Category Archives: foreign policy

USA’s Infiltration via ACSA and SOFA

Political Editor, Sunday Times, 7 July 2019,where the title is  “Inside story of how Sri Lanka fell into the ACSA-SOFA trap”

Amid mounting opposition, President should appoint expert probe team to identify weakness in the national security system 
Despite denials and clarifications by the US, the two deals give America a major footprint in Sri Lanka
With little or no prospect of contesting presidential election, Sirisena may settle for a portfolio close to his heart

Opposition is mounting over the two defence related agreements between Sri Lanka and the United States, one already signed and another now pending.The first is the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA). For almost two years it was not tabled before Parliament. Nor was there a government statement explaining the contents, on a matter of such national importance to Sri Lankans.

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American Hands behind National Thawheed Jamath and 21/4?

Lasanda Kurukulasuriya, in Dateline-Lanka, where the title reads “Sri Lanka Easter bomb attacks and the role of Western intelligence agencies”

Speculation that Western intelligence agencies had a hand in the well-coordinated, precision-timed Easter suicide bombings in Sri Lanka arises from a number of sources and circumstances. Analysts are still trying to figure out how the little known group ‘National Thawheed Jamaath’ (NTJ) could have orchestrated such a feat. The terror group known as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as Islamic State (IS) or Daesh, claimed responsibility through online videos. ISIS”s enemy is the West, and so Western governments unanimously expressed solidarity with Sri Lanka in its fight against the new terror (in a way they did not, with regard to Sri Lanka’s 30-year war against LTTE terror). One might recall how US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “This is America’s fight too.” Though IS is fronted for the attacks, answers to more specific questions such as who the handlers of the nine suicide bombers were, remain murky.

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Blake Foreshadows New American Approach to Sri Lanka … and the Rajapaksa Combo

Daya Gamage, in Asian Tribune, 12 May 2019, with this title “Robert Blake indicates Washington’s new approach to Sri Lanka”

Robert O’Blake, former (2006-2009) American ambassador to Sri Lanka and onetime assistant secretary for South and Central Asian Bureau (2009-2012) of the US Department of State indicated how Washington would approach Sri Lanka having seen the deteriorating security situation in this South Asian nation – which could affect Washington’s military design in the Indo-Pacific region – while assessing the rapidly changing political environment possibly favoring the return of the Rajapaksas.

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Sri Lanka as Lilliput Isle between Two Giants

Political Editor, Sunday Times, 19 May 2019, where the title runs “Sri Lanka caught in the big power conflicts”

When elephants fight, an African proverb says, it is the ants that get crushed. In essence that encapsulates how the small and weak become dangerously vulnerable when big powers fight for dominance and even hegemony. That is Sri Lanka now.

President Maithripala Sirisena returned from China on Thursday after adding another explosive chapter to this big nation power play. His Media Office head-lined a statement saying, “three significant agreements with China on national security and development were signed.” However, there was no mention of what these agreements were or the different titles.

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Vengeance! How Personal Vendettas BLINDED Sri Lanka’s Security Bulwarks

Stephen Long, in Asian Tribune, May 2019, where the title is Sri Lanka: A Tragic Lesson in Revenge Politics”

My relationship with the island nation of Sri Lanka began over twenty years ago. At that time, it was engaged in a bloody 30-year civil war that eventually claimed the lives of an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people. A deadly tsunami had devastated the country on Dec. 26, 2004, and on November 19, 2005, Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected to the first term of his presidency. From his predecessor, Chandrika Kumaratunga, a lady of questionable ethics, Mr. Rajapaksa inherited a country in chaos; it was rife with political corruption, racial, cultural, and religious conflicts, as well as poverty and social turmoil. The beleaguered natives were weary of hardship and death, of the seemingly endless war, of being left behind by economic development, and of living in constant fear that a suicide bomber might suddenly appear and blow them to bits.

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Where Terrorism carved out a Nation: Israel out of Palestine

Jayantha Somasundaram, in Island, April 2019, where the title isPalestine: Where Britain lost the war against terror”

What happened in British mandated Palestine in the run-up to Israeli statehood in May 1948 is a classic example of the triumph of terrorism. The British captured Palestine from the Ottomans during World War I and were mandated by the League of Nations (the precursor to the United Nations) to progress Palestine towards independence. Out of a population of 700,000, the religious breakdown in Palestine was about 500,000 Muslims, 90,000 Jews and 70,000 Christians. Up to the first century AD Palestine had been Jewish-majority, then a Christian-majority society (second to the eleventh century) and thereafter Muslim-majority. (DellaPergola)

Della Pergola

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Sheridan’s Concise Overview of Security Failures and the Islamic Extremist Threat in Sri Lanka … and This World

Greg Sheridan, in Weekend Australian, 27/28 April 2019, where the title is “Eternal vigilance is the price of keeping Islamist terror at bay”…. with highlighting emphasis added by The Editor

India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, tried for two years to tell its Sri Lankan colleagues they faced a growing threat of Islamist terrorism. But the Colombo authorities weren’t interested. If there was any threat, they believed it came from the remnants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. But the Tamil Tiger threat ended 10 years ago.

We don’t have a problem with our Muslims, the Sri Lankans insisted. By and large they were right about their Muslims. But out of maybe two million Sri Lankan Muslims, there was a problem with at least a couple of hundred, of whom a dozen or so became hard-boiled terrorists. Nine became suicide bombers, 10 if you count the bomb that one suspect detonated as police approached her home. That was more than enough. A Muslim man prays while perched on the roof of a mosque to spot possible hostile people during Friday prayers in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on April 26. Picture: AP

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