24 September, 2018

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Messing Up On Mahinda: Michael Roberts On Eelam War IV

By Mark Salter

Mark Salter

Mark Salter

As a commentator on Sri Lanka’s civil war Michael Roberts has proved himself as productive and tirelessly self-referential as he is frequently misguided. The latest example comes in his article ‘From Historic Compromise to Resolve: Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2006’ (Colombo Telegraph, 27 Sept. 2016).

In response I will focus on aspects of Robert’s analysis – mostly concerning the origins of Eelam War IV (2006 – 2009) – that are either contentious, factually inaccurate, lacking in supporting evidence, seemingly uninformed by my analysis of the same – or in some cases all of the above.

Jaffna advance

But let us start a little earlier, as Robert’s article does, with some summary conclusions regarding a key event in Eelam War III (1995 – 2002): the LTTE’s effort to seize Elephant Pass – and beyond that Jaffna – in July 2000. Here Roberts suggests that the Tiger’s failure to advance on Jaffna after taking Elephant Pass was essentially due to the actions of ‘chief hero’ Defence Minister A Ratwatte, the ‘ordinary soldiers in the peninsula war theatre’ plus President Kumaratunga and the Pakistani government in ‘supporting roles’. This account omits or otherwise glosses over some important facts:

  • The 7000 LTTE force advancing on Jaffna in summer 2000 was massively outnumbered by the 40,000-strong SLA force garrisoned inside Jaffna. And by mid-June 2000 the SLA garrison had indeed succeeded – unsurprisingly given the balance of forces – in pushing LTTE troops southwards along the Jaffna peninsula.
  • Irrespective of respective force size, and for reasons that have never been fully clarified, at some point the LTTE appears to have decided to hold back from advancing on Jaffna. Erik Solheim has this to say on the matter: ‘From the town outskirts the LTTE issued a demand that [the SLA] should leave all their military equipment behind, and ships could pick up the soldiers and take them to Colombo … The Indians were ready to rescue the soldiers by ship, but wanted no part in the fighting. We worked closely with Delhi on this offer. The LTTE were ready to let the soldiers go, but insisted they should leave their equipment.’[1] In other words hardly a case of ‘heroic’ SLA military pushback.
  • Any discussion of SLA surrender modalities lost its relevance once, as Solheim notes, government forces were able to ‘stabilise’ the military situation and relieve the immediate threat to the Palaly air base.
  • Pakistan’s rapid emergency provision of military supplies—most importantly multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRLs), making their first appearance in the conflict here—undoubtedly played a critical part in the SLA military pushback: while at the same time India, in Solheim’s words, ‘looked the other way as it happened’.

Rajapaksa and Eelam War IV

Moving onto to events leading up to the start of Eelam War IV in July/August 2006, Roberts begins by outlining his basic thesis. Which is that, faced with a ‘Hobson’s Choice’, Mahinda Rajapaksa elected to follow the only reasonable course of action open to him, namely initiate all-out war against the LTTE.

Precisely why initiating what rapidly turned into full-scale war, going far beypnd the immediate objective of reopening the Mavil Aru anicut sealed off by the LTTE was the ‘only’, let alone ‘reasonable’ course of action open to President Rajapaksa remains unclear at this point, Before getting into the nuts and bolts of Eelam War IV’s origins, however, Roberts treats us to a somewhat breathless overview of the events of what might be called the functioning Ceasefire (CFA) era (2002-2006)..

Roberts is dismissive of the CFA – a position that gained widespread acceptance once it became clear the Rajapaksa administration had decided to ignore (and later officially abrogate) an Agreement that the previous administration had negotiated with the LTTE. I stress negotiated since, as Robert’s account makes abundantly clear, there was nothing in the CFA that had not been the subject of painstaking discussion, negotiation and compromise between the two sides.

Robert’s suggestion that what he obliquely calls the ‘media event’ in Kilinochchi in April 22002 – he is in fact referring to the landmark press conference held there by LTTE leader Prabakharan – paved the way for peace negotiations to start that autumn is false. Talks were part and parcel of prior Norwegian-brokered negotiations between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the LTTE leadership, chiefly in the shape of their senior adviser Anotn Balasingham, held before, during and after the CFA’s official signature in February 2002.

As far as pinning down the beginning of talks goes, the clinch moment in fact came in late July 2002, when chief GoSL negotiator Milinda Moragoda met Balasingham at the Norwegian Embassy in London. Most importantly, Thailand was agreed as the venue for opening talks –venue being, as often in such processes, a potentially fraught issue.[2]

Norwegian facilitators: LTTE stooges?

So far so strange. But now Roberts really gets into his stride with the claim that there is ‘room to suggest’ that ‘during the next few years’, ‘several Norwegian envoys [who?] and Erik Solheim in particular’, morphed from third party facilitators acting at the express request of both parties into ‘sides’ partial to ‘LTTE interests’.

Since the end of the war, the view – in some circles at least – that the Norwegians in general, and Erik Solheim in particular, acted on the basis of pro-Tiger sympathies has assumed the status of a quasi-mystical truth. A view of uncritical acceptance rather than careful examination, in other words. And it’s this perspective that may in turn help to explain Robert’s one-liner dismissal of my book To End A Civil War: Norway’s Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka as simple ‘Solheim hagiography’. Perhaps Roberts simply can’t bring himself to believe that there’s anything interesting to say about the Norwegian engagement beyond Mangala Samaraweera’s memorable ‘salmon-eating busybodies’ trope. Certainly in calling for a ‘careful’ study of the Norwegian role in Sri Lanka Roberts indicates that he doesn’t consider my research on the subject as meriting that description. In reality, however, I suspect the issue for Roberts is not one of an absence of careful study on my part, but rather the perspective from which that study is conducted – a perspective that, by the way, has as little to do with ‘Solheim hagiography’ as sections of Robert’s article have to do with known facts.

Robert’s casual manner with the facts is on open dsiplay in his summary treatment of the post-tsunami era. Specifically he suggests that the arrival of ‘funds and greater INGO involvement’ in the context of the post-tsunami disaster relief effort bolstered the LTTE. While it is true that limited amounts of relief did make it through to Tiger-controlled areas, this also completely ignores the fact that a key LTTE complaint throughout early 2005 was the marked lack of relief resources flowing into the Vanni, chiefly on account of the official obstacles placed in its way.

Indeed, as Norwegians involved in brokering the agreement attest in my book, the major political setback of this period – the failure of the P-TOMS agreement[3] intended to establish a structure to ensure equitable distribution of relief funds, which Roberts doesn’t even mention – may well, from an LTTE viewpoint, have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Why continue to try and make peace, so the argument runs, with a partner who won’t even help foster the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the pats of the country under your control? From this perspective, moreover, there is a certain grim inevitability underlying the path from the Sri Lankan Supreme Court’s suspension of key clauses of the P-TOMS agreement (14 July) to the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar less than a month later (12 August).

2005 Presidential Elections

The most egregious example of Robert’s tendency to play fast and loose with the fact, however, concerns his account of the November 2005 presidential elections and beyond. He makes three central claims:

  • Mahinda Rajapaksa secured his narrow victory over Ranil Wickremasinghe on the backs of Tamil wide scale abstention, undertaken at because the LTTE ‘asked’ for it.
  • The LTTE backed Rajapaksa at the election because they wanted a ‘Sinhala hawk’ to win and in that way ‘assist . . . in its international campaign in the Western world’.
  • Over time and under the influence of events, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s initially pragmatic attitude towards dealing with the LTTE and taking forward the peace process evolved into a hard-nosed determination to opt for full-scale confrontation.

At first sight at least, the initial claim retains some plausibility. It is certainly true, as Roberts states, that after an extended period of silence on the subject, in the final stages of the election campaign the LTTE began ‘asking’ Tamils to abstain – even if ‘ask’ is a strange way to describe the campaign of fear and intimidation they deployed in order to prevent Tamils – notably those residing in areas under direct Riger control – from voting.

That important detail aside, others factors contributing to the boycott included a last-minute Supreme Court ruling that polling stations due to be located close to official checkpoints between ‘uncleared’ and ‘cleared’ areas would have to be moved at least 500 metres away – thereby significantly reducing the incentives for the 250,000 prospective Tamil voters living in ‘uncleared’ areas to vote.

These are details that Roberts might reasonably be expected to address. But they pale in comparison to the real elephant in the room: the suggestion that the LTTE’s call for an election boycott was the outcome of a prior (not so) secret deal with Mahinda Rajapaksa. This, in my view, represents a pivotal moment in the war’s final years. Nonetheless, you do not need to invest it with the same significance to find it extraordinary that it receives no mention at all in Robert’s account.

Election Boycott Deal?

I will not go through every aspect of the allegations: these are amply detailed elsewhere.[4] The essential point is that there is clear evidence to suggest that not only was there a covert deal between Rajapaksa and the LTTE over the boycott, but also that it was the product of back door connections established between the two sides some months prior to the presidential election, if not earlier.

Speculation over the existence of a deal first surfaced soon after the election via Tamil journalist D.B.S. Jeyaraj, who suggested an agreement had been reached following a series of secret meetings in Kiliinochchi between Tamilselvan and a ‘special representative’ of Rajapaksa. (Allegedly, too, that ‘special representative’ was Tiran Alles.) With Rajapaksa’s expressed approval, it was suggested, Alles had established contact with senior LTTE figures, most probably Tamilselvan and possibly also Pulidevan and Nadesan.

While the deal’s substance—securing an election boycott—was supposedly clear from early on, the means by which it was to be implemented proved more problematic. Rajapaksa’s electoral alliances with the fervently anti-LTTE JVP and JHU meant that an open deal with the Tigers was out of the question. Thus the talks reportedly focused on the possibility of the Tigers offering ‘indirect support’ to Rajapaksa’s campaign. In the event this is exactly what they did, with the boycott only really moving towards violence and open intimidation in the campaign’s final 48 hours—the result, allegedly, of a last-minute visit to Kilinochchi by Alles to persuade the Tigers to step up their activities.

Jeyaraj suggested that ‘political and diplomatic circles in Colombo’ were first alerted to Alles’ role after reports of the particularly warm embrace and ‘profuse thanks’ he received from Rajapaksa at a post-election victory gathering.[5] Concerning further details, Jeyaraj confined himself to speculation that ‘a financial arrangement was more likely than a political arrangement’.[6]

Following the election, initially things went remarkably quiet concerning the deal allegations. Since then, however, they have resurfaced repeatedly. And thanks to some tireless investigative work by among others Sonali Samarasinghe, ex-Sunday Leader columnist and widow of its editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, a clearer picture of the deal’s probable contours has since emerged.

It is now clear for example, that substantial sums of money were involved. At some point before the election It appears that an initial cash payment of 180 million rupees ($1.3 million) was handed over by Basil Rajapaksa to LTTE go-between Emil Kanthan; and, in the event of an election victory for Rajapaksa, a second and larger package was agreed, allegedly involving an LTTE housing project, disarming the Karuna group, appointing ‘LTTE nominees’ to ‘various political offices’ and resuming talks in Thailand.[7]

Events on the ground, in particular deteriorating relations between the two sides, eventually ensured that much of this never saw the light of day. On agenda item number one at least, however, there does appear to have been significant movement.

Further investigations revealed that three months after the 2005 election, Rajapaksa made a series of unsolicited multi-million rupee grants to bogus housing projects in the North – in order, it was suggested, to facilitate the agreed transfer of funds to the Tigers. By the time Rajapaksa produced a cabinet paper on the subject in August 2006, some 150 million rupees ($1.1 million) had allegedly been paid out to a bogus company set up by Emil Kanthan—the mastermind behind the operation, by now identified by as an LTTE intelligence officer. And in an indication of the overall sums involved in the deal, Rajapaksa’s cabinet paper foresaw the eventual release of 800 million rupees (c. $6m) to the non-existent housing schemes.

In retrospect, circumstantial confirmation of the allegations was provided by the fact that shortly after his election victory, Rajapaksa established a new apex body—the Reconstruction and Development Agency (RDA)—to front his effort to promote an alternative mechanism to the abolished P-TOMS. And the chairman of the new agency was to be – Tiran Alles.

Overall the allegations remain relevant to this day. This year, for example, and as reported in this paper, there have been two attempts to bring the issue of Tiran Alles and Emil Kanthan’s involvement in the alleged RADA housing scams – and perhaps more beyond – to court in Sri Lanka.[8] How this story resolves itself remains to be seen. Robert’s failure, however, to so much as mention it in the context of his version of the runup to Eelam War IV is incomprehensible.

LTTE Calculations

Concerning the LTTE’s rationale for indirectly supporting Rajapakasa in the presidential election, as noted earlier Roberts opts for the view that the Tigers judged themselves to be better off with a ‘Sinhala hawk at the helm’. Here it’s disconcerting to see Roberts present as apparent fact something that is palpably an interpretation – and a contested one at that. For example, why would the LTTE have viewed Rajapaksa as a hawk if, at least during 2005, to quote Roberts himself, Mahinda ‘sought a modus vivendi and some form of cohabitation’ [with the Tigers]? Hardly the stuff of hawkish belligerence!

None of which is to say that the [widely-held] interpretation proffered by Roberts is totally without merit. It does, however, need to be revisited in the light of contrary evidence, not least the allegation of an election boycott deal with the LTTE, which taken together with other evidence regarding, for example, Rajapaksa’s wider actions and political compulsions, suggests that a more complicated set of motivations were in play here.

Mahinda’s Peace Policy

Third, Roberts presents a picture of Rajapaksa as an initially cautious, reasonable man pushed by the inexorable weight of escalating LTTE violence towards the war option. From his own conversations with Lalith Weeratunga, Rajapaksa’s Private Secretary at the time[9], we receive recollection pg a memorable Rajapaska reaction to the devastating LTTE attack on a bus near Anuararadhapura in mid June 2005, whose scene he visited: ‘We must finish these people off. There is no point in dealing with them’, he is quoted as saying.

It seems almost churlish to point out that by this point, following the failure to achieve a breakthrough in the talks held in Geneva in February 2006, both sides were engaged in what had by June morphed into an escalating series of military skirmishes. The important point here, however, concerns the image presented of Rajapaksa. Specifically, there is clear evidence that in advance of his election as president, Rajapaksa had expressed a far more accommodating attitude towards the LTTE than that suggested by Roberts.

While appreciating Roberts may see this as witness to a hagiographic intent, let me nonetheless quote two key Norwegian players on the subject. First Erik Solheim: in his view, following the presidential election Rajapakasa was ‘ready for any option. His priority was not any particular solution to the Sri Lankan crisis, but establishing his own power. In fact during our conversations in January 2006, right after his election victory, he told me that he was ready to hand over the North to Prabhakaran, without elections, in a kind of backroom deal—and with few caveats, except that there would be no separate state.’

‘What Mahinda was truly opposed to’, Solheim emphasizes, ‘was protracted negotiations of the type preferred by the LTTE. Because he knew that would bring down his own all-Sinhala political constellation. And he would also certainly have preferred a dirty backroom deal to any well-organized process leading towards federalism.’

Second Vidar Helgesen, who met Rajajapaksa during a trip to Colombo to attend Kadirgamar’s funeral in August 2005 Helgesen reports that he enquired about Rajapaksa’s views on the peace process, ‘should he become President’. ‘This is when he told me that he would offer the LTTE a federal solution, and very quickly so’, Heögesen recalls. ‘He said he wanted to move rapidly and strike a deal with the LTTE within six months, and wanted me to convey that message to Bala[singham] in London. Which I did. In the aftermath’, Helgesen concludes, ‘it is possible to read that as part of the scheme that many claim was in place, whereby he struck a deal with Prabhakaran to have the LTTE boycott the presidential elections’.

‘Vote Rajapaksa for deals – lots of them’ might have been an appropriate election slogan then. For it is the pragmatic – some would say wholly unprincipled – willingness to cut deals that comes across most strongly from the Rajapaksa approach to dealing with the LTTE at this stage. And recalling the February 2006 Geneva talks – wholly unmentioned, curiously by Roberts – Solheim states as follows:

The Village Chief

‘One of the Sri Lankan negotiators gave the best explanation of Mahinda’s style of operation. He is the village chief, he argued, and the chief sits in the middle of the room and everyone comes to him and he agrees to sort out this matter with you, that matter with someone else. There is no overall strategy: he may make a deal with you today that is contrary to the one he makes with me tomorrow. The village will be happy, they will have a great leader. And he will be kind to everyone, do his best for them. And that is how the Geneva delegation was put together.’

For all the obfuscation Roberts does at least offer one interesting snippet of information, culled from his contacts with members of the former Rajapaksa administration, relating to a confidential face-to-face meeting between government minister Jeyaraj Fernandpoule, sent at Rajapaksa’s express request, and the LTTE’s Tamilselvan, held on or around the time of the mounting July 2006 Mavil Aru crisis. I take this to be yet another example of the tangled web of intrigue woven by Rajapaksa in his efforts to maintain lines of communication to the LTTE – and with the ‘official’ Norwegian facilitator at times appearing to be treated simply as one among many such channels.

If he is interested in such matters, moreover, Roberts might wish to consult my account of the role played by Irish Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Martin McGuiness both in Rajapaksa’s contacts with the Tigers, and at his express request, in setting up a meeting for the Sri Lankan President with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair in September 2006.[10] With all such individual cases, however, the important thing is to discern the pattern – a pattern that is well captured by the Rajapaksa as ‘village chief’ notion referenced above.

Here the last word on the subject goes to the focus of my supposed ‘hagiography’ – Erik Solheim: ‘[Mahinda]’, Solheim told me, ‘wanted to open up as many avenues of contact as possible in order to give himself the greatest variety of options: that’s why the delegations to the Geneva talks included both pro- and anti-peace people. It also fits with his opposition to a protracted peace process. Giving an opportunity to someone other than the Norwegians is in accordance with everything else we know. Looking for a shortcut would be absolutely logical from his point of view. But while he didn’t want a protracted affair, I also think that initially, at least, he had no clear idea of how to pursue the peace process: this developed later’.

And one could also ask: who or what helped him develop that clear idea? Roberts seems to thinl it was essentially a function of events. But he might also wish to consider the role of specific personalities: starting, perhaps, with Mahinda’s brother and Defence Secretary: Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Mark Salter is a writer and analyst. His latest book, referenced throughout this article, is To End A Civil War: Norway’s Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka (Hurst, London: 2015). Visit www.marksalter.org for more in

[1] See my To End A Civil War: Norway’s Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka (Hurst, London: 2015), p. 46.

[2] To End A Civil War, pp. 96-97.

[4] To End A Civil War, pp. 233-238.

[5] According to one report Rajapaksa’s words to Alles were simply ’You made it possible’. ’Meet Tiran Alles’, The Nation, 11 March 2007.

[6] D.B.S. Jeyaraj, ’Did LTTE have secret deal with Mahinda to enforce boycott?’, TamilWeek, 27 Nov.-3 Dec. 2005.

[7] S. Samarasinghe, ’Payment vouchers to Tiger companies for vote swindle surface’, The Sunday Leader, 23 Sept. 2007.

[8] See e.g.,‘Tiran Alles And Emil Kanthan Faces Charges For Financing LTTE’, Colombo Telegraph, 14 Aug. 2016.

[9] Weeratunga is one of those alleged to have taken part in secret meetings with LTTE representatives prior to the 2005 presidential elections, to trash out an election boycott deal with the Tigers.

[10] To End A Civil War, pp. 269-273.

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Latest comments

  • 8
    9

    This my independent view. Mahinda Rajapaksha and Ghotabaya Rajapaksha gave a huge contribution to win the war. There is no argument for that. If Sri Lankans have common sense and the stay their eyes open all of they should notice why and How our President win the election. I do no want to write the things happens My argument is since they served our country earlier in a very good sense should we give power to people we are not least appropriate now. There are nearly 20 million people in our country and are we to risk all these lives in the form of gratitude. Really the credit of winning should go to many other parties including Former Army Commander. According to my view should give the best credit to Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka since it was war and he headed the battle field physically being their. I am a independent person. I write this since I love this country immensely.

    • 9
      2

      Do not worry about Michael Roberts. He is a charlatan. He is a historian who is making his foray into politics and coming a cropper due to his thinking being clouded by Rajapakse worship. He has an inferiority complex about his ethnicity and is trying to be more Sinhala than any Sinhala racist to play to the gallery. His work has no academic value.

      • 2
        1

        Sankaralingam: You hit the nail on the head re Roberts. He is like many converts, trying hard, too hard, to be accepted into the cause and uses every opportunity to preach to the Sinhala chauvinist choir, no doubt to keep their convictions alive and firm

  • 11
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    LOL [Edited out] thinks at war 40,000 go and fight with a 7000. Thinking pattern is much like the LTTE internet propaganda warriors.
    Sri Lanka saved Jaffna with equipment hurriedly and secretly imported from outside. LTTE did NOT stop the offensive he was forced to retreat. Capturing Jaffna was the main thing in LTTE leader’s mind. During the so called CFA , LTTE did everything to build its capability to capture LTTE.

    And unlike the Norwegians think or would like others to think, Norwegian effort was UNSUCCESSFUL and a FAILURE. Solheim was a FAILURE as well.
    It was not going to solve the issue at all

  • 13
    12

    “Robert’s one-liner dismissal of my book To End A Civil War: Norway’s Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka as simple ‘Solheim hagiography’.”

    Bravo Dr Roberts. That is the treatment Salter’s crap deserves. These Jonnys-come-lately to our island’s affairs think they are the fountain of all knowledge on our issues, and there ‘analysis’ should be the last.

    Eric Sol “Heim” was working to divert world -UN- attention from Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians. He wanted to keep the Sri Lankan war going as a diversion, adding ‘fuel to the fire’ the best way he could.

    Now Salter is trying to rewrite history.

    No wonder his book is at remainders for 50p!

    • 8
      13

      It looks like Mark Salter picked up a new venue to write a book which would become a best seller and earn millions. But, it was a wash out.
      The war was far complicated than what you write here.

      Even Solheim thought that they know everything and screwed up big time finally losing his privialges a minister too.

      It looks you mark Salter has not faired that well too.

      LTTE did not know what they were doing. They were short sighted and did so many miscalculations. So, now they are underground except those who ran away to India or to the west.

  • 12
    4

    Mark Salter.

    Most people now have the view that Michael Roberts has been hired by the Rajapakses to do the spinning!

    • 3
      8

      “Most people”

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there actually are people outside of the We Thamizh ghetto :D

      • 3
        2

        Wee Thamizh Senior Journalist Siva Sankaran Sarma Menon

        “I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there actually are people outside of the We Thamizh ghetto :D”

        I think you missed a word or two in your typing.

        It should read:

        I hate to be the hired pall-bearer of bad news and and corpse but there actually are people outside of the We Thamizh ghetto :Black and Decker: D

  • 8
    11

    The LTTE was a part of western neocolonial plans for the sub continent. Sri Lanka cannot forget how Isreal and the west trained the Tamil Militants at the same time as the aSL army, How Isreal Manipulated the war by selling arms to both sides, how the foreign ministers came to save Prabahakaran, Who got Rajiv Gandi Killed? . Now to have a British citizen having a anti Sri Lankan stance for having won a war much against the wishes of the west smells of hypocrisy. What the west wants is a yours obedient servants to rule the rest of the world so that they can continue their neo colonial exploitation. I say cure your self and try to sort out the mayham you created in Iraq, Syria, Libya Sri Lanka will survive with out your compassion.

    • 5
      2

      vas

      “The LTTE was a part of western neocolonial plans for the sub continent.”

      I envy your imagination. It was the Hindians who made LTTE what it was against Yankee dick JR’s government.

      “How Isreal Manipulated the war by selling arms to both sides,”

      I thought the JR, MR and VP were the smartest leaders on earth. How could a tiny Israel manipulate highly educated Tamils and Sinhalese? Or is it the case of “stupid is as stupid does”?

      ” Now to have a British citizen having a anti Sri Lankan stance for having won a war much against the wishes of the west smells of hypocrisy.”

      Now your imagination is running riot.

      It was the Hindians who first decided to finish off LTTE in early 2005, provided A to Z for the war except lethal weapons. The West supported Hindia in this war against LTTE.

      MR, his clan, the Sri Lankan armed forces were incidental to the war.

      “they can continue their neo colonial exploitation.”

      Could you explain what exactly neo colonial exploitation is?

      “I say cure your self and try to sort out the mayham you created in Iraq, Syria, Libya Sri Lanka will survive with out your compassion.”

      I say to you treat your people well else strangers will grope your women folks. Don’t blame the strangers, blame yourself for giving an opportunity to strangers.

      Please be nice to your people.

      • 2
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        ignorance is what guides you. Please read the book In the way of Deception by the Isreali dissident vananu. it probably true that strangers have taken away your women and that is no excuse to behave like a person who has sold your women.

        • 2
          1

          vas

          “ignorance is what guides you.”

          What do we do with born ignorant/stupid.

          “Please read the book In the way of Deception by the Isreali dissident vananu.”

          It is not “In the way of Deception by the Isreali dissident vananu” but

          “BY WAY OF DECEPTION THE MAKING and UNMAKING OF A MOSSAD OFFICER ex-Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky and he was not a dissident. The book was written with the blessing of Mossad.

          “it probably true that strangers have taken away your women and that is no excuse to behave like a person who has sold your women”

          Aren’t you selling your women folks into slavery from whose meager income the men have a very comfortable life-style? Aren’t the fathers raping their own under-aged children while their women folks away?

          Aren’t you ashamed of yourself being one of them?

        • 1
          2

          Vas Vas,

          you are sitting on your Under develop brain,

          Reading of deception of Israelis is good but Facts are deferent from reality.
          that is their business. and you cant beat the brains of Jews.
          one of the great Nations in this world.

          Indians [with orders to RAW] made LTTE and other Militants to destroy Sri lanka.
          Indian Bureaucrats wants to keep all surrounding countries under their control, they succeeded on many.
          but Sri lanka, and Pakistan they could not get.
          and Still trying.
          But J R, Premadasa, CBK, Jrapassas And M<R2 did/do not understand this and still wants to give them Trincomalee Tank Farm and Harbour.
          All the politikkas Bribed the killer prabhakran,
          At the end Bugger ,He paid the price with innocents lives also.
          Indins will not bring any developments to Sri lanka.
          Ask Any Tour guide?.
          they even bring their food Chapattis and not spend any Cent here.

          In 1986, When Rajiv Gandhi send Trains loads of Arms to All militants group in Chennai [that time, in Madras I was there].

          Be Shame your self, As Sri Lanka / Sri Lankans are solely depending on Women.
          Don't you feel any shame?????.

          And All Politicians, Past and present are robbing their money shamelessly and feeding the offsprings.
          Mostly That is what JARAPASSA Beggars Family Did. robbing of poor Srilankan with their Stooges.

    • 2
      2

      Didn’t Tamils and Sinhalese fight and killed each other before there was ‘west’?

  • 8
    2

    There were nothing but bumbling fools on all sides. No point spending days and hours analysing what went wrong where. Prabakaran could have done this and that to achieve his ends. Countless governments could have done this and that to achieve this and that ends. Solheim could have done this and that. India could have done this and Pakistan could have done that and China could have done both. Deeply deliberative analyses abound. At the end when the dark cordite clouds lifted only devastation was to be seen on all sides as far as the eye could see.

    For all this horror to visit the nation bigotry was the root cause. Democracy failed in every country where bigots came to power. We must focus on this if we are to avoid bumbling fools dragging the country back into a intractable horror situation. All indications are bigotry is high on the agenda of many politicians, those waiting to grab power as well as those in power now. The stage managed ethnic conflict promoted by these politicians against the Muslims at present is bound to erupt into horrors again. And another merry go round of bumbling fools engaging in absurd talks will begin and will be joined in by overseas bumbling fools as well while the sadists on all sides do their terrible deeds.

    No end of strife in the horizon for this country of blighted bigoted bumbling fools.

  • 0
    1

    [Edited out]

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    10

    What makes Prof Emeritus Michael Roberts’ contention that Mahinda Rajapaksa took the only reasonable course of action available, an accurate one, is the dictum attributed to Einstein that lunacy is best defined by repeating the same thing and expecting a different result. JRJ, Rajiv Gandhi, Premadasa, and Chandrika had all tried the negotiation option with the Tigers and not only had it not brought peace but had resulted in Rajiv Gandhi and Premadasa being assassinated and CBK blinded in one eye by the Tigers. Even their own negotiator Mahattaya was murdered by them! This speaks to the totalitarian fascist nature of the LTTE. By contrast, the IRA/Sinn Fein did not murder George Mitchell, Tony Blair and Gerry Adams!

    Mahinda Rajapaksa’s choice has been validated by history. He succeeded in bringing peace where the earlier approach repeatedly failed. The validity of MR’s decision based on the political resolve to defeat terrorism (and armed secessionism) is repeatedly reconfirmed every evening when one watches the TV news only to see terrorist acts throughout the world and the unsuccessful efforts of militaries far stronger than ours, to defeat movements often weaker than the Tigers.

    The proof of the pudding being in the eating, so too is the validity of Prof Mike Roberts’ assertion. We have enjoyed a decade of peace after three decades of war, punctuated by negotiation.

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      Dear Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke.
      I agree with you that Mahinda took the correct decision to eliminate LTTE. Please place facts correctly. Mahinda did not achieve this alone. He told the international community that he is prepared to offer a fair settlement to Tamils, but he is unable to, as LTTE is intransigent, and if LTTE is eliminated he will settle the Tamil problem. Accordingly USA & West arrested all Tamil fund raisers and weapon purchasers, India destroyed all LTTE ships in mid sea, China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran and Eastern European countries supplied weapons. They turned a blind eye to war crimes being committed on Tamil civilians and helped to cover up media coverage. Without all these Mahinda would never have won. What happened after the war was over was treachery. Mahinda refused to keep up his promise to settle Tamil problem, for his personal gain of not antagonizing Sinhala racists and remaining in power. Mahinda was given six years to comply and when he did not do so, he was ousted in a democratic manner. If Mahinda had clung to power by winning election or by military coup after losing, then it may have been different. As long as the present government which is US/West friendly is in power they will not rock the boat. But if Mahinda usurps power by toppling the government or if the government dilly dallies in not settling Tamil problem, they will intervene decisively as what has happened in other countries with similar problem. It was a foolish and selfish move by Mahinda to bring China into the country, which the present government though assured US/EU/India to get rid of China has failed to do so. There is sure to be interference in Srilanka by these countries to get China out and Srilanka will be in trouble. US/EU may not intervene directly, but will support any Indian move to achieve it. Also this government will not be given indefinite time frame to settle Tamil problem. Probably a maximum of ten years to do so and if not a definite solution will be forced on Srilanka. India knows that China is in Srilanka to destabilize India and needs to change its policy towards Tamils in order to win their support to destabilize Srilanka. As a political scientist you should present a correct estimation of the situation rather than tailoring it to suit the agenda of your master.

    • 7
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      History suggests that some key points about successful peace negotiations include the following
      1. They need to be conducted with some measure of genuine commitment to the process In my judgement this was clearly not the case on the GoSL side following MRs election as president. Witness the conduct of the 2006 Geneva talks, the composition fo the GoSL delegations included.
      2. They almost invariably involve an element of compromise, including on core objectives of either or both sides. Again, this manifestly does not seem to have been the case with MRs approach to talks with the LTTE following his 2005 election as president
      3. MRs adoption of the total war agenda from autumn 2006 onwards was not a function of his analysis of the desirable course of action. Rather, it was chiefly a function of what his key confidantes – notably Gotabaya Rajapaska – persuaded him was possible in strictly military terms.

      Overall Dayan Jayatilleke presents the SLAFs resounding military victory over the LTTE as proof positive that it was the correct course of action. Issues of retrospective logical reasoning aside, is this not how victorious parties always reason. We won, therefore we were right?

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        Mark Salter:

        Your comments are valid and agreeable assuming that Tamils were right, and your comments are the western mentality mostly suits their geo-political needs.

        You do not look the scenario from other sides.

        Gotabaya was living in the USA. War began in mid 1970s. Gotabaya was brought to fight a war. He did not decide it.

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        What about the cooperation from LTTE ? If it is not there, there is no use. Prabhakaran’s press conference allowed by the sissy RW revealed very clearly Prabhakaran is not for negotiations .

        Before MR came to power, RW conducted negotiations and what did they achieve ? It was time spent talking about confidence building measures ..which in turn helping to build LTTE militarily..

        Given the track record of negotiations with ltte and RW destroying srilankan security apparatus it was USELESS and DANGEROUS …RW should be taken to courts for that. Norwegian facilitated peace talks is a text book on HOW NOT to conduct talks. Norwegians should be blacklisted for their obvious support to terrorism.

        And mark is sad the LTTE was finished …enjoy blackies being killed , right ?

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        We Were right and we won

    • 0
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      [Edited out]

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      Hello mr jayathilaka silva

      what did bloody Rough malaccan Maendran percivel JARAPASSA and his siblings sacrificed to sri lanka.

      their own money or their lives.

      Or you can ask yourself, who sacrificed to save sri lanka???t???.

      that is only poor people of sri lanka, who sacrificed their lives and money to save sri lanka

    • 3
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      Dayan Jayatilleka

      Hindians persuaded Chandrika to go out for full scale war against LTTE with their support. It was agreed by Chandrika in early 2005 well before MR was elected.

      The end game was determined by the Hindians and not by the MR clan. MR and his hora clan was incidental to the over all war game.

      First, do some useful research on Hidnian contribution to the outcome of the war. Find out what the Hindian military strategists who were permanently stationed in Omanthai were doing from 2005 to 2009? By the way do you still have access to former handlers?

      Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
      The Blues Brothers

      Everybody needs somebody
      Everybody needs somebody to love
      Someone to love (Someone to love)

      Sweetheart to miss (Sweetheart to miss)
      Sugar to kiss (Sugar to kiss)

      I need you, (you) you, you
      I need you, (you) you, you
      I need you, (you) you, you in the morning
      I need you, (you) you, you when my soul’s on fire

      #change: C#m, A, C#m, be
      Sometimes I feel, I feel a little sad inside
      When my baby mistreats me, I never never have a place to hide, I need you!

      Sometimes I feel, I feel a little sad inside
      When my baby mistreats me, I never never have a place to hide,
      I need you, (you) you, you
      I need you, (you) you, you

      You know people when you do find somebody, hold that woman, hold that
      Man, love him, hold him, squeeze her, please her, hold, squeeze and
      Please that person, give ’em all your love, signify your feelings with
      Every gentle caress, because it’s so important to have that special
      Somebody to hold, kiss, miss, squeeze, and please.

      Everybody needs somebody
      Everybody needs somebody to love
      Someone to love (Someone to love)
      Sweetheart to miss (Sweetheart to miss)
      Sugar to kiss (Sugar to kiss)

      I need you, (you) you, you
      I need you, (you) you, you
      I need you, (you) you, you in the morning
      I need you, (you) you, you when my soul’s on fire

      Dayan the war monger, you need MR, to love you, to kiss you, though he insulted you. Now you feel empty and rejected like a used condom.

    • 1
      1

      Dayan,

      You are right, “proof of the pudding is in the eating” – how Mahinda’s choice has been validated in history or how it has gone down in history. He has been defeated fairly and squarely both in his quest for president and prime minister. He went as far as relying and believing his astrologer because deep inside him he would have known that for a freak like him it was only a matter of time that his insidious past will catch up on him. So much for your “history’s validation”.

      “the dictum attributed to Einstein that lunacy is best defined by repeating the same thing and expecting a different result”.

      Your uncle, too, tried that trick, didn’t he? He may have grabbed that coveted trick from you. A hypocrite like you would conveniently forget in asking about the 70,000 Sinhalese butchered by the regime. Surely Prabhakaran didn’t figure in that slaughter. And that twisted hypocrisy of yours somehow misses the fact that the IRA/Sinn Fein blew Mountbatten to shreds and almost made a meat out of Thatcher.

      It is not as if Prabhakaran was not aware of the dubious monkey tricks the sinhalese regime played incessantly. Deep penetration units employed by the regime were creating havoc deep into the LTTE areas and all of the LTTE attacks were retaliatory. It is sad that Prabhakaran raged like a bull rather than using his brain. He could have easily outwitted the regime and instead idiosyncratically believed his army was formidable. With the numbers limited and stacked against him he should have reverted to guerrilla strategy. It is a well-known fact that what JR agreed with the Indians was totally opposed by Premadasa and he even went on to arm the LTTE against the Indians. Prabhakaran was not smart enough to take what was on the plate given to him obviously because of the fear for him. He could have easily pitted the Sinhalese against each other and could have even laughed at them behind the back. That would not have been difficult and was achievable. His adversaries have always been political animals and had no qualms in killing each other for position and money. He did not have the brains to capitalise on this.

      Your glorified view that what SL achieved could not be done so by more stronger militaries in defeating terrorism is a big bluff, something that only a discredited and disgraced writer like you can claim. Surely you as a “political scientist” ought to know that the means that was achieved by SL has put it in the dock, a fate that those powerful militaries you allude have not been subjected too. There is only one regime and one lunatic that/who has done what SL and Mahinda had done – Hitler. If the tigers were fascists, what were/are you? Your history has been a tainted one too – for all the wrong reasons. Besides all that the past has checkered you, it is not just taking guns that defines a person as a blood-thirsty tyrant. Your abetting with the Rajapaksa regime in the murder of 70,000 civilians and glorifying it through a resolution makes no difference from all those who were hanged for being part of Hitler’s regime even though they did not take up arms. You are as evil as them. Period.

  • 3
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    What the Rajapakses did was without a doubt the only sensible thing to do and they did it without wavering their beliefs. For Salter, Clinton, Blake, British and French foreign ministers at the time it was a shock to their systems to realise Rajapakses did not give then two hoots. For those fellows and theier ancestors who have buthered millions for the sake of their perceived Geopolitical interests and continue to do the same, the Rajapakses were the bulls in the China shop. If Salter is interested in protecting human rights, he can do that in his country and his neighbouring countries in Europe, where white thugs roam the streets terrorising innocent immigrant women and children. Salter, you are a failure, take a break and tell the world what was the real motive behind your involvement in the Sri Lankan conflict.Sri Lanka is at peace now, without any contribution from you, Millibrand, Clinton, Blake and the French foreign minister guy.

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      Well said, no other comments necessary.

      Just one thing….. He can shove his book up where he thinks the sun is shining from!

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      lal:

      Rajapakse was not sensible at all. With a donkey like you with such silly advice, how can he ever be sensible? You should be sensible enough to tell that insensible maniac that he should have got Sri Lanka out of UN and UNHRC before he started the war. Had he done that, today he won’t stand implicated and now that he had lost his office, the only sensible thing for you tell him is to become a monk – just by one stroke wash away all his sins. He could have told the UN/UNHRC to go fly kites. He must be so sore that donkeys like you advised him, of course, like a donkey.

  • 2
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    Michael Roberts [Edited out]

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    Mr. Salter,

    “… ‘This is when he told me that he would offer the LTTE a federal solution, and very quickly so’, Heögesen recalls. ‘He said he wanted to move rapidly and strike a deal with the LTTE within six months, and wanted me to convey that message to Bala[singham] in London. Which I did. In the aftermath’, Helgesen concludes, ‘it is possible to read that as part of the scheme that many claim was in place, whereby he struck a deal with Prabhakaran to have the LTTE boycott the presidential elections’.”

    I haven’t read your book, so this is certainly new information to me. The Norwegians were important players in the peace process at that time; I used to argue, half-jokingly, that since the LTTE was banned in most of the West, Norway was the barge pole through which the Co-Chairs would touch the LTTE. So your reporting of what Solheim and Helgesen had to say is certainly relevant.

    Michael Roberts lost any objectivity he had when Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power. It is he who writes hagiographies of MR and GR. People can safely ignore him.

  • 2
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    Many thanks Argos. Good to see a comment that addreses the actual substance of my article: a very rare bird in this thread (Dayan J apart of course). That the info re. MR’s remarks to the Norwegians before the 2005 elections is new to you doesn’t wholly surprise me I’m afraid. This and other issues covered in my article were hardly the stuff of mainstream media coverage: then or even now, to a lesser degree

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      Oh MR had promised to give north to LTTE….oh…[Edited out]

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