The Mashriq (Arabic: ٱلْمَشْرِق), sometimes spelled Mashreq or Mashrek, is the eastern part of the Arab world, located in Western Asia and eastern North Africa. This comprises the Arab states of Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, but excludes the non-Arab states of Somalia, Djibouti and the Comoros, which are also members of the Arab League. Poetically, the "Place of Sunrise", the name is derived from the verb sharaqa (Arabic: شرق "to shine, illuminate, radiate" and "to rise"), referring to the east, where the Sun rises.
|Countries and territories|
As the word Mashriq refers to countries bounded between the Mediterranean Sea and Iran, it is the companion term to Maghreb (Arabic: ٱلْمَغْرِب), the western part of North Africa. Libya may itself be seen as bifurcated between Mashriq and Maghreb influences, with its eastern part (Cyrenaica) seen as linked more to Egypt and the Mashriq.
These geographical terms date from the early Islamic expansion. This region is similar to the Bilad al-Sham and Mesopotamian regions combined. As of 2014[update], the Mashriq is home to 1.7% of the global population.
All of the countries located in the Arab Mashreq area are members of the Arab League (although Syria's membership is currently suspended), the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, and the United Nations. The region cooperates in several projects including the Arab Mashreq International Road Network and the Arab Mashreq International Railway. Several nations are also members in the GCC and others have tried unity before, such as United Arab Republic in the 60's and 70's.
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