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Prof. Hudson McLean

The velvet glove treatment of the LTTE Terrorists by RanilW has allowed the LTTE cadres to establish themselves throughout the Island during the past year, position their weaponry, for potential deployment and destruction. Many of the Terrorists armed with foreign and local currency, bought themselves into Sinhala families and established themselves within the Sinhala circles.

Both the LTTE and the Sinhala government have been playing Tom & Jerry better than the original cartoon series during this period, with the Nordic peace monitors running round in circles.

Now that the Indians have decided to take over Trincomalee Oil Tanks Farm, meaning, taking over the security of the NE region by default, with Pakistan signing a MoU to establish a Free Trade Zone, the noose is getting tighter around the North.

One of the most important pieces in the NE puzzle is the Muslim factor. Muslims have been like grass hoppers, hopping from the Sinhala to the Tamil factions and vice versa. The Muslims are aware of their importance as a balancing factor and the descendants of the Moroccan traders took full advantage of their standing. When the Muslims went on their knees to Wanni, then blindfolded, and taken to the King of Terrorists, sent shivers on the spinal column of RanilW.

The sixth sense of the President CBK took over and the previous Foreign Minister made contact with the old friend General Musharaff, who initiated contact with the Muslim parties in Sri Lanka through Saudi Arabia.

“Money Talks and BS Walks!”, as the saying goes. When Saudi Arabian knights click their fingers, all Muslim nations stand to attention. Saudi Arabia has been the main sponsor of Pakistan in more than one way. To a large extent Saudis were the pay masters of the Pakistani nuclear programme. And Pakistan holds the Muslim nuclear bomb. It is in Pakistan’s interest to have good political relationship with the tiny island nation at the Southern flank of their nuclear neighbour. And the Saudis clicked their fingers and the Sri Lankan Muslim leaders walked to Mecca, then to Riyadh.

When the “Marakkalayas” began to rock the boat by paying homage to Prabhakaran, it was vital to cut off this contact immediately. Communal riots in the NE with a few live sacrifices put a temporary end to the love affair. Then on the instigation of CBK and USA, serious dialogue with Pakistan resulted in the visit of the President of Pakistan to play the Muslim card. And the General played it well.

With one solitary global powerhouse dictating the scenario makes it easy to establish the status quo throughout the world. With Russia under control and with China kept busy with their own domestic agenda, USA can do as they please. But fullest credit must be given to both political parties in the USA for their deft handling of the global political situation. As an independent observer, I have a healthy respect for USA and their stance on democracy and justice, in the world political scene.

A President who is not that well versed in geography or the names of the leaders in most countries, does not wind the White House clock each morning. Behind the scenes of the Face of Power, ticks one of the most formidable machines in the world. This machine continuously takes into account all risks, mainly revolving around Political and Economic, and how any changes may affect USA. And for the poor souls around the world working in sweat shops, a weak dollar, makes them sweat more for a lot less.

“Is Sri Lanka for Sale?” one of the readers of LankaWeb screamed once when Uncle Mac suggested an aggressive open market economy programme of inviting foreign investors. And eight months later, the Sri Lankan government has engaged both India and Pakistan in the commercial development of Sri Lanka successfully. Not really a Sale, but more like a long lease, if you get the drift.

Once, the Indians take over the Trincomalee region and put in place a security net, with Pakistan getting the “Thambi” population to get on with stitching garments and digging for gold, by default, the Cats will have no choice but to accept domestication. And all political parties in India dare not forget that the Sri Lankan Tamils led by the LTTE Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran murdered their beloved icon, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. And one fine day we all hope that the same fate met by Yugoslav Preesident Milosovic will descend upon a third class terrorist hiding himself in the jungles.

The Western nations, mainly the EU is awaiting the next stage of development to take place, not necessarily the LTTE peace talks, (what talks?), to inch their way with investments, which will commence with less riskier projects such as tourism, out sourcing IT programmes, and subcontracting labour intensive activity. No single country will pump any significant seven eight figure dollar investments during the next five years.

Therefore it is extremely important to play along with the good old Uncle Sam, who has vested interests in the stability of the South Asian region. Sri Lankan waters and access to land base can offer USA a strategic alternative to the Indian Ocean bases located South of Sri Lanka, some of which might disappear with the global warming syndrome.

By placing themselves at the mouth to the Gulf as well as to ASEAN region from the West, Sri Lanka may offer a safe and a speedy option for intervention in either direction. The presence of the US Forces will strengthen both political parties in Sri Lanka to maintain a healthy neutrality with Indo-Pak relationships and take a firm fair line with the Tamil citizens. The Americans will also deliver both objectivity and credibility to the Sri Lankan policy on minorities.

The American involvement in Sri Lanka is a like digging into a gold mine. In order to reach the end result, all parties have to wallow in a lot of muck and endure hard work, perspiration before accessing the final prize. Once the US Fleet drops anchor, with the Indians guarding their oil farm, with the Malaysians engaged in the exploration of natural resources, Pakistanis running the garments industry and the gem trade, Prabhakaran will have to give serious thought about his prawn fishing investment in Bergen.

With this credible encirclement of Sri Lanka, the Island will be a safe haven for investors from both the West, Middle East and the East. A South Asian Trade Block encompassing India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka may consolidate the purchasing power of raw materials needed for a wide range of labour intensive industries. The inherent talent of the Asians, their high IQ, their versatility in IT may be parcelled into service packages to compete with the growing competition from Russia and China.

The key to success of the programme of development lies in a dignified commercialisation of Sri Lanka, working in harmony with traditional friends such as USA, UK, India and with those who lend a hand in the time of need such as Pakistan. And her foes, should Sri Lanka forgive and forget? Not just yet!


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