It's complicated.
July 24, 2006 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Who hates who in the Middle East. An interactive chart from Slate. Click the graphic on the page to access the chart. Click on any cell for more details.
posted by Meatbomb (54 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
The "interaction" seems to be restricted to clicking on each sqaure in the grid and getting a pop up with a miniscule amount of information. I can't help feeling that a better designed chart would have conveyed the same information much more effectively without all the clicking.

Oh, and SLATE and GOOD DESIGN == ENEMIES.
posted by Artw at 7:36 AM on July 24, 2006


The design could have been better, but on the whole I thought it was quite clever and educational. Thanks, Meatbomb.

(Let the pile-ons begin to show how wrong and stupid I am.)
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:38 AM on July 24, 2006


I thought that it was really cool as well. We can't all be complete experts on every relationship in the Middle East and this clarifies things a bit.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:40 AM on July 24, 2006


Grammar police!

"Who hates whom in the Middle East?""
posted by ChasFile at 7:48 AM on July 24, 2006 [2 favorites]


Everybody hates whom in the middle east. The whom are a shifty bunch.
posted by jonmc at 7:51 AM on July 24, 2006


Faint of Butt writes "The design could have been better,"

"better"? They should have had a design to start with.
posted by signal at 7:57 AM on July 24, 2006


I hear that the Whom bombed the Kurds simply on the grounds that everybody else has and they didn't want to be left out. Now that's cold.
posted by Artw at 7:57 AM on July 24, 2006


I thought the point and click design was quick, easy and quite efficient. I think ARTW and NITPICKY == FRIENDS. Thanks, Meatbomb.
posted by Shfishp at 7:57 AM on July 24, 2006


I thought The Whom were a pretty good band.
posted by Eekacat at 7:58 AM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's not that complicated...

Truly pissed off former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan

Craig Murray (23 July 2006):
British diplomats at the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York - people I know personally - are putting massive effort into working against a ceasefire. ...

Our policy now is to slavishly follow the Bush line that Israel may unilaterally define its own borders.
posted by Unregistered User at 8:01 AM on July 24, 2006


I thought The Whom were a pretty good band.

They were the ones who asked politely before smashing their guitars, right?
posted by jonmc at 8:02 AM on July 24, 2006


Where's Jordan?
posted by empath at 8:02 AM on July 24, 2006


He disappeared after the New Kids split up.
posted by jonmc at 8:07 AM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


"better"? They should have had a design to start with.

Har, har...

Seriously, I thought it was neatly informative, particularly for those who haven't been keeping up.
posted by Stauf at 8:09 AM on July 24, 2006


They were the ones who asked politely before smashing their guitars, right?

No, that was The Mercy Beat. It was hard to understand what instruments The Whom played, since they performed in silhouette, with lots of fog effects and muted audio. Some critics still argue wether The Whom even had an intended audience.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:10 AM on July 24, 2006


Some critics still argue wether The Whom even had an intended audience.

They're intended audience was a subculture known as You People.
posted by jonmc at 8:13 AM on July 24, 2006


I thought it was interesting (if a bit light on detail). Been wanting something like this for a while now. Especially since I watched One Day in September and Munich back to back recently.

A clusterfuck of a (current) situation, from any point of view.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:17 AM on July 24, 2006


I thought The Whom were a pretty good band.

I saw the Whom at Rich Stadium in '83. David Johanson and The Clash opened. It was awesome.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:18 AM on July 24, 2006


Interesting that Palestine is only on one side of the chart, so they don't have to explain how the Palestinians are regarded.

I think the US should deduct damages to Beirut from Israel's allowance. Maybe if Israel had to pay the price for its aggression (like Germany), maybe they'd be less inclined to such escalatory retaliation.
posted by Goofyy at 8:20 AM on July 24, 2006


Ah, but Goofyy, Israel is fighting terrorism!
posted by slimepuppy at 8:31 AM on July 24, 2006


Yesterday's Week In Review Section of the NY Times had a somewhat higher level view of all this done in graphical format, but this has some pretty good detail in it.
posted by psmealey at 8:37 AM on July 24, 2006


Who has better need to fight terrorism, than Israel? Fine! Since when do bridges walk across the border to blow up buses?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over, expecting a different outcome.
posted by Goofyy at 8:50 AM on July 24, 2006






Is this the bit where I link to Monty Python's 'Never Be Rude to an Arab'?
posted by slimepuppy at 9:11 AM on July 24, 2006


Meatbomb, Excellent, brutally simple visual to make some sense of the many layered, multi-faceted complicatedness there. Thank you.
posted by nickyskye at 9:18 AM on July 24, 2006


I was always partial to early 60s rockers The What, who scored a minor hit with "Ride on That Magic Vehicle." You might also remember them for such classics as "Talking About Some Generation," "I Can See For An Undetermined Distance" and their concept album "Quadrothingya."

They had a very generalized audience.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:19 AM on July 24, 2006


So Israel pretty much hates everyone?
posted by NationalKato at 9:25 AM on July 24, 2006


And this chart just covers nation states - not factoring in trans-national sectarian hatreds. Those are always the really juicy ones.

I've got an idea: let's increase our involvement in the region!
posted by slatternus at 9:29 AM on July 24, 2006


And yet they call me antisemetic when I say they're worse than nazis and criticize them for not accepting Jesus and mutilating heir baby boys weiners!

Who is the real hater, I ask?

(Goes to work on his antizionist blog.)
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:30 AM on July 24, 2006


Since when do bridges walk across the border to blow up buses?

Right. Anything in the history of warfare that isnt a sole bullet straight to Hitler's heart is a war crime!
posted by skallas at 9:34 AM on July 24, 2006


Combined with this, I can almost make sense of this mess. Still can't keep the Sunni/Shiite thing clear in my head - any suggestions?
posted by gottabefunky at 10:10 AM on July 24, 2006




An excellent (and large) graphic from this past weekend's New York Times on this very subject: Strife and Power in the New Middle East.

More here: For the U.S., a Newfangled Compass.
posted by mrbula at 10:19 AM on July 24, 2006


(I understand the distinction - I meant some easy way to remember it, which group is Sunni, which is Shiite, etc)
posted by gottabefunky at 10:20 AM on July 24, 2006


(Crap, missed gottabefunky's post.)
posted by mrbula at 10:20 AM on July 24, 2006


That was a fine little chart. Good info. It should have been just as deep as it was wide, though. And it should have had Jordan.
posted by JWright at 10:52 AM on July 24, 2006


The Slate graphic: A cute cartoony chart for those in a hurry to comprehend and have three minutes to digest the current situation as they inhale their morning coffee and donut. "It's complicated" indeed.

Thanks, mrbula, for the NYT article/graphic, which at least attempts to grant a little clarity and real understanding.
posted by persona non grata at 11:07 AM on July 24, 2006


... and let's not forget this classic chart about what the Europeans think about each other.
posted by Termite at 11:37 AM on July 24, 2006


Aww nobody likes Israel. Maybe they should try joining some extracurricular activities to make some new friends. Then they'll be popular!
posted by ninjew at 11:37 AM on July 24, 2006


"By Christopher Beam and Noam Rudnick"

Christopher Beam is a Slate intern. Noam Rudnick is a Slate intern.
posted by cillit bang at 11:45 AM on July 24, 2006


I'm suprised no one's posted this great NYT graphic yet. Shows similar information in a much clearer manner.
posted by delmoi at 11:58 AM on July 24, 2006


They left me out. I hate them all.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 12:03 PM on July 24, 2006


I meant some easy way to remember it, which group is Sunni, which is Shiite

Rule of thumb: Everybody's Sunni.

Well, everybody, except for:
* Iran, which is Shi'ite
* Syria, which is a Sunni population run by a Shi'ite elite
* Iraq, which is mostly Sunni (including the Kurds) but Shi'ites dominate the government and army now
and
* Lebanon, which is Sunni and Christian, except for the South, which is Shi'ite and thinks of Hezbollah as its state.

Everybody else, including HAMAS, Fatah, al-Aqsa Brigades (the three main Palestinian groups) are Sunni. Al Qaeda is mostly Sunni but pan-Muslim in its politics.

But basically it's a short list of exceptions to the rule of thumb. Shi'ites are a minority -- often very small -- in every other Muslim country. Alawis and Druze (both present in Lebanon) are technically Shi'a but considered apostates by many.

*

The chart is pretty simplistic, though. Lebanese don't like Israel, but Israel has long supported groups within Lebanon like the Maronite Christians as a counterweight to the influence of the PLO and then Hezbollah. They also have a peace treaty with Egypt and fairly good relations with Jordan.

Really, you should be able to make a chart this complicated just about Lebanon, although most of the Civil War tensions had dissipated, especially after the Hariri assassination. Israel is arguably trying to exploit those sectarian differences.
posted by dhartung at 12:09 PM on July 24, 2006


Syria, which is a Sunni population run by a Shi'ite elite

Um. The Ba'athists are "Shi'ite Elite?"
posted by tkchrist at 12:56 PM on July 24, 2006


Still can't keep the Sunni/Shiite thing clear in my head - any suggestions?

Do you mean you can't remember which one is in power where? If that's it, here's my simplistic method.

Sunni = sunny/sun = ruler of the day = majority in the world and in most Muslim countries. It's the majority denomination in almost every Muslim country, including sunniest Africa. Distribution of Islam, Sunni (green) and Shi'a (blue).

Shiite = shite/shitty/shit = majority in Iraq and Iran and Lebanon, where things are so shitty of late. It's pretty much a Persian Gulf phenomenon.

(I don't really want to associate Shiites with shit, of course, but it's the most obvious mnemonic. Maybe Shi'a = shah = Iran is a better alternative?)
posted by pracowity at 1:16 PM on July 24, 2006


No Jordan, Kuwait, Yemen, UAE, Turkey, Kurds, etc. in the motherfuckin' house?
posted by i_cola at 1:53 PM on July 24, 2006


Um. The Ba'athists are "Shi'ite Elite?"

Assad is Alawi. Even if the Ba'athists are nominally secular and nationalist, and even if Islamists have suffered persecution under both Assads (while Islamists abroad such as Hezbollah and HAMAS have received support), Assad Senior protected his regime with members of his Alawi clan. His son has opened more positions to Sunnis and mainline Shi'a. I believe the Sunni Kurds are still pretty much out of the loop, though.

It's the Assad regime. The personal power of Assad Sr.'s allies is what ensured that an opthalmologist succeeded the Lion of Damascus.
posted by dhartung at 1:53 PM on July 24, 2006


Jesus hates them all.
posted by skallas at 2:07 PM on July 24, 2006


I'm suprised no one's posted this great NYT graphic yet. Shows similar information in a much clearer manner.
posted by delmoi at 11:58 AM PST on July 24 [+fave] [!]


Huh? Both gottabefunky and mrbula posted that exact thing above.
posted by Stauf at 2:09 PM on July 24, 2006


Myspace 2.0 = Yourfatma.com*
*Apologies to our own 10827.
posted by rob511 at 2:39 PM on July 24, 2006


Jeez, I guessed "7" not "23" when wondering how long into the thread till someone mentioned "National Brotherhood Week." Guess the world's not as big a Lehrer fan as I am...
posted by phearlez at 5:09 PM on July 24, 2006


Jesus hates them all.

Another useful comment from skallas. Boy, you must crack yourself up, eh?
posted by ninthart at 3:25 AM on July 25, 2006


Iraq, which is mostly Sunni...

Well, not according to my memory or wikipedia's:
A majority of Iraqis are Arabic-speaking Shias, forming about 55% of the total population. The second largest, is the Kurdisth population with about 21% of the total. Kurds are followers of both Sunni (a majority) and Shia sects (a minority) setc of Islam. There are also several Kurdish groups who practice pre-Islamic native Kurdish religions, such as Yezidism and Yarisanism (the Kaka'is and the Shabak). The third ethnic group are the Arabic-speaking Sunnis who form about 18.5% of the total.
posted by malocchio at 10:05 AM on July 25, 2006


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