Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Analyzing Islamist Butchery

"Even during the civil war, we never had such violent attacks, especially in places of worship."
"We cannot let this change us. We must all work together to eradicate terrorism. We should learn from the past."
Reverend Indarajid Sunasekaran, Catholic priest

"[I fear the massacre may unleash instability. I will] vest all necessary power with the defence forces [to act against those responsible]."
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
Residents pray outside St. Anthony’s Church on Tuesday in Colombo, Sri Lanka. St. Anthony’s was attacked during one of the bomb blasts on Sunday. (Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Washington Post)

Instability? Perhaps he should speak sternly with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena who so cleverly dismissed the prime minister, dissolving the Cabinet as well. When Sunday's horror was  unleashed President Sirisena was out of country. But though the Sri Lankan Supreme Court had reversed the dismissal of the prime minister he had not been permitted to attend meetings of the Security Council since his ouster.

Repercussions of that brilliant manoeuvre were seen in the fact that the prime minister nor his government had any inkling that Indian intelligence had given warning to Sri Lanka's intelligence community of the imminence of terrorist attacks. Given short shrift, with that metaphorical shrug of how bad could it be, a few little disturbances can be dealt with through regular channels. Which appear to have come up rather short in deterrence in view of the ensuing slaughter.

Now, in the wake of the bloody horror visited on Sri Lanka courtesy of its  home-grown terrorist group, the National Thowheeth Jamaath, whose affiliation with global Islamist terrorism Sri Lanka's intelligence authority somehow managed to overlook as a simmering threat, the Sri Lankan government has paid homage to that intelligence authority's competence by giving the military sweeping new police powers.

A nationwide state of emergency has been announced in the wake of the co-ordinated blasts at St.Anthony's Shrine, the Cinnamon Grand, Shanri-La and Kingsbury hotels in Colombo, and two churches outside Colombo, celebrating Easter Mass. Well over a hundred people died in Negombo at St.Sebastian's Catholic Church alone. Over 500 people injured, 290 dead, and 24 suspects arrested.

In the attacks ceilings collapsed, windows were blasted out and worshippers and hotel guests were dead on the spot; blood and flesh covering walls from disintegrating human bodies. Later, three unexploded bombs inside a van parked near one of the churches exploded while police were attempting to defuse them. 
"The Sri Lanka blasts were both sophisticated and well coordinated, making it very likely that the attackers received some sort of training and assistance from ISIS — possibly from one of the group’s bases in the Philippines or elsewhere in the region."
"However, ISIS generally has built its global network by recruiting from existing extremist groups around the world."
Rita Katz, co-founder, SITE Intelligence Group

"It is too early to tell the degree of involvement from ISIS — beyond inspiration and even embedding the jihadi DNA in local extremist groups."
"That said, we should not be too dismissive of ISIS claims or capabilities. I do think it is possible that ISIS has communicated directly or embedded with these local groups and found a way of helping plot, amplify and supercharge their capabilities and operational effectiveness on the ground. The ISIS diaspora and expertise is real, and ISIS has global designs — in South Asia and elsewhere."
Juan Zarate, chairman, Financial Integrity Network

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