Arab League

Arab League

Infobox Country
native_name = جامعة الدول العربية
"JāmaUnicode|ʻat ad-Duwal al-ʻArabiyya"
name = League of Arab States
linking_name = the Arab League

symbol_type = Emblem
image_symbol = League of Arab States Emblem.svg
membership = Collapsible list |title=22 Arab states| 3 "observer states"|----
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
Yemen "Eritrea" "India" "Venezuela"

admin_center_type = Headquarters
admin_center = Cairo, Egyptsmallsup|1
largest_settlement_type = cities
largest settlement = Riyadh, Cairo, Baghdad, Casablanca, Damascus, Khartoum, Alexandria, Dubai, Beirut
established_event1 = Alexandria Protocol
established_date1 = March 22, 1945
languages_type = Official languages
languages = Arabic
leader_title1 = Secretary General
leader_name1 = Amr Moussa (since 2001)
leader_title2 = Council of the Arab League
leader_name2 = Syria
leader_title3 = Speaker of the Arab Parliament
leader_name3 = Nabih Berri
area_label = Total area with Western Sahara
area_km2 = 13953041
area_sq_mi = 5382910
area_label2 = Area excluding Western Sahara
area_data2 = 13,687,041 kmsmallsup|2 ( 5,280,291 sq mi)
area_magnitude = 1 E13
area_rank = 2ndsmallsup|2
population_estimate = 339,510,535
population_estimate_year = 2007
population_estimate_rank = 3rdsmallsup|2
population_density_km2 = 24.33
population_density_rank =
population_density_sq_mi =
GDP_PPP = $2,364,871 million
GDP_PPP_year = 2007
GDP_PPP_rank = 6thsmallsup|2
GDP_PPP_per_capita = $11,013
GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = 70th
GDP_nominal =
GDP_nominal_rank =
GDP_nominal_year =
GDP_nominal_per_capita =
GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank =
HDI_rank =
HDI_year =
HDI_category =
currency = Collapsible list |title=21 currencies|----
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)

time_zone =
utc_offset = +0 to +4
official_website =ar icon
footnote1 = From 1979 to 1989: Tunis, Tunisia.
footnote2 = If ranked among nation states.

The Arab League ( _ar. الجامعة العربية), officially called the League of Arab States ( _ar. جامعة الدول العربية), is a regional organization of Arab states in Southwest Asia, and North and Northeast 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 May 5, 1945. The Arab League currently has 22 members.

The main goal of the league is to:cite web
coauthors = Head of states of the founding members
title = Pact of the League of Arab States, March 22, 1945
work = The Avalon Project
publisher = Yale Law School
year = 1998
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-09

The Arab League is involved in political, economic, cultural, and social programs designed to promote the interests of its member states. It has served as a forum for the member states to coordinate their policy positions, to deliberate on matters of common concern, to settle some Arab disputes, and to limit conflicts such as the 1958 Lebanon crisis. The league has served as a platform for the drafting and conclusion of many landmark documents promoting economic integration. One example is the "Joint Arab Economic Action Charter" which sets out the principles for economic activities in the region.

Each member state has one vote in the "League Council", while decisions are binding only for 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. Furthermore, the signing of an agreement on "Joint Defense and Economic Cooperation" on April 13, 1950 committed the signatories to coordination of military defense measures.

The Arab league has played an important role in shaping school curricula; advancing the role of women in the Arab societies; promoting child welfare; encouraging youth and sports programs; preserving Arab cultural heritage and fostering cultural exchanges between the member states. Literacy campaigns have been launched, intellectual works reproduced, and modern technical terminology is translated for the use within member states. The league encourages measures against crime and drug abuse, and deals with labor issues—particularly among the emigrant Arab workforce.

Members and dates

The Arab League was founded in Cairo in 1945 by Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Transjordan (Jordan from 1946), and Yemen. There was a continual increase in membership during the second half of the 20th century, with additional 15 Arab states and 3 observers being admitted.

Egypt's membership was suspended in 1979 after it signed the Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty, and the League's headquarters were moved from Cairo to Tunis. In 1987, Arab countries restored diplomatic relations with Egypt and the country was readmitted to the league in 1989 while the league's headquarters moved back to Cairo. In September 2006, Venezuela was accepted as an observer, and India in 2007.

Israel is not a member despite 20% of its population being of Arab origin and Arabic being an official language. Neither is Chad a member, although Arabic is in both official and vernacular use there.

The current members and "observers" of the Arab League are listed below along with their admission dates.
colspan="2" style="font-size:90%;"
"Notes:" :fnb|a Date of foundation.:fnb|b As Transjordan.:fnb|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.:fnb|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.:fnb|e Representatives from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).


The area of members of the Arab League covers around 14 million km2 and straddles two continents: Western Asia as well as Northern and Northeastern Africa. The area consists of large arid deserts, namely the Sahara. Nevertheless, it also contains several very fertile lands, such as the Nile Valley, the High Atlas Mountains, and the Fertile Crescent which stretches from Iraq over Syria and Lebanon to Palestine. The area comprises also deep forests in southern Arabia and southern Sudan as well as the major parts of the world's longest river—the Nile.

The area has witnessed the rise and fall of many ancient civilizations: Ancient Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Phoenicia, Carthage, Kush, and Nabateans.


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 Leaguecite web | title = Internal Regulations of the Council of the League of Arab States
work = Model League of Arab States
publisher = Ed Haynes, Winthrop University
date = 1998-04-06
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-09
] and the committeescite web | title = Internal Regulations of the Committees of the League of Arab States
work = Model League of Arab States
publisher = Ed Haynes, Winthrop University
date = 1998-04-06
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-09
] were agreed in October 1951. Those of the Secretariat-General were agreed in May 1953.cite web | title = Internal Regulations of the Secretariat-General of the League
work = Model League of Arab States
publisher = Ed Haynes, Winthrop University
date = 1998-04-06
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-09

Since then, governance of the Arab League has been based on the duality of supra-national institutions and the sovereignty of the member states. Preservation of individual statehood derived its strengths from the natural preference of ruling elites to maintain their power and independence in decision making. Moreover, the fear of the richer that the poorer may share their wealth in the name of Arab nationalism, the feuds among Arab rulers, and the influence of external powers that might oppose Arab unity can be seen as obstacles towards a deeper integration of the league.


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 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). However, several promising major economic projects are set to be completed soon. Among them is the Arab Gas Pipeline, scheduled to be accomplished in 2010. It will transport Egyptian and Iraqi gas to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey. The Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), planned to come into effect on January 1, 2008, will render 95% of all Arab products free of customs.

Economic development in the Arab League is very disparate. Significant difference in wealth and economic conditions exist between the rich oil states of UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain on the one hand, and poor countries like the Comoros, Mauritania, and Djibouti on the other hand. Arab economic funding is under development. As an example, the Arab League agreed to support the Sudanese region of Darfur with 500 million dollars, and Egyptian and Libyan companies are planning to build several wells in this dry area.

List of member states by GDP (PPP)

This following table lists the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Arab League and its member states based on purchasing power parity (PPP) and measured in US dollar. If not indicated otherwise, the figures are based on the 2007 data published by the International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, in April 2008.cite web
title = Report for Selected Countries and Subjects
work = World Economic Outlook Database
publisher = IMF
month = April | year = 2008
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-24
] "Notes:" :fnb|a The IMF source does not provide data for the compound Arab League. The total GDP figure has been calculated as the sum of the GDPs of the member states. The per capita value is derived on the basis of the population stated in the infobox.:fnb|b The IMF source does not provide data for this country. The reported figures are taken from a 2007 estimate of the CIA published in the CIA factbook.cite web
title = Field Listing - GDP (purchasing power parity)
work = The world factbook
publisher = CIA
date = 2008-07-15
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-24
] For Palestine, a 2006 estimate was retrieved from the same source which is published as "West Bank (includes Gaza Strip)".

tatus 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.Geddes, 1991, p. 208.] This was done by means of an annex that declared:

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

At the Beirut Summit on March 28, 2002 the league adopted the Arab Peace Initiative,cite web
coauthors = Council of Arab States
title = The Arab Peace Initiative, 2002
publisher =
date = 2005-10-01
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-09
] a Saudi-inspired peace plan for the Arab–Israeli conflict. The initiative offered full normalization of the relations with Israel. In exchange, Israel was demanded to withdraw from all occupied territories, including the Golan Heights, to recognize an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as a "just solution" for the Palestinian refugees.

The Peace Initiative was again endorsed at 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. The mission was welcomed with reservations by Israel.Fact|date=July 2008

Demographics of the Arab League

The Arab League is a culturally and ethnically diverse association of 22 member states. As of January 1, 2007, about 314,000,000 people live in the states of the Arab League. Its population grows faster than in most other global regions. This threatens to diminish the slow economic expansion expected in the league's developing countries.Fact|date=July 2008

The most populous member state is Egypt, with a population of about 80 million. The least populated is Djibouti, with about 500,000 inhabitants. Most of the Gulf states have large populations of foreign laborers. The UAE's Arab population counts for less than 20% of its total population, while 50% originate from South- and Southeast Asia.Fact|date=July 2008 Some Gulf states also import cheap Arab labor, mainly from Egypt, Yemen, and Somalia.

Since large parts of the Arab League are deserts, the population is concentrated in and around cities where most the trade and industry are located. The largest Arab cities are Cairo, followed by Baghdad, Khartoum, Damascus, Riyadh, and Casablanca.

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. However, membership in the league is based on culture rather than geographical location. In this respect, the Arab League resembles organizations such as the Latin Union.

The Arab League differs notably from the European Union, in that it has not achieved a significant degree of regional integration and the organization itself has no direct relations with the citizens of its member states. However, the Arab League is based on principles that support and promote a unified Arab nationalism and a common position among Arabic states on various issues. In this respect, it contrasts the African Union where unified nationalism is impossible due to the heterogeneity of its members.

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 league.

Secretaries General

Arab League Summits

#flagicon|Egypt Cairo: 13–17 Jan. 1964.
#flagicon|Egypt Alexandria: 5–11 Sep. 1964.
#flagicon|Morocco Casablanca: 13–17 Sep. 1965.
#flagicon|Sudan Khartoum: 29 Aug. 1967.
#flagicon|Morocco Rabat: 21–23 Dec. 1969.
#flagicon|Egypt Cairo (first emergency summit): 21–27 Sep. 1970
#flagicon|Algeria Algiers: 26–28 Nov.1973.
#flagicon|Morocco Rabat: 29 Oct. 1974.
#flagicon|Saudi Arabia Riyadh (2nd emergency summit): 17–28 Oct. 1976.
#flagicon|Egypt Cairo: 25–26 Oct. 1976.
#flagicon|Iraq Baghdad: 2–5 Nov.1978.
#flagicon|Tunisia Tunis: 20–22 Nov. 1979.
#flagicon|Jordan Amman: 21–22 Nov. 1980.
#flagicon|Morocco Fes: 6–9 Sep. 1982.
#flagicon|Morocco Casablanca (3rd emergency summit): 7–9 Sep. 1985
#flagicon|Jordan Amman (4th emergency summit): 8–12 Nov. 1987.
#flagicon|Algeria Algiers (5th emergency summit): 7–9 Jun. 1988.
#flagicon|Morocco Casablanca (6th emergency summit): 23–26 Jun. 1989.
#flagicon|Iraq Baghdad (7th emergency summit): 28–30 Mar. 1990.
#flagicon|Egypt Cairo (8th emergency summit): 9–10 Aug. 1990
#flagicon|Egypt Cairo (9th emergency summit): 22–23 Jun. 1996.
#flagicon|Egypt Cairo (10th emergency summit): 21–22 Oct. 2000.
#flagicon|Jordan Amman: 27–28 Mar. 2001.
#flagicon|Lebanon Beirut: 27–28 Mar. 2002.
#flagicon|Egypt Sharm el-Sheikh: 1 Mar. 2003.
#flagicon|Tunisia Tunis: 22–23 May. 2004.
#flagicon|Algeria Algiers: 22–23 Mar. 2005.
#flagicon|Sudan Khartoum: 28–30 Mar. 2006.
#flagicon|Saudi Arabia Riyadh: 27–28 Mar. 2007.
#flagicon|Syria Damascus: 29–30 Mar. 2008.

* Two summits are not added to the system of Arab League summits:
**Anshas, Egypt: 28–May 29, 1946
**Beirut, Lebanon: November 13 – November 15, 1956
*Summit 14 in Fes, Morocco, occurred in two stages:
**On November 25, 1981: The 5-hours meeting ended without an agreed on document.
**On 6–September 9, 1982

ee also

*Arab Air Carriers Organization
*Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD)
*Arabic industrial development and mining organization
*Arab Inter-parliamentary Union
*Arab League and the Arab–Israeli conflict
*Arab Maghreb Union (UMA)
*Arab Monetary Fund
*Arab Organization for Industrialization
*Arab World
*Federation of Arab Trade Unions and Labor Societies
*General Arab Insurance Federation
*General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for Arab Countries
*Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA)
*Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
*International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions
*List of largest cities of the Arab League
*Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC)
*Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
*Pan Arab Games
*Parliament of the Arab League


Further reading

*Ankerl, Guy: Coexisting Contemporary Civilizations: Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western. Geneva, INU Press, 2000. ISBN 2-88155-0044-5
*Geddes, Charles L: A Documentary History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Greenwood Press, 1991. ISBN 0-275-93858-1

External links

* [ Arab League] – official site in Arab, English version under construction
* [ Arab Gateway] – The League of Arab states
* [ World Statesmen] – Arab League
* [ Winthrop University] – Arab League General Information
* [ Jewish Virtual Library] – The Arab League
* [ Looklex Encyclopedia] – Arab League

Arab League|state=uncollapsed

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