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An Analytical Review of Arab Official/Governmental and Intellectual Initiatives

 تاريخ النشر: 29/12/2010   وقت 2:58:20 مساءً   | طباعة |  ارسل لصديق

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: peacearab@yahoo.com, 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)

17-18/5/2006

Conference Title: “Reform Calls within the LAS and UNO Framework

Tel: 009626 5355000 Fax: 009626 5336176

Email:fgs@ju.edu.jo

 

 

Presented on: 20th March 2006

 An Analytical Review of Arab Official and Intellectual Initiatives to Reform the League of Arab States: External Challenge and  Internal Response

Introduction

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.[1]

“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”[2]

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.

 

Importance of the Study

In spite of the voluminous literature on the League of Arab States (LAS), to the researcher’s own  knowledge there have been few specific studies (if any) made in the subject of reforming the LAS. This is one of two reasons which made the researcher thinks of undertaking this research paper focusing on the Arab Governmental and Intellectual reform initiatives of the League of Arab States (LAS). Particularly, the Arab official and non-official initiatives to reform the LAS which celebrated its 62nd  anniversary in March 2006. The other reason is that the question of political, economic and administrative reform  which has become a pretext to external interference in the Arab  internal affairs. This latter reason then, made research in this subject, from the researcher's point of view ever more important in need of clarification.

 

Objectives of the Study

The aims of this paper are:

v     To discuss various Arab initiatives of reforming the League of Arab States.

v     To review a number of official and non-official ideas focusing on LAS reforming.

v     To show a situation in which several (internal and external) factors have been used to raise the issue of reform in the Arab Regional System, particularly the LAS.

v     To examine whether the Arab reform initiatives are serious or mere slogans to satisfy/ pacify the external powers (i.e. the U.S.A.).

v     To take part in documenting the LAS reform initiatives.

 

 

 

 

Statement of the Problem of the Study

Is there such a thing as a collective Arab vision? What is the role of the Arab League in attaining this vision if it exists? How should Arabs respond to US calls for reform? Is there an Arab reform agenda?  On Aljazeera.net put these questions and more to Amr Moussa, the Secretary-General of the Arab League in Cairo. Such questions  and more constitute the core statement of the problem of this research paper.

In 2003, Mr Amr Moussa the Secretary General of the Arab League invited a select number of Arab intellectuals representing different views to a closed meeting for the purpose of debating ways to reform the League.[3] He pointed out the need to bring more transparency and democracy into the Arab League, ensure financial dues to the League are paid from the members and most important of all, guarantee that adopted resolutions are implemented. The paper focuses on examining the Arab  official and non-official calls for reforming the LAS. The main question is How will the LAS reform and survive in the 21st century?

The researcher agues that there is no magic wand to reform the LAS, but there could be a mechanism for addressing issues.

 

Hypotheses of the Study

This paper examine two hypotheses:

v     The first, the majority of Arab Initiatives calling on to reform the LAS were motivated by external factors more than internal obligations and commitments. Most of the Arab official initiatives were declared to satisfy and pacify the USA.

v     The second, the Arab calls to reform the LAS are mostly slogans without real intentions to be applicable in reality.

 

The Scope of the Study

The analysis deals with the issue of reforming the League of Arab States (LAS). It seems that the LAS needs to cope with the current situation at the regional and internal levels and loud voices calling for democracy and reform in the Arab World. The American Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) and the American "Greater Middle East" vision has been highlighted the reform issue in the LAS and Arab regimes as well.  The analysis raises the question of  how  the Arab Regimes had dealt with such challenges and confronted these reformative and democratization initiatives. The discussion concentrates on Arab Regimes and intellectuals re-actions and policies towards the  calls for  LAS reforming.

The historical scope of the research paper covers the period following the 11th September 2001 and the American Initiatives to impose and dictate reform in the Arab World according to the American criteria.

 In his answer of a question by Al-Jazeera. Net Amr Moussa, the Secretary-General of the LAS confessed that "…there is wide disappointment in the Arab League and expect more. But I would be much more worried if they were apathetic rather than disappointed."[4] "The broad based demands from every corner of the Arab world for effective Arab cooperation reflect the importance which the peoples of this region attach to their common Arab identity and I believe it is that passion which will be the key driver of progress in the region". Musa maintained.[5]

This is not to deny that there is evident disappointment and that much more needs to be done to meet the unprecedented political/security challenges that face the LAS in the region today. The league and its members need to move effectively to respond to those demands. Part of that response is reinvigorating and reforming the league as an institution. The Secretariat and a number of states had already presented proposals for making the league a more effective forum and vehicle for Arab cooperation. These are just some of the practical and defined steps which have been proposed and which are being discussed right now to make this an organization that lives up to the expectations of the Arab peoples. But nothing will succeed unless there is rigorous reform in Arab societies themselves. You cannot reform the league without reforming the Arab world itself. Moussa argues.

 

Methodology

Throughout the analysis, the researcher follows the descriptive analytical approach and the text analysis approach. The historical analysis approach is also used throughout this paper.

Resources and Literature review focusing on Reforming the League of Arab States

The research  paper is based on primary sources, documents, articles, analyses, and internet. The researcher reviews a number of Arab official and non-official viewpoints focusing on reforming the LAS.

 

The American-led Campaign for Reform In the Arab World: American Pressures vis-à-vis Arab Leaders Re-Action

In the wake of the American-led campaign for democratization and reform in the Middle East and Arab World a number of Arab initiatives were launched calling for political, economic, and social reform at the micro and macro levels.

On 20 January 2004 Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad discussed, in Damascus, plans to reform the Arab League, the Syrian state news agency SANA reported. Their talks focused “on the current situation in the Arab world and the formulas proposed to reform the Arab League”, which has been accused of being ineffective, it said.[6]

Prince Saud also said he and President Mubarak reviewed Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa’s ideas for reforming the 22-member pan-Arab organization which is based in Cairo. Diplomats said Arab foreign ministers were expected to meet in Cairo on Feb. 10, 2004, to draw up a program of reforms for consideration at the Tunis Arab summit which had been scheduled to be held in March 2004. At the same time, Saud and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher met with Moussa to discuss the situation in Iraq and efforts to revive the Middle East peace process as well as the shake-up of the Arab League

In the context of hectic activities to deal with the reform wave,  foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states hold ministerial meeting in Riyadh. In two sessions they had held on 1st March 2004, the ministers discussed plans to reform the Arab League and develop its mechanism in order to debated in its ministerial council  that had been held in Cairo on 3rd March 2004. [7]


               The Secretary General of the GC Council, Abdul Rahman al-Ateyah, said that ministers had discussed issues on joint cooperation. The meeting's agenda included also economic issues, the Palestinian question, the dispute between the United Arab Emirates and Iran over the three strategic islands. and the question of terrorism.  The GCC meeting came one day before the beginning of the Arab foreign ministers starting their meetings in Cairo to prepare the way for making structural reforms to the LAS before convening  the planned LAS summit on march 29 and 30 in Tunisia


                Al-Ateyah said that the ministers did not deal with the American reform plan known as " the Greater Middle East initiative."



              Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt rejected in joint statement the American plan following a visit made by the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to Riyadh. Mubarak also on Wednesday 26th February 2004 disclosed a joint Syrian, Egyptian Saudi joint project to reform the Arab League and criticized the American and European initiatives for political and democratic reform in the Middle East.


                Mubarak said "one who thinks that it is possible to impose solutions or reforms from outside on any society or region is delusional." [8]


                 Amr Moussa, the league's Secretary-General, said good progress was made during two days of talks. But he warned real reform could take some time, the Voice of America reported.

                Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria introduced a proposal calling for the creation of new bodies within the Arab League. Some would focus on security and economic cooperation, others would formally approve and implement Arab League decisions.

              Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said a comprehensive project to reform the league will be released later this month i.e. March 2004.

             League Spokesman Hossam Zaki declined to give specifics, but said the ministers are looking toward more unity in economic and decision-making matters, and want to give the organization more authority.
[9]

 

 

Reforming LAS: Defining the Challenges and Issues to be Addressed: American External Intervention versus Arab Internal Imperatives

On 1st  Mach 2004, Foreign ministers of the Arab League’s 22 members began talks  to draw up a blueprint for radical reform of their organisation, to be submitted to a summit that was due March 29 and 30 in Tunis.[10] League Secretary General Amr Mussa said earlier that the special meeting in Cairo, would focus on ways for “radical modernisation of the League through reform and restructuring”.

Mussa had given the ministers proposals based on various ideas made by seven Arab countries. These include creating an Arab parliament, an Arab security council, court of justice, an investment and development bank and a high council of culture.

               There was also a proposal to change the League’s voting mechanism to end the current system, which demands a unanimous vote.

            The members, who were all represented by ministers except for Libya which had sent its permanent League representative Abdel Moneem al-Huni, had discussed a project from Saudi Arab and Egypt, backed by Syria, aiming to end near paralysis in the pan-Arab body by modernising its institutions.

             Set up in 1945, the Arab League groups 21 countries and the Palestinian Authority. Differences between its members, displayed openly at its summit in March 2003 just before US-led the war against Iraq, had largely paralysed its various bodies.

              Mussa’s deputy Nureddin Hashed told AFP that the Tunis summit would be “a chance for Arab leaders to announce the creation of a ‘New Arab League’ by adopting a plan to reform and modernise the organisation”.[11] “All the Arab countries agree on the need to reform the League,” he said.[12]

                According to some analyses Arab foreign ministers (FMs), ending a two-day meeting met in Cairo on 1st March 2004, failed to adopt a joint Arab strategy to confront US Pres. Bush's "Greater Middle East Initiative" to democratize the region and a plan to reform the Arab League. The ministers decided to refer these two matters for their rulers to handle at their Arab summit conference which had been planned to be held in Tunisia in 2004.[13]

 

                The reforms discussed are wide-ranging, from reforming the voting system to make it more flexible, integrating Arab citizens into the league through the establishment of an Arab parliament, to the creation of an Arab Security Council. Musa declared.

 

Establishing an Arab Court of Justice

An issue that has been often discussed and that has yet to see the light of day is the creation of an Arab Court of Justice. Although apparently not directly linked to the question of reforming the Arab League, the issue is important because creating such a court consecrates the authority of law as an authority transcending that of the ruler, and makes the latter accountable for violations of the law or the constitution.

LAS and Voting System

Any attempt to reform the Arab League, must address the system of voting, that is, whether resolutions should be passed by unanimous or majority vote. The system of unanimity applied in the Arab League allows a country like Djibouti to block the passage of a resolution that involves the fate of states such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Iraq. Sticking to unanimity means giving veto powers to the weakest Arab countries and enabling them to prevent the Arab League from taking initiatives, even if strongly supported by a wide majority of Arab states, including the most powerful among them.

The idea of unanimity upholds the right of every Arab state to cling to its sovereign prerogatives without reservation, and to join other Arab states only to the extent that this would not affect its sovereignty. This is in direct contradiction with the notion that the Arab states are linked together by ties which distinguish them from other states and that these ties should be perceived as an asset, not a liability.

To sum up, requiring unanimity can appear as totalitarian, and, consequently, non-democratic, at a time democracy is moving forward towards still further sophistication, granting rights to the minorities and not only to the majority. Moving from unanimity to majority rule is a fundamental change in the understanding of Arab unity and its philosophy. The Egyptian initiative mentioned a number of forms that majority rule could adopt: voting by consensus, by simple majority, through a succession of votes on one same issue within the context of given restrictions, etc. Each form of vote reflects a given understanding of the role the Arab League will be called upon to play, and will require a thorough analysis before a final decision is taken.[14]

In addition to what have been above-mentioned, there are a number of  other issues such as establishing an Arab parliament, establishing Arab Security Council, and enhancing the role of NGOs.

 

 

The  Arab Regimes Official  Initiatives to Reform the League of Arab States and Arab Regional System [15]: An Analytical Review

                 The reform initiatives, proposed over the course of the year 2003 and  the years 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. 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.[16]


1 . The Egyptian Initiative/Proposal for Developing the Arab League


            The Egyptian initiative begins with the assertion that the League of Arab States, despite obvious flaws, has played a vital role in the Arab state system, particularly in the Fifties and Sixties. The Egyptian initiative maintained that the weaknesses of the League are result of its being an inter-governmental regional organization that has no effective authority over its member countries.

 The Egyptian initiative focused primarily on improving the political and legal framework of the League, and on galvanizing Arab political will through the following principals:[17]

1) Improving Arab-Arab relations, eliminating animosities, and settling disputes to help save the Arab state system, while strengthening its primary institution: the League of Arab States.

2) Activating the role of the Arab League as the primary vehicle for joint Arab action, and reevaluating the effect of parallel Arab institutions on the performance and status of the League.

3) Creating an Arab court of justice to settle disputes and adopting effective conflict prevention mechanisms as follows:

4) Effort must be made to deepen Arab Economic Integration using innovative ideas such as creating a mechanism for tracking progress in this direction, committees to coordinate between comparable economic sectors in Arab countries, and the inclusion of the private sector in this area.

5) Establishing an Arab Parliament. MPs may be chosen from existing Arab representative assemblies, through direct elections, or through a combination of both. This Parliament would be responsible for watching over the different units of the League and for drafting its general policies, in addition to judicial and fiscal monitoring.
             6) Setting up an Arab National Security System through one of the following mechanisms:

A) " Forming an Arab Security Council comparable to other national and regional organizations, but without the hindrances created by veto rights and unanimous voting.

B) " Forming an Arab National Security Forum, which includes defense and security officials, and strategic experts. This forum would allow for the discussion of security issues and sources of threat and conflict within a general Arab framework.
             7) Supporting specialized Arab organizations that reflect cultural and economic ties among Arab states. These organizations must undergo a comprehensive assessment and evaluation. New functional organizations with optional membership, working under the umbrella of the Arab League should also be established .
             8) Connecting the League to Arab civil society organizations and amending the League's charter to orient it towards the goal of creating relationships with non-governmental organizations.

              9) Modifying the voting system within the institutions of the League. The unanimity rule has paralyzed the League and other approaches to voting need to be considered such as the different types of majority vote.

              10) Adopting the collective diplomacy approach. The Arab League must speak in the name of all Arab countries. This can be achieved through the creation of a committee charged with Arab collective diplomatic action.

            11) Improving and supporting the General Secretariat of the League.                                 The League Secretariat can be strengthened by improving its human resources, achieving a more balanced geographical distribution, and freeing it from financial constraints.

            The Egyptian proposal stipulated that the ideal framework for developing the League of Arab States is limited to one of three options:

A) First, abandoning the current charter altogether and drafting a new one. B)Second, introducing partial adjustments to the present charter.

C) Third, keeping the charter as is, and adding one or more appendices to it.

 

 

 

 

2. The Saudi Initiative to Reform the League of Arab States


                   The Saudi initiative to reform the LAS emphasized the importance of serious commitment to joint Arab action, the importance of implementing Arab Summit resolutions, as well as adopting a new Charter to strengthen and reinforce inter-Arab relations.

The initiative proposed a number of internal reforms in the following areas:

               1) Inter-Arab relations and capacity building for a comprehensive Arab renaissance.
               2) Coordinating foreign policy, especially in the area of security, and the outright rejection of foreign or Arab aggression against any Arab country.
                3) Internal reform, sustainable development, and political participation.
               4) Cooperation in the area of defense, and working towards the protection of the sovereignty of Arab countries, and building Arab defense capabilities to promote a fair and comprehensive peace in the region.

               5) Economic policies that support Arab economic integration through the establishment of an Arab Free Trade Zone, the inflow of investments and the development of the private sector.

            The Saudi initiative proposed a number of concrete recommendations to improve the decision-making processes of the League and to ensure the compliance of member states with decisions taken by the League. The Saudi Initiative maintained that the implementation of the proposed reforms should not be subject to the approval of all member states and that those states committed to the Arab state system should begin by adopting these reforms.

The Saudi initiative proposed the following reforms in the area of decision-making and compliance:

1) If consensus cannot be achieved, the Arab League Council must base its decisions on a two-thirds majority vote. Procedural issues should be subject to a simple majority vote.

            2) Decisions taken by consensus are binding on all members. Decisions taken by a two-thirds majority vote are binding on all members only when they pertain to the establishment of new organizations affiliated with the League. In all other areas, they are only binding on those states who voted in favor.
           3) Countries that vote against decisions passed by a two-thirds majority are free to adopt an independent position. However, they must adhere to their general obligations to the League and present a written statement to the Council outlining how they intend to fulfill those obligations in a manner that does not hinder joint Arab action.
              4) With regards to compliance, the initiative proposed the adoption of the following mechanisms:

              A). The creation of a committee composed of no less than 3 countries and no more than a third of the Council's members, to monitor the compliance of member states with the decisions of the Council.

              B). The Committee, upon the approval of a third of the Council, can recommend that the Council take a vote on a resolution censuring a member state for non-compliance.
              C). If the resolution passes, the country in question is required to comply within six months after which the council must withdraw the resolution. If the country does not comply within a year, it loses the right to vote until the Council decides otherwise.
                   D). If after two years, the resolution still stands, the Council is entitled to form a committee to investigate how to deal with the country in question.

                   E). If after three years, the resolution still stands, the non-compliant country could lose its membership in the League. It can only recover its membership by filing a request after two years have elapsed, subject to the Council's approval.


Joint Arab Economic Action

Saudi recommendations for the development of joint Arab economic action build on previous experience in this area. the Saudi initiative proposes a long term and gradual plan of regional economic integration, which depends primarily on creating joint institutions and developing existing ones, and on synchronizing Arab economies and deepening commitment to the goal of Arab economic integration through some of the following means;

1) Formulating a new comprehensive joint Arab economic action treaty, to be implemented according to the following steps:

a) Completing the establishment of the Arab free trade zone.
              b) Establishing a customs union, which does not conflict with World Trade Organization (WTO) requirements.

c) Establishing an Arab common market.

d) Establishing an Arab economic union with its various monetary and trading organizations.

2) Re-evaluating secondary joint Arab economic action treaties, including bi-lateral and multilateral treaties.

3) Proceeding with economic reforms in the Arab world by expediting structural reforms, removing bureaucratic obstacles, and pursuing developmental goals to reduce the disparities between Arab economies, which impede joint Arab economic cooperation.

4) Reforming institutions which can support regional economic cooperation such as the Social and Economic Council and the Arab Monetary Fund in order to reduce inefficiencies.

5) Increasing the contribution of the private sector and of Arab financial institutions to the process of Arab economic cooperation.


3- The Yemeni Initiative to reform the LAS: Creating an Arab Union

 

Yemen believes that restructuring the League of Arab States is the first step on the road to reforming Arab-Arab relations and achieving greater political and economic integration. Yemen proposed moving away from the existing structure of the League to a new Arab entity that may be called the Arab Union. Yemen also proposed the creation of a ministerial committee composed of seven Arab countries, which assumes responsibility for preparing a draft constitution for the Arab Union within a six months period. The draft constitution will then reviewed by all member countries and submitted to the Arab League Council and then to a regular or emergency Arab Summit for ratification.

Yemen believes that the Union must be founded on a set of core principles, the most important of which being:

 (a) respecting the sovereignty of each Arab country and its right to select its own governmental system,

 (b) non-interference in the internal affairs of member countries,

(c)the encouragement of democratic practices and respect for human rights,

 (d) non-recognition of illegitimately-begotten authority,

(e) establishing an Arab regional security system,

(f) commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes, to the United Nations' charter, to international stability and security and to fighting terrorism.

The principal goal of the Union, according to the Yemeni initiative, it is to achieve economic integration, as the only means towards achieving true political unity.
              As for the internal structure of the Union, Yemen proposed the following institutions and mechanisms:

1) The High Council: the highest authority in the Union comprises Arab heads of states with an annually rotating leadership. The Council plans and decides on general policies and adopts resolutions and recommendations put forth by lower bodies.

2) The Legislative Authority or National Assembly: The proposed National Assembly comprises two chambers, a People's Assembly and a Consultative Assembly. It embodies the right of the Arab People to supervise and monitor the Union's institutions.

3) The Executive Council: the Executive Council comprises the heads of governments of Union countries.

4) Ministerial Councils: A Foreign Ministers Council, a Security and Defense Council, an Economic Council, etc. These Councils will work towards greater policy integration among Arab ministries in all areas and will follow up on their implementation.

5) Arab Court of Justice: Specialized in resolving disputes between member countries.

LAS Voting System

As for the proposed voting system, the Yemeni initiative proposes:

a) a simple majority vote for procedural matters,

b)a two-thirds majority vote for substantial matters,

c) a three-quarters majority vote for vital issues,

d) and unanimity when the question involves accepting a new member into the Union.

 The Union Council decides the Union's budget and divides it among Union members according to their national income.[18]

 


4. The Libyan Initiative to Reform the Arab League: Creating an Arab Union
      

The Libyan Initiative proposes to create a new Arab Union with a new charter. The charter of a new Arab Union proposed by Libya comprises 21 articles.

 

The Goals of the Proposed Arab Union  according to the Libyan perspective

   

           The charter maintains that the purposes of the Arab Union are as follows:

A)  to homogenize Arab policies in the areas of trade, defense and foreign policy,

B) to form an Arab common market. The charter also calls on Arab countries

C) to homogenize their economic, fiscal, transport, cultural, social and citizenship policies and it proposes establishing a special committee to handle the implementation of these propositions.

 

The most significant articles of the Libyan proposed charter can be summarized as follows:

             1) The use of violence to resolve disputes between member countries in the Union is prohibited. If a disagreement arises, the conflicting parties must resort to a summit meeting to resolve it, its decisions being both final and binding.

            2) The Summit mediates and issues resolutions by a two-thirds majority in the case of a dispute between a member country and non-member country.
          3) If a country assaults or otherwise threatens a member country, the assaulted country must call upon the Ministerial Council to convene at once to decide (with a two-thirds majority vote) how to deal with the assault.

          4) The member countries must make a commitment to respect each country's existing system of government, and refrain from any action intended to overturn it. The Union has the prerogative to intervene to ensure the stability of any member country's internal system.

         5) Member countries wishing to deepen relations with other member countries may do so through separate treaties.

         6) Members of the Union may not sign military treaties with non-member countries.
         7) If a country wishes to withdraw from the Union it must notify the Council of its intent a year in advance.


The suggested Arab Union Organs

           The Union is comprised of :

a) the Summit conference,

b)  the Ministerial Council,

c) the General Secretariat,

d)  the Permanent Representatives Council,

e) the Arab Security Council,

f) the Joint Defense Council, Specialized Committees,

g) the Court of Justice, and

h) the Socioeconomic Council and existing institutions.

          The Ministerial Council comprises ministers from member countries, each with a single vote. It is permanently located in Cairo and convenes three times a year.

       The General Secretariat is composed of a Secretary General and a number of assistants and executives. The Secretary General is elected by the Summit conference with a two-thirds majority. He is the official spokesperson for the Union, and is responsible for preparing the budget and for submitting it to the Ministerial Council for ratification.

                Voting at the Ministerial Council level is based on a two-thirds majority vote. Decisions approved by a two thirds majority are binding on all member countries, whereas decisions taken by a simple majority vote (51%), are binding only on those who vote in favor. the Summit conference has the right to amend the Union Charter with a two-thirds majority vote.

 

 

 

5- Qatari  Proposal/Ideas for Reforming the League of Arab States


            Qatar proposed a number of ideas to achieve a minimum level of Arab cohesion. The main points of the Qatari intiative are as folows:

A)    It emphasized the need for joint economic cooperation and the development of a short-term and a medium-term strategy for dealing with novel developments in the region.

B)     The Qatari proposal called for expediting the creation of a common Arab market and for a higher sense of partnership between the Arab regional system and other regional and international systems, civil society organizations and the private sector.

C)     Qatar called for a higher degree of harmony with existing international strategies and for strengthening dialogue among Arab countries and with the outside world.

D)    Qatari ideas revolved around how to galvanize joint Arab action, stressing the importance of regional cooperation in competing with other regional blocs, as well as the importance of greater collaboration with international and regional organizations, and of activating the Social and Economic Council and reinforcing its authorities.

E)      It also stressed the importance of committing all member countries to paying their dues to the League and of spending the League's funds more efficiently.

F)     The Qatari proposal also stressed the importance of developing the League's human resources, and of giving the Secretary General the prerogative to introduce modern administrative methods.[19]



6- Sudanese Initiative/ Ideas for The LAS Reform


       The Sudanese proposal starts by diagnosing the current Arab situation and by providing that the Arab World faces two distinct challenges:

 first, a global threat to defame the image of Arabs and Islam;

second, direct aggression against particular Arab countries.

          These challenges make it important to reinforce Arab cooperation and to mobilize all resources to defend Arab existence and destiny. Three things are required to achieve this end:

1)      A unified Arab political will to confront these dangers through mechanisms such as emergency summits.

2)      Supporting the Palestinian people and all forms of resistance to recover the occupied territories.

3)      Warding off the threat against Iraq through the implementation of Security Council's resolution 1441 to facilitate the mission of international inspectors. This requires Arab commitment to the Arab League charter, and the activation of the various treaties, agreements and resolutions issued by the Arab League. The restructuring of the League must be executed, and specialized organizations reevaluated. Major Arab projects such as the Council for Arab Economic Unity, the Common Arab Market and the Free Trade Organization must be put in motion, and a comprehensive strategy must be formulated to serve as the foundation of a new Arab renaissance.




The Sudanese vision proposes several strategies to renew Arab World Societies, mainly:

1)        Reforms within each country: the implementation of socio-economic developmental plans and bridging the gap between the Arab World and developed nations. In this context, increased political participation and the role of civil society become necessary.

2) A greater Arab presence abroad: greater attention to Arab and Muslim communities abroad is necessary. Arab countries must support these communities and encourage them to organize themselves and to channel their knowledge to serve their countries of origin.



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