Qatar could nominate Al Atiyyah as next Arab League chief

March 16, 2011

Qatar is likely to nominate Abdul Rahman Al Atiyyah, the outgoing Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) secretary-general, to be the next secretary-general of the Arab League, Qatari media reported on Tuesday.

If successful, Al Atiyyah will replace Amr Mousa, who is resigning to run for president in the Egyptian elections. He would also be the first Gulf national to head the pan-Arab organisation since it was founded in 1945 in Cairo.

Al Atiyyah has headed the GCC – an alliance established in 1981 grouping Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – for nine years. He is to be replaced by Abdul Lateef Al Zayani, the first Bahraini to hold the rotating position.

Except for Chedli Klibi, a Tunisian national who was in charge of the Arab League from 1979 until 1990 when the League headquarters were moved to Tunis, all the League’s secretaries-general have been from Egypt, a fact that had often been contested by some Arab countries, mainly Algeria.

However, their inability to secure sufficient backing from fellow members has made it impossible to select another non-Egyptian secretary-general. Media reports said Arab states had turned down a suggestion to name Ahmad Bin Halli, Mousa’s Algerian deputy, as an interim secretary-general for one year until the situation became more stable in the Arab world.

Another name suggested to take over from Mousa, according to reports, is that of Eyad Alawi, the former Iraqi prime minister, who reportedly enjoys the backing of several countries.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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