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Arab League

League of Arab States
  • جامعة الدول العربية
  • Jāmiʻat ad-Duwal al-ʻArabiyya
Flag Emblem
Administrative center Cairoa
Official languages
 -  Arab League Secretariat Nabil el-Araby
 -  Arab Parliament Ali Al-Daqbaashi
 -  Council Presidency  Lebanon
Legislature Arab Parliament
 -  Alexandria Protocol 22 March 1945 
 -  Total area 13,132,327 km2
5,070,420 sq mi
 -  2014 estimate 356,785,231
 -  Density 27.17/km2
70.37/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2014 estimate
 -  Total $3.335 trillion
 -  Per capita $9347
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $3.526 trillion
 -  Per capita $4,239
Time zone (UTC+0 to +4)
a. From 1979 to 1989, Tunis, Tunisia.
b. Suspended. The Syrian National Coalition currently represents Syria.

The Arab League (Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Southwest Asia. It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Kingdom of Egypt, Kingdom of Iraq, Transjordan (renamed Jordan in 1949), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria.[3] Yemen joined as a member on 5 May 1945. Currently, the League has 22 members, although Syria's participation has been suspended since November 2011, as a consequence of government repression during the ongoing uprising and civil war.[4]

The League's main goal is 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".[5]

Through institutions such as the Council of Arab Economic Unity (CAEU), the Arab League facilitates political, economic, cultural, scientific and social programs designed to promote the interests of the Arab world.[6][7] 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 outlines the principles for economic activities in the region.

Each member state has only 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 13 April 1950 committed the signatories to coordination of military defense measures. In the early 1970s, the Economic Council of the League of Arab States put forward a proposal to create the Joint Arab Chambers of Commerce across the European states. This led, under the decree of the League of Arab States no. K1175/D52/G, to the decision by the Arab governments to set up the Arab British Chamber of Commerce which was mandated to: "promote, encourage and facilitate bilateral trade" between the Arab world and its major trading partner, the United Kingdom.

The Arab League has also played a 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 labour issues—particularly among the emigrant Arab workforce.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Member states 2.1
  • Politics and administration 3
  • Foreign relations 4
  • Summits 5
  • Military 6
    • Emergency summits 6.1
  • Economic resources 7
    • Transportation 7.1
  • Literacy in Arab league countries 8
  • Demographics of Arab League countries 9
    • Religion 9.1
    • Linguistics 9.2
  • Culture 10
    • Sports 10.1
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Following adoption of the Alexandria Protocol in 1944, the Arab League was founded on 22 March 1945. It aimed to be a regional organisation of Arab states with a focus to developing the economy, resolving disputes, and coordinating political aims.[8] Other countries joined the league at later dates.[9] Each country was given one vote in the council. The first major action was the joint intervention, allegedly on behalf of the majority Arab population that was being uprooted as the State of Israel emerged in 1948 (and in response to popular outcry in the Arab world), although in fact a main participant in this intervention, Transjordan, had agreed with the Israelis to divide up the Arab Palestinian state proposed by the UN General Assembly, while Egypt intervened primarily to prevent its rival in Amman from accomplishing its objective.[10] This was followed by the creation of a mutual defense treaty two years later. A common market was established in 1965.[8][11]


Joining dates of member States; the Comoros (circled) joined in 1993.
     1940s      1950s      1960s      1970s

The area of members of the Arab League covers over 13,000,000 km2 (5,000,000 sq mi) and straddles two continents: Africa and Asia. The area consists of large arid deserts, namely the Sahara. Nevertheless, it also contains several very fertile lands, such as the Nile Valley, the Jubba and Shebelle valley of Somalia, the High Atlas Mountains, and the Fertile Crescent which stretches over Mesopotamia and the Levant. The area comprises deep forests in southern Arabia, as well as parts of the world's longest river, the Nile.

Member states

Starting with only six members in 1945, the Arab League today occupies an area spanning around 14 million km² and counts 22 members, and 4 observer states. The 22 members today include 3 of the largest African countries (Sudan, Algeria and Libya), and the largest country in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia).

There was a continual increase in membership during the second half of the 20th century, with an additional 15 Arab states being admitted. At present, there are a total of 21 member states due to Syria's suspension following the 2011 uprising. The Arab League member states are as follows:

and 3 observer states:

On 22 February 2011, following the start of the

External links

  1. ^ a b Ian Black. "Syrian opposition takes Arab League seat". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Syrian opposition fails to win country's Arab League seat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Arab League". The Columbia Encyclopedia. 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  4. ^ Sly, Liz (12 November 2011). "Syria suspended from Arab League". Washington Post. 
  5. ^ a b c "Pact of the League of Arab States, 22 March 1945".  
  6. ^ "The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALESCO)". 
  7. ^ Ashish K. Vaidya, Globalization (ABC-CLIO: 2006), p. 525.
  8. ^ a b Arab League formed — This Day in History — 3/22/1945. Retrieved on 2014-04-28.
  9. ^ HowStuffWorks "Arab League". (2008-02-27). Retrieved on 2014-04-28.
  10. ^ Avi Shlaim, Collusion Across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine. Oxford, U.K., Clarendon Press, 1988; Uri Bar-Joseph, Uri, The Best of Enemies: Israel and Transjordan in the War of 1948. London, Frank Cass, 1987; Joseph Nevo , King Abdullah and Palestine: A Territorial Ambition (London: Macmillan Press; New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996.
  11. ^ Robert W. MacDonald, The League of Arab States: A Study in Regional Organization. Princeton, New Jersey, USA, Princeton University Press, 1965.
  12. ^ Libya suspended from Arab League sessions - Israel News, Ynetnews. (1995-06-20). Retrieved on 2014-04-28.
  13. ^ Souhail Karam - Tom Heneghan - Michael Roddy (16 March 2011). "Gaddafi taunts critics, dares them to get him". Reuters. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  14. ^ Kat Higgins (16 March 2011). "Libya: Clashes Continue As World Powers Stall". Sky News. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  15. ^ "Arab League Recognizes Libyan Rebel Council". RTT News. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "Arab League parliament urges Syria suspension". Al Jazeera. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  17. ^ "Arab League Votes to Suspend Syria Over Crackdown". New York Times. 12 November 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  18. ^ D. Kenner, "The World's Worst Human Rights Observer". Foreign Policy, 27 December 2011. As Arab League monitors work to expose President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown, the head of the mission is a Sudanese general accused of creating the fearsome "janjaweed," which was responsible for the worst atrocities during the Darfur genocide.
  19. ^ Syrian activists slam Arab League mission head CNN, 28 December 2011.
  20. ^ "Violence in second Syrian city ahead of Arab League monitors' visit", The Guardian, 28 December 2011,
  21. ^ "'"Syria opposition 'not yet ready for Arab League seat. The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "Internal Regulations of the Council of the League of Arab States". Model League of Arab States. Ed Haynes,  
  23. ^ "Internal Regulations of the Committees of the League of Arab States". Model League of Arab States. Ed Haynes, Winthrop University. 6 April 1998. Archived from the original on 6 April 2008. Retrieved 9 July 2008. 
  24. ^ "Internal Regulations of the Secretariat-General of the League". Model League of Arab States. Ed Haynes, Winthrop University. 6 April 1998. Archived from the original on 6 April 2008. Retrieved 9 July 2008. 
  25. ^ Geddes, 1991, p. 208.
  26. ^ Council of Arab States (1 October 2005). "The Arab Peace Initiative, 2002". al bab. Retrieved 9 July 2008. 
  27. ^ "Kuwaiti MP calls to move Arab league to Venezuela". AFP, via CaribbeanNetNews. 15 January 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2009. 
  28. ^ Arab League Summit 2013. (2013-03-27). Retrieved on 2014-04-28.
  29. ^ Arab League summit hit by new rifts - Features. Al Jazeera English. Retrieved on 2014-04-28.
  30. ^ Opposition fail to get Syria Arab League seat - Middle East. Al Jazeera English. Retrieved on 2014-04-28.
  31. ^ "". Reuters. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t The World Factbook. Retrieved on 2014-04-28.
  33. ^ DK Publishing (2012). Compact Atlas of the World. Penguin. p. 138.  
  34. ^ No reliable data on nationwide literacy rate. 2013 FSNAU survey indicates considerable differences per region, with the autonomous northeastern Puntland region having the highest registered literacy rate (72%) [1].
  35. ^ "Central Agency for Public Mobilization And Statistics". 
  36. ^ Official Egyptian Population clock
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "World Population Prospects, Table A.1" (PDF). 2008 revision.  
  38. ^ Official Moroccan Population clock
  39. ^ 2008 Sudanese census
  40. ^ WORLD WIDE
  41. ^ "National Statistics Institute of Tunisia". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  42. ^ "المركز الوطني للإحصاء: المواطنون 947.9 ألفاً - جريدة الاتحاد". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  43. ^ CIA World Factbook. July 2012 population estimate for Libya.
  44. ^ Bahraini Census 2010 - تعداد السكــان العام للبحريــن 2010. Retrieved on 2014-04-28.
  45. ^ Global Religious Diversity


See also

Most of these Federations and their competitions are sponsored by the Arab League.

other Competitions include the Arab Basketball Federation with annual competitions, Sport Federations also exist for 43 games, include Volleyball, Handball, Table Tennis, Tennis, Squash and Swimming.

The pan Arab Games, are considered the Biggest Arab Sport Event, another Arab Tournament was made by the ART (Arab Radio and Television) to sponsor Arab Champions League, between Arab Clubs.



The Official Language of the Arab League is the Fus'ha Arabic, of Classic Arabic, but within the League members there are several official and non-official languages spoken, such as Kurdish, Assyrian, Nubian, Armenian, Tamazigh and several others, there are also different Arabic dialects, like the Masri and the Levantine Arabic.


The vast majority of the Arab League's citizens adhere to Islam, with Christianity being the second largest religion. Over 15 million Christians combined live in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan and Syria. In addition, there are smaller but significant numbers of Druze, Yezidis, Shabaks and Mandaeans. Numbers for non-religious Arabs are generally not available but research by the Pew Forum suggests around 1% of people in the MENA region are 'unaffiliated'.[45]


Rank Country Population Density (/km2) Density (sq mi) Notes
1  Egypt 83,550,000 94 243 [36]
2  Algeria 37,100,000 16 41 [37]
3  Morocco 32,064,173 77 199 [38]
4  Iraq 31,234,000 71 184 [37]
5  Sudan 30,894,000 16 41 [39]
6  Saudi Arabia 28,146,658 12 31 [37]
7  Yemen 23,580,000 45 117 [37]
8  Syria 21,906,000 118 306 [37]
9  Palestine 11,000,000 687 1,779 [40]
10  Tunisia 10,673,800 65 168 [41]
11  Somalia 9,133,000 14 36 [37]
12  United Arab Emirates 8,264,070 99 256 [42]
13  Libya 6,733,620 3.8 9.8 [37][43]
14  Jordan 6,332,000 71 184 [37]
15  Lebanon 4,224,000 404 1,046 [37]
16  Kuwait 3,566,437 200 518 [37]
17  Mauritania 3,291,000 3.2 8.3 [37]
18  Oman 2,845,000 9.2 24 [37]
19  Qatar 1,699,435 154 399 [37]
20  Bahrain 1,234,596 1,646 4,263 [44]
21  Djibouti 864,000 37 96 [37]
22  Comoros 691,000 309 800 [37]
Total  Arab League 356,398,918 30.4 78.7

The Arab League is a culturally and ethnically one association of 22 member states, with the overwhelming majority of the League's population identified as Arab (either on a cultural basis, or on an ethno-racial basis). As of July 1, 2013, about 359,000,000 people live in the states of the Arab League. Its population grows faster than in most other global regions. The most populous member state is Egypt, with a population of about 91 million.[35] The least populated is the Comoros, with over 0.6 million inhabitants.

Population Density of the Arab World in 2008

Demographics of Arab League countries

Rank Country Literacy rate
1  Qatar 97.3[32]
2  Jordan 97.2[32]
3  Palestine 95.3[32]
4  Bahrain 94.6[32]
5  Kuwait 93.9[32]
6  United Arab Emirates 90.0[32]
7  Lebanon 89.6[32]
8  Libya 89.5[32]
9  Saudi Arabia 87.2[32]
10  Oman 86.9[32]
11  Syria 84.1[32]
12  Tunisia 79.1[32]
13  Iraq 78.5[32]
14  Comoros 75.5[32]
15  Egypt 73.9[32]
16  Algeria 72.6[32]
17  Sudan 71.9[32]
18  Morocco 71.0[32]
19  Djibouti 70.0[33]
20  Yemen 65.3[32]
21  Mauritania 58.6[32]
22  Somalia N/A[34]

In collecting literacy data, many countries estimate the number of literate people based on self-reported data. Some use educational attainment data as a proxy, but measures of school attendance or grade completion may differ. Because definitions and data collection methods vary across countries, literacy estimates should be used with caution. United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2010.

Literacy in Arab league countries

The Arab League is divided into five parts when it comes to transportation, with the Arabian Peninsula and the Near East being entirely connected by air, sea, highways and railway. Another part of the League is the Nile Valley, made up of Egypt and Sudan. These two member states have started to improve the Nile river's navigation system to improve accessibility and thus foster trading. A new railway system is also set to connect the southern Egyptian city of Abu Simbel with the northern Sudanese city of Wadi Halfa, and then to Khartoum and the Port of Sudan. The third division of the League is the Maghreb, where a 3000 km stretch of railway runs from the southern cities of Morocco to Tripoli in Western Libya. The fourth division of the League is the Horn of Africa, whose member states include Djibouti and Somalia. These two Arab League states are separated by only ten nautical miles from the Arabian Peninsula by the Bab el Mandeb, and this is quickly changing as Tarik bin Laden, the brother of Osama bin Laden, has initiated the construction of the ambitious Bridge of Horns project, which ultimately aims to connect the Horn of Africa with the Arabian Peninsula via a massive bridge. The project is intended to facilitate and accelerate the already centuries-old trade and commerce between the two regions. The last division of the League is the isolated island of Comoros, which is not physically connected to any other Arab state, but still trades with other League members.


Economical achievements within members have been low in the league's history, other smaller Arab Organizations have achieved more than the league has, such as the GCC, but lately several major economic projects that are promising are to be completed, the Arab Gas Pipeline is to end by the year 2010, Connecting Egyptian and Iraqi Gas to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and then to Turkey thus Europe, a free trade Agreement (GAFTA) is to be completed by 1 January 2008, making 95% of all Arab Products tax free of customs.

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 have managed to compete internationally, such as Orascom and Etisalat.

OAPEC Members

Economic achievements initiated by the League amongst member states have been less impressive than those achieved by smaller Arab organisations such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).[31] Among them is the Arab Gas Pipeline, that will transport Egyptian and Iraqi gas to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey. As of 2013, a significant difference in economic conditions exist between the developed oil states of Algeria, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE, and developing countries like Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

The Arab League is rich in resources, with enormous oil and natural gas resources in certain member states. 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 resources

  • Two summits are not added to the system of Arab League summits:
    • Anshas, Egypt: 28–29 May 1946.
    • Beirut, Lebanon: 13 – 15 November 1958.
  • Summit 14 in Fes, Morocco, occurred in two stages:
    • On 25 November 1981: the 5-hour meeting ended without an agreement on document.
    • On 6–9 September 1982.
# Date Country
1 21–27 September 1970 Cairo
2 17–28 October 1976 Riyadh
3 7–9 September 1985 Casablanca
4 8–12 November 1987 Amman
5 7–9 June 1988 Algiers
6 23–26 June 1989 Casablanca
7 28–30 March 1990 Baghdad
8 9–10 August 1990 Cairo
9 22–23 June 1996 Cairo
10 21–22 October 2000 Cairo

Emergency summits

The Arab League as an Organization has no military Force, like the UN or EU, but at the 2007 summit, the Leaders decided to reactivate their joint defense and establish a peacekeeping force to deploy in South Lebanon, Darfur, Iraq, and other hot spots.


# Date Country
1 13–17 January 1964 Cairo
2 5–11 September 1964 Alexandria
3 13–17 September 1965 Casablanca
4 29 August 1967 Khartoum
5 21–23 December 1969 Rabat
6 26–28 November.1973 Algiers
7 29 October 1974 Rabat
8 25–26 October 1976 Cairo
9 2–5 November.1978 Baghdad
10 20–22 November 1979 Tunis
11 21–22 November 1980 Amman
12 6–9 September 1982 Fes
13 1985 Casablanca
14 1987 Amman
15 June 1988 Algiers
16 1989 Casablanca
17 1990 Baghdad
18 1996 Cairo
19 27–28 March 2001 Amman
20 27–28 March 2002 Beirut
21 1 March 2003 Sharm el-Sheikh
22 22–23 May 2004 Tunis
23 22–23 March 2005 Algiers
24 28–30 March 2006 Khartoum
25 27–28 March 2007 Riyadh
26 29–30 March 2008 Damascus
27 28–30 March 2009 Doha
28 27–28 March 2010 Sirte
29 27–29 March 2012 Baghdad
30 21–27 March 2013 Doha[28]
31 March 2014 Kuwait City[29]
32 Spring 2015 Cairo[30]
33 Spring 2016 Muscat


Meanwhile, other countries have large interests in the region. Turkey has faced tensions several times with its neighbouring Arab countries, Syria and Iraq over the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, when it built dams blocking their flow into the two states. Iran is trying to strengthen its Shia and Islamic influence by supporting rebellion and liberation movements against Israel, and U.S. led coalition forces in Iraq, while Spain and Morocco have increasing tensions over the Melilla and Ceuta dispute.

The Arab League is filled with critical crises and conflicts, from the Iraq in the East to Ceuta in the West. Many superpowers have several interests in this vast rich region. China, Europe and the USA are seeking to expand their influence over the oil rich countries. The EU is trying to stop illegal immigration to its lands by poorer African Citizens passing from Arab States such as Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. The U.S. fears for one of its greatest allies, Israel, from neighbouring Arab States that do not support its existence, while also fears on the Iranian influence in the oil rich Persian Gulf. Russia with its strong diplomatic relations with Arab States from the Soviet Era, is trying to regain its strength by supporting their causes, especially in the Security Council. China has also started to take interest in the oil rich reserves that will help increase its economic growth.

Foreign relations

At the Beirut Summit on 28 March 2002, the league adopted the Arab Peace Initiative,[26] a Saudi-inspired peace plan for the Arab–Israeli conflict. The initiative offered full normalization of the relations with Israel. In exchange, Israel was required to withdraw from all occupied territories, including the Golan Heights, to recognize Palestinian independence in the West Bank and 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. Following Venezuela's move to expel Israeli diplomats amid the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict, Kuwaiti member of parliament Waleed al-Tabtabai proposed moving Arab League headquarters to Caracas, Venezuela.[27] On 13 June 2010, Amr Mohammed Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League, visited the Gaza Strip, the first visit by an official of the Arab League since Hamas' armed takeover in 2007.

At the Cairo Summit of 1964, the Arab League initiated the creation of an organisation representing the Palestinian people. The first State of Palestine is a full member of the Arab League.

[5] This was done by means of an annex that declared:[25] the framers of the Pact were determined to include them within the League from its inauguration.PalestineMindful of their previous announcements in support of the Arabs of

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 Charter of the Arab League[5] 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[22] and the committees[23] were agreed in October 1951. Those of the Secretariat-General were agreed in May 1953.[24]

The Arab League is a political organization which tries to help integrate its members economically, and solve conflicts involving member states without asking for foreign assistance. It possesses elements of a state representative parliament while foreign affairs are often dealt with under UN supervision.

Administrative divisions in the Arab League.
Headquarters of the Arab League, Cairo.

Politics and administration

The Arab Parliament recommended the suspension of member states Syria and Yemen on 20 September 2011, over persistent reports of disproportionate violence against regime opponents and activists during the Arab Spring.[16] A vote on 12 November agreed to formally suspend Syria four days after the vote, giving Assad a last chance to avoid suspension. Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen voted against the motion, while Iraq abstained.[17] A wave of criticism rose as the Arab League sent in December 2011 a commission "monitoring" violence on people protesting against the regime. The commission was headed by Mohammad Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, who served as head of Omar al-Bashir's military intelligence, while war crimes including genocide were allegedly committed on his watch.[18][19][20] On 6 March 2013, the Arab League granted the Syrian National Coalition Syria's seat in the Arab League.[1] On 9 March 2014, pan-Arab group's secretary general Nabil al-Arabi said that Syria's seat at the Arab League will remain vacant until the opposition completes the formation of its institutions.[21]


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