Monday, September 2, 2013

The Arab League

English: Map of Arabic-speaking countries.
The League of Arab States (Arabic: جامعة الدول العربية Jāmiʻat ad-Duwal al-ʻArabiyya), commonly called the Arab League (Arabic: الجامعة العربية al-Jāmiʻa al-ʻArabiyya), is a regional organization of Arab states in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Southwest Asia. It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan (renamed Jordan in 1949), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Yemen joined as a member on 5 May 1945. Currently, the League has 22 members, although Syria's participation has been suspended since November 2011 as a consequence of government repression during the ongoing uprising and civil war.[2]
 
The League's main goal is to "draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries".[3]
Through institutions such as the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and the Economic and Social Council of the Arab League's Council of Arab Economic Unity (CAEU), the Arab League facilitates political, economic, cultural, scientific and social programs designed to promote the interests of the Arab world.[4][5] It has served as a forum for the member states to coordinate their policy positions, to deliberate on matters of common concern, to settle some Arab disputes, and to limit conflicts such as the 1958 Lebanon crisis. The League has served as a platform for the drafting and conclusion of many landmark documents promoting economic integration. One example is the Joint Arab Economic Action Charter which sets out the principles for economic activities in the region.
 
Each member state has only one vote in the League Council, while decisions are binding only for those states that have voted for them. The aims of the league in 1945 were to strengthen and coordinate the political, cultural, economic, and social programs of its members, and to mediate disputes among them or between them and third parties. Furthermore, the signing of an agreement on Joint Defense and Economic Cooperation on 13 April 1950 committed the signatories to coordination of military defense measures. In the early 1970s, the Economic Council of the League of Arab States put forward a proposal to create the Joint Arab Chambers of Commerce across the European states. This led, under the decree of the League of Arab States no. K1175/D52/G, to the decision by the Arab governments to set up the Arab British Chamber of Commerce which was mandated to: “promote, encourage and facilitate bilateral trade” between the Arab world and its major trading partner, the United Kingdom.
 
The Arab League has also played a role in shaping school curricula, advancing the role of women in the Arab societies, promoting child welfare, encouraging youth and sports programs, preserving Arab cultural heritage, and fostering cultural exchanges between the member states.[citation needed] Literacy campaigns have been launched, intellectual works reproduced, and modern technical terminology is translated for the use within member states. The league encourages measures against crime a
The Arab League was founded in Cairo in 1945 by seven countries, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Transjordan (Jordan from 1946), and Yemen. There was a continual increase in membership during the second half of the 20th century, with additional 15 Arab States being admitted, with a current total of 21 member States due to Syria's suspension following the 2011 uprising.
 
On 22 February 2011, following the start of the Libyan civil war and the use of military force against civilians, the Arab League Secretary-General, Amr Moussa, stated that Libya's membership in the Arab League had been suspended: "the organisation has decided to halt the participation of the Libyan delegations from all Arab League sessions".[9] This 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."[10][11] 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, will send 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.[12]
 
The Arab Parliament recommended the suspension of member states Syria and Yemen on 20 September 2011, over persistent reports of disproportionate violence against regime opponents and activists during the Arab Spring.[13] A vote on 12 November agreed to formally suspend Syria four days after the vote, giving Assad a last chance to avoid suspension. Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen voted against the motion, while Iraq abstained.[14] A wave of criticism rose as 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.[15][16][17] On 6 March 2013, the Arab League granted the Syrian National Coalition Syria's seat in the Arab League.[citation needed]nd drug abuse, and deals with labour issues — particularly among the emigrant Arab workforce.
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