The Classification of Countries from the
Regional Perspective

The Middle East is
a region in which the legacy of great civilizations is deeply connected with
the religious, political, economic and military aspects of everyday life. The
uniqueness of the geopolitical situation of the Middle East intensifies the
severity of the problems of national security, both ethnic groups and entire
nationalities. Particular attention is paid in the region to the maintenance of
peace, and attempts aimed at this have not, to this very day, been successful. For
several millennia, the Middle East remains one of the most important political,
economic, religious and cultural centers, since it is from here that world
religions begin: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Today, the
borders of the Middle East region are conditioned by Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria,
Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and North Saudi Arabia.

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If we turn to the meaning
of the term “Middle East”, it must be taken into account that the
first mentions of the Middle East were back in the 16th century. The term “Middle East” may have originated
in the 1850s in the British India Office (Beaumont, Blake & Wagstaff 1988, p. 16.)  However, it became more widely known when American naval
strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan used the term in 19027( Koppes, CR
(1976). “Captain Mahan, General Gordon and the origin of the term
“Middle East””. Middle East Studies. 12:
95–98. )  to “designate the area
between Arabia and India”.8  ( Lewis, Bernard (1965). The Middle East and the West.
p. 9.)9 (Fromkin, David (1989). A Peace to end all
Peace. p. 224.  ) During this time the British and Russian Empires were vying for influence in Central Asia, a rivalry which would become known as The Great Game. Mahan realized not only the strategic importance of the region, but
also of its center, the Persian Gulf.1011 He labeled the area surrounding the Persian Gulf as the Middle
East, and said that after Egypt’s Suez Canal, it was the most important passage for Britain to control in order to
keep the Russians from advancing towards British India.12 Mahan first used the term in his article “The Persian Gulf
and International Relations”, published in September 1902 in the National
Review, a British journal.

The Middle East, if I may
adopt a term which I have not seen, will some day need its Malta, as well as its Gibraltar; it does not follow that either will be in the
Persian Gulf. Naval force has the quality of mobility which carries with it the
privilege of temporary absences; but it needs to find on every scene of operation
established bases of refit, of supply, and in case of disaster, of security.
The British Navy should have the facility to concentrate in force if occasion
arise, about Aden, India, and the Persian Gulf.13

In addition to the Middle
East, there is also a definition of the Middle East, to which belongs Iran,
Afghanistan and Pakistan. The notion of certainty in this context is played by
the proximity and distance from Europe, this is the reason for the name of the
region “average.” Medial position between the Far and Middle East.

we turn to the term “Middle East” in the understanding of Western
literature (the US and Europe), could be traced some inconsistency. Before the
First World War, the term “Middle East” in foreign literature was
used to refer to the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans, and the term “middle
east” defined the geographical affiliation of Iran, Afghanistan, Central
Asia and the Caucasus. The term “Far East” was used to refer to the
East Asian countries (China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, etc.)

the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the term Near East ceased to be used in
foreign literature, while the term Middle East was applied to the countries of
the Islamic World.

The modern
political map of the Middle East acquired its appearance after the First World
War, while the Ottoman Empire was divided into separate states. Also, an
important event in this region is the formation of the Independent State of
Israel in 1948. This event entailed many historically important changes in the
structure of the region.

In the concept of
the “Middle East”, a wide interpretation of the humanitarian science
of various aspects as well as geography, and economics and history is used. The
Middle East in the concept of traditional geography includes the countries of
southwest Asia: Bahrain, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Qatar, Kuwait,
Lebanon, UAE, Oman, Palestine and Saudi Arabia. 14 states of the region differ
in terms of the state system of which 7 are republics; 7 monarchies, of which 3
are absolute monarchies.

The Middle East
does not fall under any category of classical continental geography. Strangely
enough, but the Middle East is in West Asia, as well as includes North Africa.
On the geographical side, it is more accurate to say that the Near East is more
likely in South-West Asia and North Africa. Considering the cultural aspect of
the issue, the civilization of the Middle East appears united and in many ways
composed of peoples. But still, the concept of the Middle East is very
difficult to stay within the prescribed limits. Such a concept as the
“Muslim world” goes far beyond the geographic Middle East, and is
spread throughout the world. And the “Arab-Muslim civilization”, on
the contrary, narrows the scope, being more of a rough indignation, which does
not include Christians, Jews, Kurds and Turks.

Considering the
Middle East from the political point of view, today it is difficult to imagine
it without Iran or Turkey. The Islamic Republic of Iran, not only one of the
most developed countries in the region, but also rich in hydrocarbon resources,
has an attractive ideology and is geographically in a very successful location.
Turkey, in spite of its obvious craving for the west, the European Union and
NATO membership, is an important point in the military-strategic plan.
Military-technological progress of the twentieth century allowed the Middle
East to overcome the restrictions of the western coast of the Arabian
Peninsula. Today, from the military-strategic point of view, this region has
expanded its borders, and includes all Arab countries, Turkey and Iran, thanks
to the accelerated and simplified methods of delivering troops, as well as
military equipment for thousands of kilometers and in the shortest time. And a
hundred years ago, the water, sand and mountain ranges that occupy most of the
territory were a serious obstacle to military operations. For modern aircraft,
missile technology and desert troops, such geographical difficulties do not
seem a big obstacle.

The definition of
the term “Middle East” should also be defined in the context of
scientific traditions that took place in the Russian Soviet and Oriental and
political sciences. in Soviet literature to the countries of the “Middle
East”, referred to the Arab countries of Asia and Cyprus. Turkey, Iran and
Afghanistan represented the “Middle East”. The Great Soviet
Encyclopedia (1969 – 1978) refers to the “Middle East” such countries
as Turkey and Sudan.


If we talk about
Western sources, here the concept of the Middle East is used in a wide sense.
Near East “was used before the First World War to refer to the territory
of modern Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Levant and Egypt, while” Middle East
“included Arabia, Mesopotamia, the territories washed by the Persian Gulf
and Afghanistan.

In addition, the
term “Near East” is used today in the geographic and archaeological
sciences to designate the territories of Anatolia, Levant and Mesopotamia.

There is also
another concept of “Greater Middle East”. This term was introduced
into political usage by George Bush, US presidents, in 2004 during the G8
summit. The Greater Middle East includes the Arab countries, the countries of
Central Asia, the South Caucasus, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan – i.e.
almost the entire Muslim world except the Muslim countries of Southeast Asia.
Similarly, by globalising the notion of the “Middle East”, Bush not
only simplified the situation by dumping everything “in one heap,”
but also paid tribute to civilizational theories, which in recent times were
voiced in a conflict perspective in the works of Huntington. In fact, the US administration
operates on these categories, but instead of civilizing designations
(“Islamic civilization” uses political-geographical (“the
Greater Middle East”)).



proceeding from
historical events, it would be necessary to include in the concept of the “Middle
East” three subregions: Turkey in modern borders, Iran, the Arab countries
of Asia and Egypt. Since this definition corresponds to both modern and
established traditional views on the concept, it has on the one hand
geocultural completeness, on the other – explicit linguistic, ethnic,
religious, economic and political differences of the constituent parts from
each other. Each of the countries, groups of countries – subregions, has
characteristic features of political and economic development, features that
distinguish it from others. However, at the same time the region itself has a
pronounced geopolitical destiny, which for centuries has been shared to varying
degrees by all countries and peoples of the Middle East.






















Middle East Region in the Modern System of
International Relations

In the current process of
globalization of world economic and political processes, the concept of
“region” is larger than in the late 20th century, as every decade is
subject to changes in geographical, economic, political and national context.

The region is usually characterized
by a variety of natural, socio-economic, and national-cultural aspects. The
region can often be identified with the boundaries of the territory of the
state, or it can unite the territories of several entities. Due to the development
of infrastructure, technology and vehicles, the distance between cities is
significantly reduced. Through the transfer of information, integration
processes are becoming more accessible, even in the most remote corners of the
planet. But it should be noted that a sharp rise in the globalization process
may negatively affect the definition and delineation of the boundaries of the
region. The reason for this is the violation of regional integrity and its
merger with neighboring adjoining territories. As a result, the issue of
allocating some kind of space and its relation to a particular region becomes
more complicated. Also, it should be noted that states also influence the
formation of external relations: both political and economic, which in turn
create geopolitical systems. Typically, such systems are used for political
purposes, for creating common cultural, linguistic, and “national”
values ??among states and individual regions. Proceeding from this, many
globalization processes are aimed at the prospects for the development of
economic and political facts within the boundaries of certain regions. This
gives a broader concept and perception of the factors influencing the
definition of the concept of “region” as a whole.

A characteristic feature of integration in the Near and Middle East can be called the extreme politicization of the process – the intensity of economic interaction between the states of the region directly depends, first of all, on the state of the Middle East conflict. The Arab states, which occupy different positions in relation to Israel and the West, hardly come to consensus in international institutions, which has a particularly negative impact on the activities of the largest association of the Arab world – the League of Arab States. Integration processes in the Middle East are carried out within the framework of two multifunctional international organizations – the League of Arab States and the Council of Cooperation of the Arab States of the Persian Gulf, as well as a number of specialized institutions and forums, such as the MENA Summit (Middle East & North Africa) since 1994. (https://www.un.org/press/en/2013/sc11087.doc.htm, Security Council, 7015th Meeting (AM & PM) SC/11087
6 AUGUST 2013)














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