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Contrary to popular belief, relatively few Arab countries possess petroleum and natural gas resources.
Other natural resources include iron-ore, lead, phosphate, cobalt and manganese.
With seventy-two percent of its territory in Africa and twenty-eight percent in Asia, the Arab world straddles two continents, a position that has made it one of the world's most strategic regions.
Long coastlines give it access to vital waterways: the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Since significant human settlement is found only where water supplies are adequate, the overwhelming majority of Arabs live in relatively high concentrations along coastal areas and major river valleys.
Various ethnic, linguistic and religious groups inhabit the region.
Yet, Islam and the Arabic language constitute its two predominant cultural features.
Almost half of the population is under fifteen years of age.
Given the current annual rate of increase, the population will be approximately 280 million by the year 2000.
It was in this same area that the three great monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islamoriginated, in time spreading to all corners of the world.