Middle East

The transcontinental region centered on Western Asia and Egypt. The corresponding adjective is Middle-Eastern and the derived noun is Middle-Easterner. Formerly, the Eurocentric synonym Near East (as opposed to Far East) was commonly used. Arabs, Azeris, Kurds, Persians, and Turks constitute the largest ethnic groups in the region by population, while Armenians, Assyrians, Circassians, Copts, Druze, Jews, Maronites, Somalis, and other ethnic and ethno-religious groups form significant minorities. The History of the Middle East dates back to ancient times, with the (geo-political) 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 the dictatorships of the Arabian Peninsula in particular benefiting from petroleum exports. In modern times the Middle East remains a strategically, economically, politically, culturally and religiously sensitive region.
Like a pebble thrown into a pond, ripples of violence extend out from Syria into the surrounding region. On October 21, fighting broke out between residents of a Sunni neighborhood and an Alawite neighborhood in Lebanon. The street fighting...
The vehicle carrying Hakimullah Mehsud, his driver, uncle and two guards had just left the small mosque in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region when it was hit three or four missiles in rapid succession. The missiles were fired by a...
An American negotiator wearing army pants and boots sits at a table with an Iranian diplomat in a poster hanging in Tehran. The caption reads, “American Honesty.” The anti-American poster, and several others like it, was taken down by...

Changing the Face of War

In early September, President Barack Obama announced that he would seek congressional approval before taking military action in Syria. Evidence was mounting that Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against rebels in his fight for control of Syria. Obama...
President Hamid Karzai is facing growing pressure on both sides of a national argument in Afghanistan over whether or not to enter into a security deal with the United States. Karzai refused to sign the accord in early December...
IN AFGHANISTAN, TRIBAL GOVERNMENT MIGHT PAVE THE WAY FOR PEACE Eid al-Adha is one of the holiest days in Islam. This year, the holy day was marked by bloodshed when a bomb went off in a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan,...

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