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Turkey, officially the
Republic of Turkey, is a
transcontinental country,
located mostly on Anatolia
in Western Asia and on
East Thrace in
Southeastern Europe.
Turkey is bordered by
eight countries: Bulgaria to
the northwest; Greece to
the west; Georgia to the
northeast; Armenia, Iran
and the Azerbaijani
exclave of Nakhchivan to
the east; and Iraq and
Syria to the southeast. The
Mediterranean Sea is to
the south; the Aegean Sea
is to the west; and the
Black Sea is to the north.
The Sea of Marmara, the
Bosphorus and the
Dardanelles (which
together form the Turkish
Straits) demarcate the
boundary between Thrace
and Anatolia; they also
separate Europe and Asia.
Turkey's location at the
crossroads of Europe and
Asia makes it a country of
significant geostrategic
The area now called
Turkey has been inhabited
since the Paleolithic,
including various Ancient
Anatolian civilizations and
Thracian peoples. After
Alexander the Great's
conquest, the area was
Hellenized, which
continued with the Roman
rule and the transition into
the Byzantine Empire. The
Seljuk Turks began
migrating into the area in
the 11th century, starting
the process of
Turkification, which was
greatly accelerated by the
Seljuk victory over the
Byzantines at the Battle of
Manzikert in 1071. The
Seljuk Sultanate of Rm
ruled Anatolia until the
Mongol invasion in 1243,
upon which it disintegrated
into several small Turkish
beyliks. Starting from the
late 13th century, the
Ottoman beylik united
Anatolia and created an
empire encompassing
much of Southeastern
Europe, Western Asia and
North Africa. After the
Ottoman Empire collapsed
following its defeat in
World War I, parts of it
were occupied by the
victorious Allies. The
Turkish War of
Independence, initiated by
Mustafa Kemal Atatrk
and his colleagues,
resulted in the
establishment of the
modern Republic of
Turkey in 1923, with
Atatrk as its first

President Abdullah Gl
Politics of Turkey takes
place in a framework of a
strictly secular
representative democratic
republic, whereby
the Prime Minister of
Turkey is the head of
government, and of
a multi-party system.
The President of Turkey is
the head of state who
holds a largely ceremonial
role but with substantial
reserve powers. Abdullah


Gl, is the 11th and
current President of
Turkey, serving in that
office since 28 August
2007. He previously
served for four months as
Prime Minister from 2002
to 2003, and as Minister of
Foreign Affairs from 2003
to 2007. The current prime
minister of Turkey
is Recep Tayyip Erdoan.
He leads a cabinet of
the Justice and
Development Party.The
prime minister has the
power to dissolve
the parliament and thus
force a new election,
which he is obliged to do
within four years of the
previous elections.
Turkeys political will and
motto is strong. It states
that "Sovereignty
unconditionally belongs to
the Nation."
The rate of population
increase in Turkey
dropped from 13.5 per
thousand in 2011 to 12 per
thousand in 2012,
according to the latest
figures announced by the
Turkish Statistics Institute
(TurkStat) on Monday.
The population of the
country increased by
903,115 in 2012
compared to the previous
year and was 75,627,384
as of Dec. 31, 2012. Men
outnumbered women as
50.2 percent of the
population comprised
males (37,956,168) while
the female population
stood at 49.8 percent
(37,671,216), according to
the latest statistics
Contemporary Turkish artwork on
a plate

The culture of
Turkey combines a heavily
and heterogeneous set of
elements that have been
derived from
the Greek, Roman, Byzant
ine, Ottoman, European,
Middle Eastern and
Central Asian
traditions. Turkey's former
status as a multiethnic
empire which, de
facto until the loss
of Libya to the Kingdom of
Italy in 1912 (and de
jure until the official loss
of Egypt and Sudan to
the British Empire in 1914,
as a consequence of the
Ottoman government's
decision to join the First
World War on the side of
the Central Powers)
spanned three continents:
Europe, Asia and Africa.
The present-day Republic
of Turkey,
which succeeded the
Ottoman state in 1923, is
still a transcontinental
country that spans Europe
and Asia.
The nation
was modernized primarily
by Mustafa Kemal
Atatrk starting from 1923.
As he transformed a
religion-driven former
Ottoman Empire into a
modernnation-state with a
strong separation of state
and religion, a
corresponding increase in
the methods of artistic
expression arose. During
the first years of the
republic, the government
invested a large amount of
resources into fine arts
such as paintings,
sculpture and architecture.
This was done as both a
process of modernization
and of creating a cultural
identity. Because of the
different historical factors
defining the Turkish
identity, the culture of
Turkey combines clear
efforts to be "modern"
and Western, with a desire
to maintain traditional
religious and historical


Aside from its booming
economy and being
recognized as one of the
worlds newest
industrialized country,
Turkey exports coal, iron
ore, copper, chromium,
antimony, mercury, gold,
barite, borate, celestite
(strontium), emery,
feldspar, limestone,
magnesite, marble, perlite,
pumice, pyrites (sulfur),
and clay among other
natural resources. Also
because of their rich floral,
fauna and rich
differentiation, foodstuff,
and wine are also
exported. Turkey Imports
steel, aircraft parts, ship
parts, and clothing.


The president of Iraq is
Jalal Talabani and its
Prime Minister is Nouri al-
Maliki. They have a
Federal Parliamentary
type of government. Iraq
has an estimated
population of 31,129,225
as of 2012.

Traditions and Customs

The majority of Iraqis are
Muslims regardless of
ethnicity. Its position in
Iraq went through a
transition during Saddam
Husseins regime as the
state moved from a
secular one to one
needing Islam to prop up
their actions. At this stage
the words Allahu Akbar
(Allah is the Greatest) was
added to the flag. During
Saddams regime only
Sunnis held real power.

With the overthrow of
Saddams regime the Shia
majority now hold more
power and influence than
in the past. As well as the
power shift people have
also been able to express
their religious identities a
lot more freely.

The Shia and Sunnis are
similar in over 95% of
ways. The differences are
not as acute as one would
think. Essentially the split
occurred to the political
question of who should
succeed the Prophet
Muhammad as the leader
of the community. Major
differences between the
two occur in jurisprudence
(i.e. how to pray, how to
marry, inheritance) and
minor elements of faith.
Regardless of orientation
Islam prescribes a way of
life and it governs political,
legal, and social
behaviour. It organises
ones daily life and
provides moral guidance
for both society and the
individual. The rules of
Islam come from the
Quran and sayings of the
Prophet Muhammad
(known as hadith).

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki

Hospitality is an Arab and
Muslim tradition deeply
engrained in the culture.
Visitors are treated as
kings and must always be
fed and looked after. A
tradition within Islam
actually stipulates
someone is allowed to


stay in your home for 3
days before you can
question why they are
staying and when they will
leave, Invitations to a
home must be seen as a
great honour and never
turned down.
Family and Honour

Iraqis consider family and
honour to be of paramount
importance. The extended
family or tribe is both a
political and social force.
Families hold their
members responsible for
their conduct, since any
wrongdoing brings shame
to the entire family. Loyalty
to the family comes before
other social relationships,
even business.

President Jalal Talabani
Nepotism is not viewed
negatively; in such a
culture is naturally makes
more sense to offer jobs to
family as they are trusted.

It is common for large
extended families to live in
the same house,
compound, or village. In
urban areas, families do
not necessarily live in the
same house, although
they generally live in the
same street or suburb at

Etiquette and Customs
Meeting People

The most common
greeting is the
handshake coupled with
eye contact and a smile.
The standard
Arabic/Islamic greeting
is "asalaamu alaikum"
("peace be with you"), to
which the response is
"wa alaikum salaam"
("and peace be unto
Good friends of the
same sex may greet
each other with a
handshake and a kiss
on each cheek, starting
with the right.
Expect to be introduced
to each person
individually at a small
social function. At a
large function, you may
introduce yourself.

Gift Giving Etiquette

If you are invited to an
Iraqis home, bring a
box of cookies, pastries
or a box of chocolates.
A fruit basket is also
Flowers are being given
more and more but only
to a hostess.
If a man must give a gift
to a woman, he should
say that it is from his
wife, mother, sister, or
some other female
A small gift for the
children is always a
good touch.
Gifts are given with two
Gifts are generally not
opened when received.

Dining Etiquette

The culture of hospitality
means Iraqis like to invite
people to their homes. If
you are invited to a home:
Check to see if you
should remove shoes.
Dress conservatively
and smartly.
Do not discuss
Iraqi table manners are
relatively formal.
If the meal is on the
floor, sit cross-legged or
kneel on one knee.
Never let your feet touch
the food mat.


Use the right hand for
eating and drinking.
It is considered polite to
leave some food on
your plate when you
have finished eating.

The Products of Iraq are
wheat, barley, rice,
vegetables, cotton,
cattle, sheep, and


Syria officially the Syrian
Arab Republic, is a country
in Western Asia,
bordering Lebanon and
the Mediterranean Sea to
the west, Turkey to the
north, Iraq to the east,
Jordan to the south
and Israel to the
southwest. A country of
fertile plains, high
mountains and deserts, it
is home to diverse ethnic
and religious groups,
including Arab Alawites,
Arab Sunnis,
Arab Christians, Armenian
s, Assyrians, Druze, Kurds
and Turks. Arab Sunnis
make up the majority of
the population.
In English, the name
"Syria" was formerly
synonymous with
the Levant (known in
Arabic as al-Sham) while
the modern state
encompasses the sites of
several ancient kingdoms
and empires, including
the Eblan civilization of the
third millennium BC. In
the Islamic era, its capital
city ,Damascus, among
the oldest continuously
inhabited cities in the
world, was the seat of
the Umayyad Caliphate,
and a provincial capital of
the Mamluk Sultanate of
The modern Syrian state
was established after
the First World War as
a French mandate, and
represented the largest
Arab state to emerge from
the formerly Ottoman-ruled
Arab Levant. It gained
independence in April
1946, as a parliamentary
republic. The post-
independence period was
tumultuous, and a large
number of military
coups and coup attempts
shook the country in the
period 19491971.
Between 1958 and 1961,
Syria entered a brief union
with Egypt, which was
terminated by a military
coup. Syria was under
Emergency Law from 1963
to 2011, effectively
suspending most
constitutional protections
for citizens, and its system
of government is
considered to be non-
democratic. Bashar al-
Assad has been president
since 2000 and was
preceded by his
father Hafez al-Assad,
who was in office from
1970 to 2000.
Syria is a member of one
international organization
other than the United
Nations, the Non-Aligned
Movement; it is currently
suspended from the Arab

the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation, and self-
suspended from the Union
for the
Mediterranean. Since
March 2011, Syria has
been embroiled in civil
war in the wake of
uprisings (considered an
extension of the Arab
Spring, the mass
movement of revolutions
and protests in the Arab
world) against Assad and
the neo-
Ba'athist government.
An alternative


government was formed
by the opposition umbrella
group, the Syrian National
Coalition, in March 2012.
Representatives of this
government were
subsequently invited to
take up Syria's seat at
theArab League.

Bashar Hafez al-Assad is
the President of Syria,
General Secretary of
the Ba'ath Party and
Regional Secretary of the
party's branch in Syria. He
has served as President
since 2000, when he
succeeded his
father, Hafez al-Assad,
who led Syria for 30 years
until his death.
Al-Assad graduated from
the medical school
of Damascus University in
1988, and started to work
as a physician in the army.
Four years later, he
attended postgraduate
studies at the Western Eye
Hospital, in London,
in ophthalmology. In 1994,
after his elder
brother Bassel was killed
in a car crash, Bashar was
recalled to Syria to take
over Bassel's role as heir
apparent. He entered the
military academy, taking
charge of the Syrian
occupation of Lebanon in
1998. In December 2000,
Assad married Asma
Assad, ne Akhras. Al-
Assad was reconfirmed by
the national electorate as
President of Syria in 2000
and 2007, after
the People's Council of
Syria had voted to propose
the incumbent each time.
Initially seen by the
domestic and international
community as a potential
reformer, this expectation
ceased when he ordered a
mass crackdown and
military sieges on pro-
rebel protesters amid
recent civil war, described
by some commentators as
related to the wider "Arab
Spring" movement. The
domestic Syrian
opposition, the United
States, Canada, the
European Union states
and the members of
the Arab League have
subsequently called for al-
Assad's resignation from
the presidency. His
government has been
described as secular.
Government type
In theory: It is presidential
republic, all executive
powers rests with the
president. The president
can serve seven-year
terms. Syria recently has
just passed a new
constitution that allows a
term limit for the president
to only be reelected once.
In reality: However, Syria
is a Saddam Hussein-style
sectarian presidential
dictatorship. Opposition
parties are banned and the
parliament serves only as
rubber-stamp for the
president's policies.

Population: 22,530,746
(July 2012 est.)
note: approximately
18,700 Israeli settlers live
in the Golan Heights
Definition: This entry gives
an estimate from the US
Bureau of the Census
based on statistics from
population censuses, vital
statistics registration


systems, or sample
surveys pertaining to the
recent past and on
assumptions about future
trends. The total
population presents one
overall measure of the
potential impact of the
country on the world and
within its region. Note:
Starting with the
demographic estimates for
some countries (mostly
African) have explicitly
taken into account the
effects of the growing
impact of the HIV/AIDS
epidemic. These countries
are currently: The
Bahamas, Benin,
Botswana, Brazil, Burkina
Faso, Burma, Burundi,
Cambodia, Cameroon,
Central African Republic,
Democratic Republic of
the Congo, Republic of the
Congo, Cote d'Ivoire,
Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana,
Guyana, Haiti, Honduras,
Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi,
Mozambique, Namibia,
Nigeria, Rwanda, South
Africa, Swaziland,
Tanzania, Thailand, Togo,
Uganda, Zambia, and
Syrians have contributed
to Arabic literature and
have a proud tradition of
oral and written poetry.
Syrian writers, many of
whom immigrated to
Egypt, played a crucial
role in the nahda or Arab
literary and cultural revival
of the 19th century.
Prominent contemporary
Syrian writers include,
others, Adonis, Muhamma
d Maghout, Haidar
Haidar, Ghada al-
Samman, Nizar
Qabbani and Zakariyya
From 1918 to 1926, while
Syria was under French
rule, French Romantic influ
ences inspired Syrian
authors, many of whom
turned away from the
traditional models
of Arabic poetry.
In 1948, the partitioning of
neighbouring Palestine
and the establishment of
Israel brought about a new
turning point in Syrian
writing. Adab al-Iltizam,
the "literature of political
commitment", deeply
marked by social realism,
mostly replaced the
romantic trend of the
previous decades. Hanna
Mina, rejecting art for art's
sake and confronting the
social and political issues
of his time, was arguably
the most prominent Syrian
novelist of this era.
Following the Six-Day
War in 1967, Adab al-
Naksa, the "literature of
defeat", grappled with the
causes of the Arab defeat.
Ba'ath Party rule, since
the 1966 coup, has
brought about renewed
censorship. In this context,
the genre of the historical
novel, spearheaded
by Nabil
Sulayman, Fawwaz
Haddad, Khyri al-
Dhahabi and Nihad Siris,
is sometimes used as a
means of expressing
dissent, critiquing the
present through a
depiction of the past.
Syrian folk narrative, as a
subgenre of historical
fiction, is imbued
with magical realism, and
is also used as a means of
veiled criticism of the
present. Salim Barakat, a
Syrian migr living in
Sweden, is one of the
leading figures of the
genre. Contemporary
Syrian literature also
encompasses science
fiction and
futuristic utopiae (Nuhad
Sharif, Talib Umran),


which may also serve as
media of dissent.


Asmahan born in As-
Suwayda and emigrated
to Egypt. One of few
female voices in Arab
music to rival that of Umm
Syria's capital, Damascus,
has long been one of the
Arab world's centers for
cultural and artistic
innovation, especially in
the field of classical Arab
music. Syria has also
produced several pan-
Arab stars,
including Asmahan, Farid
al-Atrash and singer Lena
Chamamyan. The city
of Aleppo is known for
its muwashshah, a form
of Andalous sung poetry
popularized by Sabri
Moudallal, as well as
popular stars like Sabah
Also, Syria was one of the
earliest centers of
Christian hymnody, in a
repertory known as Syrian
chant, which continues to
be the liturgical music of
some of the various Syrian
There was formerly a
distinctive tradition
of Syrian Jewish religious
music, which still
flourishes in the Syrian-
Jewish community of New
York: see The Weekly
Maqam, Baqashot and Piz

Traditional Houses of the
Old Cities in Damascus,
Aleppo and the other
Syrian cities are preserved
and traditionally the living
quarters are arranged
around one or more
courtyards, typically with a
fountain in the middle
supplied by spring water,
and decorated with citrus
trees, grape vines, and
Outside of larger city areas
such as Damascus,
Aleppo or Homs,
residential areas are often
clustered in smaller
villages. The buildings
themselves are often quite
old (perhaps a few
hundred years old),
passed down to family
members over several
generations. Residential
construction of rough
concrete and blockwork is
usually unpainted, and the
palette of a Syrian village
is therefore simple tones
of grays and browns.

Television in Syria was
formed in 1960, when
Syria and Egypt (which
adopted television that
same year) were part of
the United Arab Republic.
It broadcast in black and
white until 1976. The Arab
League officially asked the
operators Arabsat and Nile
sat to stop broadcasting
Syrian media in June
There was a private sector
presence in the Syrian
cinema industry until the
end of the 1970s, but
private investment has
since preferred the more
lucrative television serial


business. Syrian soap
operas, in a variety of
styles (all melodramatic,
however), have
considerable market
penetration throughout the
eastern Arab world.
Nearly all of Syrias radio
and television outlets are
state owned, and the
Ba'ath Party controls
nearly all newspapers. The
authorities operate several
agencies among
themShu'bat al-
Mukhabarat al-'Askariyya,
employing a large number
of operatives.

Fattoush, an example of
Syrian cuisine
The Syrian cuisine is rich
and varied in its
ingredients and is linked to
the region of Syria where a
specific dish has
originated. Syrian food
mostly consists of
Southern Mediterranean,
Greek, and Southwest
Asian dishes. Some Syrian
dishes also evolved from
Turkish and French
cooking. Dishes like shish
kebab, stuffed
zucchini, yabra' (stuffed
grape leaves, the word
yapra' derves from
the Turkish word 'yaprak'
meaning leaf).
The main dishes that form
Syrian cuisine
are kibbeh, hummus, tabb
ouleh, fattoush, labneh, sh
awarma, mujaddara, shan
klish, pastrma, sujuk andb
aklava. Baklava is made
of filo pastry filled with
chopped nuts and soaked
in honey. Syrians often
serve selections of
appetizers, known
as meze, before the main
course. za'atar, minced
beef, and
cheese manakish are
popular hors d'uvres.
The Arabic
flatbread khubz is always
eaten together with meze.
Syrians are also well
known for their cheese.
The very popular string
cheese jibbneh mashallale
is made of curd cheese
and is pulled and twisted
together. Syrians also
make cookies to usually
accompany their cheese
called ka'ak. These are
made of farina and other
ingredients, rolled out,
shaped into rings and
baked. Another form of a
similar cookie is to fill with
crushed dates mixed with
butter to accompany their
jibbneh mashallale.
Drinks in Syria vary
depending on the time of
the day and the
occasion. Arabic coffee,
also known as Turkish
coffee is the most well-
known hot drink usually
prepared in the morning at
breakfast or in the
evening. It is usually
served for guests or after
food. Arak, an alcoholic
drink, is also a well-known
beverage served mostly
on special occasions.
More examples of Syrian
include Ayran, Jallab, Whit
e coffee, and a locally
manufactured beer called
Al Shark.
Aleppo International Stadium


The most popular sports in
are football, basketball, sw
and tennis. Damascus was
home to the fifth and
seventh Pan Arab Games.
Many popular football
teams are based in
Damascus, Aleppo, Homs,
Latakia, etc.
The Abbasiyyin Stadium in
Damascus is home to
the Syrian national football
team. The team enjoyed
some success, having
qualified for four Asian
Cup competitions. The
team's first international
was on 20 November
1949, losing to Turkey 7
0. The team was ranked
115th in the world
by FIFA as of November

PRODUCT of Syria
Olive groves in Western-
Syria, Homs Governorate.
Agriculture is a high
priority in Syria's economic
development plans, as the
government seeks to
achieve food self-
sufficiency, increase
export earnings, and halt
rural out-migration. Thanks
to sustained capital
investment, infrastructure
development, subsidies of
inputs, and price supports,
Syria has gone from a net
importer of many
agricultural products to an
exporter of cotton,
fruits, vegetables, and
other foodstuffs. One of
the prime reasons for this
turnaround has been the
government's investment
in huge irrigation systems
in northern and
northeastern Syria. The
agriculture sector, as of
2009, employs about 17
percent of the labor force
and generates about 21
percent of the gross
domestic product, of which
livestock accounted for 16
percent and fruit and
grains for more than 40
Most land is privately
owned, a crucial factor
behind the sector's
success. Of Syria's 72,000
square miles
(186,000 km),
about 28
percent of it is cultivated,
and 21 percent of that total
is irrigated. Most irrigated
land is designated
"strategic", meaning that it
encounters significant
state intervention in terms
of pricing, subsidies, and
marketing controls.
"Strategic" products such
as wheat, barley, and
sugar beets, must be sold
to state marketing boards
at fixed prices, often above
world prices in order to
support farmers, but at a
significant cost to the state
budget. The most widely
grown arable crop is
wheat, but the most
important cash crop is
cotton; cotton was the
largest single export
before the development of
the oil sector.
Nevertheless, the total
area planted with cotton
has declined because of
an increasing problem of
water shortage coupled
with old and inefficient
irrigation techniques. The
output of grains like wheat
is often underutilized
because of poor storage
Water and energy are
among the most pervasive
issues facing the
agriculture sector. Another
difficulty the agricultural
sector suffered from is the
government's decision to
liberalize the prices of
fertilizers, which have
increased between 100%
and 400%. Drought was
an alarming problem in
2008; however, the
drought situation slightly
improved in 2009. Wheat
and barley production
about doubled in 2009


compared to 2008. In spite
of that, the livelihoods of
up to 1 million agricultural
workers have been
threatened. In response,
the UN launched an
emergency appeal for
$20.2 million. Wheat has
been one of the crops
most affected, and for the
first time in 2 decades
Syria has moved from
being a net exporter of
wheat to a net
importer. During the civil
war which began in 2011,
the Syrian government
was forced to put out a
tender for 100,000 metric
tonnes of wheat, one of
the few trade products not
subject to economic
Less than 3 percent
of Syria's land area is
forested, and only a
portion of that is
commercially useful.
Limited forestry activity is
centered in the higher
elevations of the
mountains just inland from
the coast, where rainfall is
more abundant.


President of Jordan
Abdullah was born
in Amman to King
Hussein during his
marriage to British-
born Princess Muna al-
Hussein (born Antoinette
Avril Gardiner). He was
the king's eldest son and
as such he was heir
apparent to the throne
of Jordan under the 1952
constitution. However, due
to unstable times in the
1960s, King Hussein
decided to appoint his
brother, Prince Hassan bin
Talal, as his heir.

King Abdullah II
King Abdullah II
attended St Edmund's
School, Hindhead, Surrey,
before moving on to
School and Deerfield
Academy in Deerfield,
Massachusetts. He joined
the Royal Military
Academy Sandhurst in
1980, was commissioned
as a Second Lieutenant,
and served as a troop
commander in
the 13th/18th Royal
Hussars. In 1982, King
Abdullah II
attended Pembroke
College at Oxford
University where he
completed a one-year
Special Studies course in
Middle Eastern Affairs. In
1987, he attended
the Edmund A. Walsh
School of Foreign
Service at Georgetown
University in Washington,
D.C. Abdullah would later
serve in the Jordanian
forces and became Major
General in May 1998.

Abdullah became king on
7 February 1999, upon the
death of his father King
Hussein. Hussein had
recently named him crown
princeon 24 January,
changing the constitutions
and replacing Hussein's
brother Hassan, who had
served many years in the


position (nearly 34 years,
from 1965 to 1999). It is
claimed that he is the
43rd-generation direct
descendant of the Prophet
Mohammad. He is the
namesake of King
Abdullah I, his great
grandfather who founded
modern Jordan.

Jordan lies between
latitudes 29 and 34 N,
longitudes 35 and 40
E (a small area lies west of
35). It consists of an arid
plateau in the east,
irrigated by oasis and
seasonal water streams,
with highland area in the
west of arable land and
Mediterranean evergreen
The Jordan Rift Valley of
the Jordan
River separates Jordan
from Israel and the
Palestinian Territories. The
highest point in the country
is Jabal Umm al Dami, at
1,854 m (6,083 ft) above
sea level, its top is also
covered with snow, while
the lowest is the Dead
Sea 420 m (1,378 ft).
Jordan is part of a region
considered to be
"the cradle of civilization",
the Levantregion of
the Fertile Crescent. Major
cities include the
capital Amman and as-
Salt in the
west, Irbid, Jerash and Zar
qa, in the northwest
and Madaba, Karak and A
qaba in the southwest.
Major towns in the eastern
part of the country are the
oasis town
of Azraq andRuwaished.

Jordan is semi-dry in
summer with average
temperature in the mid 30
C (86 F) and is relatively
cool in winter averaging
around 13 C (55 F). The
western part of the country
receives greater
precipitation during the
winter season from
November to March and
snowfall in Amman (756 m
(2,480 ft) ~ 1,280 m
(4,199 ft) above sea-level)
and Western Heights of
500 m (1,640 ft). Excluding
the rift valley the rest of
the country is entirely
above 300 m (984 ft)
The weather is
humid from November to
March and semi dry for the
rest of the year. With hot,
dry summers and cool
winters during which
practically all of the
precipitation occurs, the
country has
a Mediterranean-style
climate. In general, the
farther inland from the
Mediterranean a given part
of the country lies, the
greater are the seasonal
contrasts in temperature
and the less rainfall.

Phosphate mines in the
south have made Jordan
one of the largest
producers and exporters of
this mineral in the world.

Phosphate mines in Jordan

Four nuclear power plants
are planned with the first
one to be operational in
Since the beginning of
2010, the government of
Jordan has been seeking
approval from the US for
producing nuclear fuel
from Jordan's uranium for


use in nuclear power
plants that Jordan plans to
build. According
to Haaretz, Jordan learned
that the US position is
essentially the Israeli
position, and the US has
rejected Jordan's request
for approval
Natural gas was
discovered in Jordan in
1987, and the estimated
size of the reserve
discovered was about 230
billion cubic feet, and
quantities are very modest
compared with its


The leader of Bahrain is
Shiekh Hamad Ben Isa.
The form of government
they practice is
constitutional monarchy.
The population in 2010
stood at 1,234,571,
including 666,172 non-
nationals traditions and
customs: The culture of
Bahrain is predominantly
Arab as well as being
Thus, Bahrain's culture is
similar to that of its Arab
neighbours in the Persian
Gulf region.

Shiekh Hamad Ben Isa
In the past two centuries,
Bahrain had become
largely cosmopolitan,
hosting people from a
variety of places such as
India, Pakistan, Iran,
Egypt, Malaysia and
Though the state religion
is Islam, the country is
tolerant towards other
religions; Catholic and
Orthodox churches, Hindu
temples as well as a (now-
disused) Jewish
synagogue are present on
the island.

People & Heritage
Just around half of the
population are Arabs, and
most are native-born
Bahrainis, but only
minority of them is
Omanis, or Saudis.
Foreign-born inhabitants,
comprising more than half
of the population, are
mostly from Iran, India,
Pakistan, Philippines,
Britain, and the United
States. About three-fifths
of the largely Asian labor
force is foreign.
The population is mostly
Muslim and includes both
the Sunni and Shia sects.
Bahrain is also the only
Arab state in the Persian
Gulf with an active Jewish
needed] and has the
largest Christian minority
within the Arab states of
the Persian Gulf. Roughly
1,000 Christians hold
Bahraini citizenship, with
the closest country,
Kuwait, only having
approximately 200. Arabic
is the official language of
Bahrain,and the G.C.C but
English is widely used.
Southern Persian
(Bushehr) dialect is widely
spoken by Bahrainis of
Persian descent ajam and
others. Many Bahrainis
have a working knowledge
not only of English but
Hindi and Urdu as well.
In spite of its rapid
economic development,
Bahrain remains, in many


respects, essentially Arab
in its culture.
Football (soccer) is the
most popular modern
sport, while traditional
pastimes such as falconry,
horse riding, and gazelle
and hare hunting are still
practiced by wealthier
Horse and camel racing
are popular public
Traditional handicraft
industries enjoy state and
popular support.
The Bahrain National
Museum in Manama
contains local artifacts
dating from antiquity, such
as ivory figurines, pottery,
copper articles, and gold
rings, many of which
reflect various cultural
influences from outside
There is also a small but
flourishing avant-garde art

Traditional dresses
The typical Bahraini
woman dresses
conservatively, usually the
abaya, a long loose-fitting
black gown, is worn.
However, there is no
formal dress code in
Bahrain, and foreigners as
well as local women are
seen wearing modern (but
modest) outfits as well.
Bahraini men usually wear
the Thobe ( ) and the
traditional headdress
which includes the
Keffiyeh, Ghutra and Agal.
The Thobe, or 'Dishdasha'
in Kuwaiti, is a loose, long-
sleeved, ankle-length
garment. Summer Thobes
are white and made of
cotton and winter Thobes
can be darker and made of
The Ghutra is a square
scarf, made of cotton, and
is folded in a triangle and
worn over the Keffiyeh. In
Bahrain, it is usually red
and white checked or all
white. There is no
significance placed on
which kind the man wears.
The Keffiyeh is a white
knitted skull cap worn
under the Ghutra.
The Agal is a thick,
double, black cord that is
worn on the top of the
Ghutra to hold it in place.

In some occasions,
Bahrainis wear a Bisht,
which is a cloak made of
wool, over the thobe.
Unlike the thobe, the Bisht
is soft, and it is usually
black, brown, or grey.
Traditional arts, music and
Arts include readings of
the Quran, ceremonial
dances accompanied by
flat drums, and storytelling.
The poets of Bahrain are
famous for their poetic
verses and carry on
established traditions while
also exploring new
themes. Births and
marriages call for wide-
scale celebrations in
Bahrain, which often are a
pleasure to take part in.
Apart from this, the people
of Bahrain are also known
for their artistic skills, the


boats used for fishing and
pearling, being an
example of this
craftsmanship. The
traditional jewelry also
speaks volumes about the
intricate designs that the
people of Bahrain can
come up with.

Khaleeji is a style of
Arabian folk music from
the Persian Gulf area,
played in Bahrain with
polyrhythms. The style is
strongly influenced by the
music of Africa. The
Bahraini male-only pearl
diving tradition is known
for the songs called Fidjeri.
Fidjeri is a musical
repertoire performed
traditionally by male pearl
divers of Bahrain. It
involves singing, clapping,
drums and dances with
earthen water jars. Liwa is
a type of music and dance
performed mainly in
communities which contain
descendants of East
Africans, such as
Muharraq and Hidd.
Bahrains National Museum
The music of Bahrain
follows the traditional
Arabic mode. It is
elaborate and repetitive. It
is played on the oud (an
ancestor of the lute) and
the Rebaba (a one-
stringed instrument).
Bahrain also has a folk
dance tradition. The Ardha
is a men's sword dance,
which is accompanied by
traditional drummers and a
poet, who sings the lyrics.
A small number of films
have been made in the


The current President
is Khalifa bin Zayed Al
Nahyan. Nahyan became
president on 3 November
2004, following the death
of his father, Zayed bin
Sultan Al Nahyan.

Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Tradition and Custom:
The culture of the United
Arab Emirates has a
diverse, cosmopolitan and
multicultural society. The
country's historical
population as a small,
diverse pearling communit
y was changed with the
arrival of other nationals
first by the Iranians in the
early 1900s, and later
by Indians and Pakistanis i
n the 1960s. Dubai has
been criticized for
perpetuating a class-
based society,
where migrant workersare
in the lower classes.
Despite the diversity of the
population, only minor and
infrequent episodes
of ethnic tensions,
primarily between
expatriates, have been


reported in the city. Major
holidays in Dubai
include Eid ul-Fitr, which
marks the end
of Ramadan, and National
Day (2 December), which
marks the formation of the
United Arab Emirates.
Being a highly
cosmopolitan society, the
UAE has a diverse and
vibrant culture. The
influence of Islamic and
Arab culture on its
architecture, music, attire,
cuisine, and lifestyle are
very prominent as well.
Five times every
day, Muslims are called to
prayer from
theminarets of mosques,
which are scattered
around the country. The
weekend begins
on Friday due to Friday
being the holiest day for
Muslims. Most Muslim
countries have a Friday-
Saturday or Thursday-
Friday weekend.

unique socioeconomic
development in
the Persian Gulf has
meant that the UAE is
generally more liberal than
its neighbors. Emiratis
have been known for their
religious tolerance,
and churches, Hindu
temples, Sikh
Gurdwara can be found
alongside mosques.
However, there are
no Jewish synagogue in
the United Arab Emirates.
A cosmopolitan
atmosphere is gradually
growing. As a result there
are a variety of foreign-
influenced schools,
cultural centers, and
themed restaurants.

People of UAE


The Emirati people are the
native people that
dominated the land for
centuries. Arab
descendants of the Bani
Yas clans, Al
Nahyan and Al
Maktoum royal families in
Abu Dhabi and Dubai,
respectively, represent the
leadership of Emiratis. Al
Qawasim as well have
played a vital role in the
history of the United Arab
Emirates. Many Emiratis
are ethnic Persians who
originate from Iran. The
majority of local Emiratis in
Dubai are ethnic Persians.
Due to growth in trade,
many expatriates from
Arab countries, the Indian
subcontinent, and Europe
came to the UAE seeking
better lives and higher-
income jobs.
The population as a whole
is estimated by the U.S.
State Department to be at
4.4 million people, with
only 1520% of these
being citizens. The
population growth rate is
4% per year. The primary
religion in the United Arab
Emirates is Islam, with the
population estimated to be
Muslim. Hinduism and Chri
stianity are minorities as
stated by the United
States State Department.
The official language is
Arabic. Other languages
such as English, Persian,
Hindi and Urdu are spoken
among the different
peoples. The U.S. State
Department estimates the
people of the UAE to have
an average life expectancy
of seventy-seven years.

Many emirates have
established museums of
regional repute; most
famously Sharjah with its
Heritage District containing
17 museums, which in
1998 was the Cultural


Capital of the Arab
World. Abu Dhabi's
cultural foundation is also
an important place for the
presentation of indigenous
and foreign art. In Dubai,
the area of Al Quoz has
attracted a number of art
Abu Dhabi has embarked
on the path to become an
art center of international
caliber, through the
creation of a culture district
on Saadiyat Island. There,
six grand projects are
planned: the Sheikh Zayed
National Museum
by Foster + Partners, the
modern art
museum Guggenheim Abu
Dhabi to be built by Frank
Gehry, the classical
museumLouvre Abu
Dhabi by Jean Nouvel, a
maritime museum
by Tadao Ando, a
Performing Arts Center
by Zaha Hadid, and a
Biennale Park with 16
Dubai also plans to
a Kunsthal museum and a
district for galleries and

Kunsthal museum


The United Arab
Emirates's architecture is
largely inspired by Islamic
architecture. It reflects the
traditional lifestyles and
customs of the people.
Building materials are
simple, but well-adapted to
local living and climatic
circumstances. Portable
tents traditionally provided
shelter during tribal
wanderings in the winter
season. Inland more
permanent houses were
built of stone guss and
were roofed with palm
trees leaves. Fossilized
coral, cut in blocks,
bonded with sarooj, or a
lime mixture derived
from seashells, and
plastered with chalk and
water paste, was used
extensively in coastal
regions. Privacy and
ventilation were important
influences in the layout of
the houses.


Many of the older Emirati
men prefer wearing the
traditional Emirati clothes,
such as thethawb, an
ankle-length white shirt
woven from wool or cotton
while many local women
wear an abaya, a black
over-garment covering
most parts of the body. On
an average a UAE male
national would have up to
50 kanduras as they keep
changing their clothing to
ensure the dress being
kept clean. This attire is
particularly well-suited for
the UAE's hot and dry
climate. Western-style
clothing is also fairly
popular, especially among
the Emirati youth.
Etiquette is an important
aspect of UAE culture and
tradition, and whilst in the
UAE, visitors are expected
to show appropriate
manners and etiquette.
There have been several
recent cases of expatriates
not respecting the laws
and being arrested. For
example, there have been
instances of expats for not
wearing enough clothing at
beaches, and some even
being completely nude.
Before the discovery of
oil, pearling formed a
crucial part of UAE's
economy. Pearl fishery,


known as ghaus, suffered
decline after the advent of
Japanese pearl farming.
However, the UAE pearl
industry laid the foundation
of its rich maritime
history. Dhows, large
wooden ships made from
teak wood imported
from India, became an
indistinct part of the
countries maritime fleet
and dhow building is still
practiced in this Persian
Gulf state and perform an
important role of trade
between countries
like Iran, India, and
Eastern Africa.

Locals and tourists inside the
Kunsthal Museum


The main themes in
Emirati poetry for Arab
poets range
from satire, chivalry, self-
praise, patriotism, religion,
family, and love, and could
range from descriptive to
Poetry in the United Arab
Emirates has a great
influence on culture, being
an Arab country in the
Persian Gulf where poetry
has been part of since the
dawn of time. The style
and form of ancient poetry
in the UAE was strongly
influenced by the 8th-
century Arab scholar,Al
Khalil bin Ahmed. This
form underwent slight
modification (Al
Muwashahat) during the
period of Islamic
civilization in Andalucia
(Spain), where "the line or
bait adhered to the two
hemistitches form, each
with an equal number of
feet, all the second
hemistitches ending in the
same rhyming letter and
sound throughout the
poem". The
indigenous Arabic
poetry form, however, was
not spared from western
influence; sometime in the
20th century, prose
poetry started to make
their way into the local
literary scene.
Ibn Majid, who was born
between 1432 and 1437
in Ras Al Khaimah was an
iconic poet. Coming from a
family of successful
sailors, Ibn Majid has a
total of 40 surviving
compositions, 39 of which
are verses.
The greatest luminaries in
the UAE literary realm
during the 20th century,
particularly for Classical
Arabic poetry, were
Mubarak Al Oqaili (1880
1954), Salem bin Ali al
Owais (18871959),
and Ahmed bin
Sulayem (19051976).
Three other poets
from Sharjah, known as
the Hirah group, also
thrived during the 20th
century including Khalfan
Musabah (19231946),
Sheikh Saqr Al Qasimi
(19251993), an ex-ruler
of Sharjah, and Sultan bin
Ali al Owais (19252000).
The Hirah group's works
are observed to have been
heavily influenced by the
Apollo and romantic poets.


The United Arab Emirates
is a part of the
Arab khaleeji tradition, and
is also known
forBedouin folk
music. Yowla is a type of
music and dance
performed mainly in
communities of Bantu
peoples from the African
Great Lakes region.

During celebrations
singing and dancing also
took place and many of
the songs and dances,
handed down from
generation to generation,
have survived to the


present time. Young girls
would dance by swinging
their long black hair and
swaying their bodies in
time to the strong beat of
the music. Men would re-
enact battles fought or
successful hunting
expeditions, often
symbolically using
sticks, swords,
or rifles. Hollywood andBol
lywood movies are popular
in Dubai. The UAE has an
active music scene, with
musicians Amr
Diab, Diana
Haddad, Tarkan, Aerosmit
h, Santana, Mark
Knopfler, Elton
John, Pink, Bon Jovi, Pink
Floyd, Shakira, Celine
Dion, Coldplay, and Phil
Collinshaving performed in
the country. Kylie
Minogue was paid 4.4
million dollars to perform
at the opening of
the Atlantis resort on
November 20, 2008. Dubai
International Jazz
Festival has been held
annually since 2003.
TheDubai Desert Rock
Festival (2004-2009) was
another major festival,
consisting of heavy metal
and rock artists.

Football is the most
popular sport in the UAE.
Emirati football clubs Al-
Ain, Al-Wasl, Al-Shabbab
ACD, Al-Sharjah, Al-
Wahda, and Al-Ahli are the
most popular teams and
enjoy the reputation of
long-time regional
champions. The great
rivalries keep the streets of
the UAE energized as
people fill the streets when
their favorite team wins.
The United Arab Emirates
Football Association was
first established in 1971,
and since then has
dedicated its time and
effort to promoting the
game, organizing youth
competitions and
improving the abilities of
not only its players, but of
the officials and coaches
involved with its regional
teams. The UAE national
football team qualified for
the FIFA World
Cup in 1990 with Egypt. It
was the third consecutive
World Cup with two Arab
nations qualifying,
after Kuwait and Algeria in
andIraq and Algeria again
in 1986. The UAE also
recently won the Gulf Cup
of Nations held inAbu
Dhabi in January 2007.
Cricket is one of the most
popular sports in the UAE,
largely due to the
expatriate population from
the Indian subcontinent.
The Sharjah Cricket
Stadium in Sharjah has
hosted four
international test cricket
matches so far. Sheikh
Zayed Stadium and Al
Jazira Mohammed Bin
Zayed Stadium in Abu
Dhabi also
hosted international
cricket. Dubai has two
cricket stadiums
(Dubai Cricket
Ground No.1 and No.2)
with a third, S3 currently
under construction as part
of Dubai Sports City.
Dubai is also home to
the International Cricket
Council. The UAE national
cricket team qualified for
the 1996 Cricket World
Cup and narrowly missed
out on qualification for
the 2007 Cricket World
Other popular sports
include camel
racing, falconry, enduranc
e riding, and tennis.


Tourism is one of the main
sources of revenue in the
United Arab Emirates.
Although the UAE is less
dependent on natural
resources as a source of
revenue, petroleum and na


tural gas exports still play
an important role in the
economy, especially
in Abu Dhabi.


Nicos Anastasiades
Type of Government:
Unitary state, Presidential
system, Constitutional
Population: 872,000
Population growth rate:
1.571% (2012 est.)
Birth rate: 11.44
births/1,000 population
(2012 est.)
Death rate: 6.48
deaths/1,000 population
(July 2012 est.)
Net migration rate: 10.75
population (2012 est.)
Urbanization: 70% of total
population (2010) rate of
urbanization: 1.3% annual
rate of change (2010-15

Cyprus Culture
We thought it would be
interesting to write some of
the traditions and customs
that one may come across
amongst the Cypriot
people. Some of these are
traditional only to Cyprus,
but the majority stem from
Greek culture, and have
been adopted and
sometimes adapted over
the years by Cypriots.
President Nicos Anastasiades
One of the first aspects of
the Cyprus culture
experienced by foreigners
to Cyprus is the warm
welcome. Cypriots are
known worldwide for the
genuine and sincere
hospitality and
friendliness. The words
'Kalosorisate' (Welcome!)
and 'Kopiaste' (Come join
us!) are frequently called
to locals and foreigners
Plate smashing
The smashing of plates is
an old time Greek tradition
which spread around
many of the Greek islands
including Cyprus.
Demonstrated at
weddings, and other
parties and celebrations,
plates would be thrown to
the floor and smashed
whilst singing and dancing.
Previous to the plates,
knives were thrown, in
particular towards the feet
of performing artists on
stage, with the thrower
shouting "Opa!" to signify
respect to the artist and
enjoyment of their
performance. This practice
soon died out due to many
mis-haps and injuries, and
soon the throwing of plates
took over. It is said this
custom is an expression of
'Kefi', which roughly
translated means 'the spirit
of joy, passion,
enthusiasm, high spirits, or
frenzy'. Plate smashing
can still be found in some
parts of Cyprus, and in
Greece, however this
tradition has also now
mostly been replaced, in
this instance with the
throwing of flowers, due to
the obvious 'safety'
problems associated with
many plates being
smashed. In many
bouzoukia or other modern
establishments, girls with
baskets or plates with
flowers will go around the
tables and sell them to the
customers, who then throw
them to the performers on


Worry Beads
The kompoloi, or string of
beads, is a familiar sight in
the hands of many Greek
and Cypriot men. It
became a popular form of
plaything amongst men in
Greece and many of the
Greek islands. The word
komboloi incorporates the
word kombos, meaning
the knot. The fascination
and magic derived from
these knots running
through ones fingers may
well have come from the
thoughts conjured up from
playing with the string of
beads, which are always
made with an uneven
number of beads. The
kompoloi is said to be
more than just a means of
passing time, it reflects a
way of life. They are
certainly relaxing, with the
sound of the beads
clocking together
combined with the feel of
the smooth beads
between once fingers. The
beads can be bought in
many weights, sizes,
colours, and materials and
can make a nice cost
effective gift, or a very
expensive one.
Kompoloi or string of beads
Tuesday 13th
Unlike the western belief,
in Cyprus the unlucky day
is Tuesday the 13th, and
not Friday the 13th.
Evil Eye
Some Cypriots believe that
someone can catch the
evil eye, or 'matiasma',
from someone elses
jealous compliment or
envy. After a person has
caught the evil eye, they
usually feel bad physically
and psychologically. To
avoid the matiasma, those
who believe in it will often
wear a charm; a little blue
marble glass with an eye
painted on it or a blue
bracelet. Blue is believed
to be the color that wards
off evil eye, however, it is
also believed that people
with blue eyes are the
givers of the matiasma.
Kallikantzaroi are
supposed goblin-like
creatures that live in the
center of the earth, and
find their way into peoples
homes via the chimney.
Cypriots believe that they
make all kinds of mischief
such as dousing the fire,
riding on peoples backs,
braiding the tails of horses
and making the milk sour.
It is believed that they visit
only at Christmas time.
In order to keep the
Kallikantzaroi away, the
hearth is kept burning day
and night throughout the
twelve days of Christmas.
As well as this, a family
member will go around the
house every day during
these twelve days and
bless the house, whilst
sprinkling holy water
around, for protection.
Name Day
You will notice that
Birthdays are not such a
celebrated event in Cyprus
as they are in the UK,
however Name Days are
very much celebrated.
Children are typically
named after the Patron
Saint of their region, with
the eldest son often being
named after his paternal
grandfather, and the eldest
daughter after her paternal
grandmother. Because of


this tradition, you will often
find cousins with the same
name. The Name Day is
the feast day of the saint
after which a child was
named. Some Saint's
Name Days actually get
celebrated more than one
time per year. The tradition
is for a party to be thrown
on the person's Name
Day. A barbeque and
buffet at the house is
usually prepared and there
is lots of singing, dancing
and drinking. Invites are
not usualy given to join the
celebrations of a Name
Day - friends, family and
neighbours are just
expected to visit. Some
may only stay a short time,
as they will have other
friends or family with the
same name to visit. It is
customary to take a small
gift to the person
celebrating their name
day, usually this would be
flowers or a small plant.
Each Greek Orthodox
Church is also named after
a saint, therefore there are
also community
celebrations for its Name
Day, known as 'Panigiria',
which include food,
fireworks, and fairs. On the
eve of the saint's day,
villagers and street-
vendors may gather in the
grounds of the patron
saint's church to sell local
Orthodox Easter
Unlike the Christian
Easter, Orthodox Easter is
the first Sunday after the
full moon of the vernal
equinox, so the date varies
each year. Cyprus
Easter 2013 is from Friday
3rd May (Good Friday) to
Tuesday 7th May (Easter
Tuesday), and
in 2014 both Orthodox and
Christian Easters will
coincide on the same
dates, Friday 18th April
(Good Friday) to Tuesday
22nd April . Orthodox
Easter follows a period of
50 days of lent, during
which fasting takes place.
Easter in Cyprus generally
last for 5 days, from Good
Friday, through to the
following Tuesday. Most
major shops and
businesses will close for
much of the Easter period.
On Easter saturday,
everybody heads for the
churches for the midnight
Kallikantzaroi - Christmas Goblins
Upon exit from the church,
they can be heard greeting
each other with the words
"Christos anesti", which
means 'Christ has arisen',
and others may reply
"Alithos anesti" , which
means 'indeed he has
arisen'. Candles and
bonfires are lit, and fire
crackers are let off all
around the island. This is
the end of fasting, and
most people go home to
eat traditional easter soup
Cypriot Easter
flaounes, which are
traditional easter cheese
Easter Sunday is a day of
rejoice, feasting, drinking,
singing and cracking red
dyed eggs. The idea of the
eggs is to tap your egg
hard against your
opponents egg, and the
person who holds the last
uncracked egg will be
lucky. It is mostly children
who play the eggs, but
many adults do too.
Barbeques will be lit up all
around the island as
spring lambs are roasted
on the spit, and the wine
flows freely.


Industrial Products
Exports of industrial
products are of vital
importance to the Cyprus
economy because of the
small size of the domestic
market. The Islands
industrial sector offers a
wide range of products of
agricultural, mineral and
manufacturing origin. The
main exportable industrial
products are
semiconductor devices,
food, alcoholic and non-
alcoholic beverages,
confectionery, cigarettes,
clothing, pharmaceuticals,
aluminium products,
furniture, paper products,
automobile parts and
accessories, cement and
plastic products.
The modern technology
employed ensures
products of the highest
quality and long shelf life.
All production, packaging
and storage procedures
adhere strictly to European
regulations and standards.
Cypriot manufacturers are
constantly following
developments and
technological advances in
their field of activity.
The main export markets
for Cypriot industrial
products are the European
Union countries taking up
around 50% of total
exports. They are followed
by Middle East countries
at 23% and other
European countries at


name: Jumhuriyat Misr
President: Adli Mansour
(interim; 2013)
Chairman of the Supreme
Council of the Armed
Forces: Field Marshal
Mohammed Hussein
Tantawi (2011)

Prime Minister: Hazem el-
Beblawy (interim; 2013)
Government: Republic.
Egypt, at the northeast
corner of Africa on the
Mediterranean Sea, is
bordered on the west by
Libya, on the south by the
Sudan, and on the east by
the Red Sea and Israel. It
is nearly one and one-half
times the size of Texas.
Egypt is divided into two
unequal, extremely arid
regions by the landscape's
dominant feature, the
northward-flowing Nile
River. The Nile starts 100
mi (161 km) south of the
Mediterranean and fans
out to a sea front of 155 mi
between the cities of
Alexandria and Port Said.
Population (2012
est.): 83,688,164 (growth
rate: 1.92%); birth rate:
24.22/1000; infant
mortality rate: 24.23/1000;
life expectancy: 72.93;
density per sq km: 82

Land area: 384,344 sq mi
(995,451 sq km);
total area: 386,662 sq mi
(1,001,450 sq km)

Capital and largest city
(2009 est.): Cairo,
President Adli Mansour
Other large
cities: Alexandria,
4,387,000; Giza,
2,597,600 (part of Cairo
metro. area); Shubra el


Khema, 1,018,000 (part
of Cairo metro. area); El
Mahalla el Kubra,
Monetary unit: Egyptian
Religions: Islam (mostly
Sunni) 90%, Coptic 9%,
Christian 1%, other 6%

Languages: Arabic
(official), English and
French widely
understood by educated
Ethnicity/race: Egyptian
98%, Berber, Nubian,
Bedouin, and Beja 1%,
Greek, Armenian, other
European (primarily
Italian and French) 1%
Holiday: Revolution Day,
July 23
summary: GDP/PPP $515.
4 billion (2011 est.); per
capita $6,500.
Real growth rate: 1.2%.
Inflation: 13.3%.
Unemployment: 12.2%.
Arable land: 3%.
Agriculture: cotton, rice,
corn, wheat, beans,
fruits, vegetables; cattle,
water buffalo, sheep,
Labor force: 27.74 million
(2011); agriculture 32%,
industry 17%, services
51% (2001 est.).
Industries: textiles, food
processing, tourism,
construction, cement,
metals, light
resources: petroleum,
natural gas, iron ore,
phosphates, manganese,
limestone, gypsum, talc,
asbestos, lead, zinc.
Exports: $27.96 billion
(2011 est.): crude oil and
petroleum products,
cotton, textiles, metal
products, chemicals.
Imports: $57.41 billion
(2011 est.): machinery
and equipment,
foodstuffs, chemicals,
wood products, fuels.
Major trading
partners: Italy, U.S.,
Syria, Germany, Spain,
France, China, UK, Saudi
Arabia (2004).

Prime Minister: Hazem el-
Egypt's economy depends
mainly on agriculture,
media, petroleum imports,
natural gas, and tourism;
there are also more than
three million Egyptians
working abroad, mainly
in Saudi Arabia,
the Persian Gulf and
Europe. The completion of
the Aswan High Dam in
1970 and the
resultant Lake
Nasser have altered the
time-honored place of the
Nile River in the
agriculture and ecology of
Egypt. A rapidly growing
population, limited arable
land, and dependence on
the Nile all continue to
overtax resources and
stress the economy.
The government has
invested in
communications and
physical infrastructure.
Egypt has received
U.S. foreign aid (since
1979, an average of $2.2
billion per year) and is the
third-largest recipient of
such funds from the United
States following the Iraq
war. Egypts economy
mainly relies on these
sources of income:
tourism, remittances from
Egyptians working abroad
and revenues from the
Suez Canal.
Egypt has a developed
energy market based on
coal, oil, natural gas,
and hydro power.
Substantial coal deposits
in the northeast Sinai are
mined at the rate of about
600,000 metric
tons (590,000 long tons;
660,000 short tons) per
year. Oil and gas are


produced in the western
desert regions, the Gulf of
Suez, and the Nile Delta.
Egypt has huge reserves
of gas, estimated at 1,940
cubic kilometers
(470 cu mi), and LNG up
to 2012 exported to many
countries. In 2013, the
Egyptian General
Petroleum Co (EGPC)
said the country will cut
exports of natural gas and
tell major industries to
slow output this summer to
avoid an energy crisis and
stave off political unrest,
Reuters has reported.
Egypt is counting on top
liquid natural gas (LNG)
exporter Qatar to obtain
additional gas volumes in
summer, while
encouraging factories to
plan their annual
maintenance for those
months of peak demand,
said EGPC chairman,
Tarek El Barkatawy. Egypt
produces its own energy,
but has been a net oil
importer since 2008 and is
rapidly becoming a net
importer of natural gas.

Egyptian Pyramids
Egypt is a recognized
cultural trend-setter of the
Arabic-speaking world,
and contemporary Arab
culture is heavily
influenced by Egyptian
literature, music, film and
television. Egypt gained a
regional leadership role
during the 1950s and
1960s, giving a further
enduring boost to the
standing of Egyptian
culture in the Arab world.
Egyptian identity evolved
in the span of a long
period of occupation to
accommodate Islam, Chris
tianity and Judaism; and a
new language, Arabic, and
its spoken
descendant, Egyptian

Great Sphinx
The work of early 19th-
century scholar Rifa'a al-
Tahtawi renewed interest
in Egyptian antiquity and
exposed Egyptian society
to Enlightenment
principles. Tahtawi co-
founded with education
reformer Ali Mubarak a
native Egyptology school
that looked for inspiration
to medieval Egyptian
scholars, such
as Suyuti and Maqrizi, who
themselves studied
the history, language and
antiquities of Egypt.
Egypt's renaissance
peaked in the late 19th
and early 20th centuries
through the work of people
like Muhammad
Abduh, Ahmed Lutfi el-
Sayed,Muhammad Loutfi
Goumah, Tawfiq el-
Hakim, Louis
Awad, Qasim
Amin, Salama
Moussa, Taha
Hussein and Mahmoud
Mokhtar. They forged
a liberal path for Egypt
expressed as a
commitment to personal
freedom, secularism and
faith in science to bring
Egyptian cuisine is notably
conducive to vegetarian
diets, as it relies heavily on
vegetable dishes. Though
food in Alexandria and the
coast of Egypt tends to
use a great deal of fish
and other seafood, for the
most part Egyptian cuisine
is based on foods that
grow out of the ground.
Meat has been very
expensive for most
Egyptians throughout
history, so a great number
of vegetarian dishes have
been developed.
Some consider koshari (a
mixture of rice, lentils, and
macaroni) to be
the national dish. Fried
onions can be also added
to koshari. In addition, ful
medames (mashed fava


beans) is one of the most
popular dishes. Fava bean
is also used in
making falafel (also known
as "ta'meyya"), which may
have originated in Egypt
and spread to other parts
of the Middle East. Garlic
fried with coriander is
added to mulukhiyya, a
popular green soup made
from finely chopped jute
leaves, sometimes with
chicken or rabbit.


Michel Suleiman or
Sleiman is the President of
Lebanon, in office since
2008. Before becoming
President, he served as
Commander of the
Lebanese Armed Forces
from 1998 to
2008. Wikipedia
Born: November 21, 1948
(age 64), Amsheet
Spouse: Wafaa
Sleiman (m. 1973)
Education: Lebanese
Office: President of
Lebanon since 2008
Presidential term: May 25,
Children: Charbel
Sleiman, Rita
Sleiman, Lara Sleiman

Lebanon, officially the
Lebanese Republic, is a
country in the East
Mediterranean. It is
bordered by Syria to the
north and east and Israel
to the south.
Government: Confessional
ism, Unitary
state, Parliamentary
Capital: Beirut
Dialing code: 961
Currency: Lebanese
President: Michel
Official language: Arabic

Facts and Statistics

Location: The Middle
East, bordering the
Mediterranean Sea,
between Israel and Syria

Capital: Beirut

Borders: Israel 79 km,
Syria 375 km

Population: 3,971,941
(July 2008 est.)

Ethnic Makeup: Arab
95%, Armenian 4%, other
1% note: many Christian
Lebanese do not identify
themselves as Arab but
rather as descendents of
the ancient Canaanites
and prefer to be called

Michel Suleiman

Religions: Muslim 59.7%
(Shia, Sunni, Druze,
Isma'ilite, Alawite or
Nusayri), Christian 39%
(Maronite Catholic, Greek
Orthodox, Melkite
Armenian Orthodox,
Syrian Catholic, Armenian
Catholic, Syrian Orthodox,
Roman Catholic,
Chaldean, Assyrian, Copt,
Protestant), other
1.3% note: 17 religious
sects recognised

Language in Lebanon

Article 11 of Lebanon's
Constitution states that
"Arabic is the official
national language. A law
determines the cases in
which the French
language may be used".
The majority of Lebanese
people speak Arabic and
either French or English
fluently. Moreover,
Lebanese people of
Armenian or Greek
descent also speak
Armenian or Greek


fluently. Also in use is
Kurdish spoken by some
of the Kurdish minorities in
Lebanon, and Syriac by
the Syriac minorities.
Other languages include
Circassian, spoken by
50,000, Tigrinya (30,000),
Sinhala (25,000), Turkish
(10,000), Azerbaijani
(13,000), Polish (5,000),
Russian and Romanian
(together 10,000
speakers), and Turkmen
(8,000 speakers).

Lebanese Society and

The People

There has deliberately not
been a census in Lebanon
since 1932, before its
formation as an
independent nation. This is
due to the political
consequences a major
shift in the population
dynamics an accurate
census could have. The
population is generally
viewed in terms of religion.
The predominant
differences between
people are those between
Muslim and Christian
sects. The proportion of
each is politically sensitive
so estimates from different
sources vary widely. What
is known is that
approximately 90% of the
population is urban rather
than rural.


Lebanon is a religious
mish-mash and this has
ultimately been the cause
behind social tensions and
the long, drawn out civil
war. The government
officially recognizes 18
religious sects of
Christianity, Islam, and
Religious differences are
built into government and
politics. Christians are
guaranteed 50% of the
seats in parliament. The
President is always a
Christian and the Prime
Minister and Speaker of
the House are Muslims.
The Druze are awarded 8
seats in parliament. The
government maintains that
this system prevents one
community from gaining
an advantage over the
Religion affects almost all
areas of culture. Family
laws such as divorce,
separation, child custody,
and inheritance are
handled in religious courts
and there is not a uniform
system for all citizens.

Loyalty to a Group

A persons name and
honour are their most
cherished possessions.
This extends also to the
family and wider group.
Therefore the behaviour of
individual family members
is viewed as the direct
responsibility of the family.
It is crucial for the
Lebanese to maintain their
dignity, honour, and
The Lebanese strive to
avoid causing another
person public
embarrassment. This can
be seen when they agree
to perform a favour for a
friend to maintain that
friends honour even if
they know that they will not
do what is asked.

Hospitable People

The Lebanese are proud
of their tradition of
hospitality. This is a
culture where it is
considered an honour to
have a guest in your
home. One should
therefore not seen being
invited quite quickly to
someones home for
something to eat as
Guests are generally
served tea or coffee
immediately. Good
manners dictate that such
offers are accepted; never
reject such an offer as this
may be viewed as an

Lebanese Customs and

Greeting people

Greetings in Lebanon
are an interesting mix of
both the French and
Muslim/Arab cultures.
A warm and welcoming
smile accompanied by a


handshake while saying
Marhaba is a greeting
that can be given
without causing offense.
You will see the greeting
close friends with three
kisses on the cheek,
alternating cheeks in the
French style.
Take time when
greeting a person and
be sure to ask about
their family, health, etc.
If man is greeting
Muslim women you may
find that some wish not
to shake hands; it is
best to see if a hand is
extended or not first.

Gift Giving Etiquette

Gifts are part and parcel
of the culture and are
not only for birthdays
and special occasions.
Gifts may be given to
someone who has
provided a favour, to
someone returning from
a trip overseas, or
simply out of want.
The cost of the gift is not
nearly as important as
what it represents
If you are invited to a
Lebanese home, it is
customary to bring
flowers. If invited for a
meal, you may bring
sweets or pastries.
If visiting a Muslim
family, it is a good idea
to say that the gift is for
the host rather than the
Gifts of alcohol are
welcome in many
circles. Muslims though
generally do not drink
A small gift such a
sweet for the children is
always a nice touch.
Gifts may be given with
the right hand or both
hands. It is best not to
offer a gift with the left

Dining Etiquette

If you are invited to a
Lebanese house for

Temple of Jupiter Ruins in

Dress well.
Avoid sensitive topics of
conversation such as
politics, religion or the
civil war unless you
know the hosts are
comfortable talking
about it.
Greet elders first.
Lebanese table
manners are relatively
Wait to be told where to
Table manners are
Continental, i.e. the fork
is held in the left hand
and the knife in the right
while eating.
You will be expected to
try all foods at the table.
Expect to be urged to
take second or even
third helpings. It is best
to eat less on your first
helping so that a second
helping is possible. This
shows your host you are
enjoying the food and
are being taken care of.

Business Etiquette,
Customs and Protocol

Meeting and Greeting

Lebanese can be
somewhat formal in their
business dealings. At
the same time, they will
strive to be hospitable
and will go out of their
way to be generous and
gracious hosts.


Greetings should not be
rushed. It is important to
take time to exchange
social pleasantries
during the greeting
The most common
greeting in business is
the handshake with
direct eye contact.
The handshake may be
more prolonged that in
Western countries.
Very religious Muslims
may not shake hands
across genders. In such
cases, the foreign
business people should
simply nod their heads
as a way of
acknowledging them.
If someone is introduced
with a title, use that title
when greeting them. If
the title is given in
Arabic, it is appended to
the first name. If the title
is in English or French,
it will be added to the
Business cards are
given without formal
Having one side of your
card translated into
French or Arabic is a
nice touch but not
Present and receive
business cards with two
hands or the right hand.

Communication Styles

The Lebanese are very
touchy-feely. Direct eye
contact with a lot of
physical contact is the
cornerstones of Lebanese
communication. If you are
from a culture where eye
contact is less direct and
contact not so prevalent,
this may feel
uncomfortable. Try not to
break the eye contact as
this conveys trust, sincerity
and honesty. However,
interestingly the situation
is reversed when dealing
with elders where
prolonged direct eye
contact is considered rude
and challenging.
Lebanese have an indirect
and non-confrontational
communication style,
which relates to the need
to maintain personal
honour. They rely heavily
on the context to explain
the underlying meaning of
their words. The listener is
expected to know what
they are trying to say or
imply. Non-verbal cues
and body language are
crucial to learn so you can
more fully understand the
responses you are given.
For the most part,
Lebanese try not to lose
their tempers publicly
since such behaviour
demonstrates a weakness
of character. They strive to
be courteous and expect
similar behaviour from
others. However, if they
think that their honour has
been impugned or that
their personal honour has
been challenged, they will
raise their voice and
employ sweeping hand
gestures in their vociferous
attempt to restore their

Business Meetings

The business culture in
Lebanon is multi-faceted
and also rapidly changing.
The country is eager for
foreign investment and
many companies have
adopted a Western
approach to business. At
the same time, smaller
companies may retain
many Middle Eastern
aspects to their business
Punctuality is generally
expected for business
Meetings generally begin
with the offer of tea or
coffee. While this is being
sipped, it is important to
engage in some chitchat.
This is important in order
to establish rapport and
Meetings are not
necessarily private. The
Lebanese tend to have an
open-door policy, which
means that people may


walk in and out, telephone
calls may be answered or
the tea boy may come in
to take drink orders. It is
best to be prepared for
frequent interruptions.
Meetings are generally
conducted in French,
Arabic or English. It is
generally a good idea to
ask which language the
meeting will be conducted
in prior to arriving. You
may wish to hire your own


President: Shimon Peres
Prime Minister: Benjamin
Type of Government:
Unitary semi-presidential
parliamentary democracy


8,051,200(2013 est.)
Density: 377/km2
Age structure:
0-14 years 27.3%
15-64 years 62.2%
65-over 10.5%
Growth rate: 1.87%
Birth rate: 21.4
births/1,000 population

Death rate: 5.52
deaths/1,000 population

Life expectancy:
81.17 years (18th)

male 78.96 years
female 83.49 years
Fertility rate: 3.00
children born/woman

Infant mortality rate: 4.03
deaths/1,000 live births
Sex ratio
Total 1.01
At birth 1.05
Under 15 1.05
15-64 years 1.03
65-over 0.78
Nationality Israelis
Major ethnic Jews, Arabs
Minor ethnic Druze,
Maronites, Armenians
Total 27,000 km2
Water 430 km2
Latitude 3130' N
Longitude 3445'E
Egypt 277 km
Jordan 335 km
Lebanon 79 km
Syria 76 km
Coastlines 273 km
'Melting pot' approach
President Shimon Pers
With the waves of Jewish
aliyah in the 19th and 20th
centuries, the existing
culture was supplemented
by the culture and
traditions of the returning
population. Zionism links
the Jewish people to the
Land of Israel, the
homeland of the Jews
between around 1200
BCE and 70 CE (end of
the Second Temple era).
However, modern Zionism


evolved both politically and
religiously. Though Zionist
groups were first
competing with other
Jewish political
movements, Zionism
became an equivalent to
political Judaism during
and after the Holocaust.
Prime Minister Benjamin
The first Israeli prime
minister, David Ben
Gurion, led a trend to
blend the many
immigrants who, in the first
years of the state, had
arrived from Europe, North
Africa, and Asia, into one
'melting pot' that would not
differentiate between the
older residents of the
country and the new
immigrants. The original
purpose was to unify the
immigrants with the
veteran Israelis for the
creation of a common
Hebrew culture, and to
build a new nation in the
Two central tools
employed for this purpose
were the Israel Defense
Forces, and the education
system. The Israel
Defense Forces, by means
of its transformation to a
national army, would
constitute a common
ground between all
civilians of the country,
wherever they are. The
education system, having
been unified under Israeli
law, enabled different
students from different
sectors to study together
at the same schools.
Gradually, Israeli society
became more pluralistic,
and the 'melting pot'
declined over the years.
Some critics of the 'melting
pot' consider it to have
been a necessity in the
first years of the state, in
order to build a mutual
society, but now claim that
there is no longer a need
for it. They instead see a
need for Israeli society to
enable people to express
the differences and the
exclusivity of every stream
and sector. Others, mainly
Mizrahi Jews and
Holocaust survivors, have
criticized the early 'melting
pot' process. According to
them, they were forced to
give up or conceal their
diaspora heritage and
culture, which they brought
from their diaspora
countries, and to adopt a
new "Sabra" culture.

Hebrew ulpan in Dimona,
While Hebrew and Arabic
are the official languages
of the State of Israel, over
83 languages are spoken
in the country.
As new immigrants
arrived, Hebrew language
instruction was important.
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, who
founded the Hebrew
Language Committee,
coined thousands of new
words and concepts based
on Biblical, Talmudic and
other sources, to cope with
the needs and demands of
life in the 20th century.
Learning Hebrew became
a national goal, employing
the slogan "Yehudi, daber
Ivrit" ("Jew - speak
Hebrew"). Special schools
for Hebrew language
learning, ulpanim, were set
up all over the country.

The first works of Hebrew
literature in Israel were


written by immigrant
authors rooted in the world
and traditions of European
Jewry. Yosef Haim
Brenner (18811921) and
Shmuel Yosef Agnon
(18881970), are
considered by many to be
the fathers of modern
Hebrew literature.
Brenner, torn between
hope and despair,
struggled with the reality of
the Zionist enterprise in
the Land of Israel. Agnon,
Brenner's contemporary,
fused his knowledge of
Jewish heritage with the
influence of 19th and early
20th century European
literature. He produced
fiction dealing with the
disintegration of traditional
ways of life, loss of faith,
and the subsequent loss of
identity. In 1966, Agnon
was co-recipient of the
Nobel Prize for Literature.
Native-born writers who
published their work in the
1940s and 1950s, often
called the "War of
Independence generation,"
brought a sabra mentality
and culture to their writing.
S. Yizhar, Moshe Shamir,
Hanoch Bartov and
Benjamin Tammuz
vacillated between
individualism and
commitment to society and
state. In the early 1960s,
A.B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz,
and Yaakov Shabtai broke
away from ideologies to
focus on the world of the
individual, experimenting
with narrative forms and
writing styles such as
psychological realism,
allegory, and symbolism.
Since the 1980s and early
1990s, Israeli literature
has been widely
translated, and several
Israeli writers have
achieved international

Visual arts
From the beginning of the
20th century, visual arts in
Israel have shown a
creative orientation,
influenced both by the
West and East, as well as
by the land itself, its
development, the
character of the cities, and
stylistic trends emanating
from art centers abroad. In
painting, sculpture,
photography, and other art
forms, the country's varied
landscape is the
protagonist: the hill
terraces and ridges
produce special dynamics
of line and shape; the
foothills of the Negev, the
prevailing grayish-green
vegetation, and the clear
luminous light result in
distinctive color effects;
and the sea and sand
affect surfaces. On the
whole, local landscapes,
concerns, and politics lie
at the center of Israeli art,
and ensure its uniqueness.
The earliest Israeli art
movement was the Bezalel
school of the Ottoman and
early Mandate period,
when artists portrayed
both Biblical and Zionist
subjects in a style
influenced by the
European Art Nouveau
movement, symbolism,
and traditional Persian,
Jewish, and Syrian artistry.

Classical music in Israel
has been vibrant since the
1930s, when hundreds of
music teachers and
students, composers,
instrumentalists and
singers, as well as
thousands of music lovers,
streamed into the country,
driven by the threat of
Nazism in Europe. Israel is
also home to several
world-class classical music
ensembles, such as the
Israel Philharmonic and
the New Israeli Opera. The


founding of The Palestine
Philharmonic Orchestra
(today the Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra) in
1936 marked the
beginning of Israel's
classical music scene. In
the early 1980s, the New
Israeli Opera began
staging productions,
reviving public enthusiasm
for operatic works.
Russian immigration in the
1990s boosted the
classical music arena with
new talents and music
The contemporary music
scene in Israel is hugely
varied, dynamic and
eclectic. It spans the
spectrum of musical
genres, and often fuses
many musical influences,
ranging from Ethiopian,
Middle-Eastern soul, rock,
jazz, hip-hop, electronic,
Arabic, pop and
mainstream. Israeli music
is versatile, and combines
elements of both western
and eastern music. It
tends to be very eclectic,
and contains a wide
variety of influences from
the Diaspora, as well as
more modern cultural
importations: Hassidic
songs, Asian pop, Arab
folk (especially by
Yemenite singers), and
Israeli hip hop or heavy
metal. Also popular are
various forms of electronic
music, including trance,
Hard trance, and Goa
trance. Notable artists
from Israel in this field are
few, but include the
psychedelic trance duo
Infected Mushroom.


Traditional folk dances of
Israel include the Hora and
Yemenite dance. Israeli
folk dancing today is
choreographed for
recreational and
performance dance
Modern dance in Israel
has won international
acclaim. Israeli
choreographers, among
them Ohad Naharin and
Barak Marshall, are
considered among the
most versatile and original
international creators
working today. Notable
Israeli dance companies
include the Batsheva
Dance Company and the
Kibbutz Contemporary
Dance Company. People
come from all over Israel
and many other nations for
the annual dance festival
in Karmiel, held in July.
First held in 1988, the
Karmiel Dance Festival is
the largest celebration of
dance in Israel, featuring
three or four days and
nights of dancing, with
5,000 or more dancers
and a quarter of a million
spectators in the capital of
Galilee. Begun as an
Israeli folk dance event,
the festivities now include
performances, workshops,
and open dance sessions
for a variety of dance
forms and nationalities.
Choreographer Yonatan
Karmon created the
Karmiel Dance Festival to
continue the tradition of
Gurit Kadman's Dalia
Festival of Israeli dance,
which ended in the 1960s.
Famous companies and
choreographers from all
over the world have come
to Israel to perform and
give master classes. In
July 2010, Mikhail
Baryshnikov came to
perform in Israel.



President: Mahmoud
Type of Government:
Demographical Statistics
Population: West Bank:
3,092,555 Gaza Strip:
Population growth rate:
West Bank: 2.097% Gaza
Strip: 3.422%
Birth rate: West Bank:
24.56 births/1,000
population Gaza Strip:
39.45 births/1,000
Death rate: West Bank:
3.58 deaths/1,000
population Gaza Strip:
3.8 deaths/1,000
Climate: West Bank:
temperate; temperature
and precipitation vary
with altitude, warm to
hot summers, cool to
mild winters
Gaza Strip: temperate,
mild winters, dry and
warm to hot summers

Palestine Culture
The Culture of Palestine is
closely related to those of
the nearby Levantine
countries such as
Lebanon, Syria, and
Jordan, and the Arab
World. Cultural
contributions to the fields
ofart, literature, music, cos
tume and cuisine express
the Palestinian
experience despite the
geographical separation
between Palestinian
territories, Israel and the
Diaspora. Al-Quds Capital
of Arab Culture is an
initiative undertaken by
UNESCO under the
Cultural Capitals Program
to promote Arab culture
and encourage
cooperation in the Arab
region. The opening event
was launched in March

President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian folklore is the
body of expressive culture,
tales, music, dance, legen
ds, oral history, proverbs,
jokes, popular
beliefs, customs, and
comprising the traditions
(including oral traditions)
of Palestinian culture. The
folklorist revival among
Palestinian intellectuals
such as Nimr Sirhan,
Musa Allush, Salim
Mubayyid, and the
PalestinianFolklore Societ
y of the 1970s,
emphasized pre-
Islamic (and pre-Hebraic)
cultural roots, re-
constructing Palestinian
identity with a focus on
and Jebusite cultures. Suc
h efforts seem to have
borne fruit as evidenced in
the organization of
celebrations like
the Qabatiya Canaanite
festival and the annual
Music Festival of Yabus by
the Palestinian Ministry of
Foreign travelers to
Palestine in late 19th and
early 20th centuries often
commented on the rich
variety of costumes among
the Palestinian people,
and particularly among
the fellaheen or village
women. Until the 1940s, a
woman's economic status,
whether married or single,
and the town or area they
were from could be
deciphered by most
Palestinian women by the


type of cloth, colors, cut,
and embroidery motifs, or
lack thereof, used for the
robe-like dress or "thoub"
in Arabic.
New styles began to
appear the 1960s. For
example the "six-branched
dress" named after the six
wide bands of embroidery
running down from the
waist. These styles came
from the refugee camps,
particularly after 1967.
Individual village styles
were lost and replaced by
an identifiable
"Palestinian" style. The
shawal, a style popular in
the West
Bank and Jordan before
the First Intifada, probably
evolved from one of the
manywelfare embroidery
projects in the refugee
camps. It was a shorter
and narrower fashion, with
a western cut.

The Dabke dance is
marked by synchronized
jumping, stamping, and
movement, similar to tap
dancing. One version is
performed by men,
another by women.
Folk Tales
Traditional storytelling
among Palestinians is
prefaced with an invitation
to the listeners to give
blessings to God and the
Prophet Mohammed or the
Virgin Mary as the case
may be, and includes the
traditional opening: "There
was, or there was not, in
the oldness of time ..."
Formulaic elements of the
stories share much in
common with the wider
Arab world, though the
rhyming scheme is
distinct. There are a cast
of supernatural characters:
Jinss and Djinns who can
cross the Seven Seas in
an instant, giants, and
ghouls with eyes of ember
and teeth of brass.
Palestinian music is well
known throughout the
Arab world. After 1948, a
new wave of performers
emerged with distinctively
Palestinian themes
relating to dreams of
statehood and burgeoning
nationalist sentiments. In
to zajal and ataaba,
traditional Palestinian
songs include: Bein Al-
dawai, Al-Rozana, Zarif
Al-Toul, and Al-
Maijana, Dal'ona, Sahja/S
aamir, Zaghareet. Over
three decades, the
Palestinian National Music
and Dance Troupe (El
Funoun) and Mohsen
Subhi have reinterpreted
and rearranged traditional
wedding songs such
as Mish'al (1986), Marj Ibn
and Zaghareed (1997). At
aaba is a form of folk
singing that consists of 4
verses, following a specific
form and meter. The
distinguishing feature of
ataaba is that the first
three verses end with the
same word meaning three
different things, and the
fourth verse serves as a
conclusion. It is usually
followed by a dalouna.
The Palestinian Oympic
committee is working with
the Israeli Olympic
committee to train for
the 2012 Olympic
games, and participation in
the2013 Mediterranean
There is a West Bank
Premier League,
and Gaza Strip League.
The Palestine national
football team played
Afghanistan in the 2014
FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The Beit Jala Lions is a
West Bank Rugby Union
The Turmus Aya
Equestrian Club,
established in 2007, is a
riding club dedicated to the
mission of providing
affordable access to
horses for Palestinians.
Ashraf Rabi, the founder,
maintains that "this is part
of the development of
Palestine. Horses are a
big part of our Arab culture
and we must embrace it.


Modern Art
Similar to the structure of
Palestinian society, the
Palestinian field of arts
extends over four main
geographic centers: 1) the
West Bank and Gaza Strip
2) Israel 3) the Palestinian
diaspora in the Arab world,
and 4) the Palestinian
diaspora in Europe, the
United States and
Contemporary Palestinian
art finds its roots in folk
art and traditional Christian
and Islamic painting. After
the 1948 Palestinian
exodus, nationalistic
themes have
predominated as
Palestinian artists use
diverse media to express
and explore their
connection to identity and
land. In the 1990s Salam
Dyab, Hisham Zreiq, Issa
Dibe and others began to
adopt modern styles and
Contemporary Arts

Palestinian cinema is
relatively young compared
to Arab cinema overall and
many Palestinian movies
are made with European
and Israeli
support. Palestinian films
are not exclusively
produced in Arabic; some
are made in English,
French or Hebrew. More
than 800 films have been
produced about
Palestinians, the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict, and
other related topics,
examples include Divine
Intervention and Paradise

The long history of the
Arabic language and its
rich written and oral
tradition form part of the
Palestinian literary
tradition as it has
developed over the course
of the 20th and 21st
Since 1967, most critics
have theorized the
existence of three
"branches" of Palestinian
literature, loosely divided
by geographic location: 1)
from inside Israel, 2) from
the occupied territories, 3)
from among
the Palestinian
diaspora throughout
the Middle East.


Yemen is an Arab country
located in Western Asia,
occupying the
southwestern to southern
end of the Arabian
Peninsula. It is bordered
by Saudi Arabia to the
north, the Red Sea to the
west, the Gulf of
Aden and Arabian Sea to
the south, and Oman to
the east.
Yemen is one of the oldest
centers of civilization in
the Near East. Its capital
and largest city is Sana'a.
Yemen's territory includes
more than 200 islands, the
largest of which is Socotra,
about 354 km (220 mi) to
the south of mainland
Yemen. It is the only state
in the Arabian Peninsula to
have a
purely republican form of
government. Yemen was
the first country in the
Arabian peninsula to grant
women the right to vote.
Yemeni unification took
place on 22 May 1990,


when North Yemen was
united with South Yemen,
forming the Republic of
The majority of Yemen's
population is divided into
tribal groups, especially in
the northern areas of the
country where 85% of
local residents belong to
various tribes There are
also small groups of
of Turkish/Ottoman origin
in urban areas. Yemen is a
member of the United
Nations, the Arab League,
and the Organisation of
Cooperation and Ali
Abdullah Saleh was the
first elected president of
the reunified Yemen.
Since the 1990s,
the Houthis (an
armed Zaydi group) has
attempted to establish
Zaydi Shia principles in the

President Abd Rabbuh Mansur
Abd Rabbuh Mansur
Hadi is a Yemeni major
general and politician who
has been the President of
Yemen since 27 February
2012. He was previously
the Vice President from
1994 to 2012. Between 4
June and 23 September
2011, he was the
acting President of
Yemen while Ali Abdullah
Saleh was undergoing
medical treatment in Saudi
Arabia following an attack
on the presidential palace
during the 2011 Yemeni
uprising. Then, on 23
November, Hadi became
Acting President again,
after Saleh moved into a
non-active role pending
thepresidential election "in
return for immunity from
prosecution." Hadi was
"expected to form a
national unity government
and also call for early
presidential elections
within 90 days" while
Saleh continued to serve
as President in name only.
Government type
Yemen is governed under
the constitution of 1991 as
amended. The president,
who is head of state, is
elected by popular vote for
a seven-year term. The
government is headed by
the prime minister, who is
appointed by the
president. The bicameral
legislature consists of the
Shura Council, whose 111
members are appointed by
the president, and the
House of Representatives,
whose 301 members are
popularly elected to six-
year terms.
Administratively, the
country is divided into 19

Population: 24,771,809
(July 2012 est.)
Definition: This entry gives
an estimate from the US
Bureau of the Census
based on statistics from
population censuses, vital
statistics registration
systems, or sample
surveys pertaining to the
recent past and on
assumptions about future
trends. The total
population presents one
overall measure of the
potential impact of the
country on the world and
within its region. Note:
Starting with the
demographic estimates for
some countries (mostly
African) have explicitly


taken into account the
effects of the growing
impact of the HIV/AIDS
epidemic. These countries
are currently: The
Bahamas, Benin,
Botswana, Brazil, Burkina
Faso, Burma, Burundi,
Cambodia, Cameroon,
Central African Republic,
Democratic Republic of
the Congo, Republic of the
Congo, Cote d'Ivoire,
Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana,
Guyana, Haiti, Honduras,
Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi,
Mozambique, Namibia,
Nigeria, Rwanda, South
Africa, Swaziland,
Tanzania, Thailand, Togo,
Uganda, Zambia, and
The music of Yemen is
primarily known abroad for
a series of pan-Arab
popular stars and
the Yemenite Jews, who
became musical stars
in Israel during the 20th
century. In the Arab World,
Yemen has long been a
cultural center.
Yemen's national anthem
is "United Republic" written
by Abdallah "al-Fadhool"
Abdulwahab Noman.
UNESCO proclaimed the
tradition of poetic songs
in Sana'a, called al-Ghina
al-San'ani, a Masterpiece
of the Oral and Intangible
Heritage of Humanity on
November 7, 2003.
Religion in Yemen
consists primarily of two
principal religious groups
of Islam; Sunni and Shi'a.
About 52% of the Muslim
population is Sunni, and
46% is Shi'a. Sunnis are
primarily Shafi'i, but also
include significant groups
of Malikis and Hanbalis.
Shi'as are primarily Zaidis,
and also have significant
minorities of Twelver
Shi'as and Musta'ali
Western Isma'ili Shi'as
(see: Shia Islam in
The Sunnis are
predominantly in the south
and southeast. The Zaidis
are predominantly in the
north and northwest, while
the Jafaris and Ismailis are
mostly located in the main
of Sana'a and Ma'rib.
There are mixed
communities in the larger
Less than 1% of Yemenis
are non-Muslim, adhering
to Hinduism, Christianity, J
udaism, and Atheism.
There are also
3,000 Christians,
400 Jews, and an extreme
minority of Hindus. Neither
the constitution nor other
laws protect or
inhibit freedom of religion;
however, government
policies contributed to the
generally free practice of
The Yemeni cuisine is
entirely distinct from the
more widely known Middle
Eastern cuisines, and
even differs slightly from
region to
region. Chicken and
lamb are eaten more often
than beef, which is
expensive. Fish is also
eaten, especially in the
coastal areas.
Saltah: National Food


Cheese, butter, and
other dairy products are
less common in the
Yemeni diet. Buttermilk,
however, is enjoyed
almost daily in some
villages where it is most
available. The most
commonly used lipids
are vegetable
oil and ghee used in
savory dishes,
and semn (clarified butter)
is the choice of fat used
in pastries.
Although each region has
their own
variation, Saltah is
considered the national
dish. The base is a
brown meat stew
called maraq, a dollop
offenugreek froth,
and sahawiq or sahowqa (
a mixture
of chillies, tomatoes, garlic
, and herbs ground into
a salsa). Rice, potatoes,
scrambled eggs,
and vegetables are
common additions
to saltah. It is eaten
traditionally with Yemeni
flat bread, which serves as
a utensil to scoop up the
Shakshouka is a popular
dish in Yemen.
Shakshouka is made
with eggs, meat, tomatoes,
peppers, onions,
and spices (often
including cumin,turmeric,
and chillies), and usually
served with Yemeni flat
bread or white bread as a
Other popular dishes
include: aseed, fahsa, thar
eed, samak
mofa, mandi, biryani, fatta
h, shafut, and fatoot.
Milk tea (after qat), black
tea (with cardamom, clove,
or mint), qishr (coffee
husks), qahwa (coffee), ka
rkadin (an infusion of dried
hibiscus flowers),Naqe'e Al
Zabib (cold raisin drink),
and diba'a (squash nectar)
are popular drinks from all
Yemen. Mango and guava
juice are also popular.
Malooga and laxoox are
the most popular kinds of
flat breads found in
Yemen. Malooga is eaten
with bean dishes, such
as ful medames (it is
similar to rice and beans).
Laxoox is eaten
with curry, stews, and
Yemeni soups, as well as
rice dishes.
Football is the most
popular sport in Yemen.
The Yemen national
football team competes in
the FIFA and AFC leagues
. The country also hosts
many football clubs, that
compete in the national
and international leagues.
Yemen's mountains
provide many
opportunities for outdoor
sports, such
as biking, rock
climbing, hill
climbing, hiking, skiing, mo
untain jumping, and more
challenging mountain
climbing. Mountain
climbing and hiking tours
to the Sarawat
Mountains and the Jabal
an Nabi Shu'ayb, including
the 5,000 m peaks in the
region, are seasonally
organized by local and
international alpine
Socotra Island
The coast of Yemen
and Socotra also provide
many opportunities for
water sports, such
as surfing, bodyboarding,
sailing, swimming,


and scuba diving. Socotra
island is home to one of
the best surfing
destinations in the world.

PRODUCT of Yemen
Agriculture -
products: grain, fruits,
vegetables, pulses, qat,
coffee, cotton; dairy
products, livestock
(sheep, goats, cattle,
camels), poultry; fish


Emir of the State of Qatar
(Head of State): Sheikh
Hamad bin Khalifa Al
Thani. Sheikh Hamad is
credited with transforming
Qatar from an
underdeveloped, Bedouin
nation into a bustling
modern country.

Under his
reign, the country won the
right to stage the 2022
FIFA World Cup in Doha,
the first event of its kind to
occur in the Middle East.

Under the patronage of
Sheikh Hamad and his
wife Sheikha Mozah bint
Nasser Al-Misnad, several
world-class academic
institutions have opened
campuses in Doha,
including Carnegie Mellon
University, Georgetown
University, Northwestern
University, Texas A&M
University and Weill
Cornell Medical College.
Type: Constitutional
monarchy. (a form of
government in which a
monarch acts as head of
state within the guidelines
of a constitution, whether it
be a written, uncodified, or
blended constitution.)
Independence: September
3, 1971.
Constitution: Approved by
popular vote 2003; came
into force June 2005.
Branches: Executive--
Council of
Ministers. Legislative--
Advisory Council (currently
appointed pending
elections; has assumed
only limited responsibility
to date). Judicial--
Subdivisions: Fully
centralized government;
seven municipalities.
Political parties: None.
Suffrage: Universal over
age 18, since 1999.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al

First records about the
demographics of Qatar
dated back to 1892 which
was prepared by Ottoman
governors in the region.
Based on this census,
which only includes the
residents in cities, total
population of Qatar in
1892 is 9,830
The 2010 census recorded
the total population at
In January
2013, the Qatar Statistics
Authority estimated the
country's population at
1,903,447, of which
1,405,164 are males and
498,283 females.
At the
time of the first census,
held in 1970, the
population was 111,133.

The population has tripled
in the decade to 2011, up


from just over 600,000
people in 2001, leaving
Qatari nationals as less
than 15% of the total
The influx of
male laborers has skewed
the gender balance, and
women are now just one-
quarter of the

The make up of ethnic
groups is as follows:
Qatari (Arab) 15%; other
Arab 13%; Indian 24%;
Nepali 16%; Filipino 11%;
Sri Lankan 5%;
Bangladesh: 5%; Pakistani
4%; other: 7%.
In 2010,
there were 250,000
Filipinos in Qatar, making
them the third largest
among expatriates.

Projections released by
Qatar Statistical Authourity
indicate that the total
population of Qatar could
reach 2.8 million by 2020.
Qatars National
Development Strategy
(201116) had estimated
that the countrys
population would reach
1.78m in 2013, 1.81m in
2014, 1.84m in 2015 and
1.86m in 2016 the
yearly growth rate being
merely 2.1 percent. But
the countrys population
has soared to 1.83 million
by the end of 2012,
showing 7.5 percent
growth over the previous


Nationality: Noun and
Population (May 2008
est.): 1,448,446; males
1,096,815 (75.7%);
females 351,630 (24.3%).
Population growth rate
(May 2008 est.): 59.6%.
Ethnic groups: Qatari
(Arab) 20%; other Arab
20%; Indian 20%; Filipino
10%; Nepali 13%;
Pakistani 7%; Sri Lankan
5%; other 5%.
Religion: Islam (state
religion, claimed by
virtually all of the
indigenous population).
Languages: Arabic
(official); English (widely
Education: Compulsory--
ages 6-16. Attendance--
98%. Literacy (2004 est.)--
89% total population,
89.1% male, and 88.6%
Health (2007 est.): Infant
mortality rate--17.46/1,000
live births. Life
expectancy--74.14 years.
Work force (2006):
508,000. Private sector--
61.2%; mixed sector--
28.5%; government--
Traditions and Customs
of Qatar

Pork is illegal in Qatar, and
observant Muslims will not
drink alcohol. The meat
they eat must be Halal: the
name of God must be
uttered at the moment the
animal is killed (normally
by slitting its throat) and as
much blood as possible
should be drained out of
the animals' body before it

In Qatar, despite the hot
weather, people do not
wear revealing clothes
(singlets and shorts) as it
is a quranic requirement
that Muslims, both male
and female, dress and
behave modestly, for non-
Muslims, wearing
revealing clothes will be
offensive to the Qatari
In general, the Qatari
Inhabitants are of Arabic
origin and the culture is
very much based on
Islamic tradition. Islam is
the dominant influence on
day-to-day life. This rich
cultural tradition is present
in what they wear, eat and
drink. Qataris are known
for their generosity and
friendliness, thus making
Qatar a very welcoming
Traditional dress is evident
throughout Qatar with the
men wearing a long
flowing white garment
called the dishdha or
thobe with a headdress
called the gutra. Women in
public where the black
Abaya, a long loose black
robe which covers the
clothes worn underneath.
Some women wear a thin


black veil over the face,
while some a burka, which
sometimes can cover the
cheek, bones and leave
only the eyes open.
Pork is outlawed in Qatar
and cannot be found
anywhere- it is also illegal
to bring it into the country.
Muslims are forbidden to
eat any meat that is not
slaughtered in accordance
to the Islamic code; this is
referred to as halaal.
Consumption of alcohol is
frowned upon by Qataris.
Indigenous groups
A large portion of the
population of the present
day Qatar is, or originated
from, Bedu tribes. The
word Bedu itself means
inhabitant of the desert.
Some believed that being
a Bedu was a matter of
tribe, whereas others
believed that once settled
people can no longer be
called Bedu. In Qatar there
are no longer any Bedouin
who are still travelling,
although some of the older
Qataris will have spent the
early part of their life
travelling by camel.
Despite this, many Qatari
Bedouin wish to retain a
link with the desert, like
some keep a permanent
tent in the desert, along
with herds of camels and
hires someone to look
after them.
Arabic is the official
language of Qatar.
There are three distinct
forms of Arabic. Classical
or Quranical Arabic,
Formal or Modern
Standard Arabic and
Spoken or Colloquial
Arabic. Classical Arabic is
the form of Arabic literally
found in the Quran. It is
used neither in
conversation, nor in non-
religious writing. As such,
Classical Arabic is
primarily learned for
reading and reciting
Islamic religious texts.
Mode of education
The tentative beginnings
of education in Qatar were
in the first half of the
twentieth century when
boys and girls were taught
in the traditional katateeb
schools. They were taught
many subjects but without
a formal system. Since
those early days,
education in Qatar has
made great leaps and
developed into a system of
education reaching all the
way to highest stages.
Qatar follows a policy of
compulsory and
continuous education
where all citizens receive
free schooling reflecting
the countrys identity and
providing equal
opportunities to all.

Qatar follows a policy of
compulsory education until
the end of
the preparatory stage and
free education to all
citizens. Basic education
consists of the following
Elementary Stage:
Six years
Preparatory Stage:
Three years
Secondary Stage:
Three years
The secondary stage was
divided into two streams of
specialization: scientific
and literary. In 1962
religious and trade
education were
incorporated in the general
education system.

The country has 113
elementary schools; 60 for
boys and 53 for girls, 56
preparatory schools; 28 for
boys and 28 for girls, and
41 secondary schools; 19
for boys and 22 for girls.
Government schools
provide free education for
the children of non-Qatari
residents who work for the
public sector. Qatar also
has private schools as well
as schools for the different
Arab communities like the
Lebanese, Jordanian and


Sudanese schools plus
those for non-Arab
communities like the
Indian, American and
other schools.

The curriculum of the
Primary and intermediate
cycles emphasize basic
literacy and numeracy
The Secondary cycle
focuses on preparing
students for University,
technical or vocational
training, or for joining the
workforce directly.

Petroleum is the
cornerstone of Qatar's
economy and accounts for
more than 70% of total
government revenue,
more than 60% of gross
domestic product, and
roughly 85% of export
earnings. Proved oil
reserves of 15 billion
barrels (588,000,000 m)
should ensure continued
output at current levels for
23 years. Oil has given
Qatar a per capita GDP
that ranks among the
highest in the world.
Qatar's proved reserves of
natural gas exceed
7000 km, more than 5%
of the world total, third
largest in the world.
Production and export of
natural gas are becoming
increasingly important.
Long-term goals feature
the development of off-
shore petroleum and the
diversification of the

The King of Saudi
Arabia is Saudi
Arabia's head of
state and absolute
monarch (i.e. head of
government). He serves
as the head of the Saudi
monarchy House of
Saud. The King is called
the Custodian of the Two
Holy Mosques. The title,
which signifies Saudi
Arabia's jurisdiction over
the mosques of Masjid al
Haram in Mecca and Masji
d al-Nabawi in Medina,
replaced His Majesty in

ARABIA (1932

Ibn Saud
26 November 1876 9
November 1953 (aged 76)

22 September 1932 9
November 1953

12 January 1902 23
February 1969 (aged 67)

9 November 1953 2
November 1964(deposed)

Son of Ibn Saud and
Wadhah bint Muhammad
bin 'Aqab

April 1906 25 March
1975(aged 69)
2 November 1964 25
March 1975(assassinated)

Son of Ibn Saud and Tarfa
bint Abduallah bin
Abdulateef al Sheekh

13 February 1913 13
June 1982 (aged 69)
25 March 1975 13
June 1982
Son of Ibn Saud and Al
Jawhara bint Musaed bin

16 March 1921 1 August
2005 (aged 84)
13 June 1982 1 August
Son of Ibn Saud and
Hassa bint Ahmed Al

1 August 1924 (age 89)

1 August 2005
Incumbent Son of Ibn
Saud and Fahda bint Asi
Al Shuraim



Saudi Arabia is a
monarchy based on Islam.
The government is headed
by the King, who is also
the commander in chief of
the military.

The King appoints a
Crown Prince to help him
with his duties. The Crown
Prince is second in line to
the throne.

The King governs with the
help of the Council of
Ministers, also called the

There are 22 government
ministries that are part of
the Cabinet. Each ministry
specializes in a different
part of the government,
such as foreign affairs,
education and finance.

The King is also advised
by a legislative body called
the Consultative Council
(Majlis Al-Shura). The
Council proposes new
laws and amends existing
ones. It consists of 150
members who are
appointed by the King for
four-year terms that can
be renewed.

The country is divided into
13 provinces, with a
governor and deputy
governor in each one.
Each province has its own
council that advises the
governor and deals with
the development of the

Because Saudi Arabia is
an Islamic state, its judicial
system is based on Islamic
law (Shariah). The King is
at the top of the legal
system. He acts as the
final court of appeal and
can issue pardons. There
are also courts in the
Kingdom. The largest are
the Shariah Courts, which
hear most cases in the
Saudi legal system.


28.29 million (2012)
Saudi Arabia, Population


From Wikipedia, the free

The cultural setting of
Saudi Arabia is Arab and
Islam, and features many
elements from historical
ritual and folk culture such
as dance and music.
Traditional values and
cultural mores are adapted
into legal prohibitions,
even for non-Muslims who
are forbidden by law from
publicly practicing their
faith inside the kingdom,
although they are free to
do so in the privacy of their
own homes. For example,
Christmas decorations are
sold in supermarkets, but
you will not find Christmas
parties advertised.
Alcoholic beverages are
prohibited as are pork
products. Women may not
ride a bicycle, drive a car,
or even sell make-up to
other women. Saudi
Arabia is well known for its
unique way of life which, in
its own way, preserves its
heritage.[citation needed]


Saudi Arabia has an oil-
based economy with
strong government control
over major economic
activities. Saudi Arabia
possesses 18% of the
world's proven petroleum
reserves, ranks as the
largest exporter of
petroleum, and plays a
leading role in OPEC,
although its influence has
waned in recent years.

Economic overview

The petroleum sector
accounts for roughly
92.5% of budget
revenues,55% of GDP,
and 90% of export
earnings. About 40% of
GDP comes from the
private sector. Roughly
five and a half million
foreign workers play an
important role in the Saudi
economy, for example, in
the oil and service sectors.
The government is
encouraging private sector
growth to lessen the


kingdom's dependence on
oil and increase
employment opportunities
for the swelling Saudi
population. The
government has begun to
permit private sector and
foreign investor
participation in the power
generation and telecom
sectors. As part of its effort
to attract foreign
investment and diversify
the economy, Saudi
Arabia acceded to the
WTO in 2005 after many
years of negotiations. With
high oil revenues enabling
the government to post
large budget surpluses,
Riyadh has been able to
substantially boost
spending on job training
and education,
development, and
government salaries.

National name: Dawlat al-
Emir: Sheik Sabah al-
Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah
Prime Minister: Sheikh
Jabir al-Mubarak al-
Hamad al-Sabah (2011)
Government : Kuwait is a
constitutional monarchy,
governed by the al-Sabah
Total area: 6,880 sq mi
(17,819 sq km)
Population (2012
est.): 2,646,314 (growth
rate: 1.883%); birth rate:
20.96/1000; infant
mortality rate: 7.87/1000;
life expectancy: 77.28
Monetary unit: Kuwaiti
dinar (KD)
Languages: Arabic
(official), English
Religions: Islam 85%
(Sunni 70%, Shiite 30%);
Christian, Hindu, Parsi,
and other 15%
Geography: Kuwait is
situated northeast of Saudi
Arabia at the northern end
of the Persian Gulf, south
of Iraq. It is slightly larger
than Hawaii. The low-lying
desert land is mainly
sandy and barren.
The spring season in
March is warm and
pleasant with occasional
thunderstorms. The
frequent winds from the
northwest are cold in
winter and spring and hot
in summer. Southeasterly
winds, usually hot and
damp, spring up between
July and October; hot and
dry south winds prevail in
spring and early summer.
The shamal, a
northwesterly wind
common during June and
July, causes dramatic
sandstorms. The
temperature in Kuwait
during summer is above
25 (77 F). The highest
recorded temperature was
54.4 (129.9 F) which is the
highest of any Middle
Eastern country.
The traditional attire for
men is the dishdasha, an
ankle-length garment
woven from wool or cotton.
This attire is particularly
well-suited for Kuwait's hot
and dry climate. The
traditional male headdress
the ghutrah headscarf and
the agal circlet, often with
a gahfiah skullcap
underneath to help keep
the headscarf in place.
The ghutrah is a square
scarf made from cotton; it
may be worn differently
according to the situation,
but most commonly it is
folded into a triangle and
placed centrally on the
head so that the ends
hang down equally over
the shoulders. The agal is
a double circlet of black
cord, worn on
the ghutrah to hold it in
Women sometimes wear
the aba, a black cloak
covering most parts of the
body, over a dress; the
traditional floor-
length daraa or the more
festive thobe.
A hejabheadscarf is worn
with this, with some adding
a bushiya face veil or


instead wearing the face-
veil portion of the burqa.
Western style clothing is
very popular among the
youth of Kuwait
Kuwait has one of the
most vocal
and transparent media in
the Middle East. In 2007,
Kuwait was ranked first in
the Middle East and
the Arab
League byReporters
Without Borders in
the freedom of
press index. Though the
government funds several
leading newspapers and
satellite channels, Kuwaiti
journalists enjoy greater
freedom than their regional
counterparts. The state-
owned Kuwait News
Agency (KUNA) is the
largest media house in the
country. The Ministry of
Information regulates
media and communication
industry in Kuwait. In
2013, Kuwait was named
the 77th freest country by
Reporters Without Borders
in the Press Freedom
Index list out of 179
countries, making Kuwait
the freest in freedom of
press in the Middle
East region.
Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha
are two of the major
festivals in Kuwait. Each
year, the people of Kuwait
celebrate 25 and 26
February, as the national
and liberation day,
respectively. On 10
November 2012, Kuwait
marked the golden jubilee
of its constitution with a
spectacular KD 4.06-
million ($15-million)
fireworks display, featuring
77,282 fireworks, which
earned the state a place in
the Guinness Book of
World Records.
The adult literacy rate in
2008 was 93.9%. Kuwait is
directing its attention
towards Inclusive
Education, which provides
opportunity to all children,
irrespective of their social
class, including children
with special needs. Kuwait
education system is
marked by several
achievements in recent
years. As of 2005/06
Kuwait allocates 13% of all
public expenditure to
education, which is
comparable to the
allocation of public funds
to education in
many OECD countries but
lower than other Arab
countries. For the same
years the public
expenditure on education
as a percentage of GDP
was 3.9% in 2005/12
which is well below the
percentage of GDP spent
by OECD countries on
Kuwait is facing
challenges in improving
the quality of education at
all levels and to build
capacities of students'
from a young age.
The Ministry of
Education is also making
efforts to incorporate
women into the educated
workforce through various
programs, for instance the
1989 initiative to establish
daytime literacy clinics for
women. The Kuwaiti
government also offers
scholarships to students
accepted in universities in
United States, United
Kingdom and other foreign
According to
the Webometrics Ranking
of World Universities, the
top-ranking universities in
the country are Kuwait
University (1871th
worldwide), the College of
Studies (3769th) and Arab
Open University
Kuwait (6725th).
The State of Kuwait
spends close to US$ 5
billion for defense. Its
military consists of
the Kuwaiti Army, with an
estimated strength of
15,000 personnel,
the Kuwaiti Navy, with
2,000 naval personnel and
400 coast guards, and
the Kuwaiti Air Force, with
an estimated strength of
2,500 personnel.
The Kuwaiti National
Guard is the main internal


security force. Owing to its
demographics and small
population, Kuwait has not
been able to build a
sizeably large military and
therefore collaborates
extensively with foreign
nations to preserve its
security. After liberation
from Iraq, Kuwait signed
long-term defense
cooperation agreements
with the United States,
Britain and France, and
purchased military
equipment from Egypt,
Russia and the People's
Republic of China as well.
Economic summary
GDP/PPP(2011 est.):
$155.5 billion; per capita
$42,200. Real growth
rate: 8.2%.Inflation: 5.6%.
(2004 est.). Arable
land:0.84%. Agriculture: pr
actically no crops;
fish. Labor force: 2.243
million; note: non-Kuwaitis
represent about 60% of
the labor force; agriculture
n.a., industry n.a., services
n.a. Industries: petroleum,
petrochemicals, cement,
shipbuilding and repair,
desalination, food
processing, construction
resources: petroleum, fish,
shrimp, natural
gas. Exports: $94.47
billion (2011 est.): oil and
refined products,
fertilizers. Imports:$22.41b
illion (2011 est.): food,
construction materials,
vehicles and parts,
clothing. Major trading
partners: Japan, India,
South Korea, U.S.,
Germany, UAE, Saudi
Arabia, China (2011).
Telephones:main lines in
use: 566,300 (2009);
mobile cellular: 4.4 million
media: state-owned TV
broadcaster operates 4
networks and a satellite
channel; several private
TV broadcasters have
emerged since 2003;
satellite TV is available
with pan-Arab TV stations
especially popular; state-
owned Radio Kuwait
broadcasts on a number of
channels in Arabic and
English; first private radio
station emerged in 2005;
transmissions of at least 2
international radio
broadcasters are available
(2007). Internet Service
Providers (ISPs): 2,730
(2010).Internet users: 1.1
million (2009).
Railways: 0
km.Highways: total: 5,749
km; paved: 4,887 km;
unpaved: 862 km
(2004).Waterways: none.
Ports and harbors: Ash
Shu'aybah, Ash
Shuwaykh, Az Zawr (Mina'
Sa'ud), Mina' 'Abd Allah,
Mina' al Ahmadi.Airports: 7
disputes: Kuwait and
Saudi Arabia continue
negotiating a joint maritime
boundary with Iran; no
maritime boundary exists
with Iraq in the Persian