zondag 31 juli 2011

Mohamed Hassanein Heikal Interview on the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1972)


Mohamed Hassanein Heikal is an accomplished politician and writer from Egypt, whose legacy has included working as a war correspondent and serving as the editor-in-chief of the Cairo newspaper Al-Ahram. In, "Interview with Mohamed Hassanein Heikal," Heikal discusses policies, politics and journalism, commenting on how he believes the United States policy towards the Middle East to be misguided. He also breaks down the Arab-Israeli conflict as only a political journalist can. It serves as an interesting glimpse into Middle East politics of the 1970s.

MP4 - 266MB - 58m32s - Youtube rip


Mohamed Hassanein Heikal (Arabic: محمد حسنين هيكل‎, born 23 September 1923) is a leading Egyptian journalist. For 17 years (1957--1974) he was editor-in-chief of the Cairo newspaper Al-Ahram and has been a respected commentator on Arab affairs for more than 50 years.

The Arab--Israeli conflict (Arabic: الصراع العربي الإسرائيلي‎, Hebrew: הסכסוך הישראלי-ערבי‎) refers to the political tensions and open hostilities between the Arab peoples and the Jewish community of the Middle East that have lasted for over a century. Some trace the beginning of the conflict to large-scale Jewish return to Palestine, especially after the establishment of the Zionist movement, which intensified with the creation of the modern State of Israel in 1948. Others see it as a part of Arab nationalism, whose central premise is that the peoples of the Arab world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea, constitute one nation bound together by common linguistic, cultural, religious, and historical heritage. Territory regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland is regarded by the Pan-Arab movement as belonging to the Palestinian Arabs, and in the Pan-Islamic context, in territory regarded as Muslim lands.

The conflict, which started as a political and nationalist conflict over competing territorial ambitions following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, has shifted over the years from the large scale regional Arab--Israeli conflict to a more local Israeli--Palestinian conflict, though the Arab world and Israel generally remain at odds with each other over specific territory.

Heikal articulated the thoughts of President Gamal Abdel Nasser earlier in his career. The reasons for his fall with president Anwar El-Sadat, who succeeded Nasser, remain under great speculation.

Heikal has been a member of the Central Committee of the Arab Socialist Union.

In 1983, Heikal published many books: Sphinx and Commissar, Cutting the Lion's Tale: Suez Through Egyptian Eyes, The Road to Ramadan and a bombshell titled Khareef Al-Ghadab (Autumn of Fury), in which he analyzed the reasons behind Sadat's assassination and the rise of political Islam.

He wrote many other books, such as: Nasser: The Cairo Documents, The Sphinx and the Commissar: The Rise and Fall of Soviet Influence in the Middle East, The Cairo Documents: The Inside Story of Nasser and His Relationship with World Leaders, Rebels, and Statesmen, Secret Channels: The Inside Story of Arab-Israeli Peace Negotiations, Illusions of Triumph: An Arab View of The Gulf War, Iran: The Untold Story, The Return of the Ayatollah, The Iranian Revolution from Mossadeq to Khomeini, and October War.

In September 2003, and upon reaching the age of 80, Heikal wrote an article in the monthly magazine Wajhat Nazar (where he has been writing for some time) that the time has come for an "old warrior" to put down his pen and take to the sidelines. Heikal stressed that his decision to stop writing does not mean that he will disappear, but rather take to the sidelines to observe more thoroughly. In the article he also recounted a lot of the events that occurred in his life and formed his experience including his first mission as a reporter in the battle of Al Alamein in 1942, his friendship with Nasser and his relationship with Sadat. In addition, he opened his financial records stating the salaries he has received in all the jobs and posts he has been assigned to.

In an audience with Robert Fisk, Heikal openly spoke about the current situation in Egypt and strongly criticized the Egyptian president Mubarak, saying that Mubarak lives in a "world of fantasy" in Sharm al Sheikh. These comments stirred an uproar within the Egyptian community, both for and against Heikal. Heikal did not comment on this criticism except later on Al Jazeera where he said that he stands by what he has said earlier, adding that Mubarak had not entered political life until very late, which means he lacks necessary experience.

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