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Arab League: from1945

In March 1945 a conference is held in Cairo with delegates from the seven Arab states - all formerly subject to the Ottoman empire - which have become independent since the defeat of Turkey in World War I. They are Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt.

They agree to form an Arab League, to strengthen the links between them and to further the joint interests of all Arab nations. Other regions still under colonial control are welcome to join on achieving independence. From 1953 onwards many do so - including in 1976 the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), representing the Arabs displaced from Palestine by the state of Israel.


The succession of wars in the middle east in the past half century, from the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 to the Gulf War in 1991, have placed severe strains on the League and have prevented it from achieving a close cohesion.

Egypt breaks ranks in 1979 by signing a peace treaty with Israel - resulting in expulsion from the League and the transfer of the headquarters from Cairo to Tunis (Egypt is readmitted in 1989, and the headquarters return to Cairo a year later). The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 causes an even deeper rift, reflected in the fact that nearly all the neighbouring Arab states give either practical or diplomatic support to the UN and Nato campaign against Iraq in the Gulf War.


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