Thursday, May 23, 2019


I posted on FB and Twitter this comment earlier today. Some agreed, while others are not happy. “UNIVERSITY PLACEMENT FOR PALESTINIANS Pls remember. We are not as poor & challenged as the Palestinians & many other nations. Let us not allow our shallow racial quota quarrels blind us on our humanity. We are always great at humanitarian work. Peace.”
Those who disagreed stressed that charity must start at home. I fully agree. But it also depends on what is home to you? For some, home is their immediate family. There are also those who identify home to only those who originate from their own state like Penang or Johore. There would be others who feel only for their own ethnic groups. Home is their racial grouping. They want as much as possible, like as many matriculation placements as possible for their own ethnic group. Many may identify home to only those who share their own faith. To each its own. Yet, there would also be those who see the whole world as home – mother earth. All of humanity and all humans as family. I belong to this last group. A few places in the public university for the Palestinians or any other poor or tragic nations is all right for me. We are not giving them overly much, just a tad of a few places in our higher institute of learning with the hope many other countries do the same. A little help here, a little help there can perhaps help a nation crippled with war to one day build their country again. It is like what we Malaysians always do when someone needs help – like a poor kid that needs medical attention or when there is a calamity somewhere, be it an earthquake or flood. When we donate some cash, it does not mean that the money cannot be used to help a close family member in need or used to better our own flood situation in Kelantan or Kedah. It is just that deep in our hearts, we know that the kid and those people in need are somehow connected to us is humanity. And we are hopeful, the little help we give, may help them go far. As I suggested in my earlier post stated above, let us not allow our shallow racial quota quarrels blind us on our humanity. We are better than that. We are Malaysians. So, what is home to you? But we can agree to disagree. Thank you and Peace, Anas Zubedy Kuala Lumpur

Saturday, May 18, 2019

TARGETING IRAN by Chandra Muzaffar

A dangerous flashpoint has emerged in world politics at the moment. There is widespread fear that the United States and its allies might launch a military operation against Iran at any time. A US aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers are already deployed in the region. The alleged sabotage of four oil tankers, two of them Saudi, and the attack on a major oil pipeline are being linked in certain circles without an iota of evidence to Tehran. There is no need to repeat that scenarios of this sort are often manufactured to justify military aggression.

For more than a year now since unilaterally repudiating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal forged between Iran and six world powers, the US has not only re-imposed economic sanctions upon Iran but has also forced other states that trade with Iran to reduce drastically their interaction with Tehran. US targeting of Iran is a grave travesty of justice for the simple reason that the UN’s nuclear inspection agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has reiterated over and over again that Iran has complied with the nuclear deal. It should not therefore be punished with old or new sanctions. This is also the position adopted by the other signatories to the deal, namely, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

But US president, Donald Trump is determined to act against Iran partly because of the growing influence of the Israeli government led by Benyamin Netanyahu and a segment of the Israeli lobby in the US upon his administration. Though Israel has harbored deep distrust of the Iranian leadership since the 1979 Islamic Revolution because of the latter’s proven commitment to the Palestinian cause, it is only in recent years that it has begun to sense that a combination of three factors renders Iran and its people a formidable challenge to Israel’s goal of establishing its hegemonic power over West Asia. Iran’s oil and gas wealth has been reinforced by its scientific knowledge and capabilities underscored by a passionate devotion to the nation’s independence and sovereignty derived from both its historical experience and its attachment to a spiritual identity. Besides, the Iranian government is a staunch defender of the Syrian government which refuses to yield to Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, in itself a gross violation of international law. Iran is also linked to the Hezbollah which has successfully resisted Israeli attempts to gain control over Lebanon, thus threatening the tiny nation’s sovereignty.

There is also perhaps another reason why Israel and the US are hell-bent on targeting Iran at this juncture. Very soon, leaders of these two states will announce the so-called “deal of the century”, a farcical attempt to resolve the longstanding Israel-Palestine conflict. Because the deal from what little is known of it, is so palpably unjust to the Palestinian people, the Palestinians and the majority of the people of West Asia are expected to reject it outright. According to various sources, the deal condemns the Palestinians to perpetual apartheid. Iran and its allies can be expected to spearhead the opposition. It explains to some extent why Iran has to be hobbled immediately.

As an aside, it is ironical that Israel is showing such hostility to Iran when the Iranian Constitution not only recognizes the Jews as a minority but also provides the community with representation in its legislature. This is unique in West Asia. Israel’s failure to appreciate this is perhaps proof that its real commitment is not so much to the well-being of the Jews as the triumph of its Zionist ideology with its goal of expansionism and hegemony.

It is not simply because of Zionism or Israel that the US Administration is seeking to emasculate Iran. Weakening and destroying Iran is foremost on the agenda of another of Trump’s close allies in the region. The Saudi ruling elite also saw the Iranian Revolution of 1979 as a mortal threat to its position and power because it overthrew a feudal monarch, was opposed to US dominance of the region and sought inspiration in a vision of Islam rooted in human dignity and social justice. As Iranian influence in West Asia expanded especially after the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, the Saudi elite became even more apprehensive of Iran and wanted the US to curb Iran’s role in the region. In this regard it is worth observing that if Iran has become more influential in the region in the last 15 years or so, it is not only because of the astuteness of the Iranian leadership but also because of the follies of the Saudi and US ruling elite. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein through an Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003 for instance paved the way for the ascendancy of Shia politicians more inclined towards Iran.

How and why Saudi and Israeli elite interests and ambitions are intertwined in the US push against Iran is not highlighted in the media including the new media. Consequently, only a small fraction of the public understands the real causes for the escalation of tensions in West Asia centering on Iran. It is largely because the media conceals and camouflages the truth, that a lot of people see the victim as the perpetrator and the perpetrator as the liberator. Or as Malcolm X once put it, “If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” 

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a just World (JUST)
18 May 2019