What could be simpler than the Middle East? A well-known Egyptian blogger who writes under the pseudonym The Big Pharaoh put together this chart laying out the region’s rivalries and alliances. He’s kindly granted me permission to post it, so that Americans might better understand the region. The joke is that it’s not a joke; this is actually pretty accurate.
There are rivals who share mutual enemies, allies who back opposite sides of the same conflict, conflicting interests and very strange bedfellows. There are two categories of countries: the ones that meddle (the United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Israel) and the ones that are meddled with (Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories). Each of the former is pushing for a different outcome in each of the latter, falling in and out of cooperation and competition. And that long-running interference is an important part of why conflict persists.
It’s all kind of a scramble. The Big Pharaoh writes: “I keep on updating this chart because every time I look at it I discover that I’ve missed an arrow. That’s how complicated it is.”
For the rest of the story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/26/the-middle-east-explained-in-one-sort-of-terrifying-chart/