We talked with Nicholas Schmidle early last year, just after he was kicked out of Pakistan for his reporting on the Taliban, among other things. He's obviously landed softly: he has an article on Foreign Policy's website. Everyone is talking about Pakistan right now, he says, but few really know what they're talking about. So, he put together a cheat sheet.
I admit, it's not easy. I lived in Pakistan throughout all of 2006 and 2007 and only came to understand, say, the tribal breakdown in South Waziristan during my final days. So to save you the trouble of having to live in Pakistan for two years to differentiate between the Wazirs and the Mehsuds, the Frontier Corps and the Rangers, I've written an "idiot's guide" that will hopefully clear some things up.
You can read the full "Idiot's Guide to Pakistan" here.