Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CNRP youth take offer to battle ISIS to US senator

CNRP youth take offer to battle ISIS to US senator

Cambodia National Rescue Party youth member Soung Sophorn
Cambodia National Rescue Party youth member Soung Sophorn talks to the media last year. Soung Sophorn is one of the 50 CNRP youth who is offering to fight Islamic Militants. PHNOM PENH POST

CNRP youth take offer to battle ISIS to US senator

A former opposition party candidate leading a band of youth activists that want to join the US-led fight against the so-called Islamic State has submitted a petition to prominent Republican Senator Ted Cruz asking for support.

Soung Sophorn, 27, the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s failed candidate in Pailin province last election, said he asked Cruz to pass on the group’s request to fight the militants, also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, to US President Barack Obama.

While he claims that Cruz replied and promised to write back next month, Sophorn would not provide copies of emails to the Post.

“The important point is that we asked to join [the US] to eliminate jihad, which is an international disease,” Sophorn said, adding that he would soon campaign in the provinces to draw more recruits.

The activist claims to have been put in touch with Cruz by a Cambodian friend in the US who knows him. Spokespeople for Cruz – a possible presidential election candidate in 2016 who has said the US should bomb ISIS “back to the Stone Age” – had not responded to a request for comment as of press time.

The youths’ quixotic quest – which they hope will earn them the US’ “help” in regaining the island of Phu Quoc, or Koh Tral, from Vietnam – has reflected poorly on CNRP leadership, according to some analysts.

But party public affairs head Mu Sochua yesterday said that although she had tried to dissuade Sophorn, “he was acting on his own”.

“Even though he [was] an [election] candidate, he’s still an individual,” she said.

Sochua also denied there was any link between the rhetoric of CNRP leaders, who have pledged to attempt to wrest back control of Koh Tral from Vietnamese control, and the youths’ ideas.

“This is not the way to get back Koh Tral. If he wants to get back Koh Tral it has to be decided as a party with a strategy and policy. And we have always said getting Koh Tral [back] would be through the international court,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Third Makro outlet planned for capital’s Chroy Changvar

    Makro (Cambodia) Co Ltd is set to invest $12.7 million in its third Cambodian outlet, this time in northeast Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district, an area dotted with high-end residential developments, as shopping behaviours continue to evolve in tandem with economic growth. The Cambodian Investment