The Southwestern Asia region extends from Iran on the east to Cyrenaica on the west and from turkey on the northern side to Anglo-Egyptian Sudan side on the south. This region is basically divided into 3 sub-regions: the Middle East countries, the Arabian Peninsula and the empire state countries. These Middle East countries consist of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel. The Arabian Peninsula consists of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arabs Emirates (UAE), Oman and Yemen. The empire states include turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan. It presents an intricate complexity in social, economic and culture life, with it being a mixture of the old and modern society. The region is the first home of cultural hearth, centers of ideas, innovations and ideologies that change regions and realms. Agriculture originated from this region, in the rise of Mesopotamia. This was between the Tigris and Euphrates River. It was in this region that farming was invented with the use of irrigation and the art of food storage nurtured together with domestication of cereals, fruits, and animals. The calendar, math, astronomy was developed within this region. Of all the benefits that the region is blessed with, oil is their most important. 65% of oil reserves in the world come from this region. Oil is a one of the major forces that fuel the development of the region from socially to economically. It is due to oil that this region has even attracted international interaction.
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Most population in this region is located where there is water. These areas are, along the Mediterranean Sea, along the main rivers Tigris and Euphrates, desert oasis, and along lower slopes on Mountains. These are areas with fertile lands for agriculture which the people greatly rely on. The physical environment of this region is however dominated by deserts, steppes, and mountains apart from the Mediterranean coasts. It is a region that experiences an extreme climate characterized by low rainfall and high temperatures.
The main centripetal and centrifugal forces that influence the region are basically two; Religion and oil, religion influences the way of life while oil influences the financial dynamics of the region. The region is commonly referred to as the Arab world or the Islamic world. Arabic being the most commonly used language through out the realm, although not used by many people. Turkey, Iran and Israel each have their own languages. The dominant or popular religion is Islam, which dominates most with an exemption of Lebanon, which is Christian and Israel, which is Jewish. The religion was first introduced by the prophet Muhammad around AD 610 and it currently has approximately 1 billion followers worldwide. There are two primary groups of Islam, the Shiites and Sunni, which both follow the teaching of Mohammed and the holy book Quran. The two differ in that one, Sunni, is more liberal, while the Shiites are conservative and strictly live their life in accordance with the laws of the Quran. The cornerstone of Islam is in Mecca, where occasionally thousands of Islamic faithful pay pilgrimage.
Oil on the other hand has influenced a lot of development of most of the areas. The region has two of the biggest reserves in the world, the 'Ghawar' and the 'Burgan'. These two have been the cause of the rapid exponential growth of some of the countries in the Persian Gulf. Due to oil abundance, most of the population consists of the upper-middle class. The oil business has improved the economic lives of the people and the living standards have also gone up. The existence of oil reserves promotes foreign investments bringing in a lot of local development. Countries of the Arabian Peninsula benefit most, they have high incomes and the living standards are higher too. Oil money funds most economies, with it the industrialization thrives. The modernization of countries is possible and some is still left to enrich their social and religious lives though such things as building of mosques and erection of religious monuments.
Of the Middle East countries, Iraq, has a population of around 22 million and comprises nearly 60% of the total Middle East and 40% of the Southwestern region population. It has one of the major oil reserves and it is highly endowed with natural resources. The country also depends most on irrigated farmland. Iraq has had wars for a long time now and has recently had adversarial relationship with most of the neighboring countries. The country is just recovering from war based on anti-terrorism and claims of weapons of mass destruction, with United States being a major enemy as well as most of the west; it is yet to have a stabilized government. Syria has around 16 million people, it military governed and it is not a democracy. Most of its income is from oil second by cotton. Jordan has a population of 4.5 million and is constantly at war with Israel. Israel has a population of about 5 million, although it is surrounded by poverty, it is wealthy and its people live under high standards. It has many conflicts, mostly religious based, with most of its neighbors.
The Arabian Peninsula is environmentally dominated by deserts and politically by the Saudi Arabian kingdom. Saudi posses a quarter of the worlds oil reserves. It is dominated by the Islamic religion and way of life. It has a population of 20 million people, and most of them are Islam. Saudi Arabia hosts the two major Islamic cities, Mecca and Medina. The other countries in the Arabian Peninsula are small and are located in the Persian Gulf. However, Kuwait a very small country, which is populated by 2 million, has 13% of the worlds oil, making it one the richest nations in the world. UAE, is a monarch wit about 2 million people. Most of the income is also oil based.
The empire states don't rely much on oil, but industrialization. Iran which has a population of over 60 million is the biggest. Previous wars left the country in a poor state. However it does well in textiles, furniture and carpets export. On the other hand, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest and weakest countries in the realm. Wars have left the country destitute, urbanization is below 20% and disunity of its people has encouraged division from without.
The Western Asia region is one highly influenced by oil and religion. Its development has been greatly slowed by wars over territories, religion differences and lack of resources in some of the countries. It however remains one of the most influential regions of the globe.