Malaysian Opposition leader slams US, Obama for “politics of ambivalence”: Warns anti-US sentiment on the rise 14Dec12 December 14, 2012

 Malaysia Chronicle   -   13 December 2012

Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has slammed the United States and President Barack Obama for pursuing the “politics of ambivalence”, urging Washington to drop its “aggressively” pro-Israeli stance and meet strife-stricken Middle Eastern nations at least half-way over the long-standing Palestinian issue, which he argued was a key factor for the growing anti-US sentiment around the Muslim world.

“People don’t hate Americans because of rights or they are Americans but because of the contradictions, the injustices. How can you expect any woman or man who have lived in the era of human rights to accept the crimes committed in the Gaza,” Anwar said during an hour-long interview with Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV conducted in Kuala Lumpur on November 20 and aired on December 12

“It is important for the US not to take a blinkered view. [For example] they can choose to disagree with Iran but they must engage with Iran…we talk about nuclear capability, the Muslim world is saying why not to Iran and ‘yes’ to Israel. Why ‘yes’ to India and ‘no’ to Pakistan?

“[This is the] politics of ambivalence. On one hand, you talk about democracy and on the other you work with the Mubaraks and the Ben Alis and the Gaddaffis. There is a vast contradiction… the US is perceived to be condoning the excesses and this is continuing mind you.

“You must have consistent coherent policies so that people can trust you.

Obama better than Mitt but still an under-performer in Mid East policy

Anwar, a well-respected figure who frequently tours and lectures around the Muslim world, minced no words when he questioned how the US if it truly “challenges itself as the bastion of democracy and freedom” could close an eye to the mass killings and plight of the innocent, especially women and children, in the Gaza strip.

He urged Obama, whom he rated as being “better than Mitt Romney”, to break new ground in US foreign policy by putting greater pressure ad responsibility on Israel to come to the negotiating table with the Middle Eastern nations and on fairer terms.

“My stand is he’s better than Mitt Romney in terms of rhetoric in his speech but not in the actions, not in the foreign policy, not in his response to the murder of women and children and killings in the Gaza. This is totally unacceptable.”

Aggressive Israel can be reined in by the US

When asked if Obama or the US could rein in the Netanyahu administration, which has been accused of preferring military action rather than dialogue, Anwar pointed out that the US supplied the bulk of financial aid to Israel.

“Of course they (the US) can, they can do it in Afghanistan, they can do it in Iraq. I am not suggesting they go and conquer Iraq which I opposed the war in Iraq. But the US wields a lot influence. Israel is the largest recipient of aid from the US, huge, and the second very very low is Egypt. So can we say there is no influence? We are not even asking [the US] to influence what is improper,” he said.

“Without the US, the Israelis will not be able to move.”

A practising Muslim, Anwar also took to task the United Nations as well as some parts of the Islamic world including the current Malaysian government for failing to take stronger measures that could contribute to a more sustainable solution for Palestine due to fear of offending the US .

“The position of the Israeli can be considered to be extreme in the sense that all excess and all transgressions of international laws, all plunders and including the Occupation of Palestine seem to be condoned  accepted and that seems to be the main contentious issue not only in the Muslim world but the world that believes in freedom and justice. That seems absolutely so difficult. Many of my friends in the administration and past administrations in the United States tell me, Anwar you can debate with them, you can argue with them, you can disagree with them on every subject except the Israeli-Palestinian issue,” he said.

“I think the Israelis are misreading the situation purely and plainly because of their complete arrogance of power but my criticism of the Malaysia government’s attitude is that nothing has been done except for resolutions and the resolutions seem to ignore the United States so we must also check on the Security Council and the United States because without US assistance, the Israelis will not move in that manner (to attack Palestine).

Don’t give up: Vital for the Middle East to engage with the US

The bespectacled Anwar, a former deputy premier whom many Malaysia watchers rate as having a better than even chance of becoming his country’s next Prime Minister, also urged Middle Eastern nations not to give in to frustration but to keep trying to engage with the US despite its “hypocrisy” and refusal to rein Israel.

“My position on the US is that you should engage with the US. I meet them, I engage with them but I also know the hypocrisies [behind] some of their policies. In Malaysia, they [the current BN federal government] can cheat in the elections and they [the US] can be muted

“[But] the US remains an important international player. It has its ideal which many of us share on democracy and freedom and justice and if you have the leadership that comes to accept this and has consistent, coherent policies, Muslims are not blikered in their acceptance.

“Just stop the killings, why is it so difficult for a country that is challenges itself as the bastion of democracy and freedom to say, ‘whatever the excuses, stop killing the women and the children’. You can’t do that and at the same time condone the excesses of the killing on the pretext of protecting your [Israeli] security.

Met with Hamas leader: ‘Israeli security’ remarks twisted by M’sian media

Anwar, who was accused of supporting Israel’s right to security, slammed the government-controlled Malaysian media for twisting his words out of context and blowing up the issue to smear his prestige with Muslim voters  ahead of a coming general election.

“There was no controversy. I met Khaled Mashal, the Hamas leader and he didn’t even bother to ask me for any explanation,” said Anwar, who has slapped a RM100 mil defamation lawsuit against the Utusan newspaper owned by the ruling Umno party.

“I have no problems with Israel contingent and conditional upon them withdrawing their troops from the Occupied Territories… recognizing the Masjid al-Aksa (the largest mosque in Jerusalem) and al-Quds (Jerusalem) and stopping the killings, the plunder, the victimization of the Palestinians. What the Malaysian media did was to cancel all of that and said that I have no problems with the security of Israel.”

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