Ahmed Aboul Gheit of Egypt is the current secretary-general of the Arab League.
There are also four observer states: Eritrea, India, Brazil and Venezuela.
The Arab League's purpose, from the Pact of the League of Arab States, is to promote closer political, economic, cultural and social relations among the members.
A council composed of representatives from the member states works together to settle disputes peacefully. The league has five major committees: political, economic, social and cultural, legal and Palestinian affairs.
Each member has one vote on the council. Decisions are only binding to the states that have voted for them.
March 22, 1945 - The Arab League is created in Cairo with seven Arab countries - Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the Lebanese Republic, Yemen (Sanaa), Transjordan (now Jordan), Egypt and Syria.
Since 1945, 16 other members have joined - Libya (1953), Sudan (1956), Morocco (1958), Tunisia (1958), Kuwait (1961), Algeria (1962), Yemen (Aden, 1968), Bahrain (1971), Oman (1971), Qatar (1971), United Arab Emirates (1971), Mauritania (1973), Somalia (1974), the PLO (1976), Djibouti (1977) and Comoros (1993).
April 13, 1950 - League members sign an agreement on joint defense and economic cooperation.
1959 - The league holds the first Arab petroleum congress.
1964 - The league organizes the Arab League Education, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO).
1976 - ARABSAT, an Arab communications satellite system, is formed.
March 26, 1979 - Egypt signs a peace treaty with Israel. The league suspends Egypt's membership and transfers its headquarters from Cairo to Tunis, Tunisia.
1989 - Egypt is re-admitted to the league; later the headquarters is moved back to Cairo.
1990 - Yemen (Aden) and Yemen (Sanaa) unite as Yemen.
August 1990 - The league is divided over the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Members are split on a vote for a proposal to send Arab troops to join the troops defending Saudi Arabia from possible attack. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Djibouti and Somalia endorse the presence of foreign troops in Saudi Arabia.
2003 - All league members except Kuwait officially oppose a US-led war against Iraq. However, some members in addition to Kuwait, including Bahrain and Qatar, allow their territory to be used.
April 23, 2006 - Arab League Spokesman Hisham Yusif announces that the organization has promised to transfer $50 million to the Hamas-governed Palestinian Authority. This is in reaction the United States and European Union cutting off direct funding to the Hamas-led government that assumed power March 30.
March 29-30, 2009 - A two-day summit takes place in Doha, Qatar. Sudanese President Omar al Bashir attends, despite an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court.
February 22, 2011 - The Arab League releases a statement saying it is suspending Libya's participation in Arab League meetings and all of the group's agencies. The statement also condemns what it calls crimes against protesters and peaceful strikers in Libya.
March 3, 2011 - A summit scheduled for March 29 in Baghdad, Iraq, is postponed due to unrest in several Arab League countries.
March 12, 2011 - The Arab League asks the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.
July 13, 2011 - Al-Araby visits Syria and meets with President Bashar al-Assad.
November 12, 2011 - The Arab League suspends Syria's membership, effective November 16, 2011, in response to Syria's continued violence against its own citizens. 18 members vote in favor of the suspension, while Lebanon and Yemen vote no. Iraq abstains from voting.
December 19, 2011 -