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north africa and southwest asia

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NORTH AFRICA AND
SOUTHWEST ASIA
Geography 200
Dr. Stavros Constantinou
NORTH AFRICA AND
SOUTHWEST ASIA
• This region is often referred to as the Middle East, a term that
is an inaccurate reflection of colonial chauvinism and a
reflection of the eurocentric view of the world. The “Middle
East” is about halfway along the route to the "Far East" from
Britain or France. Applying the same logic, to the inhabitant of
Pakistan, this region would have been described as "Midwest."
• The geographically correct term Southwest Asia, will be used
here despite the fact that it creates problems because we
often tend to include China, India, and Japan.
• Also, there is a problem regarding the incorporation of Saudi
Arabia or Israel. Egypt is clearly more related to Syria or Iraq
than those nations are to Korea or Vietnam. Geographically
Egypt belongs to Africa. The nations north of the Sahara
Desert share many similarities with the "Middle East" but
relatively few with their neighbors in Sub-Saharan Africa.
NORTH AFRICA AND
SOUTHWEST ASIA
• From the political geographer's point of view, this region
constitutes a shatter belt, that is, a fragmented region, coveted
by outside powers, where the dangers of confrontation are great,
the stakes are high, and the dangers of escalating conflict all too
real. Conflict has been more or less endemic to this region
throughout recorded history. Several flash points continue to
persist down to the present time.
• Despite its diversity, this region constitutes a unit because of:
– a. the dominance of dry climates and
– b. the Islamic (Moslem or Muslim) religion. Islam is the
principal religion in all countries except:
• Israel, where Judaism prevails;
• Lebanon, where ancient forms of Christianity are of major
importance.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST ASIA:
MAJOR FEATURES
• Dry climates and the Muslim faith dominate in this region.
• More than sixty percent of the world's oil reserves are
found here.
• The Fertile Crescent was one the major domestication
hearths extending from the Levant to the Persian Gulf. Crops
originating here include figs, grapes, dates, and olives.
• Home to three of the world's major religions: Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam.
• Water is the most important resource in the area and
population is concentrated where water is found. Water is not
only the basis for life, but for the social organization of the
village.
• The Middle East is one of the world's shatterbelts and a
focal point of conflict.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: LOCATION AND SIZE
• The realm of North Africa and Southwest Asia forms
an elongated region stretching for 9,660 km. (6,000
mi.) across northern Africa and southwestern Asia,
from the Atlantic Ocean to the borders of India,
China and Central Asia.
• This realm covers an area of 16,886,155 square
kilometers (6,519,752 square miles) or 11.3% of the
total land area of the planet.
• The Tropic of Cancer crosses the central section of
this region. Turkey is the only country of this region
that reaches along the 42nd parallel.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: LOCATION AND SIZE
• Twelve countries in this region have populations of
10,000,000 people or more.
– Iran, Turkey, and Egypt have more than 60,000,000;
– Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia
and Algeria have populations that range between
24,000,000 and 32,000,000.
– These countries have populations that range between 10
and 20 million: Syria, Yemen, Kazakhstan, and Saudi
Arabia.
• Western Sahara, Qatar and Bahrain are the
smallest countries in population with 300,000,
600,000 and 700,000 people, respectively.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: LOCATION AND SIZE
• The importance of countries, however,
is not necessarily a function of size. For
example, the small state of Israel has
carved out a niche for itself despite the
opposition of larger neighbors.
• The rich petroleum deposits of Kuwait
and other minor territories of the
Persian Gulf have magnified the
importance of these small political units.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: LANDFORMS
• The margins of North Africa and Southwest
Asia are mainly occupied by oceans, seas,
high mountains, and deserts:
– to the west, the Atlantic Ocean;
– to the south, the Sahara Desert, the
highlands of East Africa, and the Indian
Ocean;
– to the north, the Mediterranean, Black, and
Caspian Seas together with mountains and
deserts in Central Asia.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: LANDFORMS
• Alpine System:
• A chain of mountains extends across Southwest Asia
from the Toros (Taurus) ranges of Turkey to Zagros,
Elburz, and Hindu Kush.
• The Atlas Mountains of North Africa, the
physiographic base of the settled Maghreb (Algeria,
Morocco and Tunisia), are also a part of the Alpine
System. The Atlas Mountains receive an average
rainfall of 750 mm (30 inches), something unusual for
this region. The role of altitude is clear. Even 240 km
(150 miles) into the interior, the slopes of the Atlas
receive more than 250 mm (10 inches) of rainfall.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: LANDFORMS
• In Iran, qanat (kanat) furnishes the water supply for
a large share of the country's irrigated acreage.
Qanat is an underground channel which carries
irrigation water from the mountains, where rainfall is
relatively plentiful, to the drier areas below. A qanat’s
course may be clearly recognized from the air, for at
intervals it has circular openings resembling
miniature craters. It corresponds to the foggara of
North Africa. The length of a qanat ranges from a
few hundred meters to tens of kilometers.
• Another important physiographic feature of this
region is the elevated plain (plateau) of interior Iran,
and the Anatolian Plateau of interior Turkey.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: LANDFORMS
• Sedimentary Covers:
• This is a broad area extending from the Atlantic
Ocean to the Delta of the Nile.
• It also occupies major sections of the Arabian
Peninsula, Syria, and Iraq.
• Specifically, it includes the Sahara, Libyan, An
Nafud, and Rub al Khali.
• The Sahara forms the world's largest desert
(9,065,000 sq. km. or 3,500,000 sq. mi.). It
continues to move southward into Africa at a rate of
about 8 km (5 mi.) per year. Such a spread of
desert landscapes constitutes what is often referred
to as desertification.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST ASIA: LANDFORMS
• Rifted Shield Areas.
• This is an elongated area that extends from the foothills
of the Toros (Taurus) Mountains in Turkey, to the Jordan
River Valley, and the Red Sea.
• The best-known example of a rift valley is the one that
extends from Syria, Israel, Jordan, and East Africa for
more than 4,800 km (3,000 mi.) in length.
• This rift valley includes the Sea of Galilee, the valley of
the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, the Gulf of Aqaba, the
Red Sea, and runs through Lake Rudolph and several
smaller lakes to Lake Malawi with a branch through
Lakes Tanganyika, Edward, and Albert.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: CLIMATE
• Because of the Arabian peninsula's location between 15
degrees and 30 degrees N lat., it is dominated by the
subtropical high (STH) pressure throughout much of the year
resulting in conditions of heat and especially drought.
• Summer temperatures in this region often exceed 48º Celsius
(120Вє Fahrenheit), while high humidity along the coasts adds
to human discomfort.
• Desert lands in this region typically have a high daily range of
temperature.
• Precipitation averages only between 5 and 10 cm (2-4 in.)
except on the mountains (orographic effect) notably the arid
regions of the southwest where as much as 76 cm (30 in.) of
rain may fall.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: CLIMATE
Climatic types:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Tropical and subtropical desert (BWh).
Tropical and subtropical steppe (BSh).
Middle latitude steppe (BSk).
Dry summer subtropical or Mediterranean
(Csa).
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: VEGETATION
• Sparse desert vegetation predominates
throughout this region.
• Needleleaf evergreen trees are found in the Atlas
Mountains of northwestern Africa.
• Broadleaf evergreen trees are found in the Nile
Valley.
• Mixed: broadleaf deciduous and needleleaf
evergreen trees are found in Northern coastal
and eastern Turkey, and northern and western
Iran.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: SOILS
The soils of this region are very poor.
• The predominant soil group is the aridisols.
• Patches of entisols are also found in the dry
desert areas.
• Inceptisols predominate in the river valleys
and in northwestern Africa.
• A small area of mollisols is found in the
interior of the Anatolian Plateau in Turkey.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: RESOURCES
• Water has been the key to life in this arid environment, since
the beginning of time.
• For example, the ancient Greek scholar Herodotus described
Egypt as “the gift of the Nile,” an evaluation that rings true
today as it did in ancient times.
• The Nile is an example of an exotic river because it receives
its water as runoff in humid regions or from highland zones
and then flows across large expanses of desert before
reaching the Mediterranean Sea.
• Along 2% of the Egyptian territory (Nile Valley and Delta) live
more than 95% of the Egyptian population (72,100,000 in
2003).
• Other examples of exotic river systems are the TigrisEuphrates system and the Jordan River.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: RESOURCES
• The nomads of this region move from oasis to oasis in search
of water and pastures for survival.
• Oases are natural concentrations of fresh water that do not
depend on immediate local precipitation, and they have
proved critical for an important component of desert life.
• In Iran, the qanat has been an integral part of life for a long
time. The qanat is a subterranean channel built to carry
irrigation water from mountains to the lands below.
• In recent years, technology has been employed by many of
the countries in this realm to solve the scarcity of water and
supply drinking water for their people. For example, through
the use of desalination Kuwait has a capacity of producing
more than 600,000,000 liters of drinking water every day.
Several cities along the Gulf depend on these practices for
their survival.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: RESOOURCES -- OIL
• Oil is certainly the most important resource of North Africa and
southwest Asia. Deposits are concentrated around the Persian
Gulf. It is the most economically important export of the realm.
• During the period 1994-1996, on average, these countries together
produced 28.0 percent of the world total output.
• Saudi Arabia ranked as the world’s leading producer with 13.1
percent followed by: Iran with 5.8 percent; the United Arab
Emirates with 3.6 percent; Kuwait with 3.3 percent; and Libya with
2.2 percent (Table 6.2).
• Additional detailed statistics on the world’s leading oil countries are
shown in Table 6.3.
• In 1997, the world estimates in petroleum reserves were
1,160,069,500,000,000 barrels.
• These countries collectively account for 56.3 percent of the world's
total reserves. Saudi Arabia has 22.6 percent, Iraq 9.7 percent,
Kuwait 8.2 percent, Iran 7.8 percent, U.A.E. 5.5 percent, and Libya
2.5 percent.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: RESOURCES
• In 1960, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi
Arabia founded OPEC (Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries) in an effort to dictate oil
prices.
• Later additions included Algeria, Ecuador, Nigeria,
Gabon, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar,
and Libya.
• This 13-member cartel was designed to control
world pricing and production of a single commodity,
oil.
• Currently, OPEC has 11 members after the
withdrawal of Ecuador and Gabon.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: RESOURCES
• This region has important natural gas
deposits.
• Collectively, these countries control 35.0% of
the world's reserves in natural gas.
• Of the world output, Iran ranks first with
15.0%, Qatar ranks third with 5.1%, U.A.E.
has 4.1%, Saudi Arabia has 3.8%, Iraq has
2.4%, Algeria 2.6%, Uzbekistan 2.1%, and
Turkmenistan has 2.0%.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: RESOURCES
• Chief among the mineral resources of the region are
chromite and phosphate of lime.
• Kazakhstan produces 16.8% of the world’s chromite and
ranks second (after South Africa which produces 37.7
percent). Turkey ranks third producing 12.8% of the world’s
chrome.
• Phosphate rock is used in the manufacture of fertilizer.
Morocco and Tunisia are among the world's leading
producers of phosphate rock, 15.5 percent and 5.1 percent,
respectively. Morocco ranks third and Tunisia fourth in the
production of phosphate rock, after the United States (33.2
percent) and China (16.4 percent). Morocco is the world's
leading exporter of this commodity.
• Kazakhstan has 17.6 percent of the world’s uranium
reserves and ranks second after Australia.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POPULATION
• The twenty-seven countries that are included in the North
Africa and Southwest Asia realm have a total population of
488,800,000, or 7.7% of the world total population.
• The largest countries in terms of population are Turkey, Iran,
and Egypt. These three countries together account for
about half this total.
• Population growth rates are, for the most part, higher than
the world average. A number of countries in this region face
a serious demographic problem if appropriate policies are
not implemented to curb a population explosion.
• Examples:
– Egypt where the rate of natural increase of the population
stands at 2.1 percent.
– The rate of natural increase in the Palestinian Authority
region stands at 3.6%, which is well above the world rate.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POPULATION
• For the most part, the people of this region live along river
valleys (Nile Valley and the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates)
and in the better irrigated lands.
• The greatest density of population is found in a narrow strip of
well-watered land along the Nile.
– Egypt's population (about 95 percent) is highly concentrated
in a narrow strip along the Nile and its delta.
– Except for a few major cities, the majority of the population
resides in small rural villages.
– Egypt has one of the world’s highest physiologic
population densities, or number of persons per square unit
of cultivated land.
– While the overall arithmetic population density of the
country is 72 persons per sq. km (186 persons per sq. mi),
the physiologic density is 1,839 persons/sq. km (4,764
persons per sq. mi).
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POPULATION
• An ecological trilogy characterizes most of
the societies of the Middle East. Society is
divided into three mutually dependent types
of communities--the city, the village, and the
tribe--each operating in a different setting,
each contributing to the support of the other
two sectors and thereby to the maintenance
of total society.
– (English, P. 1967. "Urbanites, Peasants and
Nomads: The Middle Eastern Ecological Trilogy."
Journal of Geography 66: 54-59).
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: URBAN GEOGRAPHY
• While urbanization has been going on for a long period of
time in this region, currently there are sixteen cities that
have populations greater than one million inhabitants.
• Istanbul, Tehran, and Cairo are the three largest cities of
this region, with populations in excess of 6,000,000
inhabitants.
• Because of the accelerated movement of people to the
major urban centers of this region, a large number of
people are forced to live in shantytowns that have sprung
up in many of North Africa's and Southwest Asia’s cities.
• For example, the poverty in Cairo's shantytowns is well
publicized and in the major cities of the Maghreb the name
bidonvilles is used to describe the poverty-stricken
shantytowns that surround its cities.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: URBAN GEOGRAPHY
• Among the most important urban
centers of this region is the city of
Jerusalem (320,000), which is a holy
place for three of the world’s major
religions: Christianity, Judaism, and
Islam.
• Because all three religions have aspired
to control Jerusalem, it is the focus of
considerable problems in the ArabIsraeli conflict.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: URBAN GEOGRAPHY
• In Saudi Arabia, the government is
developing new industrial towns at Jubail
on the Gulf Coast and at Yanbu on the Red
Sea.
• Jubail is about halfway toward a planned
population of approximately 300,000.
• The city has major industrial zones, an
airport, and highway linkages.
• When completed, the city of Jubail will have
the area of Greater London or Atlanta.
Principal Cities of North Africa and Southwest Asia
Tehran
Istanbul
Cairo
Baghdad
Casablanca
Alexandria
Ankara
Tashkent
Izmir
Aleppo (Halab)
Damascus
Algiers
Kabul
Jiddah
Riyadh
Almaty
6,758,845
6,620,241
6,068,695
3,841,268
3,022,000
2,926,859
2,559,471
2,113,300
1,757,414
1,591,400
1,549,932
1,507,241
1,424,400
1,300,000
1,250,000
1,156,200
0
1,000,000 2,000,000 3,000,000 4,000,000 5,000,000 6,000,000 7,000,000 8,000,000
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY
• Religious complexity:
• This region is the birthplace of the three
great modern monotheistic religions of
the world: Judaism, Christianity, and
Islam. Monotheistic religions profess
belief in only one God.
• Jerusalem is the most sacred city to
Jews and Christians; it falls behind only
Mecca (Makkah) and Medina in
sacredness for Muslims.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY
• Judaism
• The Jewish faith was given a spatial expression in
1948 with the formation of the state of Israel.
• Diversity and disagreement exist in Israel.
– European Jews, “Ashkenazim,” are not the same
people as Middle Eastern “Sephardic” Jews.
– Reformed and Orthodox versions of the Jewish
faith are often in bitter doctrinal opposition.
– Jewish fundamentalism is becoming increasingly
visible.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY
• Islam is the religion founded by the prophet Mohammed.
• Muslims are adherents of the Islamic faith. There are
about 1.1 billion Muslims in the world. Indonesia has the
world’s largest Muslim population.
• The term Islam means submission to the will of God
(Allah).
• The term shari’a refers to the form of government and
laws required by adherence to the Koran, the Islamic holy
book.
• This major world religion originated in 610 A.D., when
Mohammed began to receive visions from Allah's
messenger, Gabriel, while meditating in a cave near
Mecca.
• The messages of Gabriel continued for twenty-two years
and were recorded in the Koran. I
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY
• Islam:
• In A.D. 622 Mohammed fled Mecca (idolatry
and ritual were a profitable religious business
in Mecca at the time) for Yathrib (later
Medina--City of the Prophet).
• This flight, or hegira, marks the beginning of
the Moslem era.
• Ten years later Mohammed ventured back to
Mecca, where the idols were destroyed at the
religious center of Kaaba, and the Islamic
state began a phase of expansion diffusion.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY
• There are five pillars in the Islamic faith:
1. Confession of faith by the acceptance of but
one god, Allah, and his prophet Mohammed.
2. Dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and nightfall
prayers.
3. An almsgiving, or zaket, given to the needy.
4. Daytime fasting during the ninth lunar month,
or Ramadan.
5. One pilgrimage, or hajj, to Mecca in a lifetime.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY
• Following the death of Mohammed, his followers
split into two major groups, based on whether
succession to the prophet should follow elected
lines or blood lines.
– Muslims who believe in elected succession are called
Sunni.
– The Sunni are Orthodox Muslims who recognize the first
four elected caliphs (successors of Muhammad as
temporal and spiritual head of Islam) as the rightful
successors to Muhammad.
– Succession to Mohammed should be elective among
senior leaders qualified to rule.
– Sunni are the most numerous among the world's
Muslims, accounting for about 85 percent of all Muslims.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY
• Those who in bloodline succession are called Shi’ite and they are
smaller in number than the Sunni.
• According to the Shi’ites, the Prophet's succession should be
hereditary.
• They are a branch of Muslims that do not accept the election of caliphs,
but recognize the "blood lines" of inheritance through Ali, one of
Muhammad's nephews who had married the prophet's only surviving
daughter.
• The Shi’ites form the largest minority group of the Islamic world
including Iraq and Pakistan.
• They make up 90 percent of Iran’s Muslim population today. Only about
10 percent of the population of Iran is Sunni.
• During the height of the holiest ceremony in the Shiah Muslim calendar,
the streets are thronged with believers beating themselves with chains
in mourning for Hussein, grandson of the Prophet, who was killed at
Karbala in 680 A.D.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY
• Among the smaller minorities of Muslims one can note the
Ismailis and the Druses.
• The head of the Ismailis, the Agha Khan, traces his
ancestry back to the Prophet himself and his followers are
located in northern Pakistan.
• The Druses form a sect which includes elements of
Christianity, Judaism and Islam and they are found chiefly
in Lebanon and Syria.
• In Oman, the Ibadhi sect of Islam is the most important.
• Islam spread throughout the North Africa / Southwest Asia
region and became the dominant religion of the realm.
• Arabs of North Africa and Southwest Asia account for only
about one-fifth of the total Islamic population of the world.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY
• Islam spread across central Asia, India, Malaysia and Indonesia; In
China it spread as far as the city of Xian.
• The Muslims of India constitute the world’s largest religious minority
at about 120,000,000 people.
• The spread of Islam occurred by a process of expansion diffusion –
or the diffusion of an idea through a fixed population.
• The expansion of Islam spread north into Spain, which was controlled
by the Moors (an Arab- Berber alliance). Moorish influence is evident
in Spanish architecture, including such landmarks as the palace of
Alcazar and the Giralda in Seville, and also in the cities of Granada
and Cordoba.
• Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh are the world’s largest Islamic
countries.
• Egypt, Turkey and Iran are the largest Islamic countries in North
Africa / Southwest Asia.
• The concepts of Islam are closely related to Judaic and Christian
beliefs and traditions. In fact, Muslims honor the Jewish prophets and
Jesus as holy men.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY
Languages -- the linguistic picture in this region is
very complex:
• Semitic Family:
– Arabic is the most widely used language in the North
Africa and Southwest Asia realm.
– Hebrew is spoken in Israel.
– Amharic is spoken in the plateau country of Ethiopia.
• Altaic Family:
– Turkic, a member of the of languages is spoken in
Turkey.
– Tajik
• Indo-European Family:
– Iranian (Farsi), is spoken in Iran.
• Hamitic Family:
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
• Agriculture:
• Farming practices in this region are strongly correlated
to the presence of water, the most important resource in
this dry area.
• The most productive areas are found along the
allogenic (exotic) rivers of the Nile in Egypt and Tigris
and Euphrates in Iraq.
• Still smaller pockets of agricultural production are the
areas adjacent to well-watered mountains and the
coastal plains of countries like Turkey, which is self
sufficient in foodstuffs.
• The various oases are of smaller significance in the
overall production of food.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
• The improvements in agriculture are many in this region,
undertaken in an effort to increase the amount of land
under irrigation and raise larger amounts of food.
• In ancient Egypt, basin irrigation was practiced.
• According to this system, fields along the low bands of
the Nile were partitioned off by earth ridges into a large
number of artificial basins.
• The mud-rich river waters would pour into these basins
during flood time, and then the exits would be closed, so
that the water would stand still, depositing its fertile load
of alluvium.
• Then, after six to eight weeks, the exit sluices were
opened and the water drained away, leaving the
rejuvenated soil ready for sowing.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
• The most technologically advanced farming
techniques are found in Israel where the
employment of fertigation has indeed made
the desert bloom.
• Historically, agriculture in Israel is carried out
in collectivized settlements called kibbutzim
(singular, kibbutz). Many of the kibbutzim lie
in frontier areas and perform defensive as
well as agricultural and industrial functions.
Far more numerous, however, are the small
holder’s cooperatives called moshavim
(singular moshav).
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
• In recent years, the construction of dams made possible
the perennial irrigation of Egypt's farmlands.
• The greatest of all Nile dam projects, the Aswan High
Dam, was begun in 1958 and completed in 1971 at the
First Cataract.
• The dam wall is 110 meters (364 feet) high and creates
Lake Nasser, one of the largest artificial lakes in the
world.
• The reservoir inundates 480 sq km (300 sq mi) of the
Nile valley, not only in Upper Egypt, but also in the
Sudan.
• The cooperation of the Sudanese was required for
construction of the dam, since 50,000 people had to be
relocated.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
• Prior to the building of Aswan, waters could
irrigate 2.53 million hectares (6.25 million acres)
of farmland.
• To this area, the Aswan High Dam has added
another 550,000 hectares 1 ha = 2.471 acres).
• In addition, 400,000 hectares of farmland under
basin irrigation could be converted to perennial
irrigation resulting in increased crop yields.
• Finally, the Aswan High Dam supplies Egypt with
about 50% percent of its energy requirements in
the form of hydroelectricity.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
• In Upper and Middle Egypt the strip of green is
five to 25 kilometers (three to 5 miles) wide.
• Below Cairo, the Nile's delta is 160 kilometers
(180 miles) long, and 250 kilometers (155 miles)
wide (Alexandria to Port Said).
• The waters of the delta are diverted through two
controlled channels, the Rosetta in the west and
the Damietta in the east.
• Each distributary, as these channels are
called, defines the delta of the Nile, and nearly
half of Egypt's population inhabits the delta
region
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
• The main agricultural crops that are produced in this
region are:
• Cotton from Egypt and Syria.
– Cotton and cotton products form the major exports of
Egypt.
• Fruits and vegetables (which are important in all
countries that have Mediterranean climate)
• Cereals (especially barley) are raised in most of the less
productive soils throughout the region.
• In Egypt rice, millet, sugar cane and lentils are among
the crops that thrive under perennial irrigation.
• Tunisia has long been the world's leading exporter of
olive oil.
• Morocco exports citrus fruit and vegetables.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
• Turkey's principal crops include:
tobacco, hazelnuts (filberts) grown
primarily in the Black Sea section, and
grapes for sultana raisins and figs
raised in the central Aegean section
around the port of Izmir (Smyrna) with
1,757,414 inhabitants.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
• Industry:
• The industrial sector of these countries is mostly involved in
•
•
•
•
•
the processing of food and light industries.
Turkey is a major exporter of textiles.
Pockets of heavy industry depend on the availability of local
materials and are found in Egypt, Turkey and Israel.
A steel plant at Hulwan, near Cairo, uses the iron ore
deposits found at about 50 km (30 miles) west of Aswan,
manganese from the Eastern Desert and local limestone.
Israel produces an array of industrial goods with significant
output in military hardware.
Israel is the world's leading producer in industrial diamonds.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• Notwithstanding other conflicts in this region, the
conflict between Israel and the surrounding Arab
countries dominates the political geography of
this area.
• Israel was officially proclaimed on May 14, 1948;
it borders on Lebanon and Syria to the north,
Jordan to the east, Egypt to the southwest and
the Mediterranean Sea to the west.
• Following its creation Israel was involved in a
war with the Arab populations living in Palestine,
all of whom rejected Israel's right to exist. A large
number of Palestinian Arabs became refugees.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• The most important recent wars between Israel
and the Arab countries are the following:
– The failed Anglo-French intervention in the Suez
Canal in collusion with Israel in 1956.
– The Six-Day War in June 1967, when Israel
emerged victorious and acquired major pieces of
territory from Egypt (Gaza Strip and Sinai), Jordan
(West Bank), and Syria (Golan Heights). Most of
these areas are still disputed and have high
population densities.
– The Yom Kippur War of October 1973 during which
the Egyptians were able to cross the Suez Canal.
• Following peace negotiations at Camp David between Israel
and Egypt, Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to the
Egyptians.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• In July 2000, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
walked out of Palestinian / Israeli peace talks being
mediated by U.S. President Clinton at Camp
David Maryland.
• In September 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, site
of the al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine of
Islam.
• This touched off a new intifada (uprising) among
the Palestinians.
• By May 2004 over 1900 Palestinians and 750
Israelis had been killed in the renewed conflict.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• Other important recent wars in this region are the following:
– The ten-year war between Iraq and Iran following the
rise to power of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran.
– The 1991 Gulf War.
• Historically, present-day Iraq and Kuwait were under
Ottoman control.
• After World War I, Britain and France succeeded the
Ottoman Turks and dominated the area.
• During colonial times, Kuwait was administered from
Basra, a southern Iraqi city. When Britain withdrew
from the area in 1961, they defined the boundaries
that separated Kuwait from Iraq and very nearly
landlocked Iraq leaving it with only 19 kilometers
(11.81 miles) of Gulf coastline.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• By contrast Kuwait has 250 kilometers (155.38 miles) of coastline.
• The ascendancy to power in Baghdad of the extremist Baath Party in
1968, major oil discoveries in Kuwait, the Arab Israeli conflict and the
regional power struggle between Iran and Iraq further compounded
Iraqi claims on the mini-sheikdom at the mouth of the Gulf.
• For all of these reasons, Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990 and
annexed it as its 19th province.
• The United States organized and led a United Nations coalition of
military forces that launched Desert Shield and later Desert Storm on
January 16, 1991.
• After a 45-day aerial bombardment of Iraq, the allied forces invaded
Iraq and liberated Kuwait.
• As a result of this war, Iraq was faced with a rebellion in the north of the
country by the Kurds and another one in the south by the Shi’ites who
were misled by the allies into believing that they would receive support
to oust Saddam Hussein and possibly set up their own independent
states.
• Iraq still faces a formidable task of reconstruction and an international
embargo.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• In the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States,
the U.S. government declared war on terrorism and the nations
who supported or gave sanctuary to terrorists.
• The first target of this war was Muslim fundamentalist, Taliban–
ruled Afghanistan, home base of al Qaeda and home to Usama
bin Laden, architect of the 9/11 assault.
• Early in 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush declared Iraq part
of an “axis of evil,” or rogue nations who were suspected of
cooperating with terrorists and had the ability to supply terrorists
with weapons of mass destruction.
• Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, defied the U.N. resolutions for
disarmament and weapons inspections it was forced to accept
under the terms of surrender in 1991.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• The Hussein government was also accused of
massive human rights abuses, including the
systematic torture, rape, and mass killings of
Iraqi citizens.
• March 20, 2003 U.S. and British forces led a
coalition of troops in invading Iraq and deposing
the Hussein government.
• Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay (his
presumptive successors) were killed July 22,
2003. Hussein himself was captured by U.S.
troops December 14, 2003 and awaits trial.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• Geometric boundaries are found in
many of the countries of this region and
reflect the involvement of European
colonial powers in this realm.
• For example, geometric boundaries
separate Egypt's 1,000,000 square
kilometers (387,000 square miles) from
Libya to the west and the Sudan to the
south.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• Forward capital cities are established by nationstates in order to redirect national foci.
• For example, Turkey transferred the capital
functions of the country from the nation's largest
city, Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), to Ankara
on the Anatolian Plateau to underscore the Asiatic
character of the country following the defeat of the
Greek armies at the beginning of the 20th century
in Asia Minor.
• Istanbul, the headquarters of the Byzantine
Empire, is strategically located at the southern
entrance of the Bosporus.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• Strategic waterways or Choke Points of the region:
• Three water passages that connect the Mediterranean with the
Black Sea:
– Dardanelles Straits (Hellespont, Canakkale Bogazi):
connecting the Sea of Marmara with the Aegean Sea
– Sea of Marmara: An open body of water between the
Bosporus and the Dardanelles.
– The Straits of Bosporus (Istanbul Bogazi) that connect the
Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara
• Among other important strategic waterways in this region are:
– The Suez Canal that was constructed in 1869 to connect
the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea
– The Straits of Hormuz that control the movement from the
Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean.
– The Straits of Bab el Mandeb, connecting the Red Sea with
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• The Kurdish Minority:
• The Kurds, thought to number about 25,000,000, form the
world's largest minority without a country to call their own.
• Kurdistan ("Land of the Kurds") includes sections of the
Taurus Mountains of Eastern Anatolia in Turkey, northern Iraq,
and the Zagros Mountains of western Iran. Another pocket of
Kurds is located in the Khorasan region of northeastern Iran.
• Kurdish Populations:
• Turkey has the largest Kurdish population, perhaps as many
as 12,000,000 to 14,000,000.
• Iran about 8,000,000
• Iraq about 4,000,000
• Smaller numbers in Lebanon, Armenia, Syria, and Azerbaijan.
• Diyarbakir, Turkey is the dominant Kurdish city.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• The traditional Kurdish way of life was nomadic, revolving
around herding goats and sheep in the mountains of
Turkey, Iraq and Iran.
• Kurdish nationalism is a recent phenomenon.
• The Treaty of Sevres drawn up in 1920 provided for an
autonomous Kurdistan but was never ratified.
• The Treaty of Lausanne (1923) that replaced the Treaty
of Sevres made no mention Kurdistan or the Kurds.
• In the face of rising Turkish nationalism under Kemal
AtatГјrk, the Kurds were designated as "Mountain Turks"
and were not allowed to speak their language or wear
their distinctive national costume.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• Official government policy encouraged the
emigration of Kurds to urban areas, thus
diluting the concentration of Kurds in the
eastern provinces of the country.
• The Kurds of Iraq are now de facto
concentrated in the northern part of the
country (north of the 36th parallel) under the
protection of allied forces, following the
aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War.
• Iranian Kurds were also subjected to strong
assimilationist pressure from the Shi’ite
Muslim majority.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• The Palestinian Question has dominated
the conflict between Israel and the
surrounding Arab countries since the
formation of the state of Israel in 1948, in
what had been the British Mandate of
Palestine.
• As a result of this political development,
hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who
called Palestine home became refugees in
the neighboring Arab countries.
• Some of those became assimilated in the
receiving societies, but many continue to live
in refugee camps.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• The numerical strength of the Palestinian population
is estimated at 9,300,000.
– 1, 240,000 live in Israel proper
– 2,300,000 in the Israeli occupied West Bank
– 1,300,000 in the Gaza Strip
– 2,700,000 in Jordan
– 403,000 in Lebanon
– 423,000 in Syria
– 296,000 in Saudi Arabia
– 250,000 in Iraq, Egypt, Kuwait, and Libya.
– 388,000 in other Arab countries.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• In 1987, the Palestinians of the occupied
territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
launched an uprising (intifada) against the
Israeli occupying forces.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• In 1993, direct negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians
yielded results.
– On September 12, 1993, Israel and the Palestinians signed a
peace agreement, in Washington D.C.
– According to these agreements, Israel and the Palestinian
Liberation Organization (PLO) recognized each other’s right to
exist.
– In addition, the Israelis gave the Palestinians a limited autonomy
in the Gaza Strip and the area surrounding the town of Jericho in
the West Bank.
– After long and arduous negotiations, these agreements were
implemented in May, 1994, with the transfer of power from Israeli
to Palestinian control.
– The Gaza Strip covers an area of 363 square kilometers (140
square miles) and has a population of 1,205,000 inhabitants.
The arithmetic density is very high (3,320 persons per square
kilometer or 8,607 persons per square mile).
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• Turkestan is an old name describing the vast region in
western and central Asia east of the Caspian Sea:
• It includes:
– Territory in the south-central part of Xinjiang province in China,
– a strip of northern Afghanistan,
– and the area comprising the former Soviet republics of
• Kazakhstan
• Uzbekistan
• Turkmenistan
• Tajikistan
• Kyrgyzstan
• Afghanistan
– The latter six cover an area of 4,646,490 square kilometers
(1,794,012 square miles) and have a total population of
86,500,000 in 2003.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• Kazakhstan:
• The largest country in area in Turkestan is divided into two distinct
regions: the Russified north and the Islamic south.
• It is a land of desert and steppe and scattered water-depended
populations, especially in the east where the former capital city of
Almaty (formerly Alma Ata) is located.
• The new capital city is Astana (formerly Aqmola) in the northern
part of the country in the Russian Transition Zone.
• The country has vast oil reserves in the Tengiz Basin near the
northeastern corner of the Caspian Sea.
• The country has more than 100 ethnic groups.
– The Kazakhs account for 40 percent of the country’s total
population.
– Russians form 38 percent of the total and are concentrated
mostly in the north.
– 22 percent of the population is represented by other minority
groups.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• Uzbekistan.
• It occupies the heart of Turkestan and threefourths of its inhabitants are Uzbeks.
• They ruled Asia from their khanates in Khiva
and Bukhoro (Bukhara) until they became a
part of the Soviet Union in 1924.
• The capital of the country, Toshkent
(Tashkent), is located in the eastern section
of the country, in the Farghona valley.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• Turkmenistan.
• The desert country of Turkmenistan extends from
the shores of the Caspian Sea to the borders of
Afghanistan.
• It has 1,100 kilometer long (700 miles) boundary
with Iran.
• During the 1950s the Soviets launched the
Garagum (Kara Kum) Canal. 1,100 km. (700 mi.)
long, by 1993 it brought 3,000,000 acres under
cultivation.
• Many Turkmen still herd sheep and Astrakhan furs
form a major export item.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• Tajikistan:
• A mountainous country that occupies the eastern section of
Turkestan.
• The Pamirs dominate the eastern part of the country from where the
Amu Darya originates.
• The Tajiks are people of Persian origin and speak an Indo-European
language.
– They constitute about 62 percent of the population.
– A significant number of Tajiks inhabit Afghanistan and a smaller
number is found in western China.
– Most Tajiks are Sunni Muslims and not Shi’ite like the Iranians
• About 24 percent of the population is made up of Uzbeks, largely
concentrated in the west and northwest.
• Dushanbe, the capital of the country, is located in the west.
• Some areas are claimed by both Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• Kyrgyzstan:
• This country is dominated by the Tian Shan mountain
ranges.
• The Kyrgyz constitute about 50% of the population
– Russians make up more than 20% of the
population.
– Uzbeks are about 13% of the population.
• Most Kyrgyz are Sunni Muslims.
• Pastoralism is the predominant economic activity.
• The Kyrgyz raise sheep, cattle, and yaks for meat
and milk.
• Irrigated valleys yield wheat, fruits, and vegetables.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
• Afghanistan played the role of a buffer state between
Russia and Britain.
• It has a compact shape with the exception of the narrow (15
to 65 km wide) Vakhan Corridor.
• Because of this narrow proruption, Afghanistan borders on
China to the east and Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan in
the north. To the west it borders on Iran, and to the
southeast, Pakistan.
• Afghanistan is a landlocked and mountainous country with
significant relative location.
• This territory played a strategic role in empire building of the
past by virtue of important routes and passes leading across
it from the steppes and oases of Central Asia and the
plateaus of Iran to the plains of northern India that have been
a goal of Asian conquerors for thousands of years.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST ASIA: POLITICAL
GEOGRAPHY
• Afghanistan has 29,000,000 people, plus 4,000,000 refugees
living outside the country.
• Main ethnic groups: Pushtuns (Pathans) 52.4%; Tajiks
20.4%; Hazara 8.8%; Uzbeks 8.8%; Chamar Aimak 2.8%;
Turkmen 1.9%; other 4.9%.
• Major cities: Kabol (Kabul) 2,607,000; Kandahar 225,500;
Herat 177,300; Mazar-e-Sharif 130,600; Jalalabad 55,000.
• Mujahideen: Strugglers who fought Soviets after their
invasion in 1979.
• Taliban: Students of religion from religious schools in
Pakistan. This movement started in 1994 and by 1996 they
captured Kabol (Kabul) and in 1998 Mazar-e-Sharif, an
Uzbek and Tajik stronghold. Their rule ended with the
American campaign following the 9/11/2001 attacks.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: LIST OF TERMS
• Shatterbelt: A fragmented region, coveted by outside
powers, where the dangers of confrontation are great,
the stakes are high, and the dangers of escalating
conflict all too real.
• Fertile Crescent: A domestication hearth extending
from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the
mouth of the Gulf. The core of this region is present day
Iraq.
• Desert pavement: A rocky desert (reg in Algeria and
serir in Libya).
• Exotic river: Stream that originates in humid
environment and flows through a dry area.
• Distributary: Part of the channel of a river in the lower
course that literally distributes the river's water to the sea
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: LIST OF TERMS
• Oasis: An area in the desert where water is
available.
• Wadi: The course of an ephemeral stream in the
desert.
• Graben: Another name for a rift valley.
• Monotheistic religion: A belief in only one god.
• Universalizing religion: A religion that tries to
increase its number of followers through
proselytizing.
• Ethnic religion: A religion that is found only
among the members of a particular group of
people.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: LIST OF TERMS
• Hegira: The flight of Mohammed from Mecca
to Medina.
• Hajj: The pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca.
• Sunni: The largest sect of Islam that
believes in the elected successors to the
Prophet.
• Shiite: A branch of Islam, confined primarily
in Iran, that believes in the blood succession
to the Prophet.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: LIST OF TERMS
• Geometric boundaries: A type of boundaries that
follow straight lines, usually parallels or meridians.
• Physiologic density: The number of people per
unit of arable (cultivable) land.
• Basin irrigation: A method of irrigation in Egypt
involving the trapping and later release of
floodwaters.
• Maghreb: An Arabic term that is used to describe
the countries of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.
• Sahel: A zone of recurrent drought south of the
Sahara Desert.
NORTH AFRICA AND SOUTHWEST
ASIA: LIST OF TERMS
• Qanat: An underground water tunnel leading from
the mountains to adjacent dry lands.
• Sudd: A marshy zone in the southern Sudan where
the waters of the Nile stagnate and a large mass of
vegetation floats around
• Tell: The lower slopes and coastal plains in
northwestern Africa between the Atlas Mountains and
the sea.
• Bidonvilles: A French term that is used to describe
the Maghreb's shanty towns.
• Kibbutz: A cooperative farm unit in Israel whose
goal is also to provide military security to its
residents.
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