The Middle East typically refers to the region stretching from the northern part of eastern Africa all the way to Pakistan. The region is centered around the Arabian peninsula with the Persian Gulf being the critical component of the region.

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Josephus' writings about Kafr Yasif

I was reading the Wikipedia page on Kafr Yasif where it is stated that: Kafr Yasif appears in the writings of the Roman Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. without providing a reference. I googled ...
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What knowledge may have been lost at the Library of Alexandria?

Of course we'll never know for sure, but do historians have some reasonable ideas about what knowledge may have been lost at the Library of Serapeum of Alexandria, when it was destroyed by the Decree ...
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Why does the map of Jordan look as it does?

Most countries land borders are somewhat rounded, and it's easy to guess why - it's eazy to defend a rounded shape, and it's hard to defend "bulges" because it can be easily surrounded and occupied. ...
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Israel/Palestine: Who really attacked first in 1948?

That is when Israel declared independence? Were the Jews hungry for land and started kicking Arabs out, or did the Arabs attack first, or is it sort of a mixed bag?
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Is there any evidence of STD's in ancient times?

Are there any ancient texts that show or imply that their authors knew that certain diseases were spread through sexual activity? It seems like sexual contagion was recognized in the 16th century ...
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51 views

Origin of land-lottery system

A report from 1894 describes the Musha'a land tenure system in the Arab villages of Palestine: the agricultural lands of the village are considered common property, and they are divided each year ...
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Asir's role in the Arab Revolt

The Arab Revolt against the Ottomans is portrayed as being primarily a Hejazi phenomenon but I have read (briefly) that Asir, a territory between Hejaz and Yemen revolted first and the Sherif of Mecca ...
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553 views

How did Saudi Arabia become and remain strongly Wahhabi?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia staunchly follow Wahhabism, a very conservative and strict brand of Islamism that probably is the major factor of Saudi's strict policy and harsh implementation of Sharia. ...
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339 views

If the Iraq War was because of their oil, has the US achieved their war aims [closed]

Let's assume: The United States of America started the 2003 Iraq war to obtain Iraqi oil. The Iraq war was very costly for the Americans, and a long and unfinished war has always made the ...
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1answer
141 views

Historical causes of the civil wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria? [closed]

Based on historic trade and migration routes between the Mediterranean and Persia, India, and China, are the populations in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria more heterogeneous than that of their neighbors? ...
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453 views

What evidence is Chomsky alluding to when he states the US is preventing a settlement between Israel & Palestine?

Chomsky in his book Neccesary Illusions, published in 1989 says: U.S. ... efforts to prevent a political settlement of the Arab–Israeli conflict over many years, readily documented, but unwelcome ...
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How prevalent was pork in Arabia before Arabs conversion to Islam?

Before Islam and its prohibition of pork, was it a commonly eaten food? Or was it already prohibited by other religions/cultures? Or was it a kind of uncommon food, which was then prohibited? We also ...
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338 views

When and why was Seleucia ultimately abandoned?

The ancient Seleucia was founded along the Tigris river around the year 305 BC, and abandoned in 165 AD, due to the river mutating its course (Wikipedia). However in 780 AD the Catholicos ...
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What was President Jimmy Carter's role in the Iranian Revolution?

Iran was a friend to the USA until Carter traveled to Iran and immediately afterwards Iran faced revolution. Khomeini went to Iran from France. On November 4, 1979, an angry mob of young Islamic ...
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Why didn't the Arab states industrialize?

Why didn't the states of the Arabian peninsula industrialize around the time that Europe and East Asia were? Was it simply a lack of accessible natural resources? Why not import coal?
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Military training in the Hijaz during early Islamic era

The expansion of the Islamic rule during early Islamic era was quite impressive. Before 629, Muhammad's rule was limited to one city Medina. 15 years later, at the end of Umar's rule, the Caliphate ...
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369 views

Why did Egypt forbid entry of Israeli ships into the Suez canal in 1956?

In 1956, as a response to withdrawal of American aid for the High Aswan dam, Nasser nationalized the Suez canal giving freedom of transit through it to all countries except Israel. Why did they do ...
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How did Bedouins exercise tribal governance?

According to the Wikipedia article Bedouins travel together in groups of 1-2 family units however in the same article it mentions the presence of a Tribe who share common descent and are led by a ...
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641 views

What incentives are in place for American soldiers to go fight in Iraq?

I am from Brazil, a country that has not fought any war since WW2. If you join the army, go fight in Iraq and then return, what will the USA pay you? Is there a health plan for life, a pension, or ...
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1k views

Could medieval European merchants travel through the Islamic world?

I've heard that the Islamic world was closed to European merchants in the Middle Ages. Is this true? If so, when did it close and when did it open again?
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Why has bidet use not spread to the northern countries of Europe? [closed]

As wikipedia states, the bidet is quite common in southern European countries (in Italy for example, it is found in 95% of households), in the Middle East and in East Asia. Conversely, bidets are ...
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What are the reasons of the ethnical fragmentation of the Caucasus?

While investigating on Albania, I kept finding peoples I never heard of before. Notwithstanding my vast ignorance, this was systematic to the point that I started investigating. Take a look at this ...
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Who are the modern descendants of the Khazar people?

The Khazars where a people who built an empire centred North of the Caucasus Range, between the 7th and 11th centuries. They are not at all mainstream (at least in Europe), even though, defeating the ...
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Ancient and medieval canteens (water-bottles)

Nowadays, water-bottles, aka canteens, are routinely issued to soldiers who serve in warm climates. Was it the case in ancient times? In the Middle Ages? The case I have in mind is the Battle of ...
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697 views

Middle east and North africa population during the high middle ages

I am looking for this information everywhere, but I can't seem to find the population of anyone else but the Europeans during the middle ages. We know that the population of the European countries ...
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Why didn't Russia help Saddam Hussein as it is helping Syria now?

Wasn't Saddam an ally of Russia? If Russia wasn't his ally, who was his ally? Syria is looking like a strong ally of Russia as it was the case of Serbia. Russians played direct roles to save these ...
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Any notable battles fought with steel vs. bronze weapons?

In answering the question Was the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age violent I found out a few facts that I hadn't expected. Namely, that the early iron weapons weren't necessarily much ...
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History of the Levant and Israel - 2000 BCE to the bronze age collapse - where to find info?

Where can I find information about the period 2000 BCE - 1300 BCE in the Levant with focus on Caanites and (possibly) proto-Hebrews? Period from the very beginning of the tribal organization of what ...
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190 views

Pre-islamic cultural inheritance in contemporary Iran

In contemporary Iran, what are the effect of pre-Islamic Persian cultural heritage that are not linked to islamic culture, religion and literature? In a previous question, I asked about ...
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1answer
181 views

Are there any existing foreign language teaching texts from the Ancient Near East?

The various cultures of the Ancient Near East spoke a wide array of languages and we know that there was plenty of communication between cultures. We even have a language like Akkadian that served as ...
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816 views

What is the history of the legality of polygamy in Arab states?

In what Arab states having multiple wives legal and where it is not? How this changed over time and what countries were pioneers in the reforms?
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322 views

What was the response of the general Iranian public to the modernization policies of Reza Shah?

I have been reading the fascinating study on Iran by Nikki R. Keddie, "Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution", Yale University Press, 2006. In it she outlines the dramatic modernizing policy ...