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Regional Information: Middle East

The Near East | The Arabian Peninsula | Turkey & The Caucasus | Asian Middle East

The Middle East occupies a large land area, stretching from China and India in the east to Egypt and the African continent in the west. The continent is comprised of 24 countries, including many of the ex-Soviet republics. The most westerly point is Bozca Adasi in Turkey and the lowest point is the Dead Sea of Israel and Jordan. The terrain of the Middle East is mostly arid deserts with some quite clearly defined areas of mountains including the Iranian Plateau and the Zagros mountain range. Other natural features include the mighty Empty Quarter, the Gulf of Oman and the Middle East's largest lake, the inland Caspian Sea. 

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The fauna of the Middle East is largely confined to rodents like the desert rat as well as larger animals like the camel. It is not uncommon to spot what is known as a 'camel train' wandering across the top of a desert sand dune or even through town. Most of the Middle East is subject to a dry, arid climate with some interesting extremes. The mountainous areas can experience freezing and hostile winters and although the heat of the plains and the desert may be unbearably hot during the day, at night it is a different story and it even gets to freezing temperatures in the desert after nightfall.

The Middle East is known as the Land of Black Gold. A great deal of the world's oil and natural gas reserves can be found within the Middle East. These very valuable minerals are refined and sent to export via a series of lengthy pipelines. Oil has made many of the Middle Eastern countries extremely rich, although some countries have yet to develop and use there natural resources to full potential.

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