Why five-star hotels are favorite targets of terrorist attackers
Sri Lanka is still reeling from the horrific terrorist attacks on the last Easter Sunday, killing more than 300 people and injuring hundreds more. The bombings, carried out by suicide bombers, struck six Colombo sites in the first round of explosions, targeting three churches and three 5-star beachfront hotels. Subsequent bombings took place while other explosives took place. were recovered in what was clearly intended to be a coordinated attack in multiple cities.
Although the investigation into the reprehensible attack has already begun, authorities still have a long way to go. The death toll, 359 at the time of this writing, may rise as rescuers sift through debris and the injured succumb; the exact nature of the explosives is still being determined as well as the nature of the individuals who used them; the number of followers and assets that the terrorist group responsible for the violence remains to be confirmed.
Not much is known about many things, but one fact is frighteningly clear. Luxury hotels in the Indian subcontinent and other emerging regions of the world continue to present an extremely attractive target for radical individuals and groups seeking the most international attention.
It should come as no surprise then that the Islamic State group said on Tuesday that it was behind the attack and posted a photo and video of the men it held responsible. “Those who carried out the attack targeting members of the US-led coalition and Christians in Sri Lanka the day before yesterday are fighters from the Islamic State group,” ISIS propaganda agency said , Amaq, in a press release.
It’s not too hard to see why 5-star hotels are so often the target of large-scale terrorist attacks by religious fanatics and fundamentalist groups. Led by exclusive Western companies, catering to affluent international customers, who commit a litany of perceived sins and generally denigrate their environment, these decadent homes are ideal targets for righteous anger.
But perhaps even more than they are perfect examples of Western excess and its deleterious effects on sacrosanct traditions and conservative life, it is the international media coverage that the attacks on these stations will surely go to. generate that make stations such viable targets.
Since September 11 and the war on terror that followed, deadly terrorist attacks have become almost commonplace, especially in troubled and / or underdeveloped regions of the world. And the bombings, shootings, deaths and destruction of incidents, tragic as they are individually, are now relegated to a similar pattern, with most events being just another of so many. ‘others.
Of the dozens of terrorist attacks against civilian targets in the Indian subcontinent alone, how many can we actually recall and discern? The attacks on Parliament and 11/26 are still very much in our memories, of course, and will likely continue to be, as they struck respectively at the center of the nation’s politics and culture. But there were literally dozens more.
Other incidents that can be remembered, still focusing only on attacks on civilians in the subcontinent, are the bombing of Marriott Islamabad and the multiple attacks on Inter-Continental and Serena hotels in Kabul. And the inclusion of Kabul in the subcontinent is stretching it anyway.
This is by no means a unique phenomenon. In the Middle East as well as various parts of Africa and South Asia, over the past fifteen years, the lives of innocent civilians have been repeatedly shattered as a result of hundreds of deadly attacks by fundamentalists religious, but most of us have a hard time remembering more than a handful of horrors individually. And many of that number will likely include those involving luxury hotels and international resorts.
Meanwhile, due to their relative rarity, the terrorist attacks that have hit the West are more easily remembered than in London, Madrid or Paris, not to mention September 11 itself of course. And the majority of these attacks have taken place in public places like bus and train stations or at gatherings like races and concerts rather than in exclusive cloistered spaces intended for the wealthy and influential.
And so, by obscene logic, international branded 5-star hotels, which host foreign guests, would be the best targets to generate the most publicity and attention for its organization and its cause. This would be particularly true in parts of the world which are unfortunately accustomed to occasional or regular violence and fatal incidents. To borrow, rightly enough, from Stalin in those parts of the world, the attack on a compound is a tragedy, the attacks on markets and streets are just a statistic.