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MIDDLE EAST: Mohammed Heikal's view

I commended Arnaud de Borchgrave's critical article on the role of the neo-cons in the Middle East conflict:
"Lifeboat drill and compass"
Washington Times, Sept. 24, 2004

Christopher Jones comments: "Arnaud de Borchgrave is very concise but tempered in his criticism, and I take notice yet again of the absence of the word Israel. So many years ago, I sat in Neauphle le Chateau when an elegant gentleman arrived to see the Imam. His name was Mohammed Heikal, editor in chief of Cairo's Al Ahram daily and probably the most lucid commentator of Middle East events ever. As author and contributor to London's The Sunday Times. Heikal was a confidant and information minister in the cabinet of the late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and an advisor in the early years to Anwar el Sadat before the two had a falling out over Sadat's controversial trip to Jerusalem and the Camp David peace accords.

If you track Middle Eastern history through Heikal's books, US policy becomes palpably obvious. Whether you examine Kermit Roosevelt's US backed coup against Mossadegh in Iran or the incredible mediatization of Anwar Sadat, American foreign policy in the region since 1948 has never, ever varied. It can be reduced to two words: Israel and oil. I find that the best illustration of this strangely imperial policy (how can it be imperial if it is directed to cow-tow to a foreign country with other national interests; Israel?) is the rise and fall of President Sadat.

America under Jimmy Carter was successful in staging its greatest coup, prying the largest, most powerful and populous nation away from the Arab fold and promoting a separate peace with Likud Israel; setting the struggle for a Palestinian homeland back years. Heikal chronicles the destruction of the Rais in "Autumn of Fury" and it is an amazing read. For the US media, Sadat is now revered as a man of peace, a brave visionary who tried to overcome the dispute between Arabs and Israelis. Nothing could be further from the truth".

This is an opportune time to remember Edward Said of Columbia University, a worthy exponent of the Palestinian cause. He died on September 25: The Economist (19.04.03) has an obituary commending him.

Ronald Hilton - 10.04.03