War made easy: Helpful, ‘simple’ color chart ‘explains’ Syria conflict
While the graphic created by Charles Lister - a fellow of the Middle East Institute in Washington - is described as “simple”, the zigzagging colorful lines are pretty mindboggling.
The chart is a ‘who’s who’ of forces fighting against each other in the conflict.
Lister’s chart has sparked discussion online about the usefulness and over-simplification of the chart.
@Charles_Lister This chart is not just unhelpful & poorly designed, but biased in pushing an overcomplicated, nihilistic view of Syria. C-— شَوً كَاغِيِّه، صحفي (@shawncarrie) February 14, 2016
Questions have also been raised regarding omissions from the chart.
@Charles_Lister Gee I guess Israels air force is happy— Keir John Harry (@keirjohnharry) February 13, 2016
@Charles_Lister Will we soon be adding the Saudis to this?— Chris Kilpack (@cakilpack) February 13, 2016
This is not the first attempt to dumb down the complexities of geopolitics in the Middle East via a handy graphic.
Karl Sharro, Middle East commentator and satirist, created a parody diagram of the region last year, which many took at face value.
Following recent event, updated diagram of geopolitical relationships in the Middle East pic.twitter.com/3QmDxZtnSn— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) March 26, 2015
“I was surprised at the number of people who made factual comments or corrections, which the diagram clearly doesn't represent accurately," Sharro told the Independent at the time.
Sharro has taken to Twitter again, in what appears to be a response to Lister’s “simple” chart: