In Translation: Muhammad Hassanein Heikal on the "new Sykes-Picot"

Since we began this translations from the Arabic press — thanks to our friends at Industry Arabic, the full-service translation company —  I’ve mostly highlighted stuff I liked and tended to agree with. This, week, I wanted to take a look at an influential voice in the Arab media that I virtually always disagree with: Muhammad Hassanein Heikal. Heikal was editor of al-Ahram and minister of information under Nasser and lasted a little under Sadat, before being put in prison. He never played any prominent role in the Mubarak years, but in the last decade joined the chorus of critics of the regime from his perch at al-Jazeera, which hosts his special programs from time to time, usually focusing on historical issues (Heikal often delves into his personal archive of documents for this.)

In his latest al-Jazeera appearance, Heikal reflected on the Arab uprisings and the Western reaction to them, saying the region was headed towards a new Sykes-Picot: a grand re-arrangement of its dynamics according to external interests. Much of what he says is unsubstantiated grandiloquence, but in it is a kernel of truth: how are regional and external powers adjusting to the Arab Spring and trying to get maximum advantage out of it? The history of the region warrants such caution — one just wish there would be better, more coherent strategists than Heikal to read the tea leaves.

Mohamed Hassanein Heikal: “What’s happening now is not a ‘spring,’ but a new ‘Sykes-Picot’ to divide the Arabs”

Revolutions are not a deal for external forces to “hand over the keys” … and the West is recognizing the Muslim Brotherhood as a tool for fomenting sectarian strife

Nasrallah: What Yemen, Syria and the region are witnessing is part of a Zionist-American plan of fragmentation.

Writer and veteran political analyst Mohamed Hassanein Heikal has stated that the events the Arab world is now witnessing are not a “spring” but a new “Sykes-Picot” to divide the Arab region and divvy up its resources and territories as part of three plans. The first plan is “Euro-American,” the second is Iranian, and the third is Turkish, in addition to an Israeli half-plan to stymie the Palestinian issue. He argued that revolutions are not factory-made and it’s impossible for them to succeed this way. Revolutions do not take place in the sense that control-hungry external forces “hand over the keys;” rather, they are looking out for their own interests, and no one should imagine that popular liberation comes second after [foreigners’] own interests.

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