Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 15 May 2011





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Countering the Darusman Report :

A 'war' of a different kind

The Darusmman Panel conveniently ignored scenes of this type, which were a commom occurence during the timee the LTTE were on a killing spree

Nanthikadal - a scenic lagoon in one of the remotest areas of northern Sri Lanka became known here and overseas in a matter of seconds.

It was here that Prabhakaran was killed by Sri Lankan forces while being, in full combat uniform and armed with a unique 99 mm pistol.

Sri Lankans could not suppress a sense of freedom and a feeling of elation.

People in their thousands took to the streets. It was not politically motivated or stage-managed. People rejoiced and celebrated the death of one of the most fearsome and ruthless terrorists in the world just like people in the US rejoiced at the hunting down of Osama bin Laden.

No one was spared by the LTTE's brutality. After over 30 years of terror, everyone had a story of their own.

The LTTE did not cause collateral damage, the LTTE purposely targeted innocent civilians.

It was their way of being heard. The entire world heard them alright. It was 'loud and clear'.

Nevertheless the Tigers played low key when it came to the international theatre, they were very shrewed.

They trained members of international terrorist outfits on suicide missions after perfecting the suicide belt.

Although they were very much a threat to international peace, the LTTE did not make the mistake of targeting world leaders or foreign States, having learned their lesson after the assassination of former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 in Tamil Nadu.

So despite being a killing machine with thousands of innocent civilian deaths to its account, the LTTE was not regarded by most of the International community as a threat to world peace, despite the fact it transformed their own blood into human bombs to target and blow off women, children and elderly on their way to school, office or market.

Despite being listed as a terrorist organisation in over 30 countries and by the UN after the 9/11, compelling member States to treat the LTTE as a terror organisation, LTTE supporters continued to openly canvass for the LTTE cause, hold rallies, raise funds and organise events, sometimes with the patronage of senior State officials as well.

In this light the manoeuvring of the international community especially during the final stages of the military operations was crucial for the LTTE defeat.

Outsiders, even the Sri Lankan diaspora who speak for the LTTE and shed crocadile tears for the North East Tamils, will never know the feeling of being freed of a trauma that tormented you day and night.

'I may not come back home to see my children again' this crossed our minds everytime we left home to the city.

It haunted you and many people who came to Colombo offices had even made arrangements for their children in case they died in a bomb explosion. Even the noise of a tire puncture made you jump and inquire 'bomb?' 'where?'

No one was convinced the LTTE could be defeated. The international players and the NGO big heads preached to us in the ear on a daily basis that the LTTE and its leaders home front were invincible.

It took days if not weeks for people to absorb the news. We in fact asked ourselves, not just once, if this was all a dream. It was hard to believe that the LTTE was really gone. It felt like a miracle.

It was the end of the LTTE. But we were soon to learn the end was only within the borders of tiny Sri Lanka.

Once the conflict was over, observers commented that the LTTE rump still continued in the international arena in a weaker form.

But signals from afar soon pointed out that this weaker form has regenerated at a pace unimaginable.

Soon after the humanitarian operation many countries started to shower the Government with praise for completing their mission with such prowess. Defence establishments of foreign States one by one approached their Sri Lankan counterparts to learn counter terrorism strategies adopted, the strategies that ultimately help defeat one of the most shrewed and ruthless terror organisations in the world.

This included India, Pakistan, US and many other countries. True that it was clouded by pro-LTTE propaganda that never gave up its mission to undermine Sri Lanka's victory and drag the country down with its crumbling outfit.

But soon all the praise took a u-turn. A section of the International community, especially countries like Britain, France and Germany where LTTE diaspora's voice is very strong started demanding war crimes investigations.

On May 27, 2009 merely a week after the conclusion of military operations, a special resolution was... scheduled by the so-called super powers at the UN Human Rights Council . The objective was to punish Sri Lanka.

The reason - defeating one of the top terror outfits in the world. The irony was that the international 'war on terror' was in full swing by then.

Sri Lanka defeated this resolution by an overwhelming majority with 29 votes in favour, 12 against and 6 abstentions.

Instead of the resolution moved by the Western block, the Sri Lankan team headed by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe managed to get a nod from the UN HR Council for a resolution brought in by Sri Lanka supporting its post conflict rebuilding efforts.

At the Human Rights Special Resolution Sri Lanka was strongly backed by Middle East, Africa and Asian blocs including India, Pakistan, Russia, China and Cuba.

This was the second diplomatic victory Sri Lanka bagged in its historic fight against terrorism.

The decisive diplomatic war was won during the humanitarian operation.

India, China and Russia stood as towers of strength during this phase when the Westen block and the UN pressured by the LTTE puppets tried to shove us off balance using international aid as a pressure leaver.

The Rajapaksa regime very skilfully built a friendship with both the political leaders and influential bureaucrats in New Delhi who discreetly supported Sri Lanka's final campaign to dismantle the LTTE, International Terrorism Expert Prof. Rohan Gunaratna told the Sunday Observer soon after the defeat of LTTE.

Pakistan a true friend of Sri Lanka as well as China and Ukraine kept the depleting Forces' armouries re-filled so that the force of our forward march was sustained in equal strength.

US, UK, Malaysia and Australia also played a pivotal role although the US State Department from time to time gave thumbs down to the success of the operations against the LTTE.

Although US has been seen as a damper the role played by the US law enforcing authorities, the CIA and the FBI in dismantling the LTTE terror network had been exceptional, the international terror experts claim.

The arrests and prosecution of leading LTTE weapon procurers in the US soil in 2006 paved the way to a string of arrests worldwide and intercepting and destroying Tiger arms shipments and weakening them in the battle front.

A total of six LTTE ships were said to have been destroyed with the help of shared US-Sri Lanka intelligence.

Although defeated as a military outfit, the LTTE is overseas infrastructure remains almost intact with assets such as a highly sophisticated international communication network, working over time to establish a transnational government of Tamil Eelam.

These LTTE fronts' latest ploy is to brand Sri Lanka as a 'war criminal' and harness support from sympathetic groups and States to help establish its dream homeland that could not be achieved through 30 years of bloodshed.

The LTTE tentacles have grasped Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, China and North Korea. Their fund raising activities are in full bloom in the EU, Canada and the US.

It is interesting to note the following.

A former British foreign secretary while in office patronised a meeting by the premier LTTE front, Global Tamil Forum (GTF), ignoring strong protests by Sri Lanka, that their action will lend credibility to a terror front.

David Milliband, Conservative Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague and Liberal Democrats Shadow Foreign Secretary Ed Davey attended and addressed the inaugural pro-LTTE meeting.

Milliband in his opening speech was quoted as saying that the foundation of the Global Tamil Forum, the inauguration of its international work, is an important moment for politics and above all politics in Sri Lanka, because there is no substitute for political voice in asserting political rights.

The LTTE lobby in the West had been so strong that Sri Lanka seems to have a tougher battle to win against the terror outfit in the global arena.

The above is evidence that it has been successful in lobbying important and influential individuals of foreign States.

This voice finally gave birth to a UN 'Panel of Experts' and the subsequest publication of a report charging Sri Lanka and its leaders of war crimes allegations.

The suspicious way the panel was mooted, outside the mandate of the Secretary General and giving inconsistent reasons from time to time to justify its appointment, commencement of work, manner of conduct and finally the publication of the report, had led Sri Lanka to doubt the motives behind this move.

The 'Transnational Government' which is the global face of LTTE that openly advocates separatism said in a press statement that it submitted a detailed report outlining 'the Sri Lankan Government's mass killings of Tamil civilians', during the Panel's collection of information.

It is open for debate as a how ethical it was for UN to entertain a report of a terrorist front, against a sovereign member of the world body.

Sri Lanka has again turned to its international allies to defeat this move obviously carried out under pressure from some super powers. The report will not have any validity if it gets a thumbs down by the Security Council.

Russia and China, the two veto wielding superpowers have already denounced the report saying that this could not be regarded as a UN panel. They have warned that Sri Lanka should be allowed to heal its own wounds. A message echoed by the Non Aligned Movement soon after the news of appointment of the panel came through. Sri Lanka has geared up its diplomatic apparatus to counter the Darusman report.

This would be larger than the diplomatic effort during the final phase of the operations and the UN Human Rights Council special session on Sri Lanka in 2009.

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