Kuala Lumpur— Speaking to members of the press on Tuesday (Jan 7), Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad called for Muslim nations to unite for their own protection after US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3.
Calling the assassination of General Soleimani immoral, Dr Mahathir said, “The time is right for Muslim countries to come together. 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.”
He also pointed out that the killing, which was carried out via a drone attack in a US airstrike near Baghdad International Airport, went against international laws. Echoing fears of war breaking out in the Middle East, the Malaysian Prime Minister, who at 94 is the oldest head of state around the globe, added that the assassination could lead to heightened terrorism after the “actions taken by this powerful gentleman,” he said in reference to President Trump.
Dr Mahathir compared Soleimani’s killing to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist and dissident, in 2018, since both events happened across boundaries. Mr Kashoggi was tortured and then killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
The Star quotes the Malaysian leader as saying, “The act is akin to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi which happened across boundaries. This is also another act where one country decides on its own to kill the leaders of another country. Both are guilty of immoral acts, it is against the law.”
Dr Mahathir, who has been outspoken about issues concerning Muslims of late, has said he will keep on speaking the truth. “I am not worried about who is strong and who is weak. If things are not right, I think I have the right to voice it out, ” he said.
There are approximately 10,000 Iranian nationals currently living in Malaysia. Recently, around 50 people held a protest outside the embassy of Iran in Kuala Lumpur, shouting “Down, Down USA”.
In the latest development in the growing tensions between the US and Iran, over a dozen ballistic missiles were launched by Iranian forces against two US military bases in Iraq on Tuesday evening (Wednesday morning local time), in what is thus far the most significant move from Iran after the assassination of Gen Soleimani.
Missiles struck the al-Asad airbase in western Iraq, where US troops are stationed.
Stephanie Grisham, the press secretary of the White House said that President Trump is “monitoring the situation closely.”
Iranian leaders have reiterated calls for retaliation against the US even as plans for Gen Soleimani’s burial in his hometown of Kerman, were being carried out. Officials had to temporarily halt the General’s funeral when it was interrupted by a stampede which left dozens of mourners dead.
The White House announced that after the missile strike on January 7, President Trump would not yet be making a statement, although he has threatened to bomb 52 areas in Iran should they make retaliatory moves, including cultural centres, an act considered a war crime under the Geneva convention. -/TISG