Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sri Lanka: LTTE's desperate attempt to save their skin

By: Dr. Chandrani Gunaratna
Source: Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law & Order - Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

In a desperate attempt to save their skin the LTTE, masters of manipulation have called for a unilateral ceasefire. The call came in time to coincide with the UN Humanitarian Coordinator John Holmes visit to the region to assess the humanitarian situation.

Like a prisoner telling a parole board what they want to hear, LTTE is manipulating the international community. There is no doubt that LTTE is clearly trying to show the world that it is like a puppy following the calls from Western governments for an immediate ceasefire while the Sri Lankan government is rejecting it. Now that they are cornered and no way out except either surrendering or committing suicide the LTTE wants the international community to believe that they are the angels.

Tigers have never been sincere with their promises. Soon after they inform all the news agencies their readiness for a ceasefire, the LTTE attempted to launch a Sea Tiger attack on the ground troops in the captured section of the no-fire zone.

During the last 25 years they ended all ceasefire periods either with an attack on the civilians in the South or on the Sri Lankan soldiers. During each ceasefire they procured arms, recruited more cadre and when they are ready for another round of war they broke the ceasefire and launched attacks.

Within this year the Sri Lankan government declared two 48-hour true periods to allow the civilians to move to safety. Both times the LTTE simply ignored the halt in fighting saying that the government is trying to hoodwink the international community. Not only that they rejected the government's call but during the recent truce two weeks ago the LTTE was busy building more earth bunds to keep the civilians trapped longer.

The LTTE leader never had any love for anyone but for himself. If there was any concern for the civilians the LTTE leaders wouldn't be hiding behind the hapless men, women, and children now. The world cannot expect much from a leader who started eliminating the voices of their own people at the tender age of 16.

However, the disturbing factor is not the promises of the LTTE leader but the double standard shown by the Western governments towards the LTTE.

The Western governments are frantically trying to bring about a ceasefire to save the LTTE leaders from their extinction. This is clear from the calls from the US, UK and EU for an immediate ceasefire. The US even went the extra mile to ask the Sri Lankan government to offer the amnesty to the Tiger leaders and allow them to surrender to a third party.

Would US offer amnesty to Osama bin Laden if it ever managed to get him cornered? After all bin Laden hasn't committed as many suicide attacks as Velupillai Prabhakaran. Why is US pushing to save the LTTE leaders?

A recent Associated Press report on April 19 said the US has intensified its missile strikes by pilotless aircraft in recent months, saying militant sanctuaries in Pakistan's tribal region must be eliminated to control the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. According to the AP report more than 350 people, including a large number of non-combatants, have been killed in around three dozen US missile strikes inside Pakistan since August 2008. This is the policy of US when it comes to terrorism in other parts of the world.

Moreover, Pakistan received more than $5 billion in fresh aid over two years at a donors conference after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari vowed to step up the fight against terrorism.

How has the West treated the Sri Lankan government in comparison for eliminating LTTE terrorism?

Britain, Germany and the Netherlands slashed aid to Sri Lanka in 2007 as the Sri Lankan government started the offensive to liberate the Eastern region from the LTTE terror. The US congress, successfully lobbied by the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora refused to include Sri Lanka in the Millennium Challenge Account, under which Sri Lanka would have received millions of dollars in aid for building critical infrastructure.

Adding insult to the injury, the Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently said that the US is disappointed with the Sri Lankan government for not agreeing to a ceasefire with the LTTE to prevent further civilian casualties and that the Sri Lankan government is not concerned about the civilian casualties.

"I think the Sri Lankan government knows that the entire world is very disappointed, that in its efforts to end what it sees as 25 years of conflict, it is causing such untold suffering," Hillary Clinton said in her appearance before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on April 23rd.

Does the US actually believe LTTE would allow the civilians to move out of the no-fire zone if the government declared a ceasefire? There is clear evidence that it did not happen when the government declared a ceasefire. Even the UN Secretary-General lamented that fewer civilians got out during the two-day pause on April 13 and 14 than before and it was clear that LTTE actively prevented those who wanted to leave.

Gordon Weiss, the UN spokesperson in Sri Lanka said Sunday children as young as 12 are being given guns and forced to fight on the frontline alongside the desperate LTTE Tigers cornered in the no-fire zone. The parents who have resisted the LTTE from taking their children had been beaten or shot, he said.

Is this what the Western governments would like to see continuing? A ceasefire at this time will prolong the misery of those innocent people and delay their recovery instead of ending it. It is a shame to think that developed nations would be so gullible to fall for the LTTE trickery.

Sri Lanka has been fighting terrorism for the past 25 years and now under a determined administration it has achieved a feat even the US hasn't been able to achieve with terrorist groups. At this juncture the country needs the assistance from the international community to eradicate the terrorism once and for all from Sri Lanka and free those Tamil civilians from the LTTE grip. The International community must call for the unconditional surrender of LTTE leaders.

If Western governments offering amnesty assist to save the LTTE leaders, the terrorism will continue for another 30 years in Sri Lanka and another thousands of civilians will be killed, maimed, and left homeless. All those thousands of lives of soldiers, civilians, Sri Lankan political leaders like Lakshman Kadirgamar, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Neelan Thiruchelvam, lost to the LTTE terror campaign would be in vein.
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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