This is just getting me more confused. First off, I'm not really too concerned with i.e. in this case. I'm assuming the same rules apply there as with e.g.
My main question had to do with whether a comma is absolutely necessary IN ALL CASES before the "e.g."
I know a comma should be used here:
It's not just a question of Middle Eastern countries, e.g. Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon.
That's not a problem. My question is when it's used as "for example" in the middle of a sentence:
I'm pretty interested in sports. I like to play e.g. baseball, football and basketball.
In my opinion, this is wrong:
I like to play, e.g. baseball, football, and basketball.
(Obviously I could write "For example, I like...", but the question is about e.g.)
I would never write e.g. with a following comma:
European countries, e.g., Britain, France, and Germany, have a lot of environmental activists.
That comma seems wrong - I would write:
European countries, e.g. Britain, France, and Germany, have a lot of environmental activists.
Sorry if I've made this 1000% more confusing than it should be. It just has to do with e.g. with no commas and whether that could ever be considered correct...