Few regions of the world attract as much attention as the Middle East. It is a key source of global energy, a cross-roads for international trade and is home to what often seem to be some of the world's most intractable conflicts. Lowy Institute research and events touches on a range of these issues, from the struggle over Iran's nuclear program that to the Arab uprisings that have so convulsed the region. A key focus of the Lowy Institute's work on the region are the political, strategic, economic and religious ties between the Middle East and the rest of the Asia. Primarily through its West Asia program, the Lowy Institute has published in depth research on Islamist connections between the Middle East and Indonesia and explored energy ties between China, India and the Gulf. Another key theme is Australian policy towards the Middle East, in particular its devloping relations with key Gulf countries.