Leaders of the 22-nation Arab League have agreed to the principle of creating a joint Arab military force. (USA Today)
Use our resources to learn more about the Arab League and other international organizations.
Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit, including a link to today’s MapMaker Interactive map of the Arab League.
- The USA Today article discusses a recent meeting of the Arab League. What does “Arab” mean? What does the Arab League do?
- Arab describes diverse peoples and cultures of North Africa, parts of the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Middle East. The Arabic language unites the so-called Arab World.
- From the charter of the Arab League: “The purpose of the League is to draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate their political activities with the aim of realizing a close collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries.” Interests include:
- economic and financial matters: trade, customs, currency, agriculture, and industry
- communications: railways, roads, aviation, navigation, and posts and telegraphs;
- cultural matters;
- matters connected with nationality, passports, visas, execution of judgments and extradition;
- social welfare matters;
- health matters.
- The Arab League is an international organization focused on regional concerns. Can you think of some other international organizations built around regional interests?
- Here are just a few:
- The concept of Arabic identity is often confused with Middle Eastern identity. Some Middle Eastern communities are Arab, while others are not. Take a look at our map of the cultural Middle East.
- What Middle Eastern countries are not part of the Arab League?
- Arab World
- Western Sahara, a disputed territory in West Africa, is not a member of the Arab League. The three nations that claim the territory (Morocco, Mauritania, and Algeria) are members, however.
- Syria was a member of the Arab League, but its membership was suspended after the country plunged into civil war in 2011. Membership has been given to the Syrian National Coalition, the leading opposition group in the conflict, but the war continues and the coalition has yet to form a government and infrastructure to participate in the organization. Syria’s seat remains vacant.
- Outside the Arab World (note: all ethnic information taken from the CIA World Factbook)
- Israel. The majority ethnicity is Jewish. Israeli Arabs, mostly Palestinians, are the country’s second-largest population. The UN observer state of Palestine, administered by the Palestinian Authority, is a recognized member of the Arab League. Few members of the Arab League recognize the state of Israel. (Take a look at this map to see which ones.)
- Turkey (majority ethnicity: Turkish)
- Cyprus (majority ethnicity: Greek)
- Iran (majority ethnicity: Persian)
- Afghanistan (majority ethnicity: Pashtun)
- Pakistan (majority ethnicity: Punjabi)
- Tajikistan (majority ethnicity: Tajik)
- Arab World
- The Arab League has announced plans to pursue the formation of a military force. How might this military be deployed?
- The proposed volunteer military force would respond to requests from member states to “counter challenges that threaten the safety and security of any member.”
- Many observers are considering how an Arab League military force may respond to the crisis in Yemen (a member of the Arab League), where rebels have forced the president to flee the capital. Many members of the Arab League suspect Iran of supporting the main Yemeni opposition force, the Houthi. Saudi Arabia has led airstrikes against Houthi compounds in recent weeks. Read more about the conflict in Yemen from the good folks at the BBC.
- Many observers are also considering how an Arab League military force may respond to the threat posed by ISIS, which has made major gains in Iraq and Syria. Read more about ISIS here.
- Finally, many observers are considering how an Arab League military force may respond to anti-government protests. Read more about the Arab Spring and how it changed the Arab World here.
USA Today: Arab League agrees to create joint Arab military force
Nat Geo: The Arab League map
Nat Geo: Middle East (cultural) map
(extra credit!) Pact of the League of Arab States, March 22, 1945
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