March 25, 2003

Mahathir attacks US, Britain and Annan

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday said Washington and its allies have sent the world "back to the Stone Age where might is right" by invading Iraq, and warned that other countries could be attacked by the United States.
In a speech to Parliament that was televised nationwide, Mahathir described the United States and Britain as "imperialists who still want control of the world."
At a press conference later, Mahathir also called on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to resign, accusing him of not doing enough to pressure Washington to end its campaign in Iraq.
"Kofi Annan should resign," Mahathir said. "He is not a free agent. He is very much subjected to pressures therefore whatever he says is not reflective of the opinions of the United Nations."
Mahathir has been leader of Malaysia, a predominantly moderate Muslim nation, since 1981.
He is among Asia's leading critics of the US-led war on Iraq.
He says the United States and its allies are targeting Islamic countries and that Iran, Sudan and Libya could be next.
On Monday, Mahathir said the attack on Iraq - launched last week without approval from the UN Security Council - has rendered the world body powerless to stop the United States from invading other countries.
"We have gone back to the Stone Age where might is right," Mahathir said. "Other countries, especially the small and weak, are no longer safe."
"If the country was strong, they (America and Britain) would not have attacked. This is the act of a coward, a bully," he added.
The prime minister was also asked about the United States and Britain's accusation that Iraq has violated the Geneva Convention after five US soldiers taken captive were shown on Iraqi television.
Mahathir said it was the American media which first showed images of Iraqi soldiers surrendering to US troops.
"So what is wrong with Iraq showing the American personnel who were captured by them, they have as much right," he said.
He added the United States did not have any right to demand that Baghdad treat captured soldiers according to international conventions.
"It is a little bit late for America to invoke international laws because America has shown that it has total disrespect for international law," Mahathir said.
Mahathir - who will take over as chairman of the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Conference in October - is currently on a two-month vacation.
He returned to Malaysia this past weekend to watch the Malaysian Grand Prix.