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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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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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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What do I need to know about Syria's history to understand the 2011-2012 uprising?

Syria is in the news a lot lately due to the current uprising, but it's not a country that many people know much about. It can trace its history back to the origins of civilization, and as a result ...
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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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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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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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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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267 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 ...
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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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What was the significance of changing the name of “Persia” to “Iran”?

As best as I understand it, the founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 was when Persia became Iran. What was the motivation for changing the name?
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Does prohibition of polygamy always correlate well with democracy? [closed]

There are only 2 countries in the Middle East where polygamy is illegal: Israel and Turkey. There are only 2 countries in the Middle East that are true democracies: Israel and Turkey. Lebanon is ...
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What do “zones of influence” mean, according to the Treaty of Sevres after WWI?

After its defeat in World War I, European powers partitioned the Ottoman Empire, annexing some of its territories, and setting up other territories as their "zones of influence". What do the zones of ...
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How well can cavalry fight infantry?

In the Battle of Pharsalus, Caesar's infantry won by throwing their spears at the horsemen's faces. So how come in Battle of Zama and many other battles, including the battle where Khalid ibn ...
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What is the source of the error regarding the origin of the number zero?

What is the source of the historical error that the zero was from the Middle East and not where it is really from, namely India?
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567 views

What was Libya's form of direct democracy (Jamahiria) like in practice?

I've been following the recent events in Libya and I learned about the Green Book, which outlines Gaddafi's vision for a democratic socialism. Published in 1975, it proposed a form of direct democracy ...
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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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What factors contributed to Jews moving out of the Middle East?

History shows that the Jews started moving out of the Middle East in the 1000s? Until then there were no major Jewish centers outside the Middle East (Babylon, Egypt, etc.) except for Rome. By the ...
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Why did Jews not immigrate to the Muslim world?

Throughout most of history, Jews lived significantly better in the Muslim countries than in Christian ones. Moreover, after the expulsion from Spain, many Spanish Jews moved to the Muslim world (from ...
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How did Israel win the Six-Day War?

Considering Israel fought several Arab countries, which had troops largely outnumbering the Israeli, how did they manage to win the war decisively, with much fewer casualties than the Arab countries? ...