Author Archives: Linda S. Heard

Greece should remove its euro shackles

Like the meanest of loan sharks, Brussels has been squeezing the life out of the Greek people for far too long. Whereas non-EU member Turkey is courted with billions of euros due to the usefulness of its airbase to NATO and its efforts to stem the flood of refugees heading to Europe, democracy’s birthplace is treated like an unwelcome poor relation advised to tighten its belt before receiving scraps off the family table. Continue reading

Netanyahu’s quasi-state or non-state solution

No wonder the Israeli Prime Minister looked like his beaming smile had been glued on throughout his recent visit to Washington! That nuisance of a president with a Muslim name was safely out of the way and in his place was a self-ascribed lover of the Jewish state who’s wagged his finger telling Palestinians to stop hating their occupiers/oppressors. Heavenly music to Benjamin Netanyahu’s ears! Continue reading

Is America revolting?

In the eyes of many around the planet, the newly-minted Leader of the Free World isn’t fit for the job and it appears that a substantial percentage of Americans are reaching the same opinion. As Donald Trump’s approval rating hovers around the 45 per cent mark—the lowest for any president during his honeymoon period—I can’t see it going anywhere but south. Continue reading

Upsurge in nationalism does not bode well for world order

The factors that brought Western nations together under the US umbrella forged international institutions designed to achieve unity of purpose and preserve shared liberal democratic values to prevent another devastating world war. But many of those alliances and institutions are today being undermined by a wave of nationalistic sentiment deluging America and Europe, where mutual cooperation is gradually being replaced with every country for itself. Continue reading

Trump’s rollercoaster promises a wild ride

Oh for a quiet news day, preferably one when the ‘T’ word passes no TV anchor’s lips! But the new Leader of the Free World is set on taking not only Americans but all of us on the ride of our lives towards a major rearrangement of the world order. Continue reading

A prisoner of Israel’s petty vindictiveness

The life of nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician employed at Israel’s Dimona facility, is being deliberately and cruelly left in limbo. He has paid a heavy price for exposing his country’s once best-kept secret, complete with photographic evidence, to the Sunday Times in 1986, and is still being made to pay. Continue reading

Two-state, one-state or rogue state—it’s all Israel’s choice

Looking at the overall picture from the start of Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenure to the present, it’s clear that Israel’s prime minister has never had any intention of seriously negotiating a two-state solution. He said no to Palestinian statehood in the run-up to the March 2015 election to attract voters from the religious right, only to walk back that controversial statement following his triumph. From his perspective, the two-state principle is nothing more than a useful carrot to hang over the heads of the Palestinian National Authority and to appease critical global voices. Continue reading

Does Israel call the shots in British politics?

Russia’s alleged attempt to sway the results of the US presidential election pales by comparison to Israel’s proven infiltration of Britain’s political sphere. However, whereas the US political establishment is up in arms, threatening a new round of anti-Russian sanctions, the British government has done its utmost to sweep the explosive findings of an Al Jazeera undercover reporter under the rug. Continue reading

A ‘hard Brexit’ won’t be a ‘clean Brexit’

Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, is in a fighting mood. She’s threatened that Britain has the option of simply walking away from the EU if there’s no good deal on offer. That would entail Britain unilaterally tearing up the European Communities Act, enabling the country to begin negotiating global trade deals which cannot be done with any seriousness as long as the UK is a member—something considered tantamount to bigamy. Continue reading

Ankara’s greatest challenge is fixing the economy

Once stable and prosperous, Turkey is battling on multiple fronts, but despite the country’s woes it has escaped the specter of widespread civil discontent until now. The failed coup, and the purges of alleged sympathizers from all walks of life, served to bring the nation together, sending President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s approval rating soaring to new heights. Continue reading

Will Trump be handcuffed by the ‘Deep State’?

Say what you will about Donald Trump—and for sure there’s plenty to be said—he has a reputation for being his own man with a penchant for doing things in an unorthodox fashion. Nevertheless, he’s open to persuasion provided he trusts the person who’s giving advice. For instance, he’s changed his tune on waterboarding, which he now accepts is illegal, and he’s cautiously accepted that Russia was “probably” behind the DNC hacking. He’s also gone quiet on his plan to bar Muslims from entering the US which would jar with the Constitution. Continue reading

Washington gets a taste of its own medicine

I’m no fan of the US President-elect Donald Trump but whether or not he’s cut from presidential cloth is for Americans to decide, and indeed, they have. Now, as his inauguration looms, the frustrated losers and disapprovers, among them President Barack Obama as well as Congressional dinosaurs, have ganged up to mount a campaign aimed at throwing barriers in front of his policy decisions and are set on delegitimising his win in the same way they are alleging Russia has done so as to scupper Hillary Clinton’s chances. Continue reading

Israel’s tantrum shows its scorn for international law

The recent United Nations Security Council Resolution reaffirming the illegality of Jewish colonies on the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem has buoyed Palestinians. For the first time, the administration of United States President Barack Obama refrained from using its veto to quash any condemnation of Israel. However, given the lateness in the day, Obama’s stance amounts to a token, a move taken to distance him from his successor’s raft of pro-Israel proposals—the relocation of the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem and his nomination of an ambassador that makes Netanyahu look like a peacenik by comparison. Continue reading

Who’s patiently waiting for Trump?

The US president-elect, Donald Trump, has admitted that he likes to keep people guessing. He’s a master manipulator as his book The Art of the Deal proudly portrays. “You tell a lie three times, they will believe anything. You tell people what they want to hear, play to their fantasies and then you close the deal,” he wrote. It worked like a dream during the campaign. Continue reading

Myanmar’s blood-stained ‘democratic’ transition

The military junta may have officially been dissolved and free and fair elections held, but Myanmar’s government either supports the army’s ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, or is too fearful to stand up for the democratic values its leader Aung San Suu Kyi has always espoused. Continue reading

Will 2017 mark a reshuffling of the world order?

The past is usually considered a predictor of the future. However, it appears that mass disenchantment with the status quo, built up over decades, is poised to rattle Western political norms. No politician or pollster or think tank can predict with any confidence what challenges await us next week let alone next year. There are too many unknowns, too many variables, but what can be said with certainty is that 2017 will witness great change. Continue reading

The politics of populism and mudslinging undermines democracy

Our world is on the cusp of a new era. Traditional taboos are being smashed. Respect has become an old-fashioned word. Nothing is too low or too dirty to be ignored, overlooked or even applauded by some. Continue reading

Egypt: No gain without pain

In order to understand why Egypt’s economic temperature has cooled it should be understood that this once stable country, with a healthy investment climate, was rocked by a mass public uprising resulting in its overthrow that was met with prolonged Brotherhood violence and the emergence of a terrorist group in northern Sinai. Continue reading

Licentiousness and back-stabbing rule this US presidential race

Neither presidential candidate is fit to be the leader of the so-called free world. Both have skeletons falling out from multiple closets and are just about the most unpopular candidates in US history. Rather than debate serious issues of concern to voters, they focus on slandering the other while their respective campaigns are shoveling up as much factual and fabricated dirt as they can unearth. Sheer disgust is the overriding emotion of many observers on the outside looking in. Continue reading

Goodbye, and good riddance!

It’s a pity President Barack Obama’s pivot away from the Middle East failed to manifest. Anywhere but here! Despite his sincere-sounding reach out to the Arab world during his early days of presidency when he pledged his commitment to work for a Palestinian state and facilitate an atmosphere of mutual respect, wherever his hand has touched is worse off now than ever before. Continue reading

Western powers back the wrong horse in Libya

Say what you will about Libya so-called ‘renegade general,’ Khalifa Haftar, he’s a patriot who’s been effective in battling Islamist radicals. Just days ago, his ‘Libyan National Army’ forces have bloodlessly persuaded armed groups to hand over control of the country’s idle coastal oil terminals which were immediately handed to the National Oil Corporation (NOC). Oil tankers have docked at two of the ports for the first time in three years and the NOC believes exports will be tripled by year’s end. Continue reading

Burqa and burkini: time to strike a balance

Wading through the British newspapers on Friday, I did a double-take. A headline in the Daily Mail read: ‘Police force is planning to let Muslim officers wear full burqas.’ Must be a joke, was my initial reaction. I relayed the news to my better half. “Don’t be silly,” he snapped. Turns out it’s nothing to laugh about. Continue reading

Practice what you preach

It is about time that the US got off its high horse on human rights and understood that taking other nations to task on their human rights record is akin to throwing stones in glass houses. The latest recipient of the seemingly obligatory lecture is China. Continue reading

Cementing dodgy alliances

Donald Trump has accused President Obama and Hillary Clinton of being the “co-founders of Daesh” on three separate occasions eliciting questions about his sanity. He has since backtracked saying he was being sarcastic, an excuse he has offered many times when faced with a backlash over some of his most ridiculous statements. Continue reading

Britain pokes Arab allies in the eye

Nothing much surprises me these days. It really is a mad, mad world where norms existing for decades, if not centuries, are being overturned, and taboos breached. But I must admit to doing a double take when I read that the UK Home Office is actually inviting senior Muslim Brotherhood members, activists and their propagandists masquerading as journalists to apply for asylum. Continue reading

Two sides of the same dime

I have the feeling that many throughout the Arab world will be muttering, “Come back Obama, all is forgiven” next January when his replacement is inaugurated into office. Obama failed to live up to his promise, or should I say promises, to build bridges with predominately Muslim countries and to work hard for a Palestinian state. Continue reading

US’s hate fest has no positive outcome

If there is one word to characterize the buildup to this US election it is “disrespect.” No low is too low. Their private lives are up for grabs, even those of their closest relatives. Continue reading

Turkey has its Western partners over a barrel

Without doubt many who were celebrating democracy’s victory last week are having second thoughts. The Turkish president’s “gift from God” has turned his fist into iron. The coup that wasn’t gives him a blank cheque to purge the military, the judiciary, state institutions, universities and schools of all opposition with echoes of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s 1950s witch hunt for Americans suspected of harbouring Communist sympathies. Continue reading

Is a race war brewing in the United States?

There’ve been violent clashes between whites and African Americans over the decades, but the idea that black America would rise-up en masse is a preposterous proposition in most people’s minds. Absolutely unthinkable! Continue reading

Blair is culpable, but Iraq wasn’t his war

All knives may be pointing at former British prime minister Tony Blair for dragging Britain into an unnecessary war with catastrophic consequences, but he was by no means its mastermind—and neither was the UK the chief protagonist. Continue reading

Ghutra is not a weapon!

Even if Donald Trump doesn’t manage to lord it over the White House, Trump-ism is certainly alive and well in Ohio. A respectable 41-year-old Emirati businessman, Ahmed Al-Manhali, wearing national dress, was recently physically assaulted, insulted and humiliated by police officers outside the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Avon purely because someone objected to his Arab attire. Continue reading

Holding talks with a con man

Anyone who imagines Benjamin Netanyahu genuinely believes that direct talks with Palestinian leaders can result in a deal is deluding themselves. Why? The Israeli prime minister has never had any intention of relinquishing an inch of occupied Palestinian land for peace; on the contrary, his goal is expansionism. Else why would be sanction the creep of Jewish settlements and the eviction of Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem from their homes? Continue reading