Thursday, Mar. 22, 2012
March 22, 1945, the League of Arab States (Arab League) forms in Cairo, Egypt. The original Arab League—comprised of Egypt, Transjordan (now Jordan), Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria—has an initial objective of fostering economic development, resolving disputes, and collectively addressing political issues in a forum where each nation is entitled to a single vote. In 1950, the Arab League members sign a joint defense treaty, two years after their unsuccessful attack on the newly formed state of Israel. Subsequently, the Arab League institutes various boycotts prohibiting member states from trading with Israel and Israeli companies.
Today, the League of Arab States is composed of 22 member states, including eight North African nations in addition to Egypt. In a statement last week, Arab League chief, Nabil al-Arabi, said that Syria is “committing crimes against humanity”—referring to Syria’s ongoing violent crackdown against opposition protesters, lead by President Bashar Assad. In related news, U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan is currently attempting to broker peace in Syria. According to the most recent U.N. statistics, over the last 12 months, over 7,500 people have been killed in the violence in Syria and 230,000 people have fled their homes.