The name for the Middle East region was assigned by the British who start using this term before the beginning of World War I. The region was acknowledged as a separate area and included the countries around the Persian-Arabian Gulf. The perceived boundaries are sometimes connected with the African countries, particularly with the northern part (Hobbs & Dolan, 2008). Further exploration reveal new concepts of development.
This is of particular concern to the term “Greater Middle East” that has acquired geopolitical importance because it affects approaches that governments use in the sphere of military assistance and foreign policy. There are a number of controversies concerning the existence and validity of the terms of the Middle East. According to Bonnie (2011), “regional geography…is concerned with the way that unique combinations of environment and human factors produce territories with distinctive language and cultural attributes” (p. 57). North Africa is also involved into the Greater Middle East, although the name contradicts its continental affiliation. Therefore, the identified region is based on common cultural backgrounds, including religion, political issues, and social environment.
While outlining the boundaries, the territory of the Greater Middle East stretches from the Morocco toward the Southwestern lands of Asia, right to the territories of Kazakhstan (Bonnie, 2011). The entire area shares common geographic characteristics, as well as physical attributes. In addition, the term Middle is common to all regions located within the identified boundaries. The region shares common climatic conditions because most of the climate conditions are typical of desert and dry climate. The geographic are is also the crossroad of trade, access to water, and the religious center. The Greater Middle East is also associated with war, conflicts, and political friction with other powerful economies, including the United States and the European countries.
Its geo-economic importance is specifically connected with commercial relations which take their roots in this Middle East. The geographic position also creates favorable environment for produce oil and other mineral resources (Brunn et al., 2003). Therefore, abundance of resources, rich trade relations, and favorable geographical position in terms of availability of water routes have made the region the main interest of the developed economies. During the 20th century, the Greater Middle East has been transformed from rural to urban region because of such processes as migration and natural increase.
The evident changes appeared during the World War II when urban banks were swallowed by migrants who came from oil-rich states. Most of migrants were searching for economic and financial perspectives and, therefore, such country as the United Arab Emirates consisted of 80 % of foreign population (Brunn et al., 2003). The process of urbanization was also connected with political issues. Thus, Amman, a village of 2000 people in Jordan has turned into a metropolitan with the population of 1.
5 million (Brunn et al., 2003). In conclusion, the creation of the Greater Middle East Region is predetermined by a wide variety of factors, including geographical location, and geopolitical aspects. Specifically, as a geographic location, the region covers the historic territory that was initially marked as a trade center.
In addition, the area shares similar climatic conditions. Aside from geography, the Greater Middle East is considered the birthplace of religion, as well as the center of oil production. Its political importance, however, is confined to the military campaigns and migration processes, which shaped the current geopolitical landscape of the region.
Bonnie, M. (2011), Is There a Middle East?: The Evolution of a Geographical Concept. US: Stanford University Press.
Brunn, S. D., Williams, J. F., and Zeigler, D. J. (2003). Cities of the World: World Regional Urban Development.
US: Rowman & Littlefield. Hobbs, J. J., & Dolan, A. (2008).
World Regional Geography. US: Cengage Learning.