The Arab League and searching for unity

Arab League
(Photo: Jordan News)
We, the Arabs, are the second largest ethnic group on the planet, only surpassed by the Han Chinese. There are 22 Arab states that convene in a body called the Arab League, an organization meant to not only enhance inter-Arab cooperation in areas ranging from health to security, but to serve as a representative of the Arab people in the face of the many entities and states that aim to subjugate them. اضافة اعلان

However, this intention has not translated into action. It must be stated; quite regretfully, that the Arab League has proven to not be able to tackle the crises of our current day. A solution to the Arab League’s inabilities must be found. One can argue about individual member states all they want, but the fundamental problem with the Arab League is in the charter. 

A prime example of this is Clause V in the Arab League charter that prohibits member states from going to war with each other in order to solve disputes. Despite the existence of this rule, it has been heavily disregarded by different Arab states. Outside of this clause, there have been countless times when member states have threatened each other with force or some kind of economic embargo. The clause after that requires that, should a state act in an aggressive manner towards a member state, the affected state can demand “the immediate convocation of the council.” 

This sounds like an effective measure, but a unanimous decision is required in order to determine the league’s course of action, a difficult task with 22 voting members involved. Furthermore, the clause after that states that only unanimous decisions are binding and majority decisions are only binding to states that vote for them. This begs the question: What could a majority vote provide other than semantics? 

This is a significant factor that contributes to the lack of action in the Arab League. It did not take concrete action to stop America’s illegal invasion of Iraq, as one member state did not condemn it. 

The elusive unanimous decision is difficult to achieve because the Arab World consistently divides itself along political lines. Even during the peak of Pan-Arabism in the mid-20th century, it was hard for the Arab League to make effective decisions, because member states were split into pro-Soviet and pro-American camps. The one area where unanimous decisions were taken was against Israeli aggression, but this is no longer entirely the case today.

Practically speaking, in order for the Arab League to take more solid stances, inter-Arab cooperation needs to increase. If decisions taken mutually benefit all member states, a united front can be formed in order to ensure the freedom and prosperity of the Arab World.

As geopolitics have taught us before, whether in the Arab world or elsewhere, economic and security interests take precedence over ideology, a big cause for the Arab League’s shortcomings. Yet if cooperation amongst Arabs is advantageous to all voting states, the Arab League may become a force to be reckoned with. 

Progress towards this goal has been far too slow, but it is not non-existent. Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan have greatly expanded cooperation, and it seems as though this new alliance will be used to promote pan-Arab interests, namely the delivery of electricity to Lebanon. This might seem like a small step, but it sets precedent for further action in order to reassert the desires of these states and their people on the global stage.

Despite the many concerns and needs that the Arab world must address, it has no representative with which it can affirm the demands of the Arab people. It is at this critical moment that the Arab League must step up and restore the dignity of the Arab World. Mere rhetoric is not enough to salvage the ideals on which the league was founded. 

A hard revision of the charter is necessary in order to convert the league into a productive body, and Arab States must align their goals in order to form a united front against those who want to see the Arab dream fail, of whom there are many. To the Arab League, now is the time to affirm your legacy; will it be one we can look upon with pride, or disdain?

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