Jason Burke

Hot Spot

A World of Trouble: America in the Middle East


Portobello Books 628pp £25 order from our bookshop

A World of Trouble opens with an astonishing scene: George Tenet, director of the CIA, swimming at midnight in the personal pool of the Riyadh villa of Prince Bandar, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the USA. Tenet is livid, rolling drunk, spitting imprecations at those in the White House who are trying to pin the responsibility for the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq on the agency he leads. It is 2004 and the realisation is dawning that the invasion has led to something very tough, long and uncertain. Tenet, bellowing that he has put on three stone in weight since taking up his post, slaps his belly and shouts: ‘I’m a fat pig’ at the Arabian sky.

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