Author Archives: Linda S. Heard

Tunisia no longer a shining star in ‘Arab Spring’ galaxy

Wage worries, unemployment and a fragile security situation prevail in the country

Tunisia, which sparked mass uprisings throughout swathes of the Arab world, is still being hailed by the Western media as the Arab Spring’s lone success story, uniting secular and Islamist political strains. Sad to say, there is just as much discontent in the country than there was prior to the 2011 revolution that deposed President Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali. People did win a new constitution and the right to participate in free and fair polls but improvements in standards of living and security are lacking. Continue reading

Britons should be allowed to decide their fate

Voters must be allowed to decide between crashing out, staying-in or accepting the offer

The fact that all EU member states have so readily agreed to the British prime minister’s compromise deal, while few UK lawmakers are celebrating, more than two years of negotiations speaks volumes. No one can accuse Theresa May of not trying to please everyone but she has ended pleasing hardly anyone. Diehard Brexiteers and Remainers are united in their vehement opposition to her one foot-in and one foot-out solution. Continue reading

White House bid to tame the media is self-defeating

It may be the bane of presidents’ lives, but free media is fourth pillar of democracy

There is nothing dispassionate about the United States president. He loves those who lavish praise upon him and slaps back at critics and rivals, past and present. The indisputable fact that no politician can please all of the people all of the time completely escapes him. Every critique is seen as a personal attack on his performance, warranting a tongue-lashing or twitter storm in response. Continue reading

Middle Easterners aren’t America’s problem

It is a mistake for vote-hungry politicians to scapegoat illusory Middle Easterners while playing down the danger posed by far-right nationalists and white supremacists

The US president recently attempted to ramp up the fear factor to galvanise his faithful voting base with one of his own snippets of fake news. He asserted that among the migrant caravan of thousands heading to the US southern border hoping to request asylum are “unknown Middle Easterners,” a claim supported by Vice-President Mike Pence who said his boss had “very good information.” Continue reading

Britain is too soft on extremists

Britain’s treatment of dangerous radicals is not only absurd, but also highly dangerous. Bad enough that senior members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood were invited to apply for asylum in the United Kingdom on its Home Office website, the country is now welcoming an influx of White Helmets, a controversial rescue contingent active in Syria operating solely in ‘rebel’ areas. Continue reading

How the US piles pressure on Palestinians

Funding cuts to the institutions in Palestine are followed by legislation that brands criticism of Israel anti-Semitic

Palestine is occupied and I am beginning to wonder whether Washington is as well. Not only has President Donald Trump gifted occupied Jerusalem to the Jewish state and defunded UNRWA, he has axed $25 million (Dh91.82 million) for Palestinian hospitals, closed the PLO’s mission and revoked visas for the Palestinian envoy and his family. His latest blow was to cut $10 million for Israeli-Palestinian coexistence programmes. Continue reading

US punishes long-suffering Palestinians

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is right to reject American mediation. The United States has forfeited its role as a broker, let alone an honest broker in this 70-year-long conflict. President Trump’s Middle East “deal of the century” has turned out to be a mirage, an empty promise devoid of substance. Instead, he is going full steam ahead to bring the Palestinian people to their knees in the hope that they will be forced to accept any scraps off Israel’s table. Continue reading

The fantasist tabloids of Britain

Ellie Holman, a Swedish resident of the UK, who was detained at Dubai airport with her four-year-old daughter for three days, claimed she was offered unpalatable food and forced to clean toilets simply for consuming a glass of wine with her meal on the flight. Continue reading

Judicial process is every nation’s own business

The Trudeau government has been caught by surprise. What may seem like a run-of-the-mill critical tweet penned by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs boomeranged badly. Saudi Arabia’s reaction to being ‘ordered’ to release jailed activists ‘immediately’ was swift and punitive. Continue reading

Assange’s fate is all but sealed

WikiLeaks founder risks arrest as the UK, Australia and Ecuador are keen to please the US to further their own interests

Credible reports suggest that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is about to be thrown to the wolves. Ecuador, the country that has fought hard on his behalf for so long, is set to show him the door. As soon as he steps out he will be arrested by British police when extradition to the US will loom large. Dozens of protests were held around the world in June calling for his release and large demonstrations are planned in the event of his imminent eviction, though, sad to say, people power will not prevail against the big guns pointing in his direction. Continue reading

Israel—a blatantly apartheid state

Jewish Nation-State Law leaves Palestinians in the lurch as hopes for an independent state fade

No people on earth have battled for their right to live independently and in dignity as long and hard as the Palestinians. The tragedy is they have been abandoned. Their traditional champions either have problems of their own or feel impotent against the joint might of the Jewish state and its backer, the United States, where states are passing laws defining criticism of the Israeli state as anti-Semitic. Continue reading

Turkey evolves into a one-man show

In light of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s executive power grab, albeit with the approval of 52 per cent of the country’s population, can Turkey still lay claim to being a democratic republic based on the separation of powers? Continue reading

Refugee crises need long-term solutions

It seems to me that some opportunistic Western politicians are exploiting the refugee crises to feather their own nests by appealing to voters fearful of being culturally swamped and threatened economically. They tap in to people’s nationalistic instincts engendering contempt for the other, rendering ‘compassion’ to the status of a dirty word. Continue reading

Middle East peace plan doesn’t ring true

US strategy to declare Gaza a mini-state cut off from West Bank is aimed at protecting Israeli demographic interests

The US administration’s peace team, led by Jewish colony funders Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, has recently held meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as the leaders of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, hoping to pave the way for the implementation of President Trump’s mysterious peace plan. Continue reading

Egypt surpasses US and UK in safety rankings

Gallup’s recently published annual Global Law and Order poll places Egypt the safest country in Africa and 16th out of 135 countries in terms of personal safety on par with Denmark, Austria and the Netherlands. Down the scale comes the United Kingdom (21st) and the United States which ranked 35th. Respondents were asked how they felt walking around after dark and whether they had ever been assaulted or mugged among other pertinent questions. Continue reading

More humane approach to refugees needed

US President Donald Trump’s stance on migrants from Central America fleeing gang warfare or persecution due to their race, religion or political views makes a mockery of the plaque on his nation’s most recognisable monument. “Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . .” now reads like a bad joke. Continue reading

Why America’s allies are angry

America’s closest allies, Canada, Mexico and European states are perplexed and angry. There were plenty of warning signs that Donald Trump sought what he calls fairer trade practices which was one of his campaign pledges. Most thought his threat to slap them with crippling trade tariffs on steel and aluminium imports was a mere negotiating bluff. He wouldn’t, he couldn’t, they believed. But he did. Continue reading

US has ruthlessly crushed Palestinian hopes

Let’s cut to the chase. The Palestinians have been abandoned by all in any meaningful sense. They are keeping up a brave front but the reality is that a two-state solution has evolved into a myth to which the international community continues to pay lip service in the absence of a realistic alternative. A much touted one-state solution is a non-starter for Israel that fears a demographic imbalance would quash its claim to being a Jewish state. The light at the end of this very long tunnel has virtually been extinguished. Continue reading

Unjust system condemned these tiny warriors

An angelic-faced two-year-old toddler drew his last breath at 2am on Friday. Alfie Evans fought to survive for four days shocking doctors at Liverpool’s Alder Hey children’s hospital who believed he would die once his life support was turned off. Continue reading

‘Liberal democratic values’ exist only on paper

The leaders of Western countries never cease touting their nation’s values, such as freedom of expression, respect for the rule of law and care for the less fortunate. Those responsible for bringing chaos to Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya almost always base their actions on ‘values,’ no matter how much death and destruction or collateral damage (a horrible term) they inflict. Continue reading

‘Mission accomplished’ but to what end?

President Donald Trump would have been wise to have used a different turn of phrase to announce an end to US, UK and French strikes on three Syrian targets. ‘Mission accomplished’ evokes an image of George W. Bush on board a US aircraft carrier in May 2003 prematurely touting victory in Iraq. Continue reading

Official Skripal story beggars belief

The UK’s behaviour has been oddly secretive from the start with Russia being accused of the crime within hours

Have I got a scoop for you! It has come to my attention that a British minister asked the prime minister “Why don’t you expel 70 Russian diplomats? That has been our practice in the past when we want to ensure the press loses interest in something. Continue reading

Israel sniggers at a cowardly world

Faced with Israel’s crimes against humanity, Western leaders mirror the proverbial see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil Wise Monkeys bending their heads before the chest-beating Goliath on Pennsylvania Avenue. Continue reading

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