Ceylon Tea, now Ceylon Oil?

By: Seda Punkt

  • Gathering Storm in Northern Sri Lanka
  • Is the USA planning an air-attack on LTTE positions in the North-East of Sri Lanka?

    Recent headlines appear to suggest, a cautious-yes, but the question is, how the US is going to benefit from all this unnecessary military intervention. Does the US want another front added to already strain military might?

    Some people might argue that the intention for the US intervention might be for the crude-oil found in Mannar Island, and in Vattappallai in Mulaithivu district. Ambassador Blake's Address at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) on May 01, 2007 in Houston is added to the speculation of the US interest in the North-East. Also, departing from previous US stand, the current ambassador said, there is no ethnic or civil war in Sri Lanka, but Terrorism. That gives the US a pretext to attack Tamil Tigers; the “War on Terrorism”.

    America’s former Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jeffrey Lunstead said that “The main U.S strategic interests in Sri Lanka is in ensuring that a terrorist organisation does not obtain its goals through the use of terror”. The Ambassador has also gone to great lengths to explain that ‘the US has no interest in Trincomalee’. The US didn’t want to create any ambiguity on Trinco, while negotiating nuclear treaty between the US and India. Many fair minded people are still doubtful of the US’s no-interest in Trinco.

    The USA listed LTTE as its Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997, even though LTTE never attacked the US interest, or any other foreign interests, except for an alleged incident involving former prime minister of India who sent Indian troops who were responsible for the thousands of civilian killings, countless rapes, and for the destructions of Tamil homes, schools, temples and lands. Any form of terrorism, state-sponsored or non-state-actors must be condemned.

    The American people might oppose any sort of US military intervention anywhere in the world at this time. Even the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Richard Lugar, is questioning the Iraq strategy, and urging the Bush administration to change the course. It won’t be surprised if many more GOP senators join Mr. Lugar. It is possible that the current admin might divert the Iraq attention by “wag the dog” in Northern Sri Lanka, but the US needs a “good reason”.

    India’s National Security Advisor, MK Narayanan called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a "terrorist organization" and said: "We are always concerned about their air and sea capabilities." He said the LTTE's Sea Tigers "are a threat; otherwise why should we increase (Indian) patrolling" in the sea dividing India and Sri Lanka.

    “There are reasons to believe that the LTTE is planning a coordinated attack on some Sri Lankan camps. Some of the targets in Sri Lanka are too close for our comfort,” international security expert, B Raman.

    The range of Indian surveillance along the Gulf of Mannar is probably the widest ever: Eight radar, five vessels including two missile corvettes, two aircrafts (a dornier and a hovercraft) and smaller boats of the Coast Guard. “Our electronic surveillance will not only be trained on possible incursions of the LTTE into our territory, but also on their movements along the border. It is imperative to know the pattern and strategies of the LTTE,” the source said.

    “There is no immediate threat to India, but the air and naval capabilities of the LTTE are worrisome. We cannot afford to be caught unawares and we need considerable number of radar and vessels for round-the-clock surveillance,” Mr. Raman said.

    India has the military power to defeat Air Tigers easily, but does it have political power? Indian central-fragile-government’s Tamil Nadu allies might pull out if the Indian Forces openly wage a war against Tamil in Sri Lanka. Understanding this political impasse, MK Narayanan said India will not intervene directly in Sri Lanka. Please note that India has already burnt her fingers in an ill-advised mission in late 1980s intervention directly. How about indirectly this time?

    India needs someone to accomplish its goals, and why not that someone be the US, whom India is negotiating a nuclear-deal with, and why not include Sri Lankan issue as part of the deal? Both governments will benefit along with Sri Lankan Government. Who is going to be affected? At least three million Tamils, mostly killed. Only crime they committed was that they were born as Tamils and just asking for their birth-right that was denied.

    Let’s hope and pray that the above is just hypothetical situation only. But followings beg the answers.

    Is India planning an attack on LTTE positions? Is America preparing an air-raid on Tamil Tigers for India? Is there any reason why the USS Nimitz is docking in Chennai between July 1st and July 5th? Where is it heading after Chennai? To Mulaithivu, Mannar or to Trinco? And for what purpose? Is US going to attack LTTE position from Air from USS Nimitz, instead of land-invasion. What is the response from LTTE?


    Usually LTTE’s major attacks were in July in the past (at least five years ago), is the US predicting resumption of Tamil rebel’s freedom struggle in this coming July? Is it a warning to the LTTE not to resume fighting in Sri Lanka, by moving USS Nimitz to LTTE’s footsteps? Or is it to counter-balance the Indian naval power in Northern Sri Lanka?

    Is the US finally going to recognize LTTE as freedom fighters, and then the formation of Tamil Eelam? No peace was won in battle. The US is in a unique position to bring a lasting peace to the Island nations without spilling any blood.

    The coming weeks, and months in Sri Lanka is crucial to the Tamils, and international community.

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    Comments (2)
    Part 2.

    it will presage the fall of the US , Indian and Rajapakse's Govt. There will be enough tamils left, not counting the tamils on the estates who will have the american ambassdor and his staff for Breakfast. Then like Sampson they can bring the whole edifice down. Any attack will spur concerned countries to get nuclear deterrents. In the long run the Tigers should seriously consider this. The US will confirm their Pariah status in the eyes of the rest of the world. The ordinary US citizen will find their action indefensible.

    Radha from Ireland on Jun 27, 2007 15:52:41 GMT
    Part 1.The US like its wild west heroes are used to shooting from the hip.As in Iraq they think that with their atomic power as a last resort they can shoot first and deal with the consequences later.Their actions will be supported by the rajapaKse Govt.and by the buddhist priests.But many Sinhalese including the JVP will not be so pliable as they will realise the long term implications for the Island.Tamil nadu will oppose it and so will the tamil diaspora around the world.The US will therefore open up another "Terrorist" front within their borders to add to the Islamic groups. Blake and Company are talking Hooey as the Bush adm. did with The WMDD. Bulk of the Indians will be appalled.
    Radha from Ireland on Jun 27, 2007 15:37:27 GMT