Author Archives: Linda S. Heard

Arab land is not America’s to gift

US president Trump cannot hand over a sovereign territory to a third entity

The idea that one individual can unilaterally decide the fate of a population 10,000km away on a whim and, worse, surrender even an inch of a state’s sovereign territory to a third entity is illegal, immoral and downright dangerous. Continue reading

Global condemnation fails to halt Turkish invasion

NATO’s defence pact and US backing bolsters Ankara bid to destroy the Syrian Kurds

Hundreds of thousands of Kurds, Syriac Christians and Arabs are fleeing Turkey’s bombs and ground forces that include hardcore Islamist ‘rebels.’ Continue reading

Hong Kong sleepwalks into self-destruct mode

Since emergency law has been imposed, prognosis for a peaceful resolution has dimmed

It is a facet of human nature to gravitate towards the underdogs of this world and when covering mass anti-government uprisings, wherever they take place, the media and human rights groups tend to reflect that sentiment. Continue reading

Why Palestinians are not watching Israeli polls

Whoever wins will work to crush all remnants of Palestinian hopes for independent state

Today, Israelis will cast their ballots for the second time in five months due to the inability of the incumbent, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to form a coalition following elections in April. A high turnout looks unlikely when many voters complain of election-fatigue and the two front-running parties sing from a similar dirge-like song book. Continue reading

Fix Syria to solve refugee problem

In Europe, refugees and asylum seekers are being blamed for the rise of far-right parties

It’s a crying shame that ‘refugee’ and ‘migrant’ have almost become dirty words from one side of the Atlantic to the other. Desperate families fleeing conflicts, violence or abject poverty have been dehumanised, turned into scapegoats and in some cases locked-up, treated worse than cattle. Continue reading

Israel’s democracy disguise is wearing thin

It’s not a country that abides by the rule of law as it promotes colonies deemed illegal

I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard Israeli officials boasting that their country is the only democracy in the Middle East even as it flouts all democratic principles whose mainstays are equality, free expression, human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law. Continue reading

Washington shamefully thwarts justice for Palestinians

There are no intermediaries capable of influencing or reining in Israel

Enough meandering around the bush! Palestinians have right on their side both morally and legally. Yet Israel is able to trample upon these victims of an illegal 52-year-long occupation with absolute and utter impunity, more so now than ever before. While it is the case that almost all US administrations swayed towards Israel’s side, at the very least they erected a non-biased facade for public consumption and at least two, that of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, worked towards a two-state-solution with sincerity. Continue reading

The strange affair of suspension of flights to Cairo

The move is a blow to the Egypt’s tourism industry which has taken years to recover

On Saturday, Britain’s flagship carrier British Airways disappointed holidaymakers with boarding cards heading to Egypt with letters announcing cancellation of flights to Cairo for a week to allow for security assessments. No alternative flights were offered. Continue reading

How Britain’s special relationship with America became lopsided

UK’s usefulness will diminish once its role as a conduit between the US and EU ends

With two dyed-in-the-wool Tory Brexiteers vying to replace Theresa May as prime minister, Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union now looks inevitable. The hopes of Britons who resented their country being under Brussels’ sway will come to fruition. Freedom from foreign constraints is on the horizon. “Britons never, never, never shall be slaves,” go the stirring words of the patriotic song Rule Britannia children of my generation sang in school. Continue reading

Migrants in cages stain America’s reputation

Waves of would-be immigrants may be a concern, but cruelty cannot be the solution

Where is the international outcry in response to reports that asylum seekers, among them children and newborns, are being crammed tightly into detention centres on America’s southern border without basic facilities? Does American exceptionalism extend to treating 2,500 human beings worse than animals with impunity? Continue reading

Mursi’s death is being shamefully politicised

No mystery in passing of the former Egyptian president who suffered a heart attack in court

Elements of the Western media and human rights groups are guilty of exhibiting egregious double standards, making offensive unsubstantiated accusations against the Egyptian state in response to the death of the country’s former Muslim Brotherhood president. Those claims are based purely on conspiracy theories concocted by Cairo’s pro-Brotherhood enemies and disseminated by the usual suspects CNN, BBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times among others. Continue reading

Is Turkey going rogue?

Erdogan faces a dilemma: surrender to US diktats or align with Russia, China and Iran

As a new bipolar world order emerges pitting the United States and its Western allies against Russia and China’s growing influence, the geopolitical deck shares are being rearranged. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would prefer to straddle the fence. He insists he seeks good relations with every nation but in reality he is veering away from Washington towards Moscow. Continue reading

Climate not conducive to Donald Trump’s peace plan

Arab summit has announced its rejection of proposals that don’t conform to UN resolutions

It takes two hands to clap and neither side in this 70-year-long saga is shaking hands. Instead, naked hostility reigns largely engendered by the Trump administration’s biased approach serving the Jewish state. Bad enough that according to leaks there is no two-state or even one-state in the offing. Instead a demilitarised, non-contiguous Palestinian enclave on 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank has allegedly been proposed with its ‘capital’ on [occupied] Jerusalem’s outskirts. Continue reading

Controversy overshadows Trump’s visit to Britain

US president faces ‘a carnival of protest’ and wrath of British politicians

Britain’s fortunes are inextricably entwined with those of the mighty United States. They will be even more so after the UK leaves the European Union in respect to a coveted US-UK trade deal as well as heightened diplomatic and military cooperation. Continue reading

Brexit: Britain is sleepwalking to self-harm

UK lawmakers must wake up and revoke Article 50 to save the nation from ruining itself

The UK is undergoing its severest crisis since the Second World War. The country is rudderless. Its politicians are self-serving and at each other’s throats. The people are divided, angry and confused. The world looks on aghast at the mess created three years ago when Prime Minister David Cameron’s reckless bet to appease his Conservative rivals failed to pay off. There’s no other way of putting it. Great Britain has become a global laughing stock. Continue reading

Bundestag falsely brands BDS movement anti-Semitic

Freedom to shine a light on injustice through boycotts should be upheld

On Friday, Germany’s Bundestag voted to brand support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) as anti-Semitic in response to a motion submitted by the Christian Democratic Party, the Greens and the Free Democrats. The resolution cited stickers urging consumers not to buy Israeli goods and appeals to blacklist Israeli artists as echoing Germany’s dark Second World War history. Continue reading

US peace plan for Middle East looks dead in the water

Blueprint with Palestinian-Jordanian confederation or enlarged Gaza would not be accepted

The US president’s ‘Deal of the Century’ is due to be unveiled after Ramadan. However, chances are it will be no monumental gift to the region but rather a futile attempt by a dishonest broker to impose a settlement that likely contradicts decades of United Nations Security Council Resolutions and U-turns on America’s long-held adherence to a two-state solution. Continue reading

The Assange stitch-up is done and dusted

Ecuador’s ex-president, Correa, is furious with successor for allowing UK police into embassy

The United States and its vassal-state type allies the UK and Sweden have seemingly conspired to punish the WikiLeaks founder for exposing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dragged out of his embassy sanctuary ostensibly for jumping bail after seven long years of self-imposed isolation, Julian Assange is now incarcerated in Britain’s high-security Belmarsh prison. Continue reading

Let Libyans solve their own problems

Haven’t Western powers done enough damage to Libya without poking noses into the current power play? It was military intervention on the part of France, Britain and the US that in 2011 succeeded in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi who, despite his eccentricities, presided over a stable and prosperous nation whose nationals enjoyed a high standard of living. Continue reading

Golan is the gift that is not Trump’s to give

UN resolution prohibits acquisition of territory by war

The US president’s ego has reached dangerous heights. Bad enough that he overturned decades of American policy by unilaterally declaring occupied Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, now with a tweet he has presented his buddy Benjamin Netanyahu struggling to be re-elected with the long-coveted icing on the cake, the occupied Golan Heights. Continue reading

Politicians playing with lives of Britons

Unless the squabbling Parliament can get its act together, the United Kingdom could automatically crash out of the European Union on March 29, an event generally perceived as a disastrous course of action setting back the nation’s economy for years to come. Continue reading

Can Algeria’s popular uprising end well?

Anti-government protests spearheaded by Algerian youths—calling for democracy, an end to corruption and job opportunities—elicit feelings of deja vu. We’ve seen it all before. The misnamed Arab Spring in 2011 that toppled long-serving leaders Tunisia’s Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and the Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, plunged Libya, Syria and Yemen into bloody civil wars. Continue reading

Democracy, rights pretexts for regime change

A ‘win’ for US in Venezuela would set a terrible precedent for smaller nations

The Trump administration’s concern for the economic plight of the Venezuelan people is based purely on compassion for the hungry or so we are meant to believe. The country poses no threat to the US or its neighbours, so what other reasons could there possibly be for Donald Trump’s efforts supported by US western and regional allies to topple socialist President Nicolas Maduro? Continue reading

Netanyahu seals a devilish pact with despicables

Israeli PM has chosen to gamble for his political life by bowing to racist Otzma Yehudit

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is fighting tooth-and-nail to cling to his lofty seat in the run-up to Knesset elections scheduled for April 9. For the first time in many years, his Likud Party faces a serious challenger. Kahol Lavan (Blue White), a centrist alliance formed in December last year, led by Benny Gantz, a former armed forces chief-of-staff-turned politician, is edging ahead in various polls. Continue reading

Open letter to French President Emmanuel Macron

Macron had temerity to criticise Egypt when his own handling of protests raised eyebrows

You came, you saw but you failed to conquer hearts and minds. Egypt welcomed you in friendship. You and France’s First Lady were treated as honoured guests with genuine warmth. Your visit was meant to cement economic, strategic and cultural relations and, indeed, officials signed agreements worth €1.6 billion (Dh6.72 billion) but that’s where the good news ended. Continue reading

Venezuela needs help not foreign meddling

‘Aren’t I lucky to be Canadian, we get to choose other countries’ leaders,” was a tongue-in-cheek post on social media which says it all. Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Columbia were among the first to hang on to Washington’s coat-tails with its anointing of Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guado to temporarily replace President Nicolas Maduro. And Guado wasted no time in swearing himself into office. Continue reading

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