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.
Background and Books
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.
His current lecture series on Al-Jazeera gave him a greater platform in the Arab world, broadcasting every Thursday evening. Haikal generally discusses information he acquired during his years as a journalist, historian, and a player in the political arena in Egypt's modern history. His lectures gave an overview of the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of modern Arab nationalist governments. He also lectured on the rise of the American Empire and the decline of the previous superpowers. His lectures range from general overviews to intricate details of scenes he witnessed. In addition, he briefly discussed the events leading to the deterioration of Nasser's relationship with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the failed assassination attempt. He also heavily criticized President Mubarak's attempt to re-election and suggested that no president should exceed ten years in office.
On July 26, 2007 Haikal announced on a lecture titled "The Challenges in Building the Aswan Dam" his will to end his lecture series on Aljazeera temporarily. Haikal told his audience that he needed to take a break "for a few months because [he has] provided numerous series... and because it's time to rest a little, ... hoping to come back, godwilling, in a few months if [his] age, health, and energy permit, to talk about the Arab Wars."
Heikel's regular appearances on Al-Jazeera have earned him a new and unprecedented following, especially among the young, bringing him around 50,000 emails and letters a week.
In August 2008, Mr. Heikel decided to again pause his lecture series at Aljazeera during the month of Ramadan. He is to return to lecture on the 1967 war. In November of the same year Mr. Heikel returned to Aljazeera to cover the US elections between Barack Obama and John Mccain and restart his lectures on Arab Wars.
* 2008 Aljazeera Lecture Series:
Mine in the Aqaba Gulf
Israel's Nuclear Weapons
Politics and History
World on the Verge of Chaos
World Foreign and Internal Politics
Understanding of War in Nations
Arab Resistance and Aid
War Era: Strategy and Politics
Arab False Battles
Instance of True Revolution
America Leads the World
Palestine: Right Refuses to be Forgotten (2)
Palestine: Right Refuses to be Forgotten (1)
Israel's View on Egyptian Role in the Region
Series of Crises in the Time of War
The Naked Empire
Alliance of Empires
Monsters With Eight Heads
Egyptian Armament and Israel's Security
Decision Projects Associated with Suez
National Security Boundaries
Protecting Suez Canal
Seven Plans to Invade
Suez Battle and War Era
Truth of Wars the Arabs Fought
National Security Theories
* 2007 Aljazeera Lecture Series:
Challenges in Building the Aswan Dam
Aswan Dam and the National Project
The United States and the Arab/Israeli Conflict
Slipping into War
Palestinians and Prospects of Settlement with Israel
Israeli Thinking and the 1956 Events
Conspiracy and Coup Era
French Plans to Interfere in Egypt
Creative Chaos and the Rivalry Links
Nasser's Debates with the West
Prospects of Settlement in the Middle East (2)
Prospects of Settlement in the Middle East (1)
Nasser's Ultimate Test
Jordan's 1956 Storm
Behind the Arms Deal
Security and National Peace
Arms Deals in the Arab World
Geneva Convention and the Importance of 1955
Preparing for Plan Alpha
Israeli Penetration in the Region
Nasser's Meeting with UK's Foreign Secretary
1955 and the Arab Division
1955 and the Distinguishing Symbols
1) There isn't a target in Afghanistan worth a $1m missile - Mohamed Heikal, the Arab world's foremost political commentator, Guardian, Stephen Moss, October 10, 2001
2) Chasing the paper trail, Al-Ahram, July 26, 2007
3) Mohamed Hasseinein (sic) Heikel: The wise man of the Middle East, Independent, Robert Fisk, April 9, 2007