Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations
 Where is the Middle East?
CENTCOM, 1983-2005

In 1983, U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf region was organized as U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). CENTCOM’s original area of responsibility (AOR) included countries of the Northern Tier, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Horn of Africa. Expansions in 1996 and 1999 brought the Seychelles and five former Soviet republics in Central Asia into CENTCOM's AOR.

As of 2005, CENTCOM referred to its AOR as containing four sub-areas. One of these, the Northern Red Sea and Arabian Peninsula Area (outlined in yellow highlighter on the map), corresponds to the region typically understood as the center of the "Middle East." Neither Israel nor Palestine is defined as part of CENTCOM's AOR.

Sources: Ronald H. Cole, et al., The History of the Unified Command Plan, 1946-1999 (Washington DC, Joint History Office, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2003); James E. Hines, “History of U.S. Central Command,” U.S. Central Command, http://www.centcom.mil/aboutus/History%20of%20CENTCOM. doc; “AOR: Area of Responsibility,” U.S. Central Command, http://www.centcom.mil/aboutus/aor.htm

"Northern Red Sea and Arabian Peninsula Area"
Bahrain
Egypt
Iran
Iraq
Jordan
Kuwait
Lebanon
Oman
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Syria
United Arab Emirates
Yemen
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