Monday, August 07, 2006

why government was right not to accept conditional opening of mavil aru


after government forced ltte to retreat from muttur, ltte was faced with dilemma. are they going to hold on to the mavil aru and continue to deny water to villagers and thus risk being forced away from there as well, or come to a 'deal' whereby they agree to open the sluice gate but leave themselves in control of it. they decided on the latter. given their earlier stand, this imo shows their military weakness at the moment. so they came to a deal for conditional opening of slice gate with the visiting norwegian envoy.

however sri lankan government was unable to agree to this. in this regard government was consistent throughout. it made it clear from the first that it is not willing to accept conditions and opposed using water as a negotiating tool.

imo government is correct. if government accepted ltte conditions and left ltte in control of sluice gates, it would have been,
  • putting itself under a perpetual ltte backmail threat.
  • legitimatizing what is in effect a war crime.
  • throwing away whatever military advantage it is having at present
  • failing to control a public utility which it maintain at its expense.
given all those reasons government did not have a choice.

pussies trap slmm?

surprising thing in all this was that norwegians and sri lankan monitoring mission (slmm) thought government would agree to a conditional opening. that shows either a complete lack of understanding about the ground situation and government's concerns, or a pro ltte bias. that head of slmm ulf henricsson went to mavil aru just hours after so called deal to implement it, without informing government he was going there (breaking proper procedure) and before government agreed to any deal, shows a callous disrespect and disregard for government's opinion.

was he trying to prevent government's freedom of action and freedom to disagree to the deal, by going there and presenting government with a fait accompli? one is left with strong suspicions. it was lucky then (not just in regard to his own life but for government) that he was still not there in person when government resumed the ground operation.

in this regard slmm head's statement that "it seems some people want war rather than water", coming after tommy lekenmyr's (slmm chief of staff) statement that "it is quite obvious they are not interested in water. they are interested in something else. we will blame this on the government" shows the same deficiency in understanding and can only lead one to confirm those suspicions. no wonder that warmongers call norwegians white tigers. in this case they were very close to being that.

imo however norwegians fell into a pussy trap with their eyes open. pussies are past masters in this game of making use of naive foreigners. on august 3rd for instance, they tried to make use of international committee of the red cross (icrc) for ltte propaganda when they claimed they have 40 bodies of military personnel and they would be handing them back through icrc. fortunately icrc had more sense than slmm and denied this immediately.

tolerating terrorists

from the beginning this crisis showed yet again why it is impossible to tolerate or deal with a terrorist group. when they have demands to make their first resort is violence and threats (such as cutting off water). quite in contrast to any interest group operating in a democracy, who would have tried to work through the system. that method is of course slow, messy, and even corrupt, and the result will be a compromise at best. but that is what it means to respect other's opinions and interests. terrorists are incapable of that. they are unable to compromise and respect only the guns and bombs.

water is a basic human need; it should be made available unconditionally. submitting to terrorist conditions is too high a price to pay, government should not pay it. government should not accept water at any cost any more than it should accept peace at any cost. it’s about time that peaceniks whatever their skin color learned this.

if terrorists want to declare a full scale war, in order that they can keep their right to hold water hostage, let them.


update:
d
irector training of special task force, senior superintend of police upul senaviratne was killed this morning in kandy due to a claymore mine blast.

10 comments:

Voice_in_Colombo said...

Being a close follower of the recent happenings in the country, I'd like to add below comments as well to your above post.

1)peaceniks (as you identify them) have yet again clearly displayed that they are here to represent the voice of tigers. The demo at Lipton circus, and the announcement made by PSG (or what ever the shit). There were few clear "dollar muphets" in the list of people who signed that announcement. "The journalist, who never comb his hair" is one to name.

2) Attacks by SLA, was not planned in advanced, and was not with any intention of going back to war. Those attacks at LTTE targets were only counter attacks, when LTTE tried to capture muthur, and attacks by SLA in Mavil Aru was clearly, with the mission of re-opening the water supply. But yet, tigers caused heavy damages in these attacks. It's a clear indication that tigers are weaker than what they pretended to be through out all last 4 years of CFA. If, GOSL withdrawn from CFA and start a full scale war against terrorists, we could expect GOSL to be in a better competitive edge both military and support from international community (Except Norway!). But, only concerns GOSL might be having are the security of Colombo, and political disadvantage they get in south, by being "first to step aside from CFA". UNP is polishing their teeth to blame that on Mahinda.

3) LTTE has realised that they are weaker than that they thought. So, now they are seeking the refugee of their favorit "Norwegians". Norwegians, on the other hand who really are "white tigers" is willing to do any shit, to save their "pets"

I personally in the opinion, that the way GOSL is approaching the N/E conflict is better than what it was when CBK or RW was in power.

You have to be flexible, but not always. There are occassions that you have to maintain your heads straight.

Keshi said...

OMG another death?? And in Kandy?

Keshi.

~CC~ said...

There has been successful occasions and processes where 'terrorist' organizations have been 'dealt' with diplomatically and through negotiations. Going with the line of 'no talks with terrorist' is an overblown rhetorical statement which ignores the complex realities of as conflicts which has ethnic, and/or religious dimensions, such as the conflict we have in Sri Lanka.

As easy as it would have been, its difficult to maintain clear cut moral positions on 'terrorism' or on other 'non-negotiable' positions without considering the practical implications and spillover effects of those decisions.

While not a close follower of hair styles of public figures other than of course David Beckham and Wimal Weerawansa, I don’t see any resemblance to tiger position with the PSG statement. if indeed the statement resemble the tiger position I would be quite glad since, among other things it "strongly condemn the closure of the Mavil Aru anicut by the LTTE". PSG statement is something any Sri Lankan with genuine humanitarian concerns would go along with albeit it might not have lot of weight in inducing action. To accuse of the statement being representative of the ‘voice of tigers’ is a rather a primary level thinking.

I applaud the very few people who bothered enough to go to Lipton Circus and stage a protest and I hope many more will go tomorrow.

The involvement of Norway is critical to the process, of resolving the conflict as they are the only state that can function with absolutely impartiality in the midst of barricade of accusations, if someone wishes to see the back of Norway, then that someone or group must give a viable and a willing alterative state, or organization who can play the role of facilitator unless of course they call on resumption of full scale hostilities and rule out the possibilities of negotiations in the near future.

Deane.

sittingnut said...

voice_in_colombo :
thanks for the comment.
i don't think it is possible to seriously blame government for first stepping outside the cfa . after all what about all those attacks on military from december. unp should be careful not to end up in the wrong side of history .

imo government should not give in to any ltte demand and let them rot( literally as seem to have happened) if they do not do anything and respond robustly if they attack or engage in other acts of violence link cutting water off.

keshi:
heyy !
yes its sad .

deane (~cc~):
Going with the line of 'no talks with terrorist' is an overblown rhetorical statement which ignores the complex realities of as conflicts which has ethnic, and/or religious dimensions, such as the conflict we have in Sri Lanka
who said there should not be talks with terrorists. it is posible to defeat them diplomatically as well as militarily
only there should not be any deal as long as they remain what they are . in all those successful cases, the terrorist organization ( never strong as ltte in the first place) were more or less defeated. ira for instance was fully stuffed with british agents including in their army command council ( or whatever thay call it )- their highest body. and eta in spain is virtually extinct.

its difficult to maintain clear cut moral positions on 'terrorism' or on other 'non-negotiable' positions without considering the practical implications and spillover effects of those decisions.
yes . but when one can one should maintain the moral position. and when one cannot, one should be honest and point out that any compromise is purely due to practical considerations only. one should not give away the moral high ground.
so we are not going for a full scale war bc we, given the resources of the country, cannot be sure of winning, but that does not mean we have to legitimize ltte's ill gotten gains.

if indeed the statement resemble the tiger position I would be quite glad since, among other things it "strongly condemn the closure of the Mavil Aru anicut by the LTTE".......To accuse of the statement being representative of the ‘voice of tigers’ is a rather a primary level thinking.
may be it is you who is naive.
why did they issue it now when ltte is in difficulties? they were deliberately silent during the period (15 days then) water was cut off .
nor is it correct to call for immediate stop to hostilities at that moment. on that day ltte was still in control of certain sections of muttur, a stop to fighting would have allowed them to secure and reinforce those positions putting them in charge more or less permanently. such a thing would have prevented muslim residents from returning and put the government in a difficult position having to initiate hostilities all over again to dislodge them (from now well entrenched postions)again.
given that these ppl were not fools and given their history one should not take their statements at face value naively. :-)

I applaud the very few people who bothered enough to go to Lipton Circus and stage a protest and I hope many more will go tomorrow.
unfortunately the official document calling for that protest said something quite different from their placards. so either they were cheating or were misguided. you are of course free to join them, if you think deliberate silence for some sufferings for days and calling for legitimatizing of a war crime is justified.

as for norway, while their role may be important that does not mean we cannot point out when they do not act in a impartial manner. in this case they were not impartial ( whether deliberately or due to naivety is another question) and their actions( of coming to an agreement contrary to government's stated position, acting on it before getting governments opinion, and then and then blaming government whan it failed) were highly suspicious.
is it your opinion that we should agree to every thing they do even when it is harmful to us just bc their role is important ? be clear, instead of speculating about sending norway away which is not a question that was raised here.

imo we should criticize them when they act impartially. may be you don't think so, or may be you think their actions were impartial here ? if so explain how you came to that conclusion given what they did.

btw in case you forget it is ltte that is refusing to talk not government. remember that.

Komisiripala said...

Hey Sittingnut...

I published a post that came about as a result of reading yours...I thought it too long to be a comment :) check out Eye of the Tiger at komisiripala.blogspot.com

It might be of interest.

Mahisha said...

BTW; why did certain people mention that the blockade of water was a breach of the Geneva convention? correct me if i am wrong, but isn't the Geneva convention between governments?

sittingnut said...

komisiripala :
i read it and left a comment :-)

manisha
yes but they are taken as a basis for international humanitarian law with regard to warfare of all kinds.
recently for instance u.s. supreme court ruled that geneva convention apply to terrorist suspects.even though they are not members of an armed force of a state. and in bosnia ppl were prosecuted for war crimes even though they were not state actors

~CC~ said...

"From the beginning this crisis showed yet again why it is impossible to tolerate or deal with a terrorist group.”

Yet you say there can be talks without ‘dealing’ with them which you say are 'impossible'. Perhaps I’m reading it wrong, but seems a bit mutually exclusive to me, for us to be impossible to deal with them and have talks at the same time.


If there ARE negotiations however then they should be conducted honestly, and with the goal of attaining an end to the conflict, not 'defeating them diplomatically'. In which case what you’re doing is not part of a peace process, but some form of diplomatically warfare, I concede that there are strategic interest to be safe guarded, but the foremost aim should be to resolve the conflict through an inclusive and a non-confrontational approach.

Practical reasons for compromise are what matters in the end, and that should be given priority over ‘morality’.

I simply don’t know why the PSG statement didn’t come earlier, when the water was cut, but what’s clear reading through the statement is that it’s more of a response to the humanitarian situation in muttur than anything else.

It’s also surprising the great ‘humanitarians’ organizations, parties spoke out against the water crisis seemed unconcerned about the Muttur situation. Didn’t see a lot of statements on that by the ‘war-niks’ if I’m to invent that word. I’m afraid there are various elements within the political mainstream pursing their own agendas for all out war using the water issue as an excuse.

I hope the protests go well, although I’m slightly away from Colombo not in a position to attend or even to watch. There’s nothing immoral in making an issue out of the Muttur situation and that’s certainly not assisting the ‘Terrorists’

As for Norway getting out, I thought it’s pretty much implied by the use of words by the first commenter. Objective criticism of Norway is one thing, Anti-Norwegian hysteria is something completely different, and serves nobodies purposes except of course the extremists and this hysteria is one of the reasons that it will be difficult to find a willing state to play the Norwegian role as well.

sittingnut said...

~cc~
Yet you say there can be talks without ‘dealing’ with them which you say are 'impossible'. Perhaps I’m reading it wrong, but seems a bit mutually exclusive to me, for us to be impossible to deal with them and have talks at the same time.
why is that mutually exclusive? as i said "there should not be any deal as long as they remain what they are". we can just talk. such talk wont ( and should not imo)result in any thing as long as they remain what they are . ( i mean by 'dealing' actually doing business with them, coming to agreements etc)
and the fact remain terrorists first resort is to violence and threats when they want something, that is why deals with them do not stick and are impossible. this is true of ltte here and hezbollah in lebanon. as long as they have unhindered ability to carry out the violence and act on threats, we should not deal with them bc deals fail.

If there ARE negotiations however then they should be conducted honestly, and with the goal of attaining an end to the conflict, not 'defeating them diplomatically'.
why not ? they do not have any legitimacy. we talk to them bc it is the pragmatic thing. but they should not be allowed to legitimize their claims at the expense of ppl in north east as well as other sri lankans.
may be you think they have some legitimacy ? be clear

the foremost aim should be to resolve the conflict through an inclusive and a non-confrontational approach.
why? is that true of all cases? sometimes confrontation is necessary. ( ex hitler)
and by inclusiveness do you mean including ltte as it is now? no way. we can talk bc we may not be able to defeat them militarily but why should the group of mass murderers have a say on the fate of others. nor should we legitimize whatever say they have gotten by force.
if they want a legitimate say they should disarm. and ppl under them should have unhindered enjoyment of freedom, democracy, and human rights. they should also submit to justice.
yes i know, they wont agree to that at the moment, but giving them more power and legitimizing them is not the answer bc they as with any terrorist group will always resort to violence when they want anything .
tamil grievances (which are very real ) should only be dealt with through democratically elected tamil representatives when they come into being or unilaterally by government for present.

Practical reasons for compromise are what matters in the end, and that should be given priority over ‘morality’.
so you approve ppl be handed over to ltte oppression in order to have peace ? say that clearly. why not write that bc i have yet to hear anyone say that unambiguously. be honest.
in addition to moral repugnance, what you advocate (appeasement) has never worked in history.so it is not practical either. ltte will always want more and they will resort to violence and threats. so first they have to change fundamentally or be defeated.
i had a post on this in more detail earlier where i set out what i think on this.

I simply don’t know why the PSG statement didn’t come earlier, when the water was cut, but what’s clear reading through the statement is that it’s more of a response to the humanitarian situation in muttur than anything else.
this is not the first time peaceniks issued such biased statements when ltte can gain an advantage from it or the first time they stayed silent when ltte should have been condemned. this behavior on the part of peaceniks regarding this incident was predictable and was predicted - see my recent post written before these protests. this is not just a one off thing, you cannot say 'i don't know why' every time they do that. there is a limit to willful blindness.

It’s also surprising the great ‘humanitarians’ organizations, parties spoke out against the water crisis seemed unconcerned about the Muttur situation. Didn’t see a lot of statements on that by the ‘war-niks’ if I’m to invent that word. I’m afraid there are various elements within the political mainstream pursing their own agendas for all out war using the water issue as an excuse.
of course some of them are warmongers but they are at least honest about it. and mainstream parties have expressed concern etc. etc.
but what does that prove? does that excuse the peaceniks ? if anything as i said before peaceniks by staying silent on water allowed the warmongers to gain credibility.
btw are you saying water issue is not important?
and care to explain you theories about hidden agendas?
political parties have agendas, that is their job. ppl know that. its the hypocrites who should be exposed.

I hope the protests go well, although I’m slightly away from Colombo not in a position to attend or even to watch. There’s nothing immoral in making an issue out of the Muttur situation and that’s certainly not assisting the ‘Terrorists’
they are certainly assisting the terrorists if the document calling for protest is the same.
btw muttur is peaceful now. if there was a halt on hostilities on friday as protest and psg document called for there would still be tigers in muttur now. keeping peace at any cost is not the best solution anymore than with other sort of violent criminals.
and are you supporting legitimization of a war crime with regard to water ? if so be clear as i asked before.
.
as for norway, do you think their actions here were justified or impartial? as i asked be clear. do not avoid the question.
i don't think there was any implication about getting norweigain out. pl quote.
anyway as i said on the post this sort of biased stupidity on norwegians part will only raise suspicions further. these things accumulate.

Anti-Norwegian hysteria is something completely different, and serves nobodies purposes except of course the extremists and this hysteria is one of the reasons that it will be difficult to find a willing state to play the Norwegian role as well.
well you can say that in a place where there is 'anti-norwegian hyteria'. here we point out what was clearly an inappropriate action on their part. if you think is it appropriate say why you think so. it is norwegians duty to to be impartial and not feed suspicions against them. they clearly failed here.

sittingnut said...

to clarify something with regard to good faith and talks, so that i dont get misinterpreted
government should not attempt to deceive the ltte with regard to its position. it should let its position be understood to ltte and international community,
that it attend talks bc it is the pragmatic thing to do ,
that it does not consider ltte legitimate and that its acceptance of sole representative status etc. are merely assumed for the sake of talks( since past governments were foolish enough to accept that ) only and does not have any validity outside that.
that any substantive agreement can only be reached with legitimate tamil representatives. and if ltte wants to be one it has to change a great deal.

with regard to practical agreements ( like how tigers and army interact etc etc or the cfa itself.) government should make it clear it does not trust ltte to keep to them and if it enters them due to practical considerations it is doing so only as a last resort. and they should make sure that provisions are included in such agreements so that any breach on the part of ltte are clearly visible to be condemned by international commnity, slmm, . etc.
government should not give anything away as long as ltte remains what it is and it should make clear that position.