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On Thursday, April 7, 2011, at 6:00pm, Professor Ori Soltes gave a talk on his latest book "Why the Middle East Is a Mess and always has been." The Middle East is a morass, a tangled web of diverse threads--religion, politics, ethnicity, nationalism and economics--each a commplex tangle of its own, and interwoven with the threads of confusing definitions, conflicting aspirations and constant interferences from beyond the edges of the region. This talk and the book that it introduces try to unravel these threads in a concise and clear manner. At the very least the reader of the book or the auditor of the lecture will come away with a sense of how old and ongoing these complexities are and why simple solutions are so difficult to come by--both within particular parts of the Middle East and across the region overall. At most, some thoughts regarding improvements in some areas present themselves.