Yet still the Middle East debates whether Israel or the US will bomb Iran. Personally, I don't believe this will happen – but then again, that's what I told my friend Seymour Hersh before the Iraqi catastrophe, when he said we would invade and I said we wouldn't. Currently, he thinks an Iran attack is still on the cards. So, apparently, does the Emir of Qatar. He's generously handed the Americans yet more desert for their massive air base outside Doha, land that stretches away on the further side of the military installation. He's asked for the return of the side of the base closest to the capital. The reason? Well, if America bombs Iran, the Islamic republic's missiles are likely to come hissing towards US forces in Qatar. The Emir wants them exploding as far from Doha as possible.One for the scrapbook, given the likely desire in US circles that retribution be meted out to someone, because Russia had the audacity to make the USA look foolish. Russia itself is too big a challenge, even the peanut-brained ideologues in the Pentagon and Whitehouse realise that, but someone, somewhere has to be made to suffer in the name of America's military prestige.
And we'll have to finish in America. I received a letter last week from an old friend whose son has just returned from military duties in Iraq. And he's been wandering the Pisgah mountains in the US with a group of schoolkids in an area where he noticed a lot of military training going on a year ago, and ... Well, I'll let him tell you the story. "I had seen nothing more up there until this past week, when C-130s and C-17s suddenly were making low runs through the high mountain valleys. There were also military helicopters around. It may mean nothing, but it may indicate something for the future. I am enclosing some photos of the area to give you an idea of what it is like. Perhaps it reminds you of somewhere."
And I looked carefully through my friend's snapshots of rocky mountainsides and thick forests. And, darn me if they didn't remind me of the Elborz mountain chain just outside Tehran. (1)
1 - "Robert Fisk's World: A region boiling with tales of kings, gangs and war," by Robert Fisk in The Independent, 16th of August, 2008. (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisks-world-a-region-boiling-with-tales-of-kings-gangs-and-war-899000.html)