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Middle East Basics

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Learn the basics of Middle Eastern issues, most frequently asked questions, and most commonly used terminology. This page will help you navigate Mideastern trends, politics and history from West Africa to Pakistan and from pre-Islamic times to today's headlines.
  1. Essential Facts About the Middle East
  2. Common Misconceptions of the Middle East
  3. The United States and the Middle East
  4. Countries of the Middle East, A-K
  5. Countries of the Middle East, L-Y

Essential Facts About the Middle East

The Greater Middle East stretches over two continents from Pakistan in the east to Mauritania and Morocco in northwestern Africa. It has little cultural or geographic cohesion. It is a unit more because of the way the West and the rest of the world perceives it than because of the way it perceives itself. And it is the world's most challenging hub of conflicts. As such, its political importance is disproportionate either to its economic wealth or, since the 18th century, its cultural contributions, which have been in a state of virtual arrested development in many parts of the region. Here's a guide to basic facts.

Common Misconceptions of the Middle East

failed states middle east

The Middle East seems like a more daunting region to understand than it really is. A good start to better understanding is breaking the region down to basic definitions, dispensing with often-repeated myths and stereotype.

The United States and the Middle East

Obama pakistan afghanistan

The two biggest foreign-policy challenges for the United States since World War II were the Cold War and the Middle East. The Cold War is over. The Middle East's vexing issues persist, creating nothing short of a co-dependent relationship between the world's biggest power and the world's richest oil field. Here's an overview of that relationship.

Countries of the Middle East, A-K

Afghan women  rape law

The Middle East is the sum of its parts--some 30 countries that could form a continent all their own, but that are vastly different one from the other. Here are profiles of each country, from Afghanistan to Kuwait, through which you can explore a more detailed understanding of each.

Countries of the Middle East, L-Y

Lebanon boy and flag

The Middle East is the sum of its parts--some 30 countries that could form a continent all their own, but that are vastly different one from the other. Here are profiles of each country, from Lebanon to Yemen, through which you can explore a more detailed understanding of each.

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