Paul Buchanan – Radio NZ Dispatch: Attacks “very unlikely” retaliation – security expert

Photo: Jewel SAMAD / RNZ

Security expert Paul Buchanan said he thought the two attacks were “very unlikely” to be linked.

“I would take these claims with a very healthy dose of scepticism, and the reason for that is both ISIS and the Sri Lankan government have their own reasons to deflect from the local nature of the attack. ISIS of course is on the run and wants to claim things that are possibly beyond its scope at this point but make the event broader than it is and the Sri Lanka government wants to deflect from its failures of intelligence that facilitated this.

“More importantly, the amount of preparation and planning needed to undertake these coordinated simultaneous attacks simply is too long for it to have been attributed to the March 15 attacks. We’re a month out from the March 15 attacks, they were getting intelligence warnings … that people were stockpiling explosives before March 15th.”

Falling into retaliatory rhetoric over the attacks is dangerous, he said.

“We fall into the false narrative of the clash of civilisations,” he said.

“If we get into tit for tat attacks … we get into a cycle of violence that quite frankly has not occurred in the past. In the past, attacks are done randomly.

“The way the global media is covering it is falling into that trap and conservative media outlets around the world have already cast this as a ‘Christianity versus Islam’ thing when in fact … both Muslims and Christians are a distinct minority in Sri Lanka and they’re both oppressed by Buddhists.

“If I look at the methodology of the attack I think ‘well, the Catholic churches were attacked because they were incredibly soft targets and they were not defended … even in spite of the intelligence warnings to the government about the choice of targets.

“The attacks on the hotels are clearly designed to hurt tourism business in Sri Lanka, on which it depends very very strongly.”

For more, see 36th Parallel’s RNZ Dispatch.