The Middle East Buddy List.

A cheat sheet for the news.
July 21 2006 5:04 PM

The Middle East Buddy List

Does Hezbollah get along with Egypt? What about Hamas and Iran?

Click for a Slate interactive.

Last month, Hamas militants tunneled into Israel and kidnapped an Israeli soldier. Israel immediately invaded Gaza. Hamas began lobbing rockets into Israel. The Lebanese group Hezbollah kidnapped two more Israelis near the Lebanon-Israel border. Israel responded by carrying out airstrikes against Lebanon. Egypt and Saudi Arabia condemned Hezbollah for instigating the violence. Syria, Iran, and Lebanon called Israel's retaliation an excessive use of force.

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Confused? We are too. Slate'sMiddle East Buddy List breaks down the relationships between the countries, terrorist organizations, and political factions who are fighting it out in the current conflict. Who likes whom? Who are the bitterest of enemies? And which groups don't really know where they stand? Click here to open an interactive chart that tells you everything you need to know.

Correction, July 27, 2006: In the chart that accompanies this piece, the description of Hezbollah originally implied that the group has carried out suicide attacks against Israel since becoming a strong political party around the time of Israel's 2000 evacuation from Lebanon. While Israeli officials claim that Hezbollah has funded suicide bombings in recent years, there is no evidence that Hezbollah has carried out suicide attacks itself. 

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.

Noam Rudnick is a Slate intern.

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