Between 2003-06-01 and 2005-10-15, either:
For the purposes of this claim, a "country" is an area labeled as a country on the majority of reasonably unbiased maps.
For the purposes of this claim, the "Middle East" is the area covered by
The judge is responsible for finding up-to-date and "reasonably unbiased" sources, and for posting their URIs in the judge's statement.
Look at what the cartographers "say" in their maps. Ignore what non-cartographers say or do.
---- related information, not officially part of this claim ----
The area labeled "Palestine (U.K.)" in 1945 maps has split into Israel and West Bank in 2003 maps. So "West Bank" counts as a country in 2003 for the purposes of this claim. If the West Bank becomes a completely independent nation labeled "Palestine", that is not enough for this claim to become true.
There are many slightly different definitions of "Middle East". Forgive me for introducing yet another one. This definition of the "Middle East" is similar to, but not exactly the same as "Western Asia" at http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/english/ or "Southwest Asia" at http://geography.about.com/library/maps/blrmideast.htm .
Charter of the United Nations : Charter of the United Nations (1945) Article 2 paragraph 4. "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."
Why 2005-10-15 ? Chris Hibbert persuaded me it needs to be at least 2 years in the future, and I picked a random day of that year. I prefer claims spread throughout the year, rather than have them all expire on Jan 01.
I hope this will be extremely easy to judge.
This claim will be judged based on news reports available at The New York Times and the BBC, supplemented by map information available online from sources such as Mapquest and the United Nations.
Specific Country Notes: