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.”
Pope Francis made this appeal for peace in Syria from Vatican Radio
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 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.
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
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
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.
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. "
Related articles with various views and questions to reflect on