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War crime allegation and role of Opposition

2014 Mar 14

As expected, the USA has tabled a resolution before the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) with war crime allegations against Sri Lanka. The entire world wonders why the USA has been so keen to harass Sri Lanka, for the last five years. It is a question worth further exploration. In my view, there are three compelling reasons for USA's behaviour.

Firstly, the shame brought to the USA by Sri Lanka's military victory over the LTTE. The US led coalition invaded Afghanistan with the latest technology, the best Armies and ample resources. However, they had been failing to eliminate terrorism for the last 13 years. The USA faced the same fate in Iraq as well. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka, being a tiny and poor nation, totally eliminated the LTTE, the most powerful and ruthless terrorist movement in the world. Hence, Sri Lanka's military victory became a thorn in the eye of the USA. In this backdrop, the USA is in a burning desire to devalue and tarnish Sri Lanka's military victory by linking it with war crimes.

Secondly, its emerging strategic partner, India, pushes the USA to act against Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Government has not implemented its obligations under the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987, because it was forced on Sri Lanka by India and because India failed to fulfil its obligations, which are pre-requisites to fulfil Sri Lanka's obligations. However, India considers Sri Lanka's refusal to implement the Accord as an insult to India's status as the regional superpower and an emerging superpower in the world. Hence, India expected Sri Lanka to implement the Accord after defeating the LTTE. As Sri Lanka has been ignoring implementation of devolutionary provisions of the Accord, for 27 years, India now wants Sri Lanka to devolve power beyond the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which is known as the '13+ Project.'

Harass Sri Lanka
India encourages the USA to harass Sri Lanka as it has been ignoring India's demand for the 13+ Project. India's support is crucial in any UN vote as the third world countries form the majority of the United Nations Organization (UNO) and India is considered as the unofficial leader of the third world. India expects Sri Lanka to kneel before it after being needy and helpless due to the international pressure. India strategizes to get the 13+ Project implemented by Sri Lanka in return of managing international pressure.

Thirdly, international Tamil separatist forces lobby the USA for action against Sri Lanka. Tamils are quite similar to Jews in the 19th century in terms of their spread in the world and desire to have an own motherland. They have been dreaming for a motherland for centuries with both military struggles and diplomatic missions. The LTTE was very close to make it a reality. Therefore, Tamils throughout the world including Sri Lankans as well as non Sri Lankans support the LTTE to make their dream a reality.

The LTTE was able not only to raise but also to manage funds well by investing in cash cow projects such as human smuggling, antique smuggling, weapons smuggling, drug smuggling and money laundering. Dr. Rohan Gunaratne, an international expert on terrorism, estimated the LTTE's annual income as US$ 4 billion. The LTTE used its income for fueling the war machinery against Sri Lanka and the administrative machinery set up for pseudo Tamil Eelam established in the North. The LTTE lost their de facto State at the end of the war. In other words, their two main expenditures ceased to exist at once without significant damage to income sources. Hence, the LTTE has now commenced a diplomatic mission to establish Tamil Eelam spending its massive income. They spend lavishly for elections in India, Europe and the USA to secure support of politicians. Similarly, they spend for bureaucrats and journalists. In the light of the above, in addition to politicians, both bureaucrats and journalists also support the cause of the LTTE.

Powerful world forces
In this backdrop, several powerful forces in the world always ensure that the wound caused in the US heart by Sri Lanka's military victory would remain unhealed. That is why the USA has been sticking to baseless war crime allegations against Sri Lanka for the last five years, ignoring burning world issues. The USA alleges that 40,000 civilians were killed during the last phase of the war. Sri Lanka needs some substantial evidence to commence an investigation into this allegation. Although Sri Lanka has repeatedly demanded for evidence, the USA has not responded yet, because they do not have any.

The Opposition is of the view that war crime allegations are not an issue of the nation but an issue of the governing Party. It is wrong for two reasons. Firstly, as explained above, these allegations were triggered by the shame caused to the USA by Sri Lanka's military victory. The military victory is not a blunder committed by the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), the ruling Party but the fulfilment of a burning desire of the nation. If the government is under international pressure for fulfilling a national aspiration, every citizen will be duty bound to rally around the government, shedding political differences to express solidarity.

Secondly, the war crime allegations are not levelled against politicians or bureaucrats but against the military – our war heroes. They are subjected to these allegations because they saved our lives without any political difference. They not only risked their lives but also sacrificed their body organs to save us. They do not belong to any political Party. On the other hand, they have diverse political opinions. Hence, they are our supreme asset above political differences. In this backdrop, the entire nation should rally around the government to protect them.

Whenever a nation was under pressure from foreign forces, the entire nation rallied around the government. When Germany commenced the Second World War by invading Poland in 1939, the UK realized that their security was under threat. Hence, the politicians rallied around then Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's Government to form a war Cabinet, consisting of Conservatives, Liberals and Liberal Nationalists. The national unity greatly contributed towards the UK's victory. Similarly, when Pakistan invaded Kargil District in Kashmir in 1999, Indian Leader of the Opposition Sonia Gandhi, expressed her solidarity with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. When the National Security Council decided to attack Pakistan, J. N. Dixit represented the Leader of the Opposition in the Council. National unity ensured the victory for India.

Our recent history
There is a similar local example in our recent history as well. When Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike negotiated with India to settle the issue of Stateless Indians in 1964, Dudley Senanayake, then Leader of the Opposition fully supported the government and participated in the negotiating process. His endorsement of the Sirima–Shrastri Pact was a message to India that the Pact would continue in the same spirit in the event of change of government. It did not become a barrier for Dudley to win the parliamentary elections in the following year.
Unfortunately, when the UPFA Government waged the war against the LTTE, the United National Party (UNP) decided to topple the government at the budget vote in 2007, instead of supporting the war. Thereafter, the UNP leaders sarcastically criticized the war. This blunder is the main reason for the UNP's downfall. The UNP has hit the bottom in such a manner that they failed to secure 10% of the valid votes in certain electorates. Fortunately, fate has been kind enough to grant a second opportunity for the UNP to bounce back through war crime allegations. Unfortunately, the UNP has ignored this golden opportunity and has teamed up with the foes of the nation. The impact of the UNP's stand about war crime allegations will be seen in the forthcoming election results.



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