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.