Map of South Western Asia and the Middle East

Middle East

Ethnic maps of Afghanistan and Pakistan
Look particularly how the Pashtun straddle the border for a large distance

Tribal areas




a. Reuters
b. BBC News
c. Washington Post
d. New York Times
e. Wall Street Journal
f. Economist

Countries included herein: [in alphabetical order]

Arab League
Gulf Cooperation Council
Islamic State
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates


Arab League (Council on Foreign Relations)

Arab League profile (BBC News)


Country Profiles (BBC News): Bahrain

From website:

1967 - Britain moves its main regional naval base from Aden to Bahrain.
Bahrain now home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet

Members of the Sunni Muslim ruling family hold the main political and military posts. There are long-
running tensions between Bahrain's Sunnis and the Shia Muslim majority.

1986 November - Opening of the King Fahd causeway which links Bahrain to the mainland of Saudi

In early 2011 the government called in the Saudi military to crush protests by demonstrators demanding
a greater say in government and an end to what Shias say is systematic discrimination against them in
jobs and services.

The controversial decision to allow Bahrain to host the Formula 1 Grand Prix in April 2012 further
galvanised protests.

It is thought that Prime Minister is a hardliner who is reluctant to make any concessions on the grounds
that they will only encourage opposition leaders to make more demands.

Crown Prince Salman, on the other hand, is seen as a moderate

In Bahrain, the struggle behind Pearl Revolution still glows

Frequently asked questions about Bahrain

Go to part about how women should dress: abaya


Country Profile (BBC News): Egypt
Check out the EGYPT IN TRANSITION links at the bottom of the overview tab

Profile: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

Gamal Abdel Nassar


Suez crisis


Gulf Cooperation Council profile (BBC News)


Country Profile (BBC News): Iran

Showdown with Iran FRONTLINE

Film online

As Iraq descends into chaos and civil war, FRONTLINE examines the rise of its neighbor -- Iran -- as one of America's greatest threats and most puzzling foreign policy challenges. Through interviews with key players on both sides, FRONTLINE traces the tumultuous history of U.S.-Iran relations since 9/11 -- from unprecedented early cooperation in Afghanistan, to the growing crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions and Tehran's open threats to drive America out of the Middle East.


Site map

Themes and Analysis


Readings and links

Iranian Revolution in pictures

Iran historical timeline

US had extensive contact with Ayatollah Khomeini before Iran revolution

The Great Game

Iran and Afghanistan | The Iran Primer

Shah of Iran flees into exile (16 January 1979)


Islam: Empire of Faith (PBS)


Frequently Asked Questions [use this]

What Muslims believe [use this]

Major Themes
Islam and the West
Islamic belief, law, and practice
Women and Islam


Portraits of ordinary Muslims

Interviews with Muslim scholars


Five myths about Sharia

Sunni versus Shiite

Sunnis and Shias: Islam's Ancient Schism (BBC News)

Why the Sunnis and Shias are fighting (Washington Post)
[Be sure to play the video]

Questions rebels use to tell Sunni from Shiite

Map of Sunni/Shia divisions

Sunni resentment muddles prospect of unifying Iraq

Sunni Muslims - Shiite Muslims - Silvestre Reyes - United States Congress

Behind Stark Political Divisions, a More Complex Map of Sunnis and Shiites


The Kurds: the world's largest stateless nation

Put with section on ethnic difficulties in Iraq today
The Kurds - A Chronology | The Survival Of Saddam | FRONTLINE | PBS

Thousands die in gas attack against Kurds


Why do millions gather in Mecca each year [this is good]

Hajj: World's Largest Pilgrimage [Show this in class for sure]

Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca

Hajj in pictures


Ramadan 2015: what do I need to know?

What is Ramadan? [show in class]

Ramadan: a guide to the Islamic holy month

Muslims and wearing the veil

Why Muslim women wear the veil [click on the graphic showing different styles]
What are the basic issues in this article?
What is your own feeling about how to dress as a religious person? Or is it only about religion?

The Islamic veil across Europe
Why do Muslim women wear the hijab.
The "debate takes in religious freedom, female equality, secular traditions and even fears of terrorism." What are the issues involved in this and how have some of the countries dealt with it.
What is your personal feeling.

My First Afghan Burka (Female New York Times reporter Alissa Rubin)
Would you like to be a correspondent going on this kind of mission?
How did you feel as you read through her detailed description.

A Makeover for the Hijab, via Instagram
Muslim Women Add Personal Style to a Traditional Garment
Would you as a Christian want to wear a hijab. Why or why not?

Why Do Muslim Women Wear The Hijab?
[nice short video]

What’s That You’re Wearing? A Guide to Muslim Veils

Olympians in Hijab and Bikini

Putting Faith and Sports on the Same Team

Meet the woman in the American flag hijab


England's forgotten Muslim history

The Life of Omar ibn Said

African Muslim Slaves in the Americas: An Understudied Presence

Yarrow Mamout, a freed Muslim slave, takes his place among presidents and generals at
National Portrait Gallery


In rise of ISIS, no single missed key but many strands of blame

Losing Iraq (ISIS) | FRONTLINE | PBS

Secret history of ISIS

The ISIS threat

Salafism: Why ultra-conservative Islam is finding support in post-revolution Egypt

ISIS’ Harsh Brand of Islam Is Rooted in Austere Saudi Wahhabi Creed

What's the appeal of a caliphate?


Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Islamic State's driving force

Profile: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

How ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became the world’s most powerful jihadist leader

What is the Islamic State?

How ISIS works

How ISIS expands

ISIS finances are strong

Islamic State: Where does jihadist group get its support?

How the Islamic State evolved in an American prison

Jihad and Girl Power: How ISIS Lured 3 London Girls

Life in the Islamic State series (Washington Post):

Key differences between Al Qaeda, Islamic State, and Taliban

Taliban chastise Islamic State


Country Profile (BBC News): Israel
Check out the MORE ON THIS STORY links at the bottom of the overview tab.

What Is Hamas And Why Are They At War With Israel?

Arab-Israeli conflict series: The Past 50 Years of Israeli Occupation.

When Israelis view 50 years of occupation in Palestine as normal, peace is a foreclosed dream

1967 war: Six days that changed the Middle East

Legacy of 1973 Arab-Israeli war reverberates 40 years on

How the K.G.B. Started the War That Changed the Middle East

Still Stuck Between May and June of 1967

Country Profile (BBC News): Palestinian territories

A Guide to the Arab-Israeli conflict [thanks to Rachel Pobre for this link]

Israel/Palestinian issue home page

Middle East talks: core issues

History of Mideast peace talks

Profile: Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel)

Profile: Mahmoud Abbas (Palestinian Authority)

Profile: Fatah Palestinian movement

Profile: Hamas Palestinian movement

Israel's Iron Dome missile shield

Gaza: How Hamas tunnel network grew

No place to hide for children of war in Gaza and Syria

Hamas and Israel step up cyber battle for hearts and minds

Israel map: 1947 to the present

BBC documentary - Birth of Israel - Birth of a Nation

Primer on Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict | Middle East Research and Information Project

Avalon Project - The Middle East 1916-2001 : A Documentary Record

History of the Israel Palestine Conflict reference links

Map Progression 1947-2012 — Foundation for Middle East Peace

Hamas (National Counter-terrorism Center)

Hamas (Council on Foreign Relations)

Hamas Palestinian Movement (BBC News profile)

Palestinian territories (BBC News)


Country Profile (BBC News): Jordan

Jordan Queen Rania


Country Profiles (BBC News): Kuwait

Sheikh becomes emir. What is the difference between a sheikh, emir, sultan, king.

Role of Britain in various of these countries

British protectorates

Sandhurst's sheikhs: Why do so many Gulf royals receive military training in the UK?

Role of various wars in all of these countries: WWI, WWII, Gulf War, US invasion of Iraq. Had to choose

From website:

1985-86 - Domestic security concerns, particularly about Iran's perceived influence over the Shi'ite
minority, prompt the deportations of thousands of expatriates, many of them Iranian. [role of foreign
workers/human rights]

1992 - Under domestic and international pressure, Emir gives green light to National Assembly elections.
Opposition forces perform well in the vote.

2009 October - Constitutional court rules women can obtain passports without the consent of their
In another ruling, it decides women MPs are not required to wear an Islamic head cover


Country Profile (BBC News): Lebanon
Who are Hezbollah?

Lebanon profile (BBC News)

Who are Hezbollah?

Hezbollah (background report by the Council on Foreign Relations)


Country Profiles (BBC News): Oman

From website:

The oldest independent state in the Arab world strategically important position at the mouth of the

At one time Oman had its own empire
1800s-1900s - Omani empire expands to include Zanzibar and Mombasa on Africa's east coast and parts
of the Indian subcontinent, reflecting Oman's strong maritime heritage.

1749 - Persians are driven out. The Al Bu Said dynasty comes to power, and continues to rule to this day. Role of ruling dynasties in many of these places.

1913 - Control of the country splits. The interior is ruled by Ibadite imams and the coastal areas by the
sultan. Under a British-brokered agreement in 1920 the sultan recognises the autonomy of the interior. What is a sultan?

1981 - Oman is a founding member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council

2006 January - Oman and the US sign a free trade deal. The agreement is approved by the US Congress
and Senate in June and July.


India-Pakistan Partition BBC documentary (90 minutes)

India, Pakistan, and Kashmir (Economist videographic)

Kashmir:The origins of the dispute

Kashmir conflict profile

Great Calcutta killings


Country Profiles (BBC News): Qatar
See the Qatar links at bottom of screen

How Qatar came to host the Taliban

[Ciara's mother to teach there??]

From website:

In 1995 Crown Prince Hamad bin Khalifa deposed his father to become emir. Have you noticed the pattern in all these places of family intrigues and infighting?

Qatari satellite TV station Al-Jazeera has become one of the most important broadcasters in the Arab
world. Not popular in some countries.

1939 - Oil reserves discovered. Exploitation is delayed by World War II, but oil comes to replace pearling
and fishing as Qatar's main source of revenue.

Foreigners - including labourers attracted by a construction boom - outnumber natives. Oil money funds
an all-embracing welfare state, with many services being free or heavily subsidized.

2002 - Qatar looms large in US plans for a possible war against Iraq. Its al-Udeid air base is developed and expanded. Washington says it will deploy US Central Command staff to Qatar.
2003 March-April - Qatar-based US Central Command forward base serves as the nerve centre in the US-
led military campaign in Iraq.

2009 January - Qatar cuts trade ties with Israel over Gaza offensive. Was sole Gulf state to have trade ties with Israel. Relations with Israel run as a theme through all these countries.

2011 Qatar reportedly arms Libyan opposition. Which side are they on in the current Islamic State crisis?

2012 January - The Afghan Taliban say they are setting up a political office in Qatar to facilitate talks. We traded 4 prisoners for that US soldier. They were released in the custody of Qatar.

2014 March - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdraw their ambassadors from Qatar after alleging
that it has been meddling in their internal affairs.


Country Profiles (BBC News): Saudi Arabia

Home to Mecca and Medina

The House of Saud FRONTLINE

Video: FRONTLINE House of Saud

Turki bin Faisal Al Saud
House of Saud video 38:59
Georgetown School of Foreign Service in 1964

The House of Saud has controlled every aspect of Saudi life and politics since the kingdom was established in 1932. But outside the Desert Kingdom little is known about Saudi Arabia's secretive royal family. In "House of Saud" FRONTLINE explores how the Al Saud family maintains its hold on power in the face of growing tensions between Islam and modernity. Through interviews with members of the royal family government officials and other experts from Saudi Arabia and the U.S. the two-hour documentary also traces America's relations with the Saudi royal family from their first alliance in the 1930s through Sept. 11 and beyond to the present day.




Themes and Analysis


Interviews - Prince Amr Ibn Mohammad Al Faisal | House Of Saud |

The US-Saudi relationsip

ISIS’ Harsh Brand of Islam Is Rooted in Austere Saudi Creed

Long reign of same dynasty

Ottoman Turks role (in so much of this part of the world)

Significance of the term "Middle East"

Oil. US and British petroleum companies.


Osama bin Laden

I'm amazed at all the terrorist acts.

2010 October arms sales. US foreign aid: Israel/Saudi Arabia

2011 March Saudis put down unrest in Bahrain during Arab Spring
Governments afraid to have a vote--that extremists might win Issue of women driving and publishing pictures

2014 March Muslim Brotherhood

Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’

Don' t blame Wahhabism for terrorism

How Kosovo Was Turned Into Fertile Ground for ISIS

The first global terrorists were anarchists in the 1890s

What the Saudis miss when they focus on Iran


Country Profile (BBC News): Syria

Syria: Mapping the conflict

Syria Conflict home page (BBC News)

Syria at war FRONTLINE


FRONTLINE Inside Assad's Syria

Syria’s Paradox: Why the War Only Ever Seems to Get Worse

Who is fighting whom in Syria?

Syria crisis: where key countries stand

Untangling the overlapping conflicts in the Syrian war

Islamic State women and enforcers in Syria recount collaboration, anguish, and escape

How the growing web of conflict in Syria became a global problem

Syria's Alawites

Syria's Baath party

Syria's beleaguered Christians

A brief guide to the Syrian civil war

Straightforward answers to basic questions about Syria's civil war


Country Profile (BBC News): Turkey

Song: Istanbul, not Constantinople


Country Profiles (BBC News): United Arab Emirates

From website:

1820 - Britain and local rulers sign a treaty to combat piracy along the Gulf coast. From this, and later
agreements, the area becomes known as the Trucial Coast.

Although each state - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al Qaiwain -
maintains a large degree of independence, the UAE is governed by a Supreme Council of Rulers made up
of the seven emirs, who appoint the prime minister and the cabinet. [I had never heard of most of these]

Role of foreign workers
The oil industry has attracted a large influx of foreign workers who, together with expatriates, now make
up more than three quarters of the population.

Dubai sought to turn itself into the financial gateway and cosmopolitan hub of the Middle East.

Burj Khalifa skyscraper - the world's current tallest man-made structure

1971 - UAE joins the Arab League [what is the Arab League]

Who are members of OPEC

1981 May - UAE is a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council; its first summit is held in Abu

2006 March - Political storm in the US forces state-owned Dubai Ports World to relinquish control of
terminals at six major American ports. Critics of the ports deal feared an increased risk of terrorist attack, saying the UAE was home to two of the 9/11 hijackers.


Country Profiles (BBC News): Yemen
Check out the YEMEN UNREST link [Arab Uprisings after 3 years] at the bottom of the overview tab

Yemen and coffee [Mocha/Java blend is my favorite]

From website:

1839 - Aden comes under British rule, and when the Suez Canal opens in 1869 serves as a major refuelling port.

Yemen crossroads of Africa, the Middle East and Asia for thousands of years thanks to its position on the
ancient spice routes. One of the possible locations for the Biblical kingdom of Sheba.

The modern Republic of Yemen was born in 1990 when traditional North Yemen and Communist South
Yemen merged after years of clashes.

Yemen was hit by more serious political upheaval early in 2011 when protesters - inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt - rallied against the three-decades-old rule of President Saleh.

He stepped down as part of a deal brokered by neighbouring countries.

In the meantime, Yemen had become a major base for Islamic Al-Qaeda militants

2000 October - US naval vessel USS Cole damaged in suicide attack in Aden which is subsequently
blamed on al-Qaeda. Seventeen US personnel killed.

US does drone strikes in Yemen.

The price of abandoning Yemen

Yemeni government and Houthi rebels reach agreement, U.N. envoy says

Yemen Mocha coffee