Last year, Tun Dr Mahathir was included in a compilation effort of 500 influential Islamic leaders.
On December 18th, Kuala Lumpur will play host to a summit meeting of Islamic countries.
The teaser to the event came out on December 6th issue of NST, obviously the now Tun Dr Mahathir and his PPBM party official media.
It is dubbed as the new marker for Islamic cooperation. Interesting...
Taking an extract from the report:
... the significance of the emergence of this potential new bloc led by the KL Summit participants.
“One needs to understand how the last decade has seen a rapid decline in Arab influence in the wider Muslim world.
“Despite the initial hope imbued in the Arab Spring, much of the Middle East has now descended back into civil war or authoritarianism,” said the portal.Apparently, the idea arose out of a sideline meeting at the United Nation between Mahathir, Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan, and Turkish President Erdogan.
According to co-Secretary General of the summit, Tan Sri Shamsuddin Osman, 52 countries have confirmed taking part.
That should dispell any rumours of poor reception to the invitation. However, Saudi Arabia was not highlighted.
Desperate for recognition
The Mahathir critic would be quick to pass it off as another of his trademark effort to desperately gain international recognition.
Unlike Dato Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Mahathir is not accepted and failed to secure acknowledgement from powerful nations and blocs around the world.
In other word, he has no friends abroad.
During his tenure as #PM4, he created an international platform of his own known as the Langkawi International Dialogue involving Asia, South America, and Africa for the self-glorification to proclaim as leader of the third world .
This time it is the Islamic theme, but most powerful and birth country of Islam, Saudi Arabia does not seem to feature.
Shamsuddin merely mentioned the attendance of "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan"
Is Saudi left out because Qatar is being featured? But, will that put the ARAMCO investment in RAPID Pengerang at risk?
No Iran too?
Invitation has been sent out and in the schedule, the Iranian President is not mentioned:
It is doubtful that Iran is not invited. Thus why was the Iranian Presidemt not featured for the summit?
Does it have something to do with a Reuter's report of Malaysia providing backchannel for Iran's oil trade to bypass trade sanction?
Despite an open secret that a closet syiah is Defense Minister, the idea of having exceptionally close relationship with a syiah nation may not be acceptable to the predominanly sunni Muslim population.
On the other hand, there is a rising concern to the rise of Wahabism or jihadiyah salafiyah emanating from PH leaders known to subscribe or sympathise with the ISIS-linked ideology.
New leader of Muslim world?
Is Mahathir positioning himself as the new Islamic leader of a new Islamic country grouping, without Saudi Arabia?
It is known that he has yet to officially visit Saudi Arabia and dare not face the as a@c of their displeasure for embarassing the Saudi royalties in the 1MDB debacle.
With and without the Saudi, it is not expected to be an easy task to move forward and balance the conflicting issues beseiging the Muslim world.
With Mahathir having an Islamic liberal leaning an open secret, it will be an uphill task for his views to gain credibility and acceptability of ulamak.
Pakistan Imran Khan too is being viewed with doubt by clergies in Pakistan for his previous marriage to Jewish Jemima, the daughter of a Jewish industrialist, Sir James Goldsmith.
That personal relationship will be under scrutiny.
Suspiciously, the summit could be Mahathir's roundabout way to build relationship to the powerful global Jewish interest under the guise of Islam.
The mind of a Machivellian should never be under estimated.