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The Middle East

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The Middle East is a historical and cultural subregion of Africa-Eurasia traditionally held to be countries or regions in Southwest Asia together with Egypt. In other contexts, the region can include other parts of North Africa and/or Central Asia. Pakistan and the Caucasus are generally not included in the region. Countries of the Middle east include Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (Dubai) and Yemen.

In the Western world, the Middle East is generally thought of as a predominantly Islamic Arabic community. However the area encompasses many distinct cultural and ethnic groups, including the Arabs, Assyrians, Azeris, Berbers, Chaldeans, Druze, Greeks, Jews, Kurds, Maronites, Persians and Turks. The main language groups include: Arabic, Assyrian (also known as Aramaic and Syriac), Hebrew, Persian, Kurdish and Turkish. The corresponding adjective is Middle-Eastern and the derived noun is Middle-Easterner.

Most Western definitions of the "Middle East" - in both established reference books and common usage - define the region as 'nations in Southwest Asia, from Iran (Persia) to Egypt'. Egypt, with its Sinai Peninsula in Asia, is usually considered part of the 'Middle East', although most of the country lies geographically in North Africa. North African nations without Asian links, such as Libya, Tunisia and Morocco, are increasingly being called North African - as opposed to Middle Eastern (Iran to Egypt-Asia) - by international media outlets.

One widely used definition of "Middle East" is that of the airline industry, maintained by the IATA standards organization. This definition - as of early 2006 - includes Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestinian Territory, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. This definition is used in world-wide airfare and tax calculations for passengers and cargo.

Brief History of The Middle East

The Middle East is the birthplace and spiritual center of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The region has experienced both periods of relative tolerance and violence. In the 20th century, it has been at what could be considered the center of world affairs; a strategically, economically, politically, culturally, and religiously sensitive area. It possesses significant stocks of crude oil.

Information provided by Wikipedia

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Middle East Visa Information

Dubai Visa Info
Citizens of UK (with the right of abode in the United Kingdom) with valid passports will be granted a free of charge One Entry Visit visa on arrival in the UAE.

Jordan Visa Info
Nationals of certain countries including all Western European countries (UK), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the USA - can obtain visas on arrival at the airport in Jordan. Multiple-entry visas can only be obtained at the nearest Embassy / Consulate.

Planning a visit to the Middle East can be complicated in various ways:
Some countries in the area, such as Iraq, are at war and should not be visited. See War zone safety if you must go.
Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, do not issue tourist visas except for a few expensive tours.
Some countries in the region have strict Islamic Law, with heavy penalties for homosexuality, adultery and other offenses.
Many countries in the region do not recognize the state of Israel; they consider it to be Occupied Palestine. These nations may refuse you entry if you have an Israeli visa or an Israeli stamp in your passport, or even a visa for another country that was issued in Israel. The Israeli authorities will generally help you avoid problems by providing a visa as a separate document so it is not in the passport; see the Israel article for details.