The Middle East is primarily made up of nations within or bordering the Arabian Peninsular. The Peninsular is situated between the land masses of Africa and Asia, bordered on three sides by sea; the Red Sea in the West – with Africa beyond, the Persian Gulf in the East – with Iran beyond and by the Indian Ocean to the south. At the North Western corner the Sinai Desert links the Peninsular to Egypt and North Africa with Jordan, Syria and Iraq to the North.
At its widest point it is 2000 Kilometres across and from the Northern most part of Saudi Arabia to the Indian Ocean coast of Yemen is approximately 3000 Kilometres.
Contained within this area are the countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen.
The economies of all of the nations of the Arabian Peninsular are based on the production of oil and to some degree natural gas. The first commercially viable quantities of oil were located in Bahrain in 1932 and since that time the history of the region has been driven by its abundance of it’s natural resources.
Some countries have more natural resources than others and consequently the oil driven developments have varied in intensity and scope across the region. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi have immense reserves, Bahrain, Dubai, Qatar, Oman and Yemen have less. Some established trading centres such as Bahrain and more lately Dubai have grown and developed because of their trade and place less reliance on oil revenue. 65% of all the worlds known reserves of oil are in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates (mainly Abu Dhabi).
All countries of the region have attempted to use oil revenue to develop firstly the infrastructure of a modern state (Civil projects, healthcare etc) and secondly to diversify economic activities away from oil production.
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