The Middle East is a region in southwest Asia that sometimes includes parts
of North Africa. The term defines an area without exact land boundaries.
What counts as the Middle East is in many cases unclear. The Center for Middle
Eastern Studies at Lund University defines the states of the Arabian Peninsula,
Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey
and the seven African states of Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya,
Sudan and Egypt as the Middle East.
According to other sources, Cyprus and Afghanistan are part of the Middle East,
and in rarer cases, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Georgia, Pakistan,
Somalia and Tunisia have also been included in the Middle East. Some unifying
links are that Islam is a central religion and that Arabic is a significant
language. Other phenomena that unite are urbanization, population growth,
migration, colonial history and authoritarian states.
Tourism-related industry occurs mainly only in Turkey and Egypt. Tourism is
largely hampered by political unrest and a lack of interest on the part of
individual states to develop tourism. In recent years, the United Arab Emirates,
Bahrain and Jordan have become increasingly popular tourist destinations.
Countries considered to belong to the Middle East
- Palestinian territories
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
Countries that are sometimes considered to belong to the Middle East