Middle East Countries and Regions

By | February 15, 2021

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

  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Oman
  • Palestinian territories
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Syria
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Yemen

Countries that are sometimes considered to belong to the Middle East

  • Algeria
  • Afghanistan
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Cyprus
  • Djibouti
  • Eritrea
  • Georgia
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Tunisia