Finally they are in Sri Lanka. The Norwegian International Development Minister and special peace envoy for Sri Lanka Erik Solheim and the third highest ranking official of the US State Department, Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, are in the country with the ultimate aim of resurrecting peace prospects for the country. Though they have a common objective the contrasting difference is the strategies they represent. Now the question is can they do it?
The presence of the US Under-Secretary Nicholas Burns is of immense importance at this point of time due many reasons. His visit emanates a strong signal and a warning to the LTTE to be careful and think twice. It theoretically applies colossal pressure upon LTTE demanding them not to foray into full scale war. The most important aspect of his visit is the strength it provides to the president Mahinda Rajapaksha and his government, at a time they were lost and lonely without a proper and firm support from the international community especially from India, in the manner and form they wanted it.
By escalating attacks on the Sri Lankan security forces, virtually igniting a stealth war, the LTTE gained the upper hand as the government was unable to reciprocate in order to maintain its credibility and commitment to the peace in good books of the international community. Further, the government and its allies always viewed Norway’s involvement and her role in the peace process as bias towards LTTE. Therefore the balance was moving in favour of the LTTE and the visit of the US undersecretary in fact can be analysed as a balancing act which brought much needed weight back to the government side on the scale.
Business as usual
Despite the fact that two important and powerful foreign emissaries are around, the LTTE continues its business as usual. They keep on using violence and do not show any signs of slowing down and it has made international analysts to wonder that why the LTTE acts in such a way: whether it’s due courage, audacity or ignorance? Violence breeds violence and in the process it has created a vicious cycle in which the LTTE is well and truly embroiled. The government’s inability, not to mention the delay, in amassing the proper dose of international pressure upon the LTTE against the escalating violence before it gathered momentum, also contributed immensely for the situation.
The right time
Sooner or later, LTTE will feel the international pressure as the global political dynamics in the context of Sri Lankan issue, slowly but surely, are moving against their favour spearheaded by USA as a direct result of the continuation of violence. The forthcoming Canadian election is also crucial for the LTTE as the probability of Right-Wing & Pro- American Conservative Party wining the election is high ending the twelve years of rule of the Liberal Party, which in turn may have serious negative impact on their activities in Canada.
The escalation of violence was a pre- calculated strategy that LTTE adopted and it worked for them. They exploited the situation and put maximum pressure on the president and the government without letting them settle down. They bred the fear psychosis among the Tamils again otherwise who were increasingly becoming addicted to peace and as a result they were able to revive their international fund raising activities. As they achieved their short term objectives to a greater degree, it seems like LTTE would agree for peace talks with a view to calm down volatile international waters. Despite all the uncertainties and violence, the presence of the LTTE ideologue Anton Balasingham is an indication that they are ready for talks and let’s hope that we would be able to hear the good news soon.