Author Archives: Linda S. Heard

Do only Western lives matter?

Many decades ago, I had lunch with the news editor of a prominent right-wing British newspaper with a view to being appointed one of the paper’s Middle East stringers. He confirmed what I already suspected. My reports must be supportive of Israel as opposed to the Arab world, he said in all seriousness. He later joked about headlines on disaster reports focusing on the plight of a single white person rather than tens of thousands of non-Caucasians. I did not accept the job. Continue reading

Kushner’s Middle East peace efforts evoke yawns

Is there anyone with half a brain who believes President Trump’s 36-year-old son-in-law Jared Kushner can magically draw up a serious peace process when every administration since Jimmy Carter’s Camp David has tried and failed? Continue reading

Frightening rhetoric but will there be war?

US President Donald Trump is certainly taking a different approach from his predecessor in tackling the threat from North Korea’s nuclear weapons. He has adopted the type of macho language used by George W. Bush’s Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who warned Pakistan in the aftermath of 9/11 that if it didn’t cooperate it would be bombed back “to the Stone Age.” Continue reading

Sanctions won’t address our world’s woes

The United States Congress is certainly not out to win foreign allies and, although it is dominated by Republicans, the majority of lawmakers seem bent on thwarting the White House at every turn. Continue reading

Threatening North Korea with military action is insane

Most responsible rational state actors would shudder when warned by the mighty United States to quit its nuclear weapons programme and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) testing or risk being attacked. However, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un is neither responsible nor rational. Continue reading

Britain faces a multiple choice with no answers

In my wildest imagination I cannot picture President Donald Trump strolling along hand in hand with Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, even figuratively. But in this weirdest of worlds, they might find themselves in a position where they are forced to superficially get along to preserve the hallowed transatlantic alliance. Continue reading

There is no media more hostile than Qatar’s

It is troubling to discover that one of Al Jazeera’s prime functions was to act as a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood

In response to the banning of Qatari websites by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, Qatar’s foreign minister announced that his country is the target of “a hostile media campaign.” Continue reading

Sabre rattling heightens North Korean threat

No wonder President Donald Trump hankers after his old life. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier,” he told Reuters. For some reason he never imagined that holding the fate of the planet in his hands would be a tad harder than signing cheques, hosting a reality show and doing deals on the golf course. Continue reading

Assange’s dream of freedom fades

Founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange is neither sinner nor saint. He is first and foremost a journalist and a courageous one at that. He fearlessly took on the political establishment wielding one of the greatest weapons of all—the truth. However, the truth did not set Assange free, just the opposite. His dissemination of inconvenient truths has made him a target of the United States, which doesn’t appreciate having its dirty laundry aired. Continue reading

Laptop ban is irrational and discriminatory

As you are no doubt aware, travellers flying direct to the US or the UK from a raft of Muslim-majority countries are no longer permitted to take tablets, laptops, e-readers, DVD-players and cameras into the cabin based on supposed intelligence suggesting terrorists plan to convert them into incendiary devices. The new regulation may sound like a sensible precaution until one digs deeper when it begins to look highly suspect. Continue reading

Can the EU survive nationalist sentiment?

Anyone foolish enough to foretell the break-up of the European Union five years or so ago would have been viewed as a crank on the fringe. Not so today when everything we thought we knew is being challenged, a world on the cusp of great change of the kind no pollster or expert is qualified to predict because the past is no longer a predictor of the future. Continue reading

‘America First’ has its pitfalls

President Donald J. Trump had repeatedly said, “My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America.” That’s a great patriotic sound bite guaranteed to appeal to his following, but he appears to have forgotten that the US is not an island unto itself and isolationist policies will have all kinds of causal repercussions. Continue reading

Egypt’s reforms begin to pay off

Egypt is gradually emerging from years of economic turmoil caused by serial revolutionary aftershocks that shattered investor confidence and took a heavy toll on foreign currency reserves. Continue reading

Visiting the US? Prepare for interrogation!

President Donald Trump’s ill-conceived ban on visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries had a short shelf life because it failed to meet legal standards, but a growing number of travellers to the US report having been traumatised by overzealous border guards or being barred from entering. As horror stories emerge almost daily it’s hardly a surprise that America’s tourism industry is feeling the pain from what newspapers are dubbing “the Trump Slump.” Continue reading

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