World in a Nutshell
Iraq Study Group (coming soon)
Iraq in a Nutshell
1) Middle East
a. 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)
i. 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 Somalia.
ii. Turkey and Cyprus, although geographically close to the Middle East consider themselves to be part of Euroep.
iii. Afghanistan is sometimes linked to the Middle East but more accurately falls in the region of South Asia.
b. 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 Persian Gulf.
c. 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.
i. 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.
a. 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.
a. 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.
b. Russia (Northern Caucasus district), Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
4) East Asia
a. China, Japan, Korea and Mongolia
5) Southeast Asia
a. Brunai, Cambodia, E. Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
6) South Asia
a. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and often Afghanistan is included with northern part of Afghanistan placed in Central Asia.
7) Central Asia
a. In the narrow sense, Central Asia includes the five former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
b. 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.
8) Palestine National Authority (PNA or PA)
a. A semi-autonomous state institution nominally governing the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
b. It was established as a part of Oslo accords between the PLO and Israel.
c. 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").
d. 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.
e. The PA has observer status in the United Nations and receives considerable funds as aid from the European Union, the US and Israel.
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