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Perfect opportunity for US to prove credentials: ICG, Asia Director

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 15:22 No Comment]

Robert_Templer_fr "Barack Obama’s administration has said it is committed to the principals of international law and humanitarian protection. Sri Lanka is the perfect opportunity for the new U.S. president to show that this is not empty rhetoric," says an article by Robert Templer of the International Crisis Group. "Urgent, determined, and united international action is necessary to ensure the safety of the innocent — by the United Nations Security Council, other multilateral organizations, and individual countries that have relations with Sri Lanka, including India and Japan. Only international supervision, unhindered by the government, can provide the necessary level of protection," writes the author, reflecting the changing and opportunistic perspectives of the IC, but elusive on the crux of the crisis – the Tamil national aspirations.

The International Crisis Group (ICG), which was highly critical of the Eezham Tamil liberation struggle sometimes back, theoretically contributed to Bush’s war on terror and the weakening of the Tamil defences leading to their genocide today, seems to have changed its perspectives, said a political analyst in Colombo.

Striking a big blow to the perspectives of Colombo and its Tamil paramilitary groups, the ICG in a report last week, has openly admitted the failure of the ‘post-conflict development’ in the East of Sri Lanka. The report was critical at the thought of extending the failed model to ‘post-conflict’ north.

“The ICG’s perspective, reflecting the anxieties of donor countries is understandable. But its failure is not recognizing the fact that emotional involvement of the people and sense of belongingness are vital for any development. In the context of the island of Sri Lanka, they can come to the minds of Tamils only when their national aspirations are satisfied.

Anyone who aspires for peace and development has to first address this question, without the deceiving and patchwork solutions, such as the ones advocated by the ICG in its report. Any international involvement or development that doesn’t consider the perspectives of the concerned people, are not going to bring in any returns”, the Colombo political analyst said.


"Meanwhile, the ICG Asia programme director’s article reflected another newly emerging concern of the international community, the uprising of the diaspora Tamil youth.

“An already humiliated Tamil diaspora is growing more volatile, angry, and mobilized — a potentially explosive combination”, Templer wrote.

“There are disturbing signs that a new generation of young Tamils in the United States, Canada, Britain, Europe, and India are being radicalized. That process has the potential to produce new forms of terrorism and violence. While the Tigers’ targets have so far been contained to Sri Lanka, they might soon find new venues.

The dream of an independent Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka resonates powerfully across the diaspora and will certainly live on even after the defeat of the LTTE as a conventional military force”, said Templer.

“The knee-jerking comes from guilt”, was the response of the political analyst in Colombo.

On engaging the diaspora positively, Templer wrote: “All means of influencing the Tamil Tigers must be explored. The Tamil diaspora has an important role in persuading the LTTE to allow the trapped civilians to leave the target area and ultimately, agree to lay down their arms”.

“Templer wants the diaspora to ask their fighters to lay down arms without achieving the political aspirations, without any assurances from the international community and even without at least a recognition from the IC for their nationhood. He wants the diaspora to serve Colombo and the IC.

Templer says how the war ends will be critical to Sri Lanka’s future, but Tamils will not appreciate anyone approaching them from the perspective of saving the state of Sri Lanka. The ICG has to think of a model of deconstructed Sri Lanka”, the political analyst said.

[Full Coverage]

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