MH370: Aircraft debris found on La Reunion is from missing Malaysia Airlines flight

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) attends a press conference on the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Aug. 6, 2015. Verification had confirmed that the debris discovered on the Reunion Island belongs to the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced here early on Thursday. (Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung)


KUALA LUMPUR, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) — Verification had confirmed that the debris discovered on Reunion Island belongs to missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced early Thursday.

“Today, 515 days since the plane disappeared, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370,” the prime minister said.

“We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on 24th March last year, flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” Najib said.

“This is indeed a major breakthrough for us in resolving the disappearance of MH370. We expect and hope that there would be more objects to be found which would be able to help resolve this mystery.”

The airlines will update the families and cooperate with the authorities, he added.

The prime minister said his country remains dedicated to finding out what had happened on board the flight. “I would like to assure all those affected by this tragedy that the government of Malaysia is committed to doing everything within our means to find out the truth of what happened.”

Meanwhile, the Malaysia Airlines said the finding had been confirmed jointly by the French Authorities, the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA), the Malaysian investigation team, the technical representatives from China and the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) in Toulouse, France.

The debris was discovered on Reunion Island on July 29 and was officially identified as part of a plane wing known as a flaperon from a Boeing 777.

Prior to the latest discovery, a massive surface and underwater hunt had failed to find the plane in what has become one of the biggest mysteries in the aviation history.

The plane went missing on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 on board, most of them Chinese. – Xinhua

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MH370 Debris found in Reunion may give clues on when plane part broke

Video:   Saint-Denis, Reunion Island (CNN) Wh…

MH370 Debris found in Reunion may give clues on when plane part broke

The pilots of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are Forst Officer Gambar Fariq Abdul Hamid, left, and Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah at right.

lkl coren mh370 malaysia airlines ceo yahya_00004318.jpg

malaysia flight 370 all lives lost mg orig_00010727.jpg

mh370 victim families lklv ripley _00005216.jpg


Saint-Denis, Reunion Island (CNN)When investigators get an in-peA policeman and a gendarme stand next to a piece of debris from an unidentified aircraft found in the coastal area of Saint-Andre de la Reunion, in the east of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, on July 29, 2015. The two-metre-long debris, which appears to be a piece of a wing, was found by employees of an association cleaning the area and handed over to the air transport brigade of the French gendarmerie (BGTA), who have opened an investigation. An air safety expert did not exclude it could be a part of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which went missing in the Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO / YANNICK PITONYANNICK PITON/AFP/Getty Imagesrson view of a wingcomponent that likely came from a Boeing 777, they’ll be looking for not only a serial number but cluesas to why the part broke off the Boeing 777.

Story highlights

  • Independent group says damage appears to indicate flaperon came off while plane was in air
  • Plane debris will be sent to investigators in France on Friday, official in Paris tells CNN
  • Investigators confident debris found on an Indian Ocean island comes from a 777 aircraft
One group of independent observers said Thursday that the damage to the component — a right wing flaperon — should give authorities a good indication that the piece came off while the plane was still in the air.
The group, led by American Mobile Satellite Corp. co-founder Mike Exner, points to the small amount of damage to the front of the flaperon and the ragged horizontal tear across the back.
The rear damage could have been caused if the airliner had its flaperon down as it went into the ocean, some members of Exner’s group wrote in a preliminary assessment after looking at photos and videos of the component.
But the lack of damage to the front makes it more likely the plane was in a high-speed, steep, spiral descent and the part fluttered until it broke off, the group said.
Boeing and Australian officials are confident the debris — found Wednesday off the coast of a remote island in the west Indian Ocean — came from a Boeing 777 — and might be from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a 777 that disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people on board.
The plane debris will be transported to France on Friday evening, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office said. Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said the piece will arrive in Paris on Saturday and will be sent to Toulouse, the site of the nearest office of the BEA, the French authority responsible for civil aviation accident investigations.
Exner’s group — an informal cadre of aviation experts — said that if the flaperon were still on the wing when the plane hit water, the front would have been damaged by hitting the part of the wing to which it was attached. And the rear damage looks like it was caused by stress rather than being bent and broken off when the plane hit the water.
But an aircraft component specialist who spoke to CNN disagreed.
The lack of damage to the front section “tells me that the component could still have likely been back in its original position inside the wing itself,” said Michael Kenney, senior vice president of Universal Asset Management, which provides plane components to airlines.

‘Highly confident’ component from Boeing 777

Boeing investigators are confident that debris found on a remote island in the Indian Ocean comes from a 777 aircraft, according to a source close to the investigation.
Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, agreed.
“We are highly confident but it still needs confirmation that it is a part from a 777 aircraft,” he told CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.” “The only 777 aircraft that we’re aware of in the Indian Ocean that could have led to this part floating is MH370. But as I said, we still need to confirm that through closer study.”

People cleaning a beach found the debris Wednesday on Reunion, a French overseas territory in the western Indian Ocean.
The source said Boeing investigators feel confident the piece comes from a 777 because of photos that have been analyzed and a stenciled number that corresponds to a 777 component. A component number is not the same as a part number, which is generally much longer.
Images of the debris also appear to match schematic drawings for the right wing flaperon from a Boeing 777. A flaperon helps the pilot control the aircraft. It is lightweight and has sealed chambers, making it buoyant.
Despite this confidence, no one is saying the part definitely comes from a 777, much less MH370.
Finding the debris is a “significant development” in the search for MH370, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said.

More debris

New debris, which washed ashore Thursday and appears to resemble remnants of a suitcase, is also part of the investigation, Reunion Island police officials confirmed to CNN.
The flight vanished March 8, 2014, en route to Beijing. So far, no confirmed trace of it has been found, making it one of history’s biggest aviation mysteries and leaving relatives of passengers and crew members uncertain about the fate of their loved ones.
A preliminary assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies, produced in the wake of the MH370 disaster, suggested it was likely someone in the cockpit deliberately caused the aircraft’s movements before the Malaysian airliner disappeared.
Two U.S. officials briefed on the matter told CNN that the assessment, which was not intended for public release, was prepared months ago and was solely based on available satellite and other evidence.
The U.S. intelligence assessment was largely focused on the multiple course changes the aircraft made after it deviated from its scheduled Kuala Lumpur to Beijing route. Analysts determined that, absent any other evidence, it’s most likely someone in the cockpit deliberately moved the aircraft to specific waypoints, crossing Indonesian territory and eventually toward the south Indian Ocean.
Malaysian investigators haven’t reported finding any evidence that casts suspicion on the pilots.
The airliner’s crew has been the focus of attention since the mysterious disappearance, but no proof has emerged indicating they intended to destroy the plane. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies from numerous countries examined the plane’s manifest of crew and passengers and found no significant information to suggest anyone on board posed an obvious threat.

Missing plate

If it does turn out to be from Flight 370, the development would reassure Australian officials that they are looking for the rest of the plane in the right area, Truss and Dolan said.
Airplane debris found in western Indian Ocean

Airplane debris found in western Indian Ocean 02:27
“It’s credible that debris from MH370 could have reached the Reunion Islands by now,” Truss said.
Malaysia Airlines is sending a team of investigators to Paris and a second team to Saint-Denis, Reunion, on Friday, an airline official in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, told CNN.
It’s unclear how identification will be made.
Normally identification would be aided by a small serial number plate attached to a flaperon, but the part found on the beach appears to be missing the serial number plate, according to photographs.

Other markings may be found on the part, said Kenney, the executive from Universal Asset Management.

Australia is leading the underwater search for the remains of Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean, some 2,300 nautical miles (3,700 kilometers) east of Reunion. But Truss said that French and Malaysian authorities will be responsible for establishing whether the debris found off the island came from the missing jetliner.

Australia has offered its help, he said, including asking marine experts to look at photos of the debris to determine whether barnacles on it are “consistent with something that was floating in the oceans for 16 months or more.”



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Abe’s strategy clearer after Japanese ISIS hostage crisis

The release of a video on Saturday showing a message thatHaruna Yukawa, one of the Japanese hostages captured byIslamic State (IS) militants, had been slaughtered, shocked both Japanese society and its Western allies. Official institutions in both Japan and the US consider the video is likely to be authentic.

The IS claimed last Tuesday it had abducted two Japanese and gave the Japanese government 72 hours to pay $200 million in ransom for the captives. The Abe administration was put in a conundrum. In front of requests from the victims’ families to save the hostages, the Japanese government vowed it would never give in to terrorism on one hand, on the other, it displayed a high-profile stance of striving to free the hostages. But it’s believed that the Abe administration would be unlikely to carry out a dramatic rescue, which has already decided the fate of the hostages.

The brutality of the IS has become well-known. They kill hostages in a cold-blooded manner. Now that Japan has become a victim of global terrorism, Tokyo may reassess the challenges it faces. In the past few years, Japanese rightists portrayed China as Japan’s major threat, despite the fact that China has never infringed upon Japan over the past century. It’s instead Japan that invaded China and persecuted Chinese people again and again.

The death of the hostage also offers a new excuse for Abe to lift the ban on collective self-defense. Abe will face fewer hurdles now if he decides to cooperate with the US strategic deployment and strengthen Japan’s military activities in the Middle East and its security deployment in East Asia.

Some claimed that Abe is more concerned about promoting rightist policies than rescuing hostages. For the good of peace in East Asia and the Japanese public, we hope such analysis is just speculative. Japan is not capable of playing an active role in the Middle East. East Asian countries are not supposed to be key targets of the atrocious IS. The Japanese hostage case sends a warning signal.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the US has spent great efforts in ensuring its domestic security. However, US allies such as European countries and Japan have been constantly targeted by terrorism. It’s worthwhile studying the underlying reasons.

The attack on Charlie Hebdo seemingly unveiled the conflicts between the whole of European society and the Muslim community, but it was striking to see how the US tries to remain neutral over the issue.

Having a geopolitical advantage, Japan should be a country without enemies. However, the country is plagued with a terrible mess in its national strategy. It misperceives China as an imaginary enemy. Tokyo’s ultimate goal is said to be getting rid of US control, however, it is forced to defer to the US due to its confrontation with China. The killing of the Japanese hostage is more or less the price that Japan has paid for its support to Washington.

We strongly condemn the brutal killing by the IS. In the meantime, we hope Japanese public opinion will take a clear-cut attitude against any terrorist attack launched on China. – Global Times

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West should end its hypocrisy on anti-terror war!

Anti_terrorists_China-RussiaChinese and Russian policemen attend a joint anti-terror drill in Manzhouli City, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Oct 20, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

Senior US leaders invited sharp criticism at home for not attending last week’s solidarity rally in Paris against the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people were killed. As a result, US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Paris this week to make up for the mistake.

However, terrorist attacks on innocent civilians in Nigeria, where Boko Haram fighters killed hundreds of, if not more, ordinary people early this month, have not received the same attention in the US and the Western world as the Paris attack. Yet such double standards and hypocrisy of the Western world is nothing new.

Over the past few years, the US and some Western countries have not responded to the terrorist attacks against innocent civilians in Beijing, Kunming and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region the way they reacted to the Paris attack.

On several occasions, US State Department spokespersons have used the excuse that they need more information and investigation into the incidents in China to condemn them as terrorist attacks. But they did not ask any such question after the Paris attack.

Some Western news organizations have refused to describe the perpetrators at Kunming railway station in Yunnan province as terrorists, insisting on calling them “knife-wielding attackers”. And on the rare occasions that they have used the word terrorist, they put it within quotation marks as if the ruthless killers in China were any different from those in Paris or elsewhere in the Western world. One CNN report even posed the question, “Terrorism or Cry of Desperation?”, as if killing innocent civilians in China can be somehow justified.

Even though China and the US have common interests in fighting terrorism, some Americans still seem to believe that only those setting off bombs in New York are terrorists while those doing the same in Beijing or any other Chinese city demand a different description.

The West’s double standards are not restricted to China and Nigeria. The decade-old wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians, but the mainstream media outlets in the US have largely ignored the tragedies and focused on the loss of their own troops.

If the number of civilian casualties is a measure of the intensity of a terrorist attack, tragedies like the Sept 11, 2001, attacks have occurred multiple times in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the Western media don’t seem to care much about them.

Some Western observers have even found excuses for West’s inadequate response to the terrorist attacks in Kunming on March 1 last year in which 31 were killed and 141 injured. But by failing to immediately condemn the attacks against innocent civilians in Kunming and Xinjiang, these people have by default condoned the action of the perpetrators.

It is true that terrorists in the eyes of some could be freedom fighters in the eyes of others. That is why Osama bin Laden was a freedom fighter to the US in the 1980s but a top terrorist in the 21st century. And Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela was still on the US terrorism watch list as late as 2008, years after stepping down as South Africa’s president.

There is no doubt that the US and its allies have failed miserably in their “war on terror” despite the more than 1,000 air strikes launched against the Islamic State group. In spite of the heavy bombardments, we have seen terrorists gaining strength and spreading their tentacles to more areas across the world.

And the Western world responds to this deadly threat with double standards.

By Chen Weihua China Daily/Asia News Network

The author, based in Washington, is deputy editor of China Daily USA.


Double standards in the fight against terror and acquiescence in religious extremism do no good to any party. Instead, they brew a universal threat to all.


 The murder of Jume Tahir, the imam of China´s largest mosque in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous … Imam’s murder is death-knell for terror. Police in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region announced on Thursday that they …
It was a typical terrorist attack and also a severe crime against the humanity. It was China’s “9-11.” Any explanation for the attack, like those in previous cases elsewhere in China, would be feeble at the bloody scene, where …
 Ironically, in spite of critical changes such as the relevant fall of the US and the rise of China, a basic factor remains constant. This is the success of terrorism. It was Al Qaeda 13 years ago and it is the IS now, as far

Sony comedy film: The Interview looms cyber war as US-N.Korea tension spikes

The Interview is a 2014 American political comedy film directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg in their second directorial work, following This Is the End. The screenplay by Dan Sterling is from a story by Rogen, Goldberg and Sterling. The film stars Rogen and James Franco as journalists instructed to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (played by Randall Park) after booking an interview with him. It received mixed reviews from critics.

The_InterviewIn June 2014, the North Korean government threatened “merciless” action against the United States if the film’s distributor, Columbia Pictures,went ahead with the release. Columbia delayed the release from October 10 to December 25, and reportedly edited the film to make it moreacceptable to North Korea. In November, the computer systems of parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment were hacked by the “Guardians of Peace”, a group the FBI believes has ties to North Korea. After leaking several other then-upcoming Sony films and other sensitive internal information, the group demanded that Sony pull The Interview, which it referred to as “the movie of terrorism”. On December 16, 2014, the Guardians of Peace threatened terrorist attacks against cinemas that played The Interview.

On December 17, after a number of major North American cinema chains canceled screenings in the interest of safety, Sony canceled the theatrical release of The Interview, drawing criticism from the media, Hollywood figures and U.S. President Barack Obama. After initially stating that it had no plans to release the film, Sony made The Interview available for online rental on December 24, and in a limited release at selected cinemas on December 25. – Wikipedia

 Cyber war looms as US-NK tension spikes

North Korea’s Internet and 3G networks were back to normal by midday Tuesday after hours of a strange shutdown. This blackout led to speculation that North Korea had been under cyber-attack from the US. It remains unknown whether the purported US-North Korea conflict will flare up into full-blown cyber war.

Sony Pictures, which has caught global attention for filming The Interview, a movie featuring the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was attacked by a group of hackers recently. The FBI asserted that these hackers were sponsored by North Korea, and US President Barack Obama declared the US would make a “proportional response.” Thus, there are high suspicions that Washington is behind the attack.

Neither Washington nor Pyongyang has commented officially on the incident. There are more threats to cyber security than ever before, and hacking groups not backed by governments have become mainstream. Countries like the US have established cyber armies, but there has been no declaration of a cyber war so far. Any party suspected of launching cyber invasions using its regular cyber army always denies its involvement.

We hope that Washington and Pyongyang will not engage in war in cyberspace. Once they cross the Rubicon, there is no way back.

The current suspected tit-for-tat situation between North Korea and the US raises the risks of a cyber war. Pyongyang has shown its abomination toward Sony Pictures. However, having denied any connections with the attacks, it hailed these actions as justified.

Washington has revealed its inclination to retaliate against Pyongyang, which is why many assume the Internet blackout in North Korea was its doing. Washington’s response could be an overreaction, as it is implying that cyber attacks can be seen as a kind of legitimate state action, which will set a precedent for cyber wars.

Antagonism between North Korea and the US will remain a hot topic for quite a while in the international community. If more cyber attacks are launched in the near future, many people will believe that a cyber war between them has already broken out.

It is possible that Washington is trying to teach Pyongyang a lesson and show its strength through cyber attacks. But it must keep in mind that its advanced networks also have loopholes, which might be taken advantage of by a single hacker and a computer.

The US must not set an example by engaging in cyber warfare. It might prevail in the short term, but the already vulnerable Internet order will be mired in countless trouble.

This North Korea-US cyber conflict has also reminded China that it must reinforce its cyber security and act as a constructive role to guard peace across the Internet. As for the speculation that it was China that cut off North Korea’s Internet connections, these are spurious and do not merit our attention.- Global Times

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13 years after 9/11: ISIS in Middle East, Muslim Terrorists from Malaysia and China …

US-Sept 11
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

9/11 prompted end of US arrogance

 Was it the day which changed the world? Scholars are still pondering on the impact of the September 11 attacks on US foreign policy.

Those who consider the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 as a turning point mainly attribute the subsequent US military reaction to their trauma.

Others who disagree with this perspective employ a rather different argument. They claim that this catastrophic incident only highlighted Washington’s unilateralism, which had been already apparent during the first months of George W. Bush’s presidency and the last years of Bill Clinton’s administration.

Nonetheless, Washington’s response, and especially the war on Iraq, has changed the world indeed.

Advocates of the war in the US claimed that this military campaign was a necessary decision in the context of the international fight against terrorism and the need of a preemptive action against the usage of weapons of mass destruction by dictators.

But the result of the preventive war against Iraq has been rather dramatic. It left chaos not only in Iraq, but in the wider Middle East. The recent success and advance of the Islamic State (IS) outline that stability is a utopian dream at present.

Terrorist groups give the impression of a modern hydra which grows more heads for each one cut off. Few outside of Iraq could recognize the IS last year. But now it is widely considered as a new international threat jeopardizing security in the Middle East and defying human dignity, as in the brutal and videoed beheadings of journalists.

Instead of spreading democracy in the Middle East, the US is continuously involved in new battles and adventures. Its military victories are Pyrrhic, while the risk for the opening of new fronts in the future is high.

More importantly, the lack of clear political objectives complicates its efforts to deliver at the international level. Washington is not responsible for existing internal tensions, ethnic, religious, or political, in the Arab world, but it often incites them through its interventionism.

The image of the US in the Arab world remains problematic 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.

According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, just 10 percent of respondents in Egypt and 12 percent in Jordan hold a favorable view of Washington.

Anti-Americanism has been recently on the rise due to additional issues, such as the monitoring actions of the National Security Agency and the use of drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Pew Research Center also reveals that China is more popular than the US in the Middle East, with 49 percent of respondents holding favorable views of Beijing and just 30 percent of Washington.

We cannot tell how the map of the Middle East might have been shaped without the war on Iraq. Some Western policymakers insist that the world is safer as a result of US foreign policy in the aftermath of 9/11. Reality, however, challenges this view, and shows that the brief period of US dominance looks to be over.

A new multipolar world has been created in recent years. Washington’s failure in Iraq and the ensuing economic crisis have seriously hit its post-Cold War superiority.

In parallel with this, the rise of new countries such as China has started to alter the balance at the global level. This new environment is perhaps the most significant evolution of the post-9/11 era.

The study of international relations has to closely follow developments. Ironically, in spite of critical changes such as the relevant fall of the US and the rise of China, a basic factor remains constant. This is the success of terrorism. It was Al Qaeda 13 years ago and it is the IS now, as far as the Middle East is concerned.

The new multipolar world requires international cooperation more than ever. Arrogant foreign policy choices can no longer find a place.

By George N. Tzogopoulos Source: Global Times Published: 2014-9-10 19:23:01

The author is a research fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy.

To Destroy ISIS in Middle East and Syria! 

From Malaysia ISA to IS – Islamic State Terrorists

He lived hereMohammad Fadhlan’s family home in Kampung Bukit Kabu, Kulim. The self-proclaimed jihadist was killed during an attack by Syrian warplanes and tanks.

Fighting for a faraway cause: (top left) Mohd Lofti, Zainuri, Mohd Rafi, (lower left) Samad, Zid Saharani among the five former ISA detainee who had gone to Syria along with Zainan (lower right), who was recently killed.

PETALING JAYA: Five former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees are among 40 Malaysians who have joined up with the Islamic State militants in war-torn Syria where multiple factions are vying for supremacy.

The five are former Kumpulan Mujahideen Malaysia (KMM) members Zainuri Kamaruddin and Rafi Udin along with former Jemaah Islamiah (JI) operative Samad Shukri and Zid Saharani Mohamad Esa.

Former Kedah PAS Youth information chief Mohd Lotfi Ariffin, 45, rounded up the list.

Sources said that Zainuri, Rafi and Samad had gone to Syria on April 18 along with recently killed Jihadist Zainan Harith, also known as Abu Turob.

The latest Malaysian to be killed in the conflict was Mohammad Fadhlan Shahidi Mohammad Khir, 21, from Kedah. He was killed while fleeing an attack by Syrian government forces on Tuesday.

“Zainan was killed in an attack in Syria which left the other three severely injured. The authorities believe all the former ISA detainees are still in Syria fighting for a militant group,” a source said.

It is learnt that the five along with Zainan, were deeply influenced by extremist teachings and would often keep to themselves.

“It can be said that those who went to fight in Syria are very similar to each other. They believe that almost any means justifies the ends thus they are willing to do almost anything to justify their false jihad,” a source said.

In Malaysia, they held meetings dubbed “Usra” in random locations to avoid detection.

“These Usra included planning attacks and heists to fund the extremist movement. Their ultimate goal was to bear arms and fight in Syria,” the source said.

Surveillance by the authorities also resulted in various “Usra” locations being identified in the Klang Valley. Among the locations were Puchong, Shah Alam and Puncak Alam in Klang.

Aside from planning, the Usra was also used to invite “key” speakers, including jailed JI leader Abubakar Basyir. It is learnt that Abu Bakar gave various talks between 1998 and 2000 to further indoctrinate the followers.

Citing the example of Zainan, a former KMM member, the source explained that the 52-year-old man would distance himself from the family.

“If he did talk to his wife or other family members, it was about religious matters,” he said.

It is learnt that Zainan did not finish secondary school and joined the “tabliq” (missionary) movement soon after dropping out.

“He spent most of his time at the mosque in Taman Datuk Harun here. In 2000, while with KMM, Zainan was involved in the Hong Leong Bank heist in Petaling Jaya along with four others. They escaped with RM110,000 in cash,” the source said.

This was followed by a string of robberies, including a weapons raid on the Guar Cempedak police station and Southern Bank in Petaling Jaya.

“Zainan was finally arrested in 2001 and released from prison in 2010,” the source said.

When he left for Syria in April, Zainan did not even tell his wife about it. He just threw the car keys and said he was leaving.

“He only contacted the wife when he was in transit to Syria. They have been in constant contact via Whatsapp since – until their last communication on Aug 15,” the source said.

The source said the wife, who works in a private company, never suspected that Zainan would be involved in illegal activities, let alone extremism.

“She is used to his mysterious nature, having not told the wife when he went to Cambodia for some humanitarian work. The wife also learned not to ask any question as Zainan never brought any friends home,” the source said.

By Farik Zolkepli The Star/Asia News Network


Youngest jihadist is second Malaysian to be killed in Syria

ISA_Mohd Fadhlan Shahidi
Mohd Fadhlan youngest Malaysian jihadist in Syria.

PETALING JAYA: As Syrian jet fighters and tanks fired on a militant base in east Hama, Syria, in a daylight attack, the self-proclaimed jihadists, which included several Malaysian volunteers, fled in trucks and other vehicles.

Mohammad Fadhlan Shahidi Mohammad Khir, 21, from Kedah, was in one truck when he was hit by shrapnel and fell out of the speeding vehicle during the assault on Tuesday morning.

A tank was firing on the truck so the driver could not stop to enable the other passengers to pick up Mohammad Fadhlan, a fellow Malaysian jihadist Ahmad Salman Abdul Rahim revealed.

Militants in another truck managed to pull him into their vehicle shortly after but he was mortally wounded and died minutes later.

“Fadhlan died in the arms of a comrade,” Salman said.

Mohammad Fadhlan is believed to be the youngest Malaysian jihadist and is the second Malaysian to be killed in the ongoing conflict between the militants and the President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The attack also wounded two other Malaysians: former Kedah PAS Youth information chief Mohd Lotfi Ariffin, 45, and another known only as Abu Agfhan.

Mohammad Fadhlan’s mother Fatimah Md Lazim, 55, identified his body from photographs, according to a source here. His remains were buried in east Hama.

His father Mohammad Khir Ismail, 59, has not been told of his death, reports ROYCE TAN.

“We have yet to break the news to our father because he is bedridden after suffering a stroke.

We don’t think he will take the news well,” said Mohammad Fadhlan’s brother Firdaus, 27, at the family home in Kampung Bukit Kabu in Mahang Karangan, Kulim, yesterday.

Mohammad Fadhlan was the fifth among eight children in the family. He has four sisters and three brothers, aged eight to 29.

He went to Syria on May 13 via Istanbul.

“He sent our mother a text message on May 14 telling her he was going to fight in Syria. We didn’t believe it at first. We only realised he was serious when we saw his Facebook postings,” said Firdaus.

After that, Mohammad Fadhlan did not keep in touch with his family.

“We tried sending him messages on Facebook but he never replied,” Firdaus said.

The first Malaysian militant to die in Syria was Abu Turob, 52, who was killed during an attack by tanks and snipers on Aug 19.

Another militant, Pahang-born Ahmad Tarmimi Maliki, died in Iraq when he drove a military vehicle packed with explosives into a SWAT headquarters and detonated it, killing 25 soldiers in May.

Source: The Star/Asia News Network

China unlikely to step into IS fray

Washington to extend airstrikes to Syria

China is unlikely to directly join in the current stage of the US-led fight against the radical Islamic State (IS) but will provide moral support instead, analysts said Thursday, following US President Barack Obama’s call to build a broad anti-IS coalition to crush jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

In a broad escalation of the fight against the IS, which occupies large swaths of land in Iraq and Syria, Obama said in a televised speech Wednesday night that the US will extend airstrikes to Syria and expand operations in Iraq.

Obama also said he was building a broad anti-IS coalition involving Sunni-led governments in the region and Western allies.

His speech came after reports that US National Security Adviser Susan Rice requested China’s support in forming the coalition during her visit to Beijing earlier this week. The Washington Post quoted an anonymous official as saying that, “The Chinese expressed interest [at the proposal].”

On Thursday, Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, didn’t directly respond to the question of whether China will join the coalition, but said “China is ready to abide by the principle of mutual respect, equality and cooperation in strengthening anti-terrorist cooperation with the rest of the international community and maintaining global peace and stability.”

Dong Manyuan, a deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times that he does not expect China to directly step into the fray, despite some shared interests between the US and China in combating terrorism.

Last week, Iraq’s defense ministry posted on its Facebook page photos that it said show a captured Chinese man fighting on behalf of the IS, reported the New York Times.

The Chinese government has yet to confirm the report, but various sources previously suggested that jihadists from Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are fighting alongside IS fighters in Syria.

Wu Sike, China’s former special envoy to the Middle East, told a press conference in late July that around 100 jihadists from Xinjiang, most of whom are members of the separatist group East Turkestan Islamic Movement, are fighting or being trained in the Middle East.

Turmoil in Iraq, a major source of China’s oil imports, also posed a threat to Chinese businesses operating in the country.

Zhao Weiming, a professor of Middle East Studies at Shanghai International Studies University, said China may support the US in its fight against the IS, but that its support will be limited to the diplomatic level, and “it is not going to participate in any military actions against the IS.”

However, Zhao told the Global Times that support for the US fight against the IS doesn’t mean that China supports all US military actions carried out in the name of fighting terrorism.

“China opposes the US using anti-terrorism as an excuse to serve its own ends,” he said, referring to the US decision to strike Syria.

Obama Wednesday also asked Congress to authorize $500 million to train and arm “moderate” Syrian rebels outgunned by the IS and President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

“We hold that in the international struggle against terrorism, international law should be respected, as well as the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the countries concerned,” Hua told Thursday’s press briefing.

The US plan for airstrikes in Syria drew protest from Ali Haidar, Syria’s Minister of National Reconciliation Affairs, who said any military action without Damascus’ permission is an act of aggression.

“China might give a tacit consent to strikes against IS targets [in Syria], but it has a bottom line – no attack on Syrian government targets or civilian facilities,” Zhang Jiadong, a professor with the Center for American Studies at Shanghai-based Fudan University, told the Global Times.

Zhang added that China will not allow the US to weaken Assad’s regime or destabilize Syria under the disguise of anti-terrorism.

China’s stated policy is consistently one of non-intervention, which has been criticized by some observers in the West.

In an August interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Obama said China has been a “free rider” for the last 30 years, referring to the crisis in Iraq.

Dong argued that US Middle East policy is the cause for turmoil in the region, and has forced some Chinese companies to pull out of the region. “The US not only failed to give Chinese companies a free ride, but actually made trouble for them.”

Zhao shared similar views, noting that China played a significant role in Iraq and Afghanistan’s reconstruction following US-led wars, and contributed to local economic development.

In the fight against the IS, Zhang noted that China can play a unique role in bridging the differences between Washington and Damascus.

US hostility toward both Assad’s regime and the IS, combined with close ties between Damascus and Baghdad, have made it very difficult for the US to carry out its policy, as its anti-terrorist efforts might be offset by the complex situation, Zhang told the Global Times.

“China should press the US to change its policy toward Damascus, and push for national rebuilding in Syria to ensure its stability and security and weaken the foundation of the IS,” he said.

By Yang Jingjie Source: Global Times Published: 2014-9-12 0:53:01

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US may repeat same inept blunders that caused lasting Iraq disaster : ISIS, WMD lies!

US_Iraq dance

The deepening crisis in Iraq is a result of mistakes of US Middle East policy under two presidents. Washington does not learn from mistakes, so tensions inevitably will rise in the already disintegrating region.

 WMD lies
The regime change war of the George W. Bush administration against Iraq was arguably the greatest strategic mistake in US history. The consequences continue to unfold.

The Obama administration added fuel to the regional fire by launching the regime change wars against Libya and Syria. The flow of weapons and terrorists links these struggles.

The US public was outraged that the Obama administration considered a direct attack against Syria. The public today is becoming increasingly concerned about US involvement in yet another unnecessary Iraq war.

The present situation in Iraq must be placed in historic context. The British created the country after WWI from three former Ottoman provinces. The British strategic concept involved moving oil from the northern area of Mosul to Haifa in Palestine to be refined and then service the navy in the Mediterranean. Oil from the southern area of Basra was refined to service the navy in the Persian Gulf.

The northern area is one home of the Kurds, who are an ancient non-Arab ethnic group. The central area is traditionally the home of Sunni Arabs while the southern area is traditionally the home of Shiite Arabs.

The possibility of a breakup of this artificial state has always been present as the Kurds seek independence and the Shiite Arabs have religious ties to Iran. An Iraqi national identity was mostly held by secular political forces in the past.

In the aftermath of the war, the US dismantled the ruling Ba’ath political party, which ran the government apparatus. It also destroyed the Iraqi army. These two moves undermined national unity and stability in the post-war period.

The Obama regime change war against Syria has now morphed into a complex mess involving both Syria and Iraq. This explosive situation in turn threatens Jordan and Lebanon.

ISIS_IraqISIS in Iraq
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group with its many foreign fighters is a powerful actor in the present situation. But it must also be said that various Iraqi groups are also involved. These include former Iraqi military, political, and religious networks dissatisfied with the present Shiite-dominated government.

When the US toppled Saddam Hussein, it was inevitable that the next regime would be dominated by the Shiites who are the majority in Iraq. Experts at that time warned against the war, arguing that with Saddam’s fall, Iran would become influential in Iraq through Shiite politicians.

The Shiite-dominated Maliki government has been heavy handed toward Sunni Arabs and Kurds. This counterproductive behavior set the stage for the present crisis which has been exploited by outside forces such as Saudi Arabia and Gulf states. They financially and militarily support the extremist Sunni terrorist organizations attacking the Shiites.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states also support the US regime change war in Syria. Support by these states for Sunni terrorists is part of a larger plan to bring the region under Saudi dominance.

It is no secret in Washington that pro-Israel neoconservatives for decades have been plotting the balkanization of Syria and Iraq. They see this process as good for Israel because it would break up its hostile neighbors into less threatening enclaves.

The results of Washington’s incompetence may well provoke Iran into action to protect the Shiites of Iraq. Washington and Tehran may or may not be able to agree on a path forward.

The disintegrating situation in Iraq puts great pressure on Jordan.

Because Jordan is a key ally in the region one would expect Washington to bolster Amman and this could involve military forces.

US politicians have forced war and chaos on the Middle East and have learned nothing. Will Washington’s Asian pivot lead to similar results?

– By Clifford A. Kiracofe Source:Global Times Published: 2014-6-26
The author is an educator and former senior professional staff member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.


Obama faces the great Iraq dilemma

Obama didn’t get the United States into the mess that is the “war on terror”; on the contrary, he courageously proposed to get Americans out of it.

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