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Arabs, Turks, Persians, Kurds, and Azeris (excluding Azerbaijan) constitute the largest ethnic groups in the region by population.Indigenous minorities of the Middle East include Jews, Baloch, Assyrians, Arameans, Berbers (who primarily live in North Africa), Copts, Druze, Lurs, Mandaeans, Samaritans, Shabaks, Tats, and Zazas.The British Navy should have the facility to concentrate in force if occasion arise, about Aden, India, and the Persian Gulf.Mahan's article was reprinted in The Times and followed in October by a 20-article series entitled "The Middle Eastern Question," written by Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol.Most of the countries that border the Persian Gulf have vast reserves of crude oil, with monarchs of the Arabian Peninsula in particular benefiting economically from petroleum exports.During this time the British and Russian Empires were vying for influence in Central Asia, a rivalry which would become known as The Great Game.Mahan realized not only the strategic importance of the region, but also of its center, the Persian Gulf.
The first official use of the term "Middle East" by the United States government was in the 1957 Eisenhower Doctrine, which pertained to the Suez Crisis.
During this series, Sir Ignatius expanded the definition of Middle East to include "those regions of Asia which extend to the borders of India or command the approaches to India." In the late 1930s, the British established the Middle East Command, which was based in Cairo, for its military forces in the region. The description Middle has also led to some confusion over changing definitions.
After that time, the term "Middle East" gained broader usage in Europe and the United States, with the Middle East Institute founded in Washington, D. Before the First World War, "Near East" was used in English to refer to the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire, while "Middle East" referred to Iran, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Turkestan.
Several major religions have their origins in the Middle East, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; the Baha'i faith, Mandaeism, Unitarian Druze, and numerous other belief systems were also established within the region.
The Middle East generally has a hot, arid climate, with several major rivers providing irrigation to support agriculture in limited areas such as the Nile Delta in Egypt, the Tigris and Euphrates watersheds of Mesopotamia, and most of what is known as the Fertile Crescent.