Sri Lanka and South East Asia as a new global strategic centre


On Easter Day, Sri Lanka was shaken by a series of attacks that occurred almost simultaneously in the capital as in other parts of the island. The dead and wounded are hundreds and the terrorist actions do not seem finished. The alert remains high. 

The US State Department, in fact, announced that terrorist groups would be planning new actions aimed at hitting tourist locations, churches, hotels, airports. 

The Government believes that behind these attacks there is the National Thowheeth Jama'ath, a local Islamist extremist group who, thanks to the help of Isis, would be able to organize a perfect sequence of massacres.

The use of several kamikaze on more goals and the precision with which the attacks were programmed highlights, beyond any evidence, an organization, a military strategy and a capacity to plagiate and pilot the typical suicide bombers before Al Qaeda and then Isis.

At the base of these attacks there is in fact a long and detailed planning that has little to do with an extremist group that until last year was "confined" to vandalize some statues of Buddha.

The Isis, through its agency Amaq, claimed the attacks, five of the six suicide bombers have been identified as Srilank: Abu Barra As Sailani, Abu Muktar As Sailani, Abu Ubaida As Sailani.

The ties between Sri Lanka and Isis were made by Abu Shuraih Sailani, a Srilankese recruit who travelled to Syria at the beginning of the Middle East conflict. When the Caliph Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi invited Muslims from all over the world to emigrate to Syria and Iraq, a total of 41 Muslims from Sri Lanka from two enlarged families travelled to Iraq and Syria.

Isis ' paramilitary action has shifted in recent years to Southeast Asia and now to Sri Lanka because it offers both a geographic position and a cultural and institutional disorganization perfect for those who want to create unrest and violence. The multiethnic and multireligious tensions present in the country are thus offering fertile ground to Islamic extremism.

Sri Lanka has always been characterised by armed clashes between factions. It is enough to think that for 30 years there was a civil war (ended in 2009) between the Government of the island of Sri Lankan, of Buddhist culture, and the north of ethnic Tamil, of Hindu religion, who fought with a paramilitary structure known as the "Tamil Tigers" of LTTE political group. 

After the civil war with the growth of the Muslim community, clashes began between the majority of the Buddhist Sinhalese and the Islamists belonging to the Salafi Sunni groups. 

Islamic extremism in Southeast Asia, however, was born in the Philippines. The name of the largest group is Abu Sayyaf. In the past he was one of the main partners of the Al Qaeda Network and many of his members fought alongside Bin Laden in Afghanistan.

Over the last 3 years more than 60 groups in Southeast Asia have sworn allegiance to Isis.  The risk is that the ideology of the self-styled Islamic State can expand in this area of the world because of the loss of land in the Middle East. The launching pad for the conquest of Southeast Asia is represented by Indonesia, the largest nation in the world by Muslim majority.. 

On the island of Ceylon the Muslim community has grown progressively to the number of ethnic Tamil. It is located mainly to the east between the central and the southern zone. It is a population of tradesmen, multiethnic maintained united by the Sunni Salafi ideology and by Arab funding is Saudis.

Until now, Sri Lankan Muslims have been a model community. They had worked together with the government to defeat the Tamil Tigers. They had suffered ethnic cleansing and endured massacres against their mosques. Perhaps even for this reason the government closed many eyes when Salafi preachers recruited and plagiated young people to use as human bombs. 

But now it is clear that Sri Lanka is becoming a land of Islamic radicalisation as it has already happened in North Africa before and then in Indonesia. But in this respect we cannot exclude how the escalation of terrorist violence could also represent an attempt to control the Indian Ocean by foreign powers, Arab countries, but also Pakistan in the eternal struggle with India and China. 

Small Sri Lanka is therefore nothing more than investing everything on national education rather than having separate schools for Muslims, Christians and Buddhists. Only with the correct integration of the various religious and ethnic currents can it prevent the people of the island from living in a continuous civil war. 

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