The Atlantic’s Institute of Internet Diagrams came up with this handy chart to explain the simple and straightforward conflicts and alliances in the Middle East.
News and comedy shows alike were titilated by the fact that the U.S., despite all of the anti-Iran rhetoric in our politics, is fighting alongside Iran against ISIS, but also against Iran in the brand spanking new (still has that freshly broken country smell) civil war in Yemen. How does it still surprise people that foreign policy and the shifting game of realpolitik is hard? I guess its that the media and, in their defense, most Americans apparently, have this need for things to be black and white (except when the issue is race when black and white is too damn complicated). The chart and article are clearly tongue-in-cheek, but the fact is that generally, in the real world, the ability to hold two competing ideas in ones head at the same time is not only not contradictory it’s quite necessary.
But still, the Middle East is for suckers. If all they had was sand, nobody would care.