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Southwest Asia aka the Middle East

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1 Southwest Asia aka the Middle East


3 Main Facts Vast reserves of oil exist here but many of the 16 countries are poor. The oil-rich countries have used their oil wealth to pay for modernization. Oil rich – Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, Kuwait, Iran, Bahrain, Oman. Political conflict in this area is of vital concern to the rest of the world. There are issues in Iran, Israel, Iraq, and Syria.


5 Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf


7 Main Facts Deserts and mountains and plateaus cover much of SWA. Most of this region has an arid climate. Rivers in this region provide a vital but limited source of water. There are very few rivers: Euphrates, Tigris, Jordan. The population is not evenly distributed. People live in places where water is available, along the coasts or at higher plateaus where it is cooler.



10 Main Facts SWA is a crossroad of cultures where 3 continents meet – Europe, Asia, and Africa. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam originated in this region. All 3 religions share similar beliefs and the same God. 3 holy cities are Jerusalem, Mecca, and Medina. Many people here are Muslims, believers in the Islamic religion. Two of every three speak Arabic as their native language.


12 The History of SWA since WWI
Ottoman Empire in 1914 before the war

13 The history of SWA since WW I
Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 broke the promise made in 1915 to the Arabs SWA today. Jordan and Israel are created as are Syria and Iraq in the late 1940s.

14 The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Palestinian loss of land to Israel

15 The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
This conflict is mainly about religion and land. Both Jews and Palestinians believe they have claims to the land. The Jews believe that God said, “you are my chosen people and I am your God and this is your promised land.” The Palestinian Muslims believe the land is rightfully theirs because people living here were converted to Islam almost 1400 years ago and Palestinian Muslims have been living there ever since.

16 The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The land known as Israel today was called Palestine for almost 2,000 years. In 1947, the United Nations partitioned Palestine to give a homeland to the Jews. Countries in the UN voted for this partly because of the Holocaust.

17 The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel became a country in Immediately her Arab neighbors attacked. Israel won the war. Many Palestinians fled to Jordan. This was the beginning of the PLO – Palestine Liberation Organization.

18 The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Yasser Arafat became the spokesman for the PLO. There were more wars fought between Israel and her Arab neighbors. In 1967, the 6- Day war, Israel won all the land known as Palestine.

19 Israel and Palestine since 1967
Since 1967, Israel and Palestinians have tried to negotiate a return of some land to the Palestinians. There has been much rioting and terrorism. Both sides have contributed to the problem. Israel has built settlements on Palestinian land and the Palestinians have used terrorism for their cause.

20 Israel and Palestine since 1967
A big problem began in the 1980s when Israel began to build settlements on what everyone knew to be Palestinian land. The UN sanctioned Israel and every country except the US agreed. That is why there is so much resentment against Israel and the US.

21 Israel and Palestine since 1967
Since the 1990s, Israel has been returning land to the Palestinians for self rule. They held elections and have a President. There is a wall between Palestine and Israel to try to keep the violence down. The Palestinians are much poorer than the Israelis and don’t have a good opportunity to make a living.



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