Arab Cooperation Council
Arab Cooperation Council (ACC) was founded in February 1989 by
North Yemen, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt.
The ACC was created partly in response to the four countries being
left out of the
Gulf Cooperation Council
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), partly out of a desire
to foster closer economic cooperation and integration among its
members, and partly as an Egyptian step to rejoin mainstream Arab
politics after years of ostracism following its peace treaty with
Israel. The members of the ACC, unlike the GCC states, appeared
uncomfortable with the grouping's exclusion of other Arab states; the
ACC charter explicitly states that "Membership in the ACC shall be
open to every Arab state wishing to join it." The short-lived
organization held at least 17 formal meetings at the summit or
ministerial level in 1989 alone, in addition to dozens of
working-level sessions. This level of institutionalization was more
extensive than most Arab subregional gatherings had exhibited. Somalia
and Djibouti showed interest to join the ACC but were asked to wait
until the ACC would be consolidated.
However, the organization did not survive the crisis that followed
Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990. In part, this can be
attributed to the four countries' lack of common geopolitical
interests, the absence of a true shared identity (beyond common status
as Arab states), and tensions between
Egypt and Iraq. After the Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait,
Egypt in particular opposed Iraqi
actions—actually joining the coalition that sent troops to Saudi
Arabia and eventually liberated Kuwait. In retrospect, Egyptian
Hosni Mubarak said that the security aspects of the ACC were
probably designed by
Iraq to lure Cairo into backing Saddam Hussein's
foray into Kuwait.
Within weeks of the invasion of Kuwait, the ACC's Secretariat canceled
upcoming organizational events and the grouping ceased to exist in
anything but name.
Egypt officially suspended its membership in the
ACC in early 1994.
The ACC's failure was no surprise to many observers. Arab political
Mohamed Hassanein Heikal
Mohamed Hassanein Heikal wrote in his book Illusions of Triumph
(1992) that "The four leaders of the
Arab Cooperation Council
Arab Cooperation Council came
[from] different and contradictory worlds, with outlooks so varied
that they seemed improbable partners."
^ What do they have in common?, The world of the Arabs: A special
report on the Arab world, The Economist, J