People must not become pawns in the cynical game plan of the Anglo-American imperialists
The UN Human Rights Council passed a U.S. sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at its 22nd session at Geneva on March 21, 2013. In the 47 member UNHRC, 25 voted in favour of the resolution, 13 voted against it, while 8 members abstained. India voted in favour of the resolution.
The resolution was stronger than a similar one in 2012, and called for a “credible and impartial” investigation into Human Rights violations. The resolution also recognizes the report of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sri Lanka, and her recommendations to inquire into alleged violation of International Law. Conditions are being prepared for a stronger action against Sri Lanka, when this resolution comes up for review before the UNHRC in 2014.
For weeks before the resolution came up for voting, there was a massive outpouring of public anger against the genocide of Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan Army in the final stages of the Civil War in 2009. It began with the release of visual images of the young son of LTTE leader Prabhakaran, alleged to have been brutally killed by the Sri Lankan army. The release of such photographs by a British Channel and their repeated airing on Tamil TV channels created a mass outpouring of public anger, as was to be expected. Demands have been raised that the Indian state must propose amendments to the US resolution to strengthen action against the Rajapakshe government, including trying Rajapakshe in an International Court of Justice, economic sanctions against Sri Lanka, and a UN sponsored referendum on the question of Tamil Ealam, as a separate state for Sri Lankan Tamils.
It is important that the working class and people of our country, and especially the working class and people of Tamilnadu, analyze in a cool and calm manner as to what is going on. Why have the governments of US and Britain pushed this Resolution on Sri Lankan Tamils at this time? What is their motive? A sober assessment of this question is needed in order to chart the correct way forward, steering clear of the traps set by imperialism and reactionary forces.
What role did Anglo-American imperialism play in the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka?
The Lankan Army affected crushing defeat on the LTTE in May 2009. This was following the breakdown of an uneasy ceasefire in 2006.
Between 1999 and 2008, very large amounts of military equipment was supplied to the Sri Lankan Government by a whole range of countries — US, Israel, nine EU countries, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and many others. The equipment supplied by these states included artillery, tanks, fighter and trainer and transport aircraft, helicopters, fast sea craft, mines, radar, missiles and rockets, armored bridge layers, surveillance and communication equipment.
In January 2006—just weeks after the Mahinda Rajapaksa-led government had come to power—the then US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jeffrey Lunstead, warned the LTTE that if it refused a settlement on Colombo's terms it would face “a stronger, more capable and more determined Sri Lankan military”.
Lunstead added: “Through our military training and assistance programs, including efforts to help with counter-terrorism initiatives and block illegal financial transactions, we are helping to shape the ability of the Sri Lankan government to protect its people and defend its interests.”
For such support, Sri Lanka signed the “Access and Cross Servicing Agreement” in March 2007, which allowed US warships and aircraft to use facilities in Sri Lanka. Combined support by the US and its allies, as well as armaments supplied by China, Pakistan and other countries, weakened the ability of the LTTE to hold its ground.
On 7th January, 2009, the US embassy in Colombo issued a statement that welcomed Sri Lanka’s recent victories in the civil war and urged the Sri Lankan Government to press forward with the annihilation of the LTTE. The key passage in the statement read: ”The United States does not advocate that the Government of Sri Lanka negotiate with the LTTE, a group designated by America as a Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997.”
US got its allies such as Canada and the EU countries to ban the LTTE and close its financial collection routes. These bans deprived the LTTE of financial support from Tamil émigrés in North America and Europe.
Military and intelligence support was provided by the US, by India, China and other countries to the Sri Lankan Government until the last stages of the Civil War.
What then has changed that today, the US and its European allies are talking about “human rights violations” in Sri Lanka by the Rajapakshe Government?
False concerns for the plight of Tamils
The US, Britain, and EU states, as well as the Indian state have no concern for the plight of the Tamils of Sri Lanka, who have been the victims of savage national oppression, and suffered immensely in a bloody civil war.
Sri Lankan President Rajapakse was a guest of honour of the British PM in August 2012, as also of the Indian state. The Sri Lankan Defence Minister had secret meetings with the Indian Defence Minister, in the presence of top US Generals in Singapore in 2012, in which the Sri Lankan government was assured of Indian military support. This was part of the effort of the Anglo-American imperialists to get various countries in Asia, including Sri Lanka, to ”look east”, which means to oppose China.
During the eighties the Indian state, with Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister, armed and trained various Tamil militant groups in Sri Lanka to wage war against the state. It used the Tamils to get the Sri Lankan government to invite Indian armed troops under the guise of “peace keeping forces”. However, the people of Sri Lanka fought to defend their sovereignty and forced the Indian Armed Forces to leave Sri Lanka. It became extremely clear to the people that the Indian state was not interested in defending the interests of the Tamils of Sri Lanka, but only of its own imperialist interests.
Since the end of the Cold War, the Indian state has been following a policy of wooing the successive Sri Lankan governments, to keep Sri Lanka within its sphere of influence.
Dangerous imperialist geopolitics
The Obama administration has repeatedly declared in recent years that it will actively engage in the Asia Pacific Region. Translated into simple language, it means that the US will actively build a military alliance in the Asia Pacific Region to counter China. Many moves of the US imperialists in the past few years must be seen in this light.
Sri Lanka straddles one of the most important sea routes from Europe and West Asia, to East Asia and Australia. The Government of Sri Lanka has been developing close military and economic relations with China. China has built a seaport and airport in the Southern tip of Sri Lanka. It has also invested in other major infrastructure projects, including highways. China has also offered Sri Lanka assistance to launch satellites into space.
In contention with China, the Indian state is also developing relations with Sri Lanka. It is building rail lines, as well as investing in “rehabilitation projects” in the war torn region of the Tamils. There are growing investments of Indian capitalist groups in Sri Lanka.
The US and its allies have deliberately whipped up the present campaign against Sri Lanka in the name of “concern for human rights violations”. They are threatening Sri Lanka with regime change, if it does not come fully into their camp, and stop getting closer to China. At the same time, they are manipulating Tamil sentiments to pressurize the Indian state to support the campaign to demonise Sri Lanka.
It is to be noted that when Hillary Clinton visited India in 2011, she made it a point to visit Chennai and discuss the Sri Lankan Tamil issue with the then newly elected Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. The US imperialists have been signalling that they will create trouble within India for the UPA regime unless India aligns its foreign policy more closely with US imperialist strategy in Asia and the Pacific Region.
In sum, the US imperialists are persisting and escalating their warmongering strategy in order to become the unchallenged rulers of the Asia Pacific Region and the world. They are using the hypocritical banner of “human rights” and “humanitarian interventions” to justify naked imperialist interference and aggression, and to put pressure on various countries to toe their line.
Ever since the end of the Cold War, the US imperialists have been leading the offensive against the sovereignty of countries and nations, in the name of “democracy”, “defending human rights”, etc.
In various countries of the world, they have engineered civil wars, as a prelude to military intervention and regime change. This happened in the Yugoslav Federation, in Libya and most recently in Syria. They are putting enormous pressure on Iran and North Korea at this time, besides Cuba.
Today the United Nations Security Council, the UNHRC, the International Court of Justice, and other such international institutions are under the dictate of the US imperialists. The US and other imperialist powers, who are guilty of carrying out the biggest war crimes that have led to the slaughter of millions of people, are not going to be punished in any international court at this time. The peoples fighting for self determination are not going to win self determination by relying on these imperialist powers.
The people of Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese and Tamil people have to overcome the legacy of the civil war and build a new Sri Lanka wherein the human, democratic and national rights of all the peoples of Sri Lanka are guaranteed and provided with enabling laws and enforcing mechanisms.
We communists defend the sovereignty of all countries and peoples. No foreign power has the right to intervene in the internal affairs of another country under any pretext. A regime change in Sri Lanka, engineered by Anglo-American imperialism, with or without Indian involvement, is not in our interests. It is a dangerous game that threatens to plunge South Asia into reactionary wars.
Our Party is organising the working class and people for the Navnirman of India, to create a truly voluntary union of consenting workers’ and peasants’ republics. We are organising to overthrow the colonial legacy of enslavement and capitalist-imperialist plunder, as the condition for guaranteeing the human, democratic and national rights of all. We support the same struggle of the peoples of Sri Lanka and all other countries.
The Communist Ghadar Party calls upon the working class and people of India, and of Tamil Nadu in particular, to be vigilant and not unwittingly become pawns in the dangerous plots of US imperialism and its allies.