gallery Sri Lanka Blasts: Terrorism Targets Another Ally of China?

Global Research, April 27, 2019

The recent, tragic Easter attack in the South Asian state of Sri Lanka – killing and injuring hundreds – follows a now unfortunately all too familiar formula.

The New York Times has reported in its article, “What We Know and Don’t Know About the Sri Lanka Attacks,” that:

The authorities in Sri Lanka said a little-known radical Islamist group, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath, [believed to have ties to the Islamic State] carried out the attacks, with help from international militants.

It is also reported that these extremists received assistance for the large-scale attack from foreign sponsors. The attack has put Sri Lanka on the map for many in the general public for the first time – but for all the wrong reasons.

Countering OBOR: Divide and Destroy 

Sri Lanka has recently and decisively pivoted toward Beijing as a major partner of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. This is despite Washington’s best efforts to prevent it from doing so.

Consequently, extremists fuelled by Washington’s “clash of civilizations” have helped set the stage for growing violence between Sir Lanka’s majority Buddhists and its minority Muslim communities. The resulting violence serves as a medium for US coercion, destabilization, and intervention aimed at undermining Sri Lanka’s unity as a nation, and thus its viability as a partner for China.

A nearly identical ploy has been used in nearby Myanmar where US-backed Buddhist extremists battle against US-Saudi-Qatari backed extremism rising from the ranks of the nation’s Muslim Rohingya minority.

The resulting violence and growing humanitarian crisis – without coincidence – is unfolding in Myanmar’s Rakhine state – precisely where China is attempting to build another leg of its region-spanning OBOR initiative.

Sri Lanka has signed on to OBOR in a big way, with major railport, airport, and highway projects all moving forward with Beijing’s support. Sri Lanka is also considered by Western policymakers as one of several among China’s strategic “String of Pearls,” strong points where China can secure maritime routes through waters traditionally dominated by the United States.

These projects are derided across the Western media with headlines like the New York Times’ article, “How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port” and France24’s article, “In Sri Lanka, the new Chinese Silk Road is a disappointment” – characterizing Washington’s growing opposition to China’s expanding influence across Asia – a region Washington has long presumed primacy over.

Washington’s ability to compete with China regarding regional development is nonexistent. Instead, the US has tried to tempt nations like Sri Lanka with military aid.

AFP in an article titled, “US gives Sri Lankan military US$39 million, countering China’s investments in strategic island,” would claim:

The US funding for Sri Lanka is part of a US$300 million package Washington is setting aside for South and Southeast Asia to ensure a “free, open, and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region”.

This “free, open, and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region,” is how the US regularly refers to US primacy in Asia throughout policy papersdiplomatic statements, and even political speeches.

It is obvious that “military aid” can in no way compete with massive investments by China aimed at spurring national development through tangible infrastructure projects.

America’s inability to compete openly and on equal economic footing has given way to political interference and even the use of violence.

Sri Lanka’s Crisis Linked to US-Driven Crisis in Myanmar 

In Myanmar, the US is documented to have supported ethnic violence for years. The US all but installed current “State Counsellor” Aung San Suu Kyi into power along with her political party – the National League for Democracy (NLD) lined top to bottom with US State Department-funded “activists.

Despite the liberal facade constructed by the Western media around Suu Kyi, her political party, and factions supporting both – rampant bigotry and racism pervades all three.

Simultaneously, US-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have worked to co-opt and wield Rohingya communities as an equal but opposing political weapon while US-allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar have begun radicalizing and arming factions within Rohingya communities to carry out armed violence across Rakhine state.

The resulting conflagration affords the US and its partners a pretext to intervene on an ever expanding scale – giving Washington access to and leverage over Myanmar to counter Beijing’s growing influence.

And in precisely the same way the US has inserted itself into the heart of Myanmar’s political affairs – it is attempting to do so again in other Asian nations – including now Sri Lanka.

Articles from across the Western media including the UK Independent’s 2018 article titled, “Violent Buddhist extremists are targeting Muslims in Sri Lanka,” even establish direct links between Myanmar’s and Sri Lanka’s growing conflicts.
The article would admit (emphasis added):

Currently, Sri Lanka’s most active Buddhist extremist group is Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist power force, or BBS). BBS entered politics in 2012 with a Buddhist-nationalist ideology and agenda, its leaders claiming that Sri Lankans had become immoral and turned away from Buddhism. And whom does it blame? Sri Lankan Muslims.

BBS’s rhetoric takes its cue from other populist anti-Muslim movements around the globe, claiming that Muslims are “taking over” the country thanks to a high birth rate. It also accuses Muslim organisations of funding international terrorism with money from Halal-certified food industries. These aren’t just empty words; in 2014, one of their anti-Muslim protest rallies in the southern town of Aluthgama ended with the death of four Muslims.

BBS also has links to Myanmar’s extremist 969 movement. Led by nationalist monk Ashin Wirathu, who calls himself the “Burmese Bin Laden”, it is notorious for its hardline rhetoric against the Rohingya Muslim community.

The West’s use of “Islamophobia” to sell its serial wars of aggression and to divide nations around the globe is a classic example of “divide and conquer.

While the West no longer possesses any real means to “conquer” the nations it is now targeting – it does possess the capacity to use resulting divisions to destroy them. If the US cannot hold primacy over Asia – no one will. It is a “War on Peace” waged under the guise of a “War on Terrorism.”

Sri Lanka appears to be but the latest victim of Washington’s now trademark “slash and burn” foreign policy – where it is fueling conflict to consume political orders that oppose its interests, and building upon the ashes ones that do serve them instead.

In the coming days, weeks, and months – not only will more information emerge linking the recent attacks in Sri Lanka to Washington, Riyadh, and Doha’s global network of terrorism – but additional pressure will also be mounted upon Sri Lanka to divest from Beijing and pivot back toward the West.

In reality – Sri Lanka’s violence is an artificial construct carried out by a tiny minority of extremists on either side of an equally artificial ethnoreligious divide. The nation and the region must unite in purpose – as peace and stability benefit them all – while chaos benefits only a handful of waning interests from afar.

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Tony Cartalucci is Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from NEO

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New Zealand mosque attacks: Politicians and media have blood on their hands

By Siema Iqbal

ICH

March 15, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  We woke to news of at least 49 Muslims murdered in New Zealand by far-right fanatics.

We watched – or consciously avoided watching – in horror the live-streamed footage of Muslims being gunned down while praying. How depraved has society become when social media is used to lionise massacres?

I had to tell my children about the attack. I told them not to watch the videos or to be afraid of being who they are: Muslims.

Spreading hatred

Today, the media and politicians like American president Donald Trump and former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, have condemned the attacks. The same media and the same politicians have helped spread hatred against Muslims and Islam. They have blood on their hands.

This terrible mass murder was committed on the other side of the world supposedly in the name of “Europe”. There are lessons for us here in Britain, just as there are across the world.

This hatred is institutional. We knew Islamophobia was endemic in the Conservative party, but we turned a blind eye. Not anymore.

Siema Iqbal@siemaiqbal

This senator is Australian.

He has blood on his hands .

Call out the bigotry and hold people responsible.

Enough is enough.

Do not dare say that Islamophobia does not exist. The media and politicians must be held to account.

If we allow fanatics to turn up outside mosques with their banners of hate, and give airtime and social media platforms to the likes of Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins, this is what happens.

If we continue to allow “think-tanks” to provide ammunition to parliamentarians and far-right leaders under the guise of “credible reports”, this is what happens.

Worldwide bigotry

This type of hatred is not confined to any country, but is widespread across the world.

Muslims are imprisoned in China; there are attacks on Muslims by Hindu nationalists in India; Rohingya Muslims are being ethnically cleansed in Myanmar. All of this is done in the name of tackling “extremism”, while ignoring the bigotry all around us.

Politicians might speak of their concern for the victims and families, but on a daily basis, many people are targeted by the far-right, as politicians have enabled a destructive discourse.

It’s time to admit that the UK’s Prevent strategy is not working. The “war on terror” has only fuelled hatred of Muslims in the general population, and distrust of the state among Muslim communities.

In 2013, the UK nearly suffered a similar attack against multiple mosques. Mosque security should be a major priority going forward.

Standing strong

Although Facebook was quick to remove a graphic video of the Christchurch attack, why was no action taken in response to previous posts threatening violence against Muslims?

How many more innocent people have to die before governments take a long, hard look at their role in creating this mess?

While many far-right extremists are celebrating the New Zealand attack, as a Muslim, I can promise you this: The more you attack us, the stronger and more united Muslims will become.

Today, the mosques will be packed – more than ever before – as prayers are offered for those killed. Muslims will never be afraid of bowing down to Allah, and nothing will stop us from doing so.

Siema Iqbal is a mother, a doctor and a British Muslim opinion writer based in Manchester. She is currently a partner and trainer at a North Manchester GP practice. She enjoys writing and can often be found public speaking and raising money and awareness for charities both in the UK and abroad.

This article was originally published by MEE” –

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Is a New ‘Kosovo’ Brewing in Myanmar?

Is a New ‘Kosovo’ Brewing in Myanmar?

JAMES GEORGE JATRAS | 08.09.2017 | OPINION

Is a New ‘Kosovo’ Brewing in Myanmar?

Whenever western governments and mainstream media start shedding crocodile tears over a minority community of «peaceful Muslims»© being persecuted by some nasty non-Muslim government somewhere, with demands that the «international community» do something about it, it should be treated with a big, fat dollop of skepticism.

At issue at the moment are the Rohingya, approximately one million of whom constitute a large minority in Rakhine (formerly Arakan) state in Myanmar (formerly Burma). According to reports in the prestige media and from (government-funded) human rights groups, Myanmar’s government is oppressing the Rohingya, many of whom have fled next door into predominantly Muslim Bangladesh.

We are told that the Rohingya, «often described as ‘the world’s most persecuted minority’» at the hands of Rakhine Buddhists incited by fanatical monks backed up by the national government, are facing genocide and ethnic cleansing. The international community must do something! Where’s Samantha «the Genocide Chick» Power when we need her?

If all this sounds familiar, it is. Almost word-for-word the foregoing could describe the western official and media narrative of the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija in the late 1990s. Just replace «Rohingya Muslims» with «Albanian Muslims», «Rakhine» with «Serb», «Theravada Buddhist» with «Orthodox Christian».

Of course the Kosovo official narrative was, and remains, almost a total perversion of the truth. In the late 1990s, western intelligence services and their friends in the Islamic world, notably Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and Turkey, as well as al-Qaeda-linked Islamic «charities», pumped weapons into Kosovo to support armed terrorist groups known as the «Kosovo Liberation Army» (KLA). Headed by kingpins in the Albanian mafia, the KLA attacked Serbian officials and civilians, as well as murdered insufficiently militant Albanians, in a bid to invite a government crackdown which would serve as a pretext for intervention by the international community, meaning the U.S. and NATO, to stop a fictional Serbian genocide of Albanians. As I noted in an August 1998 U.S. Senate report months before supposed massacre that «justified» the NATO attack on Serbia, military action had already been decided upon and awaited only a suitable «trigger»:

«As of this writing, planning for a U.S.-led NATO intervention in Kosovo is now largely in place, while the Clinton Administration’s apparent willingness to intervene has ebbed and flowed on an almost weekly basis. The only missing element appears to be an event – with suitably vivid media coverage – that would make intervention politically salable, even imperative, in the same way that a dithering Administration finally decided on intervention in Bosnia in 1995 after a series of ‘Serb mortar attacks’ took the lives of dozens of civilians – attacks, which, upon closer examination, may in fact have been the work of the Muslim regime in Sarajevo, the main beneficiary of the intervention. [For details, primarily reports from European media, see RPC’s ‘Clinton-Approved Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base,’ 1/16/97] That the Administration is waiting for a similar ‘trigger’ in Kosovo is increasingly obvious: ‘A senior U.S. Defense Department official who briefed reporters on July 15 noted that «we’re not anywhere near making a decision for any kind of armed intervention in Kosovo right now». He listed only one thing that might trigger a policy change: «I think if some levels of atrocities were reached that would be intolerable, that would probably be a trigger»’ [Washington Post, 8/4/98]. The recent conflicting reports regarding a purported mass grave containing (depending on the report) hundreds of murdered Albanian civilians or dozens of KLA fighters killed in battle should be seen in this light». [from ‘Bosnia II: The Clinton Administration Sets Course for NATO Intervention in Kosovo,’ August 1998]

To note the similarities between official and media about the Rohingya in 2017 and «Kosovars» in 1998-99 is not to say that armed outside intervention against Myanmar is imminent or even in the cards. Nor does it disprove the claim that the Rohingya, or some of them, may indeed be suffering persecution. It is only to suggest that when the usual manipulators in the media and the self-appointed international community get on their genocide high horse, caution is in order. It needs to be asked, what is the other side of the story?

For example, as analyzed by Moon of Alabama:

«Media attention is directed to some minor ethnic violence in Myanmar, the former Burma. The story in the ‘western’ press is of Muslim Rohingya unfairly vilified, chased out and killed by Buddhist mobs and the army in the state of Rakhine near the border to Bangladesh. The ‘liberal’ human interventionists like Human Rights Watch are united with Islamists like Turkey’s President Erdogan in loudly lamenting the plight of the Rohingya.

«That curious alliance also occurred during the wars on Libya and Syria. [JGJ: And in Kosovo.] It is by now a warning sign. Could there be more behind this than some local conflict in Myanmar? Is someone stoking a fire?

«Indeed.

«While the ethnic conflict in Rakhine state is very old, it has over the last years morphed into a Jihadist guerilla war financed and led from Saudi Arabia. The area is of geo-strategic interest:

‘Rakhine plays an important part in [the Chinese One Belt One Road Initiative] OBOR, as it is an exit to Indian Ocean and the location of planned billion-dollar Chinese projects—a planned economic zone on Ramree Island, and the Kyaukphyu deep-sea port, which has oil and natural gas pipelines linked with Yunnan Province’s Kunming.’

«Pipelines from the western coast of Myanmar eastwards to China allow hydrocarbon imports from the Persian Gulf to China while avoiding the bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca and disputed parts of the South China Sea.

«It is in ‘Western interest’ to hinder China’s projects in Myanmar. Inciting Jihad in Rakhine could help to achieve that. … A clearly Islamist insurgency was build up in the area. It acts under the name Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and is led by Ataullah abu Ammar Junjuni, a Jihadist from Pakistan. (ARSA earlier operated under the name Harakah al-Yakin, or Faith Movement.) Ataullah was born into the large Rohingya community of Karachi, Pakistan. … Reuters noted in late 2016 that the Jihadist group is trained, led and financed through Pakistan and Saudi Arabia:

‘A group of Rohingya Muslims that attacked Myanmar border guards in October is headed by people with links to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said on Thursday, citing members of the group. … «Though not confirmed, there are indications [Ataullah] went to Pakistan and possibly elsewhere, and that he received practical training in modern guerrilla warfare», the group said. It noted that Ata Ullah was one of 20 Rohingya from Saudi Arabia leading the group’s operations in Rakhine State. Separately, a committee of 20 senior Rohingya emigres oversees the group, which has headquarters in Mecca, the ICG said.’

«The ARSA Jihadists claim to only attack government forces but civilian Arakanese Buddhists have also been ambushed and massacred. Buddhist hamlets were also burned down».

Finally, it needs to be noted that showing sympathy for Muslim victims, real or fake, has several attractions for western governments and media:

  • It pleases western elites’ friends in Riyadh, Ankara, Islamabad, etc., to see effete post-Christians take the Muslim side in a way none of them would ever stick up for Christians. How nice to see how weak, corrupt, and cowardly the unbelievers are! (How many protests did we hear from our Saudi, Turkish, Pakistani, and other supposed friends about the suffering of Christians in Syria and Iraq at the hands of al-Qaeda and Daesh? For that matter, how much did we hear about it from western governments? When have western governments and media ever demanded that the so-called international community «do something» to save a non-Muslim population – anywhere?)
  • It allows western elites to scrub away the suspicion that somewhere, somehow any hint of concern about Islamic terrorism or Muslim mass migration into Europe is evidence of «racism» and «Islamophobia». Championing persecuted Muslims like the Rohingya and Kosovo Albanians shows the west harbors no such biases.
  • Perhaps most importantly, standing up for allegedly persecuted Muslim minorities allows western governments and media to deflect any blame for the hundreds of thousands – in all likelihood millions – of Muslims killed in the process of «democracy promotion» in majority Muslim countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and other places, or the many more who would be killed in the process of «bringing freedom» to Iran. Sure, many non-Muslims have also been killed in these noble humanitarian efforts, but their deaths are not politically actionable – no government or terrorist movement will threaten retribution.
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