Wednesday, March 29, 2023

[Trouble maker] US Occupiers Lash Out as Syria War Draws to an End

Volume 28, Number 84 — Tuesday, March 28, 2023

US Occupiers Lash Out as Syria War Draws to an End - March 28, 2023

Washington is worried about a peace between Damascus and its estranged Arab neighbors — as well as Turkey — that is marginalizing the U.S. and its allies, writes M.K. Bhadrakumar.

U.S. soldier in a patrol area outside Manbij in northern Syria, June 26, 2018. (U.S. Army/Timothy R. Koster)

By M.K. Bhadrakumar
Peoples Dispatch

The circumstances surrounding the flare-up in Syria between the U.S. occupation forces and pro-Iranian militia groups remain murky. President Joe Biden claims that the U.S. is reacting, but there are signs that it is likely being proactive to create new facts on the ground.

The U.S. Central Command claims that following a drone attack on an American base near Hasakah on the afternoon of March 23, retaliatory air strikes were undertaken later that night, at Biden’s direction, against “facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.”

This version has been disputed by the spokesman of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, however, who accused Washington of “creating artificial crises and lying.” The Iranian official alleged that “over the past two days, American helicopters have carried out several sorties with the aim of increasing instability in Syria, and transferred Daesh (Islamic State) terrorists in the territory of this country.”

He said Washington must be held accountable for such activities. The official warned that Tehran will give a prompt response to any U.S. attack, on whatever false pretext, against Iranian bases on Syrian soil, which are present at Damascus’ request to fight terrorism.

Is the U.S. deliberately ratcheting up tensions in Syria as the China-brokered, Saudi-Iranian rapprochement is radically changing the security scenario in the West Asian [Middle East] region in a positive direction?

(cacahuate, based on map by NordNordWest, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Saudi-Syrian Talks

There is optimism that Syria stands to gain from the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement. Already, the Saudi Foreign Ministry has revealed that talks are going on with Syria for resuming consular services between the two countries, which will pave the way for the resumption of diplomatic relations, making it possible to reinstate Syria’s membership of the Arab League.

Saudi Arabia has established an air bridge with Syria to send relief supplies for those affected by the devastating earthquake in February.

The backdrop is that the normalization of relations between Syria and its estranged Arab neighbors has accelerated. It must be particularly galling for Washington that these regional states used to be active participants in the U.S.-led regime change project to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The Saudi-Iranian rapprochement badly isolates the U.S. and Israel.

From such a perspective, it stands to reason that the U.S. is once again stirring up the Syrian cauldron as Russian aircraft have been reported to be frequently flying over the U.S. military base At Tanf on the Syrian-Iraqi border where training camps for militant groups are known to exist.

U.S. Green Berets and their partner force, the Maghaweir al-Thowra, MaT, during a joint patrol mission near At-Tanf Garrison, Syria, April 29, 2020. (U.S. Army/ William Howard)

Israel too is a stakeholder in keeping Syria unstable and weak. In the Israeli narrative, Iran-backed militia groups have been increasing their capability in Syria in the last two years and the continued U.S. occupation of Syria is vital for balancing these groups. Israel is paranoid that a strong government in Damascus might start challenging its illegal occupation of the Golan Heights.

A key factor in this matrix is the nascent process of Russian mediation between Turkey and Syria. With an eye on the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary election in Turkey in May, President Recep Erdogan is keen to achieve some visible progress in improving ties with Syria.

Erdogan senses that Turkish public opinion strongly favours normalization with Syria. Polls in December showed that 59 percent of Turks would like an early repatriation of Syrian refugees who are a burden on the Turkish economy, which has an inflation rate of 90 percent.

Ending Turkish Occupation Key to Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in July 2020, during a visit to Moscow. (The Kremlin)

Turkey is a straggler when other the West Asian countries are normalizing their relations with Damascus. But Assad is demanding the removal of Turkish occupation of Syrian territory first for resuming ties with Ankara.

Now, there are growing signs that Erdogan may be willing to bite the bullet. The consummate pragmatist in him estimates that he must act in sync with the public mood. Besides, the main opposition party CHP (Republican Party) has always maintained that an end to the Syrian conflict needs to be anchored on the principles of Syria’s unity and territorial integrity.

The influential Beirut newspaper Al-Akhbar has reported, citing sources close to Damascus, that Erdogan is weighing options that would meet Assad’s demand with a view to restoring relations. The daily reported that one possibility is that Turkey may propose a timetable for the withdrawal of its troops in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following talks at the Kremlin, March 5, 2020. (Kremlin)

Significantly, Erdogan telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday and the Kremlin readout mentioned that amongst “topics concerning Russian-Turkish partnership in various fields,” during the conversation, “the Syrian issue was touched upon, and the importance of continuing the normalization of Turkish-Syrian relations was underlined. In this regard the President of Türkiye highlighted the constructive mediatory role Russia has played in this process.”

Earlier, last week, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar held telephone talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu to discuss developments in Syria where he underscored that the “sole purpose” of its deployment in northern Syria is to secure its borders and fight terrorism.

It is entirely conceivable that Erdogan has sought Putin’s help and his intervention to reach a modus vivendi with Assad. Of course, this is a spectacular success story for Russian diplomacy — and for Putin personally — that the Kremlin is being called upon to broker the Turkish-Syrian normalization.

The China-brokered, Saudi-Iranian normalization hit Washington where it hurts. But if Putin now brokers peace between two other rival West Asian states, Biden will be exposed as hopelessly incompetent.

If Turkey ends its military presence in Syria, the spotlight will fall on the U.S.’ illegal occupation of one-third of Syrian territory and the massive smuggling of oil and other resources from Syria in American military convoys.

U.S.’ illegal occupation of one-third of Syrian territory and the massive smuggling of oil and other resources from Syria in American military convoys

In short robbing the Syrians out of their oil & other resources

Furthermore, Syrian government forces are sure to return to the territories vacated by Turkish forces in the northern border regions, which would have consequences for the Pentagon-aligned, Kurdish groups operating there.

The continued U.S. occupation of Syria may become untenable. Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria are on the same page in seeking the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Thus, the U.S. needs an alibi to justify remaining in Syria to fight “terrorism” when dialogue and reconciliation is in ascendance in West Asian politics.

U.S. President Joe Biden after delivering remarks on a counterterrorism operation in Northwest Syria, Feb. 3, 2022. (White House/ Cameron Smith)

Washington’s intention could be to confront Iran on Syrian soil — something Israel has been espousing — by taking advantage of Russia’s distraction in Ukraine. The U.S. would also like to disturb improving Russian-Iranian ties.

The specter that is haunting Washington is that the stabilization of Syria following Assad’s normalization with the Arab countries and with Turkey will inexorably coalesce into a Syrian settlement that completely marginalizes the “collective West.”

In retrospect, the unannounced visit by General Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staffm, to northern Syria in early March falls into perspective. Milley told reporters traveling with him that the nearly eight-year-old U.S. deployment to Syria is still worth the risk.

The U.S. is vastly experienced in using extremist groups as geopolitical tools. The time may have come for the militants, including ex-Islamic State fighters, who were trained in the U.S.’s remote At-Tanf military base to return to the killing fields for “active duty.”

Tass reported that last Friday, the terrorist group known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham tried to break into the Aleppo region which has been under Syrian government control and relatively stable in recent years.

MK Bhadrakumar is a former diplomat. He was India’s ambassador to Uzbekistan and Turkey. Views are personal.

This article is from Peoples Dispatch.

Sulaiman resigns as Melaka CM


Sulaiman resigns as Melaka CM

It is speculated that Melaka Umno chief Ab Rauf Yusoh is set to replace him.

Lendu assemblyman Sulaiman Ali was appointed Melaka chief minister after BN won the November 2021 state election. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Lendu assemblyman Sulaiman Ali has resigned as Melaka chief minister.

The Umno assemblyman was sworn in as chief minister in November 2021, after Barisan Nasional won the Melaka state election.

It is speculated that Melaka Umno chief Ab Rauf Yusoh is set to replace Sulaiman as chief minister.


Mother allegedly harassed over unilateral conversion suit

Mother allegedly harassed over unilateral conversion suit

One of the 13 plaintiffs in a legal challenge against eight states’ unilateral conversion laws has been allegedly harassed by Johor state religious authorities, her lawyer claimed.

A livid Rajesh Nagarajan told Malaysiakini that Mimi Mastura Abdullah - who contended via affidavit that she was a victim of unilateral conversion when young and never practiced Islam - was visited by five state Islamic religious officers at her home in Kota Tinggi around 3pm this afternoon.

The lawyer said his 33-year-old client had contacted him to reveal that during the visit, the officers from the Kota Tinggi Islamic Religious Council had questioned her over her role in the civil challenge which happens to also target Johor’s unilateral conversion law.

“The first thing they did (after entering her house) was to scold her for not wearing the hijab when she was at home even though she never considered herself a Muslim.

“Then they interrogated her about why she filed the suit. It is unnecessary for them to scold her for filing the suit.

“This is harassment of the highest order. How dare they harass my client. I am absolutely livid. I would think that once a matter was filed in court, then they should just fight it out in court,” Rajesh said, adding that this should not happen as she is a witness in the ongoing civil court action.

The lawyer said what made it worse was that the religious officers then proceeded to interrogate Mimi’s three children - aged between four and nine - about whether the kids know about Islam among others.

“My client sounded very scared when she called me, her voice was trembling when she spoke to me. (According to Mimi) Before leaving, the officers took pictures and video recordings of my client and her children as well as their home,” Rajesh said, adding that her brother and husband were both at work at the time and not at home.

The lawyer said that they will be lodging a police report over the incident, and then they would also file at the High Court (Civil) in Kuala Lumpur an application to cite the Johor state government and Kota Tinggi Islamic Religious Council for contempt of court.

Malaysiakini is attempting to reach out to the state religious department for a response over the matter.

On March 3 before the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Mimi and M Indira Gandhi as well as 12 other plaintiffs filed the originating summons to strike down the unilateral conversion laws of eight states, including Johor.

The plaintiffs seek to rely on the landmark 2018 apex court ruling linked to the case of Indira’s Muslim convert ex-husband, who unilaterally converted their three children without her knowledge and consent.

Seeking to nullify laws

The lawsuit seeks a court declaration to nullify the unilateral conversion laws contained in the state enactments of the Federal Territories, as well as Perlis, Kedah, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, and Johor.

Besides Indira, 48, the other 13 plaintiffs are NGOs Malaysia Hindu Sangam, its former chairperson S Mohan, Indira Gandhi Action Team chairperson Arun Dorasamy, Mimi and another alleged victim of unilateral conversion, and eight citizens from the states.

The other purported unilateral conversion victim is Aisyah Muhammad Ali, 26, while the states’ citizens are P Sathesh Kumar, 45 (Perlis), S Puveneshwaran, 46 (Kedah), A Krishnan, 57 (Malacca), R Sentul Kumaran, 43 (Negeri Sembilan), S Sathy Vel Naidu, 61 (Pahang), M Selvaraj, 69 (Perak), S Sivaprakash, 48 (Johor), and M Ranjeet Kumar, 44 (Kuala Lumpur).

The plaintiffs contended that the impugned state enactments are invalid for contravening Articles 12(4) and 75 of the Federal Constitution as well as the 2018 Federal Court ruling regarding unilateral conversion.

According to a copy of an affidavit in support of the civil action, Aisyah, who is from Ulu Tiram, Johor, contended that she was nine years old when she was unilaterally converted to Islam by her father without her mother’s consent at the Kota Tinggi Islamic Religious Council.

Aisyah also claimed that Mimi was unilaterally converted when she was 10 by her mother without her father’s consent at the Johor Bahru Islamic Religious Office.

Aisyah contended that she and Mimi neither professed nor practiced Islam and followed Hinduism instead.

She referred to the 2018 apex court ruling of M Indira Gandhi n Perak Islamic Religious Department Director and Others, which ruled in the affirmative to the question of “Whether the mother and the father (if both are still surviving) of a child of a civil marriage must consent before a conversion to Islam can be issued in respect of that child.”

Aisyah then listed the eight state enactments that allegedly contravened the Federal Court ruling over the phrase “ibu bapa” of Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution, which the apex court interpreted as “ibu dan bapa”(mother and father) for the purpose of consent for child religious conversions.

These enactments are Section 117 of the Administration of the Religion Islam (Perlis) Enactment 2006, Section 80 of the Administration of Islamic Law (Kedah) Enactment 2008, Section 105 of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Malacca) Enactment 2002, Section 117 of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 2003, Section 103 of the Administration of Islamic Law (Pahang) Enactment 1991, Section 106 of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Perak) Enactment 2004, Section 117 of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Johor) Enactment 2003, and the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) 1993.

Talks of Ab Rauf replacing Sulaiman as Malacca CM arises again

Talks of Ab Rauf replacing Sulaiman as Malacca CM arises again

Speculation is rife once again that Malacca may soon see a new chief minister.

Malaysiakini has learned from a source that Tanjung Bidara assemblyperson Ab Rauf Yusoh is set to replace Sulaiman Ali as the chief minister.

The source also said Pakatan Harapan will receive one exco position in the reshuffle.

Earlier, Sinar Harian reported that Sulaiman will be replaced by Ab Rauf this Friday and that the swearing-in ceremony will take place before Malacca Governor Mohd Ali Rustam.

Members of the press who waited for three hours in front of the Chief Minister’s Office at Seri Negeri failed to get a response from Sulaiman on this matter.

It was also reported that sources close to the chief minister said there have been no instructions on the matter thus far.

Tanjung Bidara assemblyperson Ab Rauf Yusoh

Meanwhile, Ab Rauf, who is also the Malacca Umno chief, refused to comment on this issue when contacted by the press.

“I don’t want to comment further until there is more information,” he said.

This comes two days after Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Malacca may soon see a Madani government similar to the federal level.

The Umno president did not provide further details on the matter, saying it must be discussed first with Sulaiman and Ab Rauf.

Malacca BN has 21 seats in the state legislative assembly - followed by Pakatan Harapan with five seats and Perikatan Nasional with two seats.

Malacca Harapan assemblypersons have already joined as government backbenchers in December last year, following the formation of the federal unity government.

However, the Malacca state exco line-up remained exclusively BN assemblypersons.

Malacca Chief Minister Sulaiman Ali

There have been repeated allegations since the Malacca state election in 2021 that Sulaiman was being undermined by Rauf, who has denied the claims.

The latest speculation surfaced last December, when it was reported that Sulaiman would step down as chief minister in early January to be replaced by Ab Rauf.

However, both Sulaiman and Rauf denied the rumours, saying Rauf was only the acting chief minister because Sulaiman was on leave at the time until Dec 28.

Stray dog op scuffle: Man to be charged with obstructing civil servant

Stray dog op scuffle: Man to be charged with obstructing civil servant

As we had expected

The senior citizen who was allegedly beaten by a Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) officer during a stray dog-capturing operation last week, will be charged in court on Friday.

According to Petaling Jaya police chief Fakhrudin Hamid (above), the 69-year-old will be charged in the PJ magistrate's court, under Section 186 of the Penal Code, for obstructing a civil servant in the discharge of his/her public functions.

If convicted, the man can be jailed for up to two years, fined a maximum of RM10,000, or both.

According to Fakhrudin, no charge will be filed against the officer who was alleged to have beaten the elderly man during the incident.

The man had reportedly tried to stop two MBPJ officers from capturing what he claimed were his pet dogs, at Taman Kanagapuram in PJ last week.

In the process, the man alleged that he was hit on the left side of his face with the dog-catching rod of one of the officers.

He was then investigated for obstructing government officials from carrying out their duties.

Kedah MB claims barred from LIMA, events organised by federal govt


Kedah MB claims barred from LIMA, events organised by federal govt

Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor (pic) is currently embroiled in a lawsuit filed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

Wednesday, 29 Mar 2023 4:03 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — Taking to Facebook, Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has accused the Anwar administration of barring him from attending federal government organised events.

This includes the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition (LIMA) in May.

“PMX’s latest Cabinet decision - barred MB Kedah from any federal government events, including LIMA in Langkawi... what to do?” he posted on his Facebook account yesterday, referring to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the 10th Malaysia prime minister in Roman numerals.

Muhammad Sanusi did not disclose further details of the purported prohibition against him.

The PAS politician is currently embroiled in a lawsuit filed by Anwar.

Anwar, who is from PKR, is suing Muhammad Sanusi for alleged defamation following the latter’s speech during the 15th general election campaign last November.

Muhammad Sanusi had accused the Pakatan Harapan chairman of immoral behaviour.

PM Anwar calls for end to claims federal govt is oppressing opposition-led states


PM Anwar calls for end to claims federal govt is oppressing opposition-led states

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks at the Parliament in Kuala Lumpur March 29, 2023. — Bernama pic

Wednesday, 29 Mar 2023 3:37 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — The allegations that the federal government oppresses state governments that do not support the unity government are baseless slander, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar, who is also finance minister, said despite the constant accusations made against him related to the matter, it is still a fact that his unity government has been helping and paying attention to all states.

“The allegation is indeed untrue...the allocations (under national budget) given to the opposition state of Kelantan, Terengganu, Perlis and Kedah for example are more than what they received during the (previous governments) three-year administration.

“Criticism is allowed...and I’m willing to adjust or make some changes after listening to views and opinions, but false allegations need to stop,” he said when tabling the Supply Bill 2023 for the second reading at the Dewan Negara sitting here today.

Anwar also expressed disappointment over the fact that the allegations against him sometimes came from so-called ulama and top party leaders.

“They said the finance minister is oppressing the states by not giving them allocations, or by delaying or reducing the allocations meant for them. These claims are not true at it is my responsibility to respond

“I’m not attacking those ulama or party leaders, I’m countering the allegations,” he said, adding that making allegations, spreading lies and false information is something that is against the spirit of truth and good governance. — Bernama

Lokman Adam: A cornered Tun M is finding all means to undermine stability of Anwar’s unity gov’t

Lokman Adam: A cornered Tun M is finding all means to undermine stability of Anwar’s unity gov’t

UMNO supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam has turned one of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s biggest critics in recent times after he rebutted the former two-time premier for implying that it was not wrong if MPs of the unity government wanted to topple Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim like what they did to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in 2021.

Speaking during a media conference in Putrajaya yesterday (March 28), Malaysia’ longest serving PM of 22 years and 22 months had said that the elected representatives have the right to change the government and that doing so is not against the law.

In a live Facebook broadcast yesterday (March 28), Lokman has dubbed Dr Mahathir’s action as reflecting his precarious position which is likened as nyawa di hujung tanduk (life at knife-edge).

“He knows his time to be hauled up for questioning by MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) is getting very close … he knows that the position of his children, cronies is no longer safe … that’s why we see him hopping from one party to another even to the extent of deserting his son’s own party (Pejuang),”
commented Lokman who was recently reinstated as UMNO’s supreme council member.

Lokman Noor Adam

Lokman went on to explain that UMNO was able to retract its support against Muhyiddin previously because the party via its president and Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had prior given the Bersatu president an en bloc support.

“Moreover, the anti-party hopping law has yet to come to being back then, hence both Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin could also implement (their) scheme of things,” argued Lokman.

“But since the party anti-hopping law has come into effect (on Oct 5 last year), MPs can no longer jump parties or issue personal SDs (statutory declarations) to be PM … if that happens within UMNO for example, the party’s secretary-general can issue a letter to the Dewan Rakyat speaker to propose for the seat of that particular UMNO MP to be vacated.”

On that note, Lokman said Dr Mahathir is welcome to topple Anwar’s unity government by means of retracting the support of UMNO MPs if he has any intention to do so “for we don’t want UMNO MPs to look up to Dr Mahathir or Muhyiddin”.

“After all, UMNO MPs have signed loyalty pledge letter (surat akujanji) to give mandate to the party’s president (Zahid) to discuss and decide on their behalf as to whom the party shall forge a coalition with or who should be made the PM,” he added.

Yesterday (March 28), Lokman has challenged Dr Mahathir to explain whether he had ever inherited substantial wealth from his late father which has subsequently enabled his four children to be billionaires today.

This comes as Dr Mahathir has demanded Anwar to furnish evidence of the latter’s claim that he had siphoned the nation’s wealth during his premiership of “22 years plus 22 months” which Anwar used as argument to counter Dr Mahathir’s purported participation in the “Malay Proclamation” event which failed to materialise. – March 29, 2023

PAS MP booted out of Dewan Rakyat


PAS MP booted out of Dewan Rakyat

Besut MP Che Zulkifly Jusoh has also been suspended for three days starting today.

Besut MP Che Zulkifly Jusoh refused to sit down despite being repeatedly ordered to do so.

KUALA LUMPUR: A PAS MP has been kicked out of the Dewan Rakyat and suspended for three days starting today.

Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Ramli Nor had ordered Che Zulkifly Jusoh (PN-Besut) to take his seat three times, but the opposition MP failed to do so.

Earlier, Takiyuddin Hassan (PN-Kota Bharu) questioned why the government had prepared two bills that were titled in English, with Zulkifly also joining in.

After allowing the MPs to speak, Ramli instructed everyone to sit so he could deliver his ruling on the matter. However, Zulkifly refused to obey.


Netizens: Subject PN’s invisible trio to “potong gaji” for “ponteng” Anwar’s Saudi PMQT

Netizens: Subject PN’s invisible trio to “potong gaji” for “ponteng” Anwar’s Saudi PMQT

Editor’s Note: For the uninitiated, “potong gaji” is taken to mean deduct MP’s salary/allowances while “ponteng” depicts being absent or skipping a Dewan Rakyat proceeding.

OUTPACING his bodyguards, one can imagine the amount of panting and puffing as the 75-year-old Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who had just touched down from a one-day official visit to Cambodia a day earlier dashed to enter the Dewan Rakyat in a nick of time for yesterday’s (March 28) Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQT) session.

Unfortunately, all his effort came to naught as Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) three big guns comprising Opposition leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin, PN’s chairman/Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and PAS president Tan Sri Hadi Awang were nowhere to be seen after all the fuss about wanting to grill the PM for his grand Saudi Arabia trip “failure and wastage”.

Netizen Zaki Wai fired the first salvo on the DAP Malaysia Facebook when he questioned if MPs who failed to turn up at the Parliament will still be eligible for his/her salary/allowances.

“Good if still eligible but the Parliament must set a condition that MPs must attend the Parliament session to be able to be entitled for salary/allowance,” he proposed to which Suresh Kumar clarified that MPs will still receive their salaries of RM6,508.59 but will not be eligible for meeting allowance of RM200/day.*

* As per “Remuneration of elected officials in Malaysia” by the Centre for Public Policies Studies

A more calculative YeapLai wants the salary of MPs to also be deducted proportionate to their absenteeism and so does the meal and petrol allowances. “Imagine we the rakyat have to be answerable to our bosses (employers). If our reasoning is not accepted, our salary will be deducted. Worst still, we can get fired.”

But Edwin Loh was quick to chip in: “My dear Zaki Wai. What is RM200 to them? They only see millions.”

Eldeen Eldinov proposed an attendance ruling that absenteeism of 15 days or more without valid reasoning shall result in the MP’s seat to be declared vacant automatically while Joe Abraham Pak suggested that allowances must only be paid upon full attendance and the same applies for salary.

Gabriel Gendang who started another thread insisted that Malaysia should have strict laws against MPs who do not attend parliamentary sittings. “Any reason except MC (medical certificate) or hospitalisation should not be accepted. MCs should also be monitored to prevent fraud.”

As Nicky Chan contended that “their side income is 1,000-fold than their MP salary”, Gabriel Gendang reckoned that the best solution could be to vacate the seats of errant MPs by calling for re-election.

In a related development, David Jenny suggested that Anwar extends his PMQT session to half-day every Tuesday as limiting the session to only three questions is “too short”. “This will enable those who call themselves pejuang rakyat (people’s fighter) a chance to ask questions so that they can keep their mouth shut outside,” he berated.

But Yong Khean Khoon begged to differ as he deemed one hour should be good enough as the PM has other chores to look into while Dicky Cheong is of the view that it does not matter the duration of the PMQT session “if they (Opposition MPs) dare not even show up”. – March 29, 2023

Anwar should adopt ‘elegant silence’ as stratagem against Dr M


Anwar should adopt ‘elegant silence’ as stratagem against Dr M

Mahathir Mohamad is not going to let-up so Anwar has to ignore him and carry on with his reforms.

From Terence Netto

Dr Mahathir Mohamad won’t let-up on Anwar Ibrahim.

He paused briefly after he suffered a second cancellation of his Malay Proclamation event before returning to the warpath – this time with more scorn.

Mahathir demanded Anwar furnish proof he had enriched himself and his family in his first stint of 22 years as prime minister (1981 -2003), as Anwar had claimed in a combative speech at a PKR convention.

Anwar did not single out Mahathir but there could be no mistaking who he meant when he attacked leaders who showed concern for Malay poverty when out of power but not otherwise.

Mahathir blamed Anwar for the cancellations of his proclamation event but gave no evidence Anwar was behind them. Mahathir argued that only someone with prime ministerial powers could have caused the two cancellations.

Could it be that the only way he would have known that was from past experience as prime minister?

Be that as it may, from the tenor of his most recent remarks, Mahathir is clearly shifting gears in baiting Anwar to duel with him.

Would it not be better for Anwar to ignore the bait and continue with his work much as Malaysia’s fifth prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (2003 – 2009) had done when he came under attack by Mahathir towards the later phase of his premiership?

Abdullah was troubled by Mahathir’s attacks but chose to maintain what some commenters described as an “elegant silence”.

His dignified demeanour played nicely into Malay political culture which values graceful deportment.

However, Abdullah’s demerits turned out to be self-defeating, his indecisiveness putting the skids under his administration.

Further, unfavourable events – the Hindraf mass demonstration, in particular – and Abdullah’s vacillations on police reform, combined to undermine him.

Anwar has neither Abdullah’s supine ways nor the defect of nepotism: he quickly backed away from a bad decision in appointing daughter Nurul Izzah as a financial adviser which saw the matter recede into insignificance.

Laser-like concentration on fighting corruption, waste and administrative inefficiency will enable his government to deliver where its predecessors have been flat and flabby.

This will be welcomed by a populace feeling the continuing effects of economic stringency imposed by the fight against Covid-19.

A national supremo intent on getting the country off and running would command more respect and popularity compared with has-beens like Mahathir who will be seen as nothing more than tub-thumping demagogues.

Against a background of corruption cases, especially when these eventuate in successful prosecutions, an overall scenario would play out in favour of the long-time Pied Piper of reform, egalitarianism and inclusiveness.

To top it all, an attitude of elegant silence in the face of carping critics would allow the country to be freed of the obsessions of race and religion that have held it in thrall for so long.

Anwar could then be renowned not just as a reformer but as a liberator.

Terence Netto is a senior journalist and an FMT reader.

Federal Court to rule Friday if Najib denied ‘effective representation’


Federal Court to rule Friday if Najib denied ‘effective representation’

Hisyam Teh Poh Teik was ‘unconstitutionally shackled’ from representing Najib Razak effectively, defence team says in submission.

Last July, senior lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik took over as Najib Razak’s lead counsel for his final SRC International appeal.

PETALING JAYA: Was Najib Razak deprived of “effective representation” by a counsel of his choice?

That is one of several key questions posed by Najib’s defence team, led by Shafee Abdullah, which the Federal Court will have to address when deciding whether to review its own decision in the former prime minister’s SRC International corruption appeal.

Najib was initially convicted in the High Court by Justice Nazlan Ghazali on seven counts of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving RM42 million in funds belonging to SRC. He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment and fined RM210 million.

That conviction and sentence was upheld, first by the Court of Appeal on Dec 8, 2021, and then by a five-member panel of the apex court chaired by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat on Aug 23 last year.

Before that, on July 21, the former prime minister saw an application to appoint leading UK barrister Jonathan Laidlaw dismissed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court. According to Najib, the intention was for Laidlaw to work with Shafee on the Federal Court appeal.

Following that, Najib decided to change his entire legal team, with senior criminal lawyer Hisham Teh Poh Teik agreeing to act as lead counsel in place of Shafee.

His appointment, and that of law firm Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners as solicitors, was formalised over the next few days.

On July 26, the new solicitors wrote to the court requesting an adjournment of the main appeal which had already been fixed to run from Aug 15 to 26.

“This was the first time the applicant (Najib) had requested any form of adjournment at the Federal Court,” the submissions said.

That request was repeated at the following case management on July 29.

At a subsequent case management on Aug 10, Hisyam told the deputy registrar he would be applying for an adjournment of the appeal on the first day of the hearing.

He said if the application was rejected, the solicitors and he would have no other choice but to withdraw from representing Najib.

On Aug 15, the five-member panel led by Tengku Maimun sat to hear a motion for leave to adduce additional evidence, which Najib had filed in a bid to recuse Nazlan for a conflict of interests.

Also on the panel were Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Justices Nallini Pathmanathan, Mary Lim and Zabidin Diah.

The next day, after hearing the submissions of both parties over two days, the panel dismissed the motion.

At that point, Hisyam pleaded for the main appeal to be postponed. This is what the defence’s submissions quoted him as saying:

“My Ladies, my Lords.

I agreed to take this brief on July 21, 2022, and from the time I took the brief until today, I (have) worked very hard on the arguments with respect (to) the motion (to adduce fresh evidence).

“I request for time because we would like to come back again to argue the same appeal, with the same amount of passion and sincerity. I ask for time. It’s not the appellant’s fault, it’s mine.

“When I took the brief, I (was) aware that this case (had been) set down for hearing on the 15th. I am also aware of the rules of etiquette.

“But I was hopeful, and consciously confident, that the reasons I advance are valid, are strong, to urge this court to exercise discretion in our favour. Give me sufficient time to prepare for the main appeal.

“My Ladies, my Lords, in this case, I have been informed there are about 179 volumes of the appeal record. Altogether about 57 witnesses have been called. Judgments of both the High Court and Court of Appeal (are) more than 1,000 pages (in length).

“This is no ordinary appeal.

“I would also like to add that the application I make now, is made in good faith.

“We had the first case management on July 29. Indications given to us were that this case will not be adjourned.

“We did not come to court empty-handed. We took the message from the Federal Court, we (undertook) a lot of work in the preparation of the arguments.

So, (the adjournment is) not to purposely delay the hearing of this main appeal.

“In this case, there’s a clash of interest between an expeditious trial and appeal, on the one hand, and fairness and justice on the other.

“The conviction in the Court of Appeal was sometime in December 2021. It means that this appeal is heard one year after the final decision of the Court of Appeal, which is not too long under the circumstances.

“I’ve seen with my own eyes, my Ladies, my Lords, where in other appeals, a lawyer stands up and says, ‘I’ve just been retained,’ and this court allows the adjournment.

We ask for the same treatment, equal protection, equal opportunity, there must be ample opportunity given to the accused person because these are serious charges, and this is the final lap (with) regard to his appeal.

So, on these grounds, My Ladies, My Lord, I plead with all sincerity in me, I plead that justice be seen to be done, I plead that adequate opportunity be given to me and my team to do a good job, to come back again and argue the points that are relevant.”

The prosecution themselves did not object to the request, the defence team’s submissions noted. They simply left the matter to the discretion of the court.

Perhaps, this was because the request was reasonable “based on their own experience in the various courts, including the Federal Court”, the submissions said.

“It could not be said that (Najib) was represented by an effective counsel (at the appeal),” Najib’s present solicitors, Shafee & Co., said in their written submissions.

Hisyam had been “unconstitutionally shackled” from representing Najib effectively, they said, which led him to ask to be discharged.

Even that was denied, they added.

The lawyers contend that the decision to refuse the adjournment requested by Hisyam had resulted in the “extirpation of the applicant’s entrenched right to be heard under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution, and the right to be represented by an effective counsel”.

The refusal also denied the applicant’s counsel the opportunity to prepare his case properly, which amounted to a “procedural impropriety”, they said.

Take a stand, PAS tells sacked, suspended Umno leaders


Take a stand, PAS tells sacked, suspended Umno leaders

PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Man says PN values their experience as veteran politicians.

PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said those sacked or suspended by Umno should speak up instead of keeping a low profile.

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man has urged sacked and suspended Umno leaders to stand up and fight for the good of the country instead of playing it safe by keeping a low profile.

Speaking to FMT, he described them as political veterans whom Perikatan Nasional (PN) recognised as influential.

He fell short of exhorting them to join one of the parties in PN, but said: “We need the strength to unite for the future of the country. Take a stand. Don’t wait to be kicked out.”

Among the prominent Umno leaders who have been sacked for breaching party discipline are former Ketereh MP Annuar Musa, former Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, former Perlis chief Shahidan Kassin and former Selangor chief Noh Omar.

Shahidan contested in GE15 under the PN ticket after Barisan Nasional dropped him as a candidate and won.

Former Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein, former information chief Shahril Hamdan and former Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman have been suspended for six years. All three have said they did not know why they were suspended.

Tuan Ibrahim said Annuar looked “dissatisfied” as someone leading “only an NGO”, referring to Muafakat Nasional.

“Such a senior politician must have a party. If he’s fighting without a party, he might feel disheartened and listless,” he said.

Referring to Tajuddin, he said it looked like he was still hoping that Umno would revoke his suspension.

Tajuddin recently told FMT he apologised for criticising Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in his appeal against the suspension.

“If you are dissatisfied but you can’t voice it out, there is no strength in that,” Tuan Ibrahim said.

PM: Govt respects Federal Court decision on MACC probe against Mohd Nazlan


PM: Govt respects Federal Court decision on MACC probe against Mohd Nazlan

Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali is pictured during the swearing-in ceremony at Palace of Justice in Putrajaya January 17, 2023. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Tuesday, 28 Mar 2023 10:29 PM MYT

PUTRAJAYA, March 28 — The government takes note of and respects the Federal Court’s decision and Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat’s considerations regarding the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation against Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The prime minister said he had referred to the Federal Court ruling dated Feb 24 and the Chief Justice’s considerations that there were no elements of public interest in the probe against Mohd Nazlan.

“MACC is an independent body and has the right to conduct an investigation against any party.

“On the other hand, the procedure set for the judicial body is to refer to the code of ethics for judges if there is a solid basis,” he told Bernama after the Ihya Ramadan programme at Masjid Putra here today.

On Feb 24 this year, a seven-member panel of the Federal Court ruled that the investigation conducted by MACC against Mohd Nazlan was done without regard for judicial independence and protocols.

Justice Tengku Maimun said this in the court's unanimous decision to answer two questions of law pertaining to the powers of criminal investigating bodies to investigate serving superior judges which were raised by three lawyers.

Mohd Nazlan was the High Court trial judge who convicted and sentenced former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to 12 years’ jail and a RM210 million fine on seven charges relating to RM42 million in funds belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd on July 28, 2020. — Bernama

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

West’s False Atrocity Stories Were Key to Justifying Iraq Invasion


West’s False Atrocity Stories Were Key to Justifying Iraq Invasion: Interviewing Scholar A. B. Abrams on New War Propaganda Research

Military Watch Magazine Editorial Staff
Atrocity Fabrication and the Iraq War
Atrocity Fabrication and the Iraq War

March 2023 marks 20 years since the White House announced the beginning of a full scale invasion of Iraq - a decision which had broad reverberations not only across the Middle East but globally. While the invasion was for several reasons considered controversial at the time, primarily due to its lack of legal pretext, Western opinion on the assault against the oil rich Arab state grew considerably more negative in the aftermath, with a number of Western new outlets even apologising after the conflict for their blanket coverage and unequivocal support for plans to attack. To provide further insight into the American-led invasion, we at Military Watch sat down with prominent international security scholar A. B. Abrams to discuss in hindsight what the conflict signified regarding the direction of and trends in Western foreign policy. 

Abrams has authored multiple books on international relations and defence, and 12 days ago published the highly rated study: ‘Atrocity Fabrication and Its Consequences: How Fake News Shapes World Order.’ The book explores predominant trends in how false stories of atrocities and other misdeeds by Western adversaries have been widely propagated in the Western world not only to vilify them, but also as was the case in Iraq to provide pretexts for hostile policies ranging from economic warfare, to Western bombings of their territory, and even as in Iraq’s case full scale Western invasions. As noted by former British ambassador to Syria Peter Ford, Abrams’ book “has provided a signal service by taking 'fake news' about alleged atrocities out of the current affairs arena in which it is mainly discussed and into a much broader, deeper and in fact even more disturbing context,” and “perceptively traces the evolution of the use of fabricated atrocity narratives back to the first days of Western warfare and colonial expansion through to eleven more recent case studies.” The book’s sixth chapter focuses on fabrication of false narratives leading up to the Iraq War, while the fourth focused on the Gulf War 12 years prior where the foundations of a vilifying metanarrative surrounding the country were largely laid. The transcript of our interview with Abrams is below: 

Military Watch: Which false Western narratives were most instrumental in facilitating the American-led invasion of Iraq? 

Abrams: As is consistent across all major Western atrocity fabrication campaigns, multiple reinforcing and complementary narratives were perpetuated to shape domestic and international opinion towards the country with various levels of effectiveness. An invasion could thus be presented not as a response to any particular action of the Iraqi state, but as a measure justified by a whole host of rationales. The narratives which had the most significant impacts varied between countries. In the United States the campaign to build support for invasion escalated in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, which meant it was most effective to tie the rationale for an assault to a strongly implied link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. This was near unanimously acknowledged even in the U.S. itself to be totally ludicrous - but only after the invasion had begun and the narrative had served its purpose. In Britain claims that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction played a more central role in the justifying the war, in part because the public there had had no immediate experience of a terror attack. It was consistently implied that Iraq would, upon developing such weapons, almost immediately use them to attack Britain and its allies and thus that an invasion was needed to avert an imminent threat. The British campaign also focused heavily from an earlier stage on portraying extreme human rights abuses in Iraq. It thus depicted a Western assault to remove its government and install a westernised successor as something of a ‘civilising mission’ - a highly common theme in Western justifications for invasions of non Western countries over centuries.

Twin Towers on September 11, 2001

Although Iraq’s human rights situation since the rise of power of Saddam Hussein in 1979 was very far from exemplary, it was also far from outstanding worldwide and particularly by the standards of neighbouring countries - many of which were close Western allies. The claim that the West attacked Iraq for humanitarian reasons thus had little basis in reality. The history of humanitarian military intervention as a Western concept with a centuries long history, and how it has consistently been used to facilitate Western aggression and in many cases genocide and war crimes, is explored in detail in my recent book’s first chapter after the introduction. Non Western peoples could always be portrayed as having savage practices or conducts which in turn could be used to justify Western ‘civilising missions’ - from the European invasions of Americas and Australia to several cases such as Iraq’s in recent history. It is highly consistent with historical trends that the most extreme Western claims of Iraqi humanitarian abuses have consistently proven to be utterly false - from the story of ‘Saddam’s enemies’ being fed live into human shredders, to the claim 12 years prior that Iraqi soldiers were throwing premature babies out of incubators and leaving them to die on cold floors. Humanitarian and ideological justifications for the war played a growing role as it became clearer that narratives portraying Iraq as an international threat, such as claims of Al Qaeda ties or nuclear weapons programs, had no substance to them. The most extreme example was British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s claim that hundreds of thousands of political prisoners had been found buried in mass graves by Iraqi forces after the invasion - which was intended to retrospectively justify the aggression. It was later acknowledged that this had no basis in reality and was one of many totally fabricated stories. 

British Headline Propagating Fabricated Claim of Iraqi ‘Human Shredder’ to Justify War

Military Watch: What Do You Think Are Some of the Most Common Misconceptions About the U.S.-Iraq War Today? 

Abrams: Where to start? Most common notions about the war particularly in the Western world upon closer examination turn out to be false, for example portrayals of the Iraq War as a unique mistake or a product of the particularly poor leadership of the Bush administration. The invasion was in fact entirely consistent with U.S. and Western foreign policy trends. The country was one of many outside the Western sphere of influence to be targeted after the Cold War’s end when Soviet protection was lost - since the USSR had long shouldered the bulk of the burden of preventing the West from remaking the world in its image through force and asserting total dominance as it has before the Soviet rise in the 1930s. The U.S. would continue to lead assaults on countries which could no longer rely on Soviet protection, Syria and Libya being notable examples, after Iraqi was throughly neutralised as a potential source of resistance to Western hegemony. 

U.S. Navy Cruise Missile Strikes on Iraq in 1996 (left) and 1998

Another common misconception was that the war marked the beginning of hostilities against Iraq. The country had in fact been under assault since 1990, first with major economic sanctions, then with very intensive Western bombardment of its industries and critical infrastructure from 1991 which left its population without basic services like electricity or clean water. The bombardment was seen to have set development back by well over half a century, and continued indefinite sanctions preventing postwar reconstruction were estimated by the mid 1990s to have killed an estimated half a million Iraqi children. Impositions of no fly zones by Western countries deep inside Iraqi airspace facilitated bombardment of infrastructure and air defence suppression efforts to ensure by 2003, after over a decade, the country was near defenceless and very throughly impoverished. These strikes were often conducted based on false claims that they were suppressing Iraqi forces which would otherwise be deployed to commit atrocities against minority groups domestically. Despite the ineptitude the Iraqi government and Saddam Hussein in particular often showed, the U.S. would have had a much time launching a full scale invasion in 1990 had it not throughly worn the country down for over a decade beforehand. 

Also key to paving the way to the Western assault was the promising of sanctions relief if Iraq provided international inspectors with deep access to its weapons facilities. These teams, it has since been confirmed, were deeply infiltrated by U.S. and British intelligence and used to unsuccessfully attempt to engineer the overthrow of the Iraqi government from within and the assassination of President Saddam Hussein. More significantly, they ensured Iraq had no military secrets and no retaliatory capability whatsoever when Western armies began to roll across the border - including no ballistic missiles or chemical weapons. This paired with a total arms embargo from 1990 were key to ensuring an increasingly favourable miltiary balance for the U.S. and its allies as they modernised their forces while Iraqi capabilities only diminished. 

Artwork of Iraqi Scud Missile Launchers - A Key Asset For Chemical Weapons Delivery Iraq Was Stripped of Before the Invasion

Military Watch: Which Parties in Hindsight Do You Consider to Have Been the Leading Beneficiaries of the Invasion?

Abrams: Iraq was already throughly ravaged by the time the war began, although the fallout from the invasion and deep social and political remaking of the country in line with Western interests have effectively guaranteed that the country cannot rise again likely in the lifetime of anyone alive there today. This was a major boon to the interests of Western dominance over the Middle East. The Iraqi people did and continue to suffer immeasurably, with travel within the country until today remaining highly unsafe, living standards remaining poor where the country formerly prospered, while the atrocities committed by Western forces against them remain too numerous to even begin to elaborate on here. One of the most notable was the mass use of depleted uranium weapons against civilian population centres, such as Fallujah, which is expected to cause immense suffering for generations to come due to the millions of years for which it will continue to contaminate the area and the local gene pools. Another was the extreme brutalisation of Iraqis in American custody, many of whom including children were serially raped and tortured to death at facilities such as Abu Ghraib after the population was left under the power of the occupation forces. Many of the details have not been made public but, as noted by American journalist Seymour Hersh who had fuller access to the records from Abu Ghraib:

Some of the worst things that happened you don’t know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib. . . . The women were passing messages out saying, ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomised with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. 

Although successful in neutralising Iraq, likely permanently, as any kind of presence in the world, the war was overall highly detrimental to the interests of the Western led order. The focus of Western attentions and military resources on the country for the remainder of the decade allowed other countries remaining outside the Western sphere of influence to strengthen their positions considerably. The most notable examples were China, which saw its economic, high tech, and military positions improve immeasurably while gaining relatively little Western attention, and North Korea which drastically accelerated its development of nuclear weapons after the decision in Washington had been taken to invade Iraq. Iran, its close ally the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, and Russia, all very significantly strengthened their strategic positions with time that was bought by the focusing of Western attentions on neutralising Iraq. 

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Military Watch: What Role Did Ideology, and Particularly the Predominant Trends in U.S. and British Political Thought, Play in the War? 

Abrams: As previously mentioned the rationales drew on centuries old aspects of the Western worldview which have been central to its foreign policy for centuries, including the idea of a ‘civilising mission’ which had strong consistencies going back to the colonial era. Although there is little dispute that invading a sovereign country and UN member state remains illegal, with the UN Security Council and a majority of its members refusing to support the assault, claiming that military action was taken in the interests of ‘liberating’ a non Western people and westernising their much vilified system of governance has consistently been used highly successfully to justify aggression. Shortly before the war began, the ideal of ‘democratising’ and ‘freeing’ Iraq by imposing a Western system political system there gained growing prominence in American rhetoric - an idea with a very strong roots in how the West sees its place the world and its right to reshape countries in its image using military force. Indeed, British Prime Minister Tony Blair just earlier this month claimed on the invasion’s 20th anniversary that it was partly justified on the bases that “At least you could say we were removing a despot and trying to introduce democracy.” The idea of introducing the Western style of governance was consistently cited by Blair and others to divert criticism away from the war effort even after it became known that the death count resulting from U.S.-led military action exceeded 1 million Iraqis. This serves as one of many indicators of the importance which spreading this governance model carries in the Western mind. It is consistent with longstanding trends in Western thought since the colonial era towards mass killings in the non Western world being justified by the cause of spreading Western values - previously civilising and Christianising which killed tens of millions across five continents, and today democratising.

While before the war it was widely stated that an Iraq remade in the Western image politically would serve as a model for the region and wider world, and thereby further spread the Western governance model, the opposite has in fact occurred. The sharp contrast between pre and post war Iraq’s performances across all metrics, and the quality of life and future prospects for its people, has raised growing questions regarding the viability of the Western model. This has complemented the effects of relative Western decline and the rise of China since then. While the Cold War’s led led to proclamations of an ‘end of history’ in the West and universalisation of the Western model, the Iraq War closely followed by the 2007 financial crisis marked the beginning of a series of consecutive developments which would see this trend reversed. 

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell Makes False Claims at UN Security Council Regarding Iraqi WMDs

Military Watch: How are the lessons from the Western campaign in the information space against Iraq most relevant today?

Abrams: The Iraq War is one of 11 case studies explored in my latest book exploring consistent trends in how the Western world uses atrocity fabrication to vilify those countries outside its control which it intends to target, and the campaign to justify an invasion thus remains highly relevant to understanding similar vilification of all major Western adversaries across the world today. We see similar often ludicrous and throughly debunked claims being spread by Western sources against China, North Korea, Syria and others both to provide pretexts for economic sanctions and to move world opinion to align behind Western campaigns against these countries. Iraq also provides an example of how the false atrocities invented in the West and attributed to its targets, even if they had been true, pale in comparison to the very real atrocities committed by the Western powers which the fabricated narratives facilitated. The numbers successful atrocity fabrication has facilitated towards the killing of by Western hands in the last century number in the high millions, and orders of magnitude more if going back to the colonial era. Had false crimes not been attributed to Iraq to allow the U.S. and its Western allies to see through the policies they had desired, 500,000 Iraqi children killed under sanctions in the 1990s, hundreds of thousands more Iraqis that decade, and 1 million Iraqis who died as a result of the 2003 invasion, would all have lived on. The Iraq War is far from unique in this regard, but it provides an example in relatively recent memory of why atrocity fabrication, and the free hand it can often give Western powers to target those outside their control, remains extremely dangerous.

Abrams’ book Atrocity Fabrication and Its Consequences: How Fake News Shapes World Order was published on March 15 and is available to purchase from the publisher here, as well as on Amazon here. A recent video review from Hong Kong media was published here