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A cloud on the horizon

For a guerrilla movement, a peace process is only an extension of its war effort—the means with which to achieve what it fails to gain militarily. Peace deals, thus, become potent weapons in the hands of terrorists. Remember, even bin Laden had the audacity to offer a truce, which the US shot down unceremoniously. The history of Sri Lanka’s conflict is replete with such tactics. We have seen Prabhakaran in civvies suing for peace and in fatigues threatening or waging war alternately.

The LTTE’s history, which reeks with Punic faith, hardly allows one to be optimistic about its peace offers, which finally turn out to be truce ruses like the CFA, which is dead but stuffed and flaunted as real by the Norwegian taxidermists.

Prabhakaran—to give the devil its due—is a clever man. His knowledge of Sri Lankans is really impressive. He knows they are nothing but a bunch of suckers ever willing to be taken for a ride. He has had, to his credit, many a gullible southern leader chasing his or her tail (pun intended!). He knows he doesn’t have to make any commitment to a truce; a mere announcement of it is enough to have the whole caboodle of suckers chase an illusive peace so that he can have a breather and prepare for another round of war.

When he played that trick about two weeks ago, having found that his battle for Jaffna had boomeranged on him, it was clear to the discerning that he had a card up his sleeve. And on Saturday, an arms ship was sighted heading for the eastern coast. The size of the ship and its speed suggested that it was carrying some warlike material that the LTTE urgently needed. Had the outfit managed to take delivery of the clandestine shipment, it would have been a godsend for the beleaguered Prabhakaran, who is said to be seeing anicuts in his nightmares. (To the uninitiated, his trouble began after his military misadventure of capturing the Mawilaru sluice gates in July.)

A few months ago, Anton Balasingham promised some ‘surprises’ to the Sri Lanka military after the LTTE’s ‘final war’ commenced. The war is there in all but name and the surprises have not yet come. Did the ill-fated ship have those promised ‘surprises’ on board? It is being widely speculated that the lethal cargo may have had, among other things, a stock of anti aircraft missiles that the LTTE desperately needs to counter the devastating air raids, which have debilitated the outfit’s military capability to the point of its begging a respite.

What would have been the situation, had the government plunged head first into the truce that the LTTE offered the other day? It would have been under pressure to steer clear of the rogue ship to protect the truce. Any dithering on the part of the government would have allowed the vessel to flee whence it came or to unload its cargo into LTTE boats, before being destroyed.

When an LTTE ship carrying arms was sunk during the UNF-LTTE honeymoon, the then Navy Commander incurred the wrath of the government leaders, whose servility to the Tigers knew no bounds. They had the gumption to tell him, "Your are the only Navy Commander to have sunk a ship during peace times!" That was the ‘reward’ he got for a job well done! Those naive politicos had mistaken the absence of war for peace! That was the time when the Defence Secretary visited an LTTE leader in a Colombo hospital, carrying a basket of apples and chose to call Pulidevan ‘Puli.’ It was also the time when Tigers were treated to barbecues at the residence of a stooge in charge of airport security and escorted right into the aircraft sans any security checks!

The LTTE stands exposed for deception yet another time and those who are trying to prod the government into reciprocating the LTTE’s truce offer should take note of the Tigers’ wiles. The government ought to pluck up courage to tell them that since it is the LTTE that pulled out of talks unilaterally and reverted to war, the question of its reciprocity doesn’t arise and talks could begin any time if a new CFA is drafted with the SLMM expanded to include more monitors from other countries, without Norway being allowed to function as the prosecutor, the judge and the jury. Moreover, the government needs to insist that the LTTE give up violence both in word and deed and any undertaking to talk peace should come from none other than Prabhakaran himself.

It is hoped that the government will learn from its experience and be wary of lowering its guard, simply because the LTTE is holding out an olive branch.

via… The Island Editorial


September 19, 2006 - Posted by | News and politics

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