Updated: Dec 15, 2019
Muslims in Ceylon never gave anybody any problems, they were a model of law-abiding order. What then caused a series of terrorist attacks on Easter on the island and what should we expect now?
Responsibility for a series of explosions of Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, which, according to the latest data, killed 321 people and injured over 500, was claimed by the obscure group Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Watania (National Unity). ). This information was confirmed by the Minister of Health of Sri Lanka Rajitha Senaratne.
Sri Lankan Defense Minister Ruvan Wijevardene, in turn, told Newsfirst on Tuesday that, according to the initial version of the investigation, the explosions in churches and hotels on the island were committed by “local extremists”. This was allegedly done in response to an attack by a right-wing anti-Islamist on two mosques in New Zealand Christchurch, which killed 50 people.
Of course, everything can be, but, most likely, this last statement is a conscious attempt to present the Sunday tragedy as a local phenomenon that the authorities will easily cope with.
Launching such a version of the Sri Lankan authorities is absolutely necessary to divert a blow from the tourism industry - one of the whales that hold the country's economy. After the terrorist attacks on Sunday and Monday, a visa-free “pearl of the Indian Ocean” began a massive outflow of foreign visitors.
Why shift accents?
Meanwhile, in hot pursuit, the Sri Lankan authorities stated that on their own, without strong support from abroad, the extremists, among whom were seven suicide bombers, could not have carried out such large-scale terrorist attacks. This was stated by the Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne: "We do not believe that only a group of people from our country could carry out this attack." He suggested that “an international network was involved in the explosions”.
Indeed, judging by the name of the first group that declared its involvement in the terrorist attacks, it is probably associated with the once-active Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Jihad (Army of Monotheism and Jihad) in Jordan and Iraq. This radical Salafi group of anti-Shiite orientation, created in 1999 by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, after the American invasion of Iraq turned into a developed network with many militants and foreign mercenaries.
This group has relied on the use of suicide bombers, martyrs, specialized in urban guerrilla warfare, "advertising" videotapes with headless hostages. In 2004, al-Zarqawi swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden, renaming his al-Qaida group in Iraq. Her “metastasis” is, apparently, “Jamaat at-Tawhid al-Watania”. By the way, initially among the Sri Lankan Muslims Shiites prevailed.
In light of the Sunni-Shiite war that is now going on for the joy of the United States and Israel, for the Salafists to declare their claims to Sri Lanka, where Muslims make up about 10% of the population, it means opening up a secondary, but still new front in the war with Shiite Iran . There should be no problems with sponsors for such a "godly" business.
How is the investigation going?
The police and special services of Sri Lanka have already arrested 40 suspects of involvement in the terrorist attacks, including one Syrian.
As the Sri Lankan newspaper The Island reported, citing an authoritative police source, one of the Sri Lankan suicide bombers left a letter: asking for forgiveness from his mother, "he wrote that he would carry out an attack in the name of his religion." This message was found during a search in the house of a terrorist.
The potential for new terrorist attacks is evident. After eight explosions that shook Sri Lanka on Sunday, another one occurred on Monday, and the Lankan sappers managed to demine several explosive devices. Yesterday, 87 detonators for improvised bombs were found in the busy metropolitan shopping district of Pett ...
The information available is enough to draw major conclusions and offer three versions of what actually happened in Sri Lanka and what to expect in the future.
The first version - and the most important one - terrorist - is that the metastases of Islamist terrorism finally reached Sri Lanka.
Terrorism has long been a business, and some Islamists, receiving funding from interested circles for specific actions to ensure the rule of Islam in the world, opened a new front, where it is possible to achieve serious success with modest efforts and for a small fee. First of all, ostracism and, as a result, the radicalization of the Sri Lankan Muslims, who had not historically been distinguished by special “piety”, because they did not suffer from fanaticism, behaved quietly and did not bother anyone.
After all, such attacks can be spent much less money than they are allocated, and the difference to dispose of at their discretion. “Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Watania” is, apparently, a network created for a series of specific terrorist activities, a group that does not have a clear organizational structure, which may be dissolved or renamed tomorrow, depending on how things go. It is clear that this version is extremely disadvantageous to the authorities of Sri Lanka, since the realization of this scares away foreign tourism - the basis of the economy and the welfare of the country.
The second version - international - is less likely, but it cannot be excluded. Sri Lanka is greatly dissatisfied with the USA and India because of its rather close ties with China, which both of these countries consider to be their adversary. But if India does not use the Islamists to achieve its political goals, then the United States is engaged in this everywhere where the Islamic factor is present - in the Middle East, in Central, South and East Asia, in Russia.
Neither New Delhi nor Washington are completely satisfied with the fact that the Chinese actually built from scratch several years ago and rented a 99-year-old Hambantotta port in the south of the island from Sri Lanka, which can be used not only for commercial purposes, but also for military purposes .
And this is not the only example of very close Sri Lankan cooperation in various fields. Meanwhile, the United States considers the whole world to be the zone of its strategic interests, and India - the Indian Ocean.
In those cases when certain countries are doing something stubbornly “wrong”, the Americans remind them of organized crises with the help of terrorists, such as in Syria, Libya, and many other places. They honed the art of controlling the world in this way. After the prolonged ethnic conflict on the island ended with the defeat of the most dangerous separatist group, the Tigers of Tamil Eelam Liberation Tigers, the only way to organize instability in the country and thereby to secure the interest of Colombo in the United States to eliminate the consequences of another crisis is the radicalization of Lankan Muslims and the new threat of terrorism. Who knows if the US is launching a state of tension on the island?
The third version - internal causes - can be considered both separately and as part of the two previous ones. And it lies in the fact that the solution of the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka may be in contradiction within ... the Sri Lankan elite.
According to information received from Colombo, the information from their foreign colleagues (recall the previous version) received by local special services about terrorist attacks in the country by the Islamists was not brought to the attention of Prime Minister Ranil Vikremasingha because of his contradictions with President Maitripala Sirisena, so no precautions were taken It was.
This conflict is actively promoted for political purposes by opposition leader Mahinda Rajpaks, who said that if the government took the necessary measures in advance and warned the people about the existing threat, "this catastrophe could have been avoided."
But the most important thing is not even that. Terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka are an opportunity to preserve their influence in the country, during the years of ethnic conflict, the army and other power structures that have been unemployed since then, but now require (and receive) emergency powers to fight the threat.
The commander of the Lankan army, Lieutenant-General Mahesh Senanayake, is outraged that the military "cannot arrest and search anyone connected with an incident" to use their own intelligence to do this. He demands "to provide the right to arrest suspects, at least for a while," since otherwise it is "meaningless to say that there was a malfunction in intelligence work."
Thus, it is quite obvious that what happened in Sri Lanka is not some one-time action, but only the tip of the iceberg, because the growth of tension in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country that is strategically important is interested in — for their own reasons — too many external and internal players .
In recent years, Sri Lanka, which has barely put an end to the lingering bloody ethnic conflict, has intensified tensions on a communist basis - especially between Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims. So the necessary environment for terrorist manifestations is available. Of course, Sri Lanka will not die from terrorism, but terror will poison the lives of everyone, including foreign tourists.