What next?
The time frame to euforce provisions in the ceasefire agreement came to an end on August 2nd (Friday) which is D-day plus a hundred and eighty days. No talks have materialized yet between the signatories. Mr. Balsingham in the meanwhile is said to have expressed his satisfaction with the ceasefire when he met Mr. Moragoda in London last week. Naturally, he would, with the LTTE deriving maximum advantage from what's stipulated in its clauses.

What role have the Norwegians, on the other hand, played as honest brokers in the duration of the agreement which was monitored by a Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission with a predominant Norwegian presence? The agreement has caused vast changes in the East for instance. In many Eastern pockets, there is more tension among the communities than there used to be before it came into force. This is the reality for most of the Eastern province Muslims. They feel almost to a man, woman and child that they have lost the sense of security they entertained with the Sri Lankan forces abdicating their authority to protect them. They are constantly in fear of the LTTE threat aimed at them, their property and their way of life

This sense of insecurity has been sharpened by a perception that neither the government nor the Muslim political parties are sensitive to their predicament. This sense of abandonment has driven the Muslim men of the East, particularly the youth, to a desperate campaign of resorting to their own devices.

A nascent Muslim jihad movement in the East, has been raising funds for armed retaliation against LTTE threats. There has also been a call, especially to Islamic Arab states to help the cause of Muslim preservation in the East.

The LTTE has belatedly been stung by these developments. The organization is said to be realigning its leadership in the Eastern province, and presenting a more benign front. But this is thought to be in preparation for the establishment of an Interim Administration which will essentially come under LTTE leadership.

This seems to be the rather depressing outcome for some of the communities which are affected by the terms of the ceasefire agreements which is now at its fag end. Is this the way out then for all concerned in this imbroglio - a case of exchanging war for a volatile, tenuous and insecure peace?

The best manifestation of the likely predicament of the Muslim leaders, Ferial Ashraff and Rauff Hakeem is seen on the other hand, from the TNA's Sambandan's serf-like existence. The TNA is playing quisling to the LTTE, and the Muslim leadership may soon be relegated to the same status of footstool for some AK 47 toting cabal of jihadists.

Sambandan's latest intervention on behalf of the LTTE is to ask that the high security zone in Jaffna be removed by Sri Lankan security forces. He has conveyed the message that the government should get out of "Tamil land," and then negotiate with the LTTE if a high security zone was necessary for future purposes.

The significance of such statements as the Ceasefire Agreement serves out its remaining days seems to be in the fact that they capture accurately the essence of the LTTE's future plans which result from the implementation of the the agreement's clauses. The LTTE is operating from the standpoint of a quasi state, and any government presence in the North and the East is portrayed by them as an occupying presence.

The Norwegian led SLMM (Monitoring Mission) has in its latest report while valiantly trying to keep its job in the face of LTTE cold shouldering, ominously referred to a "Balance of Power" in these areas of the Island -- a balance of power between two equal Partners, the Government and the LTTE.

It seems the Ceasefire Agreement has done its job well as far as the LTTE is concerned. And so-what next?


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