Category Archives: Responsibility to Protect or R2P

Facing Palihakkara: Foreign Judges on Homeland Soil?

Darshanie Ratnawallie in Daily Mirror, 13 June 2018, with the title reading “Diplomacy and Foreign Judges”

Could there be a keener pleasure than to sit around a fire and discuss diplomacy with a diplomat? Of course, there is no fire; just coffee, and that only in plastic cups, which nevertheless provides the fire, inside, instead of outside, but with the same cheering and relaxing power.

  
It’s after the coffee break at the ‘Education Institute’ and Ambassador Palihakkara has invited questions. “You said we cannot operate in isolation. But we have opposed the intervention of foreign judges in HR issues. As a diplomat how do you view this?” a student asks. Palihakkara makes it clear that he views it with disfavour, and concern and has no doubts that the same degree of disfavour would be forthcoming from every country, were such a thing suggested to them.    Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, democratic measures, foreign policy, historical interpretation, human rights, law of armed conflict, legal issues, life stories, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, vengeance, war reportage, world events & processes

Reflections: Interpreting the Gash Files IV

Michael Roberts

I proceed, here, to extract motifs from the details on the happenings in 2009 within the principle theatre of war that have been summarized in Gash IV. This arena has been aptly identified as “the Vanni Pocket” by Serge de Silva-Ranasinghe[1] and is in the north western corner of the island. My comments will be marked A, B, C, etc for ease of reference.

  Situation Map, 2 February 2009

A= The Grand Strategy of the LTTE

In his secret situation report of the 28th January, Lt. Col. Gash notes: “The LTTE appear to have no options left, and the language on TamilNet and other similar platforms is clearly striving for international intervention to force a ceasefire on the GoSL. Further civilian casualties are now inevitable as they no longer have options to move away from the combat zone. Without the presence of the IDPs the LTTE would be subjected to unrestricted air and artillery strikes, so have no incentive to release them. The SLA is exercising restraint but, without a change in political mood, will not hold back entirely.”

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, atrocities, British imperialism, conspiracies, disparagement, doctoring evidence, Eelam, ethnicity, fundamentalism, gordon weiss, governance, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, military strategy, nationalism, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, Rajapaksa regime, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, war crimes, wikileaks, world events & processes

Immaculate Follies: The Contradictions within Wars of Humanitarian Intervention

George Friedman, in STRATfor Worldview, 5 April 2011, where the title is “Immaculate Intervention: Wars of Humanitarianism,” …. Note that the highlighting and break-up into paragraphs are the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

There are wars in pursuit of interest. In these wars, nations pursue economic or strategic ends to protect the nation or expand its power. There are also wars of ideology, designed to spread some idea of “the good,” whether this good is religious or secular. The two obviously can be intertwined, such that a war designed to spread an ideology also strengthens the interests of the nation spreading the ideology. Since Word War II, a new class of war has emerged that we might call humanitarian wars — wars in which the combatants claim to be fighting neither for their national interest nor to impose any ideology, but rather to prevent inordinate human suffering.

Devil selling angel wings.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, cultural transmission, discrimination, doctoring evidence, economic processes, foreign policy, fundamentalism, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, Islamic fundamentalism, law of armed conflict, legal issues, LTTE, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes

The Gash Files II: LTTE’s Strategic Design

Michael Roberts

In Despatch COL/2/08 of12 March 2009 Lt. Col Anton Gash has this summary appraisal for his superiors: The LTTE has been forcing the civilian population to move in accordance with their tactical requirements. The NFZ is rigorously policed and patrolled by LTTE cadres, who control access to food and medical facilities, ensuring that their own needs are met before any capacity is allowed for civilians.”

This is a critical observation pointing in the right direction. Nevertheless, it falls short of the mark. The mass of Tamil civilians was not merely a tactical element. They were a central pillar in the LTTE’s grand strategy. For one, they constituted a defensive formation: just so many sandbags restraining the full deployment of the government forces’ military weaponry. While the standard description of the civilians as “hostages” in HR and Western circles does point in this direction, the terminology is “weak” and does not fully capture the overarching strategic purpose of the corralled civilian mass. In addition to serving as a restrictive ‘bund’, the civilian mass provided an active incentive for Western intervention in favour of a ceasefire and some sort of “political solution.

 a tent citty in the Tigers’ last redoubt –-Pic from UNPoE circa February 2009

Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, authoritarian regimes, discrimination, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, law of armed conflict, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, refugees, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, unusual people, war crimes, war reportage, wikileaks, world events & processes

The History of Civil Society Organisations in Sri Lanka

Vinod Moonesinghe

Although the role and importance of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other civil society organisations (CSOs) have diminished since January 2015, they continue to play a significant role. While the level of their co-operation with the state is fairly high, this has not always been so. The eruption on in July 2014 of a controversy regarding the political and media activities of civil society highlighted its long-standing friction with the state. Relations between state and civil society have been characterised by periods (of varying duration) of familiarity and of remoteness, of alliance and of antagonism.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, charitable outreach, economic processes, growth pole, historical interpretation, island economy, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, working class conditions, world events & processes

Liddle’s Sarcastic Criticism of David Cameron’s Arrogance in Sri Lanka at its CHOGM Occasion in 2013

A NOTE: With the UNHCR sessions looming in Geneva this month and CHOGM due to take place in London in the near future I am stirred to visit this moment when a local journalist broke away from the miasma clouding the judgement of a whole ‘tribe’ of media personnel in Britain in their reportage of the Sri Lankan war and its IDP camp aftermath. As I am in UK because of a family bereavement. I have been stirred to return to this puzzle. That is, my investigations of the scenario in Sri Lanka in 2009-2010 led me to the firm conclusion that the British media had bought into the clever  propaganda of the LTTE — in part from ideological reasons (in my surmise). Among those who I would place in this camp of pro-Tiger supporters (in varying degrees) THEN are Frances Harrison, Marie Colvin, Jeremy Page, Nick Paton-Walsh, Gethin Chamberlain  Charles Haviland and Alan Keenan (ICG)….. and of course Channel Four writ large. In such circumstances the ‘sniper commentators” who took a different stance (e.g.Simon Jenkins, Christopher Hitchens, Liddle) are worth a glance … or more. Any such exploration should also attend to some of the readings I am placing at the end of this article. Michael Roberts

Rod Liddle,   “That’s the president of Sri Lanka, PM, not one of your fags,” in The Times, 17 November 2013,

I have to say, I thoroughly approve of the manner in which our prime minister has decided to deal with foreigners, especially jumped–up foreigners who by rights should really still be part of our dominion and thus be doing as they’re bloody well told. David Cameron struck precisely the right note with a man called Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is somehow running a place that I think we’d all prefer to call Ceylon. Normally when one is a guest in someone else’s country, it is incumbent upon the visitor to be polite, even deferential. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, British imperialism, disparagement, foreign policy, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, rehabilitation, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, tamil refugees, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, vengeance

Harsha de Silva faces Geneva Court

Item in Daily News, 16 November 2917 with this titlSri Lanka taken important steps towards reconciliation- Dr. Harsha

National Policies and Economic Affairs Deputy Minister Dr.Harsha de Silva addressing the Third Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka which was held in Geneva yesterday said that for the first time in Sri Lanka’s history, a section of the National Budget for 2018 is expressly dedicated to reconciliation.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, Rajapaksa regime, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, war crimes, world events & processes