The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey (both Asian and European), and Egypt (which is mostly in North Africa). Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest Middle Eastern nation while Bahrain is the smallest. The corresponding adjective is Middle Eastern and the derived noun is Middle Easterner. The term has come into wider usage as a replacement of the term Near East (as opposed to the Far East) beginning in the early 20th century.
Arabs, Turks, Persians, Kurds, and Azeris (excluding Azerbaijan) constitute the largest ethnic groups in the region by population. Arabs constitute the largest ethnic group in the region by a clear margin. Indigenous minorities of the Middle East include Jews, Baloch, Assyrians, Berbers (who primarily live in North Africa), Copts, Druze, Lurs, Mandaeans, Samaritans, Shabaks, Tats, and Zazas. European ethnic groups that form a diaspora in the region include Albanians, Bosniaks, Circassians (including Kabardians), Crimean Tatars, Greeks, Franco-Levantines, and Italo-Levantines. Among other migrant populations are Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Indonesians, Pakistanis, Pashtuns, Romani, and sub-Saharan Africans.
The history of the Middle East dates back to ancient times, with the (geopolitical) importance of the region being recognized for millennia. Several major religions have their origins in the Middle East, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; the Baha'i faith, Mandaeism, Unitarian Druze, and numerous other belief systems were also established within the region.
The Middle East generally has a hot, arid climate, with several major rivers providing irrigation to support agriculture in limited areas such as the Nile Delta in Egypt, the Tigris and Euphrates watersheds of Mesopotamia, and most of what is known as the Fertile Crescent.
Location of the Middle East
|Area||7,207,575 km2 (2,782,860 sq mi)|
|Population||371 million (2010)|
|Time Zones||UTC+2:00, UTC+3:00, UTC+3:30, UTC+4:00, UTC+4:30|
The term "Middle East" may have originated in the 1850s in the British India Office. However, it became more widely known when American naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan used the term in 1902 to "designate the area between Arabia and India". During this time the British and Russian Empires were vying for influence in Central Asia, a rivalry which would become known as The Great Game. Mahan realized not only the strategic importance of the region, but also of its center, the Persian Gulf. He labeled the area surrounding the Persian Gulf as the Middle East, and said that after Egypt's Suez Canal, it was the most important passage for Britain to control in order to keep the Russians from advancing towards British India. Mahan first used the term in his article "The Persian Gulf and International Relations", published in September 1902 in the National Review, a British journal.
The Middle East, if I may adopt a term which I have not seen, will some day need its Malta, as well as its Gibraltar; it does not follow that either will be in the Persian Gulf. Naval force has the quality of mobility which carries with it the privilege of temporary absences; but it needs to find on every scene of operation established bases of refit, of supply, and in case of disaster, of security. The British Navy should have the facility to concentrate in force if occasion arise, about Aden, India, and the Persian Gulf.
Mahan's article was reprinted in The Times and followed in October by a 20-article series entitled "The Middle Eastern Question," written by Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol. During this series, Sir Ignatius expanded the definition of Middle East to include "those regions of Asia which extend to the borders of India or command the approaches to India." After the series ended in 1903, The Times removed quotation marks from subsequent uses of the term.
Until World War II, it was customary to refer to areas centered around Turkey and the eastern shore of the Mediterranean as the "Near East", while the "Far East" centered on China, and the Middle East then meant the area from Mesopotamia to Burma, namely the area between the Near East and the Far East. In the late 1930s, the British established the Middle East Command, which was based in Cairo, for its military forces in the region. After that time, the term "Middle East" gained broader usage in Europe and the United States, with the Middle East Institute founded in Washington, D.C. in 1946, among other usage.
The description Middle has also led to some confusion over changing definitions. Before the First World War, "Near East" was used in English to refer to the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire, while "Middle East" referred to Iran, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Turkestan. In contrast, "Far East" referred to the countries of East Asia (e.g. China, Japan, Korea, etc.)
With the disappearance of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, "Near East" largely fell out of common use in English, while "Middle East" came to be applied to the re-emerging countries of the Islamic world. However, the usage "Near East" was retained by a variety of academic disciplines, including archaeology and ancient history, where it describes an area identical to the term Middle East, which is not used by these disciplines (see Ancient Near East).
The first official use of the term "Middle East" by the United States government was in the 1957 Eisenhower Doctrine, which pertained to the Suez Crisis. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles defined the Middle East as "the area lying between and including Libya on the west and Pakistan on the east, Syria and Iraq on the North and the Arabian peninsula to the south, plus the Sudan and Ethiopia." In 1958, the State Department explained that the terms "Near East" and "Middle East" were interchangeable, and defined the region as including only Egypt, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar.
The Associated Press Stylebook says that Near East formerly referred to the farther west countries while Middle East referred to the eastern ones, but that now they are synonymous. It instructs:
Use Middle East unless Near East is used by a source in a story. Mideast is also acceptable, but Middle East is preferred.
There are terms similar to Near East and Middle East in other European languages, but since it is a relative description, the meanings depend on the country and are different from the English terms generally. In German the term Naher Osten (Near East) is still in common use (nowadays the term Mittlerer Osten is more and more common in press texts translated from English sources, albeit having a distinct meaning) and in Russian Ближний Восток or Blizhniy Vostok, Bulgarian Близкия Изток, Polish Bliski Wschód or Croatian Bliski istok (meaning Near East in all the four Slavic languages) remains as the only appropriate term for the region. However, some languages do have "Middle East" equivalents, such as the French Moyen-Orient, Swedish Mellanöstern, Spanish Oriente Medio or Medio Oriente, and the Italian Medio Oriente.[note 1]
Perhaps because of the influence of the Western press, the Arabic equivalent of Middle East (Arabic: الشرق الأوسط ash-Sharq al-Awsaṭ) has become standard usage in the mainstream Arabic press, comprising the same meaning as the term "Middle East" in North American and Western European usage. The designation, Mashriq, also from the Arabic root for East, also denotes a variously defined region around the Levant, the eastern part of the Arabic-speaking world (as opposed to the Maghreb, the western part). Even though the term originated in the West, apart from Arabic, other languages of countries of the Middle East also use a translation of it. The Persian equivalent for Middle East is خاورمیانه (Khāvar-e miyāneh), the Hebrew is המזרח התיכון (hamizrach hatikhon) and the Turkish is Orta Doğu.
GDP, bn (2012)
|Per capita (2012)||Currency||Government||Official
|Bahrain||665||1,234,596||1,646.1||Manama||$30.355||$26,368||Bahraini dinar||Absolute monarchy||Arabic|
|Egypt||1,010,407||82,798,000||90||Cairo||$262.26||$3,179||Egyptian pound||Presidential republic||Arabic|
|Iran||1,648,195||78,868,711||45||Tehran||$548.59||$7,207||Iranian rial||Islamic republic||Persian|
|Iraq||438,317||33,635,000||73.5||Baghdad||$216.04||$6,410||Iraqi dinar||Parliamentary republic||Arabic,
|Israel||20,770||7,653,600||365.3||Jerusalema||$257.62||$33,451||Israeli shekel||Parliamentary republic||Hebrew|
|Jordan||92,300||6,318,677||68.4||Amman||$30.98||$4,843||Jordanian dinar||Constitutional monarchy||Arabic|
|Kuwait||17,820||3,566,437||167.5||Kuwait City||$184.54||$48,761||Kuwaiti dinar||Constitutional monarchy||Arabic|
|Lebanon||10,452||4,228,000||404||Beirut||$42.519||$10,425||Lebanese pound||Parliamentary republic||Arabic|
|Oman||212,460||2,694,094||9.2||Muscat||$78.290||$25,356||Omani rial||Absolute monarchy||Arabic|
|Qatar||11,437||1,696,563||123.2||Doha||$192.40||$104,756||Qatari riyal||Absolute monarchy||Arabic|
|Saudi Arabia||2,149,690||27,136,977||12||Riyadh||$733.95||$25,139||Saudi riyal||Absolute monarchy||Arabic|
|Syria||185,180||23,695,000||118.3||Damascus||n/a||n/a||Syrian pound||Presidential republic||Arabic|
|Turkey||783,562||73,722,988||94.1||Ankara||$788.04||$10,523||Turkish lira||Presidential republic||Turkish|
|United Arab Emirates||82,880||8,264,070||97||Abu Dhabi||$383.79||$43,774||UAE dirham||Federal Absolute monarchy||Arabic|
|$35.05||$1,354||Yemeni rial||Provisional presidential republic||Arabic|
Various concepts are often being paralleled to Middle East, most notably Near East, Fertile Crescent and the Levant. Near East, Levant and Fertile Crescent are geographic concepts, which refer to large sections of the modern defined Middle East, with Near East being the closest to Middle East in its geographic meaning. Due to it primarily being Arabic speaking, the Maghreb region of North Africa is sometimes included.
The Greater Middle East was a political term coined by the second Bush administration in the first decade of the 21st century, to denote various countries, pertaining to the Muslim world, specifically Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Various Central Asian countries are sometimes also included.
The Middle East lies at the juncture of Eurasia and Africa and of the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. It is the birthplace and spiritual center of religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Manichaeism, Yezidi, Druze, Yarsan and Mandeanism, and in Iran, Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, Manicheanism, and the Bahá'í Faith. Throughout its history the Middle East has been a major center of world affairs; a strategically, economically, politically, culturally, and religiously sensitive area.
The world's earliest civilizations, Mesopotamia (Sumer, Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia) and ancient Egypt, originated in the Fertile Crescent and Nile Valley regions of the ancient Near East. These were followed by the Hittite, Greek and Urartian civilisations of Asia Minor, Elam in pre-Iranian Persia, as well as the civilizations of the Levant (such as Ebla, Ugarit, Canaan, Aramea, Phoenicia and Israel), Persian and Median civilizations in Iran, North Africa (Carthage/Phoenicia) and the Arabian Peninsula (Magan, Sheba, Ubar). The Near East was first largely unified under the Neo Assyrian Empire, then the Achaemenid Empire followed later by the Macedonian Empire and after this to some degree by the Iranian empires (namely the Parthian and Sassanid Empires), the Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire. However, it would be the later Arab Caliphates of the Middle Ages, or Islamic Golden Age which began with the Arab conquest of the region in the 7th century AD, that would first unify the entire Middle East as a distinct region and create the dominant Islamic ethnic identity that largely (but not exclusively) persists today. The Mongols, the Kingdom of Armenia, the Seljuks, the Safavids, the Ottoman Empire, and the British Empire also dominated the region.
The modern Middle East began after World War I, when the Ottoman Empire, which was allied with the Central Powers, was defeated by the British Empire and their allies and partitioned into a number of separate nations, initially under British and French Mandates. Other defining events in this transformation included the establishment of Israel in 1948 and the eventual departure of European powers, notably Britain and France by the end of the 1960s. They were supplanted in some part by the rising influence of the United States from the 1970s onwards.
In the 20th century, the region's significant stocks of crude oil gave it new strategic and economic importance. Mass production of oil began around 1945, with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates having large quantities of oil. Estimated oil reserves, especially in Saudi Arabia and Iran, are some of the highest in the world, and the international oil cartel OPEC is dominated by Middle Eastern countries.
During the Cold War, the Middle East was a theater of ideological struggle between the two superpowers and their allies: NATO and the United States on one side, and the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact on the other, as they competed to influence regional allies. Besides the political reasons there was also the "ideological conflict" between the two systems. Moreover, as Louise Fawcett argues, among many important areas of contention, or perhaps more accurately of anxiety, were, first, the desires of the superpowers to gain strategic advantage in the region, second, the fact that the region contained some two-thirds of the world's oil reserves in a context where oil was becoming increasingly vital to the economy of the Western world [...] Within this contextual framework, the United States sought to divert the Arab world from Soviet influence. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, the region has experienced both periods of relative peace and tolerance and periods of conflict particularly between Sunnis and Shiites.
Arabs constitute the largest ethnic group in the Middle East, followed by Turkic people. Native ethnic groups of the region include, in addition to Arabs, Arameans, Assyrians, Baloch, Berbers, Copts, Druze, Jews, Kurds, Lurs, Mandaeans, Persians, Samaritans, Shabaks, Tats, and Zazas.
"Migration has always provided an important vent for labor market pressures in the Middle East. For the period between the 1970s and 1990s, the Arab states of the PersianGulf in particular provided a rich source of employment for workers from Egypt, Yemen and the countries of the Levant, while Europe had attracted young workers from North African countries due both to proximity and the legacy of colonial ties between France and the majority of North African states." According to the International Organization for Migration, there are 13 million first-generation migrants from Arab nations in the world, of which 5.8 reside in other Arab countries. Expatriates from Arab countries contribute to the circulation of financial and human capital in the region and thus significantly promote regional development. In 2009 Arab countries received a total of 35.1 billion USD in remittance in-flows and remittances sent to Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon from other Arab countries are 40 to 190 per cent higher than trade revenues between these and other Arab countries. In Somalia, the Somali Civil War has greatly increased the size of the Somali diaspora, as many of the best educated Somalis left for Middle Eastern countries as well as Europe and North America.
A fair proportion of those migrating from Arab nations are from ethnic and religious minorities facing racial and or religious persecution and are not necessarily ethnic Arabs, Iranians or Turks. Large numbers of Kurds, Jews, Assyrians, Greeks and Armenians as well as many Mandeans have left nations such as Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey for these reasons during the last century. In Iran, many religious minorities such as Christians, Baha'is and Zoroastrians have left since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
The Middle East is very diverse when it comes to religions, many of which originated there. Islam is the largest religion in the Middle East, but other faiths that originated there, such as Judaism and Christianity, are also well represented. Christians represent 40.5% of Lebanon, where the Lebanese president, half of the cabinet, and half of the parliament follow one of the various Lebanese Christian rites. There are also important minority religions like the Bahá'í Faith, Yarsanism, Yazidism, Zoroastrianism, Mandaeism, Druze, and Shabakism, and in ancient times the region was home to Mesopotamian religions, Canaanite religions, Manichaeism, Mithraism and various monotheist gnostic sects.
The five top languages, in terms of numbers of speakers, are Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, and Hebrew. Arabic and Hebrew represent the Afro-Asiatic language family. Persian and Kurdish belong to the Indo-European language family. Turkish belongs to Turkic language family. About 20 minority languages are also spoken in the Middle East.
Arabic, with all its dialects, are the most widely spoken languages in the Middle East, with Literary Arabic being official in all North African and in most West Asian countries. Arabic dialects are also spoken in some adjacent areas in neighbouring Middle Eastern non-Arab countries. It is a member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic languages. Several Modern South Arabian languages such as Mehri and Soqotri are also spoken Yemen and Oman. Another Semitic language such as Aramaic and its dialects are spoken mainly by Assyrians and Mandaeans. There is also a Oasis Berber-speaking community in Egypt where the language is also known as Siwa. It is a non-Semitic Afro-Asiatic language.
Persian is the second most spoken language. While it is primarily spoken in Iran and some border areas in neighbouring countries, the country is one of the region's largest and most populous. It belongs to the Indo-Iranian branch of the family of Indo-European languages. Other Western Iranic languages spoken in the region include Achomi, Daylami, Kurdish dialects, Semmani, Lurish, amongst many others.
The third-most widely spoken language, Turkish, is largely confined to Turkey, which is also one of the region's largest and most populous countries, but it is present in areas in neighboring countries. It is a member of the Turkic languages, which have their origins in Central Asia. Another Turkic language, Azerbaijani, is spoken by Azerbaijanis in Iran.
English is commonly taught and used as a second language, especially among the middle and upper classes, in countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Kurdistan, Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. It is also a main language in some Emirates of the United Arab Emirates.
French is taught and used in many government facilities and media in Lebanon, and is taught in some primary and secondary schools of Egypt and Syria. Maltese, a Semitic language mainly spoken in Europe, is also used by the Franco-Maltese diaspora in Egypt.
Armenian and Greek speakers are also to be found in the region. Georgian is spoken by the Georgian diaspora. Russian is spoken by a large portion of the Israeli population, because of emigration in the late 1990s. Russian today is a popular unofficial language in use in Israel; news, radio and sign boards can be found in Russian around the country after Hebrew and Arabic. Circassian is also spoken by the diaspora in the region and by almost all Circassians in Israel who speak Hebrew and English as well. The largest Romanian-speaking community in the Middle East is found in Israel, where as of 1995 Romanian is spoken by 5% of the population.[note 2]
Bengali, Hindi and Urdu is widely spoken by migrant communities in many Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia (where 20–25% of the population is South Asian), the United Arab Emirates (where 50–55% of the population is South Asian), and Qatar, which have large numbers of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian immigrants.
Middle Eastern economies range from being very poor (such as Gaza and Yemen) to extremely wealthy nations (such as Qatar and UAE). Overall, as of 2007, according to the CIA World Factbook, all nations in the Middle East are maintaining a positive rate of growth.
According to the World Bank's World Development Indicators database published on July 1, 2009, the three largest Middle Eastern economies in 2008 were Turkey ($794,228), Saudi Arabia ($467,601) and Iran ($385,143) in terms of Nominal GDP. Regarding nominal GDP per capita, the highest ranking countries are Qatar ($93,204), the UAE ($55,028), Kuwait ($45,920) and Cyprus ($32,745). Turkey ($1,028,897), Iran ($839,438) and Saudi Arabia ($589,531) had the largest economies in terms of GDP-PPP. When it comes to per capita (PPP)-based income, the highest-ranking countries are Qatar ($86,008), Kuwait ($39,915), the UAE ($38,894), Bahrain ($34,662) and Cyprus ($29,853). The lowest-ranking country in the Middle East, in terms of per capita income (PPP), is the autonomous Palestinian Authority of Gaza and the West Bank ($1,100).
The economic structure of Middle Eastern nations are different in the sense that while some nations are heavily dependent on export of only oil and oil-related products (such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait), others have a highly diverse economic base (such as Cyprus, Israel, Turkey and Egypt). Industries of the Middle Eastern region include oil and oil-related products, agriculture, cotton, cattle, dairy, textiles, leather products, surgical instruments, defence equipment (guns, ammunition, tanks, submarines, fighter jets, UAVs, and missiles). Banking is also an important sector of the economies, especially in the case of UAE and Bahrain.
With the exception of Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon and Israel, tourism has been a relatively undeveloped area of the economy, in part because of the socially conservative nature of the region as well as political turmoil in certain regions of the Middle East. In recent years, however, countries such as the UAE, Bahrain, and Jordan have begun attracting greater number of tourists because of improving tourist facilities and the relaxing of tourism-related restrictive policies.
Unemployment is notably high in the Middle East and North Africa region, particularly among young people aged 15–29, a demographic representing 30% of the region's total population. The total regional unemployment rate in 2005, according to the International Labour Organization, was 13.2%, and among youth is as high as 25%, up to 37% in Morocco and 73% in Syria.
Al Jazeera (Arabic: الجزيرة, translit. al-jazīrah, IPA: [æl (d)ʒæˈziːrɑ], literally "The Island", though referring to the Arabian Peninsula in context), also known as JSC (Jazeera Satellite Channel), is a state-funded broadcaster in Doha, Qatar, owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current-affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty television channels in multiple languages.
Al Jazeera Media Network is a major global news organization, with 80 bureaux around the world. The original Al Jazeera Arabic channel's willingness to broadcast dissenting views, for example on call-in shows, created controversies in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. The station gained worldwide attention following the outbreak of the war in Afghanistan, when its office there was the only channel to cover the war live.Al Jazeera Media Network is owned by the government of Qatar. Al Jazeera Media Network has stated that they are editorially independent from the government of Qatar as the network is funded through loans and grants rather than government subsidies. Critics have accused Al Jazeera of being a propaganda outlet for the Qatari government. The network is sometimes perceived to have mainly Islamist perspectives, promoting the Muslim Brotherhood, and having a pro-Sunni and an anti-Shia bias in its reporting of regional issues. However, Al Jazeera insists it covers all sides of a debate; it says it presents Israel's view, Iran's view and even aired videos released by Osama bin Laden. In June 2017, the Saudi, Emirati, Bahraini, and Egyptian governments demanded the closure of the news station as one of thirteen demands made to Qatar during the 2017 Qatar Crisis. Other media networks have spoken out in support of the network. According to The Atlantic magazine, Al Jazeera presents a far more moderate, Westernized face than Islamic jihadism or rigid Sunni orthodoxy, and though the network has been criticized as "an 'Islamist' stalking horse" it actually features "very little specifically religious content in its broadcasts".Arab Spring
The Arab Spring (Arabic: الربيع العربي) was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across the Middle East in late 2010. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low standard of living, beginning with protests in Tunisia (Noueihed, 2011; Maleki, 2011). In the news, social media has been heralded as the driving force behind the swift spread of revolution throughout the world, as new protests appear in response to success stories shared from those taking place in other countries (see Howard, 2011). In many countries, the governments have also recognized the importance of social media for organizing and have shut down certain sites or blocked Internet service entirely, especially in the times preceding a major rally (see The Telegraph, 2011). Governments have also scrutinized or suppressed discussion in those forums through accusing content creators of unrelated crimes or shutting down communication on specific sites or groups, such as through Facebook (Solomon, 2011; Seyid, 2011).The effects of the Tunisian Revolution spread strongly to five other countries: Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain, where either the regime was toppled or major uprisings and social violence occurred, including riots, civil wars or insurgencies. Sustained street demonstrations took place in Morocco, Iraq, Algeria, Iranian Khuzestan, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Sudan. Minor protests occurred in Djibouti, Mauritania, the Palestinian National Authority, Saudi Arabia, and the Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. A major slogan of the demonstrators in the Arab world is ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ an-niẓām ("the people want to bring down the regime").The wave of initial revolutions and protests faded by mid-2012, as many Arab Spring demonstrations were met with violent responses from authorities, as well as from pro-government militias, counter-demonstrators and militaries. These attacks were answered with violence from protestors in some cases.
Large-scale conflicts resulted: the Syrian Civil War; the Iraqi insurgency and the following civil war; the Egyptian Crisis, coup, and subsequent unrest and insurgency; the Libyan Civil War; and the Yemeni Crisis and following civil war.A power struggle continued after the immediate response to the Arab Spring. While leadership changed and regimes were held accountable, power vacuums opened across the Arab world. Ultimately it resulted in a contentious battle between a consolidation of power by religious elites and the growing support for democracy in many Muslim-majority states. The early hopes that these popular movements would end corruption, increase political participation, and bring about greater economic equity quickly collapsed in the wake of the counter-revolutionary moves by foreign state actors in Yemen and of the Saudi-UAE-linked military deep state in Egypt, the regional and international military interventions in Bahrain and Yemen, and the destructive civil wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.Some have referred to the succeeding and still ongoing conflicts as the Arab Winter. As of May 2018, only the uprising in Tunisia has resulted in a transition to constitutional democratic governance.Buddhism in the Middle East
It is estimated that in the Middle East around 900,000 people, perhaps more, profess Buddhism as their religion. Buddhist adherents make up just over 0.3% of the total population of the Middle East. Many of these Buddhists are workers who have migrated from Asia to the Middle East in the last 20 years, many from countries that have large Buddhist populations, such as China, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. A small number of engineers, company directors, and managers from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea have also moved to the Middle East.Cinema of the Middle East
Middle Eastern cinema refers collectively to the film output and film industries of Middle East.
This particular refers to the sizeable industries of Egypt, Iran, and Turkey. By definition, it also covers the film industries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.Europe, the Middle East and Africa
EMEA (EMEIA if India is included) is a shorthand designation meaning Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It is used by institutions and governments, as well as in marketing and business. It is particularly common among North American companies.
The region is generally accepted to include all European nations, all African nations, and extends east to Iran, including Russia. Typically this does not include independent overseas territories of mainland countries in the region, such as French Guiana.Greater Middle East
The Greater Middle East is a political term, introduced in the early 2000s, denoting a set of contiguously connected countries stretching from Morocco in the west all the way to Pakistan in the east. Various countries of Central Asia are sometimes also included. According to Andrew Bacevich in his book America's war for the Greater Middle East (2016), the career soldier and Professor Emeritus at Boston University states that this region is the theatre for a series of conflicts dating back to 1980, which heralded the start of the Iran–Iraq War. Since then, the U.S. has been involved in balancing conflicts amongst these culturally interconnected nations in order to further its interests in the region. The Greater Middle East is sometimes referred to as "The New Middle East", or "The Great Middle East Project".This term was more clearly defined to denote a specific region in the U.S. administration's preparatory work for the G8 summit of 2004 as part of a proposal for sweeping change in the way the West deals with the Middle East.
Former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski stated that a "political awakening" is taking place in this region which may be an indicator of the multi-polar world that is now developing. He alluded to the Greater Middle East as the "Global Balkans", and as a control lever on an area he refers to as Eurasia.History of the Middle East
Home to the Cradle of Civilization, the Middle East (usually interchangeable with the Near East) has seen many of the world's oldest cultures and civilizations. This history started from the earliest human settlements, continuing through several major pre- and post-Islamic Empires through to the nation-states of the Middle East today.
Sumerians were the first people to develop complex systems as to be called "Civilization", starting as far back as the 5th millennium BC. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh. Mesopotamia was home to several powerful empires that came to rule almost the entire Middle East—particularly the Assyrian Empires of 1365–1076 BC and the Neo-Assyrian Empire of 911–609 BC. From the early 7th century BC and onwards, the Iranian Medes followed by Achaemenid Persia and other subsequent Iranian states empires dominated the region. In the 1st century BC, the expanding Roman Republic absorbed the whole Eastern Mediterranean, which included much of the Near East. The Eastern Roman Empire, today commonly known as the Byzantine Empire, ruling from the Balkans to the Euphrates, became increasingly defined by and dogmatic about Christianity, gradually creating religious rifts between the doctrines dictated by the establishment in Constantinople and believers in many parts of the Middle East. From the 3rd up to the course of the 7th century AD, the entire Middle East was dominated by the Byzantines and Sassanid Persia. From the 7th century, a new power was rising in the Middle East, that of Islam. The dominance of the Arabs came to a sudden end in the mid-11th century with the arrival of the Seljuq Turks. In the early 13th century, a new wave of invaders, the armies of the Mongol Empire, mainly Turkic, swept through the region. By the early 15th century, a new power had arisen in western Anatolia, the Ottoman emirs, linguistically Turkic and religiously Islamic, who in 1453 captured the Christian Byzantine capital of Constantinople and made themselves sultans.
Large parts of the Middle East became a warground between the Ottomans and Iranian Safavids for centuries starting in the early 16th century. By 1700, the Ottomans had been driven out of Hungary and the balance of power along the frontier had shifted decisively in favor of the West. The British also established effective control of the Persian Gulf, and the French extended their influence into Lebanon and Syria. In 1912, the Italians seized Libya and the Dodecanese islands, just off the coast of the Ottoman heartland of Anatolia. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Middle Eastern rulers tried to modernize their states to compete more effectively with the European powers. A turning point in the history of the Middle East came when oil was discovered, first in Persia in 1908 and later in Saudi Arabia (in 1938) and the other Persian Gulf states, and also in Libya and Algeria. A Western dependence on Middle Eastern oil and the decline of British influence led to a growing American interest in the region.
During the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, Syria and Egypt made moves towards independence. The British, the French, and the Soviets departed from many parts of the Middle East during and after World War II (1939–1945). The struggle between the Arabs and the Jews in Palestine culminated in the 1947 United Nations plan to partition Palestine. Later in the midst of Cold War tensions, the Arabic-speaking countries of Western Asia and Northern Africa saw the rise of pan-Arabism. The departure of the European powers from direct control of the region, the establishment of Israel, and the increasing importance of the oil industry, marked the creation of the modern Middle East. In most Middle Eastern countries, the growth of market economies was inhibited by political restrictions, corruption and cronyism, overspending on arms and prestige projects, and over-dependence on oil revenues. The wealthiest economies in the region per capita are the small oil-rich countries of Persian Gulf: Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.
A combination of factors—among them the 1967 Six-Day War, the 1970s energy crisis beginning with the 1973 OPEC oil embargo in response to U.S. support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War, the concurrent Saudi-led popularization of Salafism/Wahhabism, and the 1978-79 Iranian Revolution—promoted the increasing rise of Islamism and the ongoing Islamic revival (Tajdid). The Fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought a global security refocus from the Cold War to a War on Terror. Starting in the early 2010s, a revolutionary wave popularly known as the Arab Spring brought major protests, uprisings, and revolutions to several Middle Eastern and Maghreb countries. Clashes in western Iraq on 30 December 2013 were preliminary to the Sunni pan-Islamist ISIL uprising.
The term Near East can be used interchangeably with Middle East, but in a different context, especially when discussing ancient times, it may have a limited meaning, namely the northern, historically Aramaic-speaking Semitic area and adjacent Anatolian territories, marked in the two maps below.IGN
IGN (formerly Imagine Games Network) is an American video game and entertainment media website operated by IGN Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Ziff Davis, itself wholly owned by j2 Global. The company is located in San Francisco's SOMA district and is headed by its former editor-in-chief, Peer Schneider. The IGN website was the brainchild of media entrepreneur Chris Anderson and launched on September 29, 1996. It focuses on games, films, television, comics, technology, and other media. Originally a network of desktop websites, IGN is now also distributed on mobile platforms, console programs on the Xbox and PlayStation, FireTV, Roku, and via YouTube, Twitch, Hulu, and Snapchat.
Originally, IGN was the flagship website of IGN Entertainment, a website which owned and operated several other websites oriented towards players' interests, games, and entertainment, such as Rotten Tomatoes, GameSpy, GameStats, VE3D, TeamXbox, Vault Network, FilePlanet, and AskMen, among others. IGN was sold to publishing company Ziff Davis in February 2013 and now operates as a j2 Global subsidiary.Levant
The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily in Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands; that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece to Cyrenaica.The term entered English in the late 15th century from French. It derives from the Italian Levante, meaning "rising", implying the rising of the sun in the east, and is broadly equivalent to the term Al-Mashriq (Arabic: الْمَشْرق, [almaʃriq]), meaning "the east, where the sun rises".In the 13th and 14th centuries, the term levante was used for Italian maritime commerce in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Greece, Anatolia, Syria-Palestine, and Egypt, that is, the lands east of Venice. Eventually the term was restricted to the Muslim countries of Syria-Palestine and Egypt. In 1581, England set up the Levant Company to monopolize commerce with the Ottoman Empire. The name Levant States was used to refer to the French mandate over Syria and Lebanon after World War I. This is probably the reason why the term Levant has come to be used more specifically to refer to modern Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Cyprus. Some scholars misunderstood the term thinking that it derives from the name of Lebanon. Today the term is often used in conjunction with prehistoric or ancient historical references. It has the same meaning as "Syria-Palestine" or Ash-Shaam (Arabic: الـشَّـام, /ʔaʃ-ʃaːm/), the area that is bounded by the Taurus Mountains of Turkey in the North, the Mediterranean Sea in the west, and the north Arabian Desert and Mesopotamia in the east. Typically, it does not include Anatolia (also called Asia Minor), the Caucasus Mountains, or any part of the Arabian Peninsula proper. Cilicia (in Asia Minor) and the Sinai Peninsula (Asian Egypt) are sometimes included.
The term Levant was widely used to describe the region from the 18th to the mid-19th centuries, and has had steady but lower usage since the late 19th century; several dictionaries consider it to be archaic today. Both the noun Levant and the adjective Levantine are now commonly used to describe the ancient and modern culture area formerly called Syro-Palestinian or Biblical: archaeologists now speak of the Levant and of Levantine archaeology; food scholars speak of Levantine cuisine; and the Latin Christians of the Levant continue to be called Levantine Christians.The Levant has been described as the "crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, and northeast Africa", and the "northwest of the Arabian plate". The populations of the Levant share not only the geographic position, but cuisine, some customs, and history. They are often referred to as Levantines.List of modern conflicts in the Middle East
This is a list of modern conflicts in the Middle East ensuing in the geographic and political region known as the Middle East. The "Middle East" is traditionally defined as the Fertile Crescent (Mesopotamia), Levant, and Egypt and neighboring areas of Arabia, Anatolia and Iran. It currently encompasses the area from Egypt, Turkey and Cyprus in the west to Iran and the Persian Gulf in the east, and from Turkey and Iran in the north, to Yemen and Oman in the south.
Conflicts are separate incidents with at least 100 casualties, and are listed by total deaths, including sub-conflicts.
The term "modern" refers to the post-WWI period, in other words, since 1918.MENA
MENA is an English-language acronym referring to the Middle East and North Africa region. An alternative for the same group of countries is WANA (West Asia and North Africa). The term covers an extensive region stretching from Morocco to Iran, including all Mashriq and Maghreb countries. This toponym is roughly synonymous with the term the Greater Middle East.
The population of the MENA region at its least extent is estimated to be around 381 million people. This constitutes about 6% of the total world population. The MENA acronym is often used in academia, military planning, disaster relief, media planning as a broadcast region, and business writing.Mediterranean and Middle East theatre of World War II
The Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre was a major theatre of operations during the Second World War. The vast size of the Mediterranean and Middle East theatre saw interconnected naval, land, and air campaigns fought for control of the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and Southern Europe. The fighting in this theatre lasted from 10 June 1940, when Italy entered the war on the side of Nazi Germany, until 2 May 1945 when all Axis forces in Italy surrendered. However, fighting would continue in Greece – where British troops had been dispatched to aid the Greek government – during the early stages of the Greek Civil War.
The British referred to this theatre as the Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre (so called due to the location of the fighting and the name of the headquarters that controlled the initial fighting: Middle East Command) while the Americans called the theatre of operations the Mediterranean Theater of War. The German official history of the fighting is dubbed The Mediterranean, South-East Europe, and North Africa 1939–1942. Regardless of the size of the theatre, the various campaigns were not seen as neatly separated areas of operations but part of one vast theatre of war.
Fascist Italy aimed to carve out a new Roman Empire, while British forces aimed initially to retain the status quo. Italy unsuccessfully invaded Greece, and not until the introduction of German forces were Greece and Yugoslavia overrun. Allied and Axis forces engaged in back and forth fighting across North Africa, with Axis interference in the Middle East causing fighting to spread there. With confidence high from early gains, German forces planned elaborate attacks to be launched to capture the Middle East and then to possibly attack the southern border of the Soviet Union. However, following three years of fighting, Axis forces were defeated in North Africa and their interference in the Middle East was halted. Allied forces then commenced an invasion of Southern Europe, resulting in the Italians deposing Mussolini and joining the Allies. A prolonged battle for Italy took place between Allied and German forces. As the strategic situation changed in south-east Europe, British troops returned to Greece.
The theatre of war had the longest duration of the Second World War, resulted in the destruction of the Italian Empire and altered the strategic position of Germany, resulting in German divisions being deployed to Africa and Italy and total German losses (including those captured upon final surrender) being over two million. Italian losses amounted to around 177,000 men with a further several hundred thousand captured during the process of the various campaigns. British losses amount to over 300,000 men killed, wounded, or captured, and total American losses in the region amounted to 130,000.Middle East Airlines
Middle East Airlines – Air Liban S.A.L. (Arabic: طيران الشرق الأوسط ـ الخطوط الجوية اللبنانية Ṭayyarān al-Sharq al-Awsaṭ - al-Khuṭūṭ al-jawiyyah al-lubnāniyyah), more commonly known as Middle East Airlines (MEA) (Arabic: طيران الشرق الأوسط Ṭayyarān al-Sharq al-Awsaṭ), is the national flag-carrier airline of Lebanon, with its head office in Beirut, near Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport. It operates scheduled international flights to Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa from its base at Rafic Hariri International Airport.Middle East Airlines (MEA) is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance, the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The airline expressed its interest in becoming a SkyTeam associate member in early 2006 at a press conference in New York.
On 28 February 2011, MEA officially signed the partnership agreement with SkyTeam in an official ceremony in Beirut. On 28 June 2012, MEA officially joined SkyTeam to become its 17th member, as well as its second member airline in the Middle East.Middle Eastern cuisine
Middle Eastern cuisine is the cuisine of the various countries and peoples of the Middle East. The cuisine of the region is diverse while having a degree of homogeneity. It includes Arab, Iranian/Persian, Israeli/Jewish, Assyrian, Kurdish, Cypriot, and Turkish cuisines. In 2017, Middle Eastern cuisine was claimed by many sources to be one of the most popular and fastest growing ethnic cuisines in the US. Some commonly used ingredients include olives and olive oil, pitas, honey, sesame seeds, dates, sumac, chickpeas, mint, rice, and parsley. Some popular dishes include kebabs, dolma, falafel, baklava, yogurt, doner kebab, shawarma and Mulukhiyah.Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that roughly encompasses a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey (both Asian and European), and Egypt (which is mostly in North Africa). Despite having varying definitions within different academic circles, the term was originally applied to the maximum extent of the Ottoman Empire. The term has fallen into disuse in English and has been replaced by the terms Middle East, of which includes Egypt, and the latter strictly Southwest Asia, including the Transcaucasus.
According to the National Geographic Society, the terms Near East and Middle East denote the same territories and are "generally accepted as comprising the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Syria, and Turkey". As of 1997, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations defined the region similarly, but also included Afghanistan.Persian Empire
The Persian Empire (Persian: شاهنشاهی ایران, translit. Šâhanšâhiye Irân, lit. 'Imperial Iran') refers to any of a series of imperial dynasties that were centred in Persia/Iran from the 6th century BC Achaemenid Empire era to the 20th century AD in the Qajar dynasty era.Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf (Persian: خلیج فارس, translit. Xalij-e Fârs, lit. 'Gulf of Fars') is a mediterranean sea in Western Asia. The body of water is an extension of the Indian Ocean (Gulf of Oman) through the Strait of Hormuz and lies between Iran to the northeast and the Arabian Peninsula to the southwest. The Shatt al-Arab river delta forms the northwest shoreline.
The body of water is historically and internationally known as the "Persian Gulf". Some Arab governments refer to it as the "Arabian Gulf" (Arabic: الخليج العربي, translit. Al-Khalīj al-ˁArabī) or "The Gulf", but neither term is recognized internationally. The name "Gulf of Iran (Persian Gulf)" is used by the International Hydrographic Organization.The Persian Gulf was a battlefield of the 1980–1988 Iran–Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers. It is the namesake of the 1991 Gulf War, the largely air- and land-based conflict that followed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
The gulf has many fishing grounds, extensive reefs (mostly rocky, but also coral), and abundant pearl oysters, but its ecology has been damaged by industrialization and oil spills.
The Persian Gulf resides in the Persian Gulf Basin, which is of Cenozoic origin and related to the subduction of the Arabian Plate under the Zagros Mountains. The current flooding of the basin started 15,000 years ago due to rising sea levels of the Holocene glacial retreat.Tyre, Lebanon
Tyre (Arabic: صور Ṣūr; Phoenician: 𐤑𐤓 Ṣūr; Syriac-Aramaic: ܣܘܪ, Hebrew: צוֹר Tzór; Greek: Τύρος Týros; Latin: Tyrus; Armenian: Տիր Tir; French: Tyr), sometimes romanized as Sour, is a district capital in the South Governorate of Lebanon. There were approximately 117,000 inhabitants in 2003. However, the government of Lebanon has released only rough estimates of population numbers since 1932, so an accurate statistical accounting is not possible. Tyre juts out from the coast of the Mediterranean and is located about 80 km (50 mi) south of Beirut. The name of the city means "rock" after the rocky formation on which the town was originally built. The adjective for Tyre is Tyrian, and the inhabitants are Tyrians.
Tyre is an ancient Phoenician city and the legendary birthplace of Europa and Dido (Elissa). Today it is the fourth largest city in Lebanon after Beirut, Tripoli, Aley and Sidon. and houses one of the nation's major ports. Tourism is a major industry. The city has a number of ancient sites, including its Roman Hippodrome, which was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1979.
Regions of Africa
Regions of Asia