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Clinton administration’s terrorist friends in Southeast Asia still wreaking havoc in our name

Posted on November 27 2010 10:00 am
Seth Mandel is the former managing editor of four New Jersey-based newspapers, where he won awards for his coverage of the Middle East and Russia. He has appeared on Shalom TV's current affairs roundtable. He is currently based in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @SethAMandel
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In the run-up to the election of the U.N. secretary-general in 2007, a group of high-level former Clinton administration officials conspired to attempt to replace the frontrunner and well-respected South Korean Ban Ki-moon with the trustee of a Saudi-funded Wahhabist Muslim organization linked to al-Qaeda.

That man was Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia, the current opposition leader. We’ve written about his anti-Semitism, support for terrorism, and ties to the Muslim Brotherhood here before, and recent news reports out of Malaysia suggest Al Gore, Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke, and others have created a monster from which democracy in an important corner of Southeast Asia is now reeling.

The story begins with Anwar’s falling out with his party leadership in the late 1990s, when he served as deputy prime minister in Malaysia’s government. Anwar carefully cultivated ties with the U.S. State Department and other officials looking for a token moderate Muslim they could champion. In that vein, he co-chaired the Pacific Dialogue with Clinton’s defense secretary, William Cohen, a partnership aimed at making Anwar the face of U.S.-Asia/Pacific cooperation.

Al Gore took a shine to Anwar as well, and has been publicly defending him during his current sexual assault trial. Albright joined the fray, as did Holbrooke, and the gaggle of Clinton officials tried to undermine the Bush administration’s chosen candidate for U.N. secretary-general and install Anwar.

Supporting Anwar is problematic because of his obnoxious anti-Semitism. But attempting to put him in charge of the U.N. would have put the world body in the hands of a man spreading Wahhabism on the payroll of the Saudi royal family.

Anwar became, well before his relationship with American officials took off, a trustee of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), one of two organizations the Saudis established in the 1960s to spread Wahhabism. Here is WAMY Assistant Secretary General Dr. Abdul Wahab Noorwali describing WAMY’s relationship with Saudi Arabia:

Saudi Arabia’s support has been enormous since the establishment of WAMY in 1963. The Kingdom provides us with a supportive environment that allows us to work openly within the society to collect funds and spread activities. It also provides us with protection abroad through Saudi embassies and consulates, in addition to financial support.

WAMY has also been caught funneling money to al-Qaeda and Hamas. All this was known before the Clinton gang attempted to install Anwar at the U.N.

But while that all may be water under the bridge, the deleterious effects the West’s support for Anwar have had on Malaysian democracy are still eating away at the country’s electoral politics. Anwar’s People’s Justice Party (PKR) just held internal leadership polls, and the results show a party crumbling under the weight of a figurehead being propped up by a Western media narrative. As one commentator wrote in the Malaysian newspaper the Sun:

Without holding any significant post in the party, the former Deputy Prime Minister is party adviser and leader of the opposition by virtue of his name only. However one cannot deny that it was his sacking and incarceration that plotted the current renaissance in Malaysian politics. Hence many supporters feel that it is their moral obligation to ensure that Anwar continues to spearhead the march to Putrajaya (the seat of government).

That phrase, “moral obligation,” tells you all you need to know. Even those who support Anwar do so because they feel they must; Anwar has become a symbol. But as a leader, Anwar fails on all accounts. His party is coming apart at the seams–the internal election was marred by accusations of corruption and a complete lack of transparency. In protest, Zaid Ibrahim, the former justice minister who was contesting the deputy president’s post in the PKR elections, quit the party.

Instead of attempting to make peace among the candidates and unify his party, Anwar responded by accusing Zaid of being disloyal. Zaid has established a new opposition party, to launch in January.

“I wish to assure our (proponents of the party’s) friends that we will have a new party in the country … and I wish to give an assurance that it will not be a fledgling party, we will become big and strong,” Zaid said Friday.

Yet as discombobulated as this all may sound, the new breakaway party is probably a healthy development–in fact, the dispersal of political influence away from Anwar is likely for the better. His supporters in the West amount to the classic “useful idiots,” and whatever their reason for supporting Anwar, installing an Islamist Saudi agent in Malaysia cannot be good for that country’s democratic aspirations, nor for our security.

The promotion of democracy, not Wahhabism, should be the aim of the U.S. in Southeast Asia. So why are we doing the Saudis’ dirty work for them? When it comes to national security, the Clinton administration may be the gift that keeps on giving for our foes, but hopefully the Malaysian people are breaking out of the spell that Gore, Albright, Holbrooke, Cohen, and their allies in the media have put them under.

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