Surviving Coronavirus    The GERD after Washington    The Nile as a shared resource    Trump proposes Palestinian state with capital in East Jerusalem    FACTBOX: Huawei's involvement in other countries' telecoms networks    The Berlin track    Sharing for survival    China agrees to WHO sending international experts to study virus: Statement    Innovation in the economy and society    Art Alert: Black Theama at El-Sawy Culturalwheel on Valentine's Day    Basketball legend Kobe Bryant, Daughter Gianna die in helicopter crash    Cairo Show to bring Aladdin to Egypt    Saudi Arabia to truly cement itself as international hospitality destination: Colliers    Calls inside parliament to cancel 2005 free trade agreement with Turkey    Faster Implementation of reforms is key to unleashing private sector investments, boosting sustainable growth and jobs: IFC's Walid Labadi    Egypt's domestic debt falls for first time in 11 years    Saudi discusses possible impact of coronavirus on oil market - SPA    Tennis: Djokovic sets up Federer showdown with Raonic rout    Egypt is set to discuss electricity linkage with Congo    Tennis: Kenin downs Tunisia's Jabeur to reach maiden Grand Slam semi-final    Leicester's Vardy set to return for Villa semi: Rodgers    Egypt assigns EGP 28.17 bln for urgent commodity and service needs    France to start repatriating nationals from China: Minister    Pharaohs crowned African handball champions in Tunisia    Religious discourse renewal does not mean changing religion's principles: Al-Sisi    Gamal Hamdan's ‘Character of Egypt' shelves depleted    Ministry of Social Solidarity, Italian embassy collaborate to train Egyptian youth    US will not lift sanctions to negotiate with Iran: Trump    Al-Azhar to hold international conference on religious discourse renewal    Shoukry to attend final talks over GERD in Washington    Mortada Mansour to run for Lawyers Syndicate presidency    Al-Sisi receives German Medal for achieving security    What is in store for Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, and Sudan?    Erdogan says Haftar cannot be expected to respect Libya truce    Egypt's Sisi awarded by Germany's St. George medal for peace-making in Africa    Egypt to play Tunisia for African Men's Handball Championship title, Olympics qualification    MOI pardons 2,957 prisoners on Police Day    A whisper from the past: voice of 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy reproduced    France confirms three cases of deadly China virus    A year of major tourist openings ahead: Al-Anani    Books not to miss this book fair - The dreams and agonies of an Egyptian filmmaker    Egypt in a group with Gabon, Libya, Angola in 2022 World Cup qualifiers    Egypt to play Angola for group leadership in African Men's Handball Championship quarter-finals    Maspero triangle's towers will be up and standing in 30 months: NUCA    ‘Djamila Bouhired' movie star Magda al-Sabahi dies at 89    Egypt is best tourism destination for 2020 according to BBC    Egypt's President Sisi pardons some prisoners on 25 Jan. Revolution anniversary    Egypt's Sami Anan released after near two-year detention    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





After the Sri Lanka bombings
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 25 - 04 - 2019

The Asia-Pacific countries are facing critical times concerning their internal security, something that hit home this week when Sri Lanka was hit by a number of explosions in churches and hotels on Sunday, leading to the deaths of 290 people and injury of 500 others.
On Tuesday, the Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the bombings. In a statement released by its Amaq propaganda agency, the group said it was targeting Christians and citizens of countries that had attacked its territories.
One month earlier, 50 people lost their lives and 50 others were wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand, described at the time by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as “well planned” and could “only be described as a terrorist attacks”.
Even Australia had its share of terrorist attacks between 2014 and 2017, raising the question of whether there is a pattern of terrorism in the Asia-Pacific region.
There has been a wave of “global terrorism” influenced by Middle Eastern groups such as Al-Qaeda and IS, argued Jacinta Carroll, a senior research fellow in counter-terrorism at the Australian National University's (ANU) National Security College.
“The Asia-Pacific has a mixed experience of terrorism, but many countries are feeling the impact of the spread of Islamist extremism from the Middle East, particularly through the success of Al-Qaeda and IS. Countries including Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, Thailand and the Philippines, amongst others, had home-grown insurgencies of various types, but many of these movements had been either defeated or placated through peace processes,” Carroll told Al-Ahram Weekly.
“The Arab Spring and in particular the rise of the IS terrorist group and its occupation of territory in Iraq and Syria has provided renewed opportunities for individuals and groups in the region to develop networks, skills, gain new recruits and even obtain planning and financial support,” she said.
The tragic attacks that targeted the Christian minority and tourists in Sri Lanka this Easter were followed by quick measures by the Buddhist-majority country's government. They included a nationwide curfew, lifted on early Monday, a two-day holiday, the closure of schools and the Colombo stock exchange, and the arrest of 24 suspects.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said a probe would be launched to examine “why adequate precautions were not taken,” while President Maithripala Sirisena returned from a foreign trip to head a security council meeting.
In a press briefing in the capital Colombo, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne blamed the National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ), widely described by the international media as a “small radical Muslim group,” for the blasts, stressing that “there was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded.”
The government also said that it would seek the support of others to collect information about the perpetrators of the attacks.
Many governments and international organisations have issued statements condemning the attacks, including Egypt, the United States, Britain, Russia, the European Union, Bahrain, Qatar, Turkey, the UAE and Pakistan.
Some statements came from other Asia-Pacific states, with New Zealand's Ardern described the attacks as “devastating.”
“New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on 15 March. To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating,” she said.
“New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely. Collectively, we must find the will and the answers to end such violence.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison sent his condolences to the “beautiful people of Sri Lanka,” expressing his desire to “do whatever we can to support you in this terrible time of need.”
Dalbir Ahlawat, a lecturer at Macquarie University's department of security studies and criminology in Australia, told the Weekly that the attacks “appear to be more an intelligence operational failure than the state's capacity to contain such threats.”
“Four years back the NTJ started vandalising statues and even attacking Buddhist monks. However, the government, fearing a backlash, took limited or no action. Even a 25-page report submitted to the government received limited attention.”
“Even ten days before these ghastly attacks, Sri Lanka's Police Chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued a nation-wide intelligence alert that ‘prominent churches' may be targeted by the suicide bombers. However, not much in the way of operational sensitivities were demonstrated by the enforcement agencies in a coordinated way,” he said.
Ahlawat warned that the attacks raised concerns throughout the Asian-Pacific region, as the “perpetrators escaped the radar of several agencies, both domestic and regional, and this raises concerns about their links, networks, operational guidelines and broader goals.”
The failure of the island country to protect itself against terrorist operations is considered a particularly serious issue because Sri Lanka has extensive experience of fighting militant groups.
State forces fought a civil war against the Tamil minority in the north and east for more than 25 years, a conflict that ended in May 2009 following the capture of the last territory under the control of the Tamil Tiger militants.
Almost 100,000 people were killed in this war, and the army then launched a “rehabilitation” process for thousands of Tamil militants.
“The total defeat of the Tamil Tigers in 2009 probably led many people in Sri Lanka to assume that the terrorist threat had receded and not think about the possibility of terrorism coming from other sources. Over the past ten years, there has been no threat from Tamil separatists, but they are not the only possible terrorists, even in Sri Lanka,” noted Justin Hastings, a professor at the University of Sydney's department of international relations and comparative politics.
Hastings emphasised that the threat of terrorism in the Asia-Pacific region “is the same now as before,” especially as Sri Lanka, though has not traditionally targeted by Islamist extremism, has always had that potential.
He recommended waiting to see “where the terrorists actually came from” since “if they are in fact IS returnees, a number of countries could have problems in the future.”
He praised Sri Lanka for having “one of the most robust and capable militaries in terms of asymmetric threats in the developing world” due to its “30-year battle with the Tamil Tigers.”
“The news that the Sri Lankan intelligence services apparently knew that there might be an attack on major churches last week suggests that capacity isn't really the issue so much as policy and how to deal with the intelligence that does come through about terrorist plots,” he added.


Clic here to read the story from its source.