About the Middle East

The Middle East is a geographical and cultural region located primarily in western Asia, but also in parts of northern Africa and southeastern Europe. The western border of the Middle East is defined by the Mediterranean Sea, where Israel, Lebanon, and Syria rest opposite from Greece and Italy in Europe. Egypt in Africa also borders the Mediterranean and is sometimes considered as part of the Middle East, while Turkey and Cyprus literally connect Europe to Asia and oscillate between being called European and Middle Eastern.

Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, all located just northeast of Turkey, are at times associated with the Middle East, Europe, Asia, or as their own separate region. South of the Mediterranean Sea, the Red and Arabian Seas surround the southern part of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Oman border these waters, with Iraq and Jordan connecting them to the western part of the region. At the center of the Middle East rests the Persian Gulf, cutting into the region and giving it its hook-like shape. Countries along the Persian Gulf include the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Iran.

Saudi Arabia, officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), is an Arab state in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula. With a land area of approximately 2,150,000 km2 (830,000 sq mi), Saudi Arabia is geographically the fifth-largest state in Asia and second-largest state in the Arab world after Algeria.

Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast, and Yemen to the south. It is separated from Israel and Egypt by the Gulf of Aqaba. It is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, and most of its terrain consists of arid inhospitable desert or barren landforms.


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