The Sri Lankan ‘war on terror’


by Sunny
29th August, 2007 at 9:05 am    

Human Rights Watch has just published an extensive report on the worsening situation in Sri Lanka.

Human Rights Watch has long documented abuses by the LTTE, particularly the LTTE’s systematic recruitment and use of children as soldiers, the targeted killings of political opponents, and its abusive fundraising tactics abroad. We will continue to report on LTTE abuses and press the LTTE to change its practices.

This report, however, focuses primarily on abuses by the Sri Lankan government and allied armed groups, which have gotten decidedly worse over the past year. As the hostilities have increased, the government’s respect for international law has sharply declined, with it often appearing indifferent to the impact on civilians in the north and east.

The LTTE is the world’s most brutal and successful terrorist group (going by sucide attacks). But at the launch, the report’s author made an interesting point about the Sri Lankan government. She said it had started using the phrase “war on terror” as an excuse to cover up its own brutality, saying it was a necessary side-effect and knowing that western governments would be more sypathetic. She quoted a government official who stated that since the Americans were flouting international law when dealing with terrorists, so could they. And again, they knew other governments would be unwilling to point fingers.

And it has worked. While most western governments know the situation has gotten worse because SL authorities have become careless about antagonising or killing innocent Tamils, nothing much is being said by the US or UK to bring both sides to the negotiating table. Just what we bloody well need – more governments taking lead from American foreign policy.


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Filed in: Current affairs,Sri Lanka






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  1. Nyrone — on 29th August, 2007 at 9:43 am  

    How long before the Junta in Burma also start laying claim to a ‘war on terror’ against the individuals involved in pro-democracy demonstrations?

    Then we shall start hearing word from the Chinese Military that Muslim extremists are now hiding in Tibet….

    It’s already become normalised in the Chechen struggle for Independence.

    Is anyone surprised with this blatant disregard for international law when Big Daddy Kane still acts like the global policeman?

    Did anyone catch this story about US troops detaining Iranians in Iraq?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/29/wbush129.xml

    “US troops briefly detained a seven-strong Iranian delegation following a raid on the Sheraton hotel in Baghdad. The woman and six men were interrupted during dinner and led blindfolded from the hotel last night, according to witnesses. They were freed this morning”

    What would be the reaction if Iranians did the same to a US delegation?

  2. Bleh — on 29th August, 2007 at 10:14 am  

    What would be the reaction if Iranians did the same to a US delegation?

    The Iranians already have, and have done so repeatedly in the past.

  3. Sid — on 29th August, 2007 at 10:25 am  

    Incidentally, the military-backed (and US-Approved!) government of Bangladesh have also started a “War on Terror” on its own populace. It now has on its hands a country in turmoil, street riots and an increasingly hungry populace which cannot afford essentials because the economy has been fucked over.

    But what is the approach the government takes? Why the tried and tested method of repression, of course: denial of basic rights and a “War on Terrorism”. It has systematically applied the handy monicker of “terrorist” to all forms of civilian dissent.

    Meanwhile, the Islamists are getting away unscathed and unruffled thanks to Saudi patronage.

  4. Bleh — on 29th August, 2007 at 10:38 am  

    Meanwhile, the Islamists are getting away unscathed and unruffled thanks to Saudi patronage.

    Which makes the Green objections to Nuclear Power even more objectionable.

  5. Sid — on 29th August, 2007 at 10:51 am  

    So Nuclear Power is the panacea against Global Terrorism now? Now I’ve heard everything :-)

  6. Bleh — on 29th August, 2007 at 11:52 am  

    Nuclear Power is the panacea against being in hoc to the likes of the Saudis, Sid.

  7. Derius — on 29th August, 2007 at 1:23 pm  

    The causal link argument, which states that America gave the Sri Lankan government the idea to pursue the agenda they now are, so it is the American Government’s fault, is weak. Not only does it abdicate the responsibility that the Sri Lankan Government has for its own actions onto the Americans, but it can also be taken a step further. One could argue that America was only finally able to pursue the “War on Terror” policy which has influenced the Sri Lankan Government as they were attacked by Islamists on 9/11, and therefore it is ultimately the Islamists fault that the Sri Lankan government is now flouting international law and violating human rights. Why only stop at one link removed causal arguments?

    If the Sri Lankan government are violating the Human rights of some of their population, then that is the fault of the Sri Lankan government. The buck stops there, and not with Americans, Islam, Christianity, Israel, Tony Blair or any other group or individual that it is fashionable to pick on these days.

  8. Sunny — on 29th August, 2007 at 2:41 pm  

    The causal link argument, which states that America gave the Sri Lankan government the idea to pursue the agenda they now are, so it is the American Government’s fault, is weak

    It may sound that way but it’s not. South Asian govts are frequently enticed on to peace negotiating tables through arm-twisting by western govts because so much aid flows that way and through trade links.

    No one is denying that the problem is with the SL govt. After all, they are the ones killing innocent people now, along with the LTTE. But it cannot be denied they are less worried of US pressure now to join the negotiating table, given they’ve decided to co-opt US language.

    It isn’t weak, it is realpolitik.

  9. lone star — on 31st August, 2007 at 5:12 pm  

    why did the comments get shut down on the other post??
    I love reading the contradicting views and issues on more political type blogs ……
    I sure wish someone would tell me who the real bad guy is so I can do something to help stop them…..
    and Im adding my comment on cartoon topic here!!! so :P
    I always wonder how people use history in a way that seperates it into sides instead of using it to get a world view of what ever was going on at the time.
    I cant ever figure out how adding the word “religion” then seems to erase facts and logic from everything including the past, maybe thats why we never learn from it? and realise how it all connects, but I guess its easier to make a mess.
    any way…..
    I’d say originaly Mohammed brought the peacemovement to the “arab” people – via the teachings of jesus (who by the way arabs share a DNA link with “jews” who were called Israelites making them brothers, a story refelected in the old testament – now,both acknowledged and ignored imformation)
    From there the persian empire and various others were making a mess every where – and the “arabs” after pleading with them for peace joined in a fight against them…….. skip skip skip.

    The persians then adopted Islam as their own, to take control in the same way the romans formed the catholic establishment…….
    Now you have a book/books put together by people 100s of years ago to suit their own needs by people with half a clue to what was going on…. read today by idiots with no idea, taken literally and somehow regressing all humanity into a progressive state of retardation.

    Like how Iran (aka persian) is still using “Islam” today to maintain its empire.

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