|News and opinions on situation in the Middle East|
|Source||Israel plans to invade Syria, says Malaysian PM
Saturday, 11-Oct-2003 3:20AM Story from AFP
Copyright 2003 by Agence France-Presse (via ClariNet)
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia, Oct 11 (AFP) - Israel plans to invade Syria and drag the United States into the war, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Saturday.
"Israel has been urging America to invade Syria, but America seems to be reluctant. So, in order to force the hands of America, Israel is going to invade Syria," Mahathir was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.
"When that happens, the Americans will have to support Israel due to domestic political reasons that make Jewish votes a major factor in its presidential election," he said.
Mahathir had been asked to comment on Israel's strike a week ago on what the Jewish state described as a Palestinian training camp near Damascus, a claim denied by Syria.
The veteran Malaysian leader, who will take over the chairmanship of the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference at a summit here this week, was also asked what could be done apart from condemning the attack.
"We can go to war but we have no capacity to go to war. That's the problem, because we allow ourselves to become weak, people bully us."
Mahathir, who has led this moderate Islamic country for the past 22 years, is renowned for his controversial off-the-cuff comments on global affairs.