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Conflicts & Movements of the Middle East

  • Afghanistan War: Topic Page
    S-led military action against Afghanistan beginning 7 October 2001. This first strike in the war on terror followed the refusal of the Taliban regime to surrender Saudi-born terrorist Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist network responsible for the attacks on New York City and Washington, DC, on 11 September 2001.
  • Arab-Israeli Conflict: Topic Page
    Series of wars and territorial conflicts between Israel and various Arab states in the Middle East since the founding of the state of Israel in May 1948.
  • Crusades: Topic Page
    Series of wars undertaken by European Christians between the 11th and 14th cent. to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims.
  • Gaza Strip: Topic Page
    A rectangular coastal area, c.140 sq mi. on the Mediterranean Sea adjoining Egypt and Israel, in what was formerly SW Palestine, now officially administered by the Palestinian Authority. The Gaza Strip is a densely populated and impoverished region inhabited primarily by Sunni Muslim Palestinian refugees; the majority live in large, overcrowded refugee camps.
  • Gulf War: Topic Page
    War 16 January-28 February 1991 between Iraq and a coalition of 28 nations led by the USA; The invasion and annexation of Kuwait by Iraq on 2 August 1990 provoked a build-up of US troops in Saudi Arabia, eventually totalling over 500,000.
  • Iran Hostage Crisis: Topic Page
    Events following the seizure of the American embassy in Tehran by Iranian students on Nov. 4, 1979; The overthrow of Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlevi of Iran by an Islamic revolutionary government earlier in the year had led to a steady deterioration in Iran-U.S. relations.
  • Iran-Iraq War: Topic Page
    1980-88, protracted military conflict between Iran and Iraq.
  • Pan-Arabism: Topic Page
    General term for the modern movement for political unification among the Arab nations of the Middle East.
  • The great Arab conquests - 632-750
    From the Concise Atlas of World History, Andromeda:
    The great empires of the Mediterranean and the Middle East had for centuries been accustomed to raids by Arab border tribes. Though troublesome, these raids were prevented from becoming a serious threat by the political disunity of the Arabs. However, this situation changed dramatically in the early 7th century as a result of the rise of Islam.
  • West Bank: Topic Page
    Territory, formerly part of Palestine, after 1949 administered by Jordan, since 1967 largely occupied by Israel. Since mid-1994 limited Palestinian self-rule has existed in portions of the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority. Israelis who regard the area as Jewish territory often refer to it by the biblical names of Judaea and Samaria.

Geography

  • Middle East: Topic Page
    Indeterminate area now usually taken to include Egypt and the Arab states of the eastern Mediterranean and Arabian Peninsula, sometimes extended to the states of northwest Africa, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan.
  • Afghanistan: Topic Page
    Officially Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, republic (2005 est. pop. 29,929,000), 249,999 sq mi (647,497 sq km), S central Asia. The capital and largest city is Kabul.
  • Arabian Peninsula: Topic Page
    The peninsula within which Saudi Arabia (the largest and most populous state), Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait are situated.
  • Bahrain: Topic Page
    The Kingdom of Bahrain, a former Emirate and now a constitutional hereditary monarchy, is an archipelago consisting of more than 30 islands in the Persian Gulf.
  • Iran: Topic Page
    The country's name was changed from Persia to Iran in 1935. Iran is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and the Caspian Sea; on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan; on the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman; and on the west by Turkey and Iraq.
  • Iraq: Topic Page
    Country in southwest Asia, bounded north by Turkey, east by Iran, southeast by the Gulf and Kuwait, south by Saudi Arabia, and west by Jordan and Syria.
  • Israel: Topic Page
    The State of Israel is a small country in the E Mediterranean. Inland lie the Judaeo-Galilean highlands, from N Israel to the N tip of the Negev Desert in the S. To the E lie part of the Great Rift Valley, River Jordan, Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea.
  • Jordan: Topic Page
    Country in southwest Asia, bounded north by Syria, northeast by Iraq, east, southeast, and south by Saudi Arabia, south by the Gulf of Aqaba, and west by Israel.
  • Kuwait: Topic Page
    Country in southwest Asia, bounded north and northwest by Iraq, east by the Gulf, and south and southwest by Saudi Arabia.
  • League of Arab States: Topic Page
    Arab League, popular name for the League of Arab States, formed in 1945 in an attempt to give political expression to the Arab nations. The original charter members were Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan (now Jordan), Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. A representative of Palestinian Arabs, although he did not sign the charter because he represented no recognized government, was given full status and a vote in the Arab League. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was granted full membership in 1976. Other current members include Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea (pending in 1999), Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Lebanon: Topic Page
    The Republic of Lebanon is a country on the E shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Oman: Topic Page
    The Sultanate of Oman is the oldest independent nation in the Arab world. It occupies the SE corner of the Arabian peninsula and includes the tip of the Musandam Peninsula which is separated from the rest of Oman by UAE territory. This peninsula overlooks the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
  • Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries: Topic Page
    A multinational organization (est. 1960) that coordinates petroleum policies and economic aid among oil-producing nations. Members consist of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador (membership suspended 1992-2007), Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. Indonesia was a member but suspended its membership in 2008. Saudi Arabia has traditionally dominated the organization, owing to its enormous oil reserves; the organization's members produce about 40% of the world's crude oil.
  • Pakistan: Topic Page
    Officially Islamic Republic of Pakistan, republic (2005 est. pop. 162,420,000), 310,403 sq mi (803,944 sq km), S Asia.
  • Palestine: Topic Page
    Territory in the Middle East, on the E shore of the Mediterranean Sea; considered a Holy Land by Jews, Christians and Muslims.
  • Persian Gulf: Topic Page
    Arm of the Arabian Sea, 90,000 sq mi (233,100 sq km), between the Arabian peninsula and Iran, extending c.600 mi (970 km) from the Shatt al Arab delta to the Strait of Hormuz, which links it with the Gulf of Oman. It is called the Arabian Gulf in the Arab world.
  • Saudi Arabia: Topic Page
    Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, comprising most of the Arabian peninsula.
  • Syria: Topic Page
    The Syrian Arab Republic borders on Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea in the west, on Turkey in the northwest and north, on Iraq in the east and south, and on Jordan and Israel in the southwest. Damascus is the country's capital and its largest city.
  • United Arab Emirates: Topic Page
    A federation of sheikhdoms located in SE Arabia, on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The federation, commonly known as the UAE, consists of seven sheikhdoms: Abu Dhabi (territorially the largest of the sheikhdoms), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Qaiwain. The city of Abu Dhabi (1991 est. pop. 798,000) in Abu Dhabi is the capital.
  • Yemen (Republic): Topic Page
    The present nation of Yemen was formed in 1990, when the Yemen Arab Republic (the former Yemen or Northern Yemen) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (the former Southern Yemen) were unified.
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