As in THE Middle East :)
I'm from Jordan to be precise, but I lived in the US for more than 10 years between college and work before moving back home. There's very limited smoking meat action in this part of the world, but I can't exactly say that it doesn't exist. Actually, one of the very traditional ways of cooking whole lambs in this part of the world is to cook them in a completely sealed pit in the ground (after having lit the wood and let it turn to embers); it's called "Zarb". There are other techniques, I hear especially in Yemen, but I'm not entirely familiar with them. However, I think it's safe to say that the kind of smoking meat that is done in the US hasn't really gotten much exposure before and has only recently been making it onto the scene thanks to a few people who, like me, had experienced the great taste of smoked meat somewhere in the US and decided to bring it back home with them :)
Anyways, I've already been reading and learning a lot from your forums, and I'm finally about to jump into having a smoker built for me by a local shop (we can't buy them here, and I have zero metal working skills :D), so wish me luck!