The global community's role
Sri Lanka is one of the very few nations in the world
that has successfully battled terrorism. The US Federal Bureau
of Investigations itself described the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as the worst terrorist group in the world. It
is to the credit of our valiant Security Forces that they were
able to wipe out such a formidable foe.
Many countries around the world including the US are battling
terrorism. The world marked the eighth anniversary of 9/11 just
last week. Al-Qaeda and many other terror groups are still
active and pose a threat to humanity. Yet, only Sri Lanka has
succeeded in containing a terrorist group which caused death and
destruction for over 30 years.
This should be a cause for celebration in the civilized
world. Sri Lankan Security Forces not only destroyed a ruthless
terror outfit - but they also rescued nearly 300,000 people from
LTTE tyranny. In other words, it was a humanitarian operation as
well. However, certain countries are yet to appreciate this
achievement. Instead, they want to impose various strictures on
Sri Lanka on dubious human rights grounds. This is ironic,
because the mission of the Sri Lankan Government and the
Security Forces was to restore the rights of a people oppressed
by a terror group.
It is often said that civilian casualties are inevitable in
wars. We see the validity of this statement almost every day in
Iraq and Afghanistan, where US Forces are battling various
terror groups. Nevertheless, Sri Lankan Forces were extremely
careful to avoid civilian casualties. It was the LTTE which
fired at civilians trying to cross over to the Forces' lines.
It is clear that various machinations are on to discredit Sri
Lanka internationally. The Channel 4 episode is a case in point.
Several experts have proved that the video is a fake, designed
solely to blacken Sri Lanka's image. Several other media outlets
have been airing incorrect reports on the welfare villages
housing the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The Government
has stressed on many occasions that the IDPs cannot be resettled
en masse because landmines have to be cleared and certain
facilities have to be rebuilt. Resettlement is progressing as we
write, but it cannot be done overnight. Security aspects too
have to be taken into consideration.
Representatives of international organizations who are
supposed to be impartial have been making statements supportive
of LTTE viewpoints. These could well be part and parcel of an
international conspiracy against Sri Lanka, as alleged by
several Government Ministers and impartial observers.
Remnants of the LTTE and certain sections of the Tamil
Diaspora as well as some local politicians are also said to be
behind this move aimed at destabilizing the Government and
reversing gains against terrorism.
We are now told that a report on the conduct of Government
Security Forces during the war against the LTTE would be
submitted to the US Congress on Monday. Ministerial and Defence
sources say this was expected as part of a strategy to pressure
As Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said, Sri Lanka
is clearly being targeted by a section of the international
community for being successful in her war against the LTTE. They
seem to have forgotten the fact they themselves had banned the
LTTE, which killed thousands of innocents over 30 years.
Apparently, all this has been conveniently forgotten.
The death and destruction cannot easily be forgotten. It
cannot also be forgotten that remnants of the LTTE are still
active internationally. A senior Indian official has warned that
LTTE funding lines are still intact. This is not surprising,
because the LTTE had a global network. Its members are still
active in many countries. Thus it is the moral duty of the
international community to help Sri Lanka to root out the LTTE
international network, without adopting double standards in
dealing with the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Terrorism is
terrorism, wherever in the world it occurs. Sri Lanka's
successful war should also be considered as part of that global
campaign against terror. It is important to apprehend key LTTE
operatives (Sri Lanka has already nabbed KP, the self-proclaimed
new leader of the Tigers), investigate the LTTE international
arms procurement and funding network and expose its links with
other terror groups.
Sri Lanka is emerging economically after defeating terrorism.
It is on the threshold of achieving lasting peace and
reconciliation after 30 long years. The North and the East,
which bore the brunt of the conflict, have to be re-built. The
IDPs have to be resettled. Sri Lanka needs the assistance of the
international community for these noble ventures. Recognizing
Sri Lanka's achievements and endorsing the Government's plans
for peace and prosperity are vital at this crucial stage.