The Middle East and North Africa refers to the countries around the southern and eastern shores of he Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf. It includes Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco in North Africa, and Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, UAE and Qatar in the Middle East.
This is a region with seemingly intractable religious and ethnic tensions. The Israel-Palestine conflict is chief amongst these and numerous summits, accords and peace initiatives have failed to find a lasting solution. There is also deep hostility between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and the growth in influence of Islamic State (IS) has created new threats to regional stability.
In several countries authoritarian regimes have been overthrown, often with outside assistance, but this has left power vacuums, which have brought underlying hostilities to the fore.
The Middle East and North Africa is a region rich in natural resources and cultural heritage, but it is a geopolitical minefield. It requires expert insight to understand it and to optimise benefits from operating within it.