Ranil Wickramasinghe created it, Chandrika Bandaranayake Kumaranatunga approved it and Mahinda Rajapaksha embraced it, and now the Sri Lankan government is trapped in it. One of the main strategies former Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe proudly formulated was the establishment of the so called “international safety net” with a view to trap the LTTE while having a safe landing net for the government in the case of a fall form the peace set up.
The international safety net was created with good intentions. The direct involvement of so many powerful governments into the Sri Lankan peace process was intended to serve two main purposes. It was envisaged that such international involvement would force the LTTE to remain in the peace path and in case they revert to violence it was meant to exert sufficient international pressure on them to stop such acts. The other was that if the LTTE resort to violence, the international community would act as a safety net for the government to fall back and rely on. Considering the past few months of year 2005, it seems like nether have achieved to the extent one would reasonably expect.
Entrapped and entangled
As the LTTE escalated and intensified the use of violence against the opponents and the government forces grossly violating the Cease Fire Agreement, due to pragmatic reasons and based on realistic limitations, the international community’s role is confined only to issuing statements urging the both parties to commit to the peace process. Irrespective of the international concerns LTTE continued their business as usual and it is apparent that the international safety net is irrelevant as far as they are concerned. The irony is that the Sri Lankan government is trapped and entangled in the net they laid to trap LTTE thereby limiting significantly their reaction to the war like situation created by the LTTE. The government’s careful response has been a source of mounting pressure on the government it self, from the South and especially from the security forces who are inevitably the direct victims at the receiving end.
One of the main mistakes done by the successive governments was the overconfidence placed over the international safety net and as a result it relegated the government’s(s’) own capability and strategic thinking power, if there were any. As usual Sri Lankan style it was apparent that the successive governments tried and still trying to pass the responsibility of solving the national problem to the international community rather than seriously getting down to business of formulating a cohesive and a coherent home grown solution. Sri Lankan politicians always try the easy way out as they have the other important business to do such as gaining and retaining power. As a result of myopic thinking and lack of readiness , the leaders are looking up and down at a time when LTTE has begun the war and the international community is doing too little to arrest the deteriorating situation. The outcome of the recently concluded official visit of the president Mahinda Rajapaksha to India is a fine testimony to this.
Hope for the best
Amid fear of war and insecurity, the dawn of the year 2006 is a wonderful opportunity for the LTTE and the government to enter into peace negations again forgetting the past. In fact the government’s patience and commitment to peace are worthy of praise as it has kept the door still open for peace in the New Year. We wish all our readers a happy and a peaceful new year. We’ll hope for the best.