The Arab League
or League of Arab States
(جامعة الدول العربية), is an organization of Arab
states. It is similar to the Organization of American States
, the Council of Europe
or the former Organization for African Unity
, in that its aims are primarily political; all of these organizations can be considered to be regional versions of the United Nations
It is quite dissimilar from some other organizations such as European Union, because 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. Instead, the League's charter states that the League shall coordinate economic affairs, including commercial relations; communications; cultural affairs; nationality, passports, and visas; social affairs; and health affairs.
The Charter of the Arab League also forbids member states from resorting to force against each other.
The Arab League was formed on March 22, 1945 by seven states. Its main goal is defined as:
Serve the common good of all Arab countries, ensure better conditions for all Arab countries, guarantee the future of all Arab countries and fulfill the hopes and expectations of all Arab countries.
The current and former members of the Arab League (and the date of their admission):
The headquarters of the League is Cairo, Egypt. During Egypt's suspension, Tunis, Tunisia served as the League's headquarters.
- 1942 - The United Kingdom promoted the idea of the Arab League in an attempt win over Arabs as allies in war against Germany.
- 1944 - Official representatives from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, North Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Transjordan (Jordan) and Palestine met in Alexandria, Egypt, and agree to form the League of Arab States.
- 1945 - Arab states signed the Arab League Pact, thereby formally inaugurating the league.
- 1946 - Arab League members sign the Cultural Treaty.
- 1950 - League members signed the Joint Defence and Economic Cooperation Treaty.
- 1953 - The Economic and Social Council was formed; Libya joined the Arab League.
- 1956 - Sudan joined the Arab League.
- 1958 - Morocco and Tunisia joined the Arab League; the League was recognized by the United Nations, and became the UN's organisation for education, science and culture in the Arab region.
- 1961 - Kuwait joined the Arab League.
- 1962 - Algeria joined the Arab League.
- 1964 - The first summit convened in Cairo; the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALESCO) was set up; a second league summit that autumn welcomed the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
- 1967 - South Yemen joined the Arab League.
- 1971 - Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates joined the Arab League.
- 1973 - Mauritania joined the Arab League.
- 1974 - Somalia and Palestine (represented by the PLO ) joined the Arab League.
- 1976 - Arab League summit in Cairo authorises the formation and deployment of an Arab peacekeeping force in Lebanon.
- 1977 - Djibouti joined the Arab League.
- 1979 - Egypt was suspended from the Arab League in the wake of President Anwar Sadat's visit to Jerusalem and Egypt's peace agreement with Israel; the Arab League headquarters were moved to Tunis.
- 1987 - The Arab League unanimously endorsed a statement Iraq's defense of its legitimate rights in its dispute with Iran.
- 1989 - Egypt was readmitted into the Arab League; the league's headquarters was moved back to Cairo.
- May 1990 - A summit meeting in Baghdad criticized Western efforts to prevent Iraq from developing advanced weapons technology.
- August 1990 - At emergency summit, 12 out of 20 states present condemned the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait; unified Yemen joined the Arab League.
- 1993 - Comoros joined the Arab League.
- 1994 - The Arab League condemned a decision by the Gulf Cooperation Council to end the secondary and tertiary trade embargo against Israel and insists that the embargo could be lifted only by the league's council.
- 1996 - The Arab League Council determined that the waters of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers be shared equitably between Iraq, Syria and Turkey. This followed complaints by Syria and Iraq that extensive construction work in southern Turkey was restricting their water supply.
- 1998 - The Arab League secretary-general condemned the use or threat of force against Iraq; Arab League interior and justice ministers signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation against terrorism; the Arab League denounced bomb attacks against US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and US missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan.
- 2001 - Amr Moussa was appointed secretary-general, replacing Esmat Abdel Meguid.
- October 2002 - Libya's leader Moammar Gadhafi, announced Libya's withdrawal from the league, because of "Arab incapacity" in resolving the crisis between the United States and Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- March 24, 2003, the League voted 21-1 in favor of a resolution demanding the immediate and unconditional removal of US and British soldiers from Iraq. The lone dissenting vote was cast by Kuwait.