The End of The Arab League?

What the Organization Can Learn From the African Union

The opening of the 25th Arab League Summit in Bayan Palace, Kuwait, March 25, 2014. Stephanie McGehee / Courtesy Reuters

Last Wednesday, the Arab League concluded its 25th annual summit. Despite Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad’s pleas in his opening remarks for participating nations to “cast aside differences,” a reference to rising tensions in the region in recent years, the two-day session ended in continued deadlock. Participants jointly rejected the notion of recognizing Israel as a “Jewish state” but remained at odds over almost everything else.

Expectations for the Arab League (which had never been high) were at an all-time low just before this summit. Regional polarization in the wake of the Arab Spring, which has pitted supporters of the uprisings, such as Tunisia, against defenders of the status quo, such as Saudi Arabia and (increasingly) Egypt, is part of the problem. Another part is the divide over the Muslim Brotherhood: Saudi Arabia and Egypt recently labeled the movement a “terrorist organization,” but Qatar, the Brotherhood’s regional sponsor,

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