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
  • 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


Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Oct 2003
Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Nov 2003
Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 3, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Dec 2003
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."
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 outreach efforts towards American Muslims
"Once again the administration is trying to have its cake and eat it too. It 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."
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 Endless War on Terrorism, by Jacob Hornberger, 1 Sep 2004
Reflects on President George W. Bush response ("I don't think we can 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 ..., 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?"
"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, Groups, Law
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.)"
Whoa, Walter!, by Charley Reese, 4 Sep 2006
"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 Topic: 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.