Monday, July 14, 2008


Through this narrow waterway, only 34 km wide, pass the ships that carry between a fifth and a third of the world's oil, including that from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.

MOST OF the commentators who talk about the inevitable American and Israeli attack on Iran do not take account of this map.

Iran dominates the whole length of the Strait. They can seal it hermetically with their missiles and artillery, both land based and naval.

The mighty American navy is menacing Iran - but the moment the Strait is closed, it will itself resemble those model ships in bottles. Perhaps it is this danger that made the navy chiefs extricate the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln from the Persian Gulf this week, ostensibly because of the situation in Pakistan.

IRAN IS now a regional power. It makes no sense to deny that.

The irony of the matter is that for this they must thank their foremost benefactor in recent times: George W. Bush. If they had even a modicum of gratitude, they would erect a statue to him in Tehran's central square.

Today it is already clear that the real American aim (as I have asserted in this column right from the beginning) was to take possession of the Caspian Sea/Persian Gulf oil region and station a permanent American garrison at its center. This aim was indeed achieved - the Americans are now talking about their forces remaining in Iraq "for a hundred years", and they are now busily engaged in dividing Iraq's huge oil reserves among the four or five giant American oil companies.

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