Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

fist pumps and ref jeering in the middle east

Most Americans grow up with a clear understanding of sides. We know about good guys and bad guys. We choose sides on the playground. We pick a team and cheer for them, while heckling the other side.

Fist pumps and Ref jeering. That's what we do. Americans tend to be fans.

It's not that simple any more.

I spend a fair amount of time trying to get my head around the current conflicts going on in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. The Syrian and Yemeni conflict are the two big challenges at the moment.

Defining sides — good guys and bad guys — is difficult, if not impossible. This is bothersome to our American way of thinking.

This is not a simple "War against ISIS" as our reductionist news media reports to the public. This war is a geopolitical, religious .... and most disturbingly a war by proxy (with Turkey, the US and Russia all involved).

The most troubling fact in Yemen and in Syria is that the victims of these complex conflicts continue to be civilians who simply want to live their lives in their home country, in peace.

I share this chart from, not because it's easy to understand or brings clarity, but simply to show the complexity of relationships involved in the Syrian conflict.