The Middle East is a region in the southwestern part of Asia. Much of the Middle East is covered in deserts.. Geographic Interest. Persian Gulf
1. The Middle East Geography, Environment, Cultures, Governments, Economics, and History
2. The Middle East is a region in the southwestern part of Asia. Much of the Middle East is covered in deserts.
3. Geographic Interest Persian Gulf— The Persian Gulf lies to the north of Saudi Arabia and to the south of Iran.
Arabian Sea— The Arabian Sea is part of the Indian Ocean. It is located between the Arabian Peninsula and India.
Red Sea— The Red Sea separates the Arabian Peninsula from Africa.
Strait of Hormuz— The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow body of water that connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman.
Suez Canal— The Suez Canal is in Egypt. It connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea.
4. Geographic Interest Jordan River— The Jordan River starts in Syria and then flows through the Sea of Galilee in Israel to the Dead Sea.
Tigris River— The Tigris River has its source in Turkey. It flows east through Iraq where it joins the Euphrates River to form the Shatt-al-Arab, which then flows into the Persian Gulf.
Euphrates River— The Euphrates River has its source in Turkey. It flows east through Syria and then through Iraq where it joins the Tigris River to form the Shatt-al-Arab, near the Persian Gulf.
Gaza Strip— The Gaza Strip is a coastal strip of land along the Mediterranean that borders Egypt.
5. Below is a political map showing the countries which are in the Middle East.
6. The environment in various places affects how people live in those areas. Climate, natural resources, environmental changes, and changes made by people all play into how humans interact with their environment.
Middle Eastern Environment
7. Environmental Factors Climate Climate affects where people live and how they live. People have built homes and buildings out of different materials that work better with the climate they live in. Native Americans in Arizona and New Mexico built their homes out of adobe to keep out the sun and heat. Climate also affects the number of people that live in an area. In Australia, people live near the southern coasts because the weather is more temperate.
Natural Resources Natural resources affect how people will interact with the land and what they will build homes and make tools with. If brick and clay are more abundant than thatch and mud in a region of the world, homes will be made of brick and clay. Natural resources also affect where people live. People live near water and food for basic necessities. Water also allows for transportation.
8. Environmental Factors Environmental Changes Changes in the environment force people to make a decision: stay and adapt to the change or move and adapt to a new environment. As sea levels change and natural disasters like hurricanes destroy coastal towns, more people have to find new places to live or risk losing their homes. Sudden changes like volcanoes and earthquakes can also devastate a population and cause people to move from one region to another.
Changes Humans Bring People also change their environment by building and increasing the population. As pollution becomes a bigger problem, people have to adapt their transportation and water usage. Acid rain threatens forests, leaving entire habitats vulnerable. As natural resources become less abundant, people must find alternative sources for the same items, like oil. Today, people have to decide whether to continue to destroy natural resources and habitats or to protect them.
9. Natural Resources The Middle East is an area of the world with rich access to natural resources like oil. However, the region's harsh, desert climate makes fresh water scarce. Industrialization and oil extraction have had damaging effects on the environment.
Geography and Climate The Middle East has a variety of geographic areas, including mountains, plains, plateaus, and coastlines. Some parts of Lebanon and Israel enjoy a temperate, Mediterranean climate. Much of the region, however, is dominated by desert terrain and dry climate. Most people do not live in these desert areas, living instead in cities that are built near sources of water.
10. Natural Resources Water Middle Eastern climate is so dry that fresh water has become a precious natural resource. Water is needed not only for drinking but also for agriculture, which is still a major industry in most Middle Eastern nations.
Droughts and human development have had negative effects on the few freshwater sources there are. The Dead Sea, which is between Israel and Jordan, is shrinking due to overuse. Some countries build dams to harvest the fresh water of rivers, but this also decreases the amount of water that will reach further down the river into other countries. Droughts and farming are causing deserts to actually expand into land that had once been fertile, a process known as desertification.
11. Natural Resources Other natural resources Despite the region's harsh climate, it has some of the richest natural resources in the world. The Persian Gulf has historically been a source of fish and pearls, which the people who live there use for trade. In modern times, discoveries of petroleum (oil) have brought economic booms to the Middle Eastern nations that have access to them. Oil is perhaps the most valuable export of several Middle Eastern countries, and countries with access to oil in the Persian Gulf have become wealthy.
12. Pollution Pollution Some nations in the Middle East are changing to industrial-based economies at a faster pace than they change their laws to regulate industry. When this happens, factories do not have restrictions on air, soil, or water quality, and their production can have damaging effects on the environment. More commonly, environment in the Middle East is damaged through oil extraction. Accidental oil spills can destroy both ecosystems and environmental industries like fishing or tourism. Sometimes political conflict can destroy the environment. This occurred in the Gulf War in 1991, when Iraq burned Kuwait's oil wells and dumped more oil into the Persian Gulf, an event from which the soldiers and the Gulf environment are still suffering.
13. Ethnic groups are people of the same race or nationality who share a similar culture. They can influence and impact other regions in many different ways. The Middle East has been influenced by many different ethnic groups and cultures, the most well-known being its Arab and Muslim populations. Middle Eastern Cultures
14. Ethnic Groups Arabs make up the largest ethnic group in most nations of the Middle East. They have contributed to Middle Eastern cultures in art, fashion, literature, and government involvement. One of their most influential contributions to Middle Eastern culture is the Muslim religion. Arabs also developed irrigation methods that are used throughout Africa and the Middle East today. Even in Israel, where Jews are the dominant ethnic group, Arabs still make the largest ethnic minority.
Afghanistan has three large ethnic groups: the Tajiks, Pashtuns, and Hazaras. Tajiks make up the largest percentage, about half, and descend from some of the oldest inhabitants of the region. Pashtuns make up about 20%, and Hazaras make up about 9%.
Persians make up the ethnic majority in Iran. They influence culture in Iran through their conservative views on religion and politics. They follow a version of Islam (Shi'a) that does not tolerate other religious minorities.
15. Ethnic Groups Bedouins are an ethnic group in Saudi Arabia. Their culture has contributed their government practices to Saudi Arabia. Both for the Bedouins and in modern Saudi Arabia, a single leader would make important decisions for the group. In Saudi Arabia, the King will consult with any of his citizens that have reason to communicate with him. In Bedouin culture, the Sheikh would consult the men of the tribe before making decisions.
Berbers are an ethnic group that originated in North Africa and has existed for thousands of years. Islam became the dominant religion of the Berber people after the Islamic invasion of the 7th century.
Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world to not have their own nation-state. They live in a region known as Kurdistan, which spans from southeastern Turkey, northern Syria and Iraq, and western Iran. In each of these countries, the Kurds are in the minority and have faced conflict with ethnic groups which are in the majority.
Jewish culture has greatly influenced the culture of Israel since its founding in 1948. There are many ethnic groups within the Jewish culture, including European, Russian, Africa, Asian, and American.
16. Religions The majority of Middle Easterners are Muslim, meaning they follow the religion of Islam. Islam originally started among Arabs, but most ethnic groups in the Middle East today—including Berbers and Turks—are also Muslim.
Israel is the only Middle Eastern country that is primarily practices Judaism. Israel was historically the site of where the ancient Hebrew people lived. Since the modern country's founding in 1948, Israel has been most influenced by Jewish religion and culture, with the Arabs forming the largest minority.
Armenia is the only Middle Eastern country that primarily practices Christianity. Most Armenians are Christians, while Islam is the dominant religion in other parts of the region. Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Iran are three countries that border Armenia and have Muslim majorities. Armenia was actually the first country to establish Christianity as its state religion when it did so in 301 AD.
17. Judaism Judaism was the first monotheistic religion based on the concept of one God who sets down moral laws for humanity. Two books, the Hebrew Bible and The Commentaries or the Talmud, are the sources of teachings and central beliefs of Judaism.
Origin of Judaism The Hebrew Bible tells the history of Judaism. It gives the account of the Israelites', or Hebrew, relationship with God in their history from the beginning of time until the building of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. It was the first religion to denounce idol worship and believe in only one God.
18. Judaism Central Teachings and Beliefs The Hebrew Bible: tells the history of the Israelites from the beginning of the world until the building of the Second Temple. Also gives the Ten Commandments.
The Talmud (Oral Law): a set of commentaries, or rabbinic discussions, on Jewish law, ethics, customs, legends, and stories. It has two parts, the Mishnah and Gemara.
These two religious materials show the basic beliefs and teachings in Judaism: belief in God—belief there is only one God (monotheism) and he is the supreme authority
observance of law—the Ten Commandments and other Jewish traditions that have been passed down (Sabbath, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah)
practice of the concepts of righteousness and justice—belief that a person has to be just and righteous in their life to enter heaven in the afterlife; also belief that God is just and righteous in his decisions
importance of study—this means the study of Jewish history and beliefs through the Commentaries and the Hebrew Bible
emphasis on each person's individual worth and personal responsibility
belief that all people must adhere to the same moral obligations, whether ruler or ruled
19. Judaism Judaism has gone through many trials. The ancient Hebrews moved according to their religious leaders and their ability to grow crops. They suffered through slavery and religious persecution.
20. Movement and Settlement of Hebrew Peoples Mesopotamia: The Hebrew people are believed to have originally lived in Mesopotamia.
Canaan: Abraham formed a covenant with God and moved with his followers to Canaan around 1800 B.C.
Egypt: Many Israelites, or Hebrews, moved to Egypt in 1600 B.C. to escape famine. They were held in slavery in Egypt until 1200s B.C.
Canaan: Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt across the Sinai Peninsula. They returned to Canaan at 1200 B.C. and settled the land. This is known as the Exodus, and it is important to the Jewish faith.
Jerusalem: The capital city of the kingdom of the Hebrews. The temples were built in Jerusalem.
Roman Rule: Romans conquered the area and lived peacefully for a long time. Jewish revolts against the Roman rule in the 1st century B.C. led to most Jewish worship being forbidden. The Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 A.D., forbade Jews from entering the city of Jerusalem, and changed the region's name from Israel to Palestine. With the Temple destroyed, Jewish worship was centered around rabbis instead of the Temple. As a result of this and the removal from Jerusalem, Jews moved farther out of Israel. This movement is called the Diaspora.
21. Christianity Christianity began in the 1st century A.D. Christians follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
22. Origins of Christianity Christianity began with Jewish followers of Jesus of Nazareth. They believed that Jesus was the "Christ," the savior that the Jewish prophecies said would come to Earth.
Jesus taught that everyone must repent of, or be sorry for, doing wrong things and start doing things that are pleasing to God. Jesus also taught his followers that they should spread this teaching to everyone they meet.
Jesus was hanged on a cross and killed for claiming to be the son of God, but Christians believe that Jesus came back from the dead and rose into heaven.
Under the leadership of apostles like Peter and Paul, Christianity gradually separated from Judaism. Saint Paul did not meet Jesus during Jesus' lifetime, but he claimed that Jesus later came to him in a vision. Paul wrote much of the Christian New Testament. He is also famous for preaching Jesus' message to the Gentiles, the people who were not Jews. Paul taught that the God of Abraham is for all people, both Jews and Gentiles, instead of for Jews only.
23. Christian Beliefs Here are some things that Christianity teaches: There is only one God. This belief is called monotheism.
Jesus of Nazareth is the son of God, and he is also God himself.
Jesus is the Messiah, or Christ, who is king of the Jews.
Jesus brought salvation to all people when he died on a cross.
To be saved, a person must believe in Jesus and follow his teachings.
24. The Bible Christianity teaches that the Bible is the word of God. It is made of two parts: The Old Testament: the books of the Hebrew Bible, which Christians also believe to be inspired by God.
The New Testament: books that describe Jesus' life and early Christianity. The New Testament is made of 27 books including four Gospel books, a book called Acts of the Apostles, 21 epistles (letters), and a book called Revelation.
25. Christianity in the Roman Empire The Roman Empire controlled the land of Israel when Jesus lived and taught. Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor who allowed Jesus to be killed by Roman soldiers.
During the first three centuries of Christianity, Roman emperors persecuted Christians as a part of the persecution of Jews. In 64 A.D., Emperor Nero blamed Christians for the great fire that broke out in Rome. Many forms of execution were used, including murder, crucifixion, and feeding of Christians to lions and other wild beasts.
These persecutions actually made Christianity stronger because people were inspired by the Christians' bravery and faith. Christianity continued to spread throughout the Roman Empire, as Christians tried to move farther from Rome to spread their beliefs and escape death in Rome.
Christianity became an officially supported religion under Emperor Constantine I in 313 A.D. The religion continued to grow, and all religions except Christianity were prohibited in 391 A.D.
26. Islam Islam is a religion based on the teachings of Mohammed. It has many connections with Judaism and Christianity. There are several sects, or groups, of Islam including Sunni and Shi’a or Shi’ite.
27. Islam Islam Islam is based on the teachings of the Qur'an, written by a man named Mohammed who believed he received revelations from God, or Allah. Islam asks its followers to strive for total reorganization of their lives. They also work for building human society on the same basis. The followers of Islam are Muslims.
The Five Pillars The core of Islam is the Five Pillars. The Five Pillars are the most important acts of a Muslim, which they will perform faithfully to please Allah:
Belief in Allah and his prophet Mohammed
Prayer five times a day
Giving charity to the needy
Fasting, or avoiding eating and drinking
Pilgrimage to Mecca
28. The Six Articles of Belief Islam also has Six Articles of Belief. These are the main tenets, or beliefs, that someone must believe to be a Muslim. They are:
Belief in God, the only one worthy to be worshipped
Belief in angels
Belief in the books sent by God, including the Qur'an
Belief in the prophets
Belief in life after death
Belief in fate
29. Dar al-Islam Dar al-Islam, or the "house or abode of Islam," refers to the areas which are under the control of Islamic law. It also refers to areas in which Muslims can freely practice their religion.
30. Similarities to Judaism & Christianity Muslims believe that Mohammed was not the only prophet who received revelations from God. They also believe in the prophets Adam, Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Jesus, as do the Jewish and Christian faiths. They believe parts of the Gospels, Torah, and Jewish prophetic books have been forgotten, edited, or misinterpreted by their followers. They view the Qur'an as a correction of those scriptures and a final revelation. They also see Abraham as a common root between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.
31. Important Texts Qur'an: The Qur'an is the central text in Islam, it is the holy book. Muslims believe it is the literal word of God in Arabic and God's final revelation to mankind revealed to Mohammed. Parts of the Qur'an are memorized to perform daily prayers. Because the Qur’an is considered to be God’s words which were given to Mohammed, Muslims are very respectful of the book and how it is handled. Before touching the Qur’an, a ritual cleaning with water, called wudu, must occur. The Qur'an is a focus of Muslim devotion and is treated as a sacred object in Muslim homes.
Sunnah: Sunnah is the ways and deeds of Mohammed during his ministry. It is the second source of Islamic law after the Qur'an. The Sunnah gives directions on rituals and worship based on how Mohammed performed the rituals and worship.
32. Sects of Islam There are many sects of Islam, but the two main groups are Sunni Islam and Shi'a Islam. The two groups differ in some understandings of Muslim beliefs, but the separation between them began after the death of Mohammed. The Sunni and Shi'a groups did not agree on who should be the leader of Islam after Mohammed, and the disagreement still exists today.
Sunni Muslims believe the leader of the Muslim nation should be elected by the community. Sunni Muslims refer to many oral traditions in which Mohammed is said to have suggested elections as ways of making decisions in the Muslim community. Mohammed did not appoint a successor, so the Muslim community chose Abu Bakr, a close friend and adviser of Mohammed, as the new leader.
Shi'a Muslims believe the leader of the Muslim nation should have been a direct descendant of Mohammed. Shi'a Muslims do not recognize the authority of Muslim leaders that were elected or chosen to lead. Instead, Shi'a Muslims believe that there were twelve leaders of the Muslim community who were direct descendants of Muhammad.
33. Caliphate As Islam spread from the Arabian Peninsula to Iraq, Persia, North Africa, and Spain, the Islamic State known as the caliphate was formed. Under the Islamic State, there was no separation between religion and politics. The Islamic State was led by a caliph who was the successor of Muhammad. The caliph was both a political and spiritual leader. Islamic law based on the Qur'an and the Hadith, (the sayings of Muhammad) is known as the shari'ah.
34. Muslim Expansion In the Middle Ages, part of the Muslim world was also known as the Ottoman Empire. At its height, it stretched from Turkey through the Middle East to parts of North Africa. Muslim rule expanded through treaties and conquests, and many cultures were influenced by Muslim culture and language.
35. Expansion of Muslim Rule Ottoman rule, by the Turks, spread from the capture of Constantinople. Its name was changed to Istanbul.
The empire included the Mediterranean coastline of North Africa, parts of eastern Europe, Turkey, and the coastal areas of the Middle East.
The Ottoman Empire's navy was very powerful, helping capture much of the coastline. The army invaded eastern Europe and parts of central Europe. Ottoman expansion was finally stopped at the Siege of Vienna, in 1529.
36. Spread of Muslim Culture Through trade and the Muslim conquests, the religion of Islam was spread. Religious practices of Muslims are included in this spread of culture.
Because the Qur'an was only written in Arabic, language was one aspect of Islam that was spread along with religious practices.
Literature was also spread - stories from the Arabian Peninsula and Turkey traveled throughout the Mediterranean.
37. Trade Routes and Products Trade was increasingly important in the Middle Ages. Many trade routes to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East were made through countries under Ottoman rule. Trading throughout the Mediterranean helped spread Islam and its culture. Land routes to Asia went through Turkey, the center of Ottoman rule and much of Muslim culture. Many goods were traded, including silk, spices, paper, steel, and crops. Merchants became an important class in Arab society because they sold the goods and negotiated the trades. They changed the economy of Arab society from agriculture to a barter economy, which focused on selling and trading goods and services. Cities along the coast of the Mediterranean also grew in size and wealth as the trade routes became more important and the goods became highly desired by the wealthy aristocrats and landlocked areas.
38. Islamic Golden Age In the Middle Ages, trade included cultural exchanges. Muslim scholars and artists made large contributions in the fields of science, geography, mathematics, philosophy, art, and literature. This period is called the Islamic Golden Age.
39. Science, Mathematics, and Geography Muslim scientific achievements—built upon the scientific achievements of the Greek, Persian, and Indian civilizations
The Scientific Method—how a scientist tests a theory
Decimal Place Value System—further developed the Indian decimal marker system, continued use of the numeral zero
Algebra and trigonometry—developed by Islamic mathematicians
Astronomy—developed celestial globes to solve problems, quadrants to shorten the need for calculations in measurements, and an accurate lunar calendar to keep track of religious observances
40. Science, Mathematics, and Geography Astrolabe—improved upon by Muslim geographers around 850 A.D. and used to calculate the size and circumference of the Earth
Honey—used to heal medical problems like sore throats, stomach ulcers, and treating wounds
Medicine—more advanced than the medicine practiced by other cultures of the Middle Ages
Ophthalmology/optics—branch of medicine in which Muslim scientists made major advances in the study of the eye and diseases of the eye, including inventing an injection syringe to extract soft cataracts
41. Philosophy, Art, and Literature Use of Citation—in philosophy, used a strict method of citation to back theories
Method of Open Inquiry—Muslim philosophers took the scientific theory and applied it to ethical questions
Muslim philosophy—influenced by the works of ancient philosophers such as Aristotle and by the teachings of Islam
Preserving ancient cultures—numerous ancient texts translated by Muslim scholars into Arabic at the House of Wisdom in Baghdad
Literature—folk tales from the Middle East and Turkey, including Kalila and Dimna, a collection of animal fables, the Rubaiyat of Omar Kayyám, a collection of poems written around 1000, and A Thousand and One Nights, or The Arabian Nights
42. Philosophy, Art, and Literature Art—used complex geographic designs, mostly decoratively placed on or inside architecture
Calligraphy—used by artists to write passages from the Quran in Arabic since Muslims were not allowed to images or pictures of living people
Architecture—Islamic architecture included large courtyards, towers, and niches on inside walls telling the direction of Mecca (so Muslims would know which direction to face to pray). Domes, geometric shapes, calligraphy, repetitive art, and symmetry were also very common in the Muslim World.
43. Government systems have different ways of distributing power and determining citizen participation. Even within democracies, different forms of government exist. Middle Eastern Governments
44. Assembly of Experts, Iran
45. Distribution of power Unitary
Power is in the hands of one person or group
National government has more power than local governments
Examples: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel
Local governments have more power than national government
Each region governs most of its own affairs
Regions sometimes consider themselves independent
Power is divided between national and local governments
Local governments control local affairs but also obey the national government
Usually it is the government of large democracies
46. Citizen participation Autocratic
Citizens have little control over the government
Power is in the hands of one person
Example: Saudi Arabia
A small group of people control the government
Most people are not able to affect the government
Citizens have more ability to participate than they do in other governments
Government leaders are elected into power, directly or indirectly
Citizens often participate in voting on laws
47. Forms of democracy Parliamentary
Citizens vote for members of the legislative branch
The executive leader (or prime minister) is appointed from the legislature
Head of government and head of state are two different people
Citizens usually vote for members of the executive and legislative branch
A single person is elected as chief executive (or president)
The president is both head of government (chief executive) and head of state
48. Governments of the Middle East Governments in the Middle East have influences from different political systems. Islam plays a major role in many of the area's governments, and a few Middle Eastern countries can even be called theocracies. Some Middle Eastern governments hold on to traditional customs of power, while others have become more democratic. Below are some quick facts about the governments of Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
49. Government of Israel Type of Government: parliamentary democracy
Leaders: president and prime minister
Legislature: unicameral (one-chambered), called the Knesset
Citizen's Role: Citizens age 18 or older may vote for members of the Knesset. The Knesset elects the president, and the leader of the Knesset's majority party is the prime minister.
Role of religion: Some religious courts are based on Jewish, Islamic, or Christian law. Israel does not have a constitution because religious and non-religious politicians cannot agree on how it should be structured.
50. Government of Iran Type of Government: theocratic republic, or theocracy
Leaders: supreme leader and president
Legislature: unicameral, called the Islamic Consultative Assembly
Citizen's Role: Citizens age 18 or older may vote for the president, members of the legislature, and members of an Assembly of Experts in religion. The Supreme Leader is chosen by the Assembly of Experts.
Role of Religion: "The Islamic Republic of Iran" is a theocracy because its head of state is a religious leader. Islam is the national religion. Courts are based on Islamic law.
51. Government of Saudi Arabia Type of Government: absolute monarchy
Legislature: unicameral, called the Consultative Council (main role is to advise the king)
Citizen's Role: Males age 21 or older may vote only in local elections.
Role of religion: Islam is the national religion. The Qu'ran (Islam's holy book) is considered the constitution of the country. The king must be a Muslim. Courts are based on Islamic law. All citizens must be Muslim, and all non-Muslim forms of worship are illegal.
52. Civic Duties Civic affairs are the ways citizens interact with their society and government. You can participate in civic affairs through politics, education, and public service.
Political civic participation: includes voting, serving jury duty, and political protesting. People who participate in political affairs are trying to influence the government.
Educational civic participation: includes public awareness campaigns and organizations that teach useful skills to individuals. People who participate in educational affairs are trying to help others get educated on various topics.
53. Civic Duties Public service civic participation: includes volunteer work and nonprofit organizations. People who participate in public service affairs are trying to help those less fortunate and increase awareness of various social problems.
Examples of civic participation are joining a nonprofit organization like the Red Cross, creating a public awareness program for a social problem like child labor, protesting a political topic like segregation, and volunteering to tutor at a local elementary school.
54. The type of economy is determined by the extent of government involvement in economic decision-making. Middle Eastern Economics
55. Characteristics of economic systems Free market Private ownership of property/resources Business decisions are driven by the desire to earn a profit There is a great deal of competition Consumers have many choices
Command economy Central ownership of property/resources Centrally planned economy Lack of consumer choice
Traditional Economy Allocation of resources is based on rituals, habits, or customs Roles are defined by family People work together for the common good Little individual choice
56. Characteristics of economic systems Mixed economy Individuals and businesses as decision makers for the private sector Government as decision maker for the public sector A greater government role than in a free market economy Most common economic system today Examples: Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey
Israel has a market economy, but the government still owns much of the land and industries, especially service industries.
Saudi Arabia's oil industry is almost completely owned by the government through a company called Saudi Aramco. Still, it is encouraging private industries to participate in other parts of the economy.
Turkey has taken great steps toward becoming more of a market economy by allowing private industries a greater role. This has been part of an effort to gain membership in the European Union (EU). The government still controls many industries, but the nation has privatized a great deal.
57. Resources Resources are available supplies of things that can be drawn on when needed. Three kinds of resources are human, capital, and natural resources. When there is unequal distribution of these resources, specialization and interdependence occur.
Resources are either renewable or nonrenewable. Renewable resources can be replaced, if managed by people. Nonrenewable resources cannot be replaced quickly if used by people. There are three kinds of resources to be managed:
58. Resources Human resources: represent the quantity and quality of human effort towards producing goods. It is also called labor. Improving the education and life expectancy of workers is considered investing in human resources.
Capital resources: goods made by people used to produce other goods and services. Example: machines used in factories.
Natural resources: things found in nature, often used to produce goods and services. Example: trees used for timber to build houses.
59. Entrepreneur An entrepreneur is a person who comes up with a new idea and takes a risk to produce it. Small business owners are also entrepreneurs, even if their idea is not new, because they assume the risk for making their business successful.
60. Unequal Distribution When all places do not have equal amounts of the same resources, there is an unequal distribution of resources. This can happen because of population growth, different environments, and the difference in cost of producing goods in one place over another. Here are two things that can happen with an unequal distribution of resources:
Specialization: concentrating on producing specific goods or services. A particular place will use the resources available and learn to produce specific products very well.
Interdependence: a relationship with another place to get the goods and services needed. Countries are often interdependent on each other because they each specialize in goods and services the others need. This allows for trade.
61. Trade Trade is an important part of any country's economy, particularly for most countries in the Middle East. It allows that country to use its natural resources and exchange them for products and resources that country does not have. There are, however, physical and economic barriers to trade. Also, it is important to remember that not all countries use the same currency, and so there must be a way to exchange two different currencies.
62. Importance of trade Trade is vital to most Middle Eastern economies because of distribution of resources. Many countries in the Middle East—including Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia—have a great access to crude oil. Most of them, however, have little access to food or industrial goods. Since oil is valuable to many nations in the world, countries with this resource are able to trade it for other needed goods.
Fresh water is a scarce resource in the Middle East, but countries do not actually trade for it. Alternatives are instead found, such as desalinating (removing the salt from) sea water to make it fresh.
63. Barriers to Trade Physical barriers: Geographical features of a location can prevent transportation from more easily reaching that location. Land trade in the Middle East is made difficult by large areas of desert and mountains, and rivers in the Middle East are not very effective for trading between nations. However, most Middle Eastern countries have a connection to the ocean, making trade by sea easier. This is not the case with landlocked countries, like Afghanistan.
64. Barriers to Trade Political barriers: Sometimes locations and countries are not able to trade with each other because of political or cultural differences. In the Middle East, this situation often exists between Israel and its neighbors. Because Israel is mainly a Jewish nation, and the other Middle Eastern countries are mainly Arab Muslim nations, Israel does more trade with the United States and European countries than it does with other Middle Eastern countries. Israel's trade economy has also suffered because the country has felt the need to spend money on military defense, in case it is attacked by neighboring nations.
65. Barriers to Trade Another political barrier to trade occurs when a trade organization sets restrictions. One organization that does this is OPEC:
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC): OPEC is formed from countries that have the most access to oil natural resources, and most of these countries are in the Middle East. The main reason for OPEC's existence is to make sure that oil prices stay steady. Because the economies of the countries in OPEC are dependent on income from oil, prices need to stay stable for the economies of the countries in OPEC to stay stable. OPEC may therefore impose limits on the amount of oil its members can produce, which forms a trade barrier.
66. International Trade and Currencies Countries all over the world have different currencies, or monetary units. In the United States, we have the U.S. dollar. Israel has the new Israeli shekel, Saudi Arabia has the Saudi riyal, and Jordan has the Jordanian dinar. How can these countries trade with each other if they do not have the same currency? The answer is exchange rates. An exchange rate is how much one currency is worth when compared to another. For example, 0.7 Jordanian dinars is worth 1 U.S. dollar. Exchange rates can go up or down depending on the two nations' economies.
67. There were many changes to the political boundaries in the Middle East during the 20th century. After the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, many areas were controlled by European countries. These areas eventually gained their independence. Today, many conflicts in the Middle East are caused by disagreements over land and religion. Middle Eastern History
68. Ottoman Empire After losing World War I, the Ottoman Empire lost all of its territory except for what is now Turkey. A League of Nations mandate system divided the land into smaller nations and gave control to Britain and France. During World War I, the Arab Revolt had taken place from 1916 until 1918. Husayn bin Ali led the Arabs against the Ottoman Turks. The Arab nationalists hoped to gain independence from the Ottoman Empire and then create an Arab state which stretched from Syria to Yemen. The Arabs fought on the side of the British and the French during the war because they thought it would help them to achieve their goals. Instead of gaining independence, the Arabs were placed under the control of the British and the French. The United Kingdom controlled Iraq and Palestine, and France controlled Syria and Lebanon.
69. Turkey The Republic of Turkey became a country in 1923. Mustafa Kemal became the first president of Turkey. He made many changes in Turkey in order to Westernize and modernize the nation. One of the changes that occurred under his rule was that Turkey became a secular (not religious) state, and the government was no longer influenced by Islam. Mustafa Kemal also adopted the Western calendar, the Latin alphabet, and the metric system to make Turkey more like Europe.
70. Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Syria Iraq - After World War I, Iraq was a mandate under the control of the United Kingdom. Iraq achieved independence in 1932.
Saudi Arabia - On September 23, 1932, the thirteen provinces of Saudi Arabia were unified into one kingdom with one ruler.
Lebanon - Lebanon was a mandate under the control of France until it achieved independence in 1943.
Syria - After World War I, Syria was a mandate under the control of France. In 1936, France and Syria signed the Franco-Syrian Treaty of Independence. Even though France signed the treaty, the French Assembly never ratified it. Syria finally gained independence in April 1946 when France pulled its troops out of the country.
71. Jordan and Israel Jordan - After World War I, Jordan was part of the British Mandate of Palestine. In 1921, the British gave some control of Transjordan, the area to the east of the Jordan River, to Abdullah bin Hussein, who would later become the first king of Jordan. On May 25, 1946, Transjordan became fully independent of the United Kingdom and became known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. In April 1949, King Abdullah changed the name of the country to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Israel - On May 14, 1948, Israel declared itself an independent nation and a Jewish state.
72. Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, and Iran Kuwait - Kuwait became independent on June 19, 1961 after signing a treaty with the United Kingdom. Prior to independence, Kuwait took over more and more responsibility for its internal affairs until finally, the United Kingdom withdrew its special court system, and the Kuwaiti government began to enforce its own laws. Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates – In 1971, these three countries declared themselves independent of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom recognized the independence of these when it determined they had enough oil revenues to be self-sufficient. The states were strong enough to keep neighboring countries such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia from taking them over for their oil wealth. Iran - Unlike many other Middle East countries, Iran was able to remain independent for most of its history. In 1979, however, it changed its form of government to an Islamic republic and got rid of British and Soviet influences in the country.
73. Israel Conflict
Religious connection - Israel was the historic land of the Jews until the Jewish Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE. After this, most Jews migrated from Israel and settled in parts of Europe. Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, is the holy city of the Jews. It is also a holy city for Muslims and Christians.
Anti-Semitism - Anti-Semitism is a hatred for Jewish people. When the Jews settled in Europe, most Europeans persecuted them for centuries because of religious beliefs.
Zionism - Zionism is the belief that Israel should be made into a homeland for the Jews. The Zionist movement began in the 1890s, when Jews wished to have their own home to escape European persecution.
74. Israel Conflict Balfour Declaration - The Balfour Declaration was issued by Great Britain in 1917, after Britain took control of the land that had been Israel. The declaration stated the right of the Jewish people to have a national home in Israel. However, very little was done after the declaration was issued.
Holocaust - During World War II, Nazi Germany killed 6 million European Jews, and it left countless others without any families or homes. This event is known as the Holocaust.
75. Israel Conflict Independence of Israel - After World War II, Britain and the United Nations made a plan to create two independent countries: a Jewish Israel and an Arab Palestine. However, both sides could not agree on this, and a war was fought between Israel and the Arab nations of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and what is now Jordan. Israel gained independence in 1948.
Conflicts today - The State of Israel still has a poor relationship with its Arab neighbors, especially in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
76. U.S. Involvement The Middle East has been involved in many conflicts over the years, and these conflicts continue today. In modern times, the United States has had an interest in the Middle East and has participated in many of the conflicts there.
77. Persian Gulf Conflict In 1990, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein claimed Kuwait had been pumping oil that was on Iraq's side of the border. Iraq invaded Kuwait later that year. An alliance of nations including the United States, Britain, and France pushed Iraq out of Kuwait and then invaded Iraq.
78. Invasion of Afghanistan When the United States was attacked by terrorists in 2001, its government found Osama bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist group al-Qaeda, responsible. Believing bin Laden lived in Afghanistan, the United States, Britain, and other nations invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban. The Taliban had been Afghanistan's dictatorship government.
79. Invasion of Iraq Operation Iraqi Freedom was an invasion of Iraq. Its purpose was to free the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein's dictatorship government and to stop Iraq from producing weapons of mass destruction and aiding terrorists. The United States, Britain, and other countries invaded Iraq in 2003 and removed Saddam Hussein from power.