Member states of the Arab League

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The Arab League has 22 member states as of 2016. The Arab League was founded in Cairo in 1945 by the Kingdom of Egypt, Kingdom of Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Republic, Transjordan (Jordan from 1946) and North Yemen (later becoming Yemen). There was a continual increase in membership during the second half of the 20th century, with additional 15 Arab states and 4 observers being admitted.

Chad is not a member despite Arabic being one of its two official languages, some 12% of Chadians identifying as Arab[1] and around 900,000 are Arabic-speaking.[2] It applied for membership in March 2014.

Israel is not a member despite 20% of its population being Palestinian Arab, nearly half the Jewish population being descended from Jews from Arab countries and Arabic being an official language.

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is not a member of the Arab League as it is recognized by only some Arab League states, while Western Sahara is recognized by the League as part of Morocco,[citation needed] which controls nearly 80% of the territory.

South Sudan seceded from member state Sudan in July 2011.

Current observer states[edit]

Four countries are observer states—a status that entitles them to express their opinion and give advice but denies them voting rights.[3] These are Eritrea, where Arabic is one of the official languages, as well as Brazil and Venezuela, which have large and influential Arab communities.[4] India is another observer to the Arab League.[3]

List of current member states[edit]

Country
Admission date
Capital
Area (km²)
Population (2010)[5]
Official languages
 Algeria 1962-08-16 Algiers 2,381,741 34,586,184 Arabic, Tamazight
 Bahrain 1971-09-11 Manama 750 738,004 Arabic
 Comoros 1993-11-20 Moroni 2,235 773,407 Comorian, Arabic, French
 Djibouti 1977-09-04 Djibouti 23,200 740,528 Arabic, French
 Egypt 1945-03-22 Cairo 1,002,450 80,471,869 Arabic
 Iraq 1945-03-22 Baghdad 438,317 29,671,605 Arabic, Kurdish
 Jordan 1945-03-22 Amman 92,300 6,407,085 Arabic
 Kuwait 1961-07-20 Kuwait City 18,717 2,789,132 Arabic
 Lebanon 1945-03-22 Beirut 10,452 4,125,247 Arabic
 Libya  a 1953-03-28 Tripoli 1,759,541 6,461,454 Arabic
 Mauritania 1973-11-26 Nouakchott 1,030,700 3,205,060 Arabic
 Morocco 1958-10-01 Rabat 446,550 31,627,428 Arabic, Tamazight
 Oman 1971-09-29 Muscat 309,550 2,967,717 Arabic
 State of Palestine[6] 1976-09-09[7] Jerusalem (proclaimed)
Ramallah (de facto)
6,040 (claimed) 4,260,636 Arabic
 Qatar 1971-09-11 Doha 11,437 840,926 Arabic
 Saudi Arabia 1945-03-22 Riyadh 2,149,690 25,731,776 Arabic
 Somalia 1974-02-14 Mogadishu 637,661 10,112,453 Somali, Arabic
 Sudan 1956-01-19 Khartoum 1,886,068 30,894,000 Arabic, English
 Syrian Opposition  b 1945-03-22 Damascus 185,180 (claimed) 22,198,110 Arabic
 Tunisia 1958-10-01 Tunis 163,610 10,589,025 Arabic
 United Arab Emirates 1971-12-06 Abu Dhabi 83,600 4,975,593 Arabic
 Yemen  c 1945-05-05 Sana'a 527,968 23,495,361 Arabic
a. Libya's seat is taken by the House of Representatives (Libya) (which is disputed by the Muslim Brotherhood-led General National Congress (2014) and Government of National Accord)

b. Syria's seat currently occupied by the Syrian National Coalition,[8] while Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic suspended on 16 November 2011[9][10]
c. Yemen's seat is taken by the Cabinet of Yemen (which is disputed by the Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee)

Expansion of the League[edit]

History[edit]

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

  • 1942 - The United Kingdom promotes the idea of the Arab League to win its battle against Nazi Germany in the Middle East.[citation needed]
  • 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.[11]

Expansion ambitions[edit]

Only three Arabic-speaking countries remain outside of the League: Chad, Eritrea, and Israel. Additionally, there are also two other Arabic-speaking states with limited recognition - Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and Somaliland - but their disputed status, being claimed by League members Morocco and Somalia respectively, makes their membership unlikely for the foreseeable future. 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,[12] the nascent South Sudan has been assured full membership in the Arab League should the country's government choose to seek it.[13] Alternatively, the nation could opt for observer status.[14]

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[15] Chad applied for membership on March 25 2014.[16]

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".[17] Nevertheless, South Sudan submitted an application for membership on 25 March 2014, which is still pending.[18]

Temporary suspensions[edit]

Egypt's membership was suspended in 1979 after it signed the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty and the League's headquarters were moved from Cairo to Tunis. In 1987, Arab League states restored diplomatic relations with Egypt, the country was readmitted to the League in 1989 and the League's headquarters were moved back to Cairo.[19]

Libya was suspended from the Arab League on 22 February 2011.[20] On 27 August 2011, the Arab League voted to restore Libya's membership by accrediting a representative of the National Transitional Council, which was partially recognised as the interim government of the country in the wake of Gaddafi's ouster from the capital of Tripoli.[21]

On 12 November 2011, the League passed a decree that would suspend Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic's membership in case the government failed to stop violence against civilian protesters by 16 November 2011 amidst the uprising.[22] Despite this, the government did not yield to the League's demands, resulting in its indefinite suspension. The Syrian Opposition was later entitled to take its seat in the League.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  2. ^ "Chad". Ethnologue. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  3. ^ a b "India invited as observer for Arab League summit". Press Trust of India. 27 March 2007. Retrieved 13 June 2007. 
  4. ^ David Noack: Syriens Beziehungen zu Lateinamerika, in: amerika21.de, 11.01.2011. (German)
  5. ^ "Country Comparison: Population". Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Arab League membership
  7. ^ The State of Palestine succeeded the seat of the Palestine Liberation Organization following the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence.
  8. ^ "Syrian president slams Arab League for granting seat to opposition". Xinhua News Agency. 2013-04-06. Retrieved 2013-04-12. 
  9. ^ "Regime backers express anger at other nations after Arab League suspends Syria". cnn.com. CNN. 2011-11-13. Retrieved 2016-05-02. 
  10. ^ "Presentation of the Arab League". Arableagueonline.org. 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 
  11. ^ "Interview: Egypt's first ambassador to South Sudan says things there are under control". Retrieved 29 August 2011. 
  12. ^ South Sudan “entitled to join Arab League”
  13. ^ "South Sudan "entitled to join Arab League"". Sudan Tribune. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  14. ^ El-Husseini, Asmaa (7 July 2011). "Hoping for the best". Al-Ahram. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  15. ^ "Egyptian FM welcomes Chad to join AL". People's Daily Online. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "South Sudan and Chad apply to join the Arab League". 25 March 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  17. ^ Southern Sudan Will Not Join The Arab League Of States
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ "Timeline: Arab League". BBC News. 17 September 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 
  20. ^ "Libya suspended from Arab League sessions - Israel News, Ynetnews". Ynetnews.com. 1995-06-20. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  21. ^ "Arab League Recognizes Libyan Rebel Council". RTT News. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  22. ^ "Arab League Votes to Suspend Syria Over Crackdown". NYTimes.com. 12 November 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.