Adam Garry -
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has stated that a “foreign mastermind” may have been behind the multiple terrorist atrocities launched on his country on the 21st of April. In order to determine which foreign mastermind might have orchestrated the deadly attacks, it is important to connect existing dots, recognise how historic patterns may have repeated themselves in Sri Lanka whilst also considering which foreign mastermind might have had a motive. A recent report from The Hindu newspaper which has been picked up by media organisations throughout Asia, reports that the alleged mastermind behind last week’s multiple terror atrocities against the Sri Lankan people trained in India. Specifically and of great importance, an unnamed Sri Lankan “top military source” claims that suspected terror leader Zahran Hashim spent “substantial time” training in “southern India”. It was subsequently reported that other attackers who participated in the April atrocity in Sri Lanka had spent a great deal of time in India. When one then learns that the terror group National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ) named by Sri Lankan leaders as the culprit behind the attacks has been revealed by multiple sources as having its training base located in the same part of India’s Tamil Nadu that was once the training base of the anti-Sri Lankan LTTE terror group, a possible pattern of state sponsored terror begins to emerge. From the beginning of Sri Lanks’s war against LTTE in 1983 until 1987, it was well documented that the Indian intelligence agency RAW trained the anti-Sri Lanka terrorists in Tamil Nadu whilst backing their anti-state operations within Sri Lanka. Beginning in 1987, India changed tactics and sought to influence the situation on the ground in Sri Lanka through a direct intervention, ostensibly on the side of the authorities. That being said, many in Sri Lanka were apprehensive about the presence of Indian troops whilst even after LTTE assassinated Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, elements of RAW continued to aid LTTE until the terror group was crushed by the Sri Lankan military in May of 2009. It is therefore looking increasingly likely that Zahran Hashim’s erstwhile unknown network has ties to India – ties whose nature will become ever more apparent over time. Below is Eurasia Future’s report on how Pakistan’s ISI can help Colombo get to the bottom of the situation now that a link to India has been established by Indian media itself: Pakistan has pledged to assist Sri Lanka in its investigation into the multiple atrocities which took place throughout the island nation days ago. In particular, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has a vital role to play in uncovering the true culprits behind this incident. Already, the truth of who and what was behind the terror attacks is being muddied by a combination of open incompetence and cunning deviousness among media outlets that have rushed to judgement rather than attempt to connect the dots whilst waiting for hard evidence to appear. It is all but impossible that the small and obscure National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) could have pulled off the kind of attack that normally could only be accomplished by terror groups working directly with a state’s military-intelligence agency. It is of course of note that NTJ reportedly trains in the same part of India’s Tamil Nadu that was once home to the anti-Sri Lankan LTTE terror group – a group openly backed by India prior to 1987 whilst India’s RAW continued to covertly back LTTE even after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.
Secondly, as Daesh (aka ISIS) has never been active among the small population of Sri Lankan Muslims who have never been prone to any form of extremism, it seems utterly incredible that even non-Indian media outlets are portraying an unusual and un-evidenced claim by a pro-Daesh website as a legitimate indication that the attack was committed by a terror group totally foreign to Sri Lanka. Into this chaos, Pakistan’s ISI can help to separate fact from fiction. Not only does ISI have a track record of counter-terrorism and investigative excellence against both religious extremist terrorist groups like TTP and secular extremist terrorists like BLA, but ISI also understands the warning signs to look for in the event of a false flag attack that has been staged by a hostile foreign intelligence service. The following issues that Eurasia Future has raised in relation to investigating the atrocities in Sri Lanka are well placed to be answered by the experts in ISI:
“1. The dialect and vernacular of the suspects
In several terror attacks in India that were blamed on Pakistan, the suspects in question did not have a grasp on the Urdu language nor other official/indigenous languages of Pakistan. There have even been some cases where supposedly Pakistani born men accused of terror plots in India quite obviously spoke in a vernacular native to India rather than Pakistan. In the case of Sri Lanka, whether the suspects are Sri Lankan or foreign, it is important that it is publicly confirmed that they speak the language and or dialect of the ethno-linguistic and/or geographical group to which they supposedly belong. In the instance of cover-ups or false flag attacks within south Asia, discrepancies in languages, accents and dialects are important to thoroughly investigate so as to determine whether an apprehended alleged terrorist is who and what he claims to be or is initially suspected of being.
2. Examine the bodies of the terrorists
There have likewise been instances primarily in India where terror attacks were blamed on either Pakistanis or Indian Muslims whilst there has been strong evidence to suggest that the attackers were anything but Muslims or Pakistanis. There has been testimony from individuals who examined the bodies of various terrorists in India who were allegedly Pakistani Muslims, which reported that the suspects were not circumcised. Within south Asia’s diverse religious makeup, the only group that is universally circumcised is Muslim males. Hence, if the terrorists in question (living suspects or dead bodies) are not circumcised, it can be assured that anyone trying to call the attack an Islamist terror incident is not being sincere.
3. Politicisation of the attacks
During the 2008 attacks in Mumbai (aka Bombay), the Indian authorities alluded to Pakistani culprits whilst the incident continued to unfold. Thus far, Sri Lankan authorities have avoided public inferences or open speculation as to the ethnic, religious, political or national origin of the terrorists. In the coming hours and days, the words of Sri Lankan and regional authorities should be examined carefully to see if any major figures are trying to sow a narrative that politicises the event before the hard facts are known.
4. Who benefits?
Both regionally and in terms of Sri Lanka’s recently heated internal political rivalries, one must consider who will benefit from the tragedy or who could otherwise exploit the situation for personal/political gain. If the attack was (as I personally suspect) conducted by resurgent LTTE terrorists, the atrocities are indicative of the fact that ten years after LTTE’s defeat, the group is again active. As LTTE had been eliminated within Sri Lanka, one must examine what the group’s supporters have been up to in countries where they have knowingly congregated over the last ten years. Beyond this, if the attack was sponsored by a foreign state, one must examine which state seeks to gain the most. India first backed LTTE in its long war against Sri Lanka. However, when India withdrew its support, LTTE assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Since the mid-1990s, elements of India’s intelligence agency RAW rekindled ties with LTTE in an attempt to better manipulate the balance of power in the region. Similar tactics have been employed by RAW in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. At a time when Sri Lanka is maintaining good and expanding relations with China and Pakistan alike in spite of internal political rivalries, India could stand to benefit by effectively punishing Sri Lanka for drawing close to China. Under such a possible scenario, India may well have backed revivalist LTTE elements in order to carry out a dastardly deed. In spite of who committed the atrocity, known Islamophobes have already decided who the culprit is. Here too, India’s ruling BJP stands to benefit by pinning the attack on Sri Lanka’s very small Muslim minority as a means of beating the drumming of Hindutva jingoism during the ongoing election process in India.
Most terrorists are on drugs during and even prior to their attacks. At this point in history, the narcotic captagon is the terrorist’s drug of choice. Other drugs including multiple varieties of meth and cocaine are also popular among terrorists. The places where the terrorists were lodging prior to the attack should be forensically examined for all traces of drugs. Authorities should then work to trace the origins of the narcotics so as to see if they can be linked to known drug cartels or trafficking syndicates”. Irresponsible media outlets continue to peddle a uniquely Islamophobic line on the incident without actually taking into account the fact that whilst Sri Lanka has been the victim of decades of terrorism, there has never been an Islamist terrorist incident in the country’s history. Instead, Sri Lanka has suffered at the hands of the secular (with a Hindu majority membership) LTTE and the secular far-left JVP. It is also irresponsible to overlook the fact that India’s ruling party stands to benefit greatly from the atrocity as the narrative being unquestioningly pushed by major Indian and western media outlets lends pseudo-credibility to the BJP’s infamously vicious anti-Muslim agenda. It is all the more worrisome that after Pakistan’s military put an end to India’s aggressive acts against its neighbour in February, India’s rulers might have sought to extract vengeance against a softer target – Sri Lanka. It is likewise irresponsible to ignore the fact that Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena reportedly feared that India’s RAW would assassinate him in late 2018 after he attempted to replace his Prime Minister with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a known proponent of healthy China-Sri Lanka relations. It further beggars belief that it is merely a coincidence the attacks took place just days before the prominent Belt and Road Forum in Beijing that Sri Lanka was to have played a major role in. Now, the fate of Sri Lanka’s economy has been put into question because of an attack that came just weeks shy of the 10 year anniversary of Sri Lanka’s heroic defeat of the LTTE terror group after a 26 year long civil war that had doubtlessly been lengthened by both overt and covert Indian meddling. Thus, one can see that Sri Lanka and China could both face material economic challenges as a result of the atrocity, whilst Pakistan once again stands victimised by an Indian media that exhibits a malign tendency of blaming all of the region’s woes on Pakistan. All of these factors must be examined but instead of calmly and objectively seeking answers to these questions and concerns, a campaign of hated has been launched by both the Indian and western media against those asking the right questions at the right time and for the right reasons. Because of this, it is imperative that an intelligence organisation with the proven professionalism of ISI helps their fraternal Sri Lankan partner to discover just who and what was behind a vicious attack that disturbed 10 years of Sri Lankan peace.