Jihad Watch : Fresh from his December fiasco at the mid-December “Islamic Summit”
in Kuala Lumpur, which was supposed to help promote “uniting the world’s
Muslims,” Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is at it again.
January 7, following what he called the “immoral” killing of Qassem
Soleimani, Mohamad again called for the Muslim world to unite. Perhaps
we ought to remind him that at that Kuala Lumpur meeting, only 20 of the
57 Muslim-majority states even bothered to send delegates. Such
important Muslim countries as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and
Indonesia failed to attend.
Even Pakistan, which with Turkey and
Malaysia had been one of the three organizers of the conference, chose
in the end not to send a delegate after its Prime Minister, Imran Khan,
was read the riot act by the Saudi Crown Prince. Nothing was achieved at
this four-day meeting; the meeting called to promote “unity” among
Muslims instead revealed the deep fissures among them.
of Islamic Cooperation’s Secretary General Yousef al-Othaimeen in Riyadh
insisted that such gatherings as the Kuala Lumpur “Muslim summit” would
only divide Muslims: “It is not in the interest of an Islamic nation to
hold summits and meetings outside the framework of the (OIC),
especially at this time when the world is witnessing multiple
That failed attempt at unity was held scarcely a month ago,
yet here we have Mahathir again speaking of the need for Muslims to
unite after the death of Soleimani. His Sisyphean task is described here:
The world’s oldest premier, who has in recent months
stoked diplomatic tensions by speaking out on issues concerning the
Muslim world, also said the US drone attack on Soleimani was against
Which international laws prohibit a state from protecting its own
people from imminent attack, with a carefully targeted killing? Does
Mahathir Mohamad think the targeted killings of Osama bin Laden, Abu
Bakr Al-Baghdadi, and Anwar al-Awlaki, terrorists all, violated
What law is he referring to? Has Mohamad forgotten
that, according to Article 51 of the UN Charter and customary
international law, a State may invoke self-defense, including
anticipatory self-defense, to justify its use of force in another
State’s territory when an armed attack, having reached a certain
threshold of gravity, occurs or is imminent?
Soleimani’s killing in Baghdad has sparked fears of a
broader conflict in the Middle East. Mahathir, 94, said it could also
lead to an escalation in “what is called terrorism”.
Those “fears of a broader conflict” were, as soon became clear,
hysterical. The killing of Soleimani was followed by a limited response
from the Iranians who, clearly terrified of Trump, took pains not to
kill any Americans, while informing their own people, to save face, that
they had killed “80 soldiers and wounded 200.”
“The time is right for Muslim countries to come together,” Mahathir told reporters.
“We are no longer safe now. If anybody insults or says something that
somebody doesn’t like, it is all right for that person from another
country to send a drone and perhaps have a shot at me.”
The purest hysteria. “We [Muslims] are no longer safe now”? Last I
looked, not all Muslims had been carrying out the kind of attacks that
Qassem Soleimani is credited with, nor are they all plotting imminent
attacks on Americans. Soleimani was not killed, Mahathir Mohamad,
because of his “insults” or his saying “something that somebody doesn’t
like.” He was killed because he had murdered tens of thousands of
people, including 600 American soldiers, and he was planning attacks on
embassies that American intelligence had good reason to believe were
Calm down, Prime Minister, such wild charges make you look
silly. No one is after Muslims (“we are no longer safe”); tens of
millions of Muslims are living right now, in the lands of the Infidels,
in perfect safety. Why, not even those diabolical Israelis have
responded to you for all the insults you have hurled in their direction.
Comparing the killing of Soleimani to the 2018 murder of
Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Mahathir said both
happened across boundaries. “This is also another act where one country decides on its own to kill the leaders of another country.”
Mahathir Mohamed should take care to mind his facts. First, Jamal
Khashoggi was not a “leader,” but a journalist. Second, he was not
killed by agents of “another country,” but by agents of his own country,
“Both are guilty of immoral acts, it is against the law, ” he said, according to the Star.
The killing of Qassem Soleimani, with the blood of tens of thousands
on his hands, and the promise of many more victims, has nothing in
common with the killing of a Saudi journalist guilty of nothing more
than criticizing his own country’s regime, by agents of that regime.
Mahathir Mohamed’s likening of the killing and dismemberment of a
journalist whose only weapon was words, with the American targeted
killing of someone who was undeniably the world’s most famous terrorist,
and was preparing an imminent attack on Americans, is grotesque..
Mahathir Mohamad fails to understand two things. First, when he
deplores the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, clearly pointing at, though not
naming, Saudi Arabia, as his executioner, he has chosen the very worst
way to promote “Islamic unity.” For the Saudis and their allies — the
UAE, Bahrain, Egypt — will be enraged — while other countries that need
Saudi money, such as Pakistan, will at least pretend to be, by Mohamad’s
bringing up the murder of Khashoggi.
Second, Soleimani’s killing is not deplored, as Mohamad seems to
think, by the Muslim world as a whole. Sunnis, who constitute 85% of the
world’s Muslims, appear to be mostly delighted. The Saudis are
delighted; their official media celebrated the strike. So did the Sunnis
in the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan.
Even in Iraq, according to
reports from Mithal al-Alusi and others, it is not just the Sunnis in
Iraq, but also many Shi’a who were enraged at Iran’s, and Qassem
Soleimani’s, interference in their country. Mahathir Mohamad is 94 years old. He is the world’s oldest living
ruler. Perhaps it’s time, for his own sake, and for that of whatever
Muslim “unity” may be possible, that he give it a rest.
The Saudi Crown
Prince would no doubt ensure that Mahathir Mohamad’s last years are made
very, very comfortable, just as long as he promises to be quiet. For he
has, like that Jane Austen heroine, delighted us long enough.