“”The Mideast reminds me of that old joke about the optimist and the pessimist. The pessimist says, "It can't get any worse!" The optimist says, "Oh yes it can!"
|—President Bartlet, The West Wing|
The Middle East is the part of the world, in southwestern Asia, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian subcontinent, where America's oil is buried under the desert sands nominally held by her arch-enemies. The region is overwhelmingly Muslim and has of late had a tumultuous history, especially between Sunnis and Shias.
America's one true ally in the region, Israel,
has none of this oil found oil in territory that is not legally theirs (although Kuwait is US friendly and has oodles of oil).
The term is presently synonymous with the term "Near East" - while the Far East is (sensibly) as far away as possible from the area. The Middle East region represents an area of over 5.0 million square miles where vast deserts are common and includes the inhospitable Arabian Peninsula-so harsh it is sometimes called "The Empty Quarter." 
- 40 maps that explain the Middle East, Vox
- The only true solution for the Middle East.
- The Arab World’s Options, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
- Midwest, which is a contraction of "Middle" and "West" and out of some weird coincidence contains a state that contains a region called Little Egypt and a small town called Palestine.