Isha khan’s Weblog

Sinister designs on Sri Lanka
March 16, 2009, 1:00 pm
Filed under: India, Sri Lanka, SubContinent

Sinister designs on Sri Lanka

By Dimuth Gunawardena

“By attacking something your enemy holds dear he can be forced to surrender to your will”Art of War-Sun Tzu

Much has been said about the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore and the basic details are common knowledge. The “who” and “why” are not clear yet, but what is generally accepted is that there were serious security lapses on the part of Pakistan, especially in terms of security guarantees and undertaking given by the PCB prior to the tour.

Pakistan probably realises that such lapses only gives ammunition to its archrival India and of course the USA in whose interest (more than anyone else’s) it is to portray that country as being blown apart by terrorism.

Interestingly, and indeed commendably, neither Pakistan nor Sri Lanka engaged in any immature blame game like what happened in the aftermath of the 11/26 attack on Mumbai. Neither the Sri Lankan people nor the Sri Lankan media made a Bollywood spectacle of the Lahore attack. There was no mass hysteria. That’s a kind of political maturity that the Indian masses and mass media are yet to attain, one is forced to observe. Such a course of action would have only serves the interests of the terrorists. On the contrary, Sri Lanka, very responsibly condemned those in the world media baying for Pakistan’s blood in its hour of greatest need, even as carefully ‘placed’ video camera footage and stories planted in the press in foreign capitals sought to play into the hands of the terrorists.

To put ‘Mumbai’, ‘Lahore’ and of course, the countless such terrorist attacks that Sri Lanka has suffered at the hands of the LTTE in it’s proper context, an analysis of the Lahore attack in depth in a geo political sense is essential.

It is pertinent to note that 60-70 percent of the Afghan parliament is occupied by former mujahedin, ex-communists, drug-barons, and warlords who individually and collectively do their utmost to prevent the Central Government’s writ being established across the country. There are serious conflicts between Pashtuns and Non-Pashtuns, especially the Tajik population of the country. The Afghan National Army (ANA) is seriously short of manpower to the tune of an 80,000 troop inadequacy. The Afghan dilemma contains, as such, the reality of Indian ‘advisors’ and intelligence officers littered along the Pakistani border and ‘consulates’ functioning as intelligence gathering networks along the 2,560 km long Durand line border. The Indians and Americans have essentially ensured that Hamid Karzai is hapless with presidential elections declared in August (term expires in May). Development in Afghanistan is a non-starter.

Yet, instead of finding a viable exit strategy like in Iraq, the new American administration announced the induction of 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan even as it made noises about not winning the war in Afghanistan and talking of initiating talks with the Afghanistani Taliban.

This is how the West in general and the US in particular dismembers countries in the guise on waging its war on terror. India has lifted a page from that pernicious handbook, it seems.

To return to Pakistan, the Obama administration has announced an intention to increase the intensity of the drone bombings inside Pakistan and in the same breath, advocates talks with the Afghanistani Taliban.

The Zardari Government is certainly not doing itself any favours either. Depriving Nawaz Sharif of contesting elections or holding public office and sacking his popular brother Sheka Sharif (which probably led to the costly security lapses at Lahore), not restoring the independence of the judiciary as promised during the election campaign and remaining mum on the exposure by US Senator Dianne Feinstein that the US drones that bomb NWFP took off from Pakistani bases has strengthened the perception that the regime is made up of a bunch of pro-American agents. Given history, one cannot be blamed for wondering if the Pakistani military military is waiting for the usually nod of approval from the US embassy for yet another coup to restore the image of stability in Pakistan.

The Pakistani Government signed a peace accord in the Swat Valley region for the return of Shaira law. This lead to a hail of criticism in the western media, Is it not another face saving Bajaur type truce that the Americans so desire in Afghanistan to pull out its troops one needs to ask?

Elsewhere the Pakistani government is following the military option and it is useful to note that attacks between Pakistani security forces and terrorists have intensified in Nawagai and Mohamand regions since the 3/3 attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers.

Let’s remember that China will remain determined to be a part of the regional and of course major part of the global equation. The Gawadar Port (China’s biggest overseas construction undertaking) would give China direct access to the Indian Ocean. This is unacceptable to both the Indians and the Americans (India, because of its aspiration to be an up-and-coming blue water navy and dominate the region and the US, due to the given concerns about China’s close accessibility to the strategic Straits of Hormuz). “Terrorism in Pakistan” therefore is a subject that has to be included in such considerations.

Perhaps this is the reason why Basit-ul-Ullah Mahsud who was held in Guantanamo for 2-3 years has been attacking targets detrimental to Pakistan’s interest ever since he was released and subsequently disappeared in Pakistan. His first major action was to kidnap some Chinese engineers attached to the Gawadar project.

It is also pertinent to remember that a nuclear armed Iran and Pakistan pose a common strategic military threat to not only US/western interests in the region but also to Israel and India.

Slieg Harrison of the Centre of International Policy in Washington predicted the breakup of Pakistan into three sovereign states all along ethnic lines: Pashtunistan (comprising Pashtuns of North Western Frontier Provinces, NWFP, and Afghanistan as one country), Free Baluchistan (a federation comprising the Sindh and Baluchistan provincial regions) and Pakistan (comprising the nuclear armed Punjabi rump state), with Baluchistan being the high priority target for both Indians and Americans due to General Musharraf’s efforts to marginalise mischief making tribal leaders with the help of China.

General Aslam Beg, Pakistan’s former Army chief in an article about the “Strategic Partnership Deal” says that it led to the creation of a joint espionage network comprising CIA, Mossad, MI6 and RAW that is now engaged in destabilising Pakistan, Iran, China, Russia and other Central Asian States such as Tajikistan.

As part of this plan in the NWFP the main terrorist group called Pakistani Taliban is fighting a proxy war in the tribal belt. By engaging Pakistani Taliban and terrorist insurgents in Baluchistan, the Pakistani armed forces are stretched to its maximum limit and unable to concentrate on the Indo Pakistani border or on Kashmir terrorists.

As Rahman Malik (special advisor to Zadari) clearly pointed out that theydo not rule out the possibility of a foreign hand in the cricketer’s incident.

Michel Chossudovsky of the Centre for Research on Globalisation in his article “The Destabilisation of Pakistan” says (unashamedly) “Washington’s foreign policy course is to actively promote the political fragmentation and balkanisation of Pakistan as a nation”. He goes on to say “The course consists of fomenting social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation, including the territorial break up of Pakistan”. Familiar? Yes, it is not too different to the American/Indian policy preferences with respect to Sri Lanka and quite similar to the ‘proposal’ to devolve power in areas freed from terrorism.

If a hostage take over was the terrorist objective then wouldn’t one or two dead bodies of cricketers’ executed by them have had the desired impact on Colombo and have forced a ceasefire to pacify an outraged Sri Lankan population?

According to reports in newspapers like the Hindu and Times of India, India had told the Sri Lankans not to go to Pakistan, but Sri Lankans outrageously defied that Indian “order”. Perhaps Sri Lanka needed to be taught a lesson in obedience. Indian rulers were not too pleased at all. They expressed their displeasure to Colombo in no uncertain terms. The effectiveness of their boycott of Pakistan was being neutralised by Sri Lanka. The Times of India was bold enough to say “India is not happy with Sri Lanka’s cricket tour to Pakistan”. The Sunday Times opined that Ranatunge’s decision to tour Pakistan “had irked the Indian authorities” and reported that the matter had been discussed at the highest levels in Colombo. To appease the Indians, Ranatunge and his administration had to be fired and the Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge said “the tour had become a diplomatic issue”.

It is always pertinent to examine whether the diplomatic closeness between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and it’s perceived strategic threat on the interests of other nations could have been the main factor for the targeting of the cricket team.

RAW has been structured and designed to primarily serve the imperial and expansionist needs and more than the national security needs of India. It has a Special Ops Division in all SAARC countries with a large network of local agents specialising in assassinations, sabotage and raids and paramilitary style operations. Propaganda and deception are integral elements of the overall RAW modus operandi. Covert operations and fuelling clandestine warfare in neighbouring countries is another area of RAW specialisation.

It must be noted at this point that the Daily Mirror newspaper in Sri Lanka reported how the RAW is supporting cross border terrorist groups such as the Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) to separate the largest province from Pakistan.

The Indian media was quick to point a finger at Lashkar-e-Taibar (LeT) and its front organisations such as the Lashar-e-Jhanvi (LeJ) and attempted to establish a close link between these groups and the LTTE. However the LeT spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi was quick to deny involvement in the attack. He rejected media reports of their involvement in the attack and said “The attack on Sri Lanka’s team was an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty and Kashimiris could never think of that”. He went on to accuse the Indian agencies of trying to defame Pakistan and to bring instability to the region. Imran Khan speaking to Times/UK opined that the Lahore attack was not perpetrated by ideological terrorists. He argued that there was a pattern in such attacks and that in his view a “foreign element” was almost certainly involved.

Indian intelligence sources have also gone to great lengths to establish a connection between the Marakat-ul Mujahideen (MuM) and the LTTE. They have said that the former leader of the LTTE “Mahattaya” was killed by the LTTE due to his connections with the RAW (result of RAW efforts to indoctrinate Sri Lankan Tamil prisoners, which backfired). Some analysts like Ram Madhav have even argued LTTE was equipping Indian terror outfits like the Maoists and the United Liberation Front (ULF) of Assam.

It is also a well known fact that RAW operations in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are mostly about Human Intelligence (HUMINT) unlike those of the CIA, SIS and MI6, whose Intelligence gathering forte are in areas of Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT), Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), Sophisticated Signal Intelligence (SIGINT), Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) etc. HUMINT is a very difficult and sometimes costly affair for any intelligence agency such as RAW and they often resort to financing outside of the normally allotted governmental finances. With a total budget of appx. Rs. 2,500 crore it is well known that RAW has had to resort to drug smuggling from India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan using Sri Lanka as a transit point to finance certain special operations. It had close connections not only with the LTTE but Pakistani terror groups from the times of the Mujahedeen/Jihadist operations against the Soviet Union.

It is also worth pointing out that 70 % of the funding requirements of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan come from the opium trade.

One must also look at cases like Massood Az Har of Jaish-E- Muhammad who was being held without charges by India and was subsequently released following a deal done in a hijacking drama. He has since been targeting subjects detrimental to Pakistani interests. It would be interesting to see where the strings that control Muhammad Aqil who is one of the prime suspects on the attack of the cricketers will lead to.

On the other hand some analysts had concluded that the attack on the cricketers may have been precipitated due to the fact that Sri Lanka now represents a success story in ” Miitarily defeating terrorism”. They also say this was a danger to the Taliban’s ambition of acquiring conventional military capability in the Fata region.

There is one contradiction in all this however, after yesterday’s bomb attack in Matara, RAW agents such as Hariharan says “with the LTTE, there is no love lost for Muslims”. How true they chased out and ethnically cleansed the entire Northern Province of Muslims numbering more than 100,000 within 48 hours. Some of those subsequently worked with the Sri Lanka Army intelligence.

These all remain in the realm of ‘machinations’ at this point and nothing conclusive can be said. It is heartening that in spite of all the pressure Pakistan has quite correctly maintained a tight lid until the investigations are complete. One can only hope for all concerned that these investigations are swiftly concluded and the culprits are punished for their crimes.

Meanwhile Chidambaram has been making some “queer and ludicrous” statements before and after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team: “the ISI were training Tamil armed group in the North and East of Sri Lanka and sending them as refugees to Tamil Nadu to ferment terrorism”. “The ISI can infiltrate India through Sri Lanka” he said, adding that “cricket is safe in India, but security forces are required to make it more secure”.

The RAW analyst Raman in his attempts to whitewash his organisation’s involvement in cross border terrorism made the most hilarious statements of all in his assertions “That ISI had links with the LTTE since 1990” so it was all the ISI and not the RAW ?

Whoever was responsible for attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team succeeded in achieving a multitude of objectives, some of which are given below:

– Pakistan is a country in anarchy; Pakistan should not only be isolated in sports but also no foreigners should visit the country.

– The weakening economy will be further destroyed with no foreign investments or lending forthcoming, creating both political and economic instability.

– This will increase Pakistan’s foreign debt significantly.

– It was clearly a signal to Sri Lanka not to get too cosy with Pakistan after the end of it’s conflict.

All this points to a singular design on Sri Lanka: push the island nation into a ceasefire situation that benefits no one but India.

Perhaps India’s has it’s own reasons to demand that Sri Lanka gets directly involved in the investigation into the attack.

India has not exactly been Sri Lanka’s friend. Pre-1987, India actively trained terrorists. Later, India played only lip service to Sri Lanka by giving the usual training, some naval intelligence information and obsolete 2D radar (to block the supply of 3D radar being purchased from China which proved to be a costly error in the early days of the LTTE air raids).

They have once again violated Sri Lankan sovereignty and independence by landing Indian forces (or some say those RAW agents with “stethoscopes round their necks” or as “betel-chewing nurses in white uniforms”) to take control of Pulmoddai under the false guise of setting up a field hospital to treat the injured civilians and who knows, perhaps even terrorists. We note, with grave concern that these so called ‘doctors’, have effectively taken control of Sri Lanka’s most valuable mineral resources. Already the South Block defence and external affairs officials are working on several plans to increase the number of these so-called “military medical teams”. It is said India hopes to force Sri Lanka to expand these unwelcome military teams to cover other areas such as road building, de-mining etc. India seems to have put a foot into a situation that will see a number of other foreign forces landing on Sri Lankan soil on India’s back on the pretext of ‘assisting Sri Lanka’.

Are we seeing the first moves in a concerted “American-Indian” led invasion of Sri Lanka on the pretext of ‘evacuating’ that magic number of “quarter of a million civilians” that the LTTE and it’s propagandists claim are trapped in the Wanni. The many visits by officials of PACOM (US Pacific Command) could not have been just to sample arrack and papadam, one notes.

Robert Kaplan writing to the latest issue of the American Foreign Affairs journal says “we will have to do so not as in Afghanistan and Iraq as a land-based, in-your- face meddler …but as a sea based balancer lurking just over the horizon”. Sea power has always been less threatening than land power; as the cliché goes navies make port visits and armies invade.

So once again just like in 1987 the Indian army and US Navy are poised to invade Sri Lanka and save the day for the terrorists. We note, again with concern and a keen consciousness of history, that several other countries such as the UK, France, Switzerland, have also “offered assistance” to this invasion force.

They are also encircling the naval dockyard from the North and the South (where you find Indian military personal operating from NIOC facilities in Trincomalee) and are now able to have a stranglehold grip on the Trincomalee port. This was the identical strategy the RAW must have advocated to the LTTE when they too encircled the naval dockyard from the South and brought their artillery guns within range of the base and the fleet, targeting thus the lifeline of all economic activity of the North and the East. This is probably what Clinton and Menon discussed for 45 minutes on Monday. Is this what they call “US-India counter-terrorism collaboration”?

The conventional Indian body politic has begun threatening Sri Lanka by crying for Sri Lanka’s blood in mass hysteria just like they did for Pakistani blood after the Mumbai attack.

India has offered the Northern and Eastern provinces massive development assistance. It is also useful to take note of the the Indian demand to develop the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the Indian High Commissioner’s attempts to bypass the Central Government and assist the Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council.

According to Pillyan it was not the LTTE that shot his private secretary, who happened to be awell known RAW operative. Pilliyan has had meetings with the Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad and the officials of the PACOM. It is quite possible that he is the Sun-God-in-Waiting that India is nurturing for the next 3 decades!

Indian bids to develop and control the KKS cement plant, control Sri Lanka’s energy though NIOC and oil exploration of the Gulf of Mannar and control of Sri Lanka’s power sectors by the marine cable power line and the two coal power plants in Trincomalee have to be viewed as the regional version of the Trojan Horse.

India will no doubt do it’s all to fleece and wheedle out from the people of the north and the east if not the whole of Sri Lanka dry and of all its resources before creating another terrorist monster like the LTTE to deflect the focus of its Tamil Nadu parasitic separatist militancy in order to maintain its own union. India will never give anything of substance back to Sri Lanka without an ulterior motive that benefits her.

Like that what has happened in Pakistan, the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims of Sri Lanka will once again end up killing each other for another 100 years in order to keep “Mother India” intact. When all the election rhetoric is over, the flames of separatism in South India will have to be doused, what better way to do so than with the time tested method of deflecting it towards Sri Lanka in the form of a LTTE-2.

Sri Lanka must never again allow the ugly head of another RAW sponsored terrorism to raise its head. It has cost Sri Lanka enough. She has bled for far too long. The LTTE surrendees or the common man in the north or the east today have no interest in the devolution of power to break up Sri Lanka like in the case of Pakistan or anything else that the India/USA/NGO-Mafia, the LTTE apologists or those “Colombians” pandering to foreigners are trying push down the throats of Sri Lanka.

It is these very same forces that had not too long ago convinced the Sri Lankan population that LTTE terrorists were an invincible military force which could never be defeated, that India would never allow it to be defeated, and therefore this country was asked to negotiate with these terrorists and separate the country on mono ethnic lines to appease the terrorists.

In a post conflict Sri Lanka her citizenry should always remember who helped her to defeat the most powerful terrorist group in the world, and on the other hand which were the forces that bullied her to act against her self-interest. Who was the friend in need who shipped arms to the Sri Lankan Armed Forces on a mere phone call, or who helped her armed forces in their most critical hours? Who, on the other hand, refused to provide necessary weapons citing various excuses but always tried to exercise control both strategically and economically for their own selfish reasons.

Apart from extending “real” help to Sri Lanka to free her land from the Indian-Made, West-Supported LTTE terrorism” China also remains the 2nd biggest aid provider in real terms. Countries like China and Japan have offered help without strings attached, unlike the western donors (USA, UK, EU, Norway). The USA, EU, and India, who give a pittance to Sri Lanka and never fail to bully, intimidate, and pressurise Sri Lanka on various issues to subscribe to their agendas. The hostility of US Ambassadors (Schafter, Lumstead and now Blake) towards the Sri Lankan state constitute a good case in point. Countries like China, Japan, and Russia help Sri Lanka when the west tries getting Sri Lanka on to the agenda of the UN Security Council.

Taking all this into consideration, perhaps the time has come for countries like Pakistan and Iran too, to learn a lesson or two from the bitter Sri Lankan experiences with the USA/EU and their India to save their independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

The new world order is changing rapidly, Obama or no Obama,

The recent developments in India and particularly in Tamil Nadu should hold valuable lessons for Sri Lanka. It clearly shows that in a post conflict Sri Lanka, it is essential to build very fruitful mutually beneficial stronger bilateral relationships with countries such as China, Russia, Iran, and Pakistan. These relationships should go beyond the traditional areas of trade, cultural, and economic, cooperation to extend to cooperation in areas such as military, power generation, communications and other strategic areas as well. Strong bilateral “all weather” relationships with these countries is an essential prerequisite for the peaceful survival, stability, and growth of Sri Lanka.

It is obvious that Sri Lanka has little choice due to the sinister designs of India and USA.


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