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This letter to the editor perfectly captures what makes the Middle East so confusing

The Middle East can be a confusing place, made all the more so by America's own confusing and somewhat confused foreign policy there. Fortunately, someone took the time to explain the region in its entirety in a simple, super-short letter to the editor:

This is not 100 percent correct: Saudi Arabia does not support ISIS, and in fact is bombing the group, although the government did for some time tolerate the Saudi clerical establishment's support of ISIS. But it's mostly correct, and horribly confusing. That's the point: the entanglement of alliances and rivalries in the Middle East is a huge, convoluted mess, and that is a real contributor to conflict there.

The Daily Mail published this letter in September, but in fact the text has been swirling around the email-forwards-from-grandma corners of the Web since at least July 2014, so it's not clear who actually wrote it.

In any case, it's a clear and perhaps deliberate echo of an amazing (and very similar) letter to the editor that ran in the Financial Times in August 2013, when the US was considering strikes against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. (As a refresher, the US was going to bomb him for using chemical weapons against his own people, but didn't, and now the US is bombing his enemies for him instead, because of course we are.) The more things change: