Middle East
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Middle East
The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia and Egypt in North Africa. The corresponding adjective is Middle-Eastern and the

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For other uses, see Middle East (disambiguation). Middle East Location of the Middle East Population 371 million (2010) Countries 17 countries Languages ~60 languages Time Zones UTC+2:00, UTC+3:00, UTC+3:30, UTC+4:00, UTC+4:30 Largest cities
  • Cairo
  • Tehran
  • Istanbul
Map of the Middle East between Africa, Europe, and Central Asia. Middle East map of Köppen climate classification.

The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia and Egypt in North Africa. 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 Republic of Azerbaijan) constitute the largest ethnic groups in the region by population. Minorities of the Middle East include Jews, Assyrians and other Arameans, Baloch, Berbers, Coptic Christians, Druze, Lurs, Mandaeans, Samaritans, Shabaks, Tats, and Zazas. In the Middle East, there is also a Romani community. European ethnic groups that form a diaspora in the region include Albanians, Bosniaks, Circassians, Crimean Tatars, Franco-Levantines, and Italo-Levantines. Among other migrant populations are Bengalis as well as other Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, Indonesians, Pakistanis, 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.

Most of the countries that border the Persian Gulf have vast reserves of crude oil, with monarchs of the Arabian Peninsula in particular benefiting economically from petroleum exports.

  • 1 Terminology
    • 1.1 Criticism and usage
    • 1.2 Translations
  • 2 Territories and regions
    • 2.1 Territories and regions usually within the Middle East
    • 2.2 Other definitions of the Middle East
  • 3 History
  • 4 Demographics
    • 4.1 Ethnic groups
    • 4.2 Migration
    • 4.3 Religions
    • 4.4 Languages
  • 5 Economy
  • 6 Gallery
  • 7 See also
  • 8 Notes
    • 8.1 Citations
  • 9 Further reading
  • 10 External links


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.

Criticism and usage Play media 1957 American film about the Middle East

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.

The term Middle East has also been criticised as Eurocentric ("based on a British Western perception") by Hanafi (1998).


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.

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, comprehending 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.

Territories and regions Territories and regions usually within the Middle East

Traditionally included within the Middle East are Iran (Persia), Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and Egypt. In modern-day-country terms they are these:

Country, with flag Area
(km²) Population
(2012) Density
(per km²) Capital Nominal GDP
(2012) Per capita
(2012) Currency Government Official
languages Coat of arms  Bahrain 665 1,234,596 1,646.1 Manama $30.355 billion $26,368 Bahraini dinar Absolute monarchy Arabic  Cyprus 9,250 1,088,503 117 Nicosia $22.995 billion $26,377 Euro Presidential republic Greek,
Turkish  Egypt 1,010,407 72,798,000 90 Cairo $262.26 billion $3,179 Egyptian pound Presidential republic Egyptian Arabic  Iran 1,648,195 78,868,711 45 Tehran $548.59 billion $7,207 Iranian rial Islamic republic Persian  Iraq 438,317 33,635,000 73.5 Baghdad $216.04 billion $6,410 Iraqi dinar Parliamentary republic Arabic,
Kurdish  Israel 20,770 7,653,600 365.3 Jerusalem1 $257.62 billion $33,451 Israeli shekel Parliamentary republic Hebrew,
Arabic  Jordan 92,300 6,318,677 68.4 Amman $30.98 billion $4,843 Jordanian dinar Constitutional monarchy Arabic  Kuwait 17,820 3,566,437 167.5 Kuwait City $184.54 billion $48,761 Kuwaiti dinar Constitutional monarchy Arabic  Lebanon 10,452 4,228,000 404 Beirut $42.519 billion $10,425 Lebanese pound Parliamentary republic Arabic  Oman 212,460 2,694,094 9.2 Muscat $78.290 billion $25,356 Omani rial Absolute monarchy Arabic  Palestine 6,220 4,260,636 667 Ramallah1 $6.6 billion $1,600 Israeli shekel,
Jordanian dinar Semi-presidential republic Arabic  Qatar 11,437 1,696,563 123.2 Doha $192.40 billion $104,756 Qatari riyal Absolute monarchy Arabic  Saudi Arabia 2,149,690 27,136,977 12 Riyadh $733.95 billion $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 billion $10,523 Turkish lira Parliamentary republic Turkish  United Arab Emirates 82,880 8,264,070 97 Abu Dhabi $383.79 billion $43,774 UAE dirham Federal Absolute monarchy Arabic  Yemen 527,970 23,580,000 44.7 Sana'a $35.05 billion $1,354 Yemeni rial Presidential republic Arabic

Notes: 1 Jerusalem is the proclaimed capital of Israel and the actual location of the Knesset, Israeli Supreme Court, and other governmental institutions of Israel. Ramallah is the actual location of the government of Palestine, whereas the proclaimed capital of Palestine is East Jerusalem, which is disputed.

Other definitions of the Middle East Main articles: Near East and Greater Middle East

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.

The countries of the South Caucasus—Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia—are occasionally included in definitions of the Middle East.

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.

History Main article: History of the Middle East See also: List of modern conflicts in the Middle East This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Western Wall and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem The Kaaba, located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

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. Of course, 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.

Demographics See also: Demographics of the Middle East and Largest metropolitan areas of the Middle East Ethnic groups Main article: Ethnic groups in West Asia

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, Jews, Arameans, Assyrians, Baloch, Berbers, Copts, Druze, Kurds, Lurs, Mandaeans, Persians, Samaritans, Shabaks, Tats, and Zazas.

Migration This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

"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 Franceand 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 Europe, North America and other Middle Eastern countries.

Non-Arab Middle Eastern countries such as Turkey, Israel and Iran are also subject to important migration dynamics.

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.

Religions Main article: Religion in the Middle East Islam is the largest religion in the Middle East. Here, Muslim men are prostrating during prayer in a mosque. Lebanese Christians account for roughly 40.5% of the population in Lebanon, and have made significant contributions to various different sectors of society.

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.

Hebrew is one of the two official languages of Israel, the other being Arabic. Hebrew is spoken and used by over 80% of Israel's population, the other 20% using Arabic.

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.

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.

Economy This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (December 2016) Main articles: Economy of the Middle East and Middle East economic integration Oil and gas pipelines in the Middle-East

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 ($794,228,000,000), Saudi Arabia ($467,601,000,000) and Iran ($385,143,000,000) 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 ($1,028,897,000,000), Iran ($839,438,000,000) and Saudi Arabia ($589,531,000,000) 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.

Gallery Play media This video over Central Africa and the Middle East was taken by the crew of Expedition 29 on board the International Space Station. Play media This video over the Sahara Desert and the Middle East was taken by the crew of Expedition 29 on board the International Space Station. Play media A pass beginning over Turkmenistan, east of the Caspian Sea to south-eastern China, just north-west of Hong Kong. See also
  • Middle East portal
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  • Middle Eastern cuisine
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  • Orientalism
  • State feminism § Middle East
  • Timeline of Middle Eastern history
  1. ^ Arabic: الشرق الأوسط‎‎, Ash-Sharq al-Awsaṭ; Armenian: Միջին Արևելք, Miǰin Arevelk’; Azerbaijani: Orta Şərq; Central Kurdish: ڕۆژھەڵاتی ناوین, Rojhelatî Nawîn; French: Moyen-Orient; Georgian: ახლო აღმოსავლეთი, Axlo Aɣmosavleti; Greek: Μέση Ανατολή, Mési Anatolí; Hebrew: המזרח התיכון‎‎, Ha'Mizrah Ha'Tihon; Northern Kurdish: 'Rojhilata Navîn'; Persian: خاورمیانه‎‎, Xāvar-Miāne; Somali: Bariga Dhexe; Turkish: Orta Doğu; Urdu: مشرق وسطی‎, Maśriq Vosta
  2. ^ In Italian, the expression "Vicino Oriente" (Near East) was also widely used to refer to Turkey, and Estremo Oriente (Far East or Extreme East) to refer to all of Asia east of Middle East
  3. ^ According to the 1993 Statistical Abstract of Israel there were 250,000 Romanian speakers in Israel, at a population of 5,548,523 (census 1995).
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  27. ^ Middle East What Is The Middle East And What Countries Are Part Of It? worldatlas.com. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  28. ^ Goldschmidt (1999), p. 8
  29. ^ Louise, Fawcett. International Relations of the Middle East. (Oxford University Press, New York, 2005)
  30. ^ Hassan, Islam; Dyer, Paul (2017). "The State of Middle Eastern Youth.". The Muslim World. 107 (1): 3–12. 
  31. ^ "IOM Intra regional labour mobility in Arab region Facts and Figures (English)" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  32. ^ "World Factbook – Jordan". 
  33. ^ "World Factbook – Kuwait". 
  34. ^ "Reports of about 300,000 Jews that left the country after WW2". Eurojewcong.org. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  35. ^ "Evenimentul Zilei". Evz.ro. Archived from the original on 2007-12-24. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  36. ^ The World Bank: World Economic Indicators Database. GDP (Nominal) 2008. Data for 2008. Last revised on July 1, 2009.
  37. ^ Data refer to 2008. World Economic Outlook Database-October 2009, International Monetary Fund. Retrieved October 1, 2009.
  38. ^ The World Bank: World Economic Indicators Database. GDP (PPP) 2008. Data for 2008. Last revised on July 1, 2009.
  39. ^ "Unemployment Rates Are Highest in the Middle East". Progressive Policy Institute. August 30, 2006. 
  40. ^ Navtej Dhillon; Tarek Yousef (2007). "Inclusion: Meeting the 100 Million Youth Challenge". Shabab Inclusion. 
  41. ^ Hilary Silver (December 12, 2007). "Social Exclusion: Comparative Analysis of Europe and Middle East Youth". Middle East Youth Initiative Working Paper. Shabab Inclusion. 
Further reading
  • Adelson, Roger (1995). London and the Invention of the Middle East: Money, Power, and War, 1902–1922. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-06094-7. 
  • Anderson, R; Seibert, R; Wagner, J. (2006). Politics and Change in the Middle East (8th ed.). Prentice-Hall. 
  • Barzilai, Gad; Aharon, Klieman; Gil, Shidlo (1993). The Gulf Crisis and its Global Aftermath. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-080029. 
  • Barzilai, Gad (1996). Wars, Internal Conflicts and Political Order. State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-2943-1. 
  • Beaumont, Peter; Blake, Gerald H; Wagstaff, J. Malcolm (1988). The Middle East: A Geographical Study. David Fulton. ISBN 0-470-21040-0. 
  • Cleveland, William L., and Martin Bunton. A history of the modern Middle East (Westview Press, 2016).
  • Cressey, George B. (1960). Crossroads: Land and Life in Southwest Asia. Chicago, IL: J.B. Lippincott Co. xiv, 593 p., ill. with maps and b&w photos.
  • Freedman, Robert O. (1991). The Middle East from the Iran-Contra Affair to the Intifada, in series, Contemporary Issues in the Middle East. 1st ed. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. x, 441 p. ISBN 0-8156-2502-2 pbk.
  • Goldschmidt, Arthur Jr (1999). A Concise History of the Middle East. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-0471-7. 
  • Halpern, Manfred. Politics of Social Change: In the Middle East and North Africa (Princeton University Press, 2015).
  • Ismael, Jacqueline S., Tareq Y. Ismael, and Glenn Perry. Government and politics of the contemporary Middle East: Continuity and change (Routledge, 2015).
  • Lynch, Marc, ed. The Arab Uprisings Explained: New Contentious Politics in the Middle East (Columbia University Press, 2014). p. 352.
  • Palmer, Michael A. (1992). Guardians of the Persian Gulf: A History of America's Expanding Role in the Persian Gulf, 1833–1992. New York: The Free Press. ISBN 0-02-923843-9. 
  • Reich, Bernard. Political leaders of the contemporary Middle East and North Africa: a biographical dictionary (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1990).
External links Find more aboutMiddle Eastat Wikipedia's sister projects
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Indian Ocean
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Pacific Ocean
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  • Bohai Sea
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  • Gulf of Fonseca
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  • Gulf of Thailand
  • Gulf of Tonkin
  • Halmahera Sea
  • Koro Sea
  • Mar de Grau
  • Molucca Sea
  • Moro Gulf
  • Philippine Sea
  • Salish Sea
  • Savu Sea
  • Sea of Japan
  • Sea of Okhotsk
  • Seto Inland Sea
  • Shantar Sea
  • Sibuyan Sea
  • Solomon Sea
  • South China Sea
  • Sulu Sea
  • Tasman Sea
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Southern Ocean
  • Amundsen Sea
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  • Cosmonauts Sea
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  • King Haakon VII Sea
  • Lazarev Sea
  • Mawson Sea
  • Riiser-Larsen Sea
  • Ross Sea
  • Scotia Sea
  • Somov Sea
  • Weddell Sea
Endorheic basins
  • Aral Sea
  • Caspian Sea
  • Dead Sea
  • Sea of Galilee
  • Salton Sea
  •   Book
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Coordinates: 29°N 41°E / 29°N 41°E / 29; 41

Inside the Middle East: Making Sense of the Most Dangerous and Complicated Region on Earth
Inside the Middle East: Making Sense of the Most Dangerous and Complicated Region on Earth
Acclaimed Israeli intelligence analyst Avi Melamed has spent more than thirty years interpreting Middle East affairs. His long-awaited Inside the Middle East challenges widely-accepted perceptions and provides a gripping and uniquely enlightening guide to make sense of the events unfolding in the region—to answer how the Arab world got to this point, what is currently happening, what the ramifications will be, how they will affect Israel, and what actions must immediately be undertaken, including how Western leaders need to respond. Melamed considers all the major power players in the Middle East, explains the underlying issues, and creates a three-dimensional picture, an illustration that connects the dots and provides a fascinating roadmap. He elucidates developments such as the Arab Spring, the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood, the rise of ISIS, the epic Sunni-Shiite animosity, the essence of the war in Syria, the role of the Caliphate and Jihad, and the looming nuclear arms race. He also provides a rare opportunity to journey into the psyche of Arab society. Look through the lens of its leaders and its most ruthless terrorists. See what makes them tick and what they want. Discover how they can be overtaken. This unparalleled volume is a milestone in our understanding of the Middle East. It is the untold story of the struggles that will shape the region, and the world, for decades to come, and a groundbreaking guide that will shake you to the core, force you to reevalute your outlook, and give you tips to navigate the future. From author Avi Melamed: The conflicts in the Middle East grow more confusing and dangerous every day.In my encounters with thousands of people from across the world - from global leaders to high school students - I know there is deep and intense thirst for knowledge because today understanding the Middle East is not optional – it’s mandatory. My new book, Inside the Middle East: Making Sense of the Most Dangerous and Complicated Region on Earth is based on my decades of advisory, counterterrorism, education, and intelligence – positions - as well as my intimate connections throughout the Arab world. The book also provides the building blocks and database to understand the contemporary Middle East, offers a unique insight into the Arab world, and is “a GPS to help you navigate the dramatically changing Middle East.” In the book, I also offer an out of the box idea that could lead to a positive breakthrough in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

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The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years
The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years
In a sweeping and vivid survey, renowned historian Bernard Lewis charts the history of the Middle East over the last 2,000 years, from the birth of Christianity through the modern era, focusing on the successive transformations that have shaped it.Drawing on material from a multitude of sources, including the work of archaeologists and scholars, Lewis chronologically traces the political, economical, social, and cultural development of the Middle East, from Hellenization in antiquity to the impact of westernization on Islamic culture. Meticulously researched, this enlightening narrative explores the patterns of history that have repeated themselves in the Middle East. From the ancient conflicts to the current geographical and religious disputes between the Arabs and the Israelis, Lewis examines the ability of this region to unite and solve its problems and asks if, in the future, these unresolved conflicts will ultimately lead to the ethnic and cultural factionalism that tore apart the former Yugoslavia. Elegantly written, scholarly yet accessible, The Middle East is the most comprehensive single volume history of the region ever written from the world’s foremost authority on the Middle East.

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America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History
America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD • A searing reassessment of U.S. military policy in the Middle East over the past four decades from retired army colonel and New York Times bestselling author Andrew J. Bacevich, with a new afterword by the author From the end of World War II until 1980, virtually no American soldiers were killed in action while serving in the Greater Middle East. Since 1990, virtually no American soldiers have been killed in action anywhere else. What caused this shift? Andrew J. Bacevich, one of the country’s most respected voices on foreign affairs, offers an incisive critical history of this ongoing military enterprise—now more than thirty years old and with no end in sight. During the 1980s, Bacevich argues, a great transition occurred. As the Cold War wound down, the United States initiated a new conflict—a War for the Greater Middle East—that continues to the present day. The long twilight struggle with the Soviet Union had involved only occasional and sporadic fighting. But as this new war unfolded, hostilities became persistent. From the Balkans and East Africa to the Persian Gulf and Central Asia, U.S. forces embarked upon a seemingly endless series of campaigns across the Islamic world. Few achieved anything remotely like conclusive success. Instead, actions undertaken with expectations of promoting peace and stability produced just the opposite. As a consequence, phrases like “permanent war” and “open-ended war” have become part of everyday discourse. Connecting the dots in a way no other historian has done before, Bacevich weaves a compelling narrative out of episodes as varied as the Beirut bombing of 1983, the Mogadishu firefight of 1993, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the rise of ISIS in the present decade. Understanding what America’s costly military exertions have wrought requires seeing these seemingly discrete events as parts of a single war. It also requires identifying the errors of judgment made by political leaders in both parties and by senior military officers who share responsibility for what has become a monumental march to folly. This Bacevich unflinchingly does. A twenty-year army veteran who served in Vietnam, Andrew J. Bacevich brings the full weight of his expertise to this vitally important subject. America’s War for the Greater Middle East is a bracing after-action report from the front lines of history. It will fundamentally change the way we view America’s engagement in the world’s most volatile region. Praise for America’s War for the Greater Middle East“Bacevich is thought-provoking, profane and fearless. . . . [His] call for Americans to rethink their nation’s militarized approach to the Middle East is incisive, urgent and essential.”—The New York Times Book Review “Bacevich’s magnum opus . . . a deft and rhythmic polemic aimed at America’s failures in the Middle East from the end of Jimmy Carter’s presidency to the present.”—Robert D. Kaplan, The Wall Street Journal“A critical review of American policy and military involvement . . . Those familiar with Bacevich’s work will recognize the clarity of expression, the devastating directness and the coruscating wit that characterize the writing of one of the most articulate and incisive living critics of American foreign policy.”—The Washington Post “[A] monumental new work.”—The Huffington Post “An unparalleled historical tour de force certain to affect the formation of future U.S. foreign policy.”—Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)

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The New Middle East: What Everyone Needs to Know®
The New Middle East: What Everyone Needs to Know®
In the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR, the American invasion of Iraq, and the Arab uprisings of 2010-11, a new Middle East has emerged. The Syrian civil war has displaced half the country's population, and ISIS and other jihadi groups thrive in the political vacuum there and in Iraq, setting a new standard for political violence. Meanwhile, regimes in Egypt and Bahrain have become even more repressive after the uprisings there, and Libya and Yemen have virtually ceased to exist as states. The hallmarks of this new Middle East are rebellion and repression, proxy wars, sectarian strife, the rise of the Islamic State, and intraregional polarization. International and regional actors stoke the flames, with the United States and Russia seeking to reposition themselves in the region and Saudi Arabia and Iran vying for supremacy. In the long term, perils including climate change, food and water insecurity, and population growth, along with bad governance and stagnant economies, will determine the destiny of the region. In The New Middle East: What Everyone Needs to Know®, renowned Middle East scholar James L. Gelvin explains all these developments and more in a concise question-and-answer format. Outlining the social, political, and economic contours of the New Middle East, he illuminates the current crisis in the region and explores how the region will continue to change in the decades to come.

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What Is Russia Up To in the Middle East?
What Is Russia Up To in the Middle East?
The eyes of the world are on the Middle East. Today, more than ever, this deeply-troubled region is the focus of power games between major global players vying for international influence. Absent from this scene for the past quarter century, Russia is now back with gusto. Yet its motivations, decision-making processes and strategic objectives remain hard to pin down. So just what is Russia up to in the Middle East? In this hard-hitting essay, leading analyst of Russian affairs Dmitri Trenin cuts through the hyperbole to offer a clear and nuanced analysis of Russia's involvement in the Middle East and its regional and global ramifications. Russia, he argues, cannot and will not supplant the U.S. as the leading external power in the region, but its actions are accelerating changes which will fundamentally remake the international system in the next two decades.

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The Middle East
The Middle East
The fourteenth edition of The Middle East brings important new coverage to this comprehensive, balanced, and superbly researched text. There is intensive coverage of major developments such as the ongoing conflict in Syria, continuing tensions between Israel and Palestine and the manifold repercussions of the Arab Spring uprisings.

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A History of the Modern Middle East
A History of the Modern Middle East
A History of the Modern Middle East examines the profound and dramatic transformation of the region in the past two centuries from the Ottoman and Egyptian reforms through the challenge of Western imperialism to the impact of US foreign policies Built around a framework of political history while also carefully integrating social cultural and economic developments this expertly crafted account by the late William Cleveland and Martin Bunton provides readers with the most comprehensive balanced and penetrative analysis of the modern Middle East The seventh edition has been revised to provide a thorough account of the major developments over the past four years including the tumultuous aftermath of the Arab uprisings the sectarian conflict in Iraq and civil war in Syria that led to the rise of ISIS the war in Yemen and the United States nuclear talks with Iran With brand new timelines in each part updated select bibliographies and a wealth of online instructor resources A History of the Modern Middle East remains the quintessential text for courses on Middle East history A History of the Modern Middle East examines the profound and often dramatic transformations of the region in the past two centuries from the Ottoman and Egyptian reforms through the challenge of Western imperialism to the impact of US foreign policies Built around a framework of political history while also carefully integrating social cultural and economic developments this expertly crafted account provides readers with the most comprehensive balanced and penetrating analysis of the modern Middle East The sixth edition has been revised to provide a thorough account of the major developments since 2012 including the tumultuous aftermath of the Arab uprisings the sectarian conflict in Iraq and civil war in Syria that led to the rise of ISIS the crises in Libya and Yemen and the United States nuclear talks with Iran With brand new timelines in each part updated

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The Modern Middle East: A History
The Modern Middle East: A History
Extensively revised and updated in the wake of the Arab uprisings, the changes that they fostered, and the fault lines that they exposed, the fourth edition of The Modern Middle East: A History explores how the forces associated with global modernity have shaped the social, economic, cultural, and political life in the region over the course of the past 500 years. Beginning with the first glimmerings of the current international state and economic systems in the sixteenth century, this book examines the impact of imperial and imperialist legacies, the great nineteenth-century transformation, cultural continuities and upheavals, international diplomacy, economic booms and busts, the emergence of authoritarian regimes and the varied forms of resistance to them and to imperialism in an area of vital concern to us all. The Modern Middle East: A History, Fourth Edition, is engagingly written--drawing from the author's own research and other studies--and enriched with maps and photographs, original documents, and an abundance of supplementary materials.

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A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East
A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East
Published with a new afterword from the author—the classic, bestselling account of how the modern Middle East was createdThe Middle East has long been a region of rival religions, ideologies, nationalisms, and ambitions. All of these conflicts—including the hostilities between Arabs and Israelis, and the violent challenges posed by Iraq's competing sects—are rooted in the region's political inheritance: the arrangements, unities, and divisions imposed by the Allies after the First World War.In A Peace to End All Peace, David Fromkin reveals how and why the Allies drew lines on an empty map that remade the geography and politics of the Middle East. Focusing on the formative years of 1914 to 1922, when all seemed possible, he delivers in this sweeping and magisterial book the definitive account of this defining time, showing how the choices narrowed and the Middle East began along a road that led to the conflicts and confusion that continue to this day.A new afterword from Fromkin, written for this edition of the book, includes his invaluable, updated assessment of this region of the world today, and on what this history has to teach us.

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The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East
The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East
In 1967, Bashir Khairi, a twenty-five-year-old Palestinian, journeyed to Israel with the goal of seeing the beloved stone house with the lemon tree behind it that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier. To his surprise, when he found the house he was greeted by Dalia Eshkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student, whose family left fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust. On the stoop of their shared home, Dalia and Bashir began a rare friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and tested over the next half century in ways that neither could imagine on that summer day in 1967. Sandy Tolan brings the Israeli-Palestinian conflict down to its most human level, demonstrating that even amid the bleakest political realities there exist stories of hope and transformation.

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