The Arab League. 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 todeal with disputes or any breaches of peace in the region. The league’s official name is theLeague of Arab States. The founding members of the league are: Egypt, Syria, SaudiArabia, Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen.
Membership in the League was later extended toAlgeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Somalia,Southern Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. The headquarters of theLeague is located in Cairo, and it is run by a secretary general which is appointed by theleague members. The work of any international organization which attempts to promote peace, andpolitical cooperation is usually confronted by several failures. However, in the case of theArab League it has been evident that it is unable to sustain the peace within the region oraid in any political cooperation between the member states. The Gulf War could be saidto be a test to the power of the Arab League and it’s presumed cooperation and handlingproblems 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 theLeague at the time was murky. This could have been largely due to that all agreementsare held in secret talks and through conversations held outside regular meetings. Furthermore, the activities of the League are unknown and usually misunderstood by theoutside 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’tunite, is due to the imbalance of wealth, population and military power in the region (theeconomist 25). Under the articles of the Arab League, it was decided that the members ofthe league would aid one another in economic and military matters(khalil).
Therefore, thequestion of allocating the wealth of the Arab countries was solved. Moreover, the Leaguecannot 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 thoseallegations were denied. Furthermore, in 1989 Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, North Yemen, andSaudi 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 samefunctions as the new council. Meanwhile, the Arab League had not yet reinstated Egyptas 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 Egyptto join the new council, was that it feared that Iraq would take control over the counciland start bothering it’s Arab neighbors, since it has ended it’s war with Iran (international53). Saudi Arabia along with the other council members, needed Egypt’s military powerto balance the tables at the council.
It has become evident that the problems of the Arab League are due to faults in theorganization, but due to the faults of the leaders of such an organization. In June, 1996the Arab Summit took place in Egypt. The summit was called to discuss the newly electedIsraeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. However, the summit seemed to concentrate onsomething else.
“They may be standing together in a show of unity in Cairo, but many of the Arab leadersgathered here have been known to seek the title of kingpin of the Middle East” (Roth,1). The fact that this quote has been said, is alone proof of a rivalry between the Arab leaders. Though that this rivalry is nothing serious, it does show a kind of lack of trust betweenArab leaders, whom all want to be in control. With the creation of the League of Arab states, which was set forth by El-NahasPasha, Egyptian Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1945, with the goal tobuild a strong and united Arab world, the world changed it’s view of the nomadic tribesthat lived in this region.