Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Palestine,
Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia,
Syria, Turkey, Yemen, U.A.E. (Federation comprised
of 7 sheikdoms and 1 neutral zone: Ajman, Abu Dhabi,
Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, Umm al-Qawain)
The countries of the Maghreb (Algeria, Libya,
Morocco and Tunisia) are frequently linked to the
Middle East due to their strong historical and
cultural associations as is Sudan, Masuritnia and
Turkey and Cyprus, although geographically
close to the Middle East consider themselves to be
part of Euroep.
Afghanistan is sometimes linked to the Middle
East but more accurately falls in the region of
The Middle East is the expression used to
describe the lands around the southern and eastern
parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that
extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the
Before World War I, “Near East” was used in
Europe to refer to the Balkans and the Ottoman
Empire while the “Middle East” referred to Persia
(Iran), Afghanistan and sometimes Central Asia,
Turkestan and the Caucasus. “Far East” referred to
countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.
With the disappearance of the Ottoman Empire
in 1918, “Near East” fell out of use, the “Middle
East” came to be applied to the reemerging countries
of the Arab World.
The continent of Asia is defined by
subtracting Europe and Africa from the great land
mass of Africa-Eurasia. The boundaries are vague,
especially between Asia and Europe: Asia and Africa
meet somewhere near the Suez Canal. Sub-regions
include: Caucasus, Central Asia, East Asia,
Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia (sometimes synonymous
with Middle East), North Eurasia and Central Asia.
The Caucasus is a region in eastern Europe
and western Asia between the Black Sea and the
Caspian Sea which includes the Caucasus mountains
and surrounding lowlands.
Russia (Northern Caucasus district), Georgia,
Armenia and Azerbaijan.
China, Japan, Korea and Mongolia
Brunai, Cambodia, E. Timor, Indonesia, Laos,
Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka,
Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and often Afghanistan is
included with northern part of Afghanistan placed in
In the narrow sense, Central Asia includes
the five former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
A wider definition might include the area
from Iranian Azerbaijan, the countries of the
Transcaucasia (Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia) and
Turkic/Muslim regions of southern Russia in the
west, to Mongolia and western China (Xinjiang and
Tibet) in the east as well as parts of northern
Afghanistan and Pakistan and southern Siberia.
Palestine National Authority (PNA or PA)
A semi-autonomous state institution nominally
governing the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza
It was established as a part of Oslo accords
between the PLO and Israel.
The Palestinian Authority has control over
both security-related and civilian issues in
Palestinian urban areas (called in Oslo accords
"Area A"), and civilian control over Palestinian
rural areas ("Area B").
The Oslo accords did not explicitly deal with
the future of the PA, but there was an unwritten
understanding on both sides that it would become the
basis of an independent Palestinian state in the
process of the final settlement.
The PA has observer status in the United
Nations and receives considerable funds as aid from
the European Union, the US and Israel.