12 November, 2019

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Was China The Hidden Signifier? Easter & The Weaponization Of Religion As A New Cold War Looms

By Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake

Dr. Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake

Analysis of the Easter carnage in Sri Lanka has focused on the massacre of innocents that took place in three of the island nation’s coastal churches and congregations and largely overlooked the fact that the ocean-front, super-luxury, five star, Shangri-La Hotel, was the only non-Sri Lankan “asset” (to use security jargon), that was targeted in the Easter Sunday carnage.

Moreover, it appears that to make no mistake, the masterminds of the crime ensued that they used 2 bombers at the Chinese owned Shangri la Hotel, whereas the other targeted churches and luxury hotels were hit by a single suicide bomber in this carefully coordinated and minutely planned logistics operation.

Two weeks after the carnage which killed over 250 people and wounded many more, that there were no reprisals against the Muslim community of Sri Lanka is a tribute to the leadership of Cardinal Malcom Ranjith and the Church leadership.

It is also a tribute to the silent majority of peaceful and long suffering people of the island who perhaps through this disaster may re-discover the value and strength of the island’s diverse religious communities and traditions at this moment of danger. 

However, unless solid answers regarding the motives and masterminds of the crime are forth-coming so that the future may be discerned and national fear psychosis calmed, the quiet may not be sustained. Dead men tell no tales, and those who may have had some clues it seem died later in Sainthumaruthu, while the number of foreign intelligence agencies in the country appear counter-productive to a focused investigation conducive to revealing the masterminds behind the carnage.

The struggle for the narrative and the search for motives behind the Suicide bombing continue at this time. Much has been revealed about the radicalized and deluded local youth who killed themselves and others by now, but little is known about the master planners of the crime. How we frame the story to explain this apparently religious and economic violence, will be most important to how soon these latest wounds inflicted on this already beleaguered nation may be healed and the country as a whole may or may not recover from this latest attack on its diverse and plural public culture and economy

At this time, stories about plans to bomb bridges and indefinite school closures amidst parent’s fears for the safety of their children are circulating based on unspecified, mainly, foreign “intelligence” warnings. Attempts may be ongoing by some of the masterminds of the Easter Sunday carnage to build and sustain fear psychosis, prevent return to normal life, and start a cycle of violence and destabilize the country: This would distract and deflect attention from the search for the master-minds of the Easter Sunday attacks. There have been some unfortunate incidents of harassment of refugees from Pakistan and Afghanistan, even as there has also been significant private and state support for these refugees. 

It is hence urgent and important that we try to identify the Master-minds behind the carefully coordinated and minutely planned crime who guided the suicide bombers, to name, shame and let them know that we are watching even if relatively powerless to do much else at this time, in order to try to prevent more violence.

There is evidence to suggest that attempts are ongoing to mislead the Sri Lankan people about who may be the masterminds behind the local suicide bombers in the Easter Sunday Carnage. For example, the video tape of Islamic State (IS) leader Al Bagdhadi, purportedly speaking of the attacks in Sri Lanka, it seems had a later audio recording that had been introduced into the video tape, which has been questioned and rejected by Arabic and French intelligence experts.

Colombo’s Sea-front Luxury Hotels

In addition to the selected churches, suicide bombers hit three carefully chosen five star hotels, out of a line-up of six or seven star class hotels on Colombo’s sea-front luxury hotel strip where tourists gather, indicating that this was also a planned and systematic attack on the country’s already debt trapped and currency manipulated economy. 

The Galadhri and Taj Hotels that are located on the same Colombo sea-front luxury hotel strip that flank Shangri La Hotel escaped unscathed, as did other sea front hotels in the same strip – Galle Face Hotel, Hilton Hotel, and Ramada. The other two hotels that were targeted, the Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury Hotels, were owned by local Sri Lankan conglomerates. John Keells which owns Cinnamon grand is building its latest Cinnamon Life property development with the China construction company. 

Four oceanic scientists who were staying at Kingsbury Hotel were among the six Chinese nationals who lost their lives during the Easter Sunday bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, according to the Chinese Embassy in Colombo. The deceased included Li Jian, 38, and Pan Wenliang, 35, who were senior engineers at the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (SCSIO).Two others, Li Dawei, 30, and Wang Liwei, 26, were from the First Institute of Oceanography under the Ministry of Natural Resources, the state run Global Times reported on Wednesday. They had been scheduled to board the Chinese research vessel Shiyan 3 and start China-Sri Lanka joint scientific exploration missions in the East Indian Ocean.

Websites of both the institutions, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and The Institute of Oceanography turned black and white to mourn the dead scientists. Li, along with four other scientists had arrived at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo on April 18 and 19, respectively. They were supposed to participate in a joint scientific cooperation between China and Sri Lanka, the SCSIO said. The embassy said another five people from the Chinese Academy of Sciences were injured.

Maritime Domain Awareness: Coastal Communities Targeted

The design of the attack, the venues picked, churches located among coastal communities with congregations whose livelihoods largely depend on fisheries and Indian Ocean resources in Colombo, Negambo and Batticaloa, as well as the targeting of luxury ocean front hotels, suggest a theme, as well as, a coded message from the masterminds of the carnage. 

Marine affairs and the ocean is a red thread that runs through the design and detail of the selected targets in the Easter Sunday crime in Sri Lanka.
No inland cities in Sri Lanka were targeted and a pattern emerges in the design and targets of the Easter Sunday attacks. It would appear that the designers of the attack had an interest in Sri Lanka’s coastal communities, ocean front and marine affairs, perhaps to draw a security cordon sanitaire around the strategically located Indian Ocean island that sits on top of major global energy and trade routes and crucial global internet Undersea Data Cables (UDC). After the attack and arrival of doves of intelligence experts and agencies the fisheries habours in the island were locked down.

In other words, it would appear that the masterminds had an interest in Sri Lanka’s oceans and marine affairs; or, what the US ambassador in Sri Lanka termed, “Maritime Domain Awareness” (MDA), in a recent interview on Ada Derana TV regarding the United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), assistance for so-called ‘poverty alleviation’ to Sri Lanka. 

Now, while Islamic State (IS) has been announced as behind the attacks and the suicide bombers,  there is no evidence at this time to suggest that the Islamic State that has a history of operating in deserts and mountain regions had any special interest in the Indian Ocean or China, or affinity for tropical islands, or even a great deal of Maritime Domain Awareness to support the narrative of Singapore’s Technical University, expert Dr. Rohan Gunaratne, who has established connections to IS terror networks and the US military business industrial complex.

Gunaratne recently claimed that IS had declared South Asia as a “Province of the Islamic Caliphate” and would continue to target Sri Lanka – a claim seemingly calculated to spread fear psychosis among the general public of Sri Lanka.  It is in fact the United States that invented a new ocean called the ‘Indo-Pacific’ reflecting keen interest in Indian Ocean MDA, also evident in its so-called MCC Compact to Sri Lanka.

Questions arise as to why the various foreign intelligence agencies and experts helping the government of Sri Lanka in the investigation of the Easter Sunday crime in Sri Lanka have refrained from drawing attention to information regarding the economic and geopolitical dimensions of the Easter Sunday crimes, and rather focus exclusively on religious motivations and networks, especially as there appears to be no history or motive for Sri Lankan Muslims to bomb their fellow minority Christian brothers and sisters.

A Paradigm Shift

The Easter Sunday bombings targeting minority coastal Catholic communities and churches constitute a ‘paradigm shift ‘ in patterns of ethno-religious co-existence and conflict in the Sri Lanka: This is indexed in the fact that there was and is NO local history of and NO motive for Muslim-Christian violence in the country as both, Christians and Muslims are MINORITY COMMUNITIES. Both have been sometimes under siege from extremist majoritarian Buddhist groups. There is no conceivable motive for local Muslims to attack Christians who number about 8 percent of the Sri Lankan population. In fact, during the conflict years, Christians who are highly integrated into the Sinhala and Tamil communities often played an important bridging role in past conflicts.

In such a context, recourse to ‘history’, past violence and endless excavation and examination of old patterns of ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka serves little purpose and rather may obscure the facts on the ground at this time, and this is precisely what the planners and designers of the attacks wanted us to do in order to distract ourselves from the big picture or on-going geo-political developments and external engagements in the country. 

Few self-respecting social scientists or political analysts of Sri Lanka could, would or should accept at face value the ‘narrative’ of Muslim-Christian violence to explain the violence on Easter Sunday 2019, ten years after war between the State and LTTE ended. Critical researchers on religious co-existence and conflict who study deep structures and patterns of conflict and amity between multi-religious communities are increasingly convinced that the bomb blasts at 3 churches blasts are part of a wider systematic post-war weaponization of religious identity politics by external parties to Divide, Distract and destabilize this strategically located Indian Ocean island which is in the cross-hairs of Cold War tensions between the United States, India and allies on the one hand and China on the other. 

As such, explanations of the Easter Sunday violence which focus on old patterns of internal religious politics and violence rather than external and geopolitical explanations may not be very useful at this time to grasp the problem and help to try and prevent more violence. The narrative of Christian-Muslim conflict is a Euro-American one that does not mesh with local history and will not fly in Sri Lanka, and may provide clues to the external parties that may be involved in and behind the highly sophisticated logistics operation of simultaneous bombing in disparate locations on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka.

The Easter Sunday bomb attacks on St Anthony’s Church, in the heart of Colombo’s old city, which is a famous multi-religious site and a church with a long history of attracting believers of all faiths – Buddhist, Hindus and occasional Muslims– were attacks on multi-religiosity, religious amity, and tolerance in Sri Lanka. Likewise, the suicide bombing on Easter Sunday were NOT and should not been seen merely as an attack on a single, minority, religious community of Christians in Sri Lanka at this time. Rather these bomb blasts in 3 churches were body blows to the very heart of the county’s plural, multi-religious, social fabric and ipso facto an attack on all religious congregations in the country. They were undoubtedly meant to sow confusion, miss-trust and a spiral of violence in the island and de-stabilize the country making it prey to larger geo-political forces and Superpower designs.

Ravana Senai, Bodu Bala Senava (BBS) and Ravana Balaya emerged in the post-war period, the former a Hindu organization and the latter Buddhist Outfits in the predominantly Tamil northeast and Sinhala Buddhist south, seemingly, also targeting Muslims and Christians. 

Ten years after a the war between the State and LTTE ended, we are clearly witnessing what may be termed the ‘Weaponization of Religious identity politics’ and the fanning of religious conflict in this vulnerable island nation which is caught in the cross-hairs of wider geopolitical tensions between big powers and their increasing competition in the Indian Ocean where Sri Lanka occupies a very strategic location. 

1983 REDUX?

The Island of Sri Lanka has historically been home to 4 great world religions – Buddhism, Christianity Hinduism, Islam, and has a long history of multi-religosity, but religion like ethnicity has been periodically weaponized by local political actors who use and politicize religion, whom we may term ‘ethno-religious entrepreneurs’, but there are also clearly external interests working in collusion with local political actors in order to divide, distract, rule and loot the resources of the Indian Ocean and advance external geo-strategic interests in this strategically located country at this time. Ever since the US invented an ocean called the Indo-Pacific that has been increased militarization of the Indian Ocean with Sri Lanka’s ports being visited by various war ships of big powers and their allied countries. 

As political transitions and elections loom in the country, we may be seeing 1983 redux, even as geopolitical tensions increase. Then too, there were external interests at play as ethnic tensions and civilian riots were militarized and weaponized by a neighbouring state’s intelligence agencies and security apparatus.

Small countries are often instrumentalized and ethno-religious identity politics weaponized in Cold War proxy wars. These are dangerous times as in 1983, when external parties promoted internal conflict and weaponized ethnic tensions and civilian riots during a similar Cold War period of geopolitical instability.

Crucial information on the Bondscam was to be revealed, as well as, information on the inquiry into threats to the life of the President next week after the end of the Sinhala-Tamil New year. There is a pattern of religious riots happening when pro-western leaders are in peril. Anti-Muslim riots in Digana and Kandy happened when the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Bondscam (PCOI), report was released, apparently to distract from calls for impeachment of those responsible. While those that are being protected with violence may not have direct knowledge of the attack, they are complicit in so far as proper investigation into the Digana attacks were not carried out, and the culprits tried in open court.

The bomb blasts at 3 churches appear to be part of a systematic weaponization of religious identity politics by external parties working with local political-religious small groups to Divide, Distract and further external interests in this strategically located island nation, even as the current regime’s days are numbered and elections due next years. 

Ironically, but perhaps not co-incidentally, the worst cases of ethnic and religious violence in the island have happened during neo-liberal governments – as with the anti-Tamil pogrom of July 1983, the anti-Muslim riots of May 2019, and now the current attack on multi-religion, religious tolerance and co-existence. There is, moreover, clearly an economic dimension to these attacks, and an attempt to crash the Sri Lankan economy which is already debt trapped and suffering from currency manipulation.

At this time further attempts to promote a fear psychosis about the Islamic State and pass a new so called anti-terrorism law to prevent democratic protests, instrumentalize party political divisions, and post-pone elections in order to keep the current pro-American Prime Minister in power, may be ongoing by external parties and related intelligence agencies and networks.

In the context, it is important that all communities keep calm and seek to understand some of the deeper, historical patterns, structures and issues that underlie these terror attacks on religious diversity and tolerance in Sri Lanka at this time, as well as, new geopolitical developments. 

Zooming Out: Local-Global Connections

Although a misguided New York Times journalist, Hannah Beech, may naively write an article titled, “A New Enemy but the Same Hate: Can Sri Lanka Heal Its Divisions? “ to suggest that Sri Lanka is a country where ethnic and religious “hate” is entrenched; in the final analysis, when we zoom out to take a look at the bigger picture of global geo-politics in a small Indian Ocean island; China may well emerge as the hidden signifier in the violence experienced on Easter Sunday, with a brewing Cold War in the Indian Ocean seemingly coming to ahead in Sri Lanka at this time.

The book by Yale University academic, Eugene Ford, titled “Cold War Monks: Buddhism and America’s Secret Strategy in Southeast Asia” (2017), details how during the height of the Cold War religion was researched and weaponized to fight communism and socialism. Ford who analyzed de-classified Asia Foundation documents guides us to discern exogenous factors that configure patterns of apparently endogenous religious violence in Asia, as well as, deep structures and histories that appear as roadblocks to incitements to religious violence in some of South and Southeast Asia’s diverse and multi-religious polities. Sri Lanka and Burma were both part of the US Southeast Asia strategy to use Buddhism to fight Communism at the time.

At that time, Islam too was weaponized in Afghanistan, various part of Southeast Asia and the Middle East against communism and socialism, and later violence was directed inward and within, its own communities including Sunni-Shia conflict.

Asia Rising and the quietly emerging super-power, China (that has yet to make formal comment on events in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday),  and its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), may well have been the prime target of the bombings that rocked a small and insignificant Indian Ocean island caught in the cross hairs of superpower rivalry. Moreover, in recent times, there has been a propaganda war to blame China for Sri Lanka’s primarily international sovereign bond, IMF, Eurobond and ABD development debt trap.

In such a context, the Easter suicide bombers appear as pawns, bit-players, even victims, caught in a murky web of intertwined terror and counter-terror networks and the narrative of a ’Clash of Civilizations’ emanating from war torn Syria and Iraq, as much as, from Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States. 

Simultaneously, the hundreds of dead, wounded, maimed, injured, grief stricken and traumatized, along with the Sri Lankan economy in shambles after the Easter Sunday attacks, all appear as “collateral damage” in a high-stakes global (in) security great game in the Indian Ocean at this time. 

Finally, critical thinking or what philosopher, Paul Ricoeur, termed the “hermeneutics of suspicion”; or “brushing history against the grain” as Jewish Frankfurt school social theorist, Walter Benjamin who lived and worked in an extended “moment of emergency” in Nazi Germany termed it, are called for at this time of crisis in Sri Lanka: Careful analysis and de-coding of global and local ‘expert narratives’ on economy and security are needed to critic an increasingly popular narrative of a so-called ‘Clash of Civilizations’ that renders Christian-Muslim conflict and other forms of religious violence a self-fulfilling prophesy everywhere in the world. 

Such narratives often are intended to further the strategic security and business interests, including massive sales of arms, hyper-security and surveillance systems, as well as, the setting up and/or continued existence of colonial occupation of Indian Ocean islands, with military bases such as Diego Garcia in Chagos islands in the Indian Ocean, even after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled against it in February 2019. 

Careful study of deep local histories, structures and patterns of ethno-religious co-existence, as much as, conflict, coupled with local knowledge and attention to global geopolitical currents enables critical thinking that may get us nearer the truth of a matter – so that informed action may be taken to avert future violence, both, locally and globally.

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Latest comments

  • 16
    3

    The clichetic references to MCC, Diego Garcia, Indo Pacific, etc. are uncannily similar.
    Please, if you have something to say, do it without the cliches and bombast.

    • 5
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      “The clichetic references to MCC, Diego Garcia, Indo Pacific, etc. are uncannily similar.”
      Uncannily similar to the writings of a certain troll who shall remain nameless at Cat’s wish.

      • 8
        5

        Wow, lots of CIA bots out today showing off their colors on CT in defense of empire!
        Time will reveal the truth that is writ here.
        All politicians of this current generation are corrupt, Ranil, Gota, MR and Sira being particularly vile.
        It is clearly a mistake to read this article as an argument for a Strongman.
        The point is simply that if the Sri Lankan police and armed forces and administrative system was allowed to do their job without political interference the Easter disaster would not have happened.

        • 4
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          Minority,
          Are you, K.Ganesh, S. Lakshmi and Donstanley related to the author? I don’t think the CIA is needed to figure that out.

          • 6
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            We don’t need outsiders or conspirators/conspiracies to destroy us! We are more than capable of doing it ourselves.

            Done it for the last 71 years with great inborn talent and finesse; it’s in our genes.

            So, conspiracies? Outsides? Uh? :))

            Why only we are sooooooo susceptible to “conspiracies?”


            Ah! what damage a little learning can do!

          • 3
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            CT editors,
            Dr. Darini Rajasingham is a respected researcher with many published papers, working at ICES among other places. Her writing style is different and she does not write crappy conspiracy theories. Is some idiot using her name and picture ?

    • 20
      11

      There is no point in coming out with lies to distort the truth. This violence was let loose to help Gota win the presidential elections and Mahinda to come to power. Both Gota and Mahinda knew about these attacks. Also Sirisena knew about it and probably Ranil and UNPers too, though all are now feigning ignorance. When a person warded in hospital with a leg amputated knew this, how could you say that they did not know. The fact is that it was conveyed to them that only Tamil churches and hotels in east will be targeted. Since the casualties would be foreigners and Tamils all of them, they wanted it to happen to utilize it for their own political agenda. China wants this government to go and bring Mahinda back. Their silence arouses suspicion on them. They are in Pakistan in large numbers and would have used Pakistani intelligence agency, the real culprits who are already in the east instigating hatred against Tamils. Both Mahinda and Gota are guilty of giving funds through defence ministry account to Islamic terror groups to subvert Tamils and Buddhist terror groups to check Muslims. Now since this Muslim terror group has caused havoc to Sinhalese and tourist industry, that the government has woken up. Top Sinhala politicians in government and opposition have received some sort of favour from the backers of these terror group. It took ten days to raid the house of Hisbullah and 14 days to raid the house of Badurdeen giving them time to destroy any links to terror groups and then say nothing was found. Restlessness in Negombo is a sign of anger by the affected communities, when real culprits are moving freely.

      • 9
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        DRS, Brilliant and uncompromising article!
        The facts speak for themselves regarding MDA as connecting red line in the choice of targets
        Keep up the great work — speaking truth to power!

        • 1
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          The US embassy staff at JAIC Hilton apts were found by Police sniffer dogs with bomb materials.
          https://lankanewsweb.net/news/special-news/42367-police-dogs-render-us-diplomats-speechless
          The US Embassy in compound in Colombo should be searched FIRST for the explosive used in the attack.
          Their contractors already operate helicopter tours – Millennium Airlines Sri Lanka and now Sri Lankan Airline CEO. Sri Lankan airspace is already in foreign hands and national security compromised, with an invasion of 150 so called US Peace Corps fake volunteers with full diplomatic immunity due in Lanka in October.. to ensure Bondscam Ranil wins the next election..

          • 2
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            Lakshmi,
            Where is your alter ego Don Stanley?

      • 8
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        “This violence was let loose to help Gota win the presidential elections and Mahinda to come to power. Both Gota and Mahinda knew about these attacks. Also Sirisena knew about it and probably Ranil and UNPers too, though all are now feigning ignorance.” says super detective Dr. Gnana Clouseau Sankaralingam.
        *
        That was the best joke of yesterday.
        He really can be funny if he tries.

    • 4
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      Raman, Who had prior information on the attacks in Sri Lanka?
      Saudi Arabia, USA and India.
      India knows Sri Lanka’s cultural landscape too well to try to distract with a non-existing Muslim-Christian attack! RAW would have gone for a Buddhist- Muslim conflict and in any case India is too distracted with elections and its northern border conflicts, to open a new front.
      So that leaves the house of Saud , Israel and its Whitestream fake news agency that claimed that Bitcoin funded the bombs in Lanka: and of course the Washington and its agencies. A network emerges…
      take you pick.. Elementary my dear Watson

  • 14
    2

    Colombo was selected because it was the Capital, The hotels because they were where foreigners gathered and seen as high profile real estate.

    Batticaloa chosen because if was near Wahabi hot spot Kattankudy.

    Nothing to do with the sea or maritime trade routes.

    • 2
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      dingiri, this article is for those with IQ 79 plus. Wasted your time?

      • 5
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        Do you mean not for the faint hearted and those living on USAID handouts?

    • 5
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      I think that u r on the right track. D Rajasinham-senanayke (a rare combination of second names in SL!) is certainly trying to read too much into some coincidences. She is apparently ignoring other foreigners including three children of Danish Billionaire died in the attack. Even though nothing so far has come out from arrested terrorists to suggest any hidden motives other than Jihadism, it is possible to suspect that they selected the date and venues to avoid a near certain massive reprisal from Sinhalese Buddhists. Efforts to imagine beyond that wouldn’t serve any practical purpose at least at this juncture of the investigation other than muddying the situation. Finally, if nothing else, one should ask why Indian intelligence tried to warn not just once but thrice about the impending danger if Chinese BRI was one of the target!

  • 13
    1

    The author hints that behind the Easter Sunday bombings are anti-China forces of US, India, etc. Which utterly neglects the issue of repeated warnings from India which the Sri Lanka government failed to act upon.

    Besides, it is a fact that Sri Lanka had to give China a controlling equity stake and a 99-year lease for Hambantota port, because Sri Lanka could not pay back its debt. This was not engineered by US, India, anti-China forces, etc.; this loss of Sri Lanka sovereignty is purely because of China and Sri Lanka politicians.

    • 1
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      Arun,
      What if India had created an environment months or years before where SL would continue to ignore its false information? You might think then why India would give such an information. Who knows an intelligence agency works like that to get keep away the doubts?

      Security arrangements, weakness of intelligence, rift between 2 leaders and an extremist gang that could be used as bombs have been watched closely – my opinion.

  • 5
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    Tribute to Cardinal for no reprisals in two weeks of after math ????? Who do we tribute to the happenings (what happens from now, starting Negombo) until next elections ????? You say, Dr.Rohan Gunaratna has well established connections to ISIS terror net work and US military business Industrial Complex. That definitely makes him, most privileged and WANTED person in the whole universe. Why not Lankan government get hold of him, using his connections and US support eradicate ISIS. (that is what Trump wants too). I hope Rohan knows who his neighbors are?????

    • 9
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      This so-called expert (Rohan Gunaratne) was Gota`s War Adviser
      where his failure to ban camera Telephones in the war-without-witnesses plan is ultimately to cost Sri Lanka in the future?

  • 16
    1

    Pathetic and shoddy article. Typical deracinated Colombo elite!

    There has been Christian-Muslim conflict in the island before. Mannar is a case in point. The Catholics benefitted from the eviction of Muslims in 1990. Prior to that, every election in that district represented religious competition. Muslim mobs also killed pro-LTTE Catholic priests in the East in 1990 after the Kattankudi massacre. Rishad Baddiudin and the Mannar Bishop hated each other.

    The ISIS attacks however were anti-West. Hence the churches.

  • 9
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    Who does IS want to kill? Christians

    What do churches and hotels have in common? Christians

    No conspiracy theories needed.

    • 12
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      Paul.

      I agree there’s no conspiracy with the Easter bombings.

      But I want to make one thing clear in your post above. IS wants to kill all non-believers in Allah. Not just Christians. So does all Muslims. There is no difference.

      When Hindus were massacred on top of Mount Hindu Kush, there was no ISIS. Hindu Kush means the place where Hindus were massacred. This is also where the Bamiyan Buddha statues are located.

      And you know what happened to those Bamiyan Buddha statues, don’t you? And there was no ISIS back then either.

      • 5
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        Reginald you are right. I hope nothing happens during Vesak.

    • 5
      6

      paul
      -.
      “Who does IS want to kill? Christians What do churches and hotels have in common? Christians No conspiracy theories needed.

      It appears the timing of the bomb blasts were set to coincide with Tamil Masses.
      Why?

      • 2
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        Native, St Anthonys is in Kochchikade, a predominently Tamil area. If the blasts were timed to coincide with Sinhala or English masses they would have killed fewer people. Do you think there is more to it than this?

        • 2
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          paul

          The Jihadi also could have chosen other churches where Sinhala speaking people congregate in large numbers.
          St Anthonys of Kochchikade is one of those religious institutions where a truly
          multi ethnic multi religious devotees congregate.
          However Batticaloa congregation comprised essentially of Tamil speaking people. So is Negombo.

          Was it part of Jihadi plan to test a dry run on soft target hoping to have least reaction on the ground and study the entire operation and aftermath.

          Now the danger being the unintelligent intelligence is taking innocent people into custody and subject to the usual hospitality and help the Caliphate recruit more martyr for its cause(?)

          The sadists and psychopaths working for the state will be immensely gratified as they have new opportunities to revive their trade.

          • 3
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            Native, I don’t think we will ever know the whole truth about the Jihadi’s plans.

            I think the fact that most victims were Tamil has not been lost on anyone but who would gain from this? The Rajapakses? BBS?

            The unintelligent services – that is the greatest danger, that they will do the IS’s recruiting for them. They have not learned from the past.

            • 2
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              paul

              The Global Caliphate project is much larger than one could imagine which of course requires destructive lethal force. The stupid Jihadis have been motivated since mid 1980s to die for an ideology which they believe would deliver a global Caliphate where the life is ordered and directed by the Caliph with semi divine powers/guidance.
              The Caliphate would enforce strict Sharia law in every square inch of this world however other non believers would be allowed to practice their chosen religion. The young Muslims have bought the the twisted idea and propagated it throughout the world. From early/mid 1990s onwards brainwashed Muslims are ready to be part of the foot soldiers sincerely believing in the Caliph and Caliphate.

              They are decentralised and privatised.
              LTTE was nothing compared to the Caliphate Jihadis.

              Do some research on the continuing Islamic destructive force. Its origin can be traced to Mujahideen (Arabic: مجاهدين‎ mujāhidīn) in Afghanistan. It multiplied into various independent groups operating in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Philippines, Pakistan, Egypt, …………………………

              The umbrella organisation does not have a permanent structure however it could command thousands of volunteers from all over the world.

              Some ideas can be gained from:
              How ISIS Twisted the Meaning of ‘Caliphate’
              http://time.com/4471463/caliphate-history/

              Excerpt:
              20 February 2019
              How many foreigners joined IS?
              The United Nations has said that more than 40,000 foreign fighters from 110 countries may have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join terrorist groups.

              A July 2018 study by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at King’s College London based on official, academic and other data concluded that 41,490 people – 32,809 men, 4,761 women, and 4,640 children – from 80 countries were affiliated with IS specifically.
              https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-47286935

            • 3
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              paul

              Compared to Islamists LTTE was nothing.
              In Syria alone the Mujahidin Islamists attracted more than 40,000 foreigners in a short period of time whereas the LTTE attracted none.
              Islamic state in Syria is only an incidental part of the story.

              Muslim women in Sri Lanka have been changing their attire from saree/churidar to ….. Burqa since 1990s. One observer told me it amounted to Arab (Saudi) imperialism through back door.

              • 1
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                Native, thanks.

                • 2
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                  Native, you were implying that there was more to this attack than the murder of Christians. You pointed out that most victims were Tamil. What is the significance of this?

                  • 1
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                    Paul

                    The Global Caliphate Builders (loosely connected diverse group of nutters) are testing the waters. First it is soft target, minimum or no retaliation. Study the situation, study security weakness, ……………. logistics, ……..

                    There are tens of thousands of redundant Jihadis now being spread all over the world who are trained and ready to kill and get killed (72 Virgins and all the crap).

                    You need to spend some time studying their vision, mission, history starting from 1979 to date …. what their achievement so far measured in terms of destruction, …. how much fear can they instill in ordinary people, …

                    The scale of destruction is unimaginable.

                    There is no easy way to deal with this monster. The state and the security forces have to work with Muslims not other way round.

                    • 1
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                      Its like one of those Bond films where some incredibly evil organisation is trying to take over the World. James to the rescue!

                    • 2
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                      Paul

                      “There is no easy way to deal with this monster. The state and the security forces have to work with Muslims not other way round.”

                      You could say that however there is no centralised structure. The glue binding these diverse independent organisations, of their dynamics and motivating factors are their believe in Islamic fundamentalism being the ultimate panacea, part nihilism, and their extraordinary faith in Sharia law, ………….. and literal understanding of the “words” uttered by an illiterate many centuries ago.

                      Like their Born Again Christians, the Born Again Muslims are bent on converting the entire world, in their case possibly into a “MUSLAMIC” world. Ultimately the ideology is about establishing “ein volk ein reich ein führer”, One MUSLAM, ONE CALIPHATE, ONE CALIPH.

                      Similar attempts are being made by Hindian Hindutva.
                      And Gota ultimately want to convert this island into a Sinhala/Buddhist state, exclusively for Sinhala/Buddhists and he wants to be the Aryan führer (Chakravartin) of Sinhala/Buddhists while Sarath Weerasekera, Shenali Waduge, Virathu, ………… and a few others would like to build a Global Sinhala/Buddhist Caliphate.

                      It is confusing.
                      In essence fascist tendencies all around the world use various means to build their own version of dictatorship, …. linguistic nationalism, religious fundamentalism, Marxism/Maoism, regionalism, ………….. racism, …. some small, some large, some global, ….

                      Note a few days ago Rajapaksas met with retired officers of security services to create a fascist veterans’ organization.

                      “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

                      However Gotas’, Virathus, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Joseph Kony (Lord’s Resistance Army), Mohan Bhagwat (Rashtriya Seva Sangh), ……………… others believe ordinary people enjoy more freedom

  • 6
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    Guess it’s good to have learned scholars like the author tell us the ‘not so learned’ populace their ‘learned’ conclusion. All the highly improbable theories given are food for thought and teaches us a thing or two. However this has left me a little confused. This is not a battle between China and America. The planning and preparation has pointed to the radical IS. We are convinced of this.
    However everyone is free to express their ‘learned’ views.

  • 3
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    Darini,
    Your in depth analysis is, “nearer to the truth” to the reason that lead to the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, than all the other reports I have read so far on this site and elsewhere.
    That there is a geopolitical current behind this than a radical religious reason, is what we would see, if we take the trouble to draw away the curtain that certain politicians, media and some foreign agencies have tried to place before our eyes. We are told ISIS is behind this when it is in fact a radical Muslim group imitating ISIS funded by a Mastermind through local agents to be used for their ulterior motives at the right time, which is now. To prevent the general public from seeing through all this, the Mastermind has now started to create communal violence and general tension in the country using the media (especially the private media Hiru, Derana and Sirasa) who have frightened people with their 24 hr reporting of the ongoing operations to such an extent that people are now afraid even to venture out into the streets. The Mastermind wants the country’s economy to collapse to control its governance by remote means through the installation of a favored strongman.
    Yes, I agree with you that China is the hidden Signifier. The Americans and the CIA, who undoubtedly are to be blamed, would not have had such sinister plans for Sri Lanka, if the previous regime did not open the door for the Chinese.
    But I do not agree with you that all this is because they want to keep the present American Prime Minister in power. No, he is too weak in his administrative capabilities to counteract the Chinese non militaristic invasion. The Mastermind wants to install its strongman and that is Gota (who could even be a CIA agent).

  • 5
    1

    The owner of the article has attempted to convince that RW lead UNP government, USA or both together are responsible for the multi attacks on Easter Sunday. UNP is pretended because, May 2018 riots against Muslim with CB Bonds scam and the revealing President assassination after New Year. Then, USA is connected with Geo-politics, maritime security and so on.
    I believe the article is very prejudice and bias. , analyzing from the knowledge on Geo-politics, global economic changes/trends in a way benefited to the author’s belief, through the petty local politics like revealing assassination (Namal’s story), grilling and punishing bond scam fugitives etc to the ethnic-religious co-existence . Trying to prove something that the author dislikes, in synthesizing plenty of scattered factors, global and local phenomena

  • 5
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    I think the Suicide attack is multipurpose. IT was planned by well experienced people. Sri lankan homicide bomber
    Leader can not be a true terrorist. He should be a stupid terrorist as he killed himself leaving the group leaderless. He destroyed his extended family and his wife and children. It looks some one else planned for him. Then we consider two videos by ISIS. SL Leader saying he did it as the revenge for Christ church attack while the Arab ISIS Leader saying something else seems the handler is disoriented now.

  • 4
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    Good analysis Darini. There will always be more powerful nations that will try to divide, distract and conquer us in order avail themselves to our natural resources and labour.

    It is up to us to prevent that distraction and division, by recognizing our shared heritage of DNA and cultural bonds. We need to put OUR common interests above narrow political advantage.

    When will we ever learn?

  • 10
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    Too much of writing with too little substance. Imagination seem to be running riot?

  • 8
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    A very interesting , thought-provoking article.

    • 6
      2

      Thought-provoking conspiracy theory?

    • 4
      1

      thought-provoking article only for you , there is nothing in it except anti-west pro chines garbage. Of course it is in line with your warped mind.

  • 11
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    “the Chinese owned Shangri la Hotel”?
    Shangri-la is a Hong Kong based enterprise started by the Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok in 1971, with the first hotel built in Singapore.
    The author is reading excessive meaning into a “China construction company” being used by John Keells and the killing of Chinese scientists, who were not targets.
    *
    The US has it both ways with terrorist organizations. The government denounces terrorism while breeding and feeding it. Even when the US is fighting a terrorist outfit on one front, it has deals with the same outfit on other fronts.

    • 2
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      SJ

      Aren’t we splitting hair?

  • 8
    3

    Much could have been said by the Writer using less space. Darini R-S has named
    many as the possible causes for the Eastern blasts but leaves out a clear possibility. Other analysts like Dr. Radhika C have speculated the current avoidable tragedy
    is a direct outcome of successive regimes failing to settle or provide mitigatory relief to our long standing Sinhala-Tamil split. Now the Islamic factor is another thorn where the untenable claim of Muslims in very large numbers being in the Island for over a thousand years is made – calculated clearly for future arguments and claims.

    The CIA, RAW, China are all speculated to be engaged in various cloak and dagger stuff. Some have even brought in the Australians, the Saudi Wahabis and the Brits.
    The JRJs, Premadasas, CBKs, Wickremasinghes and Rajapakses have all not only failed the country in not solving our most serious crisis, they have contributed to the
    problem reaching this dangerous and complex stage. I am leaving out Sirisena because, at any rate, he does not know if he is coming or going. He has succeeded in his goal of making the rural nondescript Sirisenas from the Polonnaruwa paddy fields a new breed of billionaires in the local nouveu riche cliques in a span of less than 3 decades.

    Sri Lanka’s 22 million punnakku eaters will have to bear the brunt and foot the bill now and in the coming years by way of increased costs of food essentials, fuel, electricity, transport etc. The island that was split into two from 1956 finds sliced into 3 where super Sinhala Buddhist patriot Gnassara likes it or not.

    A people, surely, get a government they deserve is an old cliche.

    Kettikaran

    • 1
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      Kettikaran,
      Sri Lanka’s 22 million will have to bear the brunt and foot the bill now and in the coming years because 6.2 million punnakku eating voters cast their vote to ‘Hansaya’ in 2015 hoping that ‘Yahapalanaya’ will create heaven in Sri Lanka.
      ——-

  • 0
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    Very well analyzed …..the suspected hidden agenda of China / US is proven beyond doubt with the arrival of the much awaited MCC Grant of US$ 480.0 mn just 2 days after the bombing..for poverty alleviation…

  • 7
    0

    there are so many theories like the one peddled here.
    someone wrote in CT that the suicide bombers chose Breakfast time and not Dinner time…because Dinner Time the restaurants are full of Colombo elites….only poor people have breakfast in 5 star hotels.

    so yes CT publish all these crap theories…..and flush it down the toilet…

  • 8
    2

    Gunaratne recently claimed that IS had declared South Asia as a “Province of the Islamic Caliphate”

    Dr Rohan Gunaratne is a corrupt so called intelligence expert……..now worth quoting him….

    • 2
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      Gunaratne is late. ISIS is already in Afghanistan. It took hostages in Phillipines a long time ago. There are two main reasons to target South Asia. The first reason being that the largest concentration of Muslims lives in South Asia, not the Middle East or North Africa. Therefore, South Asia is important for recruitment. The second reason is that Westerners are easy targets in South Asia, as the local security is often lax. We saw this with the Shangri-La Hotel. By attacking Westerners, ISIS is assured of maximum media coverage. Western governments are also forced to assess their foreign policy.

      • 4
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        was Shangri-La targeted because China is destroying all Mosques in certain Msulim provinces there and Chinese Muslims are in large concentration camps where they are forcibly converted to Buddhism?

        • 2
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          Atheist Communist Chinese forcibly converting Muslims to Buddhism?

          What have you been smoking man?

          • 1
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            The Eelamists think any Asian country where Buddhism is practiced is fascist. One of them, “Old Codger”, thought that Japanese military expansion in the 1940’s was based on Buddhism! These geniuses don’t understand the difference between nationalism and fascism.

            • 3
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              Lester

              Please tell us how many supposed Buddhist countries haven’t gone through the pace of one party fascist state.

              Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, ………….?

              Facts are sacred, comment is free
              C P Scott

              The public racist Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala admired Japan and fellow Aryan Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

              • 1
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                Native Vedda,

                War is an inevitable part of history and the development of a civilization. That does not mean the whole population is fascist. Are you aware that the biggest human rights champion, USA, is also the number one war-monger? Dharmapala was against Christian colonialism; at that time those who converted were given special privileges in exchange for being obedient lackeys. After 1948, some lackeys wanted to keep their privileges at any cost, putting out preposterous demands like “50-50.” This is the reason for the ethnic tension on the island, not the make-believe fascism in your mind.

                • 2
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                  Lester

                  “After 1948, some lackeys wanted to keep their privileges at any cost, putting out preposterous demands like “50-50.””

                  Please explain to us what you understand by 50-50 demand. How was it suppose to work in real world.
                  If you haven’t got any idea on 50-50 proposal please ignore me.

            • 2
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              Dear all-knowing Lester,
              Please show me where I said anything about the Japanese and Buddhism. Unlike you I know the Japanese majority religion is not Buddhism.

      • 3
        1

        IS expanded in Syria with the backing of the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar etc. and Turkey.
        When the Caliphate expanded into Iraq, there were doubts among sponsors. But they could do nothing and they themselves got divided (US v. Turkey; and Saudi Arabia v. Qatar).
        Russia’s entry made a scene change and US plans for Syria went up in smoke.
        *
        Our local militants were pampered by Saudi Arabia to suppress the Sufi and other deviants.
        I fear that anti-Muslim violence since 2014 has had unforeseen consequences.
        Despite the build-up in arms and personnel, what we have mostly are bitter volunteers inspired by IS, but left in the lurch with little political direction.
        IS is so desperate that it will claim credit for anything.
        Nobody will dare antagonize the real international culprits.

        • 2
          1

          USA did not directly sponsor ISIS. The idea was to sponsor groups like FSA in Syria to overthrow Assad, cutting off the link between Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel would also be able to seize the Golan Heights completely, in the name of security. No one expected the ISIS to grow so quickly with enough capabilities to capture multiple cities in Iraq. In fact, the West had to intervene before ISIS captured Baghdad, as this would pose a threat to neighboring Arab countries and threaten the global oil supply.

      • 2
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        Lester

        In fact the Islamic Caliphate tendency started in Afghanistan in the early 1980s. In essence this was an ideology which the west used in their favour to rollback Soviet expansion.

        It evolved into various forms and shapes, though loosely connected its components operate independently. The central ideology is to convert the world to Islam, build a Caliphate, ………… and live happily ever after.

        Its micro version can be compared to the desire and efforts of the Sinhala/Buddhist fascist in this island.

        • 1
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          Native,
          Trying to educate people like Lester is an exercise in futility. Such people actually believe the US can do no evil, and Israel is God’s handmaiden on earth. Either Lester has never heard of Ronald Reagan or he was born last week. So sad.

        • 1
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          Native Vedda,

          Now you are confusing “jihad” with “caliphate.” Only ISIS wants a caliphate, Al Qaeda does not. Al Qaeda and ISIS are enemies, they are fighting each other in Libya, Somalia, and Afghanistan. Not all Muslims are the same, not even all extremist Muslims. Al Qaeda ideology was influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban are Deobandis, neither of these groups is Salafist or Wahhabi. Bin-Laden’s goal was to get the US out of the Middle East.
          As usual, you don’t know the meaning of “fascist.” Parroting the same gibberish repeatedly does not make it true.

          • 2
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            Lester

            Here is something that you have missed out as you must have been sleeping or sitting on your head all these years:

            LAUSANNE GLOBAL ANALYSIS · MAY 2017 · VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 3
            WHAT IS THE ISLAMIC CALIPHATE AND WHY SHOULD CHRISTIANS CARE?
            http://www.lausanne.org/content/lga/2017-05/islamic-caliphate

            Afghanistan, 1979-1992: America’s Jihad
            Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II
            by William Blum.

            Bin Laden Raid Documents Show Focus on U.S. Over a Caliphate
            David Lerman and Nicole Gaouette
            May 20, 2015, 11:42 PM GMT+1
            Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden remained committed to plotting attacks on the U.S., even as he struggled to control followers who wanted to build an Islamic caliphate, newly released documents show.
            https://www.bloomberg.com/

            Demystifying the Caliphate : historical memory and contemporary contexts By Madawi Al-Rasheed, Carool Kersten and Marat Shterin, editors.

            • 1
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              That confirms what I said. “Struggled to control followers” means he had the OPPOSITE view. The followers wanted a caliphate, but Bin-Laden’s priority was to get the USA out of the Middle East.

              • 1
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                Lester

                Please don’t judge the fanatics by one isolated word in this articles. Although most Jihadis work independently their aim is one, that is through total destruction they believe they could build their cherished Global Caliphate.

                If the loosely connected organisations could attract more than 40,000 men and women from all over the world within a short period of time to fight and die in Syria which should say something about its dynamics.

                I think you are fixated by the structure of conventional organisation hence unable to see or accept different models. THis type is far more dangerous than the conventional LTTE structure.

    • 1
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      Rajash

      “Gunaratne recently claimed that IS had declared South Asia as a “Province of the Islamic Caliphate”

      Did he mean South Asia is part of Islamic Republic of Kattankudy?

  • 3
    0

    Darini:
    There is continuity in your writings about the Tamil-Sinhala conflict and now the Easter bombing. That is you always down play the role of ethnicity, culture or religion. Perhaps it is why some comments have raised your ‘deracinated elite’ background.
    I believe this is a dangerous gambit when you wrap it in international conspiracy theories and go to the extent of using Rohan Gunaratne and also anti-imperialist writings.
    It is sad that much of our elite social scientists succumb to such shallowness in their writing and research partly because of their own own globalized deracinated background.

  • 2
    2

    Dr. Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake – you state that two suicide bombers were assigned/targeted Chinese owned Shngri- La hotel

    but fail to provide plausible explanation —-and you go on to state that the 6 Chinese oceanographic scientist died at the Kingsbury blast…..

    obviously either the suicide bombers were given false intelligence about where the Oceanographic scientist were staying…(if they were the target at Shagri-La )….

    … or this theory of your “Maritime Domain Awareness: Coastal Communities Targeted” is load of bull….

    The one thing that you have failed to address as well as other commentators/so called intellectual analyst/ writers/journalist/Muslim scholars/politicians etc etc in CT failed to address is the following..

    Chinese government is on a mission to eradicate the Muslim religion in China specially in the Xinjiang region.

    Mosques are being destroyed and Muslims locked in huge concentration cam and forcibly converted to Buddhism

    you can google and find out.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/06/asia/china-us-xinjiang-concentration-camps-intl/index.html

  • 7
    0

    Sri Lankans seem to be richly endowed with, among others, two great attributes, a lively faculty of imagination and an insatiable appetite for conspiracy theories. So, Dr DRS’s piece comes as no surprise. She tells us that various aspects of the attacks send “ a coded message from the masterminds of the carnage”. Oh, really? For whom is this message intended? Shades of James Bond! And what is all this hogwash about the attacks being planned to frustrate the efforts to disclose damning evidence about the Bondscam and” information on the inquiry into threats to the life of the President”? The fact is that the country has been in a state of continuing paralysis, so, the timing is irrelevant. And, why oh why can’t these ostensibly educated people write clear, intelligible prose? Consider this gem – “discern exogenous factors that configure patterns of apparently endogenous religious violence”. To save anyone the time looking up his dictionary, the lady could well have said “external” and “internal” instead of “endogenous” and “exogenous”. I say, “Lady, give us a break”.

  • 1
    1

    Great article, it’s the truth!. Since the attack I called it “The Gang bang of srilanka” being fukd by 🇺🇸 🇨🇳 🇮🇳 Isis Ranil & My3.
    However it is sad to see lot of hate mongering divisive herd mentality brain dead morons who call them ancestors of the land, making claim that all muslims are trying to steal Sri-Lanka.
    In simple terms, “To understand this article & current situation in Srilanka u got to have a working brain not a dead one”

    • 1
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      Athif

      Are you sure Pakistani ISI and Saudi money have nothing to with Islamist Caliphate Building Terrorists?

      Hope you have a working brain not a dead one.

    • 1
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      In simple terms, “To understand this article & current situation in Srilanka u got to have a working brain not a dead one”
      *
      So, you think that you have understood the article!
      How come that you missed the obvious flaws?

  • 1
    0

    Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake is reminded that “The Weaponization Of Religion” is as old as ‘Religion’. Evidence left in the Pyramids. The Crusaders etc.
    “A New Cold War Looms”? The Cold War never ended.
    .
    Darini’s article here is one of hundreds written, being written and under preparation on the Easter Sunday tragedy.
    Darini specifically mentions though of the victims from the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (SCSIO).
    “Was China The Hidden Signifier?”. Safe to assume the answer “No”.
    One wonders as to why Darini avoids the damage by Bodu Bala Sena (BBS).
    .
    Darini attributes the absence of reprisals to the leadership of Cardinal Malcom Ranjith.
    Let us not forget that the violence aka reprisal is the work of the goons bussed in. For example the 2014 Aluthgama Pogrom.
    .
    The urgent need now, Darini, is lateral thoughts.

  • 2
    2

    Lester

    Please don’t judge the fanatics by one isolated word in this articles. Although most Jihadis work independently their aim is one, that is through total destruction they believe they could build their cherished Global Caliphate.

    If the loosely connected organisations could attract more than 40,000 men and women from all over the world within a short period of time to fight and die in Syria which should say something about its dynamics.

    I think you are fixated by the structure of conventional organisation hence unable to see or accept different models. THis type is far more dangerous than the conventional LTTE structure.

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