Southwest Asia as a Region? An Analysis of the Applicability of Region to Southwest Asia

Document Type : Original Article


- Associate Professor of Political Scienc, Allamaeh Tabatabie University, Tehran


In the jargon of intentional relations the words region, regionalism and such new words as regionalization have their own specific meanings. If scientific meaning of the concept region is taken into consideration, one cannot consider a region by juxtaposing the countries of a geographical region or conceiving them as a region and expect these countries to enjoy the advantages of regionhood. Some of the present world regions have been turned into a region in a natural historical process because of complementary political, economic and social characteristics and geographic proximity. One of the clear examples of a region in this sense is the East Asia or ASEAN region which has been turned into a perfect region in two decades and today it is considered a model of regional cooperation. The concept Southwest Asia in the international jargon and literature refers to a major chunk of the Middle East or the countries of the Persian Gulf. If we try to use it in a different sense or as a broader geographical region then we will need to clarify the concept region and its characteristics in the geographical region in which we want to use it. The main question of the present paper is: given the prevailing definitions of region and regionalization can one consider the geographical area encompassing Central Asia, Middle East, and parts of South Asia as a region?  If the said geographical area does not enjoy the characteristics of a region, cab a region be created in this area?  If the countries of this area politically decide to set up such a region, is it possible to create it? The main hypothesis of the present paper is: the geographical area called West Asia does not enjoy the characteristics of a region and its regionalization is difficult.