Update A Graphic Guide To the Middle East Conflict

Map of the territory and area covered by prese...
Map of the territory and area covered by present-day Saudi Arabia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BBC Site has useful and extensive links here, as the West prepares for a strike against Syria.

Western Asia in most contexts. Possible extens...
Western Asia in most contexts. Possible extensions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In Thursday’s Financial Times, this amazing letter to the editor appeared which attempted to explain the entire Middle East, and its rivalries and allegiances in a few short sentences. Here they are: 

 "Sir, Iran is backing Assad. Gulf states are against Assad!

Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi.
But Gulf states are pro-Sisi! Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood!
Iran is pro-Hamas, but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood!
Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood, yet Hamas is against the U.S.!
Gulf states are pro-U.S. But Turkey is with Gulf states against Assad; yet Turkey is pro-Muslim Brotherhood against General Sisi. And General Sisi is being backed by the Gulf states! Welcome to the Middle East and have a nice day.
KN Al-Sabah,
London EC4, U.K.

In today's Washington Post an article by Max Fisher presented the subject matter of the letter in a graphic chart,courtesy of an Egyptian blogger who writes under the pseudonym The Big Pharoah.  It shows the tortured and tangled complexity facing the region.
Max says "Spend a few minutes staring at this and you will either have a seizure or actually comprehend the Middle East. Egypt is represented by the “MB” (Muslim Brotherhood) and “Sisi” for military leader Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi.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.”

Click here for the article and the graphic.


 Pope Francis made this appeal for peace in Syria from Vatican Radio

"With great suffering and concern I continue to follow the situation in Syria. The increase in violence in a war between brothers, with the proliferation of massacres and atrocities, that we all have been able to see in the terrible images of these days, leads me once again raise my voice that the clatter of arms may cease. It is not confrontation that offers hope to resolve problems, but rather the ability to meet and dialogue.

From the bottom of my heart, I would like to express my closeness in prayer and solidarity with all the victims of this conflict, with all those who suffer, especially children, and I invite you to keep alive the hope of peace. I appeal to the international community to be more sensitive to this tragic situation and make every effort to help the beloved Syrian nation find a solution to a war that sows destruction and death.

All together let us pray. . . All together let us pray to Our Lady, Queen of Peace:
Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!
Everyone: Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!"


Also From Vatican Radio today...

"The Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Rai, (see left,) today spoke of his belief that there is a plan to destroy the Arab World for political and economic interests.  says Christians always pay the highest price when conflicts erupt in Middle East countries such as Egypt, Syria and Iraq. Cardinal Rai also said that outside countries, especially in the West but also elsewhere, are helping to foment these conflicts.

Speaking in an interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal Rai says the situation in the Middle East is becoming more and more critical as each day passes. He said whenever a conflict breaks out in the Middle East, whenever chaos ensues, Muslim groups attack the minority Christian community, as if they were always the scapegoat.

The Lebanese Patriarch said all Christians are asking for is security and stability and spoke of how throughout the Arab world Christians respect the institutions, the authorities and the constitution. Thanks to the presence of us Christians and our daily life in all these Arab countries, he said, we have created a certain moderation in the Muslim world. Speaking about the tensions between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the Christian community in Egypt, Cardinal Rai said it was a known fact that once in power, the Muslim Brotherhood were seeking to introduce Shariah law. Certainly, he said, the Christians are against this and want a reformed and democratic Egypt, an Egypt that knows how to respect human rights.

When asked how he sees the future, Cardinal Rai spoke of his belief that there is a plan to destroy the Arab world for political and economic interests. There’s also, he added, a plan to exacerbate as much as possible the inter-confessional conflicts between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

The current events in Egypt and Syria clearly show that the so-called "Arab Spring" hides some realities that are much more complex than those simplistic analyses that are often reported here or there.

The positions of the West irritate, sometimes are silent, sometimes noisy, in the struggle to hide its embarrassment and helplessness. Its biased view and its misjudgement with regard to the actual understanding of Middle Eastern issues are denounced. Between the East and the West, misunderstanding seems now total.

And how can we forget the plight of Eastern Christians? Their centuries-old presence has probably never been more threatened. The outburst of violence against them - particularly in Egypt - have attracted nothing but soft condemnations from the international community. Embraced by fear, threat of isolation, these Christians are fighting for the right to exist, and also claim, in these decisive hours, the right to speak.

His Beatitude Cardinal Bechara Rai, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, does not hide his pessimism. He talks about the general situation in the Middle East, making an appeal to Pope Francis, "the only man who is talking of Peace." Only the Holy See can "put an end to this tragedy. "

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