Middle East Basics: A Road Map

Overview of the Middle East :

The Greater Middle East stretches from Northwest Africa to South Asia over six time zones, and includes some 30 countries. It could be a continent all its own. But it's not as forbidding or mysterious as it may seem. The Middle East can be broken down and understood in its rich, various parts. Here are useful overviews:

 

Compelling Books on the Middle East:

It might take the new Library of Alexandria in Egypt to contain the mass of books journalists, historians and local authorities have been publishing on the Middle East going back centuries. Picking a few shouldn't be intimidating. Here are a few good places to start:

 

Quick, Factual Overview of Oil and the Middle East:

Who are the real leaders in oil production? The biggest consumers? The owners of the greatest reserves?

Here are the figures:

  • World's Top Oil Producers
  • World's Top Oil Importers
  • World's Top Oil Consumers
  • World's Top Oil Exporters
  • U.S. Dependence on Foreign Oil by Country

 

U.S.-Middle Eastern Relations:

No region in the world occupies American foreign affairs more than the Middle East. It's an old story going back at least 60 years.

Some basic briefings on the tortuous relationship:

 

Where the 2008 U.S. Presidential Candidates Stand on the Middle East:

The foreign policy of Republican and Democratic candidates for the presidency of the United States comes down in large part to how they see American policy evolving in the Middle East. Here's where each major candidates stands:

 

Country Profiles:

Here are the basics on individual countries in the Middle East--demographics, religion, military facts, brief histories and current issues: