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A quick look at a map of Asia will show that the western boundary of Asia in Russia is the Ural Mountains, about 1250 km (750 miles) east of Moscow.

The remainder of the western boundary of Asia, though, is much farther to the west -  the Aegean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal, and the Red Sea.

Turkey (except for Eastern Thrace), Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and western Iran are in western Asia, and all of the above, except for Egypt and Iran, constitute the United Nations’ Western Asia geographical region.

These countries are also included in the nebulous and Eurocentric term ‘the Middle East’ which, depending on who you talk to, can stretch from Morocco to Kazakhstan and can make you wonder “The middle of what?” and “East of where?”.

There is also a tendency by some to equate ‘the Middle East’ with ‘Arab’ or ‘Islamic’, and additional confusion can result when you realize that the term ‘the Near East’ generally refers to areas which are in ‘the Middle East’.

I prefer to refer to this part of the world with, in my opinion, the more accurate term ‘Western Asia’, and I’ve founded a Daily Kos group called Western Asia as a place for information about, opinions on, and discussion of Western Asia; including the people, history, culture, literature, flora, fauna, geography, cuisine, and politics of and events in Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Iran.

I hope you will find the group informative and useful, and if you would like to participate in it please let me know.

Originally posted to InAntalya on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 06:37 AM PST.

Also republished by Western Asia.

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