Daily Archives: August 26, 2013

By Abigail Fielding-Smith in Beirut

People struggling to understand the diabolical complexities of the Middle East may have found solace in the FT last week, not in the news pages, but in a letter to the editor from KN Al-Sabah of London, EC4, published last Thursday under the heading ‘A short guide to the Middle East’.

“Iran is backing Assad. Gulf states are against Assad”, its brisk summary begins, before detailing the myriad and contradictory alliances which make this place the bewildering tinderbox it is (“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!”).

The letter, which ends with an exhortation to “have a nice day” struck a chord with general readers and experts alike as they reel from the last few weeks’ barrage of violent and confusing Middle East news. Read more