Monday, July 31, 2006

–Screen grab and article, both from this morning's Malaysian Times Online Edition.

When the authorities figure out the pieces to this puzzle, the consequences will no doubt be severe.


The Malaysian Times | ONLINE EDITION

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• Kuala Lumpur and Mumbai in State of Shock
• Malaysian King Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail Addresses 'Irrational Moment'
• Smoldering Jet Engine removed from KLCC Asy-Syakirin Mosque
• Indonesian Navy retrieves bodies and wreckage from Staits of Malacca
• World Reacts With Horror
• Internet Slows After Attacks
• Oil Prices spike after collapse of Petroliam Nasional Towers
• Malaysian Trade Union Congress under suspicion

APMT Video: Kuala Lumpur City Centre Attack
• APMT Video: Prime minister: Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
• Audio: Eyewitness at Mandarin Oriental Hotel
• Webcam: Inside the mall at Suria KLCC

_____Closings, Evacuations_____
• Kuala Lumpur Area Closures

_____Local Flight Information_____
All flights are cancelled in and out of Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Travel is currently limited to humanitarian flights. The World Tourism Organization guarantees no "foreseeable time frame for a return to normalcy." Travelers are advised to return to their points of origin as soon as flights resume as potential escalating conflict within Malaysia could expand to other regional destinations.

The following flights were affected in Thursday's attacks:

• Al-Qadar Flight 311: A Boeing 737 en route from Singapore (SIN) to Mumbai, India (BOM)
• Al-Qadar Flight 705: A Boeing 767 en route from Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) to Hong Kong (HKG)
• Al-Qadar Flight 1012: A Boeing 737 en route from Al Koude, Oman (WGG) to Mumbai, India (BOM)
• Al-Qadar Flight 1013: A Boeing 737 en route from Perth, Australia (PER) to Bangkok, Thailand (BKK)

Families of passengers on Al-Qadar Flight 311, Al-Qadar Flight 705, Al-Qadar Flight 1012 and Al-Qadar Flight 1013 may call Al-Qadar Airlines directly for a statement and updates.


By Anwar Amin
Malaysian Times Staff Writer
Monday, July 31, 2006

Central and Southeast Asia remain in a state of alert. Borders between Malaysia, Thailand and Brunei are under heavy guard. Indian police have detained over 350 suspects. The Indonesian navy is pulling wreckage and bodies from off its shores while it waits possible further military instruction to take aggressive counter action once the responsible parties have been identified. Additionally, international airports from Singapore to the Persian Gulf are closed.

Standing on the steps of the rubble and ash covered Asy-Syakirin mosque, located in the northeastern corner of the still smoldering 100-acre KLCC site, the Malaysian Prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi declared, "Evil will be punished where it is born."

Though located at some distance across the park from where the former Towers stood, the roof of the Asy-Syakirin mosque, famously known as the 'Jewel in the Park', was damaged when a jet engine thrown from the blast site knocked a hole through its dome. The engine crashed to a standstill at the edge of the complex where it injured several tourists.

"Islam itself was attacked this morning and I assure you freedom will be defended. Make no mistake. The Malaysian Government will identify and punish those responsible for these cowardly actions," Badawi said.

But as of yesterday, Badawi's government counter-terrorism experts were still trying to figure out just who was responsible for the horrific act. Al-Qaeda has disavowed itself from the event, though it bears striking similarities to the 9/11 assault on the World Trade Center in New York City in 2001. Initial suspicion was also directed to members of the Malaysian Trade Union Congress. Still others wondered whether another regional anti government group was to blame.

Many security experts are suggesting that given the international scope of the attacks, the source for this evil may lay far beyond the country's borders and that renegade agents may be involved, possibly with the sanction of one or more foreign governments.

Moreover, "Given the technical complexity of the operation and the worldwide post 9/11 anti-terror controls in airports and aboard aircraft, it's probably an American or European group," said Najib Albar, "–or even a former member of the Soviet Union."

Albar specifically noted, among European countries, British society in particular has been fighting a losing war against a growing body of internal nationalists who want people of both Mid Eastern and Asian descent out of their country, perhaps at any cost, and that similar anti-immigration sentiment is gathering support further abroad in the United States.

Ignoring the question as to whether a group in his country could be implicated, an American intelligence official responded to a recent estimate that just under a hundred Americans were killed in the destruction of the Petronas Towers: "It's Sunday: we won't get the CIA report until tomorrow. Just like everybody else, all we know is what we're seeing on CNN."

Meanwhile the American Vice-President is said to be holed up in a Houston situation room with that country's national energy suppliers to figure out how –and if– the death knell blow to Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Towers may somehow affect oil distribution and prices in the United States.

When the Governments of Malaysia, India and Indonesia do identify the responsible party, the retaliation may herald a new level of mobilization in the region, unifying not just these three neighbors, but possibly the greater Islamic community from Singapore to the Sahara.

Abdul Singh, a former Indian Intelligence official now Fox News Correspondent living in Dubai, explained: "If this turns out to be some sort of symbolic attack on Islam, rather than just an attack on Malaysia and downtown Mumbai, or an effort to interrupt oil or technology production, then all Muslim nations will likely galvanize and the Islamic brotherhood pull together in a way that the world hasn't witnessed since the Ottoman Empire."

"7/27 is Southeast Asia's 9/11," Singh further noted. Foreign Embassies would do well to evacuate their citizens now before a scapegoat is –rightly or wrongly– identified."

Already in the Central Asia, representatives of the Afghani Mujahideen called the failure of India and Malaysia to have advance warning of the attacks, especially given their sophistication, a 'massive failure in the reliance of Western modernity.'

Singh further warned, "India will undoubtedly strike back hard, especially if it turns out to be Kashmiri rebels. But do not underestimate Malaysia's apparent temerity on the world's stage. As a Muslim country, its roots reach across borders and cover half the Earth. Whoever is responsible, no matter what their original intention, they will be hunted down and punished, –and that's putting it lightly."

© 2006 The Malaysian Times Company