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The Arab League Failure Argument Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Jun 17th, 2020

The article written by Marco Pinfari and called “Nothing but Failure? The Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council as Mediators in Middle Eastern Conflicts” explores the conception of the Arab League and its work through the decades. The data collected for the comparative analysis made by the researchers of the article was taken from two different and updated datasets that contained the correlated war information. The work of the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council and their intervention during the conflict situations of various intensity are carefully followed and analyzed.

This is done in order to determine whether these two organizations were flawed and this is why their work did not result in much success, or they were intentionally designed to fail their conflict resolution missions. The article by Pinfari follows the historical development of the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council monitoring their failures and success in conflict mediation and resolution. In the end of the paper the author also explores possible improvements and adjustments necessary for more successful conflict management in the Middle Eastern region.

The Arab League today is the oldest regional organization that it still functioning. The League was founded in 1945 through the agreement between the six of its leaders, which are Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq. The main goal of the Council of the Arab League was to mediate various occurring disputes in order to avoid their development and intensification leading to the use of force and weapons. However, it is a well known fact that the Middle East has been through multiple major and minor armed conflicts since 1945; some of them are Gulf War and Arab-Israeli War. The contemporary argument that keeps attracting the experts is based on the question whether the League was designed to fail or it was a failure of a design.

According to the historical data, this organization turned out to be reluctant towards taking serious measures in cases of many civil conflicts within its member countries. This argument supports the theory of the League being designed to fail and intentionally avoiding fulfilling its duties. At the same time, the organization also was known to have difficulties in mediating regional and inter-state conflicts, where one of the participants was not a member of the League.

This argument definitely speaks in favor of the “failed design” point of view, because the leaders of the Council had very little or no power to influence the development on the situation in the counties that were not included into the League. This miscalculation is viewed as a failure of the founders of the organization that did not think through the possibility of such conflicts and necessary measures needed in such situations.

The opinion stating that the League did not fail intentionally is supported by the fact that statistically the Council managed to successfully resolve forty per cent of political crises and boundary wars within the region. The explanation of the Arab League’s failure provided by this point of view is based on the argument that the limitations of the organizational success in conflict resolution should be associated with political and ideological resources that served as the sources of power for the leaders of the Arab League.

The opinion that favors the idea of the designed failure argues that the League’s Council was not limited, but intentionally ignored some of the measures that could have been taken in order to avoid conflicts on the territory of the organization. This point of view is based on the fact that active participation of the Council was unwanted by the political leaders of the Middle Eastern countries and their regimes. Such participation would be likely to weaken the authority of the country leaders and create instabilities in the regimes.

As a result, the Council existed, but was passive during the moments of crises preserving the political powers on the territory of the organization, which basically means that the League was intentionally designed to fail. There is another way of looking at this argument. Taking into consideration that all the global institutions are established with a certain purpose and are allowed to play an active role in certain kinds of situations, can be viewed as a strategic approach towards power balance and authority maintenance.

There is an opinion that unions and coalitions start to appear in the regions that contain several states with weakening authority of the political leaders. The unification of such countries can be viewed as a happening that erodes the states’ sovereignty, but in reality, this is done intentionally to help preserve it. In other words, according to this point of view, the League was created to protect the inner policies and climate in the member states, but to avoid the foreign interference into the system, the organization known as a main conflict resolving organ was created.

To conclude, the Arab League is known for many failures in the sphere of conflict resolution. The exerts that believe that the League’s design was flawed bring up the data about the organization’s success in some of its actions, at the same time, the opposing opinion argues that the League was created to protect the sovereignty of the region and prevent other organizations from penetrating its politics, so it was designed to fail conflict resolution, as this was not the League’s main function.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Arab League Failure Argument'. 17 June.

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