The countries of southwestern Asia and, conventionally, Egypt

The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey (both Asian and European), and Egypt (which is mostly 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.

  • Afghanistan - Territory in southwest central Asia, nominally ruled since 2004 by the Da Afġānistān Islāmī Jumhoryat
  • Arabian Peninsula - Large peninsula in southwest Asia, between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf
  • Cyprus - Island in the eastern Mediterranean, the largest portion of which is ruled since 1960 by the Republic of Cyprus
  • Egypt - Territory mostly in northeast Africa, ruled since 2011 by the Jumhūrīyat Miṣr al-ʿArabīyah
  • Iran - Territory in southwest Asia, ruled since 1979 by the Jomhuri ye Eslāmi ye Irān
  • Iraq - Territory in southwest Asia, ruled since 2005 by the Jumhūriyyat Al-‘Irāq
  • Israel - Territory in southwest Asia, ruled since 1948 by the Medīnat Yisrā'el
  • Jordan - Territory in southwest Asia, ruled since 1949 by the Al-Mamlaka al-Urdunniyya al-Hāshimiyya
  • Lebanon - Territory in southwest Asia, ruled since 1946 by the al-Jumhūrīyah al-Lubnānīyah
  • Syria - Territory in southwest Asia, nominally ruled since 1961 by the al-Jumhūriyyah al-‘Arabīyah as-Sūriyyah
  • Turkey - Territory in southwest Asia and southeast Europe, ruled since 1923 by the Türkiye Cumhuriyeti


Advocates for Self-Government - Libertarian Education: Richard Maybury - Libertarian, by Bill Winter
Includes picture, biographical profile and quote
"Although EWR covers the entire world, Maybury tends to focus on the Middle East, which he dubbed Chaostan — 'the land of the great chaos.' As early as 1981, Maybury warned 'that if Washington did not stop meddling in that area, we would end up in a gigantic religious war between the Islamic world and the Christian world.' The same foreign policy Maybury worried about ... led directly to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he said. 'The federal government gives money, ... military training ... [to] governments ... run by crooks and tyrants,' he noted. 'All these ... have enemies, so now their enemies are our enemies. This is why 9/11 happened.'"
Related Topics: Richard J. Maybury, War
Along Pennsylvania Avenue, by Murray Rothbard, Faith and Freedom, Apr 1956
Draws a scoreboard on the issues between the "Tweedledum-Tweedledee parties" in the 1956 elections, most of the rounds going to the Republicans, then wonders why Ike had only worshippers, but ends by leaving the door open for a Democrat win
"Only the Middle East crisis will provide a genuine foreign policy issue between the two parties. The Republican policy is simply: keep the dollars flowing impartially to both Israel and the Arab states, hoping that both will be pacified. In a showdown, the Administration, lured by oil and air bases, would lean toward the Arabs. The Democrats, on the other hand, have always favored the Zionists, and will take a strong pro-Israel line in the campaign. Neither party will choose America's traditional policy of 'no entangling alliances.'"
Arianna Huffington, Racial Profiler, by Justin Raimondo, 24 Feb 2006
Criticizes Huffington on her 22 Feb 2006 post titled "Dubious About Dubai: Cutting to the Heart of Bush's National Security Hypocrisy" about the Dubai Ports World debate
"The big argument of the neocons for democratizing the Middle East by force of arms is that the region's troubles, including endemic terrorism, are due to the fact that Arab civilization has fallen behind and failed to enter the gleaming, stainless-steel world of modernity, where secularism rules and religious fanatics like bin Laden have no place, no voice, and no influence. Yet when such a gleaming city rises out of the desert floor and towers above the clouds as an example and a model of regional aspirations, the same crowd claims it's all a mirage. There's no pleasing some people, is there?"
Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Oct 2003
Historical account of the Middle East and Northern Africa since Napoleon's invasion of Egypt at the end of 18th century to the liberation of Damascus near the end of World War I
"The modern-day Middle East centers on Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt — clustered close to the Mediterranean Sea. Lying near the juncture of Europe, Asia, and Africa, the Middle East has traditionally acted as a commercial, cultural, and military route between the worlds of East and West. The British 'poet of empire,' Rudyard Kipling, wrote, 'East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.' But, in the Middle East, the two have not only met, they have often collided because of overlapping or conflicting interests in the region."
Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Nov 2003
Continues the historical account of the Middle East from the territorial deals during World War I to the Palestine riots of 1929
"The Arabs would not have fought so bravely had they known of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which had been signed by the Entente in May of 1916. In essence, the Agreement divided the Middle East between Britain and France. When the Arabs did learn of the agreement, they were incensed and sent out feelers to their recent enemy, the Turks ... In backroom deals, another agreement regarding Palestine had been forged ... The Balfour Declaration of 1917 ... Thus the Middle East settled into a rivalry between the Arabs and the Zionists, the British and the French, with both of the latter determined to share in Middle Eastern oil."
Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 3, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Dec 2003
Concludes the historical account of the Middle East from the 1930s to the establishement of Israel in 1948
"In 1937, the Peel Commission recommended partitioning Palestine into two states: one controlled by Jews, the other by Arabs. The British had to send more troops to crush the Arab revolt that resulted from the recommendation. ... The British, with a long colonial history of using one native group against another, began to arm the Zionists. ... The Arab revolt ended in 1939. ... The McDonald White Paper recommended allowing 75,000 more Jews into Palestine over a period of five years; after that no more would be admitted without Arab consent. The Zionists were outraged; violent demonstrations ensued."
Related Topics: Israel, Saudi Arabia
Bush Is About To Attack Iran, by Paul Craig Roberts, 27 Jan 2007
Expresses dismay at the American lack of awareness of the Bush administration's intent of starting a war with Iran on the pretext that Iran, rather than al-Qaeda, is responsible for the Iraqi insurgency
"[At] the meeting of the World Economic Forum ... The Secretary General of the League of Arab States and bankers and businessmen from such US allies as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates all warned of the coming attack and its catastrophic consequences for the Middle East and the world. ... Two aircraft carrier attack forces are deployed to the Persian Gulf, US attack aircraft have been moved to Turkey and other countries on Iran's borders, Patriot anti-missile defense systems are being moved to the Middle East to protect oil facilities and US bases from retaliation from Iranian missiles ..."
Related Topics: George W. Bush, Iran
How Much More Harm Can Bush Do?, by Paul Craig Roberts, 7 Mar 2006
Discusses the casualties resulting from the 2003 Iraq invasion, the changed world opinion of the United States and the lobbies that benefit from the continuation of hostilities
"Gen. Clark told Amy Goodman that shortly after 9/11 he was shown a Pentagon 'memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and, finishing off, Iran.' That sounds exactly like the plan that neoconservative Norman Podhoretz set out in Commentary magazine. ... The Israel Lobby sees the war as enhancing Israeli hegemony in the Middle East and making possible the completion of Israel’s theft of Palestine from Palestinians."
Is Obama Trying to Alienate Muslim-American Youth?, by Sheldon Richman, 7 Oct 2014
Examines the Obama administration's contradictory stances on the Islamic State and Middle East countries and its outreach efforts towards young American Muslims
"... only about 100 Americans have traveled to Syria or attempted to. That's an insignificant percentage of the 2.6 million American Muslims. ... the administration ... says it wants to keep the American people safe and American-Muslim youth out of the clutches of ISIS. But it also wants to drop bombs on ISIS in Iraq and Syria — and as we see, it cannot do that without killing Muslim noncombatants, including elderly men, women, and children. ... The best way to keep Americans safe and to prevent the growth of sympathy for ISIS in America is to stop bombing people in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia."
Is the Foreign-Policy Elite Clueless?, by Sheldon Richman, 17 Sep 2014
Examines the policies of the Bush and Obama administrations in Iraq and Syria that led to the rise of the Islamic State
"The Islamic State, a product of idiotic U.S. actions, controls large parts of Syria and Iraq, effectively erasing the border between them. In response, Obama wants to obliterate the Islamic State (by air) without helping Iran or Assad or alienating Sunnis. Talk about squaring the circle! If recent history is any guide, arming the Iraqi army and the phantom moderate rebels against Assad amounts to arming the Islamic State."
The Cynical U.S. Policy on Chemical Weapons, by Sheldon Richman, 6 Sep 2013
Discusses evidence of what is known and not so known about countries involved in the Middle East and chemical and nuclear weapons
"... note that while Syria is not a party to the CWC, neither are U.S. allies Egypt and Israel, which receive billions of dollars each year in military equipment. ... Israel, like Egypt, is considered to have stockpiles of chemical weapons; it also has biological and nuclear weapons. ... Zunes's article also discusses the Reagan administration's provision of thiodiglycol, which is used to make mustard gas, and other chemical precursors to Iraq's Saddam Hussein ..."
The Disrespect for Truth has Brought a New Dark Age, by Paul Craig Roberts, 29 Dec 2006
Compares past and present attitudes toward the truth and the impact of propaganda and other government actions on those attitudes, holding that "In America, truth has become partisan"
"When scholars, such as John Walt and Stephen Mearsheimer, or President Jimmy Carter, who has tried harder than anyone else to achieve Arab-Israeli peace, point out that Israel's mistreatment of Palestinians is a cause of Middle East turmoil, they are immediately denounced as anti-Semites. Columnists and academics who know nothing about the Middle East or its troubles nevertheless know what they are supposed to say whenever anyone mentions Israel in any critical context. And they have no compunction about saying it, the truth be damned."
Related Topics: Freedom of Speech, Terrorism
The Endless War on Terrorism, by Jacob Hornberger, 1 Sep 2004
Reflects on President George W. Bush response ("I don't think we can win it") when asked about the War on Terror
"Thus, when you factor in decades of brutal U.S. intervention in the Middle East (long before 9/11), including helping dictators to kill and torture their own people ... the Persian Gulf intervention ... the more than a decade of sanctions against the Iraqi people ... the stationing of U.S. troops on Islamic holy lands, the unconditional support of Israeli government policies, and then the illegal and unconstitutional invasion and occupation of Iraq ..., why would it surprise anyone that there would be a deep anger and a thirst for revenge among the people of the Middle East?"
The Essence of Government, by Doug Casey, 26 Oct 2001
Examines the questions "What is the essence of government?" and "Are governments necessary?", comparing mobs, organized groups and governments
"There's no cosmic imperative for different people to rise up against one another – unless they're organized into political groups. The Middle East, now the world's most fertile breeding ground for hatred, provides an excellent example. Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together peaceably in Palestine, Lebanon and North Africa for centuries, until the situation became politicized after WWI. Until then an individual's background and beliefs were just personal attributes, not a casus belli. "
Related Topics: Government, Law, Politics
The Middle East Harvests Bitter Imperialist Fruit, by Sheldon Richman, 20 Jun 2014
Describes how the seeds of the current turmoil in the Middle East were planted a century ago by British and French imperialism
"This is a story about arrogant Western imperialists who thought enlightened, civilized Europeans should govern the Arabs (and Kurds) rather than let them determine their own destiny. ... When they achieved the elevated condition of their overlords, they will have earned the right to be free. This view was voiced by men representing countries that had just engaged in over four years of savage trench warfare in the 'war to end war,' not to mention the previous centuries bloodied by Europe's religious and political wars."
The Middle East Harvests Bitter Imperialist Fruit, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Sep 2014
Recounts the history of foreign intervention in the Middle East since World War I to the present (expanded version of 20 June 2014 essay)
"The British created the states of Iraq and Transjordan (later Jordan). What was left of Palestine (it had different boundaries at different times) would not be designated a state but would be administered by Britain. France took Syria, out of which it created a separate Lebanon. The arbitrarily drawn 'national' boundaries cut through sectarian, ethnic, and tribal lines, planting the seeds of future conflicts that continue to this day. (The imperialists had done the same thing in Africa.)"
We Must Not Be the World’s Policeman, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Sep 2013
Considers whether United States government actions against the goverment of Bashar al-Assad are justified from moral and constitutional perspectives
"... the U.S. government ... rails against Assad's brutality, but it backed Iraq's late president Saddam Hussein, even when he used chemical weapons in the 1980s. It condoned the Egyptian military's mowing down of over a thousand street demonstrators after the recent coup, and it has more than tacitly approved Israel's string of onslaughts against the Palestinians and Lebanese. ... Assad is a suitable foe ... because Russia and Iran are his allies. American foreign policy in the Middle East has long been dedicated to guaranteeing that no country can challenge U.S./Israeli hegemony."
Related Topics: Syria, United States
Whoa, Walter!, by Charley Reese, 4 Sep 2006
Criticizes Williams for his column "Will the West defend itself?" dated 23 Aug 2006, in which he defends going to the extreme of using nuclear weapons on "our Middle East enemies" just as "when we firebombed cities in Germany and Japan"
"There is no valid parallel between the rise of Nazi Germany and anything going on in the Middle East. ... There are no Hitlers in the Middle East. There are no Germanys in the Middle East. ... There are no great industrial powers in the Middle East, not one. There are not likely to be any in the foreseeable future. In short, no country in the Middle East is a threat to the United States. No country in the Middle East, including Iran, is a threat to Israel. Israel has the most advanced tanks, the most advanced aircraft, the most advanced missiles and the largest and only arsenal of nuclear warheads in the region."
Related Topics: Iran, War, Walter E. Williams
Will American Ground Troops Be Sent to Fight ISIS?, by Sheldon Richman, 25 Sep 2014
Analyses President Obama's statements, made on 17 Sep 2014, regarding the anti-Islamic State strategy
"As for Obama's emphasis on coalition building, let's not be fooled. This is a U.S.-led operation, and that is how the inhabitants of the bombed territories will see it. ISIS recruitment will soar. But even if other coalition members shouldered most of the burden, why should Americans feel any better about the operation? The objection to a new U.S. war in the Middle East should not be that America would go it alone. Rather, it's that America cannot police the world without doing a variety of harms. Bringing a posse of nations along doesn't change that."

Cartoons and Comic Strips

We Will Not Cut and Run from Lebanon ..., by Tom Toles, The Washington Post, 8 Mar 2005

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Middle East" as of 10 Sep 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.