A very dangerous man to world peace, his favourite reading is Hitler's Mein Kampf!
By Seth Mandel of the Blitz, 5th Jan, 2011
The continued fall of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim—and the role it's playing in the unraveling of Malaysia's democratic politic—has been back in the news since Anwar was suspended from parliament.
But what often goes unmentioned is the American role in all this, and how our State Department continues to publicly cheerlead for a man who is an agent of Saudi Wahhabism, a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and an agitator of a Thai region that became a breeding ground for recruits to the Iraqi insurgency.
In the 1990s, Anwar was deputy prime minister and finance minister to Mahathir bin Mohamad, Anwar's mentor. When Anwar began challenging Mahathir's policies and then his leadership, Anwar was arrested and jailed for corruption and then sodomy.
But by that time, Anwar had sufficiently impressed high-ranking members of the Clinton administration, such as Madeleine Albright, Defense Secretary William Cohen, and most significantly, Al Gore. They came to his defense, and catapulted him to international acclaim as a persecuted "moderate Muslim" who was tormented and imprisoned for trying to bring freedom to the Muslim world.
The problem here is twofold: Anwar retains that fame, to the detriment of his party and Malaysian politics, and more importantly, it isn't true. In its investigation of Soliman Biheiri, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement discovered that Anwar was a trustee of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). WAMY was founded by the Saudis as one of two major organizations, going back to the 1960s, tasked with spreading Wahhabi Islam. If that weren't reason enough for concern, WAMY was infiltrated by al-Qaeda and held a working relationship with Hamas.
WAMY was also linked to the Muslim Brotherhood through its activities with a Brotherhood think tank in Virginia called the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). The IIIT has published a book calling for violence against Israel and has been under investigation for ties to terrorist groups since 2002. Anwar—trumpeted by Gore as "one of the most enlightened and visionary political leaders in Asia"—is a co-founder of the IIIT. ( Read more here on what Claire Berlinski has to say about the Muslim Brotherhood in which Brother Anwar Bin Ibrahim is still an intergral part of)
Meanwhile, as the American governing and intellectual class took to Anwar's defense after his arrest, so did thousands of Thai Muslims. According to The Nation (Thailand), 3,000 Muslim youth rallied for Anwar in Pattani. Gatherings for Anwar in Yala and Satun recorded a turnout of about 5,000.
Dr. Pirayos Rahimura told the paper, "We have to accept that there is a deep bond between Anwar and the young Muslims here. He is highly respected."
More than respected, Anwar has cultivated a reputation as a patron of the heavily Muslim southern provinces of Thailand, especially through the Young Muslim Association of Thailand. In 2001, that association led a boycott of American products to protest the U.S.-led military mission in Afghanistan. In 2003, Muslim organizations of those provinces spearheaded a drive to recruit Muslims to fight for the insurgency in Iraq.
None of this dampened the left's enthusiasm for Anwar, who is again on trial for sodomy. On Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's swing through Asia, she announced she would be meeting face-to-face with Anwar. At the last moment, that meeting was canceled, so Clinton used a press conference with her Malaysian counterpart to press the Malaysian government publicly on Anwar's behalf.
One of the most troubling aspects of this is the deleterious effect Anwar's celebrity has had on Malaysia's politics. Members of Anwar's People's Justice Party (PKR) have begun wondering whether Anwar's fame is the only reason he is still the nominal head of the party. And his self-involved leadership—which has been tearing the party apart—is laying the groundwork for early elections and a landslide victory for the ruling party, which is looking to regain what it lost in the 2008 elections.
Prime Minister Najib Razak, of the ruling Barisan Nasional, "told some 2,300 cheering delegates at a coalition convention that elections will be held 'soon' and that the political juggernaut which has ruled for more than half a century would not be unseated," according to AFP.
It's a setback for multiparty rule in Malaysia, but not nearly the most outrageous feature of our support for a man like Anwar Ibrahim.