Monday, July 21, 2014

Diplomatic justice...

I read many postings by Malaysians on the social media urging the government and world leaders to take a tough stance against Russia after pro-Russia rebels allegedly shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that killed 298 people on July 17.

While the pro-Russian rebels and Ukraine blame each other for the incident, Moscow is being accused of not doing enough to ensure that authorities have proper access to the crash site.

Australian prime minister Tony Abbot is the lone voice thus far demanding a tough action against Russian leader Vladimir Putin. US President Barack Obama is happy for the rally of support he gets from all over the world for economic sanction on Russia be intensified.

Our Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, however, is a man of diplomatic amid mounting pressure by some quarters that the government should issue a statement condemning Russia and Putin. They will have to wait for the outcome of a special Parliament session Wednesday but I think 'condemning Putin' is most unlikely.

Malaysia and Russia have been enjoying positive bilateral relations over the years - people to people and government to government. Although trade declined slightly to US$1.7 billion in 2012 from US$1.83 billion in 2011, efforts were being taken to increase the trade. There was about a five per cent drop in bilateral trade in 2012 mainly due to decline in several big deals but Moscow was taking many initiatives to increase the trade level.

The Soviet Union established diplomatic relations with Malaysia on 3 April 1967, and the Trade Agreement was signed. In November 1967 the Soviet Trade Representation was established. In 1970, the first group of Soviet students came to study Malay at the University of Malaya.

Ties between the two suffered when Malaysia declared its support for Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion throughout the 1980s. However, relations recovered following the conflict's end, and both countries have since put aside historical disputes and worked to repair diplomatic, economic, and military ties.

Since Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985, relations between Russia and Malaysia have improved significantly. Former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad met Gorbachev several times.

In 2002, Mahathir made his visit to Moscow. He stated that Russia could be a rival to the US and Israel and he praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and his opposition to Western interference in other sovereign states.

In 2007, Malaysia and Russia sent the first Malaysian to the International Space Station, as part of the Angkasawan program for the Malaysian National Space Agency and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). It was a project under the government-to-government offset agreement through the purchase of Sukhoi SU-30MKM multirole fighter aircraft for the Royal Malaysian Air Force. It was a success, as Sheikh Muszapfar Shukor became the first Malaysian in space.

Everybody’s talking tough about MH17, from the Malaysians to the Americans to the Europeans. But it’s one thing to point the finger at Putin and/or the separatists, another to bring the perpetrators to justice.

In recent weeks, separatist forces have downed numerous Ukrainian planes, and it is likely they thought MH17 was another. This means the incident falls under the rules of war. Under those rules, all combatants have a duty to distinguish between military and civilian objects.

Even if they thought the plane was a military object, as communications transcripts suggest, the separatists could still be found guilty in the International Court of Justice under a rule that says combatants must take all reasonable precautions to verify that a target is a military one before they attack. It appears the perpetrators failed to do this, though just who brings them to justice, or when, is for now an unanswerable question.

Guilty or not, let’s put it this way. Putin isn’t issuing direct orders but he has paved the way for the separatists to work their chaos, partly through direct action and partly by turning a blind eye. While it’s extremely doubtful Putin ordered this attack, many defence experts believe he provided the separatists with sophisticated surface-to-air missiles.

Russia has moved military equipment across the Ukrainian border in recent weeks, and it’s believed that all of the Ukrainian aircraft shot down during that time were done so with Russian manufactured air defence systems.

It is thought that the Russian surface-to-air missile known as “Buk” was used to shoot down MH17. These missiles are launched from trucks, and there are reports Russian trucks were recently seen crossing the Russia-Ukraine border. One of them was even said to be missing a missile.

It is unclear whether Russian military figures orchestrated the attack that downed MH17, but as a general point, it is known that Putin strongly sympathises with the separatists. The Russian President continues to be infuriated by Kiev’s leanings towards western Europe and its institutions.
But in the global court of public opinion, the verdict appears to be rendered. Vladimir Putin is guilty. The Russian president could once claim a semblance of a role as a global statesman.

But with the downing of a commercial airliner by what US and Ukrainian officials suggest was a Russian missile supplied to pro-Moscow rebels, Putin is facing a personal barrage of worldwide condemnation that threatens to result in further sanctions on Russia if it does not rapidly change course in Ukraine.

Australia has raised the prospect of banning Putin from a meeting of the Group of 20, the world’s most powerful nations, in November if he does not exert more pressure on the rebels who left corpses strewn on the ground for days, contaminated the crash site and hampered an international investigation.

Britain, meanwhile, openly accused the Russian leader of sponsoring 'terrorism'. US Secretary of State John Kerry, appearing on multiple political talk shows Sunday, called this a 'moment of truth' for Russia.

Particularly in Europe  - a continent long leery of going too far to pressure Moscow over its support of separatists in Ukraine - initial shock was quickly gathering into outrage and action.

On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron held a joint phone call on Russia. A Downing Street spokesman said that the three leaders agreed that the European Union 'must reconsider its approach to Russia and that foreign ministers should be ready to impose further sanctions on Russia when they meet on Tuesday'.

Now, some Malaysians are suggesting that a demonstration should be held at the Russian Embassy in Jalan Ampang. I am not sure if its a good idea but what's the gain when Putrajaya - in taking the pain in MH17 - still wants to maintain that strong diplomatic relation with Russia.

Its not about punishing the people of Russia but their leaders must foot the responsibility in assisting the international investigation team, return the remains of the victims to Malaysia, identify those responsible for shooting down the plane and punish them severely.

Malaysia, just like many other countries, will not sacrifice its good diplomatic relation with Russia. Even the US will not go to the extreme in imposing sanctions on Russia as it will not only harm its two-way bilateral relations but will open the door to a new international conflict.

Soviet Union is no longer there but Russia is still a formidable force, economically and militarily. Malaysia only wants justice for the dead, and any effort to seek justification will not bear any bad stigma to diplomatic ties.

Yes, we are saddened by the incident. We are still reeling from MH370 mystery. However, the truth has yet to prevail for MH17. Whether its Russia or Ukraine, someone has to take up the full responsibility and deliver justice to the victims.


IT.Scheiss said...


Ukraine also has the Buk missile, 27 launcher vehicles I understand, so based upon the logic of Putin's accusers, if if the Ukraine army had shot down MH17, then Russia would also be guilty because it supplied Buk to Ukraine.

Likewise every arms dealer is guilty of any murder committed by his customers using weapons he sold.

It would be interesting to know who is organising that protest outside the Russian Embassy.

They must either the kind who have swallowed western propaganda hook, line and sinker, or are led by western agents.

Anonymous said...

What happens to the modern principle "innocent until found guilty"?

There were many occasions since the 9/11 which indicates that this civilization is regressing to Jahilliyah era.

Anonymous said...

As usual the west are quick to take advantage of any situation that can promote their course. These triple faces skunk are trying to put a spanner into the nation blooming relationship with Russia..
We want justice for the victims and that the culprits should be brought to justice. Since the Ukraine piasco is US and European backed they should also shoulder the blame. Without their backing, there won't any conflict there..
US and Europe are equally at fault for this incident.

jeremiah, tawau said...

well written, sir.

i doubt we will condemn russia or putin but will condemn those responsible, in this case the insurgents.

we cannot severe diplomatic ties with moscow, its beyond what we are thinking.

we want justice for everybody, for the dead and families.

and dont forget justice as well for malaysia airlines, the government, victims from other countries and those who were shaken up by the incident.

Anonymous said...

let it be a precedent that nobody should simply shoot a commercial airplane in the future. those who did it must pay dearly!

Anonymous said...


any settlement must not at the expense of the good bilateral relations...

Anonymous said...

In the meantime the Vice president of USA has told Israel to finish the job in GAZA before they move out of GAZA or some thing to that effect.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7;15. The Russians brought down Korean Air. This is the second time. Is it going to be three strikes and you are out?

Anonymous said...

From the look of it, the Zionist propaganda machine which control the world media has been successful. The non thinking people has swallowed the information they disseminated hook line and sinker.
Just take a pause and recollect how they coordinated their story during the MH370 tragedy.
MH370 and MH17 tragedies resulted from one agenda.

Anonymous said...

This is not a precedent. It has happened many times before. And it will continue. No matter how sophisticated are the weapons. Lives remain meaningless in a war.

Anonymous said...

Your article is good and we as Malaysians must remained rational and show measured response. We must show that unlike those people who threw water bottles and swore at our officials during the MH370 tragedy, we are more matured in dealing with crises. The Netherlands lost so many citizens on board MH17 and yet they had remained extraordinarily calm. We should too. The Malaysian Government's response has been professional and we're careful with our words, that's good. This planned demonstration against the Russians and Ukrainians are both pre-mature and stupid. There is more to lose than gain. If we don't like others blaming us for MH370 then we should not do the same unto our friends. I wonder who is the organiser of this demo, hope PDRM will stop them.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.44pm, the Americans shot down an Iranian airliner inside Iranian airspace.

Anonymous said...

Mersing1960 said...

USA, Europe, Russia and China are friends of Malaysia. No friends will be brutal enough to cause harm to each other. It is rather unique relationship for a country like Malaysia to have. It is no coincidence. Tun Razak made friends with China eventhough they are communist. Tun Mahathir made friends with Russia, another communist country. Whereas USA and Europe are always our reliable partners. Dato Seri Najib continues their legacy and so should the future Prime Ministers of Malaysia.

With that mindset, we the Malaysians are in the position not to blindly follow or believe whatever USA and Europe say. I'll say no to protest outside the Russian Embassy. I'll say no to blaming President Putin. I still remember the lies on the Weapon of Mass Destruction and the conspiracy surrounding the Sept 11. So, let the independent international investigators do their job.

Anonymous said...

Have a look at this link; its about the attempt by Ukrainian govt. to frame Russia & separatists: