Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister (1981 to 2003), who ruled for a period of 22 years should be well-informed. However, it seems politicians never change: considerations matter.
In writing in CounterPunch, Sept. 17, 2014, after making a strong plea for fairness and justice for the Palestinians, he concluded: “I am writing this in Chechnya, a republic in the Russian Federation. The Chechens fought a war of independence against the Russians. It was a futile war. Three million ill-equipped Chechens against 200 million Russians with one of the most powerful military force in the world. Chechnya and Grozny its capital were razed to the ground before they were forced to stop fighting.
After the war the Russians allocated a trillion dollars to rebuild Chechnya and Grozny. Today, eight years after war ended, there is not a trace of the massive destruction caused by Russian missiles and bombs. Instead the whole country, and in particular Grozny has been completely rebuilt.
And today the Chechens can once again believe and practice the Muslim religion. Beautiful mosques and religious school abound. There is no more communist sanction against Islam. Chechnya remains a republic in the Russian Federation but in religion and in many ways it is independent. The relation with Russia is friendly.”
Mahathir conveniently forgets that Chechnia (as Chechens prefer to spell it Eastern Turkistan) has constantly fought against foreign occupation, including the Ottomans Turks in the 15th century. They have never accepted Russia as their overlord. Following the Communist revolution of 1977, the Chechens established a short-lived imamate. They were never at ease. In 1944, Stalin, accusing them of aiding Germany, deported all Chechens to the Soviet-occupied Kazakh and Kirgiz colonies. It was only in 1957 that Khrushchev allowed them to return. During the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, like other occupied states, Chechnia also declared independence establishing an elected government. However, Russia never accepted this loss, and continues a most cruel war directly and through its quislings, against a people who don’t belong them, never did.
Now hardheartedly, Mahathir is praising Russia for effecting a genocide and destroying a country’s heritage, only to rebuild a quisling-led vassal state. And this comes from a person rightly denounces the Zionist genocide and living holocaust in Palestine.
Of course, it was during the Mahathir regime that his government, in response the Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov’s request to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to mediate, conveyed to the Russians on June 12, 2000 that Malaysia has always regarded the Chechnya conflict as Russia’s domestic problem.
Does Mahathir advocate a similar fate for Palestine where its population and heritage is replaced by a “beautifully” built prison inhabited by a handful of quislings who have no rights or independent voice?
However, has the purpose-built Chechnia suppressed the Chechcen spirit? A wronged people will never rest. So today one finds that a leading fights in ISIS – as abhor-some as it is — is Omar the Chechen, a.k.a. Omar Al-Shishani.