Abdullah should present Ministerial statement in Senate tomorrow to explain what international initiatives Malaysia, as Chair of NAM, proposes to take in the shaping of a new international architecture of a post-Iraq world

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Sunday): Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has rightly expressed Malaysia's concern at the anarchy that had descended upon Iraq, with widespread looting in full view of American forces which did little to stop the looters.

Abdullah should summon the United States Ambassador to Malaysia and the United Kingdom High Commissioner to Malaysia tomorrow to express the horror of Malaysians at the chaos and anarchy in parts of Baghdad and Iraq as a result of the power vacuum arising from the disappearance of the Saddam Hussein regime, and to remind the US and UK governments in the most forcible way possible of their responsibility to establish law and order, avert civilian catastrophe and humanitarian disaster in Iraq as occupying powers under the Geneva conventions.

Abdullah should convey this urgent message not only as Acting Prime Minister, but also as Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) during the leave-of-absence of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
Abdullah should also present a Ministerial statement in Senate tomorrow to explain what international initiatives Malaysia, as Chair of NAM, proposes to take in the shaping of the new international architecture of a post-Iraq world - or whether this is going to be left entirely to the whims and fancies of the victorious US Bush administration.

NAM must be in the forefront to take pro-active measures to address the new global scenario and not allow the United States, after using Iraq as a test-bed for its pernicious doctrine of pre-emptive military attack, to again have another occasion to spell out a pre-emptive doctrine in shaping a "new international order"!

The single most urgent challenge facing NAM is how to help restore international law and order and re-establish the primacy of multilateralism over unilateralism, and salvage the United Nations and NAM from being completely marginalized by the United States in international affairs.

One important step to prevent such marginalization is to ensure the urgent installation in Iraq, under the authority of the United Nations and in conformity with a Security Council resolution, of a transitional government fully representative of the Iraqi people.

There is a dangerous mood of despondency and despair in the Arab world, not so much at the defeat of Saddam Hussein by the technological and military superiority of the US, but at the ignominous collapse of what is regarded by many as the last Arab hope to resist American neo-colonialism.

Journalists, political analysts, government officials and diplomats are searching for the answer to the question as to whether such despondency and despair would translate themselves into the 100 Osama bin Ladens feared by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak or into a new Middle East which bows to American might.

The answer might be both, with the American might and hegemony in the Middle East feeding resentments, hatreds and despair in the Arab streets leading to 100 Osama bin Ladens, especially if the so-called "reconstruction" of post-Saddam Iraq proves to be nothing more than an American "privatization" of Iraqi oil and resources, with no development, democratization and independence for Iraq.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman