The Middle East, or West Asia and Egypt, is an area of land and group of countries in Southwest Asia and North Africa. Today, people usually call these countries "Middle Eastern" since they are in the Eastern Mediterranean or west of Central Asia.
Sometimes, people also include countries in North Africa and in South-central Asia as part of a Greater Middle East.
Ancient civilizations began in the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East. These were Sumer, Babylonia and Assyria in the area called Mesopotamia, and Ancient Egypt. The three Abrahamic religions that believe in one God also came from the Middle East. Judaism and Christianity began in ancient Israel and Islam began in Arabia.
Today, the Middle East is very important because much of the petroleum that other countries use comes from here. There are also many arguments and wars, such as the conflict between Sunni and Shia, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Syrian civil war.
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