|Biographical detail : ||A deeply respected Egyptian journalist
No political commentator in the Arab world has ever come close to the iconic status enjoyed by Muhammad Hassanein Heikal, writer and one-time editor-in-chief of Al Ahram (1957-74) newspaper and who remains the only political analyst capable of enthralling Arab television viewers.
In his long career span Heikal wielded, for two decades, enormous influence as a close confidant of al-Nasser (1918 Ė 70) president of Egypt regarded as an Arab liberator and unifier and who helped secure Egypt as a major player amongst Muslim states.
Heikalís link with political power was broken in the mid-1970s when he fell out with al-Nasserís successor, Anwar el-Saadat (1918 Ė 81). Currently he presents a series of programmes on the al-Jazeera network.
Heikalís prolific writing including Nasir, The Cairo Documents, and Return of the Ayatollah and his encyclopaedic knowledge of both regional and international politics enhances his stature to be a deeply respected figure.