Sunday, 14 August 2022 – 14:29
The Flag of the Arab League

What is the Arab League?

The Arab League, or the League of Arab States, is a regional organisation in Africa and Western Asia consisting of mainly Arabic speaking nations.

When founded in 1945, the league’s mission is to promote trade and economic growth and to help ensure the political stability of its members. Click through the tabs below to learn more about how the Arab League works.


{tab Members of the Arab League}

There are 22 member states of the Arab League, however, one of them – Syria has been suspended since 2011.

When founded in 1945, there were just six members of the League including Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Transjordan (since renamed to Jordan).

As of 2020, members include Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Syria (which is suspended).

The most populated member of the league is Egypt with a population of around 100 million, while Comoros has a population of around 850,000.

Armenia, Brazil, Eritrea, India and Venezuela are observer states of the league, meaning they can express their opinion and give advice, but they can not vote like members of the league.


{tab Structure of the Arab League}

The headquarters of the Arab League are currently based in Cairo.

In 2002, the Arab Parliament was founded as the legislative (law-making) body of the Arab League. Members of the Arab Parliament are considered to represent the Arab Nation as a whole, rather than their own national parliaments of governments. The role of the Arab Parliament in Arab politics has been very limited during its existence.

The Arab League has held an annual summit each year since 2001. Summits were held before 2001, but generally on a less frequent basis. A number of emergency summits have also been held by the league, the most recent one being held in Saudi Arabia in January 2016.


{tab Timeline of Key Events}

{module Arab League Timeline}


{tab Effectiveness of the Arab League}

The Arab League has had some successes in shaping school curriculums, preserving manuscripts and creating a regional telecommunications union. Some improvements have also been made to transport connections between the members of the Arab League.

On occasions, members of the Arab League have agreed on a common position and have issued declarations. In 2011, the league supported UN action in Libya during the Arab Spring uprisings.

Despite some successes, the Arab League’s effectiveness is often cited as limited, mainly due to divisions between the members. For example, during the Cold War, some members were within the Western camp, while others were more aligned to Soviet ideas.

The league has failed to coordinate policies on the defence and economy and has rarely made actions together above declarations.




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