An Analytical Review of Arab Official/Governmental and Intellectual Initiatives to Reform the League of Arab States (LAS): External Challenge and Internal Response
By Kamal M M Al-Astal
Associate Professor (Political Science)
Dept of Political Science-Faculty of Econ. & Amin. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website:www.peacearab.org
A Research paper presented to Professor Doctor Hani Al-Dumoor Dean of FGS and Head of the Preparatory Committee of the Scientific Conference organized by
The Faculty of Graduates Studies-Jordan University (FGS)
Conference Title: “Reform Calls within the LAS and UNO Framework”
Tel: 009626 5355000 Fax: 009626 5336176
Presented on: 20th March 2006
The once lauded forum of pan-Arabism, the League of Arab States (LAS), is impotent, 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 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 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.
The reform initiatives, proposed over the course of the year 2003 and after, came as a response to the dramatic events that the region underwent in the year 2003. The American war on Iraq and the consequent occupation of this large Arab country presented a real challenge to the League of Arab States whose role was completely absent during that war. The war on Iraq raised many challenges to the League, starting with how to deal with the war, to how to deal with the results of the war, the best position to take vis-à-vis the Iraqi transitional government, and finally its position towards American pressures on Arab regimes to undertake internal reforms (The American Greater Middle East Initiative). External pressures to reform created a feeling of panic among most Arab regimes who felt that their sovereignty and their very existence were being threatened for the first time since independence. Initiatives to reform the League were thus proposed against this background.
This paper reviews and analyses a number of Arab Initiatives and Ideas focusing on reforming the Arab League of States (LAS). It examines various writings and reviews literature dealing with this important issue.