Benefits of integration
There have been attempts at integration in the Arab world, varied efforts—different combinations of political, structural, and economic integration—that have met with equally varied success. The Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council are two of these, both making different contributions to the goal of Arab integration.
The Arab League was established in 1945 and originally consisted of seven nations: Syria, Trans-Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt and Yemen, and was meant to “strengthen relations between the Arab states upon a basis of respect for the independence and sovereignty of these states” (Hudson 11). The Arab League was structurally sound as a concept: seven autonomous nations that expressed a commitment to regional economic development and forming what Hudson calls a “security-community” to create an atmosphere of mutual trust.
In 1950, member states signed a treaty for defense and economic cooperation, including the creation of a joint defense council and a military commission, and in 1953 two economic agreements were passed: one to facilitate trade, and one governing transit trade. There were customs exemptions on almost all raw materials, and reductions on customs for most industrial products. Further economic cooperation came in 1958 when the Arab League Economic Council formed the Council of Economic Union, which was signed by seven member states. This led to the creation of the Arab Common Market of 1965—but that’s where things stopped going according to plan.
Only four of the seven member states signed on to the Arab Common Market."