993
 Eritrea observer since 2003
 Venezuela observer since 2006
 India observer since 2007

a Date of foundation.
b As Transjordan.
c Libya announced its withdrawal on October 24, 2002, which would have been effective one year later; however, Libya then retracted its decision to withdraw on January 16, 2003, reaffirmed it on April 3, 2003, before retracting it again on May 25, 2003.
d The sovereignty of Western Sahara is disputed between Morocco and the Polisario Front's Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic government. The Arab League recognizes it as a part of Morocco.
e Representatives from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Status of Palestine

Mindful of their previous announcements in support of the Arabs of Palestine the framers of the Pact were determined to include them within the League from its inauguration.

This was done by means of an annex that declared:

"Even though Palestine was not able to control her own destiny, it was on the basis of the recognition of her independence that the Covenant of the League of Nations determined a system of government for her. Her existence and her independence among the nations can, therefore, no more be questioned de jure than the independence of any of the other Arab States... Therefore, the States signatory to the Pact of the Arab League consider that in view of Palestine's special circumstances, the Council of the League should designate an Arab delegate from Palestine to participate in its work until this country enjoys actual independence."

At the Cairo Summit of 1964, the Arab League initiated the creation of an organization representing the Palestinian people. The Palestinian National Council convened in East Jerusalem on 29 May 1964. The Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded during this meeting on 2 June 1964.


The Charter of the Arab League endorsed the principle of an Arab homeland while respecting the sovereignty of the individual member states.

The internal regulations of the Council of the League were agreed in October 1951 as well as those of the committees . Those of the Secretary-General were agreed in May 1953.

Area Comparison between the Arab League and other parts and countries of the World

Since then, Arab order has based on this duality. Preservation of individual statehood derived its strengths from natural preferences of ruling elites to maintain their power and their independence in decision making. The fear of rich Arabs that poorer Arabs may come to share their wealth in the name of Arab nationalism, the feuds among Arab rulers and the influence of external powers that saw potential danger in Arab unity; all reinforced this duality.

see Government of the Arab League

Demographics of the Arab League

The Arab League is a highly populated region, culturally and ethnically diverse League of 22 member states. As of January 1, 2007, the population of the Arab League was around 314 million people. Many countries are expected to experience an increase in population over the coming decades eating up all the slow Economic Developments being made in the League's Developing Countries.

The most populous member state is Egypt, with a population of 76 million people, with the least populated is Djibouti with around half a million inhabitants. Most of the Gulf States have high foreign Labor; the UAE's native population counts for less than 20% of its overall population, and 50% from South East Asia. some Gulf states import cheaper Arab labor mainly from Egypt and Yemen, and others from the rest of Asia and Africa.

Comparisons with other organizations

The Arab League resembles the Organization of American States, the Council of Europe, and the African Union, in that it has primarily political aims; one can regard each of these organizations as a regional version of the United Nations. However, its membership is based on culture rather than geographical location (which is the basis for membership of the other organizations cited above). In this respect the Arab League may bring to mind organizations such as the Latin Union.

The Arab League differs notably from some other regional organizations such as the European Union, in that it has not achieved any significant degree of regional integration and the organization itself has no direct relations with the citizens of its member states.

All Arab League members are also members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. In turn, the memberships of the smaller GCC and Arab Maghreb Union organizations are subsets of that of the Arab League.

The organization of the Arab League is based on principles that would support and promote a unified Arab Nationalism and a common position among Arabic states on various issues. It is less likely to resemble organizations such as the African Union, where unified nationalism is impossible due to the heterogeneity of its members.

Secretaries General

Egypt Abdul Rahman Azzam 1945 to 1952
Egypt Abdul Khalek Hassouna 1952 to 1972
Egypt Mahmoud Riad 1972 to 1979
Tunisia Chedli Klibi 1979 to 1990
Lebanon Assad al-Assad 1990 to 1991
Egypt Ahmad Esmat Abd al Meguid 1991 to 2001
Egypt Amr Moussa 2001 to Date

Arab League Summits

  1. Egypt Cairo: 13-17 Jan. 1964.
  2. Egypt Alexandria: 5-11 Sep. 1964.
  3. Morocco Casablanca: 13-17 Sep. 1965.
  4. Sudan Khartoum: 29 Aug. 1967.
  5. Morocco Rabat: 21-23 Dec. 1969.
  6. Egypt Cairo (first emergency summit): 21-27 Sep. 1970
  7. Algeria Algiers: 26-28 Nov.1973.
  8. Morocco Rabat: 29 Oct. 1974.
  9. Saudi Arabia Riyadh (2nd emergency summit): 17-28 Oct. 1976.
  10. Egypt Cairo: 25-26 Oct. 1976.
  11. Iraq Baghdad: 2-5 Nov.1978.
  12. Tunisia Tunis: 20-22 Nov. 1979.
  13. Jordan Amman: 21-22 Nov. 1980.
  14. Morocco Fes: 6-9 Sep. 1982.
  15. Morocco Casablanca (3rd emergency summit): 7-9 Sep. 1985
  16. Jordan Amman (4th emergency summit): 8-12 Nov. 1987.
  17. Algeria Algiers (5th emergency summit): 7-9 Jun. 1988.
  18. Morocco Casablanca (6th emergency summit): 23-26 Jun. 1989.
  19. Iraq Baghdad (7th emergency summit): 28-30 Mar. 1990.
  20. Egypt Cairo (8th emergency summit): 9-10 Aug. 1990
  21. Egypt Cairo (9th emergency summit): 22-23 Jun. 1996.
  22. Egypt Cairo (10th emergency summit): 21-22 Oct. 2000.
  23. Jordan Amman: 27-28 Mar. 2001.
  24. Lebanon Beirut: 27-28 Mar. 2002.
  25. Egypt Sharm el-Sheikh: 1 Mar. 2003.
  26. Tunisia Tunis: 22-23 May. 2004.
  27. Algeria Algiers: 22-23 Mar. 2005.
  28. Sudan Khartoum: 28-30 Mar. 2006.
  29. Saudi Arabia Riyadh: 27-28 Mar. 2007.
  • Summit number 12 in Fes, Morocco occurred in two stages:
    • On 25 November 1981: The meeting ended without agreeing on the document and Egypt not shared in it. It is considered the shortest summit, only lasting 5 hours.
    • On 6- 9 September 1982.
  • There are two summits in addition to those aforementioned, but they are not added to the system of Arab League summits:
    • Anshas, Egypt: 28- 29 May 1946.
    • Beirut, Lebanon: 13- 15 November 1956.


  • Secretary General of the League of Arab States
  • The Council of the Arab League
  • Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD)
  • Arab Technical Committees
  • Arab Air Carriers Organization
  • Specialized Ministerial Councils
  • Parliament of the Arab League
  • Joint Arab-Foreign Chambers Of Commerce
  • General Secretariat Sub Departments
  • Arabic industrial development and mining organization
  • International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions
  • Arab Monetary Fund
  • General Arab Insurance Federation
  • Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development
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