Red Sea
The Red Sea is part of the main shipping
routes between Europe, the Persian Gulf
and East Asia.
The Red Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of
water in the world and cannot be used for
drinking or irrigation.
A sea that lies between Saudi Arabia and
Africa.
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf area is the world's largest
single source of crude oil, and related
industries.
A large body of water that lies between
Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Tigris and Euphrates Rivers
The area where these rivers run is the
cultural hearth, or where religion began in
the the Middle East.
Two large rivers in Iraq that are used as a
source for much of the area’s water needs.
Arabian Peninsula
This area is the world’s largest peninsula.
It is considered a geopolitical power
because of its huge reserves of oil and
natural gas.
The countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait,
Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates
(UAE), Oman and Yemen. This group of
countries is surrounded on three sides by
water.
Suez Canal
The canal supports 8% of the world's
shipping traffic.
Because of its narrow width, it is
considered a chokepoint because it can
easily be blocked to interrupt this flow of
trade.
A waterway that connects the
Mediterranean Ocean with the Red Sea,
dramatically reducing transit time for trade
worldwide.
Israel
ISRAEL
Government: Democracy
Economy: Market
GDP Rank 40
Religion: 75% Jewish, 17% Muslim, and
2% Christian
HDI: 17 of 187
A Middle East country on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea
Iraq
Iraq
Government: Democracy??
Economy: Mixed
75% GDP from Oil
Religion: 97% Muslim, 3% Christian, or
other
HDI: 132 of 187
A country in Western Asia with two major
rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates.
Iran
IRAN
Government: Theocracy (Authoritarian)
Economy: Command
75% GDP from Oil
Religion: 98% Muslim, 2% other
HDI: 89 of 187
Also called Persia, this country is in
Western Asia.
Afghanistan
The United States is currently winding
down a war against the Taliban in
Afghanistan, that was started after 9-11.
A landlocked country forming part of South
Asia, Central Asia, and to some extent
Western Asia.
Saudi Arabia
SAUDI ARABIA
Government: Monarchy (Authoritarian)
Economy: Command
45% GDP from Oil
Religion: 100% Muslim
HDI: 56 of 187
The largest Arab state in Western Asia by
land area, making up most of the Arabian
Peninsula
Arid
Much of the Middle East does not have
enough water to support animal life or
agriculture.
Very dry or desert-like.
Semi-Arid
Syria and Northern Iraq have a semi-arid
climate.
Areas of low annual rainfall and having
sparse plant life with short coarse grasses.
Desert
The Arabian Peninsula has one of the
worlds largest deserts.
A dry, hot, sandy, usually barren and
uninhabited area
Renewable and Non-renewable Natural
Resources
Natural resources give a country
geopolitical power.
Natural resources are materials found in a
natural environment that can be used in
some way.
Renewable resources can be replaced in a
relatively short time span, while nonrenewable resources require many
hundreds of years to regenerate.
Scarcity
The Middle East has a scarcity of water to
use for drinking and growing plants.
Not enough of something.
Palestine
The United Nations voted to recognize a
Palestinian state in November 2012, but
the Palestinians still face enormous
limitations: They don't control their
borders, airspace or trade, they have
separate and competing governments in
Gaza and the West Bank, and they have no
unified army or police.
A historical region that covered parts of
modern Israel, Jordan and Egypt.
The British ordered that the land in a large
part of this region would be used to create
the State of Israel.
Terrorism
Terrorist acts by Israel and Palestine are a
threat to peace between the two
countries.
The use of violence and threats to frighten
or bully, especially for political reasons.
Diaspora
An example of a diaspora is a community
of Jewish people settling together after
they were dispersed from another land.
The scattering of people from their
homeland
or
A community formed by people who have
left or been removed from their homeland
Zionism
Zionism supports Jews keeping their
Jewish identity, and has supported the
return of Jews to Israel as a means for Jews
to be a majority in their own nation, freed
from anti-semitic discrimination
A form of nationalism of Jews and Jewish
culture that supports a Jewish nation state
in Israel
Theocracy
Iran is an example of a theocracy.
A government run by a religious leader.
Islam
A follower of Islam is called a Muslim.
Muslims believe in the Five Pillars.
A monotheistic religion practiced by many
people, particularly in the Middle East and
Africa. Its holy book is the Quran (also
spelled Koran)and Muhammad is its main
prophet.
Sunni
About 90% of Muslims are Sunni.
Muslims who believe that religious leaders
(Imams) are chosen.
Shite
Shite (Shia) are found in Iran, Iraq and
Lebanon. They represent only about 10%
of Muslims.
Muslims who believe that religious leaders
(Imams) descended from the prophet,
Mohammed. They believe that only
Imams can interpret the Quran (Koran.)
Monarchy
Saudi Arabia is an example of a monarchy
in the Middle East
A type of government ruled by a single
person.
Geopolitical Power
The richness of natural resources in the
Middle East give the region great
geopolitical power.
The combination of geographic and
political factors that influence or define a
country or region.
Arab Spring
To date, rulers have been forced from
power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen.
Major uprisings and protests have broken
out in Bahrain, Syria, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan,
Kuwait, Morocco, and Sudan.
A revolutionary wave of demonstrations,
protests, and wars in the Arab world that
began in December 2010.
Corruption
Instability, a lack of transparency
(disclosure of information), and oil wealth
have helped promote corruption in parts
of the Middle East.
Evil, decay and dishonesty, particularly in
government.
Authoritarian
The revolutions of the Arab Spring were
prompted by reaction to extreme
authoritarian governments.
Some examples of authoritarian
governments in the Middle East include:
Iran (a theocracy)
Syria (a presidential republic)
Yemen (a republic)
A government where decisions are made
by one person or a very small group of
people.
Chemical Weapons
Iraq was the first country to use modern
chemical warfare in its 1984 war with Iran.
Today, the instability of the Syrian
government poses a chemical weapons
threat to the entire Middle East region.
A device that uses chemicals specifically
made to cause death or harm to human
beings.
Civil Unrest
The Arab Spring was a period of civil unrest
over many Middle Eastern countries as
citizens protested governments.
Conflict caused by a group of people,
including demonstrations, riots, sabotage
or other forms of crime. It is meant to be a
demonstration to the public and the
government, but can worsen and become
general chaos.
OPEC
Controls 41% of the world’s crude oil and
15% of its natural gas
An international organization of oil
exporting countries. Member nations
include: Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq,
Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia,
United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela
Cartel
OPEC is an example of a cartel, formed to
control profits on oil and natural gas.
A formal agreement among competing
firms to control industry output, market
shares, price or other issues. The purpose
is to increase individual members’ profits
by reducing competition.
Choke Point
Oil tankers face a number of risks at
chokepoints, ranging from heavy traffic to
piracy.
Any disruption can lead to instability in oil
prices.
A chokepoint is a strategic passage or canal
which could be closed or blocked to stop
sea traffic.
Cultural Hearth
The area around the Tigris and Euphrates
rivers forms the cultural hearth of the
Middle East. This region is known as
Mesopotamia.
The birthplace of a culture.
Judaism
Judaism was founded by Abraham.
The Torah is its holy book.
Israel was founded as a Jewish state or
homeland for Jews.
A religion whose followers are waiting for
the Messiah (savior of the people) to
come.
Christianity
The holy book for Christianity is the Bible.
Prophets include Abraham, the Jewish
prophets and the Apostles (followers of
Jesus who spread his message.)
A monotheistic religion whose followers
believe in the Holy Trinity. They believe
that Jesus was the son of God, born
without sin, was crucified, died and
resurrected (came back to life.)
Monotheism
Examples of monotheistic religions include
Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
A religion whose followers believe in a
single god.
Secular
Secularism in Islam means favoring a
modern nonspiritual democracy with
separation of mosque and state, as
opposed to Islam as a political movement.
Something that is not related to religion.
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Middle East Vocab - Literacy Strategies 1

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