Mohamed Hassanein Heikal

Mohamed Hassanein Heikal
Mohamed Hassanein Heikal

Mohamed Hassanein Heikal
Born 23 September 1923 (1923-09-23) (age 88)
Occupation Journalist
Religious belief(s) Muslim

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.[1]


Background and Books

Heikal articulated the thoughts of President Gamal Abdel Nasser earlier in his career.[2] The reasons for his fall with president Anwar El-Sadat, who succeeded Nasser, remain under great speculation.[citation needed]

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.

"Old Warrior"

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 El Alamein in 1942,[disambiguation needed ] 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. Heikal 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.[citation needed]

On July 26, 2007 Heikal announced on a lecture titled "The Challenges in Building the Aswan Dam" his will to end his lecture series on Aljazeera temporarily. Heikal 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, 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 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

Suez War

Conspiracy Theory

National Security Boundaries

Protecting Suez Canal

Seven Plans to Invade

Suez Battle and War Era

Truth of Wars the Arabs Fought

National Security Theories

Arriving Tremors

War Era

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

Conspiracy Theory

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

Bandong Convention

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


In an audience with UK journalist 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.[3] 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.


  • Heikal or the secret file of arab memory, Riadh Sidaoui, (هيكل أو الملف السري للذاكرة العربية), Centre arabe de recherches et d'analyses, Beyrouth, 2003
  • The Liberation War of Palestine: Conspiracy of the Jews and Arabs' stand (1996)


  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

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