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Futural Perspective of Reforming the League of Arab States (LAS)

Futural Perspective of Reforming the League of Arab States (LAS)

Review and Analysis of Official and Intellectual Initiatives to Reform the LAS External Challenges and  Internal Response: Scenarios for the Future

By Kamal M M Al-Astal

Associate Professor (Political Science)

Dept of Political Science-Faculty of Economics. & Administrative. Sciences

Ex-Dean- Faculty of Econ. & Administrative  Sciences

 Ex-Head of the Dept of Political Science and Ex-Dean of the Faculty

Al-Azhar University of Gaza-Palestine

Tel: 00970 8 2051966 Telfax: 00970 8 2054966  Mobile: 00970 599 843 850

Email: peacearab@yahoo.com

Futural Perspective of Reforming the League of Arab States (LAS )

An Analytical Review of Arab Official and Intellectual Initiatives to Reform the League of Arab States: External Challenges and  Internal Response

 Scenarios for the Future


The League of Arab States, or Arab League, was established in 1945 to promote economic, political and social cohesion between emerging Arab states Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The founding members affirmed their commitment 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.”

In its formative years, the 22-member Arab League became involved in supporting Arab independence movements against former colonial powers Great Britain and France.

Following the Arab defeat in the war which broke out shortly after Israel was established in 1948, the League shifted its focus to rejecting an Israeli presence in the Middle East and supporting Palestinian nationhood. In 1950, the Arab states signed a mutual defence treaty.

The Arab League has also served as a forum for mediating Arab disputes.

Though the League helped establish a little-used Arab Common Market in the 1960s and attempted to facilitate inter-Arab trade, infighting has kept plans of an economic bloc far from being realised.

Many in the Arab World say that the League’s effectiveness over the course of its 64-year history has slowly eroded as disputes between member states increase.

This paper looks at the future of the League of Arab States from the perspective of the way in which present thinking can influence what the future might be. It assumes that history shapes the future and that the present generation is in a position to shape it.

The once lauded forum of pan-Arabism, the League of Arab States (LAS), is suffering from impotency, lacking the consensus and legitimacy to take action. Yet as the only regional body of its kind in the Middle East, the League of Arab States needs to pursue reform based on  pan-Arab consensus.

“The Arab League was established,  in 1945, at a different time under different conditions and it needs to change so as to cope with the challenges of the current world”

The year 2003, and after, witnessed extensive action in the area of Arab collective action. At the heart of this action lay the goal of reforming the League of Arab States (LAS). Efforts to reform the League over the span of this year were an extension of an effort, which began in 2002 focusing primarily on ideas and projects presented by the Secretary General Mr. Amr Moussa for the development and restructuring of the Arab League. However, this year, the Arab state system was the subject of an overwhelming number of initiatives for reform and improvement, reflecting unprecedented enthusiasm on this front. However, a serious question mark hangs over whether any of these ideas will ever become a reality.

In 2003, Mr. Amr Moussa the Secretary General of the Arab League invited a select number of Arab intellectuals representing different views to a closed meeting for the purpose of debating ways to reform the League. He pointed out the need to bring more transparency and democracy into the Arab League, ensure financial dues to the League are paid from the members and most important of all, guarantee that adopted resolutions are implemented.

This paper reviews and analyses a number of Arab Initiatives and Ideas focusing on reforming the Arab League of States (LAS). The research paper also examines various writings and reviews literature dealing with this important issue. In addition the research introduces a futural perspective of the LAS reforming process.

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A Review of Arab Official and Intellectual Initiatives to Reform the League of Arab States (LAS): External Challenge and  Internal Response