Arab League

Member States of the Arab League

The Arab League is an alliance of states that currently has 22 member states in Northern Africa and on the Arabian Peninsula, which belongs geographically to Asia.

All member countries together cover an area of 13.15 million km² (8.7% of the world's inhabitable area). Significant parts are desert regions such as the Sahara and the Rub al-Chali sand desert. With about 456.52 million inhabitants, the area is home to about 5.8 percent of the world population.
Map of member countries: Arab League
Algeria44.18 M2,382,000 km²
Bahrain1.46 M778 km²
Comoros0.82 M1,861 km²
Djibouti1.11 M23,000 km²
Egypt109.26 M1,001,000 km²
Iraq43.53 M435,000 km²
Jordan11.15 M89,000 km²
Kuwait4.25 M18,000 km²
Lebanon5.59 M10,000 km²
Libya6.74 M1,760,000 km²
Mauritania4.61 M1,031,000 km²
Morocco37.08 M447,000 km²
Oman4.52 M310,000 km²
Palestine4.92 M6,020 km²
Qatar2.69 M12,000 km²
Saudi Arabia35.95 M2,150,000 km²
Somalia17.07 M638,000 km²
Sudan45.66 M1,879,000 km²
Syria21.32 M185,000 km²
Tunisia12.26 M164,000 km²
United Arab Emirates9.37 M84,000 km²
Yemen32.98 M528,000 km²

Foundation and aims of the Arab League

The origins of the Arab League go back to the Second World War. Large parts of the founding members belonged to the Ottoman Empire. The aims of the Arab League were very similar to those of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Its primary tasks were to strengthen the region in political, economic, cultural and social terms. At the end of the war, the region was to be stabilized and its independence secured. Egypt was the driving force and thus played a decisive role in its foundation.

On October 7, 1944, a "Protocol of Alexandria" was signed as a loose union. After elaborating on the ideas, the Arab League was founded the following year on 11 May 1945. The first member states were the kingdoms of Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, as well as Lebanon, Syria and the then Emirate of Transjordan.

The history of the Arab League since then has been marked by numerous political and military conflicts in the region. In the immediate post-war period, the growing Jewish population in Palestine played a major role. This led to the division of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state in 1949. With the withdrawal of the British Allies, there was also a lack of an overarching protective power and serious and recurrent conflicts with Israel arose. In the 1980s, the Islamic Revolution led to further military conflicts with Iran and Iraq, which ultimately led to the first Gulf War.


The chairmanship is elected every five years, but the seat of the Arab League has been in Cairo (Egypt) since the beginning. Other sub-organizations are:
  • the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF)
  • Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD)
  • Arab Economic Development Bank (BADEA)
  • Arab Air Carriers Organization
All member states are also members of the OIC, the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation.