Enlargement of the Arab League

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Arab League Enlargements

Arab League 1945.svg
1945-founding members: Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, North Yemen

Arab League 1958.svg
1958 – Third Enlargement: Morocco, Tunisia

Arab League 1971.svg
1971 – Seventh Enlargement: UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar

Arab League 1993.svg
1993- Twelfth (Latest) Enlargement: Comoros --- Arab League (orthographic projection) updated.svg
2011- Shrinkage: Separation of South Sudan

The Arab League was established in 1945 with 7 founding states, and today the League has 22 members. The League witnessed 11 enlargements, with the largest in 1971 with four members of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf joining the League.

Future enlargements[edit]

Future enlargements are not clear now, with only three Arabic-speaking countries remaining out of the League - Eritrea, Chad, and Israel. Due to a clause in the Charter of the Arab League that accords the right of territories that have splintered off from an Arab League member state to join the organization,[1] the nascent South Sudan has been assured full membership in the Arab League should the country's government choose to seek it.[2] Alternatively, the nation could opt for observer status.[3]

To be considered for membership, Eritrea needs to improve its relations with other neighboring members of the organization, including Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia. Chad's candidacy was endorsed by the Egyptian government under Hosni Mubarak in 2010[4] Chad applied for membership on March 25 2014.[5]

Israel could qualify for membership, as it uses Arabic as an official language (around 20% of the population is Israeli Arabs, and another 30-40% is believed to have at least a passive knowledge of Judeo-Arabic languages). However, given the Arab League's boycott of Israel over the Arab–Israeli conflict, and the lack of diplomatic relations between Israel and the majority of Arab League member states, Israel is unlikely to join the organisation in the near future.

A representative of the South Sudanese administration indicated that South Sudan would not be joining the League since the government believes that the territory does not meet the pre-conditions necessary for inclusion; specifically, that "the League requires that the countries must be Arabic speaking countries that consider Arabic language the main language of the nation; on top of that, the league also requires that the people of that particular country must believe that they are actually Arabs. The people of Southern Sudan are not of Arabic origin, so I don’t think there will be anybody in Southern Sudan who will consider joining the Arab league".[6]

History of the enlargements[edit]

  • 1942 - The United Kingdom promotes the idea of the Arab League to win its battle against Nazi Germany in the Middle East.
  • 1945 — Leaders of seven states in the Middle East sign the Alexandria Protocol, thus establishing the first Organization with a Pan-Arabic ideology in the 20th century. The founding members were Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan (entering under the name of Transjordan), and Yemen (which from 1967 was generally known under the name North Yemen).
  • 1953 (first enlargement) — Libya joins the Arab League after two years of independence.
  • 19 January 1956 (second enlargement) — Sudan joins the League, two weeks after its independence from the UK and Egypt.
  • 1 October 1958 (third enlargement) - Morocco and Tunisia join the League, two years after independence.
  • 20 July 1961 (fourth enlargement) - Kuwait joins the League after 31 days of independence, and becomes the first Asian state to join the League after the founding nations.
  • 16 August 1962 (fifth enlargement) - Algeria accedes to the League, less than two months after its independence.
  • 1967 (sixth enlargement) South Yemen joins the League upon its independence.
  • 1971 (seventh enlargement) - The largest enlargement with four Arab members joining the League, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.
  • 26 November 1973 (eighth enlargement) - Mauritania joins the League after thirteen years of independence.
  • 14 February 1974 (ninth enlargement)- Somalia joins the League after fourteen years of independence.
  • 9 September 1976 (tenth enlargement) - Palestine joins the League.
  • 4 September 1977 (eleventh enlargement) - Djibouti joins the Arab League two months before its independence from France that same year.
  • 22 May 1990 - North and South Yemen unify
  • 1993 (twelfth enlargement) - The Comoros accede to the League.
  • January 2003 - Eritrea joins the League as an observer.
  • 2003 - Brazil joins the League as an observer for one summit.
  • September 2006 - Venezuela joins the League as an observer for one summit.
  • April 2007 - India joins the League as an observer for one summit.
  • June 2011 - South Sudan gains independence from Sudan, but does not join the League.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ South Sudan “entitled to join Arab League”
  2. ^ "South Sudan "entitled to join Arab League"". Sudan Tribune. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  3. ^ El-Husseini, Asmaa (7 July 2011). "Hoping for the best". Al-Ahram. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "Egyptian FM welcomes Chad to join AL". People's Daily Online. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "South Sudan and Chad apply to join the Arab League". 25 March 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Southern Sudan Will Not Join The Arab League Of States
  7. ^ "Interview: Egypt's first ambassador to South Sudan says things there are under control". Retrieved 29 August 2011.