Last week the Guardian newspaper ran an article revealing how George Bush vetoed an Israeli request for a green light to bomb nuclear sites in Iran earlier this year.

This, on the one hand, suggests an imminent attack on Iran is unlikely especially given the scale of the economic crisis the US is now facing

On the other hand it also shows how close we have come to war. The fact that the US is still building military outposts on the Iranian border and a massive armada of warships in the Persian Gulf (a third aircraft carrier arrived at the end of August) should keep us on our guard. An attack is still possible, if temporary less likely.

What’s clear, as the Lehman Brothers collapse and the Russian war with Georgia have shown, we are now in a period of instability, of political and economic turmoil, where circumstances can change rapidly and unpredictably. Regardless of what the outcome of the US election is in November, as long as Iran remains an obstacle to US hegemony in the Middle East, the shadow of war will loom.