People struggling to understand the diabolical complexities of the Middle East may have found solace in the FT last week, not in the news pages, but in a letter to the editor from KN Al-Sabah of London, EC4, published last Thursday under the heading 'A short guide to the Middle East'.
"Iran is backing Assad. Gulf states are against Assad", its brisk summary begins, before detailing the myriad and contradictory alliances which make this place the bewildering tinderbox it is ("Turkey is with Gulf states against Assad; yet Turkey is pro Muslim Brotherhood against General Sisi. And General Sisi is being backed by the Gulf states!").
The letter, which ends with an exhortation to "have a nice day" struck a chord with general readers and experts alike as they reel from the last few weeks' barrage of violent and confusing Middle East news.
"Now it all makes sense" tweeted one of the thousands of people who shared it on social media.
A post by Buzzfeed, better known for its addictive listicles, pushed the letter to new levels of internet fame on Saturday ), and soon everyone from Islamic scholar Hayder al-Khoei to Piers Morgan was talking about it.
One enterprising reader even drew a diagram of the tangled relationships outlined in the letter ("because how else can I kill two hours in Newark Penn Station?")
Felix Salmon of Reuters managed to crowd-commission a rather more high-tech visual representation.
Inevitably, a backlash has begun. "This Financial Times letter is so overrated," tweeted Middle East commentator Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, complaining that it made no mention of Qatar's opposition to Sisi or Iraq's regional stances. Another tweet regretted the letter's failure to mentionIsrael, whilst Daily Beast writer Ali Gharib took issue with its claim that Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood.
For most readers however, KN Al-Sabah's schema is quite complicated enough. "Confused?" tweeted one. "You will be."