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Why President must not lower his guard


While the country is inching towards a presidential election, it looks as if the sinister forces that sought to throw a lifeline to Prabhakaran were readying for a different battle. They are all out to make the IDP problem get out of hand by forcing the government to resettle the war displaced immediately. Whether demining operations are over or not is of little concern to them as they are blinded by animosity to reality.

Some western ambassadors in Colombo once predicted that the LTTE would get into the guerrilla mode even if its leaders were killed. The LTTE has been effectively neutralised and their prophesy has gone wrong; they seem to be trying to make their prediction come true by causing the Tiger cadres trapped in IDP centres to be released together with civilians so that they could carry out subversive activities. Although it was naively thought that the whole world would celebrate the defeat of the LTTE, Sri Lanka's success story has regrettably become anathema to the West, which has failed to achieve that feat in spite of its military might and economic prowess; even the US has had to swallow its pride and consider talking to Taliban as an option.

Another reason why western governments are so keen on the resettlement of IDPs is their fear that the Rajapaksa government, which has ruffled their feathers, might be able to secure a block vote from the welfare villages at the next presidential election. For those who are dying to see the back of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the presence of so many voters in one place at the mercy of the government is naturally a worrisome proposition.

The IDP issue is only one of the several prongs of the anti-Sri Lankan forces' strategy to dislodge the present government and give a new lease of life to separatists. They have tried every trick in the book and still no luck! They tried to have the government defeated at budget votes. They pressured a major arms supplier to Sri Lanka to suspend sales last year and as a result the army experienced a severe shortage of artillery shells and even grenades while the war was raging in the Vanni. The US and the EU, especially the UK, made no bones about their resolve to force a ceasefire on Sri Lanka, while the LTTE leaders were trapped in a fast shrinking patch of land in Mullaitivu. They swayed the UN and carried out a vicious human rights campaign against Sri Lanka. After the war, a UNHRC Special Session was hurriedly summoned to press war crime charges against the Rajapaksa government and the Sri Lankan military. All these methods having failed, the US had the chutzpah to halt an IMF standby facility thus making a mockery of the raison d'être of the Bretton Woods Twins only to have egg on its face in the end. The IMF had to release the loan, when it became only too evident that unless it did so, Sri Lanka would get the money from a friendly country!

Now we learn that a foreign country has offered to fund the anti-Mahinda Rajapaksa campaigners at the next presidential election. But, its problem will be making an empty sack stand upright! Money alone cannot win elections. First of all, there will have to be a formidable candidate. Opposition activists have not yet been able to rope in a common candidate. Spending money on a political formation in which no one is willing to come forward to contest an election is like betting on a lame horse. Opposition politicians have, no doubt, every right to go all out to dislodge a government or defeat a President democratically, but if they stoop to the level of compromising themselves to be a cat's paw of any foreign power to achieve their political goal, they will be making a terrible mistake. For, their action will generate a massive countervailing patriotic force and they will lose whatever support they may be having at the grassroots level. Defeating the President and/or the government is something that they ought to essay on their own without external help.

However, that a foreign power is willing to throw money around in a bid to oust President Rajapaksa should cause him grave concern because manifest in that offer is the extent to which external forces hostile to him and the country are determined to go to achieve their goal. If he is wise, he must be able to guess their next move by a process of elimination and accordingly. They have failed to make him lose elections and budget votes; save Tiger leaders; help surviving Tiger cadres escape and resume terror attacks; press war crime charges against Sri Lanka and make the economy scream by blocking IMF loan etc. Their efforts to deny Sri Lanka the GSP Plus concession are also bound to come a cropper as they reek of discrimination and are based on unsubstantiated allegations by a group of greedy NGO activists exuding anti-Sri Lanka venom from every pore and even lacking the courage to reveal what their actual submissions to the EU were.

It is imperative that President Rajapaksa desist from lowering his guard and running unnecessary security risks. Anti-Sri Lankan forces may have failed to save the big cats, but they certainly know more than one way to skin a cat.

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