LTTE's international 'friends'
When will this tug o' war ever end? No, we are not talking about the cohabitation exercises between the President and the Prime Minister's government, but the more dangerous tug o' war between the LTTE and the government. This time the LTTE has come right out and attacked the international community that's behind the government's peace moves. Anton Balasingham in his letter in response to the government's proposal for an Interim Administration for the North and East states that 'formidable international forces are adopting a hard-line attitude which is impacting negatively on the peace process.'

In one sense it is poetic theatre that the LTTE now has to call the international community hard-line, when it was the LTTE which first internationalised the conflict via the Diaspora and painted itself as the organisation that stands up for Sri Lanka's horribly oppressed minority.

Seems like the LTTE's chickens have come home to roost. If the international community is adopting a hard-line towards it as the LTTE states, then the LTTE has no one but itself to blame, first for internationalising the conflict, and second for alienating the international community through its actions.

But, as for us, we do not find anything so rock-like in the hardness of the so called hard-line approach that is said to be adopted by the international community towards the LTTE. These so-called international forces, the US, Norway and Japan paramount among them, have been all but falling at the LTTE's feet in their entreaties to be present at the proceedings when the Sri Lankan donor community meets in Japan shortly. All this supplication is at a time when the US for instance, as the world's only super-power is in a super bad mood in a now celebrated global war on terror. So, to think that the LTTE is worrying in this atmosphere that the international community is mistreating it by 'sticking a terrorist label' onto it is hilarious. The LTTE should be ecstatic that along with Al Qaeda it is not being pummelled wherever possible, but then, it is the LTTE's particular style to show up any advantage as a disadvantage.

Time and again the LTTE has got away with this sleight of hand in their approach of somehow tinkering with the facts. The fact is that the LTTE has got a massive reprieve from the international community, which could have gone after it but chose instead to appease and play ball with it, even though sticking a quite useless terrorist label onto it. Quite useless because the label has zero value in effect, when the international community is entreating the LTTE to sit with a democratically elected government at a donor conference for instance.

It is for the LTTE's leadership to judge -- but this time, the organisation may be overreaching in its relationship with the big powers. The Sri Lankan government may be hyper tolerant but the international community might snap, and consume the LTTE, if the LTTE insists on biting the hand that feeds it. The donor money for the reconstruction of the North East does not exactly fall like manna from heaven - and the LTTE must be knowing that even if its suits it at present to act as if it doesn't.

But the problem with this view of the LTTE's relationship with the international community is that time and time again the LTTE has thumbed its nose at powerful foreign countries, and of course at this country - and got away with it.

Forget about Sri Lanka - but it is time the international community considers the warnings issued to the LTTE in perspective. Lest the LTTE will look like it is biting the hand that feeds it - but that hand may look like it belongs to someone that has a lot more bark than bite…


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