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May 2011
Oakland, California

In the two months it has taken me to publish this journal, much has happened across the Middle East. Mubarak has toppled in Egypt, Assad of Syria is under attack, and Khadafi fights for his life in Libya. Osama bin Laden is dead.

And in the two decades since Desert Storm, nothing much has changed.

We are still at war in Iraq. Khadafi still fights for his life in Libya. And yet another U.S. president is asking the Israelis and Palestinians why they can't just get along. Time and technology march on; opinions and attitudes are slow to change--even my own. After reading my parting comments written twenty years ago, I have no new insights to add.

Mubarak and me
Mubarak and me, photo by Andrei Brauns
Nevertheless, I have traveled far and seen a lot since I left Kuwait. I have been around the world, literally--from Bahrain I continued east across southeast Asia and the Pacific to return to San Francisco. Four years later, my trip to Kuwait paid off. I got a year-long assignment in the London bureau, where I worked again with Dick Blystone, Jane Evans, and many other friends I had met during my tour of duty in the Persian Gulf. That's how I found myself in Cairo five years after Desert Storm. There I met and clipped microphones on Khadafi, Mubarak, and other Arab leaders as they held a summit to discuss why the Palestinians and Israelis couldn't get along.

And during that year I kept another journal, from another war zone. This time it was the snows of the Balkans instead of the sands of the Middle East... but the rest of the story is pretty much the same. Maybe I'll bore you with it sometime.

        Chuck Afflerbach

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© 2011 Chuck Afflerbach for The Hick Town Times