Summer is a violent time in the Middle East. There is something about the heat that feeds restlessness. Before I begin, I would like to make it clear that Abu Musa is not a human being, rotting somewhere in a prison, but is a disputed island lying in the strait of Hormuz between the United Arab Emirates and Iran.
Abu Musa is clinging to life. The island’s claimants are clinging to all that is trivial. And much of the Persian Gulf waits for the news that this 12.8 sq km area of dry land has been liberated from an age old dispute since 1974; well, since 1877 to be honest. The same incident carried back and forth, over and over again, has resulted in the suspensions of Iranian players in the UAE Professional league for the past couple of seasons. And I have a feeling that the UAE football league changed the name from UAE Pro League to the Arabian Gulf League just to piss off the Iranians, and it worked.
Houshang Nasirzadeh, the head of the legal committee for the country’s football federation:
“Iranian Football Federation will object to the fake naming in the next two days. It will send a letter to the FIFA ethics committee. It regards the UAE’s behavior as politically-tainted and racist.”
What was unimaginable is the possibility of a football pitch in the island. After curiously wandering about on Google Maps, I came across a patch of green that stood out vibrantly among what appear to be mountains, sand, and a few low lying establishments. It had clear statement in the center of the pitch “Persian Gulf”.
This message as seen from the satellites cannot be any more concise and comprehensible for the Iranians to send across to the UAE and the rest of the Arab states.