The game of bluff
The LTTE theatrics
continue to sap the collective energies of a weary nation - the
issue of the week being the pressure that's being applied on the
Government to bring back peace and normalcy to a tortured nation
and her people of all faiths and races.
They keep distracting the Government, the people, and even ourselves,
from many other urgent matters that relate to good governance and
the re-building of a war-ravaged economy.
But then again
on the other hand, there is in the overall scheme of things, no
issue that is larger than the issue of the North East conflict,
and no greater resolve than that is required than to solve this
The LTTE is
now playing the familiar hard-to-get tactics in this game of high
stakes poker. Bluff is one of the aspects of this game, and when
appropriate one needs to know not only to call a spade a spade,
but also to call the bluff.
Does the Government
and the international community really think that the LTTE is going
to keep off the negotiating table, and from all those mouth-watering
dollar pledges that come along with it? It is plain. If there are
no talks there are no dollars. In the unlikely event that there
is even a hint that the LTTE will return to the battlefield -- which
is what the LTTE is implying with its hard to get tactics -- then
the Government had better get ready for war.
Government's deep penetration unit has been castrated under our
noses. Last week, we were witness to LTTE dressed in their battle
fatigues commemorating the great Elephant Pass debacle of the Sri
Lankan forces, and in the process they showed off their long-range
guns. Striking simultaneously, they want to push the army out of
Jaffna and their Sea Tigers recognised. Take it from us, the LTTE
will come back to the table come what may. They want the dollars,
and the army moved out of Jaffna for nothing in return.
Foreign Minister and the Japanese special envoy will next week pay
homage to the LTTE while coaxing them to return to talks. At the
same time they will twist the arm of the Sri Lankan Government to
yield to LTTE demands in order to get them back to the table.
The twin issues
of the re-location of troops in Jaffna and monies for the LTTE must
be part of the negotiating process. Cash on delivery is what the
international community must tell the LTTE. Otherwise, as our Defence
Correspondent says on the opposite page, the Government will find
itself having yielded and there would be no need to go to the negotiating
table to discuss 'core issues' of human rights, multi-party democracy
and laying down arms.
The words of
Anton Stanislaus Balasingham from December 2001 must ring in the
ears of the Sri Lankan Government's political and military establishment.
"We will get back Jaffna either militarily or politically,'