Geographically called the Mashreq, Mashreq or Maschriq (Arabic المشرق, DMG al - Mašriq, Orient ') since the Arab- Islamic expansion in the 7th century, an area in the Middle East. Politically, the Mashreq is not well defined, but in general, the countries will thus with Arabic- majority east of Libya and north of Saudi Arabia designates, specifically the states of Egypt, Palestine / Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

The counterpart to the Mashreq is the Maghreb ( المغرب al - maghrib, DMG al - Maghrib, the West ', derived from the verb gharaba / غرب / garaba /, go away, go down ( sun) ').

Word origin

The word is from the Arabic verb scharaka / شرق / šaraqa /, rise (the sun); light ' derived, according to the Arabic term Mashreq / المشرق / al - mašriq a noun loci, that is, where the sun rises; the East. Thus, the word is the opposite of Maghreb المغرب / al - Maghrib / where the sun goes down; the West '. Both geographical terms are from the period of the early Islamic conquests from the 7th century.

Special status of Egypt

A special place has Egypt, on the one hand because of its history and on the other hand because of its location on the African continent. Egypt has been one of the Arab- Islamic conquest of culturally and linguistically to the Mashreq and is therefore counted to him. It is bordered to the west by the region of the Maghreb countries.


During the Arab expansion in the seventh century of the Mashreq was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate. This was initially located in Damascus, later moving to Baghdad. In the following centuries, various, mostly Turkish dynasties ruled the region. From 1517 to 1918 the Ottomans ruled the area. During the First World War, leading Arab politicians initially hoped for support for their independence efforts by Western powers. The Hussein -McMahon correspondence of 1915-1916 between Hussein ibn Ali, Sherif of Mecca and Sir Henry McMahon, the British High Commissioner in Egypt, gave rise to such hopes. In addition, the Arab revolt of 1916-1918 was supported against Turkish rule of Great Britain. These expectations were zunichtegemacht by the subsequent division of the region controlled by the UK and France areas, according to the secret Sykes- Picot Agreement of May 1916. The British zone of influence included the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and the British Mandate of Mesopotamia in the area of ​​present-day Iraq, the French zone of influence included the League of Nations Mandate for Syria and Lebanon. Hussein ibn Ali was first recognized as King of the Hejaz, but was defeated in 1924 of the rival dynasty of Saud. Furthermore, in the Balfour Declaration, the British promised the Jews in 1917 the establishment of a " national home ". The modern boundaries in the Mashreq were thus drawn after the fall of the Ottoman Empire by the then European powers.