Author Archives: Linda S. Heard

Has Britain jumped the gun on Russia’s culpability?

UK should produce convincing proof that Russia carried out the Salisbury nerve gas attack

Britain is justifiably angry at the attempted assassination of a Russian double agent and his daughter currently critically ill in a Salisbury hospital and the fact that a Russian nerve agent was the deadly contaminant is cause for serious consternation. That said, Prime Minister Theresa May’s rush to point a finger at Moscow with which her government has long had a frosty relationship, is open to question; except those who do ask inconvenient questions are shouted down as being unpatriotic in an atmosphere reminiscent of Cold War ‘Reds under the bed’ hysteria. Continue reading

Does the BBC favour the Muslim Brotherhood?

Can it be pure coincidence that the BBC has chosen to broadcast two scathing documentaries presented and written by Orla Guerin—The Shadow over Egypt and Crushing Dissent in Egypt—alleging forced disappearances and torture literally weeks before the presidential election? Continue reading

Is democracy the new opium of the masses?

Whatever label is placed on a style of governance, ultimately the proof is in the pudding. Any system that delivers on a population’s needs, providing them with security, opportunity and a decent standard of living is a good one but is rarely acknowledged as such.

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Egypt’s economic measures bear fruit

President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi is arguably the first Egyptian president with an eye firmly focused on his nation’s long-term economic health. He is motivated largely by a burgeoning population projected to increase by as much as 20 per cent in 2020 and unlike many of his predecessors he eschews short term feel-good fixes. Continue reading

Out of Trump’s frying pan and into an evangelical fire

Donald Trump has to be one of the most unpopular US presidents ever from a global perspective. On his watch, confidence in US leadership has plummeted to a mere 30 percent around the world, according to a recent Gallup Poll that ranks America lower than its competitor, China. Continue reading

Racial hatred explodes into the Israeli mainstream

Israelis should be the last people on earth to indulge in open racism and bigotry when many of their forefathers were victims of discrimination, forced resettlement, pogroms and Nazi genocide. Continue reading

Are Trump and Netanyahu cooking-up a ‘New Palestine’?

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has broken his silence to expose that years of US mediation in the peace process was a farce designed to keep his people subdued, dangling on a hope and a prayer. Abbas has finally done away with diplomatic-speak to frankly disclose what he has long known to be true. The Oslo Accords is nothing but a sham existing purely on paper. Continue reading

Scandal-ridden Trump crosses red lines unchallenged

It is hard to keep up with the US president’s insults and shock policy decisions yet the Republican Party is sticking with him. He has labeled Mexicans as rapists. He did his best to enact a Muslim entry ban. He gleefully threw rolls of paper towels at traumatised Puerto Ricans, many without food, water and shelter in the aftermath of a hurricane. He insisted a crowd of white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville included good people. Continue reading

Arab states should say ‘no thanks’ to US aid

US President Donald Trump has just thrown a grenade into a volatile region without thought for consequences. He has resorted to upending decades of US policy, blackmailing countries to bend them to his will and, to cap it all, he boasts “I don’t care.” Continue reading

No positive responses to Trump’s Jerusalem shock

Donald Trump’s flouting of international law with his recognition that [occupied] Jerusalem is Israel’s capital elicited worldwide condemnation, not least from predominately Muslim states. Protestors have taken to the streets throughout the Middle East, Asia and Europe to vent their frustrations burning effigies of the US president. To date there is no nation on earth willing to follow the Trump administration’s lead. Continue reading

Let’s quit pretending Trump has a strategy for peace

Why did he do it? Why did he give away the most disputed city on the planet to Israel for free; a city that is not America’s to gift. And especially when the world graphically spelled out the potentially devastating consequences? Continue reading

May, stop punishing Sharm Al Shaikh!

October 31 marks the second anniversary of the tragic loss of life resulting from the crash of a Russian passenger plane shortly after its take off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm Al Shaikh. Continue reading

Palestinian unity is prerequisite to peace

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could soon be deprived of his pretexts for shying away from serious peace negotiations with Palestinian leaders, which he may find discomforting. While he has paid lip service to a long defunct peace process, he has always maintained that the acrimonious split between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip translates to the absence of a single peace partner. Continue reading

Nationalism, an epidemic of hatred and division

Those loyal to their country regardless of its imperfections and who feel at one with their compatriots demand respect. However, there is a fine line between patriotism and nationalism which is often misunderstood. Continue reading

US pot calls Russian kettle black

Is the paranoia sweeping the United States’ political and media establishment over Russia’s alleged interference in America’s democratic process ridiculously overblown? The topic has dominated news networks since the presidential inauguration and is currently being investigated by three congressional committees all stepping on one another’s toes. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is ruthlessly turning over every pebble trying to unearth collusion between Moscow and members of the Trump campaign team to oil Donald Trump’s journey to the White House. Continue reading

Threats and sanctions won’t disarm Kim

Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader cut his baby teeth on the milk of fear and hatred towards the United States as did his father Kim Jong-il. Those emotions were generated from what has been referred to as the “Forgotten War” waged during the early 1950s by the US against North Korea with UN backing that robbed the lives of more than five million Koreans as well as 40,000 US soldiers. Its aim was to eradicate the Communist regime supported by Russia and China. Continue reading

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