Magazine article New York Times Upfront

Middle East

Magazine article New York Times Upfront

Middle East

Article excerpt

The Middle East is a region, not a continent. It's mostly in Asia, but also includes a part of Africa (Egypt) and a corner of Europe (the small European section of Turkey). Egypt and Turkey are also included on the maps and tables for Africa anal Europe, respectively.

The vast majority of people in the Middle East are Muslim, although Christians, Jews, and people of other faiths also live there. Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, is the spiritual center of Islam.

Separated from eastern and South Asia by the mountains of Afghanistan, the Middle East is home to most of the world's oil production, which makes it a critical region strategically. It is also an area of great tension.

In recent years, the United States has fought two wars in Iraq. The U.S. and the United Nations are also struggling with Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons program. With U.S. help, negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians resumed in September, but a resolution to their long-running dispute remains elusive. …

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