|League of Arab States
|Arabic name||جامعة الدول العربية
Jāmiʿat ad-Duwal al-ʿArabiyya
|Organization type||Regional political cooperation|
|Seat of the organs||Cairo , Egypt|
|Chair||Changing every five years
|Secretary General||Ahmed Aboul Gheit|
North Africa : 9,354,579 km²
(including Sinai )
West Asia : 3,820,142 km²
|population||401 million (2016)
North Africa: 248 million (including Sinai)
West Asia: 152 million
|Population density||38.1 (2015) inhabitants per km²|
|gross domestic product||US $ 6,601 billion (adjusted for purchasing power, 2016)|
|Gross domestic product per inhabitant||US $ 9,997 (estimate, 2015)|
|Time zone||UTC ± 0 to UTC + 4|
The League of Arab States (Arab League) ( Arabic جامعة الدول العربية jāmiʿat ad-duwal al-ʿarabiyya , DMG ǧāmiʿat ad-duwal al-ʿarabīya , League of Arab States (LAS) is an international organization of Arab states and was founded on March 22, 1945 in Cairo , where it is also based. It consists of 22 members, i. H. 21 nation states in Africa and Asia as well as the internationally not fully recognized state of Palestine , which is represented by the PLO .
The main objective of the federation is to promote relations between its members in the political, cultural, social and economic areas (finance, transport and health systems as well as culture and media). Likewise, the independence and sovereignty of the member states and Arab external interests are to be preserved. Disputes between members should be prevented and settled. In addition, the recognition of the Palestinian autonomous areas as an independent state of Palestine is to be achieved.
Foundation and context of development
The establishment can be seen as a direct reaction to the political situation in the Middle East and the world political developments during the Second World War . The first and most important step on the way to the founding of this organization, the areas of which were largely under the rule of the Ottoman sultan, was the emergence of " Arab nationalism " in the region towards the end of the 19th century.
After the Arabs fought on the side of the Allies in the First World War (1914–1918) against the Ottoman Empire , they hoped for their own, independent state as thanks for their support. After the end of the war, however, the affected areas were divided between the French ( Syria , Lebanon ) and the British ( Palestine , Iraq , Transjordan ), who were largely autonomous in domestic politics. By the end of the Second World War, these areas - with the exception of Palestine - were granted independence. The main focus of these newly founded states was on securing their independence and creating an Arab unity. The latter was increasingly called into question by the increased Jewish immigration in Palestine (especially since the “ Balfour Declaration ” in 1917). This resulted in the fear of the Arabs of a reallocation of the areas after the Tehran Conference in 1943, which can only be countered through joint and coordinated efforts.
Another factor behind the creation of the Arab League was the change in attitudes of the British government during World War II. a. as a result of the advance of German and Italian troops in North Africa in 1941 (Africa campaign ). The British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden encouraged the Arabs to form a political unit, which he hoped would secure its interests for the UK in the long term. Meanwhile, the various Arab governments had their own ideas of Arab unity, each of which was categorically rejected. Egypt soon turned out to be a driving force (“major motivating force behind the League's foundation”), which took on a mediating position between the various interests. It advocated the establishment of a multifunctional federation of Arab states.
After a first preparatory meeting in Alexandria in September 1944, the "Protocol of Alexandria" (so-called Memorandum of Understanding ) was signed on October 7 of the same year , which provided for a loose union in the form of a league of independent states. A “political sub-committee” then met in Cairo in February and March 1945 to draft a pact for the Arab League. This was submitted to the Preparatory Committee, which signed it on March 22, 1945. The “League of Arab States Pact” entered into force on May 11, 1945. The seven founding states included: Kingdom of Egypt , Kingdom of Iraq , Lebanese Republic , Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , Syrian Arab Republic , Emirate of Transjordan , and Kingdom of Yemen .
Development since the foundation
One of the first projects of the Arab League was to try to stop Zionism , drive the Jewish immigrants out of Palestine and destroy the yishuv . For this purpose an economic boycott against Jews was decided in 1945, which came into force on January 1, 1946.
The first major endurance test for the young league was the Palestine War of 1948/49, but it was lost. After the British government made it clear at the end of the Second World War that it also wanted to leave the Mandate Palestine as a protecting power, a solution had to be found for this area. The steadily growing wave of Jewish immigration , v. a. as a result of the Holocaust in Europe, angered the predominantly Arab resident population who claimed an independent state in this area for themselves. The United Nations then decided on a partition plan for Palestine, which divided the area into a Jewish and an Arab state and declared Jerusalem a neutral "corpus separatum". When the British allies withdrew on May 14, 1948, an Arab invasion broke out after Israel declared independence on the same day.
The states of the Arab League soon proved to be the weaker ones, Israel was able to expand its national territory considerably, only the Gaza Strip (Egypt) and the West Bank (Jordan) remained under Arab leadership, and Jerusalem was divided. After the armistice with Israel, the league decided to intensify sanctions against Israel, which led to a boycott of Israel by the Arab League for over 50 years . The lost Palestinian war also had domestic political consequences for the Arab rulers: The heads of state of Syria, Egypt and Iraq were overthrown in the years that followed. The new strong man in Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser , was defeated by the Israeli army during the Suez Crisis in 1956, but was still able to assert himself as the leader of a nationalist movement in the Arab region. Under his aegis, Egypt and Syria were united to form the “ United Arab Republic ” in 1958 , but the alliance broke up three years later.
To protect Kuwait from Iraqi annexation attempts, an inter-Arab security force was deployed under the mandate of the League in 1961 . The Arab League helped build the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964, which violently called for the liberation of Palestine and was responsible for many targeted attacks against Israel in the years that followed. A second attempt by Arab states (Egypt, Jordan, Syria) to destroy Israel failed in the Six Day War in July 1967 . Israel now controlled all of Sinai , the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Golan Heights , as well as the entire city of Jerusalem. In September of the same year, the members of the League reaffirmed their stance towards Israel in a resolution ("Three No's": No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel). After a surprise attack on Syria and Egypt in October 1973 on the highest public holiday in the Jewish calendar ( Yom Kippur ), the Israeli army was also able to repel the threat of annihilation.
A power struggle between the PLO and the Jordanian royal family ( Black September ) in the early 1970s led to the expulsion of the fighters from Jordan, and Lebanon became the new base. There she fought local Christian ( Phalange ) and Shiite ( Amal ) militias in a civil war . At the meeting of the Arab League in 1974, however, she was recognized as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and has since been a member of the “State of Palestine”. In the Lebanese civil war, however, in 1976 an inter-Arab security force, mainly provided by Syria, with the mandate of the League , intervened to the detriment of the Muslim and Palestinian militias.
1979 Egypt was excluded from the league because its president Anwar al-Sadat had signed a peace treaty with Israel. The headquarters was then moved to Tunis , before Egypt was resumed ten years later and the headquarters returned to Cairo. In 1980 Sadat tried in vain to set up a counter-organization with the League of Arab and Islamic Peoples ; Sadat's successor, Mubarak, dissolved the Sadat League again in 1983.
In the early 1980s, the Arabs' focus shifted to another conflict. In the course of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, a year later a war broke out between Iran and Iraq. The Arab League feared the expansion of the revolution and supported the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein . The First Gulf War ended after eight years with an armistice without a winner after heavy losses on both sides.
While Iraq could be sure of the support of the West and the Soviet Union in this war , its invasion of Kuwait two years later met with considerable resistance in the international community. In 1991 an international coalition led by the United States and with massive participation from Arab League states liberated the occupied emirate. The Arab League did not appear here with a common line, v. a. Libya and the PLO opposed the liberation, some countries abstained.
After the Israelis and Palestinians first found compromises on the status of Palestine in the early 1990s ( Oslo I ), Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994. Relations with the Gulf States also improved and trade relations were established.
In 2002 the Arab League agreed on a joint peace initiative against Israel, which promised the establishment of normal relations and the return of the occupied territories to the Palestinians. The reaction of the Israeli government was cautious, however, also in the context of the Second Intifada , which led to terrorist attacks by Palestinian organizations in the heartland of Israel and claimed many civilian victims. In 2007, the leaders of the Arab League renewed their offer at a summit in Riyadh, but the Israeli side did not take it up.
The league refused to participate in the (second) Iraq war in 2003 , which it affirmed at a summit in Sharm El-Sheikh in early March 2003. Nevertheless, the USA and its allies used air force bases in the Gulf States, which is headquartered by the United States Central Command ( USCENTCOM ) in Doha ( Qatar ) coordinated the Allied armed forces. The ground offensive was launched from Kuwaiti, Saudi Arabian and (later) Jordanian territory. The new government of Iraq is now receiving immense support from the Arab League. In March 2012, the first Arab League summit took place in Baghdad.
In the wake of the civil war in Syria , membership of the country's government was suspended. The league has since been shaped by Saudi Arabia's quest to combat Iranian influence. The league was de facto incapable of acting.
The Arab League is one of the few regional organizations that are spread across two continents (Asia and Africa). At around 13 million km², its area is around three times that of the EU . It consists for the most part of desert areas , including u. a. the Sahara (largest dry desert in the world) and the Rub al-Chali (largest sandy desert in the world). Fertile areas are u. a. in the Nile Valley , in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains and in the so-called " Fertile Crescent " ( Levant , Northern Syria, Mesopotamia ). Evidence of many ancient civilizations can be found in this area. B. Ancient Egypt , Israel and Judea , Babylonia , Phenicia or Carthage .
All member states are also members of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), these are:
Chad , in which Arabic is also the official language, is not a member , as are the predominantly Islamic states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation ( ECO ), to which Iran , Turkey and a number of Central Asian countries belong.
The following five countries have observer status:
|Brazil||Has an influential Arab minority|
|Eritrea||Arabic is the national language|
|Venezuela||Has an influential Arab minority|
The following EU countries are also observers: Bulgaria , Estonia , Ireland , Italy , Latvia , Malta , Portugal , Sweden , Spain and Cyprus . The Austrian Foreign Ministry is also planning to be admitted as an observer.
Organization and structure
According to the “Pact of the Arab League” (PLAS) two main organs are foreseen: the Council of the Arab League and the General Secretariat. Permanent committees have also been established for specific areas of responsibility. The establishment of an Arab court of law is also planned, but this has not yet been implemented.
Arab League Council (Ligarat)
According to the PLAS, the League Council is the supreme decision-making body and the highest authority within the Arab League system. It meets every six months and decisions are usually made by consensus. Since 2000 it has met in the spring as a summit of heads of state and government.
In addition to the Council of the Arab League, the General Secretariat is one of the main organs according to the PLAS, which employs around 460 people. It acts as an administrative body and is responsible for all technical and administrative processes within the Arab League. It is also responsible for coordinating and supporting the work of specialized organizations and other institutions within the league. General Secretariat and General Secretary are elected by the Council every five years with the option of re-election.
The so-called "technical committees" were of greater importance in the early years of the league. In the course of a restructuring in 1988, many committees were dissolved, today the committee for financial and administrative affairs and the information and legal committee are of greater importance. Its tasks are to determine the principles and the scope of cooperation between the members and to develop draft resolutions, proposals and recommendations that are submitted to the League Council for decision. In addition, the committees process inquiries that are addressed to them by the League Council or the General Secretariat. They therefore act as a preparatory and advisory body for the league council. Each member country sends at least one delegate to each of the technical committees.
Arab summit conference
The Arab Summit Conference is composed of the highest representatives of the member states of the Arab League. This takes place at the level of the heads of state (not at the level of the heads of government), as a rule, every March. The first summit conference was held in Cairo just under 20 years after the League was founded in 1964; this summit did not really take place until 2000.
At the 23rd summit of the League in Amman in 2001, the Arab states agreed on the establishment of an Arab Parliament under the leadership of the Secretary General. It is currently under construction, but a provisional parliament has been set up in the Cairo League headquarters. Since 2004, it has had a purely advisory function and comprises 88 members, each with 4 people from the member states.
|unofficially||May 28-29, 1946||United Arab Republic||Anshas|
|unofficially||November 13-15, 1956||Lebanon||Beirut|
|1.||January 13-17, 1964||United Arab Republic||Cairo|
|2.||September 5th to 11th, 1964||United Arab Republic||Alexandria|
|3.||September 13-17, 1965||Morocco||Casablanca|
|4th||August 29 to September 1, 1967||Sudan||Khartoum|
|5.||December 21-23, 1969||Morocco||Rabat|
|extraordinary||September 21-27, 1970||United Arab Republic||Cairo||1. Emergency meeting|
|6th||November 26-28, 1973||Algeria||Algiers|
|7th||October 29, 1974||Morocco||Rabat|
|extraordinary||October 17-28, 1976||Saudi Arabia||Riad||2. Emergency meeting|
|8th.||October 25-26, 1976||Egypt||Cairo|
|9.||November 2-5, 1978||Iraq||Baghdad|
|10.||November 20-22, 1979||Tunisia||Tunis|
|11.||November 21-22, 1980||Jordan||Amman|
|12.||November 25, 1981
September 6-9, 1982
|Morocco||Fez||1st part 1
|extraordinary||September 7th to 9th, 1985||Morocco||Casablanca||3. Emergency meeting|
|extraordinary||November 8-12, 1987||Jordan||Amman||4. Emergency meetings|
|extraordinary||June 7th to 9th, 1988||Algeria||Algiers||5. Emergency meetings|
|extraordinary||June 23-26, 1989||Morocco||Casablanca||6. Emergency meetings|
|extraordinary||March 28-30, 1990||Iraq||Baghdad||7. Emergency meetings|
|extraordinary||August 9-10, 1990||Egypt||Cairo||8. Emergency meetings|
|extraordinary||June 22-23, 1996||Egypt||Cairo||9. Emergency meetings|
|extraordinary||October 21-22, 2000||Egypt||Cairo||10. Emergency meetings|
|13.||March 27-28, 2001||Jordan||Amman||Institutionalization|
|14th||March 27-28, 2002||Lebanon||Beirut|
|15th||March 1, 2003||Egypt||Sharm El Sheikh|
|16.||May 22-23, 2004||Tunisia||Tunis|
|17th||March 22-23, 2005||Algeria||Algiers|
|18th||March 28-30, 2006||Sudan||Khartoum|
|19th||March 27-28, 2007||Saudi Arabia||Riad|
|20th||March 29-30, 2008||Syria||Damascus|
|21st||March 28-30, 2009||Qatar||Doha|
|22nd||March 30th to April 1st, 2010||Libya||Sirte|
|23.||March 27-29, 2012||Iraq||Baghdad||postponed 2|
|24.||March 21-27, 2013||Qatar||Doha|
|25th||March 25-26, 2014||Kuwait||Kuwait City|
|26th||March 28-29, 2015||Egypt||Sharm El Sheikh|
|27.||20th July 2016||Mauritania||Nouakchott|
|28.||March 22-29, 2017||Jordan||Amman|
|29||April 15, 2018||Saudi Arabia||Dhahran|
1 Ended without agreement on the final protocol and without the participation of Egypt. It was the shortest meeting and only lasted 5 hours.
2 Originally planned for March or mid-May 2011, postponed to March 2012 due to the Arab Spring .
Special organizations of the league
- The "Central Boycott Office" (CBO for short) was the central organizational office for the boycott of Israel . It was founded in 1951, was subordinate to the Arab Economic Council and had its headquarters in Damascus as well as numerous branches in member and third countries. By 1993 the boycott had largely lost its role as a unifying political factor in the Arab League, but the CBO continued to exist into the 2000s.
- The “Arab Fund for Economy and Social Development” (AFESD for short) is a fund that supports and finances economic and social development projects in the member states of the Arab League through loans and investments to governments. With the exception of the Comoros, all league members are members of the fund. The subscribed capital reached US $ 2.223 billion at the end of 1993; in 2003 it was US $ 7.3 billion.
- The Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO for short) is an association of Arab airlines founded in 1965. All airlines of the member states are entitled to participate, but are not necessarily bound by it.
- The “ Arab Monetary Fund ” (short: AMF) was founded on April 27, 1976 and started work a year later. With the exception of Djibouti and Saudi Arabia, all League members are members of the Fund. Like the AFESD, the AMF is supposed to support development projects and help stabilize the exchange rates of the Arab currencies. Furthermore, the long-term goal is the introduction of a single currency .
- The “Arab Economic Development Bank” (short: BADEA) was founded in 1975 with its seat in Khartoum. The primary task of the bank is to promote economic, financial and technical cooperation between the Arab League and the non-Arab countries of the African Union (AU). For this purpose, the bank provides project loans and technical assistance to governments and companies in the recipient countries.
Other programs are:
- Arab Postal Union
- Arab Union for Telecommunications
- Arab Institute for Satellite Communication
- Association of Arab Radio Stations
- Arab Organization for Administrative Sciences
- Arab Economic Unity Council
- Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa
- Arab Institute for Oil Production
- Arab Academy of Sea Transport
- Arab health organization
- Arab Organization for Labor
- Arab Organization for Education, Culture and Science
The current economic situation within the Arab League is characterized by a great wealth of (fossil) resources. Above all, the enormous oil and natural gas deposits are striking. Approx. 45% of the world's oil comes from the member countries of the Arab League, in particular the Gulf region. Leading here are Saudi Arabia (22.7%), Iraq (9.8%) and Kuwait (8.9%).
Another important economic factor is the tourism industry. Vacation countries such as Tunisia or Egypt are showing steadily increasing numbers of trips in tourism. Another inconspicuous, but no less important, industry in the Arab League is the telecommunications industry. International global players are, for example, companies such as Orascom or Etisalat.
The economic cooperation within the Arab League as a whole is manageable. Nevertheless, projects such as the “Arab Gas Pipeline” or the “GAFTA” (Greater Arab Free Trade Area) show that economic agreements also exist between countries in the Arab League.
The unemployment rate and illiteracy rate have fallen in the Arab League in recent years and economic indicators such as B. GDP or GNI have increased. However, wealth is still very unevenly distributed both within the population and between Member States.
In comparison: The gross national income (GNI) of all 22 countries of the Arab League (around 330 million inhabitants) was 531 billion US dollars in 1999. In 2005, GNI grew to $ 747 billion and in 2006 it reached over $ 1,564 billion. The largest economy in the Arab world is Saudi Arabia.
in million US $)
GDP per capita 1 (2013,
in US $)
|No.||Country||Corruption (2013) (world ranking)|
|01||Saudi Arabia||718.472||01||Qatar||104,655 (2.)||01||Qatar||0.834 (36.)||01||United Arab Emirates||69 (26.)|
|02||United Arab Emirates||389.994||02||Kuwait||47,829 (13.)||02||United Arab Emirates||0.818 (41.)||02||Qatar||68 (28.)|
|03||Egypt||262.030||03||United Arab Emirates||43,185 (19.)||03||Bahrain||0.796 (48th)||03||Bahrain||48 (57.)|
|04||Iraq||221,774||04||Oman||25,720 (29.)||04||Kuwait||0.790 (54.)||04||Oman||47 (61.)|
|05||Algeria||215.723||05||Saudi Arabia||24,246 (31st)||05||Saudi Arabia||0.782 (57.)||05||Saudi Arabia||46 (63.)|
|06||Qatar||199.907||06||Bahrain||24,153 (32nd)||06||Libya||0.769 (64.)||06||Jordan||45 (66.)|
|07||Kuwait||186.058||07||Libya||10,864 (65th)||07||Lebanon||0.745 (72.)||07||Kuwait||43 (69.)|
|08||Morocco||104,799||08||Lebanon||10,708 (67.)||08||Oman||0.731 (84.)||08||Tunisia||41 (77.)|
|09||Oman||81,945||09||Iraq||6,377 (88.)||09||Algeria||0.713 (93.)||09||Morocco||37 (91.)|
|10||Libya||70,924||10||Algeria||5,668 (94.)||10||Tunisia||0.712 (94.)||10||Algeria||36 (94.)|
|11||Sudan||52,498||11||Jordan||5,207 (96.)||11||Jordan||0.700 (100th)||Djibouti||36 (94.)|
|12||Tunisia||48,379||12||Tunisia||4,431 (107.)||12||Palestine||0.670 (110.)||12||Egypt||32 (114.)|
|13||Lebanon||43,493||13||Morocco||3,190 (122.)||13||Egypt||0.662 (112.)||13||Mauritania||30 (119.)|
|14th||Yemen||40,470||14th||Egypt||3,114 (125.)||14th||Syria||0.648 (116.)||14th||Comoros||28 (127.)|
|15th||Jordan||34,076||15th||Djibouti||1,597 (140.)||15th||Morocco||0.591 (130.)||Lebanon||28 (127.)|
|16||Bahrain||28,362||16||Sudan||1,527 (143.)||16||Iraq||0.590 (131.)||16||Yemen||18 (167.)|
|17th||Mauritania||4.183||17th||Yemen||1,518 (144.)||17th||Mauritania||0.467 (155.)||17th||Syria||17 (168.)|
|18th||Djibouti||1,459||18th||Mauritania||1,126 (154.)||18th||Yemen||0.458 (160.)||18th||Iraq||16 (171.)|
|19th||Comoros||658||19th||Comoros||928 (159.)||19th||Djibouti||0.445 (164.)||19th||Libya||15 (172.)|
|-||Syria||(26,442) 2||-||Syria||-||20th||Comoros||0.429 (169.)||20th||Sudan||11 (174.)|
|-||Somalia||(4,388) 3||-||Somalia||-||21st||Sudan||0.414 (171.)||21st||Somalia||8 (175.)|
1 When looking at the figures for GDP per capita, it is particularly important to note the large income differences in the oil-exporting countries. With more precise data, comparisons of the median or quantile values could be useful.
2,3 Both states are in an ongoing civil war, so almost no statistical data are collected. Figures refer to 2009 or earlier and therefore cannot be compared.
4 As the state of Palestine is not fully developed, no data are collected in some cases.
The Arab League in comparison
Another characteristic of the economic image of the Arab League are the extreme economic differences between the respective member countries. If one compares, for example, the GDP of the state of Saudi Arabia (618,744 million) with the GDP of the federal state of Comoros (772 million), this becomes very clear. A conversion to per capita income also makes the fundamental difference within the population clear. The per capita income in Qatar at US $ 90,149 per year differs massively from the per capita income in Somalia at US $ 600 per year. For comparison: In Europe, the per capita income is around US $ 30,521 per year.
In comparison with other international organizations in the style of the Arab League, the economic situation seems expandable in view of its size and population density. For comparison: the European GDP of US $ 14,712,369 million is above the GDP of the Arab League (US $ 2,765,867 million). In addition, the average per capita income within the Arab League is around US $ 7,682 per year. In the EU this amount is around 4 times as high.
Memberships in other alliances
All states of the Arab League are members of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation . Most of the member states are participants in other supraregional organizations alongside the Arab League. The African countries are all members of the African Union , the Maghreb countries in turn form the Union of the Arab Maghreb . With the exception of Yemen, all states of the Arabian Peninsula are organized in the Gulf Cooperation Council . In addition, some members are OPEC countries .
- Arab world
- Libyan-Arab-African unification projects
- Organization for Islamic Cooperation
- Economic and Social Commission for West Asia
- Jordan water issue
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