27 November, 2020

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Darkest Day In The City Of Lights

By Asanga Abeyagoonasekera

Asanga Abeygoonasekera

Asanga Abeygoonasekera

A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world” – Albert Camus

Following the Charlie Hebdo in January killing 17 people,it was the second terror attack for this year in Paris. This time losing 129 innocent civilians on the evening of the 13th of November. This was a carefully planned and coordinated multiple attack on six different locations by eight gunmen. Out of the eight killers, seven committed suicide. The worst attack taking most lives was at a live concert at Bataclan Theater killing more than 80. It was a painful day which will be remembered by the entire world – a particular hit to human values. ISIS who claim responsibility have declared a war beyond their geographical area to the entire world.

Few weeks ago, the Russian flight carrying passengers from Shyam el Shek were bombed according to the western intelligence agency reports. On Thursday another suicide attack in Beirut killed 40 innocent civilians. These cowardly acts by the ISIS militant group is a clear message sent to the western world. One may wonder if the clash of the civilizations from Samuel P. Huntington is unfolding between the West and ISIS. We live at a point in history that we have witnessed serious height of terrorism from 9/11 to Mumbai attack and to many other attacks in our own nation Sri Lanka. According to the French philosopher André Glucksmann who passed away last week clearly states the characteristic form of modern terrorism is nihilism. “What do extremist ideologies like the communism or Nazism of yesteryear and the Islamism of today have in common? After all, they support ostensibly very different ideals – the superior race, mankind united in socialism, the community of Muslim believers (the Umma). Tomorrow, it could be altogether different ideals: some theological, some scientific, others racist. But the common characteristic is nihilism.” Whatever the cause, ISIS killing innocent people is most certainly not Islam.

World leaders meeting at the G20 conference in Antalya could be an opportunity to retool the strategy against ISIS. With coordinated effort from the global powers ISIS could be defeated. There should be space given to any nation who is ready to support and fight ISIS. Eastern powers; particularly Chinese and Indian among other nations should support this cause. There is no time to waste on political games as the threat from ISIS is serious and daily spreading. A political and military solution to ISIS terror should be ranked top priority on the global agenda.

The ISIS usage of social media for propaganda and the radicalization program using new methods is more evident than any other terrorist group in history. It appears ISIS is hiding operatives among the tide of legitimate refugees now entering Europe as one gunman was identified as a refugee who entered using this path.

You could hear of the large number of US and Europeans who are receiving training, motivation and skills in Syria to perpetrate attacks in the western soil. Multiple threat groups in Asia have either pledged support to IS or taken an oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. In Asia, two dozen groups support IS. Over 1000 recruits from Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, China, Australia and New Zealand have travelled to Syria and Iraq.

There are few important areas that the security agencies can work on. Several months ago on “Counter-radicalism policies and strategies: lessons learned and future steps” at the annual Strategic Studies Summit held in Antalya I mentioned clearly the importance of focusing on de-radicalization and counter-radicalization programs. Those subject to radicalization should engage in rehabilitation programs with the assistance from the civil society. The role of civil society in counter-radicalization and de-radicalization is essential. Civil society and Governments can work in partnership to prevent radicalization by tackling economic, social and political drivers. When Governments set policy framework, providing funding, and addressing structural issues. However, communities also need to play their part for the overall approach to be successful. Civil society has a role to play to counter messages of radicalization and often it will be more effective when they come from communities rather than governments.

Another focus area is the enhancement of intelligence apparatus as Paris and few other attacks demonstrated a failure in the intelligence services by the state. A nation like Sri Lanka that battled terrorism for nearly three decades could provide expertise to fight terrorism. Our military and intelligence services have shown that any terrorist outfit could be destroyed with the right strategy and skill. All nations including Sri Lanka should invest in national security an important area underinvested by many nations especially on strategic defence studies.

As President Obama rightly sais at the G20 meeting “The killing of innocent people based on a twisted ideology is an attack not just on France, not just on Turkey, it is an attack on the civilized world,” .The world needs secure order and we should not underestimate the threat from the terrorist and invest for a better intelligence to fight global terrorism. Today a nation is mourning and the world remains in shock at the brutality of the disgraceful act which could be entering another nation tomorrow.

At the darkest moment in the city of lights, together we all should stand to defeat terrorism.

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  • 7
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    Asanga Abeyagoonasekera

    RE: Darkest Day In The City Of Lights

    “This time losing 129 innocent civilians on the evening of the 13th of November. This was a carefully planned and coordinated multiple attack on six different locations by eight gunmen. Out of the eight killers, seven committed suicide.”

    This was not the ONLY killing happened that last week, Courtesy of ISIS, funded by Wahhabi Saudi Arabia and Gulf States, based on Wahhabi Devil Ideology and Aided and Abetted by the West including 40 countries.

    Asanga, have your heard about Newton’s Third Law of Motion? For Every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

    1. ISIS bombs were planted and killed many in Lebanon and Baghdad.

    So, ISIS record for the week was perhaps 250 innocents killed.

    So, the Question for you is this. What did the French do to deserve this?

    Flashback.

    LTTE Bandaranaike Airport attack. Central Bank Bombing etc. What did the innocent victims do to deserve the attacks?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandaranaike_Airport_attack

    The Bandaranaike Airport attack was an assault by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on Bandaranaike International Airport, on July 24, 2001. The attack was one of the boldest the LTTE mounted during its war with the Sri Lankan government, and had a profound impact on the country’s military, economy, and airline industry.

    Background
    Reports said that the LTTE timed the attack to coincide with the rioting of Black July in 1983, in which 1000 of Tamils were killed by Sinhalese mobs. Even though the Tamil rebellion far preceded the attack in history, this is considered the start of the Sri Lankan Civil War. The rebels launched this attack on Sri Lanka’s key military target and at the time the country’s only international airport.

    Assault
    Around 3:30 am on July 24, 14 members of the LTTE Black Tiger suicide squad infiltrated Katunayake air base, located about 35 km (22 mi) north of Colombo. After destroying electricity transformers to plunge the base in darkness, they cut through the barbed wire surrounding the base to begin their assault. Using rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank weapons, and assault rifles, the militants attacked air force planes. They were not able to attack the aircraft parked in hangars but did destroy eight military aircraft on the tarmac: three K-8 Karakorum trainer aircraft, one Mil Mi-17 helicopter, one Mil Mi-24 helicopter, two IAI Kfir fighter jets, and a MiG-27. Five K-8s and one MiG-27 were also damaged. A total of 26 aircraft were either damaged or destroyed in the attack.[1] Some of the LTTE members climbed to the top of the air base’s control tower, which they used as a vantage point.[1]

    Eight Tigers and three air force officers died in the battle at the air base. The six remaining LTTE members then crossed the runway to nearby Bandaranaike Airport. Using their weapons, they began blowing up civilian aircraft, which were all empty. One Airbus A330 was destroyed by an explosive charge, another A330 by the explosion of an oil tank; an A340 was destroyed by a rocket fired from the terminal building. In addition, an A320-200 and an A340-300 were damaged in the assault.[2][3]

    The attack was over by 8:30 am. All 14 guerrillas were killed, along with six Sri Lankan air force personnel and one soldier killed by friendly fire. 12 soldiers were injured, along with three Sri Lankan civilians and a Russian engineer.[1] No tourists were harmed during the attack.

    The three Airbuses destroyed constituted three of SriLankan Airlines’ 12 aircraft. The two other damaged aircraft meant that nearly half of the Airlines’ planes were out of commission.

    Effects
    Bandaranaike Airport was closed for 14 hours during and after the attack. Flights were diverted to India during the assault due to the threat of attack. The cost of replacing the civilian aircraft was estimated at $350 million USD. The attack caused a slowdown in the economy of Sri Lanka, to about -1.4%. Tourism also plummeted, dropping 15.5% at the end of the year.

  • 4
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    The logical construction of Samuel P. Huntington’s “Clash of civilizations” has a lot in common with Adolph Hitlers “Meine Kampf”.

    Its objective appears to be a circling of the wagons within a context of rapid resource depletion. This is a far cry from what we dealt with here in Sri Lanka. There is not need to be naive.

  • 7
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    A nation like Sri Lanka that battled terrorism for nearly three decades could provide expertise to fight terrorism. Our military and intelligence services have shown that any terrorist outfit could be destroyed with the right strategy and skill.

    These two sentences are clearly absurd.

    The most important piece of intelligence Sri Lanka received during the entirety of its struggle with the LTTE was supplied by the Americans. Who through their satellites pinpointed the four floating armories anchored of the coast of the Indonesian Island of Sumatra.
    However the Sri Lankan Navy having no blue-water capability could not destroy these vessels.

    India ‘Lent` the Sri Lankan Navy a destroyer that sunk the four LTTE floating armories. This was the most significant event of the war. In one fell swoop the LTTE, through not being able to replace equipment was fighting with one arm tied behind its back.

    It is quite surprising that nobody in Sri Lanka acknowledges this important fact.

    All military analysts acknowledge that without this game-changer. the Sri Lankan conflict would have continued as a stalemate for years

    “A nation like Sri Lanka that battled terrorism for nearly three decades could provide expertise to fight terrorism”.

    Presumably killing 40,000 civilians along the way!

    Surely our expertise is in creating a terrorist outfit from nothing.

    The equation goes

    X (1956) + Y (1972) + Z (1978) = Black July 1983.

    The net result of this suicidal equation was to retard the development of the Country.

    From being the richest Country in Asia at the end of WW2 we are now one of the poorest.

    Sri Lanka should be a mandatory case study in all Political Studies Courses throughout the World. Titled

    “How to create the environment for National Meltdown”

    At the end of the day it was all self inflicted.

    Where are those Western conspiracies when you really need them ?

  • 5
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    “A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world” – Albert Camus

    How about this one : ” Superiority and inferiority of a man is not by his birth but by his acts ” – Lord Buddha

    You mean to say all the ruling party leaders and the opposition leaders were guided by Lord Buddha’s teaching in carrying out their political responsibilities to take care of Mother Lanka from 1948.

    A sang a do you know JR promised to create a Dhamica Samajaya in 1977 with a release of postal stamp ? What happened to your civilised motherland in July 1983 when JR was the President ?
    What happened to Rajiv Ghandi at the guard of honour parade in 1987?

    Who sow the seeds of rebellion and created suitable ground for the youth uprisings be it by JVP,LTTE,or other groups ?

    Do you mean to say that the successive SL governments were run by civilised people elected by the civilised society ?
    Can you define : 1. what is political problem and what is political solution
    2. What is state terrorism and state racism ? Then define what is terrorism carried out by countries’ own young rebellious citizens and within the country ?

  • 2
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    I have absolutely no fears or doubt that ISIS is most brutal force like Mozad and both have common cause of targeting the civilian let be Paris or Gaza.

    These are the outrageous radical, terror elements of Islam and Judaism. But very unfortunately, only one side of the crime being exposed while the other unleash the terror whenever or wherever they wanted with backing of the Western Jewish Lobby and the very powerful media.

    May be, even the write finds no guts or wits to expose the other half. What a pity!!!!!!!

  • 1
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    ‘darkest day in the city of lights’
    Has the author forgotten the French Revolution? And the devastation of Paris in World Wars 1 and 2?

  • 3
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    I am sure the author means that state terror like that experienced by Tamils and Sinhalese alike in Sri Lanka should also be confronted – Sri Lanka is perhaps the worst example of state terror in 21st century Asia – needs to be confronted head on and that responsibility shouldn’t be shirked by the author.

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