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Exit the Tiger, enter the Dragon

By Dushy Ranetunge in London

(April 05, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The West wants a "humanitarian pause." Whenever anyone uses the word "humanitarian", it’s like politicians kissing babies - its time to get worried. The word "humanitarian" is another word for "weapons of mass destruction". It smacks of an agenda, certainly not a "humanitarian" one.

Remember the "humanitarian" parippu bombing of Jaffna, the "humanitarian" operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and even Sudan. There was also that very "humanitarian" operation in Mavil Aru, not forgetting the one we are having in the Vanni as well.

Right now in the East coast there is another "humanitarian" Indian army medical team doing you know what.

So has the world, including Austria, Costa Rica and Mexico, suddenly woken up, mounted their white stallions and are galloping to the rescue of Tamils who are "trapped" in between the nasty LTTE and the biscuit and tea offering, cotton wool caring Sri Lankan armed forces?

I suspect that only the galloping part is accurate.

The Government of Sri Lanka could not have succeeded in their present course of action, if not for the internationally favourable position to pursue its military strategy. I call these trade winds.

The government is playing a very high quality chess game with great skill in the international arena by carefully reading the game - so far, accurately. No previous government has in my opinion played this game with such skill. But they are sailing very close to the wind.

Sri Lanka is a mere pawn in the international chess game, a pawn that has certain strategic value.

Indian and Western powers want influence over this pawn in their favour and they view the Sinhala-Tamil conflict as a strategic tool for this purpose.

Mrs Gandhi did not train and arm the early Tamil militants because of her love for Tamils. It was because India was at the time pro-Russian and she wanted to "control" a pro-Western Jayewardene’s Sri Lanka. This Indian foreign policy in relation to Sri Lanka fitted in with the Tamil cause and they hitchhiked on the slum dogs.

This strategy needed Tamils to be the pawns of India and as soon as the LTTE rejected this, the two parties fell out.

The next trade wind to affect Sri Lanka was Islamic fundamentalism. That wave ensured the banning of the LTTE around the world and Lakshman Kadirgamar guided Sri Lanka through that period to gain maximum benefit.

The Rajapaksa administration is presently riding the Chinese trade wind. The world is watching China - the sleeping giant of Asia - awakening slowly and becoming the super power of the 21st century.

The world is aware of the long unbroken relationship of Sri Lanka with China going back to Dudley Senanayake and the Rubber – Rice Pact and Sirimavo and Mao Tse Tung. Sri Lanka is China’s most stable and consistent ally in South Asia.

For India, the earlier equation of Pro-Russian Indira and Pro-Western Jayewardene is no longer valid as India is also now in the Western economic camp. For them, too, the new concern is China with whom they fought and lost a war.

India is emerging as Washington’s key economic and strategic partner and is concerned that developments in Sri Lanka will impact negatively on its interests.

Rajapaksa has repositioned Sri Lanka reducing its reliance on the West and increasing its engagement with China. Sri Lankan officials comment that the level of aid that we get from the West is negligible.

China has begun a process of building capacity around the globe, with significant input in Africa to secure markets and raw material.

One of its major projects is in Sri Lanka - at Hambantota where its shipping, bringing in oil and other raw material and its exports to Europe, passes along the major sea lanes six miles from the port she is helping to build at Hambantota. For the Chinese this is a strategic investment.

China favours the Sri Lankan state to have complete, uncontested political and military control over the Island so that Sri Lanka cannot be compromised in any way in its allegiance to Chinese strategic interests.

The Wickremesinghe administration’s action of handing over Trincomalee oil tanks etc to India was to safeguard Sri Lankan strategic interests. This would not have taken place if the LTTE had been marginalised previously.

Removal of the LTTE from the equation strengthens China’s position in Sri Lanka and weakens Indian and Western control over this country.

Remember, control over the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora also gives the West a certain degree of control.

With the straining of relationships between Sri Lanka and the UK highlighted by the Des Browne affair, we see Britain turning a blind eye to increased LTTE fund raising currently going on in the UK.

The LTTE fundraisers are going around saying that even if they lose territorial control in Sri Lanka, they intend staying around for another 20 years.

Britain has also turned a blind eye towards a LTTE front, British Tamils Forum, assisted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG-T), hosting an international conference, titled "World Tamils Forum", on Thursday, 26 March 2009 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in London.

These events do not take place without the knowledge of New Scotland Yard’s Specialist Operations.

Des Browne was one of those present together with Rev Jesse Jackson. Colombo ignored the event rejecting Jackson as yesterday’s man.

Britain would not have dreamt of allowing a group allied to a radical Islamic group to put on such a show in London.

By allowing the event, Britain is sending a signal that it is treating a front organisation of a terrorist group that assassinated Rajiv Gandhi and President Premadasa in a different light to that of Islamic fundamentalists.

But then, Britain will argue that they did business with the IRA which assassinated Lord Mountbatten.

The present "humanitarian" pause smacks of a Western agenda rather than the world coming running to help the Tamils. It is an attempt by the West and India to counter Chinese strategy in Sri Lanka and to safeguard their strategic interests. Sri Lanka has already allowed an Indian "humanitarian" presence in the form of an Indian military medical team on the East coast.

It is hard to believe that those who dropped atomic bombs on civilians in Japan, dropped napalm on civilians in Vietnam, have killed more civilians in Iraq than Saddam Hussein, looked the other way while the Jews were being gassed in Germany, carpet bombed the civilian city of Dresden to the ground, herded civilians into concentration camps in Malaya (teaching our brothers a thing or two) and watched over the carnage in Rwanda, have suddenly found humanitarianism in their hearts towards the Tamils.

The Tamils around the world are distraught, watching their families bombed, shot and chopped by those claiming to be liberators and, yes, "humanitarians". Those who manage to escape are only swapping prisons. They leave an open prison run by the sole reps to a brand spanking new one, complete with a glistening razor wire boundary, run by the humanitarians.

The humanitarians will of course argue that they are making omelettes and that omelettes cannot be made without breaking eggs. Then they will bless you and talk of the triple gem.

War on terror has resulted in the abandonment of the triple gem and embracing radical Catholicism and Islam. It’s no longer the middle path, but the philosophy of medieval Catholicism and Islam. Then it was the Crusades and the Bible or death. Then it was the Jihads, the Koran or death. Today its "you’re with us, or you are against us." You can only spread our gospel of the "humanitarian" patriots. The middle path is as dead as the enlightened one.

The Western world have been preoccupied with other issues and have been taken by surprise by the speed and the momentum of the Sri Lankan military advance.

Suddenly it has dawned on them that the politico military landscape of Sri Lanka has changed and is continuing to change rapidly.

They have suddenly woken up to the prospect that in Sri Lanka the exit of the Tiger will result in the entry of the Dragon. The West is scrambling to press the pause button - a humanitarian pause of course.
-Sri Lanka Guardian

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