KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 ― About 50 people representing non-governmental organisations staged a protest outside the United States’ embassy today, calling for an end to military action against Iran.
Led by Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), the group managed to submit a memorandum to the embassy which stated five demands.
The five demands are ― to put an end to the belligerent actions and war-mongering rhetoric coming from the US; the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq; restraint on the part of both the Iran and the US to avoid another war happening in the Middle East region, end to sanctions on Iran and close down all US foreign military bases outside of its country.
The memorandum was undersigned by 47 NGOs which include Suarat Rakyat Malaysia, Aliran, Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia (Abim), G25, Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth and Socialist Alliance (Australia), among others.
“Those who will die, like the soldiers are ordinary people, not those in high places sitting at the comfort of their offices.
“We want to urge everyone to speak up. Injustice is injustice, it doesn’t matter what race or religion. People of all races must come out otherwise these problems will continue to happen,” said party chairman Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj when met by reporters on Jalan Tun Razak.
“Like the war in Iraq, it will destabalise the regime and create very extreme groups.
“When you push, this will cause chaos. Especially when you back one militia against the other militia (arm the Sunni to fight the Shiah, arm the Shiah to fight the Sunni). These are the problems that will arise, and you cannot turn it off,” Dr Jeyakumar said.
He also pointed out that the whole Islamic State and extremism is caused by Americans and Britains, not due to the religion itself.
“After 30 to 40 years of mishandling the issue, it takes a long time to negotiate peace.
“We are a global community, what happens there will affect us. Malaysians will also get pulled there and get radicalised,” he said.
The protest today came after the US government’s assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani with a drone strike in Iraq last Friday.
The general was one of 10 individuals killed as he departed from his plane at the Baghdad International Airport, where he had just arrived from either Lebanon or Syria. Largely considered a national hero in his homeland, Qasem was alternately held by the US government to be a terrorist who assisted Iran’s allies in their attacks on American troops based in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, PSM central committee member S. Arutchelvan, who was also present at the protest ,said peace can only be achieved in the Middle East when US military bases are removed.
“If we want world peace, the US troops must leave the Middle Eastern countries.
“As long as they are there, problems in relation to Syria, Libya, and most recently Iran, will continue.
“For the first time to date, we see that the Iraq community is calling for the US troops to leave the country. This is a strong message indicating that the US troops are no longer welcomed in Iraq,” he said.
He added that there was no reason for the US military bases to be stationed in Iraq anymore.
“What’s the point of the US remaining there (Iraq). Just to sell their weapons?” he questioned.
It was reported in the Washington Post that in the immediate aftermath of Soleimani’s killing, Iraq’s Parliament had voted to expel the estimated 5,200 US forces stationed in the country to fight the Islamic State group. This is a nonbinding measure that needs the approval of the Iraqi government.