20 October, 2020

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The Military, The Minorities, And Neo-Fascism

By Izeth Hussain

 Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

President Rajapakse will probably go down in history for two achievements: he put down the LTTE rebellion and he has prevented the military coming to power. The first achievement is widely, and correctly, bruited about as the foundation for his enduring popularity with the Sinhala masses. The second achievement – preventing the military coming to power – is not bruited about at all, and perhaps is not even recognized. But it seems to me a major achievement for which the nation has to be grateful, even though it is an achievement of an ambiguous and provisional order. However, that achievement has left him with the dilemma of finding a role for a victorious army in peacetime.

It is arguable that too much credit should not be given to him for the military victory over the LTTE. It was, after all, a military victory, not a civilian one, in which the major role was played by Sarath Fonseka and the soldiers who did the actual fighting, and the major credit should therefore go to them and not to any civilian. Furthermore the President was not a charismatic figure of the order of Churchill who in 1940 transformed Britain’s darkest hour into its finest hour and imbued a nation with the fighting spirit. His detractors would say that he was the average Sri Lankan politician, though endowed with above average cunning, whose primary preoccupation was the feathering of his own nest and that of his relations, with not much more than residual concern for the national interest.

It remains, however, that the war was won under his Presidency, and I believe that he, unlike the previous Presidents, made that victory possible. I must recount at this point what I gathered while I was Ambassador in Moscow from 1995 to 1998. Shortly after I assumed office there the three Chiefs of Staff of our armed forces came to Moscow on arms purchasing missions. They included Major General Daluwatte who later became Army Commander. He said something to the following effect – not in his exact words – which germinated in my mind: “Give us the men and the weapons in sufficient quantity, and we will finish the job”. What that meant quite clearly was that since 1984, which saw the beginning of the civil war, until 1995 our armed forces had not been provided the men and the weapons in the requisite quantity to finish off the LTTE.

Why not? The answer was suggested by what was told to me by an important personage who visited Moscow not long afterwards. I cannot go into specifics about who it was and what exactly he said, but he was quite explicit on the point that the armed forces should be given just the requisite quantity of weapons to defeat the LTTE and no more, because anything in excess of that could be used against the people for a military coup d’état. That could have been just his personal and eccentric point of view, or he could have been reflecting the thinking going on in the highest echelons of the then Government. The latter I think is quite likely because he was after all declaring a commonsensical point of view. After a military victory a military leader could emerge who might want to take power, which would not be possible without sufficient weapons to contain a democratic counter-thrust.

I don’t want to make irresponsible allegations that our leaders prior to MR deliberately starved the armed forces of the weaponry requisite for defeating the LTTE. I am suggesting rather that the logic of the situation outlined in the preceding paragraph dictated prudence in limiting the weaponry to what was strictly requisite for a military victory. Obviously that could lead to serious miscalculations, which was perhaps the reason for the horrifying military debacle at Elephant Pass in 2000. Our army did not have the kind of weapons to withstand the LTTE thrust, and could reverse the tide of war only because Pakistan rushed to our help with those weapons. All that, arguably, belongs to the realm of speculation. But what is hard fact, not speculation, is this: a political leader facilitating a military victory could face the prospect of the emergence of a war hero who might want to take power through a coup d’état or through elections as might have happened with General MacArthur in the post-War US. Some of our leaders prior to MR would have balked at the prospect of a military victory, but MR forged ahead, and in doing that he showed that he was willing to place the national interest above his self-interest. It is proper to give him due credit for that.

His second achievement, to which I pointed in the first paragraph of this article – preventing the military coming to power –, is hardly recognized. For decades it had been a fairly widespread expectation that sooner or later a war hero would emerge, take power and set things right by chasing away the corrupt and inefficient politicians, with the full backing of the people. It was thought that Denzil Kobbekaduwe was that war hero, and therefore it was suspected that the then UNP Government had got him assassinated. 2009 saw the emergence of another war hero in Sarath Fonseka, a fully authentic one because he actually led the army to victory. It was believed by many that it was not necessary for him to resort to the unconstitutional means of a coup to take power as he could win at democratic elections. But President MR won handsomely, after which SF was jailed and it was shown that he had nothing like the mass appeal expected from a war hero.

There could have been several factors behind that victory, one of which was probably the people’s preference for democracy against what would have been seen as a disguised military dictatorship under SF. We must bear in mind the significance of the fact that the assassination of Premadasa, who was even more dictatorial than JRJ, was greeted with island-wide celebrations. Under a less democratic, and politically less adroit, leader than President MR those elections might have been won by SF. I must clarify at this point that I am not forgetting that the democracy that we had was a flawed one, but it was not a dictatorship.

We must also bear in mind that dictatorship, more specifically military dictatorship, is of all forms of government far and away the worst. The evidence for that charge, provided by the huge number of dictatorships in the third world, is overwhelming. The Latin American dictatorships under American hegemony were notorious for corruption, inefficiency, brutality, and the prevention of equitable economic development. The horrors of African dictatorships under the Idi Amins, the Mobutus, the Bokassas are well-known. In the Arab world the performance of democratic Lebanon far outshone all the Arab dictatorships. In South Asia democratic India provides a striking contrast to Pakistan which for most of the time had military dictatorship. Myanmar’s performance after decades of military dictatorship has been dismal. There have been very few successful dictatorships against the huge number of failures. Turkey alternated between military dictatorship and democracy, and kept doing well under both systems, until democracy was stabilized, and something of the sort seems to be true of Thailand as well. The economic and other performance of Taiwan and South Korea under military dictatorship was spectacular.

So, President MR could go down in history for enabling the defeat of the LTTE and also for preventing the military coming to power, but the second achievement – as I pointed out in my first paragraph above – is of an ambiguous and provisional order. It is of an ambiguous order because of the progressive militarization of the society. The number of top jobs given to military personnel could whet the military appetite for more and more and more, since it is known that in the matter of goodies the appetite grows in the eating. Then there is the alleged presence of 150,000 troops in the North about which the Tamils have been complaining. What we have been witnessing is not a covert stealthy creeping militarization but something akin to the galloping of wild stallions let loose on a boundless plain. This militarization should be considered in conjunction with another development: after the 18th Amendment the President has been going in a dictatorial direction, setting in motion a process which could lead – without the President quite intending it – to a de facto dictatorship which comes to have progressively a military character. So, the achievement in preventing the military coming to power is of an ambiguous and provisional order.

Perhaps all this is a consequence of the dilemma facing the Government: what peacetime role should be assigned to a conquering army? Each Budget witnesses a rise in the expenditure on the armed forces, which is understandable because they cannot be just disbanded in substantial numbers. Since ours is not a highly developed economy there are no fitting jobs to be offered to them. In this situation the armed forces encroachment into the civilian sphere seems to be inevitable. The alternative would be a new terrorist threat to the nation, which would keep the armed forces occupied with strictly military duties. Was that the logic behind the State-backed anti-Muslim hate campaign? I have been analyzing that campaign in terms of a neo-Fascist drive towards an authoritarian ultra- nationalism aimed at national regeneration, a drive which would entail the kicking down of the Muslim and other minorities. There could also have been a secret motive behind the hate campaign: to provoke the Muslims into a jihadist terrorist reaction. No such reaction has occurred, and for reasons that I cannot go into here it is most unlikely to occur in the foreseeable future.

It appears therefore that the anti-Muslim hate campaign is a failure. In this context it could be significant that Chief Minister Wigneswaran has recently spoken about the Government trying to use an ex-LTTE Commander to resurrect a bogus LTTE to serve the purposes of the Government. I don’t want to speculate on that partly for lack of space. More important is that the fundamentals seem to be quite clear. Neo-Fascism, racism, the kicking down of minorities, evasiveness on finding a political solution to the ethnic problem will only lead to a further gory mess. The way forward has to be through more and more and more democracy.

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  • 6
    1

    An excellent conclusion! Unless the government goes in for ushering more and more democracy, the country is doomed. The ominous signs are that with continuing international pressure, it will happen. The only path left to those of us in the country and outside is to try our best to enhance that pressure so that we all will have a rosy future sooner than later.

    Sengodan. M

    • 6
      3

      THE AUTHOR IS FLAWED IN HIS ANALYSIS IN ASSUMING THAT THE ‘WORLD’S GREATEST GENERAL’ WOULD BE A BIGGER FAMILY DICTATOR THAN THE ‘HAWKISH PRESIDENT’ SINCE THE FORMER’S ELECTION CAMPAIGN WAS BASED ON ABOLISHING THE PRESIDENCY.

      IT IS THE BROTHER WHO DEPARTED THE BATTLE FILED AND COUNTRY FOR TWO DECADES THAT WE OWE AGREAT DEAL FOR HE THE WHITE VANS, RACIST ATTACKS, WAR CRIMES AND LACK OF EMPATHY THAT PREVENTS A CIVIL-POLITICAL SETTLEMENT, RIGHTFULLY DESERVED BY THE MINORITIES (AND THE MAJORITY) IN SL.

      • 4
        1

        This article is quite WRONG. Logically and empirically FALSE and indeed absurd. It is INSULAR and MONO-CAUSAL in its exclusive focus on internal factors in explaining the defeat of LTTE (more guns and men).
        Nor is there any understanding of Civil-military relations and the fact that once a military defeats an opponent it is not a given that it will take over political power in that country. Indeed Jarapassa, has NOT prevented but rather is responsible for militarizing Sri Lanka POST-WAR and preparing the way for military take over and dictatorship of Gotabaya Rajapassa who has constructed a DEEP STATE or STATE WITHIN A STATE as in Turkey and Paki and other countries that are effectively military run. This is in order to safe guard the corrupt Mahinda Rajapaksa family from a war crimes trial by turning Lanka into its Gaddhaffieque military dictatorship.

        Iseth Hussain’s article is also EMPIRICALLY wrong. The world over armies after winning and defeating opponents return to barracks and are down scaled for peace time, especially in places where the military NEVER was a power broker as in Sri Lanka – until today.
        For one, the defeat of the LTTE was significantly aided by the international configuration in South Asia at the time – with the US led Global War on terror in Af-Pak and zero tolerance for terrorism..
        It was in short the changed international environment that enabled the SL military to acquire the weapons and intelligence to defeat the LTTE – and it could just as well have been on the watch of ANY president of Sri Lanka. Rajapassa was merely at the right place at the right time to take the dis-credit at the end of the slaughter of the barbaric LTTE!
        Secondly, it is not a foregone conclusion that a military that defeat a terror gropup

      • 1
        1

        This article is quite WRONG and UP SIDE DOWN. Logically and empirically FALSE and indeed absurd. For one, the defeat of the LTTE was significantly aided by the international configuration in South Asia at the time after 9/11 – with the US led Global War on terror in Af-Pak and zero tolerance for terrorism in the region.. It was in short the changed international environment that enabled the SL military to acquire the weapons and INTELLIGENCE to defeat the LTTE – and it could just as well have been on the watch of ANY president of Sri Lanka. Rajapassa was merely at the right place at the right time to take the dis-credit at the end of the slaughter of the barbaric LTTE!
        Secondly, it is not a foregone conclusion that a military that defeat a terror group will grab power.
        Hussein’s article is INSULAR and MONO-CAUSAL in its exclusive focus on internal factors in explaining the defeat of LTTE based on anecdotes and stories told to him when he was in Moscow while name dropping or not (more guns and men – Daluwatte’s is one man’s perspective!
        Nor is there any understanding of Civil-military relations and the fact that once a military defeats an opponent it is not a given that it will take over political power in that country.
        Indeed Jarapassa, has NOT prevented but rather is responsible for militarizing Sri Lanka POST-WAR and preparing the way for military take over and dictatorship of Gotabaya Rajapassa who has constructed a DEEP STATE or STATE WITHIN A STATE as in Turkey and Paki and other countries that are effectively military run. This is in order to safe guard the corrupt Mahinda Rajapaksa family from a war crimes trial by turning Lanka into its Gaddhaffieque military dictatorship.
        Iseth Hussain’s article is also EMPIRICALLY wrong and has got everything UPSIDE DOWN. The world over armies after winning and defeating opponents return to barracks and are down scaled for peace time, especially in places where the military NEVER was a power broker as in Sri Lanka – until today.

      • 1
        1

        Balo you are right. I had a lot of respect for Husein, but after reading his comments on SF, I am sure that either senility is over taking him or he had been bought over.

  • 1
    4

    Democracy and Islam don’t mix.

    All attempts at democracy by Islamists ended up in massive disaster.

    e.g. Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, soon Saudi Arabia too.

    When Modi becomes Indian PM we can see how India treats its own minorities!!

    e.g. Babri Masjid mosque destruction, 2002 Gujarat riots.

    It will be better for Hindus in SL to go back to India. Hindu-Muslim riots in India will certainly spread to SL too.

  • 1
    4

    There is a big opportunity for SL leaders when Modi becomes PM.

    There will certainly be Hindu-Muslim riots AGAIN in India. These will spread to SL too. Colombo city, Kathankundy, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Amparei, etc. will be hotspots of Hindu-Muslim riots.

    Fun unlimited!

    • 1
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      @Fathima Fukushima

      When Modi becomes prime minister of India, the RajaPassas’ won’t be able to play the games they are currently playing with Manmohan Singh. He is too much of gentleman to be in politics and deal with lying crooks like the RajaPassas’. Ha ha I would love to see what happens when Modi is PM and the SL navy takes Indian fishermen into custody. :)

      • 0
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        Modi certainly is an attractive choice for those racists who were also attracted to the murderer Prabhakaran of the LTTE.

        • 1
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          Ram

          “Modi certainly is an attractive choice for those racists”

          Hence you should be campaigning for Modi.

  • 1
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    There is a nice little website called thereligionofpeace. It has very interesting factual account of BBS activities. BBS is far more wide spread than I thought.

    After MR’s visit to Africa, there is BBS activity in Nigeria too (main photo shows a BBS activist greeting another.)

    • 1
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      Fathima Fukushima (Still missing the “C” in your last name:
      Since when did you think ANYONE would follow your advice about anything? Why don’t you simply go away and save us your asinine babbling?

  • 3
    1

    ” The second achievement – preventing the military coming to power – is not bruited about at all, and perhaps is not even recognized.”

    Rajapaksa have taken over the military. GOTA is the supreme leader of the armed forces.

  • 0
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    It has been our fate over the years for our fortunes to be determined by incompetent and corrupt politicians; It would be the ultimate ignominy to end up having our country run by a military dictatorship. Oh the shame if it! As for Sarath Fonseka, let us take nothing away from the part that he played in the military victory over the LTTE, however, we must not forget the very important and crucial leadership given by Gotabhaya Rajapakse. #Previous governments of SL underfunded our security services for myriad reasons. That notwithstanding, many other factors also played a part in the prolonging of the war, not least being the profits made by facilitators in the North, to arms dealers in Colombo and elsewhere. Previous presidents were, truth to tell, in the pockets of the armed forces leadership when it came to the conduct of the war in the north, and it was MR’s good fortune to have GR, an ex-officer, to bring in to ensure that he would not suffer the same fate. # Apropos Sarath Fonseka, he was hardly presidential material and he gave us enough evidence in the way he conducted himself and his half-cocked election campaign to ensure that he will not feature as a serious presidential candidate anytime soon. If the current armed forces leadership is cut from the same cloth as SF, then god help us. #Post May-2009 has seen the country led on a merry dance by the extremist groups who feel eager to take up the slack available to create a Sinhala-Buddhist renaissance underpinned by a victorious Sinhala-Buddhist Army. MR continues to walk on eggshells trying to keep these mavericks under control; it is anybody’s guess as to who holds the upper hand right now. #The Muslim community has been badly shaken over the events of the last few years but they have endured with admirable dour resolve the many disrespectful and insulting actions that have been perpetrated against them. They have refused to be goaded into a knee-jerk reaction but do not be mislead. Mr. Hussain is very coy on letting on how much he knows but be assured that our Muslim brethren are not idly standing by and there will be a biting point should action adverse to the community continue. However, Mr Hussain is not far off when he predicts a gory mess as the price for failing to quell ethno-religious tensions. This time the action will not be in the faraway north; it will be Colombo, Kandy and Galle that may well be the horrific battleground of any ethno-religious tensions.

    • 2
      1

      THE ONLY CLOTH THAT MATTERS IN THIS LANDLOCKED COUNTRY OF OURS IS THE LOIN-CLOTH !!

      • 0
        0

        You mean the one they the buggers are used to wear around their necks ? I see..

        That is an insult to our old day amude actually. Those who wore that had respect and dignity. I still remember how late Dr. Dahanyake was on a protest wearing Amude then. Let alone, Rajas could leave respect to that… they have destroyed even amude to this day.

      • 0
        0

        No, we should parade naked.We are no better than the Veddas of yore.

    • 1
      0

      Spring Koha may try to hide under his pseudonym.
      But he crows like a crow and reveals his identity!

      happy crowing at Halgolla.

      • 0
        0

        Ho ho ho…another one unable to tell a poor bird from the Laird of Halgolla. I do not know the aforesaid gentlemen and I have not been to Halgolla but I am indeed flattered to be mistaken for Mr van der Poorten. Whether the indefatigable chronicler of our poor man’s woes is impressed, only he can tell. I suspect that he like me must be chuckling at the appearance of yet another cuckoo. Enjoy a blissfully ignorant New Year, O golden One.

  • 2
    2

    It was an enlightened analysis at the beginning but not at the end except saying, “The way forward has to be through more and more and more democracy.”

    I do agree with the first two beginning points that ”President Rajapaksa will probably go down in history for two achievements: he put down the LTTE rebellion and he has prevented the military coming to power.” But that role has now drained out as the author himself has explained. On my part, I always maintained that the LTTE could be defeated. But the failure or the absence of which, prior to MR, was not only due to ‘not supplying men and material’ as the author has described. Some previous leaders, particularly CBK and RW, genuinely believed or tried to settle the matter peacefully. That was the right thing to do even at a high cost. On the second point, I considered “The Danger of the General” (Asian Tribune) after the end of the war very seriously. Both RW and CBK unfortunately blundered on this matter and not yet fully recovered apart from their ambiguous positions on defeating the LTTE after 2006.

    I think it was just a factual mistake to say “There is the alleged presence of 150,000 troops in the North about which the Tamils have been complaining.” That mistake aside, it is correct to say that the Government is facing a dilemma about “what peacetime role should be assigned to a conquering army?” This will be a dilemma for any government in the near future if a change is even possible. It is part of this dilemma why the government cannot genuinely investigate any ‘war crime’ on the part of the army (unless it is completely independent), even if it is willing. However, it is too speculative or incorrect to consider “the State-backed anti-Muslim hate campaign” or the alleged efforts of the Government “to resurrect a bogus LTTE” are to keep the military occupied.

    The interpretations in the last two paragraphs are also not very convincing because it assumes first that the government or MR acts always rationally which is not the case. I would not attribute that much ‘rationality’ to either entity. Second, the ‘anti-Muslim hate campaign’ (or anti-Hindu and anti-Christian campaigns) is not just instrumental but fundamental in the whole emerging socio-political ideology of the present regime although the traditional SLFP and the left elements might be trying their best to keep that trend in some check. The regime can keep the army occupied more pleasingly, particularly the higher rungs, I guess in the developmental efforts. The main danger perhaps is not the military at present, but the metamorphosis of the socio-political and ideological basis of the UPFA regime and its social base. That is where some elements of neo-fascism are visible, of course with inroads within the army itself particularly at the rank and file levels. I make these remarks appreciating the author’s contribution to the understanding of otherwise a complex reality.

    • 0
      0

      Dr. Fernando,
      I partly agree with the first one but not AT ALL with the second one.

      For following reasons:
      a) How can the writers claim to have avoided the country being caught by millitary rule
      – elections were not free and fair – not comparable at all to the regulations made available to lately held NPC; many -not minor fractions, but signifant fraction of the nation believed, were aware that SF´s election results were manipulated using all computer jilmarts – but later investigations di dnot bring anything – which is similar to current day crime investigations of the rulers (naduth ewunge, baduthe ewunge)
      I have not read anywhere where former EC (now retired)gave any interviews about the situation he faced on the very day – election results were issued (Jan 2010).

      b) And what is the difference between today´s authoratarian regime and a milltary rule : as you are well aware – that Ms Pillay named the current administration as such before leaving the country. And not only she hersleef, but many from outside look at us feel lanken rulers governance lack very much of transparency, accountability in many issues that they consider as it should be in a country branded as socialist democratic republic

      • 2
        0

        Andre,

        Let me answer your second question first. If we consider the present authoritarian rule equal to a military rule, then we will underestimate the dangers of a direct and an actual military rule. The present authoritarian rule is a result of mass apathy and a weak opposition, apart from its military victory over the LTTE among other factors. It is also the accumulation of a historical trend. Computer ‘jilmart’ or such things may play or may have played a marginal role but not decisive ones. We deceive ourselves if we give too much weight to those factors and fail to realise what we have to do by uniting and strengthening the opposition and educating the masses. It is also not good to rely too much on foreign assistance, if any. It is our own job, while we need maximum solidarity from all deserving international players. Unity between progressive and democratic sections of the Sinhalese, the Tamils and the Muslims are a must. We have to be realistic and genuine in our slogans, policies and propaganda. Otherwise, people will not believe us. The credibility gap should be at least minimum, if not nil. In my estimation, the credibility gap of the opposition is high at present compared to the government, unfortunately. This has to be changed.

        On your first point, I didn’t have any objection for SF as a person, also as a genuine one, in 2010. Nothing at all at present. I have met him at least once. But the operation of political forces is beyond personal control. Just imagine the situation if he had won! He didn’t have a firm political party apparatus behind him. Then what he had to rely on? The army. That was the danger. It would have been natural. I also have nothing against the army. But any professional military person will agree, that its job is different, not politics. I don’t know whether you recollect the last stages of his campaign or whether my point is completely correct. My impression was that the political parties which promoted him first, except the JVP, were backing down and he had to seek assistance from his former military friends. This was also an indication of the danger, whether my reading of the situation was completely correct or not.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Laksiri Fernando – thanks for your comments. I referred to the “alleged” presence of 150,000 troops in the North. I was not asserting that as a fact.
      Re Wigneswaran’s charge about a bogus LTTE being revived to serve the purposes of the Government, I wonder whether you saw Tissaranee Gunasekera’s article on that subject in the Colombo Telegraph of December 29. The original story to which Wig referred had it that 40 former LTTE men were undergoing training at a secret camp. One of their tasks would be to assassinate TNA leaders.Maybe fanciful, but who knows? It was that that led me to wonder whether there was a deliberate plan to provoke a jehadist terroristic reaction. The portrayal of Allah as a pig and burnt in effigy – what was that about? – Izeth

      • 0
        0

        Hussain engaging cold feet at the mention of the presence of 150,000 troops is symbolic of the climate of fascism prevalent in the country today. Responsible writers and analysts in the country fear abduction, intimidation and reprisals for merely stating what they conclude after careful research and study. This is now standard information in the world and is not disputed seriously. But I have no intention of making things uncomfortable for the ageing analyst except to remind him this “alleged 150,000” can vary by a few thousands. It cannot come down to 30,000 if Hussain is to be treated as a serious commentator.

        R. Varathan

  • 1
    3

    savior of Muslim girls, Malala Yousafzai plans to visit SL in 2014!!

    This is excellent news.

    I hope dirty Jihad groups in SL will not protest.

  • 1
    2

    Why did the military recruit Tamil young girls in the North (mainly Kilinochi?)when it is an already bloated force?

    • 1
      2

      Military did not recruit those young girls to be Suicide bombers, if that is your interest.

    • 0
      2

      They are!

      Plenty of Tamil young girls in Kilinochchi army camps. Just drop in their in your next trip to Yafanaabad.

      • 0
        0

        Are you a huyman being or an import from Saudi clan?

  • 2
    2

    The Rajapakses live in fear of an unduly oversized and much pampered army. Kobbekaduwa, gentlemen to the core, was not the type who would have attempted a Coup. But Premadasa feared if he (DK) chose to take to politics – and he had many in the Cabinet who were close to him – he could have won beating the unpopular and dictatorial Premadasa. DK also had many supporters in the not-so-united army. Sarath Fonseka did not have to try a Coup post-2009. He knew he had the support of the Sinhala electorate – and later much of the Tamil as well. Even today there are many who believe Fonseka won the elections but the cunning of the Rajapakses and a pliable Election Commissioner subverted the final result. The prospect of a Coup cannot be entirely written off in conditions where the economy is suspect with the CoL creating havoc in the lives of multi-millions of works and the lower middle-class, where many people in the politically weary South and the North looking for a change and the regime alienating the International Community by the total absence of professional diplomacy at its command.

    BTW, Hussain’s figure of 150,000 of the army in the Tamil areas is in total variance with that of the figures given by the Govt to the local and foreign media viz:- around an incredible 30,000. What is clear and remains undisputed is the political leadership is deeply indebted and under the influence of the army – a very unhealthy sign for a country claiming to be democratic. It may not be an exaggeration to say even “in fear” of the army. It is unfortunate, at least, in this aspect
    we have now decayed to the sorry state of Pakistan and Bangladesh in the region, where both countries have been under heel of the military
    at various times.

    R. Varathan

    • 0
      0

      ” What is clear and remains undisputed is the political leadership is deeply indebted “

      This is certainly true of the populace too, though over time this will diminish. If the security forces that annhilated a long standing terrorist group does not have any influence within a nation then that would be cause for surprise.

  • 1
    1

    Good article.Good analysis and quite unbiased.The author seems to be a very mature and intelligent man.

  • 2
    0

    I think the defeat of the LTTE was made possible due to 9/11 and the subsequent war on terror. LTTE made a strategic mistake in assasinating Rajiv Gandhi. Late FM Lakshman Kadirgamar campaigned relentlessly to have LTTE branded as a terrorist organisation.

    President Rajapakse was able to capitalise on these trends to bring about the defeat of the LTTE. The armed forces under the leadership of General Fonseka played a major role in the defeat. Ultimately it was the thousands of foot soldiers mainly from the rural areas who made the sacrifice and the innocent tamil civilians had to pay a price. So the defeat of the LTTE cannot be attributed to one person, it is a combination of many factors.

    The second assumption that there was a military takeover in the offing and MR was able to pre-empt this by arresting General Fonseka and imprisoning him is pure invention and imagination of the author. General Fonseka and the opposition made the mistake of openly allying with the Tamil parties which lost him the support of many sinhalese voters and the election. There was no need for a miltary takeover after the sacrifices made. At that stage any military takeover would have resulted in a civil war and bloodshed.

  • 0
    0

    “It is arguable that too much credit should not be given to him for the military victory over the LTTE.”. This is so. After 2005 the defeat of the LTTE was expected even by the upper echelons of the organization. It was only a matter of time although its leader was not prepared to accept it due to his arrogance over confidence and lack of farsightedness. The rout was expected even during CBK’s time and LTTE survived on accidental victories. The decision to attack the militants through aerial bombardments notwithstanding the danger to the civilians was taken with the blessings of the Buddhist clergy and indeed with the tacit knowledge of Ban ki Moon. The writer’s apprehension that a campaign in terms of a neo-Fascist drive towards an authoritarian ultra- nationalism aimed at national regeneration provoking the Muslims into a jihadist terrorist reaction is not outside the realm of possibility. Bensen

  • 0
    0

    This article was interesting, as I understand the author have had diplomatic post previously and understands internal politics.

    I was told previously by an earlier diplomats son that in 60´s most sensitive subjects in diplomatic / in a circle the pricing of tea. This was the top secret at that time. So question is does previous diplomats can understand the dynamic of on going realities.

    I also read in some article saying that the terror exposition activities in Russia could be orchestrated by local secret services to enhance the presidents power in Russia. Again another academia told me this article can not be true since previous Bush administration did not believe as it is true.

    The facts of events are difficult to understand for commoner or to my intelligence.

    I am happy to read this article and comments, to see there is hope for our future, people are replying with reflections of events…

  • 0
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    by your statement.. you have become ‘ the judge and jury ‘ and have an opinionated wrong view of SF who create the victory needed to cruch the ‘bloody’ terrorist who were causing mayhem. comparing JRJ and RP is not quite relevant simple because their political will was not to destroy the LTTE but to finish their terms and be happy as in wonderland.
    to imply that SF would have being a dictator simply because he was a military man is wrongful.
    Today . we have a mouse who has grown to become a rodent and is gnawing way the freedom, justice, liberty, fairplay and lasy but not the least is chewing into the manhood of those elected and voted by us into power to safe guard democracy!
    and you Sir, at your august of years have the audacity to write about this.. tucked away safely.. maybe in a safe haven.
    personally,, i would not be a sad man had even SF come to power and created a dictator ship.. for right now.. we are not with ..’ alice in a wonderland ‘.

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    Izeth Hussein’s article is the best political analysis on Sri Lanka by a Sri Lankan that I have read in (at least) a year. It is a pity that only an intellect of that generation– and accompanying level of literacy–seems capable of such discerning and dispassionate evaluation.

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      Long time no see doc, glad to read from you:

      We wish we could read from you again. Specially on the issues like
      a) If you wanne drugs contact the police, if you want more in kgs then contacts the PM and his office

      b) As one who shortly before the CHOGM to have made clear that it is a great success of the rulers to win it to host to CHOGEM, being amidst world´s attack on the location; what is your thesis after the summit is held in SL ? What we achieved and what we lost ?

      c) And also your kind of predictions about due UNHRC sessions ahead of us – in about 65 days or so, how would that work for the rulers this time ? etc…
      no matter many would not praise with your idiosyncratic predictions but it is worth to read them I feel

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      Dayanant to start the licking game again?

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    “……………………and he has prevented the military coming to power”
    Hussain should go north, and then he would know that the military headed by the governor run the province,that the military have grabbed large extents of land,homes of many citizens who ran away during the war,has taken over by force many avenues of business and employment of citizens,regulates fishing,agriculture and other livelihoods,and is even forcefully present on occasions of family celebrations,regulates hours of poojas in temples,and enforces unofficial curfews whenever ‘necessary’,harasses sexually and otherwise the helpless war widows and young – even old sometimes – women,prevents gatherings of citizens,arrests university students and incarcerates them for so-called ‘rehabilitatrion’ in distant camps without any judicial orders,
    etc.,etc.
    If this is not military rule,what is,he must elucidate.

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    Well, it does have many assumptions. The assumptions presented are also one sided. Therefore, flawed.

    People forget that the issue is not just militarization which has happened now. This caught the Rajapaksa backers by supprise. They now have to make excuses, turn a blind eye or make some critical comments about it, but they are limited in their scope.

    The other main issue is the corruption, mismanagement of the economy, the law and the family misappropriation. Here we have reason to believe the former Genaral would perform better and we have to acknowledge that, at least present that assumption.

    We are so held by Mahinda’s charm that we fail to acknowledge that the minority (the focus of the present problem) voted for Sarath. That is the battle half won. With that there are greater strides from both sides, lesser demands from the minority and greater accomodation by the majority, a public apeased with the changes to the system, far fewer war crimes charges by the minority and we had a man who was willing to take the responsibility and a deputy in Ranil who has international appeal.

    Whether the then opposition and extremists would allow this and whether the opposition and media in SL would be made this impotent is another debate.

    Part of the solution with the minority lies with the chasing away of this leadership, the present situation is only delaying that.

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    The credit or the blame always goes to the leader no matter the generals . but it is true that its quite an achievement that the military did not grab power . infact I think a lot of the things that happened to SF was an action to prevent that from happening in my view .

    Also down scaling the military would have been disastrous to the country and it would have increased crime and kidnapping . many military analysts have said so.

    As for reducing the military presence in the north that would be a totally stupid thing to do . The Diaspora cannot be trusted and they will do what ever that can to revive the conflict .

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      “Also down scaling the military would have been disastrous to the country and it would have increased crime and kidnapping”

      Not only Crime and Kidnapping, but robbery, abduction, looting killing everything is being done by the Military!!!That is the FACT.

      “but it is true that its quite an achievement that the military did not grab power”

      Which world are you living in? Gothabaya is the MILITARY HEAD disguised in civilian cloths in the name of Defence Secretary!! MR is a figure head who just reads, whatever written by GL Peiris in important functions. In short SRI LANKA is ruled by Military, but pretend to be a DEMOCRACY.

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    Problems facing the country/nation in post war scenarios are not directly comparable with that of Germany after the 2nd WW. However, there were multi national troops in forms of army camps were in Germany since then. Even today, a part of american troops are in Germany. So, the best solution to lanka would be to replace lanken army with UN troops/the like in the nothern parts. Then the ethnic tamils would have to respect the need of a millitary in the war torn areas. Various kinds of crimes are reported to be continuing in nothern part after the war is over. Some victims charge the army soldiers to have raped the women 1-5/month. But I think it is not the army but the former tamil rebells may have been abusing those women. However, looking at this being out of the country, one can point the fingers at both tamils themselves and state amry men to have been abusing those women. Like or not keeping troops there is obligatory for logical reasons; namely those folks were held by a tyranny for decades long. Some like Ltters while others not. Like or not they had to agree with them because they are only one represented tamil problems. Complete

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      you are desperately stupid .

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      “Then the ethnic tamils would have to respect the need of a millitary in the war torn areas. Various kinds of crimes are reported to be continuing in nothern part after the war is over. Some victims charge the army soldiers to have raped the women 1-5/month. But I think it is not the army but the former tamil rebells may have been abusing those women. However, looking at this being out of the country, one can point the fingers at both tamils themselves and state amry men to have been abusing those women”

      If you don’t know the facts, do not open your mouth and pass judgement. If these women are your sisters and mothers will you talk like that?

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    I find it really strange that anyone reading CT expects intellectually honest comment from this man who seems to confirm the worst racist stereotypes about his community and the spinning of their headgear! the only thing that can be said about his sycophantic utterances is that they are couched in grammatical English1

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    van de Poorten’s comment does not cite one fact or argument in refutation of what I wrote. He merely insults.I sometimes let insults pass because they may mean no more than an outburst of hatred and rage from a mediocre scribbler who has been made to feel inferior by what I write.But I wont let pass insults that smack of racism.
    He writes of “this man who seems to confirm the worst racist stereotypes about his community and the spinning of their headgear!”. Can he tell us how I confirm the worst racist stereotypes about my community? He wont be able to, not with any cogency.The fact is that he has made a mad statement because he is nad with hatred and rage.
    What smacks of racism is that little detail about the “spinning of their headgear”.For decades Muslims have been wearing the cloth cap which cannot be spun around.He is evidently thinking of the fez cap of yore which could be spun around.Evidently, in his racist mind,that headgear seems ridiculous, as it did to the perpetrators of the racist ditty about the “Thambige thoppiya”.
    He refers to my “sycophantic utterances”, evidently because of what I wrote about the President.He has failed to notice that the penultimate sentence of my article read as follows about the regime led by the President: “Neo-Fascism, racism, the kicking down of minorities,evasiveness on finding a political solution to the ethnic problem will only lead to a further gory mess”.Is this Poorten fellow mad?

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    Just because Emil Van der Poorten finds Hussain’s analysis opportunistic and unacceptable does not make EVP “mad” Many other readers find Hussain an irrelevant bore. Now here he tries to seek protection as a Muslim – a community that hardly recognises him
    whereas EVP did not touch on the communal factor at all. The only one who seems to delight in Hussain’s sermons is Dayan J and possibly Rajiv W in that old past time of “you scratch my back and I yours”
    3 ex-Ambassadors or the 3 stooges?

    Hooker

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