The Greater Middle East, also known as MENA (the Middle East and North Africa), is a political term, introduced in the early 2000s, denoting a set of contiguously connected countries stretching from Morocco in the west all the way to Pakistan in South Asia. Various countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus are sometimes also grouped together with countries from the Middle East and North Africa. According to Andrew Bacevich in his book America's war for the Greater Middle East (2016), the career soldier and Professor Emeritus at Boston University states that this region is the theatre for a series of conflicts dating back to 1980, which heralded the start of the Iran–Iraq War. Since then, the U.S. has been involved in balancing conflicts amongst these culturally interconnected nations in order to further its interests in the region. The Greater Middle East is sometimes referred to as the "New Middle East" or "The Great Middle East Project".
This term was more clearly defined to denote a specific region in the U.S. administration's preparatory work for the G8 summit of 2004 as part of a proposal for sweeping change in the way the West deals with the Middle East.
Former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski stated that a "political awakening" is taking place in this region which may be an indicator of the multi-polar world that is now developing. He alluded to the Greater Middle East as the "Global Balkans", and as a control lever on an area he refers to as Eurasia.
Countries and territories
Countries sometimes included