Political and military debacles: The Sri Lankan story

[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 June 1997, 23:59 GMT]
French essayist and Philosopher Paul Valery when writing about the First World war said 'History justifies anything, and teaches absolutely nothing: it contains and gives examples of everything.' This has been the story of Sri Lanka for the past few days.

srimani_athulathmudali.gifFirst it was the sacking of Srimani Athulathmudali, the leader of DUNLF and the wife of Lalith Athulathmudali and then it was the forced resignation of two Members of Parliament belonging to the Tamil party based in Colombo, EPDP, a major participant of the present government.

anurudda_ratwatte.gifOn another front, the Junior Defence Minister Mr. Anuraddha Ratwatte who was fortunate enough to hold on to his priced cabinet position after the 'spring shuffle' by Mrs. Kumaranatunge is haunted by allegations that his son Lohan Ratwatte was responsible for the murder of a National Rugby hero and coach, Joel Pera from Papua New Guinea.

As if this in itself wasn't enough the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress has openly stated its dissatisfaction with the government for taking away the Ports and Shipping Cabinet seat from one of its leaders Mr. M.H.M. Ashraff.

To add pain to the wounds of the already struggling Chandirika Kumaranatunge lead government the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have delivered a huge military debacle at Thandikulam. According to military analysts, this attack has not only stalled the military operation codenamed 'Jaya Sikurui' or 'Sure of victory' but has also delivered a serious moral blow to an already depleted and already war weary Sri Lankan military.

m_h_m_ashraff.gifForced with the necessity of an immediate victory in the battle field before the International Aid Donors meeting to be held in Paris, the Sri Lankan government was pushing into the LTTE held Vanni mainland.

The counter offensive of the LTTE at Thandikulam and the heavy damage the operation has caused to the Sri Lankan military is a setback both in terms of military supplies and personnel. This will take a long time to heal and is certain to punish the Peoples Alliance (PA) when it goes to the public for vote next time.

The Sri Lankan government,hardened to the core by the Sinhala 'pride' and 'stubbornness' is moving to open the MSR having ignored many observations by military analysts. Not only that it failed to learn from what happened to the Operation 'Leap Forward' when the Tigers leaped. It failed to turn the pages of history and study what happened to the Gurkha regiment and the 30,000 strong Indian Peace Keeping forces when they tried to capture the Vanni mainland. Here History repeats and it is evident that it is not being heard by those in power in Sri Lanka.


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