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Tamilnation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Conflict Resolution - Tamil Eelam - Sri Lanka > Norwegian Peace Initiative > Oslo Peace Support Meeting > Sinhala Nationalists should rejoice

Norwegian Peace Initiative

Sinhala nationalists should rejoice - D.Sivaram (Taraki)
Northeastern Herald, 29 November 2002


Sinhala nationalists should rejoice now rather than gripe and whine ad nauseam that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his men have perfidiously betrayed the Singhalese people to the LTTE. The world's sole superpower has reiterated its commitment to firmly support the Sri Lankan state to stop the LTTE from undermining its sovereignty. Richard Armitage could not have been more lucid when he called on the LTTE to renounce violence and to accept the authority of the Sri Lankan state in all parts of the island. 

Didn't Sinhala nationalists note the fact that the US did not demand the Sri Lankan government with equal fervour to grant the Tamil people substantial regional autonomy? They could not have thought of a greater friend at this critical juncture when many of them assumed and lamented that the Prime Minister is going to get international recognition for an abhorred terrorist organisation. That the LTTE's advisor Dr. Anton Balasingham should have categorically rejected the US demand that his organisation give up violence and separatism is obviously sweet music to all Sinhala nationalists. 

They should rejoice that the LTTE has dared to challenge the world's sole super power and has brazenly refused to obey its dictates. Hence the Tigers may be in great trouble. The might of the US would be the plague that Sinhala nationalists want on Pirapaharan's house. 

Sinhala nationalist editorialists, opinion makers and politicians who unceasingly grumble that the LTTE is taking too much out of the ceasefire, fail to appreciate the solid gains they have made in recent times in strengthening their position against the Tigers internationally. 

Firstly, they have got a group of powerful countries led by the US and its main ally in arms UK, which is not, as in the case of India during 84-87, explicitly linking the reining in of the LTTE to a fair solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. India strengthened the LTTE militarily to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government. The US led group of countries is applying all possible pressure on the Tigers to submit to the authority of the Sri Lankan state. 

The US is Sri Lanka's largest trading partner. Japan, America's main strategic partner in global affairs after UK, comes next in terms of its economic influence in Sri Lanka. 

Their combined leverage in this country is many times greater than what India could have hoped to achieve even at the height of Tamil militancy in 85-87. Therefore, in principle, US and Japan should be able to create enough material discomfiture to the Sri Lankan state in order to compel it to cough up a settlement to the conflict under duress as India did by other means in 1987. 

Instead both countries and those leading nations of the world such as Canada and Australia that are treaty bound to toe the US line are only too keen to strengthen Sri Lanka's hand. 

Sinhala nationalists should study how the US and NATO back the Turkish state which continues to deny the Kurdish people even rudimentary autonomy. The Kurdish region is still occupied by the Turkish military despite a recent truce. The Kurds are discouraged to learn their own language. Human rights violations by the Turkish army in the Kurdish region during unmitigated military operations were rampant. In fact the Turkish military is well trained and armed for large scale counter insurgency operations by the US and its allies. They helped Turkey by arresting and handing over to its military the leader of the Kurdish rebel movement, Abdallah Occalan who was them made to call on his fighters to give their armed struggle and settle for peace The US and its allies are not twisting Turkey's arm, compelling it to grant substantial regional autonomy to the Kurds. Instead they bail out its weak economy whenever it slides into crises. 

While Turkey, the staunch US ally, persists, with the acquiescence and sometimes the support of its backers, in repressing the fundamental rights of the Kurdish people, Iran, branded a member of the 'Axis of Evil' by President George Bush, has granted them regional autonomy and promotes the study of their language and culture. The US ignores the plight of the beleaguered Turkish Kurds but is all out to protect with the might of its airforce their brethren in Iraq. 

This is so because Turkey is strategically important in America's quest for unhindered access to global resources and hegemony. 

There is good reason for the US and its allies to be keenly interested in the affairs of the Sri Lankan state even at the cost of basic Tamil rights. 

The Voice of America agreement is coming up renewal next year. It was originally signed in 1951 but a revised agreement was entered into in December 1983 intended to significantly increase the VOA's broadcasting strength. The 83 agreement was to continue in force for 20 years, renewable in 10 year extensions. The official Soviet news agency Tass at the time called the VOA station "a new branch of the US engaged in psychological warfare against socialist and developing countries". 

Japan is the USA's main strategic ally in Asia. Eighty percent of its oil supplies are carried on sea-lanes that skirt round Sri Lanka's coast and pass through the Malacca Straits which India dominates. 

Indian and Russian defence analysts have recently argued that unhindered access to Central Asia's resources is a key element in USA's global military strategy today. But the only access that the US has to this region is through the Arabian Sea. Therefore ensuring the protection of sea-lanes in this part of the Indian Ocean is paramount for the US, they argue. Sri Lanka, which is strategically located vis--vis these sea-lanes is hence indispensable to the US at this juncture, according to them. The Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) that the US is desirous of signing with Sri Lanka would give it a strategic handle in this emerging regional scenario. 

It is no secret today that the US government's global war on terrorism is helping it reach into and consolidate its military and strategic influence in many parts of the world which were hitherto inaccessible to it. The US has established many long term military bases in Central Asian Republics under the pretext of fighting Islamic terrorism in those countries. 

Given the emerging strategic scenario in the Arabian Sea region, it may not be without reason that the US and its treaty partners keep the LTTE banned as a terrorist organisation. Calling the LTTE terrorist after all may have its uses. 

If it has to strategically position itself in this region it is important for the US and its allies to stabilise and strengthen the Sri Lankan state. 

In this situation the US and its allies are very likely to back the Sinhala nationalists' insistence on preserving the unitary nature of the Sri Lankan state at whatever the cost. 

To them the Tamil question is dispensable if the Sri Lankan army defeats the LTTE. Did they not buy time from the LTTE for the SLA in the name of a unilateral ceasefire to prepare for Op. Agni Kheela to retake Elephant Pass?Do the Sinhala nationalists who burn the Norway's flag know this?

It is clear that at least now they know they can do a Turkey on the Tamils while the US and its allies turn a blind eye and help to stabilise the Sri Lankan state economically. 

With friends like these the Sinhala nationalists have little to fear in making their writ run across the length and breadth of the island.

This is perhaps the reason why Pirapaharan is expanding and strengthening his naval forces and army.

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