When the war drums stop…


The Sulu invasion of Lahad Datu has severely tested Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s ‘wasatiyah’ or moderation call.

Amir Ali, Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia has been credited with successfully mediating and resolving some conflicts in the region, like the peace deals signed between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Philippines, and the recently concluded pact between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Manila.

Malaysia has also participated in many other UN peacekeeping initiatives, helping to save lives in many countries.

These missions also got many brave Malaysian soldiers killed, but this was not unexpected when you carry out peace missions.

However, Malaysia risks being hated for a long time by the Philippine Muslims of Tausug origin, particularly those living in destitute conditions in the Sulu sultanate.

At first, reports had been trickling in that negotiations for a peaceful resolution of the conflict were underway, but the outbreak of violence in Lahad Datu changed the story line.

While the Malaysian press reported that the Sulu invaders attacked a police post first, the Philippine media insisted it was the Malaysian security forces who started the firefight.

Nevertheless, all the blame game will not erase one fact: Malaysia’s image has been damaged in the eyes of the Philippines, the UN and among peace activists worldwide.

The attacks by Malaysia will remain engraved in the minds of the Tausug tribes.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who struggled to make war a crime since he stepped down as prime minister, will now be remembered by the same Tausug people – who had once revered him – as an enemy.

The Tausug fighters will regard the Malaysian government as an enemy, too, though Malaysia was hailed as a peacemaker in the MILF conflict with the Philippine government.

The blame will surely fall on some heads. Or will it?

Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2013/03/13/when-the-war-drums-stop/