With the discover of newer and further lands to the east, classical Asia is now known as "Western Asia" to Europeans. Although Columbus' great discovery and the decadence of Western Asian rulers have resulted in its becoming a cultural and political backwater, the central location of Western Asia between east and west in the Old World still attracts poets, pioneers, politicians and potentates .... as well as pirates.
Most of the lands of Western Asia are arid and sandy wastes where only a few tribes can survive on pastoralism....or preying on their fellow human beings. However, the coastal regions bordering the Arabian Sea as well as the territories of Asia Minor host major cities and supply centres, thus ensuring a fairly reliable source of manpower for military expeditions.
Western Asia is ruled chiefly by two Muslim factions, the awe-inspiring Ottoman Empire, which ranked with Spain, Britain, China and Russia, forms one of the largest factions in the Grand Campaign. Ottoman control however is far from assured, because its main client in the region, Nejd, doesn't control all of Western Asia. Indeed, both the Zagros and the Persian Gulf continue to be ruled by the Iranians to the east, and almost all of the Arabian Sea coastline is in the hands of local rulers who answer to neither the Peacock Throne, the Emir of Nejd nor the Sublime Porte. Even so, the Ottomans' control of lands north, east and west as well as their resources ensures that they are a formidable foe to all who dare to oppose them, and for this reason, the Ottomans should start a war with Iran to conquer as much territory in the region where possible provided the Russians aren't attacking. Capturing the whole of the Middle East will also ensure that the Ottomans can interdict attempts by the British to increase their imperium whether through linking up British colonies or by initiating the scramble for Africa.
Once the birthplace of empires, these lonely and empty hills are now the haunt of local tribesmen who have spent their lives hating one another.
Once the birthplace of western civilisation, Syria however has long been deserted due to climate change and the obsolescence of the silk road which once passed by. However, it is sufficiently populated and fertile enough to support recruitment for your armies, and also provides an important naval road to Cyprus in the Mediterranean.
- Note: In the Dark Gods CtW, this is the capital of the Syrian Empire, which is essentially the Bedouin faction.
Consisting of the Holy Land and the Jordan region basin, this is an area of significant cultural and strategic importance. Since goods heading westwards from India and the Middle East need to be transferred overland here via Upper Egypt, this is one of the favourite areas for pirates and commerce raiders to lurk. As such, we can expect to use this area as a staging ground for our armies in Western Asia.
At the southern end of the Red Sea lies the city-state of Aden on the southernmost point of the Arabian Peninsula. Its strategic locaation along the maritime routes to Egypt, India and Africa mean that we should add this territory to our possessions as soon as possible.
All Muslims in the world are obliged to visit the holy city of Mecca which is located somewhere in this hilly territory. Extending our influence over this pilgrimage site will enhance our prestige while allowing us to accumulate tribute from the pilgrimage trains that arrive here, and also forms a viable route of entry into Africa by way of the Sudan and Upper Egypt.
The kingdom of Najd is the largest of the native powers in the Arabian peninsula, ruling a territory stretching along the north-western shoreline of the Persian Gulf. Although they are outwardly loyal, most people are increasingly annoyed with the Ottomans to whom they have been forced to pay homage.
This section of the Arabian desert is called the Empty Quarter or "Rub' al Khali", in reference to the fact that almost no vegetation will grow here, leading the people to eke out an existence via trade and pastoralism. Even so, the Empty Quarter forms an important buffer zone between the arid northern Arabian plains and the more prosperous southern coast, and also links the Middle East to Sahelian Africa by way of the Horn of Africa and Etritrea.
Hot and dusty after centuries of neglect and decline, Mesopotamia is nevertheless a strategic territory that is moderately populated and forms part of the border between the Turkish and Iranian empires.
Shatt el ArabEdit
In the desert, wetlands are a sight to behold and this area is no exception. Unlike their camel-riding brethren of the desert, the Marsh Arabs or Ma'dan live in a floating world of reed huts. The treacherous terrain of the Ma'dan homelands makes for a great deal of geopolitcal intrigue, but this is also one of the areas where papyrus can still be found in abundance.
Although explorers say that there is plenty of marble in this territory, tribal infighting in the area means that you may need to restore order in this area first before you can even hope to extract anything.
Named after the Romans who once controlled this part of the world, the mountains of Rum are said to be dotted with many haunted ruins, waiting for a day when someone could make sense of them. In addition, Rum forms an important link to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
As in ages past, the southern coastline of Iran continues to remain a hub in Middle Eastern commerce and shipping, and for this reason it is also host to some of the largest population centres in the Middle East. You can also reach the southern port of Muscat through the Persian Gulf as well.
This sparsely inhabited region is nevertheless known for being ideal for the rearing of goats and sheep, being at the heart of a thriving wool industry.
Dominated by the ancient city of Istanbul, the Marmara Coast has functioned as the home of the Sublime Porte for almost 3 centuries. The coastal plains of this land are also sufficiently fertile and cool enough for olives to grow and various cultures have farmed olives here for centuries.
This south-eastern corner of the Middle East is one of the more fertile territories. With a hilly topography that functions like raintraps to tap the monsoons for water, the coastal territory of Muscat is capable of supporting a large population ... but its location at the mouth of the Persian Gulf means that it is also a hotbed of piracy. If we could take this territory, however, it would form an ideal port through which our troops could embark for the Persian Gulf to the north, or Carmania to the east.