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Arab League
Arabic: jāmi¢atu d-duwali l-¢arabiyya

Flag and crest of the Arab League.
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Flag and crest of the Arab League.

Headquarters of Arab League, Cairo, Egypt
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Headquarters of Arab League, Cairo, Egypt.

The assembly at the headquarters of Arab League, Cairo, Egypt
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

The assembly at the headquarters of Arab League, Cairo, Egypt.

Detailed articleCharter of the Arab League

Organization of 21 independent countries, together with Palestine which is under Israeli occupation. All these states have Arabic as their dominant language, a prerequisite for membership. The full name of the organization is League of Arab States, and it aims at strengthening each country as well as all Arab countries together.
The original goals of the league were to gain independence for Arab states, as well as to stop Jewish immigration to Palestine, and hinder the establishment of a Jewish state.
These are the member states: Africa (from west to east): Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia and Comoros. Asia (from west to east): Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen.
The headquarters of the Arab League are in Cairo, Egypt. Its supreme organ is the council, where all member states are represented, and they each have 1 one, independent of their respective number of inhabitants. Decisions in the council are binding only for those countries voting in favour of it. The council meets twice a year, in March and September, where the heads of state participate. The council can meet for special sessions if 2 or more member states requests it.
The organization is led by a secretary-general — at the time being the Egyptian Amr Moussa, who is elected by at least 2/3 of the votes in the council.
The entire organization is divided into 14 departments. The Arab League is also the headquarter of 17 Arab trade unions.

The league has launched several programs to promote politics, economy, culture and social safety in the Arab world. Among other things, has this involved structuring of the school curricula in schools in the Arab countries as well as preserving Arabic manuscripts. But there has also been much translation into Arabic and reproduction of foreign works.
The league has helped fighting crime in Arab countries, like drug trafficking. It has also worked on improving the work situation for labourers, as well as the social situation for women, alongside promoting welfare of children.
The Arab League has been instrumental in creating an Arab postal union and a union for wireless communication and telecommunication.
The league has also been active in settling some disputes between Arab states, as well as limiting conflicts, especially in Lebanon. Since 1950 has the league had a joint defence program.

1942: The British start promoting the idea of unity of the Arab world, in an attempt to make them allies during the war against Germany.
1944 September- October: Official representatives from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, North Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Transjordan and Palestine meet in Alexandria, Egypt, and agrees to form the League of Arab States.
1945 March 22: A new meeting in Cairo ratifies the agreement. This day is considered the birth day of the league.
1950: The Joint Defence and Economic Cooperation Treaty (JDECT) is signed. The JDECT attempts at protecting the member-states against Israel.
1953: Libya becomes member.
1956: Sudan becomes member.
1958: Morocco and Tunisia become members.
— The Arab League is recognized by the United Nations, and becomes the UN's organization for education, science and culture in the Arab region.
1961: Kuwait becomes member.
1962: Algeria becomes member.
1964: The first summit takes place in Cairo.
— The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALESCO) is established.
1967: South Yemen becomes member.
1971: Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates become members.
1973: Mauritania becomes member.
1974: Somalia and Palestine (represented by the PLO) become members.
1976: At the 8th Summit in Cairo, the league puts in an Arab peacekeeping force in Lebanon.
1977: Djibouti becomes member.
1979: Egypt is suspended, following their peace agreement with Israel. The headquarters were moved to Tunis, Tunisia.
1989: Egypt is readmitted into the league, and the headquarters moves back to Cairo.
1990: 12 out of 20 states present condemn the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
— A united Yemen becomes member.
1993: The Comoros become member.

By Tore Kjeilen