The Arab League is a regional organization that was founded on March 22, 1945.
The league's function is to promote political cooperation among it's member states, and to
deal with disputes or any breaches of peace in the region. The league's official name is the
League of Arab States. The founding members of the league are: Egypt, Syria, Saudi
Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen. Membership in the League was later extended to
Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Somalia,
Southern Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. The headquarters of the
League is located in Cairo, and it is run by a secretary general which is appointed by the
The work of any international organization which attempts to promote peace, and
political cooperation is usually confronted by several failures. However, in the case of the
Arab League it has been evident that it is unable to sustain the peace within the region or
aid in any political cooperation between the member states. The Gulf War could be said
to be a test to the power of the Arab League and it's presumed cooperation and handling
problems strategies. The war started off by the invasion of Kuwait by it's neighbor Iraq,
both are member states in the Arab League. When the war started the status of the
League at the time was murky. This could have been largely due to that all agreements
are held in secret talks and through conversations held outside regular meetings.
Furthermore, the activities of the League are unknown and usually misunderstood by the
outside world, due to the organization has been eager to secure publicity for it's activities.
It is said that one of the main reasons that the governments of the Arab states can't
unite, is due to the imbalance of wealth, population and military power in the region (the
economist 25). Under the articles of the Arab League, it was decided that the members of
the league would aid one another in economic and military matters(khalil). Therefore, the
question of allocating the wealth of the Arab countries was solved. Moreover, the League
cannot intervene in the way any of the countries wishes to allocate it's resources.
Furthermore, since the 1980s the league has failed to show any kind of unity. In 1983,
Syria's President Assad supported a mutiny with the PLO against Yassir Arafat.
However, such acts cannot be prevented by the league since when in session those
allegations were denied. Furthermore, in 1989 Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, North Yemen, and
Saudi Arabia joined together to form a new Arab Co-operation Council (international 53).
All five members are also members of the Arab League, which basically does the same
functions as the new council. Meanwhile, the Arab League had not yet reinstated Egypt
as a full time member, since President Sadat's signing of the peace treaty with Israel
(international 53). The only evident reason that allowed Saudi Arabia to agree for Egypt
to join the new council, was that it feared that Iraq would take control over the council
and start bothering it's Arab neighbors, since it has ended it's war with Iran (international
53). Saudi Arabia along with the other council members, needed Egypt's military power
to balance the tables at the council.
It has become evident that the problems of the Arab League are due to faults in the
organization, but due to the faults of the leaders of such an organization. In June, 1996
the Arab Summit took place in Egypt. The summit was called to discuss the newly elected
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. However, the summit seemed to concentrate on
"They may be standing together in a show of unity in Cairo, but many of the Arab leaders
gathered here have been known to seek the title of kingpin of the Middle East"...