By Kumar David-
A hornet’s nest of connected issues is exploding. If Israel attacks Iran what will happen in the Middle East and to oil prices? If not what will happen to oil prices? The Rajapakse government is under attack on all sides and is crumbling; can we make any sensible predictions even six months ahead? I think this is the time to analyze, understand and act.
The US does not want Israel to attack Iran because the consequences in the Middle East cannot be foreseen. Israel is determined, whatever the risk, to end Iran’s nuclear programme and maintain its nuclear monopoly in the region. The US is bent on ending Iran’s nuclear ambitions by threats, sanctions, strangling the Iranian economy, even regime change, but forestalling an Israeli attack. Because of the absurd US-Israel relationship and ridiculous American public attitudes, all US presidents and houses of congress are terrified of losing elections if they seem to be anti-Israeli.
Iran will not stop its nuclear programme; it is developing a bomb, and irrespective what the Non- Proliferation Treaty says, it should not stop. At least one Islamic country in the Middle East must have a bomb since Israel has a lethal arsenal of 200; otherwise it is suicide. Iran should end its programme only if nuclear weapons are eliminated in the entire Middle East, including Israel. Sure it is better if that country is a democracy like Turkey or a future democratic Egypt, but that option is not within anyone’s control.
It is not possible to predict the big picture, but for Lanka the oil shock will worsen. Because US sanctions can close down our international banking system, we are begging for permission to buy Iranian oil. The Sapugaskanda refinery is tuned for Iranian crude and this is 90% of our supply. If the US gives exemption it will still insist on reduction of imports over time. World oil price may stay over 100 dollars a barrel or even increase.
Oil prices did not increase suddenly; the government suddenly withdrew the subsidy on kerosene and diesel. This and rupee devaluation are leading to steep increases of all prices. Public unrest is worsening and the popularity of the government plummeting. I told the Sinhalese people over and over again, that once the State had finished off the Tamils it will turn its guns on them; at the time they did not care, but now see what’s happening! Wimal Warnakulasuriya, brother-in-law of Anthony Fernando who was shot dead in Chilaw, wails: “They (STF and Police) treated us like LTTE cadres; they attacked us with the same mindset”. Do I need to say more?
It is clear that the Rajapakse regime has capitulated to the visiting US team lead by Otero and Blake. Some say an agreement may be arrived with the TNA, and some LLRC Recommendations implemented. Unbelievably, the army has changed its tune and said: “Some civilians may have been shot as they were captured or surrendered”. A military court of inquiry has been appointed.
This is all an unbelievable upside-down and inside-out somersault by the government. A comrade asked me: “Hey, will the government last six months?” I don’t know but it is time for action to strengthen mass protest movements, demilitarize the whole country, and devolve power to the provinces including the North and East.
Article is provided by Team Anik Pituwa