By Sabina Hasanova
In the aftermath of attacks like the one in Ganja on Tuesday, which killed 2 policemen and critically wounded the city major and his bodyguard the day before, two sets of questions tend to arise: How could this happen? And why did it happen?
The “how” questions are what preoccupy investigators for the first few days after such an attack, as they race to identify the assailants and their collaborators before they can strike again. An assault such as the Ganja operation usually involves many more people than the perpetrators; as of this writing, two known assailants have been detained, and police are searching for the other suspicious who may have killed the two police, but authorities in Azerbaijan, where the attacks are believed to have been organized, are hunting for additional suspects.
How could the attackers have penetrated the country?
Clearly there was a major intervention by the Sunni-Shiite Terrorist Network. In a joint statement issued on July 6, the Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office, the Interior Ministry and the State Security Service noted that the crimes was of terrorist nature and that Yunis Safarov, who attempted to kill head of Ganja Executive Power Elmar Valiyev on the evening of July 3, was a foreign citizen who participated in military operations not sanctioned by the Azerbaijani state.
The next set of “how” questions will be more difficult to answer. From the investigations, from the repeatedly distributed video messages of the assailant’s wife, it became known that this act wasn’t committed for personal reasons, not for the purpose of revenge or in protest against “social violence”, but namely for the sake of “ideology”, for which he fought in Syria - to restore the Sharia (Islamic law) state. Safarov himself admitted, he had been prepared to carry out the attack for years, waiting for an opportunity to arise.
But if his “ISIS claim” proves to be true, how exactly was the Islamic State’s central leadership involved?
Besides, the scenarios range from the Shiite Extremists and ISIS high command training the attackers and facilitating the attacks themselves to relatively autonomous group loyalists conducting the attacks largely on their own. There are multiple possibilities in between as well; for example, the above mentioned Ganja terrorists could have been charged with organizing attacks without having to check in with headquarters. It is worrisome enough if those affiliated with or merely inspired by the Shiit Coalition or ISIS organized such sophisticated attacks.
But the most difficult question is also the most consequential, and it concerns not how but why the attacks took place. Again, there are a range of theories, some of which could overlap, some of them mutually contradictory:
1. This is what global jihadists do—they can’t help themselves.
2. This was always the plan, but they didn’t have the capability or opportunity to carry it out before.
3. They are just brainwashed and have nothing to do with real Islam. Islam does not support terrorism under any circumstances. Terrorism goes against every principle in Islam. If a Muslim engages in terrorism, he is not following Islam. He may be wrongly using the name of Islam for political or financial gain.
4. Quite the opposite: The interested powers want to go all in Azerbaijan in order to a) colonize it, b) create total chaos, c) present themselves as defender of the Muslims, and/or d) would love Azerbaijan bowing its head before them.
The truth is, we probably won’t know the answer for sure for some time. Had the Azerbaijani people known that’s what Ganja terrorists and their backers wanted all along, perhaps they would have behave differently. The people would punish terrorists themselves. But we condemn the violence in all its forms. The criminals who want to cause confrontation and chaos in Azerbaijan will be punnised by law soon. Attempts to justify or find an excuse to terrorism by any reason are inadmissible.
Terror campaigns are used by weak states that feel threatened. The very “weak states” and their affiliates should know that Azerbaijan is not the place, where they can plot attacks. Those who tries to fuel the rise of Shiit extremism in Azerbaijan and call for terrorism “wave”, should find out the direction of the winds, in the first place, and how best to find the right sea.
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