Flight MH17: When two elephants fight the grass gets trampled

Posted: July 19, 2014 in Israel-Gaza, Malaysia, MH 17, MH 370, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Najib Tun Razak, Russia, Sabah
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The tragic and outrageous shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 on its journey from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace on Thursday is a direct consequence of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Even while offering solace to the family of the dead, the international community needs to fix the responsibility for the firing of the missile that brought down MH17 that was flying at 33,000 feet above sea level, with 298 people on board.

The blame game has already started among the Ukrainian government, the pro-Russian rebel forces fighting the separatist war in the eastern part of the country, and Russia itself. There have been previous instances of Ukraine’s military aircraft getting shot down in the same region. It is surprising that MAS and some other international carriers have been sticking to this dangerous airspace all these weeks and months and only now have decided to steer clear of the zone. The Ukrainian rebels, the prime suspects, were perhaps targeting another Ukrainian military aircraft expected at that time; they even claimed they were in possession of missiles and had shot down a military aircraft.

Big powers playing proxy, aiding rebels to defeat the incumbent is not new and the US did the very same thing through her CIA in funding and arming the Taliban – including anti aircraft Stinger missiles -to oust the Russians in Afghanistan. As an aftermath, the Taliban has arms and deadly Stinger missiles even till to day. Now it seems it is the Russian’s turn to suffer a similar odium. Russia should put an end to separatist rebels group. We should not forget that history is full of examples where countries have created groups for their benefits but later on these groups have created problems for these countries. Even Malaysia helped the Moro separatist in Southern Philippines at one time and now the same group is creating trouble in Sabah and things have back fired big time for Malaysia, while I’m writing this piece there is even a curfew being declared in the east-coast of Sabah. What goes around sure comes around…

This ghastly tragedy could not have come at a worse time for us in Malaysia. Hardly four months ago, MH370 mysteriously went missing while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Even debris has not been found till to date and there is no clue on what happened to it.

The fallout of the war in Ukraine, in which Russia has played a controversial role, has now become an even bigger international issue with the shooting down of our MAS aircraft. Some countries have already called for the United Nations to play a more decisive role in ending this conflict and also taking charge of the investigation. There were a couple of other aircraft quite close to the site where MAS flight MH17 was shot down. Russian President Vladimir Putin was reportedly in the air at the same time. An Air India aircraft carrying Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a diversion to avoid this zone. Tragedies such as this only revive the demand for international aviation organisations to take a more active and dynamic role in tracking or monitoring flights in the interests of the safety of passengers. Airlines will have to accept such a monitoring mechanism sooner rather than later. The Ukrainian authorities have already begun a probe and have taken note of some Twitter posts purportedly put out by the separatists who they say are to blame. The immediate need is to order a full-fledged international investigation into this tragedy, as demanded by our Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, perhaps headed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Unfortunately, no remedy is available to Malaysia or to MAS whose plane has been shot. Further, one wonders whether there is any remedy available to crew and passengers’ relatives. What can be done by the United Nations to avoid such attacks in future? It appears that United Nation is simply a helpless watcher, just as it is in case of Israeli attack on Palestine’s Gaza residents.

In this tragedy, we all must stand together as Malaysians. But again I say, what goes around sure comes around…

  1. Katya Miteva says:

    Thank you for objective analysis.

    One point to note from a Russian speaking Ukrainian.

    Growing up in a Russian speaking city with all my friends and relatives being Russian speakers (which doesn’t mean we identify ourselves as Russians, we are Ukrainians) I can assure you that never Russian language was discriminated in Ukraine.

    Neither it was after the recent revolution. The war in Ukraine is not a civil one – there is simply no reason for a civil war – it is Russia trying to regain lost control over former soviet republic which it requires to keep the empire together.

    It is a fear of Putin that Russians themselves at some point in the future may decide to fight the enormous corruption that all post soviet states inherited.

    Russia is extremely dangerous for all of us.

    My sincere condolences to all the friends and relatives of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. RIP.


  2. geredan says:

    How can one say for sure that the plane was hit by a missile? It is not the first time that a plane has just fallen down from very high in the sky. This is the second Boeing plane of Malaysia that has fallen down from the skies.

    No one has put even a shard of evidence from the debris– that a missile hit the plane – to prove that it indeed was a missile hit. The only evidence is that of an alleged telephonic conversation between the Russians and the rebels and that too was put up by Ukraine. Mr Selva, I would be thankful to you and your readers if anyone could point me to a clear evidence of rocket/missile hit.

    Please don’t fall to the US propaganda!


  3. shane says:

    With more powerful weapons finding their way into “wrong hands”, it is only a matter of time when we will have no more safe zones to fly commercial aircraft. The super powers are flexing their muscles and the pawns are the common people.


  4. The key to resolving the conflict in Ukraine is to dismantle the present unitary state and set up a Federation. Russia is already a huge country and must focus on the welfare of its people rather than embark on a ruinous path of expansionism. It’s not the size of a country that matters but quality.

    In Malaysia, the Federation has degenerated into a unitary state. Malaysia will face the same problems that Ukraine is facing.

    Already, there has been non-compliance on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and there was no Referendum on the Federation of 1963.

    Article 160 of the Federal Constitution, not Malaysian Constitution, states that the Federation means the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957, reference in the Constitution to the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1948 as the Agreement in force before Merdeka, except where the context otherwise requires. Merdeka means 31 Aug 1957.

    In fact, 1948 is the Federation of Malaya Agreement and 1957 is the Independence of Malaya Agreement.

    Whatever it is, Sabah and Sarawak are not in these two Agreements and they are not in this Merdeka. They can’t be reduced to except where the context otherwise requires. So, Malaya is masquerading as Malaysia.

    Also, again, the Federal Government has been in non compliance on the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

    So, what’s the basis for Sabah and Sarawak to be in Federation with the peninsula?


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