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South West Asia and North Africa: An Introduction. Algeria. Oasis, Sinai Peninsula. Bedouin People, Lebanon. Qatar. Nile River at Aswan, Egypt photo: Mark Chickering. Medinet Habu Temple, Egypt Photo: Mark Chickering. Rub al Khali Desert, Yemen. Yemen. Photos by Amira Bakr.

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South West Asia and North Africa: An Introduction

Algeria





Nile River at Aswan, Egypt photo: Mark Chickering


MedinetHabu Temple, Egypt

Photo: Mark Chickering




Photos by Amira Bakr

White Desert, Sahara, Egypt








  • There are diverse features interspersed across the Middle East and North Africa:

  • Mountain Ranges

  • Coastal Lowlands

  • Highland Plateaus

  • Floodplains

  • Deserts

  • Two Crucial River Systems:

  • Tigris-Euphrates in Fertile Crescent

  • Nile (White Nile/Blue Nile) in North Africa




    • Climate

    • Variable

    • Orographic Rainfall

    • Largely Arid- consider it’s location around 20-30N



    Turkey

    Photo: HadiArslan, Trek Earth

    Domestication of plants and animals led to:

    Agricultural Mini-Systems

    Development of villages

    Extended family systems, reorganization of land, resources

    Specialization in non-agriculture crafts

    Trade Networks




    Recent Empires in the Middle East

    • Ottoman

    • European Mandates and Colonies, 1914- post World War II



  • Importance of kinship and tribe

  • Family as physical space and functional group

  • Gendered architecture


  • Women at a mosque, Saudi Arabia

    Photo: Sherine Abdel Rassoul, Trek Earth



  • Most contemporary problems stem from two things:

  • 1. Boundaries and borders created by colonial powers

  • Examples: Israel and Palestine

  • Iraq

  • Sudan – Darfur and South Sudan

  • 2. Strategic importance of region to political and economic interests of core countries

    • Israel and Palestine

    • Iraq, Iran


  • Case Study: Yemen and the Rise of Al-Qaeda

    North Yemen- independent of Ottoman Empire in 1918

    South Yemen- independent of British in 1967

    North and South join in 1990 after 2 decades of fighting

    Socioeconomic protests in 2008 and in 2011, fueled by ‘Arab Spring’

    Elections in Feb 2012, Pres. Salih transferred power to his VP, Hadi


    • Yemen – Economic Information:

    • Low income country

    • Reliant on dwindling oil supplies

    • IMF grant to support economic and political reform

    • GDP – growth rate -2.5 (211 country in world) (2011)

    • GDP per cap PPP - $2500 (181 in world)

    • Unemployment: 35%

    • Poverty rate: 45.2%

    • Household income or consumption by percentage share:

      • lowest 10%: 2.9%

      • highest 10%: 30.8% (2005)

    Frontline Video: Al-Qaeda in Yemen

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/al-qaeda-in-yemen/


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