Reme Ahmad / Straight Times (Singapore) – 2004-06-21 14:10:35
KUALA LUMPUR (MAY 10, 2004) — Malaysia’s just-retired prime minister has not lost his taste for cooking up controversial views.
Now Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is calling on Arabs and Muslims to withdraw their US-dollar deposits from the United States, and to use oil as a weapon against the world’s only superpower.
He said Palestinians and other groups should cease suicide bombings as this method of attack has only brought about world anger and stronger retaliation from Israel in the disputed territories.
In an interview with Mingguan Malaysia, the Sunday edition of the biggest-selling newspaper Utusan Malaysia, Tun Mahathir also charged that President George W. Bush of the US and his challenger John Kerry would not dare to stand up against Israel for fear of losing political ground.
Asked how the Muslim world could gain a more sympathetic ear from the US government, he said: ‘We have other means to fight them rather than attacking them blindly, but we didn’t want to use them.
‘I have spoken about using oil as a weapon. Apart from that, the Arabs keep a lot of money in the US. If we pull out the money, the US can immediately become bankrupt.’
This is believed to be the first time he has suggested Muslims withdraw their funds from the US as a tactic.
‘If we use this strategy, I believe it will be more effective than tying a bomb to your body and blowing up people,’ said Tun Mahathir, who retired last October after 22 years in office.
His previous suggestion that Islamic oil-producing countries use oil as a bargaining chip had fallen on deaf ears in a divided Arab world.
With Muslims angered by the United States’ strong support of Israel and its attack and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, Tun Mahathir had angered many by saying suicide bombers had not helped the Palestinian cause as they did not discriminate between killing soldiers and civilians.
In the interview, Tun Mahathir also asked why Muslims should keep billions of their oil money in US dollars, and why global trade should be done only in that currency.
Despite debts amounting to US$4 trillion (S$6.8 trillion), the US remains the richest country in the world due to these deposits, he said.
‘Aren’t we stupid? The amount is not small as the oil-producing countries keep their petroleum money there,’ he said.
He also said he did not think ‘Bush or Kerry are brave enough to oppose Israel’ in the US presidential election campaign.
Then, repeating what he said during one of his last speeches as premier to the Organisation of Islamic Countries, he said: ‘This is why I say that Israel rules the world by proxy.’
Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.