Member states of the Arab League

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A graphic timeline of membership.

The Arab League has 22 member states. It was founded in Cairo in March 1945 with six members: the Kingdom of Egypt, Kingdom of Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Republic, and Transjordan (Jordan from 1949). North Yemen (later becoming Yemen) joined on 5 May 1945. Membership increased during the second half of the 20th century. Seven countries have observer status. The headquarters are located in Cairo, Egypt.

List of current member states[edit]

Country Admission date Capital Area (km²) Population (2021)[1] Official languages
Algeria 16 August 1962 Algiers 2,381,741 43,576,691 Arabic, Tamazight
Bahrain 11 September 1971 Manama 750 1,526,929 Arabic
Comoros 20 November 1993 Moroni 2,235 864,335 Arabic, Comorian, French
Djibouti 4 September 1977 Djibouti 23,200 938,413 Arabic, French
Egypt 22 March 1945 Cairo 1,002,450 106,437,241 Arabic
Iraq 22 March 1945 Baghdad 438,317 39,650,145 Arabic, Kurdish
Jordan 22 March 1945 Amman 89,342 10,909,567 Arabic
Kuwait 20 July 1961 Kuwait City 18,717 3,032,065 Arabic
Lebanon 22 March 1945 Beirut 10,452 5,261,372 Arabic
Libya[1] 28 March 1953 Tripoli 1,759,541 7,017,224 Arabic
Mauritania 26 November 1973 Nouakchott 1,030,700 4,079,284 Arabic
Morocco 1 October 1958 Rabat 710,850 or 446,550 [2] 36,561,813 Arabic, Tamazight
Oman 29 September 1971 Muscat 309,550 3,694,755 Arabic
Palestine[2] 9 September 1976[3] Jerusalem (de jure)[4]
Ramallah (de facto)
6,040 or 26,790[3] 4,906,308 Arabic
Qatar 11 September 1971 Doha 11,437 2,479,995 Arabic
Saudi Arabia 22 March 1945 Riyadh 2,149,690 34,783,757 Arabic
Somalia 14 February 1974 Mogadishu 637,661 12,094,640 Somali, Arabic
Sudan 19 January 1956 Khartoum 1,886,068 46,751,152 Arabic, English
Syria[4] 22 March 1945 Damascus 185,180 20,384,316 Arabic
Tunisia 1 October 1958 Tunis 163,610 11,811,335 Arabic
United Arab Emirates 6 December 1971 Abu Dhabi 83,600 9,856,612 Arabic
Yemen[5] 5 May 1945 (North Yemen)
30 November 1967 (South Yemen)
22 May 1990 (Unified Yemen)
Sana'a (de jure)
Aden (de facto)
527,968 30,399,242 Arabic
^ Libya's seat is taken by the House of Representatives (which is disputed by the Muslim Brotherhood-led General National Congress and Government of National Accord)
^ The 446,550 km² Morocco area excludes all disputed territories, while 710,850 km² includes the Moroccan-claimed and partially-controlled parts of Western Sahara
^ Palestine's area of 6,040 km² consists of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip which is governed by the Palestinian National Authority,
however the area of 26,790 km² includes the Israeli-controlled Green Line, claimed by some Palestinian groups such as Hamas, though its claims were renounced by the new Palestinian National Covenant in 1996

^ Syria's seat is occupied by the Syrian National Coalition,[5] while the Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic was suspended on 16 November 2011[6][7]
^ Yemen's seat is taken by the Cabinet of Yemen (which is disputed by the Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee)

List of current observer states[edit]

Seven countries are observer states—a status that entitles them to express their opinion and give advice but denies them voting rights.[8] These are Eritrea, where Arabic is one of the official languages, as well as Brazil and Venezuela, which have large and influential Arab communities.[9] India is another observer to the Arab League, with a sizable number of people claiming Arab descent.[8] Armenia was granted observer status in 2004.[10] Chad was granted observer status in 2005.[11]

Country Admission date Capital Area
Official/working languages
Armenia 2004 Yerevan 29,743 3,018,854 Armenian
Brazil 2003 Brasília 8,515,767 207,350,000 Portuguese
Chad April 2005 N'Djamena 1,284,000 13,670,084 French, Arabic
Eritrea January 2003 Asmara 117,600 5,869,869 Tigrinya, English, Arabic
Greece 2021 Athens 131,445 10,655,371 Greek
India April 2007 New Delhi 3,287,263 1,326,572,000 Hindi, English
Venezuela September 2006 Caracas 916,445 31,775,371 Spanish

Membership timeline[edit]

Arab League Enlargements

Arab League 1945.svg
1945-founding members: Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, 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.[12]
  • 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 – Libya joins the Arab League two years after independence.
  • 19 January 1956 – Sudan joins the Arab League, two weeks after independence from the United Kingdom and Egypt.
  • 1 October 1958 – Morocco and Tunisia join the Arab League, two years after independence.
  • 20 July 1961 – Kuwait joins the League 31 days after independence, and becomes the first Asian state to join the League after the founding states.
  • 16 August 1962 – Algeria accedes to the Arab League, less than two months after independence.
  • 1967 – South Yemen joins the Arab League upon its independence.
  • 1971 – the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain join the Arab League.
  • 26 November 1973 – Mauritania joins the Arab League thirteen years after independence.
  • 14 February 1974 – Somalia joins the Arab League fourteen years after independence.
  • 9 September 1976 – Palestinian Liberation Organisation joins the Arab League.[13] Its seat is assumed by the State of Palestine following the declaration of independence in 1988.[13]
  • 4 September 1977 – Djibouti joins the Arab League two months after its independence from France that same year.
  • 26 March 1979 – Egypt suspended from the Arab League; readmitted on 23 May 1989.
  • 22 May 1990 – North and South Yemen unify.
  • 1993 – The Comoros accede to the Arab League.
  • January 2003 – Eritrea joins the Arab League as an observer.
  • 2003 – Brazil joins the Arab League as an observer for one summit.
  • 2004 – Armenia joins the Arab League as an observer.
  • April 2005 – Chad joins the Arab League as an observer.
  • September 2006 – Venezuela joins the Arab League as an observer for one summit.
  • April 2007 – India joins the Arab League as an observer state for the summit.
  • 22 February 2011 – Libya suspended from the Arab League;[14] readmitted on 25 August 2011.
  • July 2011 – South Sudan gains independence from Sudan, but does not join the Arab League.[15]
  • 16 November 2011 – Syria suspended from the Arab League.

Potential members and observers[edit]

Only one country where Arabic is an official language remains outside of the League: Chad. In Malta, Eritrea and South Sudan, although Arabic is not an official language, a dialect of the language is spoken by portions of the populations in these countries. Additionally, there are two other Arabic-speaking states with limited recognitionSahrawi 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.

Chad's membership was endorsed by the Egyptian government under Hosni Mubarak in 2010.[16] Chad applied for membership on 25 March 2014.[17] Arabic is one of its two official languages, some 12% of Chadians identifying as Arab[18] and around 900,000 are Arabic-speaking.[19] Chad has had observer status since 2005.[20]

Eritrea applied for membership on 25 March 2014.[17] To be considered for membership, Eritrea needs to improve its relations with other neighboring League members, including Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia. Eritrea has had observer status since 2003.

South Sudan declared its independence from League member state Sudan in July 2011. A clause in the Charter of the Arab League accords the right of territories that have seceded from an Arab League member state to join the organization.[21] South Sudan has been assured full membership in the Arab League should its government choose to seek it.[22] Alternatively, the nation could opt for observer status.[23] It has indicated that it would not be joining the League since the government believes it does not meet the pre-conditions for membership; 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".[24] In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, the Foreign Minister of South Sudan Deng Alor Kuol said: South Sudan is the closest African country to the Arab world, and we speak a special kind of Arabic known as Juba Arabic.[25] Sudan supports South Sudan’s request to join the Arab League.[26] South Sudan applied for observer status in March 2018.[27][28]

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is not a member though it is recognized by some Arab League states. Its status is disputed, its territory being claimed by League member Morocco, which makes its membership unlikely for the foreseeable future.

Latin America and the Caribbean is the home of a large, influential Arab population, mostly reside in Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Panama, Ecuador, Jamaica, Haiti and Guatemala. However, these countries use Spanish, Portuguese, English and French as official languages, and have demonstrated little interests on joining the Arab League. Brazil and Venezuela are the only two observers in the League.


Egypt - Egypt's membership was suspended in March 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 May 1989 and the League's headquarters were moved back to Cairo in September 1990.[29]

Libya - Libya was suspended from the Arab League on 22 February 2011.[14] 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.[30]

Libya's membership was suspended on 22 February 2011, following the start of the Libyan Civil War and the use of military force against civilians.[31] That makes Libya the second country in the League's history to have a frozen membership. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi declared that the League was illegitimate, saying: "The Arab League is finished. There is no such thing as the Arab League".[32][33] On 25 August 2011, Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby announced it was "about time" Libya's full member status was restored. The National Transitional Council, the partially recognised interim government of Libya, sent a representative to be seated at the Arab League meeting on 17 August to participate in a discussion as to whether to readmit Libya to the organisation.[34]

Syria - On 20 September 2011, the Arab Parliament recommended suspension of Syria and Yemen over persistent reports of disproportionate violence against regime opponents and activists during the Arab Spring.[35] On 12 November 2011, the League passed a decree that would suspend Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic's membership if the government failed to stop violence against civilian protesters by 16 November 2011 amidst the uprising.[36] Syria, Lebanon and Yemen voted against the motion, and Iraq abstained.[37] Despite the opportunity, the Syrian government did not yield to the League's demands, resulting in its indefinite suspension. There was criticism after the Arab League sent in December 2011 a commission "monitoring" violence on people protesting against the regime. The commission was headed by Mohammad Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, who served as head of Omar al-Bashir's military intelligence, while war crimes, including genocide, were allegedly committed on his watch.[38][39][40] On 6 March 2013, the Arab League granted to the Syrian National Coalition Syria's seat in the Arab League.[41] On 9 March 2014, the League's secretary general Nabil al-Arabi said that Syria's seat at the Arab League would remain vacant until the opposition completes the formation of its institutions.[42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Population - The World Factbook".
  2. ^ "Arab League - Sportwetten - Beste Singlebörsen im Vergleich". Arab League - Sportwetten - Beste Singlebörsen im Vergleich. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011.
  3. ^ The State of Palestine succeeded the seat of the Palestine Liberation Organization following the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence.
  4. ^ Leech, Philip (26 October 2016). "The State of Palestine: A critical analysis". Routledge – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Syrian president slams Arab League for granting seat to opposition". Xinhua News Agency. 6 April 2013. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  6. ^ "Regime backers express anger at other nations after Arab League suspends Syria". CNN. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Presentation of the Arab League". 13 September 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  8. ^ a b "India invited as observer for Arab League summit". Press Trust of India. 27 March 2007. Retrieved 13 June 2007.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ David Noack: Syriens Beziehungen zu Lateinamerika, in:, 11.01.2011. (German)
  10. ^ "Armenia invited as observer for Arab League". Azad Hye. 19 January 2005. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Chad to join Arab League as observer".
  12. ^ "Profile: Arab League". BBC News. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  13. ^ a b "Charter of Arab League". Arab League - جامعة الدول العربية. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Libya suspended from Arab League sessions – Israel News, Ynetnews". 20 June 1995. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  15. ^ "Interview: Egypt's first ambassador to South Sudan says things there are under control". Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  16. ^ "Egyptian FM welcomes Chad to join AL". People's Daily Online. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  17. ^ a b "South Sudan and Chad apply to join the Arab League". 25 March 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  18. ^ "The World Factbook". Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  19. ^ "Chad". Ethnologue. 19 February 1999. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  20. ^ "Chad to join Arab League as observer - News - Al Jazeera". Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera. 29 April 2005. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  21. ^ "South Sudan "entitled to join Arab League" - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan". Archived from the original on 29 June 2011.
  22. ^ "South Sudan "entitled to join Arab League"". Sudan Tribune. 12 June 2011. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  23. ^ El-Husseini, Asmaa (7 July 2011). "Hoping for the best". Al-Ahram. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  24. ^ "Southern Sudan Will Not Join The Arab League Of States". Archived from the original on 9 October 2011.
  25. ^ Asharq Al-Awsat: Foreign Minister of South Sudan: We Are Considering Joining the Arab League Archived 13 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine, 7 June 2016, retrieved 3 May 2017
  26. ^ Sudan Tribune: Khartoum supports South Sudan demand to join Arab League, 21 July 2016, retrieved 3 May 2017
  27. ^ "South Sudan application for Arab League seat is opposed". 17 March 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  28. ^ "South Sudan seeks observer status in Arab League". 7 March 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  29. ^ "Timeline: Arab League". BBC News. 17 September 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  30. ^ "Arab League Recognizes Libyan Rebel Council". RTT News. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  31. ^ Libya suspended from Arab League sessions – Israel News, Ynetnews. (1995-06-20). Retrieved on 2014-04-28.
  32. ^ Souhail Karam – Tom Heneghan – Michael Roddy (16 March 2011). "Gaddafi taunts critics, dares them to get him". Reuters. Archived from the original on 19 March 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  33. ^ Kat Higgins (16 March 2011). "Libya: Clashes Continue As World Powers Stall". Sky News. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  34. ^ "Arab League Recognizes Libyan Rebel Council". RTT News. 25 August 2011. Archived from the original on 8 December 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  35. ^ "Arab League parliament urges Syria suspension". Al Jazeera. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  36. ^ "Arab League Votes to Suspend Syria Over Crackdown". 12 November 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  37. ^ "Arab League Votes to Suspend Syria Over Crackdown". New York Times. 12 November 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  38. ^ Kenner, D. (27 December 2011). "The World's Worst Human Rights Observer". Foreign Policy. As Arab League monitors work to expose President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown, the head of the mission is a Sudanese general accused of creating the fearsome "Janjaweed," which was responsible for the worst atrocities during the Darfur genocide.
  39. ^ Syrian activists slam Arab League mission head Archived 8 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine CNN, 28 December 2011.
  40. ^ "Violence in second Syrian city ahead of Arab League monitors' visit". The Guardian. 28 December 2011.
  41. ^ Ian Black. "Syrian opposition takes Arab League seat". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  42. ^ "Syria opposition 'not yet ready for Arab League seat'". The Daily Star Newspaper – Lebanon. Retrieved 20 November 2014.