Western Asia

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Western Asia
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{{short description|Westernmost portion of Asia}}

{{sup>a}}List of continents by population#Regional and continental .28sub.29totals in 2016>9th)WORLD POPULATION PROSPECTS – POPULATION DIVISION>URL = HTTPS://POPULATION.UN.ORG/WPP/PUBLISHER = UNITED NATIONSARCHIVE-DATE = 5 FEBRUARY 2019FORMAT = XLSXPUBLISHER = UNITED NATIONS, 50.1abbr=on}}PUBLISHER=IMF,, Outlook Database, October 2019|GDP_PPP = $9.063 trillion (2019)|GDP_per_capita = $11,967 (2019; nominal) $28,918 (2019; PPP)|HDI = {{Increase}}0.699 (medium)Semitic languages>Semitic (Afro-Arab), Turkic peoples, Iranian peoples>Iranian, Peoples of the Caucasus, Cushitic peoples>Cushitic, Greeks, Indo-Aryan peoples>Indo-Aryan, Dravidian peoples, Austronesian peoples>Austronesian, etc.Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Bahá'í Faith>Bahá'í, Druzism, Yarsanism, Yazidism, Zoroastrianism, Mandaeism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.|demonym = West AsianWestern Asian|countries = {{collapsible listList of sovereign states and dependent territories in Asia>20 recognizedArmenia}}Azerbaijan}}Bahrain}}Cyprus}}Egypt}} (Sinai)Georgia}}Iran}}Iraq}}Israel}}Jordan}}Kuwait}}Lebanon}}Oman}}Palestine}}Qatar}}Saudi Arabia}}Syria}}Turkey}} (Anatolia)UAE}}Yemen}}
}}{hide}collapsible list| title = 4 unrecognized
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| title = Official languages
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| Persian
| Turkish
{{collapsible list
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| Afroasiatic:
| Neo-Aramaic
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| Austronesian:
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| Tagalog
| Indo-European:
| Balochi
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| English
| French
| Gilaki
| Hindi
| Luri
| Mazanderani
| Nepali
| Ossetian
| Rohingya
| Romani
| Russian
| Shabaki language
| Spanish
| Talysh
| Urdu
| Yiddish
| Zaza
| NE Caucasian:
| Avar
| Chechen
| Lezgian
| NW Caucasian:
| Circassian
| Kabardian
| Turkic:
| Qashqai
| Turkmen
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| title = List{{sup|b{edih}
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| {{flagicon|Jordan}} Amman
| {{flagicon|Turkey}} Ankara
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| {{flagicon|Saudi Arabia}} Jeddah
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| {{flagicon|Iran}} Tehran
}}|m49 = 145 – Western Asia142 – Asia001 – World{{supSinai Peninsula>Sinai}}{{longitemb}} Among the top 100 urban areas of the world by population}}}}Western Asia, West Asia, Southwestern Asia, or Southwest Asia is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It includes Anatolia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Armenian Highlands, Iran, the Levant, Mesopotamia, the Sinai Peninsula, and Transcaucasia. The region is considered to be separated from Africa by the Isthmus of Suez, and separated from Europe by the waterways of the Turkish Straits and the drainage divide of the Caucasus Mountains, while Central Asia lies to the northeast and South Asia lies to the east of Western Asia.20 countries are located fully or partly in Western Asia, out of which 13 are part of the Arab world. The most populous countries in Western Asia are Turkey (partly in Southeast Europe), Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. The total population of Western Asia is estimated to be 300 million (as of 2015).


The term is used pragmatically and has no "correct" or generally agreed-upon definition. The National Geographic Style Manual as well as Maddison's (The World Economy: Historical Statistics) (2003) by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) only includes Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Palestinian territories (called West Bank and Gaza in the latter), Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE, and Yemen as West Asian countries.WEB,weblink West Asia Map, Miller, David, National Geographic Style Manual, National Geographic Society, BOOK, Maddison, Angus, Angus Maddison, 2004, The World Economy: Historical Statistics, Development Centre Studies, Paris, France, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2003, 978-92-64-10412-9, 2004371607, 53465560, The World Economy: Historical Statistics, In contrast to this definition, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in its 2015 yearbook also includes Armenia and Azerbaijan, and excludes Israel (as Other) and Turkey (as Europe).BOOK, United Nations Industrial Development Organization Vienna (UNIDO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization, 2005, International Yearbook of Industrial Statistics 2015,weblink Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar Publishing, 14, 9781784715502, Unlike the UNIDO, the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) excludes Iran from Western Asia and includes Turkey, Georgia, and Cyprus in the region.WEB,weblink Standard Country or Area Codes for Statistical Use,, The UNSD notes that the "assignment of countries or areas to specific groupings is merely for statistical convenience and does not imply any assumption regarding political or other affiliation of countries or territories.", 2012-08-25, In the United Nation's geopolitical Eastern European Group, Armenia and Georgia are included in Eastern Europe, whereas Cyprus and East Thracian Turkey are in Southern Europe. These three nations are listed in the European category of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).National members of Western Asian sports governing bodies are limited to Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.WEB,weblink WABSF Member Countries, WEB,weblink The West Asian Games, Topend Sports, WEB,weblink WAFF Member Associations,, The Olympic Council of Asia's multi-sport event West Asian Games are contested by athletes representing these thirteen countries. Among the region's sports organisations are the West Asia Basketball Association, West Asian Billiards and Snooker Federation, West Asian Football Federation, and the West Asian Tennis Federation.


{{See also|History of the Middle East|Ancient Near East|History of the Ottoman Empire|Treaty of Gulistan|Treaty of Turkmenchay|Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire}}"Western Asia" was in use as a geographical term in the early 19th century, even before "Near East" became current as a geopolitical concept.e.g. James Rennell, A treatise on the comparative geography of western Asia, 1831.In the context of the history of classical antiquity, "Western Asia" could mean the part of Asia known in classical antiquity, as opposed to the reaches of "interior Asia", i.e. Scythia, and "Eastern Asia" the easternmost reaches of geographical knowledge in classical authors, i.e. Transoxania and India.James Rennell, The Geographical System of Herodotus Examined and Explained, 1800, p. 210.Hugh Murray, Historical Account of Discoveries and Travels in Asia (1820).Samuel Whelpley, A compend of history, from the earliest times, 1808, p. 9.In the 20th century, "Western Asia" was used to denote a rough geographical era in the fields of archaeology and ancient history, especially as a shorthand for "the Fertile Crescent excluding Ancient Egypt" for the purposes of comparing the early civilizations of Egypt and the former.e.g. Petrus Van Der Meer, The Chronology of Ancient Western Asia and Egypt, 1955.Karl W. Butzer, Physical Conditions in Eastern Europe, Western Asia and Egypt Before the Period of Agricultural and Urban Settlement, 1965.Use of the term in the context of contemporary geopolitics or world economy appears to date from at least the mid-1960s.The Tobacco Industry of Western Asia, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, 1964.


{{See also|Geography of Asia}}Western Asia is located directly south of Eastern Europe. The region is surrounded by seven major seas; the Aegean Sea, the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea.To the north, the region is delimited from Europe by the drainage divide of the Greater Caucasus, to the southwest, it is delimited from Africa by the Isthmus of Suez, while to the northeast and east, the region adjoins Central Asia and South Asia. The Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut deserts in eastern Iran naturally delimit the region from Balochistan and South Asia.


Plate tectonics

Three major tectonic plates converge on Western Asia, including the African, Eurasian, and Arabian plates. The boundaries between the tectonic plates make up the Azores-Gibraltar Ridge, extending across North Africa, the Red Sea, and into Iran.Beaumont (1988), p. 22 The Arabian Plate is moving northward into the Anatolian plate (Turkey) at the East Anatolian Fault,WEB,weblink The Arabian Plate, Muehlberger, Bill, NASA, Johnson Space Center, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2007-07-06, and the boundary between the Aegean and Anatolian plate in eastern Turkey is also seismically active.

Water resources

Several major aquifers provide water to large portions of Western Asia. In Saudi Arabia, two large aquifers of Palaeozoic and Triassic origins are located beneath the Jabal Tuwayq mountains and areas west to the Red Sea.Beaumont (1988), p. 86 Cretaceous and Eocene-origin aquifers are located beneath large portions of central and eastern Saudi Arabia, including Wasia and Biyadh which contain amounts of both fresh water and saline water. Flood or furrow irrigation, as well as sprinkler methods, are extensively used for irrigation, covering nearly 90,000 km2 across Western Asia for agriculture.WEB,weblink Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Also, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers contribute very well.


File:Cedars in Lebanon.jpg|right|thumb|upright=1.1|A Lebanese Cedar ForestCedar ForestFile:West Asia Köppen Map.png|right|thumb|upright=1.1|Köppen climate classificationKöppen climate classification{{see also|Climate of Asia}}Western Asia is primarily arid and semi-arid, and can be subject to drought, but it also contains vast expanses of forest and fertile valleys. The region consists of grasslands, rangelands, deserts, and mountains. Water shortages are a problem in many parts of West Asia, with rapidly growing populations increasing demands for water, while salinization and pollution threaten water supplies.WEB,weblink Chapter 7: Middle East and Arid Asia, IPCC Special Report on The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2001, 2016-02-09,weblink" title="">weblink 2016-03-03, dead, Major rivers, including the Tigris and Euphrates, provide sources for irrigation water to support agriculture.There are two wind phenomena in Western Asia: the sharqi and the shamal. The sharqi (or sharki) is a wind that comes from the south and southeast. It is seasonal, lasting from April to early June, and comes again between late September and November. The winds are dry and dusty, with occasional gusts up to 80 kilometres per hour (50 miles per hour) and often kick up violent sand and dust storms that can carry sand a few thousand meters high, and can close down airports for short periods of time. These winds can last for a full day at the beginning and end of the season, and for several days during the middle of the season. The shamal is a summer northwesterly wind blowing over Iraq and the Persian Gulf states (including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait), often strong during the day, but decreasing at night. This weather effect occurs anywhere from once to several times a year.BOOK, Encyclopaedia of the Muslim World, Taru Bahl, M H Syed, Anmol Publications, New Delhi, 2003, 20, 978-81-261-1419-1,weblink 1 February 2009,


Western Asia contains large areas of mountainous terrain. The Anatolian Plateau is sandwiched between the Pontus Mountains and Taurus Mountains in Turkey. Mount Ararat in Turkey rises to 5,137 meters. The Zagros Mountains are located in Iran, in areas along its border with Iraq. The Central Plateau of Iran is divided into two drainage basins. The northern basin is Dasht-e Kavir (Great Salt Desert), and Dasht-e-Lut is the southern basin.In Yemen, elevations exceed 3,700 meters in many areas, and highland areas extend north along the Red Sea coast and north into Lebanon. A fault-zone also exists along the Red Sea, with continental rifting creating trough-like topography with areas located well-below sea level.WEB,weblink Region #4 — Red Sea Continental Rift Zone, Preliminary Definition of Geophysical Regions for the Middle East and North Africa, Sweeney, Jerry J., William R. Walter, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, December 1, 1998, 8, The Dead Sea, located on the border between the West Bank, Israel, and Jordan, is situated at 418 m (1371 ft) below sea level, making it the lowest point on the surface of the Earth.WEB,weblink ASTER Image Gallery: The Dead Sea, NASA, Rub' al Khali, one of the world's largest sand deserts, spans the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula in Saudi Arabia, parts of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Jebel al Akhdar is a small range of mountains located in northeastern Oman, bordering the Gulf of Oman.


The population of Western Asia was estimated at 272 million as of 2008, projected to reach 370 million by 2030 by Maddison (2007; the estimate excludes the Caucasus and Cyprus). This corresponds to an annual growth rate of 1.4% (or a doubling time of 50 years), well above the world average of 0.9% (doubling time 75 years).The population of Western Asia is estimated at about 4% of world population, up from about 39 million at the beginning of the 20th century, or about 2% of world population at the time.Data for "15 West Asian countries", from Maddison (2003, 2007).Angus Maddison, 2003, The World Economy: Historical Statistics, Vol. 2, OECD, Paris, {{ISBN|92-64-10412-7}}. Statistical Appendix (2007, "The historical data were originally developed in three books: Monitoring the World Economy 1820–1992, OECD, Paris 1995; The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective, OECD Development Centre, Paris 2001; The World Economy: Historical Statistics, OECD Development Centre, Paris 2003. All these contain detailed source notes."Estimates for 2008 by country (in millions):Turkey (71.9),Iran (70.2),Iraq (28.2),Saudi Arabia (28.1),Yemen (23.0),Syria (19.7),Israel (6.5),Jordan (6.2),Palestine (4.1),Lebanon (4.0),Oman (3.3),United Arab Emirates (2.7),Kuwait (2.6),Qatar (0.9),Bahrain (0.7).The most populous countries in the region are Turkey and Iran, each with around 79 million people, followed by Iraq and Saudi Arabia with around 33 million people each, and Yemen with around 29 million people.Numerically, Western Asia is predominantly Arab, Persian, Turkish, and the dominating languages are correspondingly Arabic, Persian and Turkish, each with of the order of 70 million speakers, followed by smaller communities of Kurdish, Azerbaijani, Hebrew, Armenian and Eastern Aramaic. The dominance of Arabic and Turkish is the result of the medieval Arab and Turkic invasions beginning with the Islamic conquests of the 7th century AD, which displaced the formerly dominant Aramaic and Hebrew in the Levant, and Greek in Anatolia, although Hebrew is once again the dominant language in Israel, and Aramaic (spoken largely by Chaldeans, Arameans and Assyrians) and Greek both remain present in their respective territories as minority languages.Other significant native minorities include Assyrians, Chaldeans, Druze, Jews, Mandeans, Maronites, Shabaks, Syriac Arameans, Lurs and Yezidis.


{{see also|Economy of Western Asia}}The economy of Western Asia is diverse and the region experiences high economic growth. Turkey has the largest economy in the region, followed by Saudi Arabia and Iran. Petroleum is the major industry in the regional economy, as more than half of the world's oil reserves and around 40 percent of the world's natural gas reserves are located in the region.

Statistical data{|border"1" cellpadding"4" cellspacing"0" style"border:1px solid #aaa; border-collapse:collapse; font-size:90%;width:100%;"

style="background:#ececec;"! Country, with flag! Area(km2)! Population{{UN_Population|ref}}({{UN_Population|Year}})! Density(per km2)! Capital! Nominal GDPWEB, GDP,weblink International Monetary Fund, IMF, 2014-04-16, (2012)! Per capitaWEB, GDP per capita,weblink International Monetary Fund, IMF, 2014-04-16, (2012)! Currency! Government! Official languages Anatolia:Turkey}}1 783,562 {{UN_Population|Turkey}} 94.1| Ankara| $788.042 billion| $10,523| Turkish lira| Presidential republicTurkish language>Turkish Arabian Peninsula:Bahrain}} 780 {{UN_Population|Bahrain}} 1,646.1| Manama| $30.355 billion| $26,368| Bahraini dinar| Constitutional monarchyArabic language>ArabicKuwait}} 17,820 {{UN_Population|Kuwait}} 167.5| Kuwait City| $184.540 billion| $48,761| Kuwaiti dinar| Constitutional monarchyArabic language>ArabicOman}} 212,460 {{UN_Population|Oman}} 9.2Muscat, Oman>Muscat| $78.290 billion| $25,356| Omani rial| Absolute monarchyArabic language>ArabicQatar}} 11,437 {{UN_Population|Qatar}} 123.2| Doha| $192.402 billion| $104,756| Qatari riyal| Absolute monarchyArabic language>ArabicSaudi Arabia}} 2,149,690 {{UN_Population|Saudi Arabia}} 12| Riyadh| $733.956 billion| $25,139| Saudi riyal| Absolute monarchyArabic language>ArabicUnited Arab Emirates}} 82,880 {{UN_Population|United Arab Emirates}} 97| Abu Dhabi| $383.799 billion| $43,774| UAE dirhamFederation>Federal Constitutional monarchyArabic language>ArabicYemen}} 527,970 {{UN_Population|Yemen}} 44.7Sana'a (Houthis>Houthi-led Yemeni Civil War (2015–present))Aden (Temporary capital>Seat of government)| $35.05 billion| $1,354| Yemeni rialProvisional government>Provisional Presidential republicArabic language>Arabic South Caucasus:Abkhazia}}5 8,660 242,862 28| Sukhumi| $500 million| N/A| Georgian lariSemi-presidential system>Semi-presidential republicAbkhaz language>AbkhazRussianArmenia}} 29,800 {{UN_Population|Armenia}} 108.4| Yerevan| $9.950 billion| $3,033| Armenian dramSemi-presidential system>Semi-presidential republicArmenian language>ArmenianArtsakh}}5 11,458 150,932 N/A| Stepanakert| $1.6 billion| $2,581| Artsakh dramArmenian dram| Presidential republicArmenian language>ArmenianAzerbaijan}} 86,600 {{UN_Population|Azerbaijan}} 105.8| Baku| $68.700 billion| $7,439| Azerbaijani manat| Presidential republicAzerbaijani language>AzerbaijaniGeorgia}} 69,700 {{UN_Population|Georgia}} 68.1| Tbilisi| $15.847 billion| $3,523| Georgian lariSemi-presidential system>Semi-presidential republicGeorgian language>GeorgianSouth Ossetia}}5 3,900 53,532 13| Tskhinvali| $500 million| N/A| Georgian lariSemi-presidential system>Semi-presidential republicOssetian language>OssetianRussian Fertile Crescent:Iraq}} 438,317 {{UN_Population|Iraq}} 73.5| Baghdad| $216.044 billion| $6,410| Iraqi dinar| Parliamentary republicArabic language>Arabic, KurdishIsrael}} 20,770 {{UN_Population|Israel}} 365.3Positions on Jerusalem>Jerusalem4| $353.65 billion| $39,106| Israeli new shekel| Parliamentary republicHebrew language>Hebrew, ArabicJordan}} 92,300 {{UN_Population|Jordan}} 68.4| Amman| $30.98 billion| $4,843| Jordanian dinar| Constitutional monarchyArabic language>ArabicLebanon}} 10,452 {{UN_Population|Lebanon}} 404| Beirut| $42.519 billion| $10,425| Lebanese pound| Parliamentary republicArabic language>ArabicPalestine}}6 6,220 {{UN_Population|State of Palestine}} 667| Ramallah3| $6.6 billion| $1,600| Egyptian pound, Jordanian dinar, Israeli new shekelSemi-presidential system>Semi-presidential republicArabic language>ArabicSyria}} 185,180 {{UN_Population|Syrian Arab Republic}} 118.3| Damascus| N/A| N/A| Syrian pound| Presidential republicArabic language>Arabic Iranian Plateau:Iran}} 1,648,195 {{UN_Population|Iran (Islamic Republic of)}} 45| Tehran| $548.590 billion| $7,207| Iranian rial| Islamic republicPersian language>Persian Mediterranean Sea:Akrotiri and Dhekelia}} 7 254 15,700 N/AEpiskopi Cantonment>Episkopi| N/A| N/A| Eurostratocracy>Stratocratic dependency under a constitutional monarchyEnglish language>EnglishCyprus}} 9,250 {{UN_Population|Cyprus}} 117| Nicosia| $22.995 billion| $26,377| Euro| Presidential republicGreek language>Greek, TurkishNorthern Cyprus}}5 3,355 313,626 93| North Nicosia| $4.032 billion| $15,109| Turkish lira | Semi-presidential republicTurkish language>Turkish Sinai Peninsula:Egypt}} 2 60,000 850,000 82| Cairo| $262.26 billion| $3,179| Egyptian pound| Presidential republic| ArabicNotes:1 The figures for Turkey includes East Thrace, which is not a part of Anatolia.2 The area and population figures for Egypt only include the Sinai Peninsula.3 Ramallah is the actual location of the government, whereas the proclaimed capital of Palestine is Jerusalem, which is disputed.{{refn|name=Jerusalem|group=note|Jerusalem is Israel's de jure capital under Israeli law, as well as its de facto capital by the location of the presidential residence, government offices, supreme court and parliament (Knesset). Jerusalem is the State of Palestine's de jure capital under its WEB, BasicLawPal-T1A3,weblink 2003 Amended Basic Law, none, , but not its de facto capital as its government branches are based in Ramallah. The UN and most sovereign states do not recognize Jerusalem as either state's de jure capital under the position that Jerusalem's status is pending future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. In practice, therefore, most maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv and its suburbs, or else in suburbs such as Mevaseret Zion outside Jerusalem proper. See CIA Factbook, WEB,weblink Map of Israel, none, and Status of Jerusalem for more information.}}4 Jerusalem is the proclaimed capital of Israel and the actual location of the Knesset, Israeli Supreme Court, etc. Due to its disputed status, most embassies are in Tel Aviv.{{refn|group=note|name=Jerusalem}}5 Unrecognised state6 UN observer state7 British Overseas Territory


Map of Western Asia

{{Western Asia}}

See also






External links

{{Sister project links|voy=Western Asia}} {hide}Geographic Location (8-way)
| Northwest = Aegean Sea · Black Sea
| North = {{flagcountry|Russia{edih}
| Northeast = Caspian Sea · {{flagcountry|Turkmenistan}}
| West = Mediterranean Sea
| Centre = Western Asia
| East = {{flagcountry|Afghanistan}}
| Southwest = {{flagcountry|Egypt}} · Red Sea
| South = Red Sea · Gulf of Aden
| Southeast = Arabian Sea · {{flagcountry|Pakistan}}
}}{{Asia topics}}{{Regions of Asia}}

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