Thursday, 26 June 2014

Ini Malaysia Boleh? Fighting for Syrian jihadist! People reject regime change

Video shows man speaking Bahasa Malaysia about going 'to the battlefield' 


KUALA LUMPUR: A chilling video of a Malaysian riding in a truck with a group of militants fighting in the Syrian jihadist movement has surfaced on the Internet.

He is one of the 20 Malaysians confirmed by Bukit Aman to have taken part in the uprising in Syria.

The one-and-a-half minute video, which appeared to have been shot by the man who spoke mostly in Bahasa Malaysia with a northern accent, described his joy as they drove off “to the battlefield”.

The authenticity of the video, which had been viewed more than 5,000 times since it was uploaded to syriantube.net on June 7, was verified by Bukit Aman.

“Yes, they are among 20 Malaysi­ans who are identified as having joined the uprising in Syria. We will announce the names of all the Malaysians involved soon,” said spokesman ACP Datin Asmawati Ahmad.

Syriantube.net founder Maher Ra claimed that the video was shot in Allepo, Syria, by a Mohd Lotfi Ariffin from Kuala Ketil, Kedah.

Syriantube has been showing video footage depicting the behind the scene shots of terrorists activities and atrocities commited by militants in Syria.

Checks on Mohd Lotfi’s Facebook showed that the video did originate from his page on June 3, which had been liked and shared by many Malaysians, some of whom offered words of encouragement.

In a story first broken by Mstar Online and Star Online, the video opened with a shot of a tank from inside a truck. The tank then rolled away in a bushland with several Middle Eastern looking men, dressed in army fatigue sitting on it. The men were also heavily armed.

“Yes, the tank is moving, making its way to its destination – the battlefield. Allahu Akbar (God is great)! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!” said the cameraman in Bahasa Malaysia.

“These are our friends,” he continued, panning over to show several men – all dressed in combat gear, bulletproof vests, helmets and black bandanas, and with riffles slung around their necks.

Some of the men even smiled and showed the “V” victory sign with their fingers as the camera closed up on them.

Without the weapons and war gear, they would have appeared like a group of friends, taking pictures with their smartphones, seemingly happy about going on a drive.

The camera then rested on a bearded Middle Eastern-looking man wearing combat uniform and a blue ski cap, who shouted Allahu Akbar! as the group of about 20 men in the truck chanted along.

“Our friends, working happily!” said the cameraman in Bahasa Malaysia, who then focused his shot on a bespectacled young man wearing a black headband and holding a smartphone, who, ironically, made a peace sign.

“Yes, our friends, we are all ready to go to the fight at the battlefield. We don’t feel scared. We don’t feel nervous!” The voice was heard saying, the camera shaking as the truck engine revved up.

“We are moving! Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar,” the group chanted.

Maher claimed that the Malaysians had been in Syria for over a year.

“There aren’t 15. There are over 200 of them. Some, even as old as 60. They came with their wives and children. They stay in Aleppo and Ar-Raqqah.

“They have killed people. They have beheaded innocent civilians,” he claimed, describing himself as a pro-government Syrian who started syriantube.net to expose the atrocities committed by militant groups in the conflict-ridden country.

The Syrian government recently claimed that 15 Malaysians, purportedly involved in terrorism and jihadist activities with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (Isil) network, had been killed.

Contributed by Nicholas Cheng The Star/Asia News Network

The people reject regime change

Syrians defeated an attempt at regime change which has a plan to ensure Western hegemony

IF one is sincere about resolving the bloody three-year-old conflict in Syria, one would regard the outcome of the presidential election held on June 3 as an opportunity for working out a viable solution.

The election was a genuine endorsement of the leadership of Bashar al-Assad.

A total 73% of eligible voters cast their ballots in the first ever multi-candidate direct presidential election in Syria.

Assad secured 88.7% of the votes. There were no allegations of electoral fraud or manipulation.

It is significant that Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan – hosts to the majority of refugees from the on-going war in Syria – voted overwhelmingly for Assad.

It is of course true that those parts of the country which are still in rebel hands could not vote. This would be mainly some parts of rural Syria and one medium-sized city. But all the other cities – and they account for the majority of the population – went to the ballot box.

US officials and the Western media have dismissed the election result contemptuously because a portion of the electorate could not vote, ignoring the fact that the vast majority participated enthusiastically in the polls.

They have conveniently forgotten that in the presidential election in Ukraine on May 25, millions of Russian speaking voters in the eastern part of the country refused to participate and yet the verdict was endorsed by the centres of power in the West.

This is another example of blatant double standards. Instead of rubbishing the election result, Western leaders and commentators should try to find out why the Syrian people showed so much enthusiasm for the election and why they gave so much support to Assad.

One, for the vast majority of Syrians, the election was their repudiation of the war and the killings that have claimed tens of thousands of lives since March 2011.

It was their way of affirming their commitment to peace and stability.

Two, the Syrians know that the only leader who can bring peace and stability to their land is Bashar al-Assad since he has always commanded the support of the majority of his people.

Three, there is also a great deal of appreciation among the people for the way in which the Assad government has managed to ensure that essential goods and services are available to a broad cross-section of the people in spite of the terrible devastation and destruction caused by the war.

Four, the election result is also a show of appreciation of the role played by the armed forces which has lost at least 61,000 men in the war and which, in the eyes of the people, has succeeded in protecting the innocent and preventing some brazen massacres.

It in no way justifies, it should be emphasised, some of the excesses committed by the armed forces which a number of us have condemned from the outset.

Five, if Assad won so convincingly, it is also partly because the opposition is hopelessly divided. The different armed groups are pitted against each other. There is no common platform. They were not even able to put forward a common candidate in the election.

Six, more than the opposition’s utter disarray it is the barbaric brutality of some of the armed groups revealed in so many episodes in the war that turned a lot of Syrians against them and indirectly increased support for Assad.

What has caused even greater revulsion among the people is the claim of these groups that they are the true representatives of Islam.

Seven, since some of these groups are foreign and the foreign hands behind the war are so obvious to most Syrians, rallying around Assad in the election was the people’s response to what they perceive as a massive foreign conspiracy to break Syria’s principled resistance to US helmed hegemony that serves the interests of Israel.

Ousting Assad is central to the goal of breaking resistance.

This is why the people sought through the ballot box to foil a determined push to achieve regime change in Damascus.

This, in the ultimate analysis, is the real significance of Assad’s electoral triumph.

The Syrian people have defeated a violent, aggressive attempt at achieving regime change as part of that perpetual plan to ensure US and Western hegemony, especially in a region which is pivotal to their quest for global domination.

Apart from Israel which launched a number of air-strikes against Syria in the course of the war, some of the West’s other regional allies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have also played a major role in pursuit of this diabolical agenda.

Given that the United States and some of its allies are democracies, will they now concede that since the Syrian people have spoken, they will respect their wishes and cease their pursuit of regime change?

It is most unlikely that they would. After all, hegemony has always taken precedence over democracy.

Hegemony trumps everything else. Does it matter to the hegemon and its allies that if they continue along this path, thousands more are going to die or become refugees in some other land?

Perhaps one should reach out to ordinary American citizens in the hope that they would persuade their government to put an end to the war and create the conditions for peace in Syria.

It may be worthwhile trying this approach.

A Pew Research Centre poll conducted in 2013 showed that “70% of Americans oppose arming the Syrian rebels”.

Can they now be convinced that arming rebels against a democratically-elected president nullifies everything that a democracy stands for?

Can we expect American citizens to share the dream of their Syrian counterparts for an end to war in their land?

Will they act to make that dream come true?

By Chandra Muzaffar

Dr Chandra Muzaffar is President of JUST, the International Movement for a Just World.


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