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The one map that shows why Syria is so complicated

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/27/the-one-map-that-shows-why-syria-is-so-complicated/

Now that the United States is strongly signaling that it will lead some form of limited offshore strikes against Syria in response to suspected chemical weapons attacks on civilians, one point you’re going to hear repeated over and over about the country is that it’s complicated. And that’s no joke, as the above map helps to drive home.

The map, from Columbia University’s really exceptional Gulf/2000 Project, shows the different ethnic and linguistic groups of the Levant, the part of the Middle East that’s dominated by Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Each color represents a different group. As you can see, there are a lot of groups swirled together. There are enclaves, and there is overlap...