Just How Many Arab States Are There?

June 8, 2007, 11:06 am


By Dr. Steve Carol

In recent days there has been a flurry of articles dealing with the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War – both factual and revisionist. Many of these articles speak of the Arab states and state there are “22” or even “23” Arab states. Just today, I was asked, yet again, how many Arab States are there? And why the confusion?

To set the record straight, below please find my chart of the League of Arab States. News media (who should know better) and pundits have not done their “homework.” The confusion comes from two sources.

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First, the Arab League claims 22 members — for they count “Palestine” as a real country — which it is not, despite the fact that the Arabs have had control of Gaza and Judea-Samaria (what the Arabs call the “West Bank”) from 1948-1967, and again, in the case of Gaza, since 2005. They have yet to proclaim an independent “Palestine” – nor do they want to.

Secondly, some pundits, and news media people are still counting both the Yemen Arab Republic and the Peoples’ Democratic Republic of (South) Yemen as two separate nations. The fact is that the two Yemens united in May 1990 and Arab League membership went down one.

Much of the world, including some in the U.S. and even Israel, has bought into the Arab propaganda line (yet again) to use the figure “22” as they use the terminology “West Bank,” “occupied territory,” “Arabian Gulf,” “Arabistan,” and “creation.”

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© 1983. Sixth revision 2006. Dr. S. Carol. All Rights Reserved.

Formed: Mar. 22, 1945 Headquarters: Cairo, Egypt [1]
Charter members: Egypt v, Iraq, Jordan (originally Trans-Jordan), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, & Yemen [2]
Additional Members:

Libya [3] Mar. 28, 1953 Oman Sept. 29, 1971
Sudan Jan. 9, 1956 United Arab Emirates Dec. 6, 1971
Morocco &
Oct. 1, 1958 Mauritania Nov. 28, 1973
Kuwait July 20, 1961 Somalia Feb. 14, 1974
Algeria Aug. 16, 1962 “Palestine” (PLO) Sept. 6, 1976
P.D.R. Yemen [2] Dec. 12, 1967 Djibouti Sept. 4, 1977
Bahrain & Qatar Sept. 11, 1971 Comoros Nov. 20, 1993

Eritrea was given observer status at the Arab League – Jan. 2003

[1] In Mar. 1979, Egypt was suspended from the Arab League.
The headquarters was moved to Tunis, Tunisia.
In Mar. 1989, Egypt was re-admitted to the Arab League and the headquartrs was returned to Cairo.
[2] May 22, 1990 – Yemen and P.D.R. Yemen unified into the Republic of Yemen.
[3] Oct. 25,2002, Libya withdrew from the Arab League. This would have been effective one year later; however Libya cancelled (January 16, 2003), reaffirmed (April 3, 2003), and again cancelled (May 25, 2003) the decision to withdraw.

Dr. Steve Carol
Prof. of History (retired)
Middle East Consultant Salem Radio News Network
Official Historian Middle East Radio Forum

Paradysz Matera

Related: Arab/Muslim World

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