The Middle East中东

The area known in the West as the Middle East lies between the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to the west and Iran in the East. It covers a distance west to east of approximately 1300 kilometres. Today the Middle East is one of the richest regions in the world, based on the possession of vast reserves of oil. It is also an area of conflict, with armed disputes between Shia and Sunni religious sects, as well as conflict between Muslim forces and western Christian nations. How was the Middle East created, and how has the present situation arisen?


To find out we need to return to the foundation of the Roman Empire in Italy around 2,700 years ago. As it expanded over the next 1,000 years, Rome grew to cover vast areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The distance to the eastern periphery from Rome became so great that it became necessary to establish an eastern administrative centre at Constantinople on the Bosphorus. This was a narrow channel linking the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. After Rome finally collapsed in 471AD, the eastern Empire became known as Byzantium, and continued to prosper. Constantinople was eventually overcome in 1453 by armies of the Ottoman Empire, based in Turkey.


The Ottomans themselves created a large empire, which extended from Austria in the West to Iran in the East. Thus the Ottoman territory included the land we now know as the Middle East. After about 1680, this empire started to decline, and by the beginning of the Great War (in Europe) in 1914 was near to collapse. The Ottoman Empire, or Turkey as it was now called, allied with Germany in the Great War, and was thus on the losing side. As a consequence, its Middle Eastern territories were dismembered, resulting in the creation of a number of new countries.

奥斯曼也成立一个从西头的奥地利到东头的伊朗很大的帝国。从而奥斯曼土地包括现在叫中东的区域。大概1680年以后,这个帝国开始衰落, 到1914年开始从1914到1918世界战争的时候,这个帝国的终结很近了。奥斯曼帝国,那时候叫火鸡,1914-1918战争里跟德国联了,从而失败了。由于它中东的土地肢解了,所以被成立些新的国家。

Unfortunately, a number of these countries have suffered nearly a century of intermittent conflict and dispute. Syria, which has no oil, has recently been engaged in military conflict for several years. Iraq has large oil reserves, but its population is a mixture of Shia and Sunni Muslim sects, which has led to conflict. In addition, in 2003 President George Bush in the USA led an attack on the country resulting in a war and subsequent unrest. Israel was created as a new country in 1948 and has become a stable and prosperous country created from the immigration of jewish settlors from many different countries. However, Israel has been involved in a number of wars with its Muslim neighbours.

不幸这些国家受到了几乎一个世纪的冲突和辛苦。没有油的叙利亚最近鏖战这几年。伊拉克有很大的油储量,但是人口包括什叶和逊尼的教派,结果是冲突。再说,2003年美国总统乔治布什打击那个国家,由于发生了一个战争,也很多动乱以后。1948 年以色列这个新国家成立,自从成为很稳定也兴荣的国家,从很多不同的国家到以色列的犹太移民。但是以色列根它的穆斯林邻居抗了些战争。

Saudi Arabia has been one of the most stable countries in the region. It was founded in 1933 in a vast southern area of the Middle East essentially comprising a largely uninhabited desert region. However, in 1938 oil was discovered in the country. It eventually transpired that not only is this one of the largest oil reserves in the world, it is also the easiest and cheapest to access. The cost of extraction of these reserves is less than 70 yuan per barrel, compared to more than 400 yuan per barrel for US shale based oil. 


The “oil war” from late 2014, in which Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries have continued to produce oil in competition with growing volumes of US shale oil, has led to the halving of the price of oil. It is expected that the benefit of cheaper gasoline will have a favourable impact and help the global economy to grow in 2015.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s