Arab Cooperation Council
The Arab Cooperation Council (ACC) was founded in February 1989 by North Yemen
Yemen Arab Republic
The Yemen Arab Republic , also known as North Yemen or Yemen , was a country from 1962 to 1990 in the western part of what is now Yemen...
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...
, and Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...
The ACC was created partly in response to the four countries being left out of the 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.
However, the organization did not survive the crisis that followed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait
Invasion of Kuwait
The Invasion of Kuwait, also known as the Iraq-Kuwait War, was a major conflict between the Republic of Iraq and the State of Kuwait, which resulted in the seven-month long Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, which subsequently led to direct military intervention by United States-led forces in the Gulf...
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 President Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....
said that the security aspects of the ACC were probably designed by Iraq to lure Cairo into backing Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...
'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. Cairo officially suspended its membership in the ACC in early 1994.
The ACC's failure was no surprise to many observers. Arab political pundit Mohamed Hassanein Heikal
Mohamed Hassanein Heikal
Mohamed Hassanein Heikal is a leading Egyptian journalist. For 17 years he was editor-in-chief of the Cairo newspaper Al-Ahram and has been a respected commentator on Arab affairs for more than 50 years.-Background and Books:...
wrote in his book Illusions of Triumph (1992) that "The four leaders of the Arab Cooperation Council came for different and contradictory worlds, with outlooks so varied that they seemed improbable partners."