chapter  8
Pages 18

The heart of the Middle East is the focus of this chapter. It includes the Arabian Peninsula and Fertile Crescent regions of the Mashreq (the eastern part of the Arab world), the states of Yemen (formerly Yemen AR and Yemen PDR), Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan (see Figure 8.1). This area is characterized by the predominance of Islam, the identification of Arabic-speaking people with an Arab cultural and ethnic identity, the pervasive economic influence of oil and natural gas production, arid environments and widespread political turbulence and conflict which has constantly involved outside powers.