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The execution of 47 people in Saudi Arabia has ignited an already tense situation across the Middle East, splitting the region along sectarian lines.
Situated between the Arabian Desert to the south and the mountains of the Armenian Highland to the north, it extends from Babylonia and adjacent Elam (the southwestern province of Persia, also called Susiana) up the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to Assyria.
From the Zagros Mountains east of Assyria it continues westward over Syria to the Mediterranean and extends southward to southern Palestine.
Archaeologists hope the find could shed light on the life of the 19th Dynasty pharaoh, who ruled over 3,200 years ago.
The find was made by an Egyptian-Czech mission in the village of Abusir near the step pyramid of Saqqara.
Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Bahrain have a Shia majority, though the latter is ruled by the Sunni House of Khalifa.
In Yemen, the conflict has become a sectarian proxy war, with Iran backing the Shia Houthi rebels who overthrew the country’s Sunni-dominated government, while a Saudi-led coalition has since intervened to reinstall the Sunni leadership.
Spare a thought for the residents of Bandar Mahshahr (above) in south-west Iran, where it reached a super-sweltering 165F (74C) on the heat index (or 'feel-like' temperature), taking into account humidity.
This makes it one of the highest temperatures ever recorded But chronic electricity and water cuts in Iraq and other conflict-ridden countries make heatwaves like the present one even more unbearable - particularly for the more than 14 million people displaced by violence across the region.
But the plight of Christians in the region remains incredibly serious.
The Christian communities here are some of the oldest in the world – many of the people I work with still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
But they are the persecuted minority of the minority: more Christians are dying and being displaced for their faith now than ever before in the 2,000 years of the history of our faith.