Ramadi's fall, why Iraq needs to unify, Malaysia tough on migrants, hopes for better Korean relations, US raid of Syria

This week's round-up of global commentary for the June 1, 2015, weekly magazine.

A displaced Sunni man fleeing the violence in Ramadi carries a crying child on his shoulders, on the outskirts of Baghdad, May 24. Iraqi forces recaptured territory from advancing Islamic State militants near the recently-fallen city of Ramadi on Sunday, while in Syria the government said the Islamists had killed hundreds of people since capturing the town of Palmyra.

The Telegraph / London
Capture of Ramadi: significant breakthrough for Islamic State
“The capture of the strategically important Western Iraqi city of Ramadi represents a significant breakthrough for the fanatical fighters of Islamic State ... particularly as their success comes at a time when most Western governments believed the organisation was in retreat...,” states an editorial. “This disastrous state of affairs is a serious setback for all those Western politicians, in Washington as well as London, who believed that, by providing limited military support and training to the Iraqi armed forces, Baghdad would eventually succeed in destroying the [Islamic State] threat, and return the majority of the country to the control of its democratically elected government....”

The National / Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Unifying Iraq is key to defeating Islamic State
“The fight against [Islamic State] ... must be waged primarily by Baghdad and in Iraq. [Iraqi] Prime minister Haider Al Abadi was elected precisely to unify the armed forces. He must do that, faster and more firmly [than] he has done before, paying particular attention to bringing the Sunnis of Iraq back into the fold," states an editorial. Only a unified Iraq can push [Islamic State] out of the country; and only by pushing [members of Islamic State] out of Iraq, can they be contained and destroyed.”

The Straits Times / Singapore
Malaysia toughens its stance on migrants
“Malaysia has to be careful in sending the right message to the migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh. If we are seen to be soft and seemingly ready to accommodate them, our shores will soon be filled with them...,” writes Wong Chun Wai, editor of Malaysia’s The Star. “Malaysians are people with loads of sympathy and compassion. Then, there is the added dimension of religion. But we have to use our heads too, not just our hearts, in dealing with the increasing number of migrants coming to Malaysia.... Despite the hypocritical criticism by the United States against Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, the US will surely not accept these Rohingyas and Bangladeshis. In fact, the US appears reluctant to even provide direct help in search and rescue, with US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke saying ‘this is a regional issue, it needs a regional solution in short order’. We will be quite happy to send these refugees to the US.”

The Korea Times / Seoul, South Korea
High hopes for South Korean president’s US visit
“What’s urgent now is to draw Pyongyang [North Korea] to the negotiating table to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Dialogue is all the more necessary, considering the possibility that the impoverished state might unleash fresh provocations to escape its self-imposed isolation and international pressure...,” states an editorial. “Seoul [needs] to be more prudent in preparing for [South Korean] President Park Geun-hye’s visit to the U.S. in June. Given that breaking through the inter-Korean impasse might help ease Seoul’s recent diplomatic quagmire, Park needs to do her utmost to encourage Washington to improve relations with Pyongyang.”

The Daily Star / Beirut, Lebanon
US raid into Syria contradicts policy
“The ... raid into Syria by U.S. commandos is the latest twist in a saga that doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon – not the war raging in Syria, but the utter confusion that is raging in Washington when it comes to a Middle East policy,” states an editorial. “President Barack Obama has been the victim of his own rhetorical cleverness in trying to explain Washington’s goals in a conflict that is enflaming the region and the world. After Obama repeatedly said the U.S. would put ‘no boots on the ground’ in Syria, the ... raid contradicted this.... In fact, [Syrian] President Bashar Assad is surviving because of foreign help and the ambiguity of U.S. policy. American officials can talk for hours about the need to avoid involvement, while the skies of Syria are full of U.S. planes, and U.S. commandos can ... visit whenever it’s deemed necessary.”

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