The Middle East is a historical and cultural sub-region of Africa-Eurasia traditionally held to be the countries or regions in Southwest Asia together with Egypt.
In other contexts, the region can include other parts of North Africa and/or Central Asia. In the Western world, the Middle East is generally thought of as a predominantly Islamic and Arabic region defined by almost constant ethnic conflict.
In 2052, the Resource Wars began. Many smaller nations went bankrupt as their economies collapsed from the high prices for fossil fuels, and the nations of Europe, dependent on oil imports from the petroleum-rich states of the Middle East, responded to their decision to rapidly raise oil prices with military action. This was the beginning of the long, drawn-out conflict between the European Commonwealth and the Middle East, the Resource Wars. In January 2054, a limited nuclear exchange in the Middle East raised fears throughout the world.