Middle East

geopolitical region encompassing Egypt and most of Western Asia, including Iran
(Redirected from Western Asia)

The Middle East is a geographical region that encompasses roughly a majority of Western Asia (excluding the Caucasus) as well as Egypt. The term is used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East. The corresponding adjective is Middle-Eastern and the derived noun is Middle-Easterner. The largest ethnic group in the Middle East are Arabs, with Turks, Turkomans, Persians, Kurds, Azeris, Copts, Jews, Assyrians, Maronites, Circassians, Somalis, Armenians, Druze and numerous additional minor ethnic groups forming other significant populations.

Map of the Middle East


When the Middle East is not stable, the world cannot be stable. ~ Bashar al-Assad
  • Let’s turn to a favorite area for the enthusiasts of the culture hypothesis: the Middle East. Middle Eastern countries are primarily Islamic, and the non–oil producers among them are very poor, as we have already noted. Oil producers are richer, but this windfall of wealth has done little to create diversified modern economies in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. Don’t these facts show convincingly that religion matters? Though plausible, this argument is not right, either. Yes, countries such as Syria and Egypt are poor, and their populations are primarily Muslim. But these countries also systemically differ in other ways that are far more important for prosperity. For one, they were all provinces of the Ottoman Empire, which heavily, and adversely, shaped the way they developed. After Ottoman rule collapsed, the Middle East was absorbed into the English and French colonial empires, which, again, stunted their possibilities. After independence, they followed much of the former colonial world by developing hierarchical, authoritarian political regimes with few of the political and economic institutions that, we will argue, are crucial for generating economic success. This development path was forged largely by the history of Ottoman and European rule. The relationship between the Islamic religion and poverty in the Middle East is largely spurious.
    • Daron Acemoglu and Jame A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Poverty, and Prosperity (2012),
  • ... Middle Easterners, those whose their tired souls are only comfortable with extremism, extremism in reaction ... and extremism in revenge. This extremism stems from all the other extremes that govern our lives and envelops our souls with a thick layer of anger, outrage, and emotional violence.
  • This country was taken over by a group of people with a 'policy coup'! Wolfowitz and Cheney and Rumsfeld, and...you can name a...dozen other collaborators from 'Project for a New American Century' they wanted us to destabilize the Middle East, turn it upside down, make it under our control. It went back to those comments in 1991, Did they bother to tell you that? Was there a national dialogue on this? Did senators, and congressmen stand up and denounce this plan? Was there a full flag American debate on this? Absolutely not, and there's still isn't [...] Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, if you're an American you ought to be concern about strategy of the United States in this region, What is our aim? What is our purpose? Why are we there? Why are Americans dying in this region? That is the issue.
    • Wesley Clark, Address to Commonwealth Club of California (3 October 2007)
  • Since progress is the rare exception, and not the rule, among the communities of mankind, it is less important to speculate about the reasons for its cessation among the ancient Egyptians than to observe how the technological advances made in the Near East became by degrees more widely diffused until they penetrated Europe. Neither Mesopotamia nor Egypt had the resources which would have enabled it to develop its civilization on a basis of autarky. They had never been self-contained as regards timber or metals or even ivory: in the second millenium B.C. the development of larger ships and better organized land transport encouraged greater efforts to satisfy their needs by importations. In exchanging the products of their superior technology for raw materials they stimulated imitation. Moreover, in ancient as in modern times the needs of trade often stimulated the desire for conquest, which likewise left its mark upon the life of neighboring peoples long after the tide of conquest had receded. Aggression then provoked counter-aggression: some barbarian intruders were eventually absorbed into the life of the two empires, others clashed with them, and kept their independence.
    • T. K. Derry & Trevor I. Williams, A Short History of Technology: From the Earliest Times to A.D. 1900 (1960) Ch.1 General Historical Survey; "Mesopotamian and Egyptian Civilizations"
  • Israel is the Middle East’s only legitimate democracy, surrounded by cadres, warlords and villains that do not respect democracy or human rights. These bellicose nations jealously regard Israel, envying its success, stability, and might. Israel faces an impossible calculus between defending itself and facing angry outcries or risking its own destruction.
  • When the IFPI released its 2018 Global Music Report in Apr. 2018, one region was completely absent from its pages: the Middle East.
    The music industry has historically turned a blind eye on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) because the vast majority of the region's consumers still listen to music for free -- either through legal ad-supported channels, or through physical or onlin piracy. By some reports, piracy still costs the wider MENA entertainment industry $500 million annually.
    Yet, 2018 also marked the year major labels and streaming platforms invested more capital into the region than ever before.
  • The invasion of Iraq has resulted in the almost complete annihilation of that country’s Christian community, and the attempt to remove Bashar Assad from power in Syria has seen that country’s Christians mercilessly attacked by the agents of US power, radical Islamists. To be a Christian in the Middle East is to be in constant fear that the USA will set its sights on your country because wherever it arrives, Mujahideen are never that far away.
  • [P]olitics in the Middle East isn’t as personal as it often is in the West, in part because Middle Easterners are accustomed to having their politics dictated to them by the powerful. Politicians are usually above accountability and beyond control of the people. They assume that’s how it is in the Western countries as well.
  • Middle Eastern people and rulers despise each other as much as, and sometimes even more than, they despise Israel. That has been true since the day Israel was born, and it hasn’t stopped being true for even five minutes... [I]f you can’t afford to enrage Arab leaders, you can’t make alliances with anyone in the Middle East, Jewish or Arab.

See also


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