The Middle East is the imprecisely defined region of the world located approximately at the connection between Africa, Asia and Europe and several contiguous countries in which Arab culture is dominant. The historic birthplace of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, along with their variants, including small populations of Samaritans, Druze, Ismailis, Yazidis and others, it is home to a host of holy sites for each religion as well the antiquities of the ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Persian and Hellenistic civilizations. Already arid, centuries of ecologial mismanagement have turned vast stretches of the region into waste land unable to sustain even dry land agriculture.
The United States and the second tier world powers consider the region important because of its concentration of enormous high quality oil deposits. These are located in Saudia Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Algeria and Libya. These countries are considered to have archaelogical and religious sites of major importance.
Criticism of the term
The region consists of: