Why Shared Sovereignty Coupled with Tamil Nationalism is More Dangerous than It Sounds
Posted on September 12th, 2013

Dilrook Kannangara

UNHRC is under de facto Tamil rule and so is India that bends to every Tamil demand. Next year being an election year where the ruling coalition struggles to maintain its shrinking power, Indian rulers will fall for Tamil demands particularly leading up to the UNHRC sessions when another resolution against Sri Lanka is being prepared by India. In Sri Lanka, the ruling Rajapaksa clan fearing war crimes charges, bends backwards to satisfy any and all Tamil demands at the expense of Sinhala interests. Emboldened by these moves, TNA is fearlessly campaigning for  independence for Tamil majority Northern Province and multiethnic Eastern Province from Sri Lanka. Legal luminaries leading the TNA are fully aware what this power means and how rare an opportunity this is. Although the Lankan administration missed many opportunities the war victory provided, TNA is not likely to be as wasteful and short-sighted. The step-by-step approach of Tamil nationalists has worked perfectly so far.
Despite the massive military defeat in 2009 and the loss of their patron, TNA leadership did well to win most seats in every Tamil majority district in the country at the 2010 election held within just 11 months of LTTE defeat. Since then it has won every election, local government and provincial, in all Tamil majority areas. 2012 Eastern Provincial Council election is a case in point where the entirety of Tamil votes went to TNA and the former LTTE commander Pillayan.
The close connection between Tamil nationalist Navi Pillay, Tamil Nadu leaders, Indian leaders, Tamil Diaspora leaders and TNA leaders means Tamil right of self-determination and/or shared sovereignty will make its way into the 2014 UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka. Stemming from it will be the referendum option “- an internationally enforced referendum in the north and the east for self rule. Such enforcement will come with threats of war crimes investigations and possibly accompanied by Indian and other troop invasion in the guise of R2P/enforcing the UNHRC resolution.
Shared Sovereignty
Shared Sovereignty is a concept gaining popularity for countries emerging from a conflict. Stephen D. Krasner, an authority in share sovereignty has this to say.
Quote. Shared-sovereignty entities are created by a voluntary agreement between recognized national political authorities and an external actor such as another state or a regional or international organization (The Case for Shared Sovereignty; Stephen D. Krasner; http://faculty.maxwell.syr.edu/rdenever/PPA-730-27/Krasner.pdf). End quote.
Put into the Sri Lankan context, it will be a sham “…”voluntary”‚ agreement between the government of Sri Lanka and either India, UNHRC or any other international entity. The term voluntary does not carry much significance as can be seen from the 1987 Indo-Lanka Peace Accord which forced the Sri Lankan government to accept the Northern and Eastern provinces as areas of Traditional Tamil Habitation. Threats of force and threat of war crimes charges against national leaders will be considered sufficient “…”incentives”‚ for a “…”voluntary”‚ agreement as can be seen from the continuation of the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord to this date.
In most likelihood, India will be the external actor to come to another agreement with the Sri Lankan government for shared sovereignty which will be enjoyed by Tamils in Sri Lanka. As the enforcer, India will keep a tight grip over the continuation of the agreement which gives India a switch to on and off, or threaten to on and off to tame Tamils and keep them firmly under Indian domination.
An Example from West Germany
Stephen D. Krasner gives a striking example of the use of the concept in West Germany.
Quote. The security arrangements that helped to safeguard Western Europe during the Cold War provide a second example of shared sovereignty. When the NATO powers decided to allow West Germany to arm itself, they not only made sure that the resulting forces were integrated into NATO, but also secured status-of-forces agreements in the 1950s under which West Germany gave the allied powers expansive authorities. These included jurisdiction over their own troops and weapons on German soil as well as the right to patrol public areas including roads, railways, and restaurants. Allied forces could take any measures their commanders deemed needful for good order and discipline (“…”Revised NATO Status-of-Forces Agreement [SOFA] Supplementary Agreement,”‚ 3 August 1959, articles 19, 22, and 28). West German leaders voluntarily entered into these compacts, which meant among other things that the German military could not fight without the approval of Washington as well as Bonn (The Case for Shared Sovereignty; Stephen D. Krasner; http://faculty.maxwell.syr.edu/rdenever/PPA-730-27/Krasner.pdf). End quote.  
This fits perfect with modern Indian hegemonic interests in South Asia where a Cold War has emerged between India and China. A shared sovereignty agreement with the Sri Lankan government (with Tamil proxies governing the Northern and the strategic Eastern Province) will give India a definite military advantage over China in using the Northern and Eastern Provinces of the country much like NATO troops in West Germany. Police and land powers to the provincial councils become essential for such an arrangement.
An Example from Sierra Leon
Yet another aspect of shared sovereignty is provided by Stephen D. Krasner.
Quote. A contemporary example of shared sovereignty comes from the small and troubled West African country of Sierra Leone. There, as the country struggled to recover from years of internal warfare often waged by ragtag militias of armed boys, a 2002 deal between the UN and the 78 Journal of Democracy Leonean government created a special court. This court”‘s writ calls for it to try cases involving charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes as defined by international law, as well as cases involving charges brought under Leonean laws (considered effective as of November 1996) that forbid wanton destruction and the abuse of children. Most of the court”‘s judges are UN appointees, as is its prosecutor. The special court”‘s rulings take precedence over those of national courts (Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone Articles 2 to 4, 12, and 15, www.sierra-leone.org/specialcourtstatute.html).
(The Case for Shared Sovereignty; Stephen D. Krasner; http://faculty.maxwell.syr.edu/rdenever/PPA-730-27/Krasner.pdf). End quote.
This is another aspect Tamil nationalists are looking to exploit. While protecting real Tamil war criminals who engaged in genocide, crimes against humanity, suicide bombings, deliberate targeting of civilians and continue to engage in ethnic cleansing against ethnic Sinhalese and Muslims, Tamil leaders want to punish military and government leaders for bogus war crimes. However, such a move will certainly lead to them being charged for their share of instigating war crimes committed by Tamils. By a shared sovereignty agreement with an outside organisation, the special court”‘s (set for the purpose of punishing only Sri Lankan leaders for bogus war crimes) rulings would take precedence over those of national courts (with actions pending against Tamil war criminals). Just what Tamil nationalists want.
As international organisations don”‘t have consensus to hold war crimes investigations. It will be done though a foreign entity, most likely India or an allied Indian entity. It was India that drafted two UNHRC resolutions against Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013 calling for war crimes investigations. These were tabled by the United States and India voted for its own resolutions.
Shared Sovereignty Offers No Win for Sri Lanka
Shared sovereignty arrangements offer absolutely no win for Sri Lanka. It will only ruin hard won peace and negate the democratic rights of the people. It will create an apartheid mechanism of selective justice and legitimise foreign interferences. Sri Lanka recovered very well from three decades of conflict. Since 1931 the nation continued its democratic way of governance with universal adult franchise through times of war and insurrection.
Push for shared sovereignty by Indian hegemonic agents in TNA is for the advancement of Indian military sphere of influence into the island during this era of Cold War with China. It must not be allowed. Tamil sovereignty must come from within Tamil Nadu, India, where over 85% of world Tamils live compared to just 5% in Sri Lanka. It is also imperative that Sri Lanka maintains its non aligned stance between India and China “- the new Cold War adversaries. Old Cold War positions are no longer relevant and the old non aligned movement is out-dated replaced by the new Cold War. Middle Path between India and China is what remaining non-aligned in the new Cold War is all about. If the forcibly imposed Indo-Lanka Peace Accord cannot be repealed, a similar pact is needed with China to regain the non-aligned position.
       
References
 
“…”Revised NATO Status-of-Forces Agreement [SOFA] Supplementary Agreement,”‚ 3 August 1959, articles 19, 22, and 28. The full text of the agreement is available at www.osc.army.mil. For a general analysis of Germany”‘s situation after World War II, see Peter J. Katzenstein, Policy and Politics in West Germany: The Growth of a Semisovereign State (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987).
Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone Articles 2 to 4, 12, and 15,
www.sierra-leone.org/specialcourtstatute.html. For other examples of the use of international judges, see William W. Burke-White, “…”A Community of Courts: Toward a System of International Criminal Law Enforcement,”‚ Michigan Journal of International Law 24 (Fall 2002): 1”-102.
The Case for Shared Sovereignty; Stephen D. Krasner; http://faculty.maxwell.syr.edu/rdenever/PPA-730-27/Krasner.pdf

4 Responses to “Why Shared Sovereignty Coupled with Tamil Nationalism is More Dangerous than It Sounds”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    What does “GOSL will not Accept TNA PC Election Manifesto” MEAN?

    Only “REGRET” … My God such PUSILLANIMITY in the face of TREASON against the Nation.

    Will the GOSL 1. declare TNA Candidacy in the Election to be NULL & VOID, 2. ARREST, PROSECUTE, CONVICT and PUNISH the TNA Leaders for TREASON?, and 3. PROSCRIBE the TNA (and the ITAK, and the constituent parties of the ITAK) as an Organization allowed to engage in POLITICS in Sri Lanka?

    Or is this ALL SMOKE and NO FIRE to fool the voters of Sri Lanka AGAIN?

    The GOSL should ACT NOW and ACT DECISIVELY to PUNISH TRAITORS and ERADICATE TREASON!

    …………………….
    Sri Lankan government not to accept the Tamil party election manifesto

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Sept 12, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government says it cannot accept the election manifesto of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for the Northern Provincial Council.

    Cabinet Spokesperson, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told a news conference that the government regrets the contents of the TNA election manifesto.

    He said that the government could not accept the manifesto as it contravenes the Constitution of the country.

    In its election manifesto, the TNA, once considered as a proxy for the terrorist group LTTE during the war, has called for establishing power sharing arrangements in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure.

    According to Rambukwella, there are attempts by some groups to initiate legal action against the TNA manifesto to get a restraining order against it before the Northern Provincial Council election this month.

    Sri Lanka Lawyers’ Guild said they will file a case in the Supreme Court against the TNA’s election manifesto as it was against the Constitution of the country since the proclamation of self-rule in the manifesto is a violation of the Sri Lanka Constitution.

    The TNA says the manifesto emphasizes the political aspirations of the Tamils, while upholding the integrity of the country.

    TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said the party’s election manifesto while being prepared to uphold the right of self-determination of the Tamils would also preserve the integrity of the country.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Sri Lanka’s path to peace

    By Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor
    The Australian
    September 13, 2013

    GOTABAYA Rajapaksa and Selvarasa Pathmanathan used to be the deadliest of enemies. Now they have the same message.

    I meet the two within a period of 24 hours in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s largest city.

    Pathmanathan, or KP as he’s widely known, was for several months in 2009 the supreme leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, for many years the world’s most ruthless and bloody terrorist group. For a long time before that he was effectively No 2 to the Tigers’ leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran. When Prabhakaran was killed in May 2009, Pathmanathan took over the LTTE leadership until he was arrested in September of that year.

    You may not know much about the Tamil Tigers. They were the most supremely deadly and effective terrorist group to emerge at any time in the second half of the 20th century. They pioneered two terrorist innovations — suicide bombings, later copied by al-Qa’ida, and child soldiers and child terrorists.
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    One of their signature gestures was the cyanide capsule each cadre was given to facilitate suicide in the event of capture.

    The long Tamil Tiger war against the Sri Lankan government ran from 1983 to 2009 and resulted in perhaps 70,000 dead. In the course of this bitter conflict some members of the Sri Lankan army certainly committed human rights abuses. But there is no overall moral equivalence between the government of Sri Lanka and the Tigers.

    The Tigers were ultimately defeated by a military campaign designed and run by Rajapaksa, secretary of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence. A brilliant career soldier, he had migrated to the US after retiring from the army but came back to help his brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, become President. From 2005 to 2009, Gota, as he is popularly known, oversaw the military campaign that finally crushed the Tigers.

    But in one of those remarkable quirks of history, Pathmanathan tells me it was Gota who ensured he was treated properly in captivity and rehabilitated him so that he can now play a role in the reconciliation process under way between the minority Tamil and majority Sinhalese communities.

    The Sinhalese-Tamil division is the central fault line of Sri Lankan history. They follow different religions — the Sinhalese are Buddhists, the Tamils are Hindus. They speak different languages. They are ethnically different.

    The situation is complicated by the presence of 50 million Tamils next door in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Some Tamils would like a separate nation in northern and eastern Sri Lanka, although most Tamils live in Colombo and the south, and don’t support separatism. The majority Sinhalese and the Sri Lankan state will never allow partition. So it’s best if they work out a way to get along.

    Meeting Pathmanathan is quite a business. It takes many days of arranging, lots of phone calls and lobbying of friends and acquaintances. A tall, straight-looking man, cool enough, he strolls into the lobby of a big Colombo hotel. The government provides him with a couple of bodyguards and I have been asked to arrange somewhere discreet for our interview. Lacking a better alternative, I take him up to a small coffee lounge on the hotel’s 18th floor.

    The lounge has two rooms and we choose the less densely populated one, but I notice that quite soon people have recognised him and we are left alone. The bodyguards wait outside. The hotel staff serve coffee and scurry away.

    Pathmanathan’s English is not bad, but over a long discussion I find it gets less good when I ask him about personal matters, or about some of the Tigers’ more controversial tactics.

    Where did the idea for suicide bombing, which the Tigers used to devastating effect, come from?

    “It was Prabhakaran’s own idea,” he says. “We used it first in the 1980s. Actually, I remember early in the 80s some people sat with us and we talked of the Japanese in World War II and the kamikaze bombers. Somehow that came from Prabhakaran’s mind. Also, in Tamil Nadu there was the tradition that people sometimes set themselves on fire (in protest).”

    Pathmanathan was in charge of procuring military supplies for the Tigers and for years lived in India, then Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, with periods in Singapore and Europe.

    “The state government of Tamil Nadu used to give us direct support for a period in the 80s,” he says. Before Rajiv Gandhi came to power, the national Indian government also gave the Tigers some support, he says.

    “When that stopped we raised money in Europe and North America. We raised some in Australia, but Europe and Canada were the main source of funds.”

    At one time Western intelligence believed the Tigers raised $200 million to $300m a year from the million-strong Tamil diaspora, and from a variety of illegal businesses. They used this money to buy heavy conventional weapons, artillery and heavy-duty guns, and even to buy ships. For many years the Tigers controlled a substantial swath of territory in the country’s east and north; they had a small but formidable navy and even a small air force.

    No other terrorist group has ever reached that degree of sophistication and Pathmanathan was its central organiser. For a time he was wanted not only by the Sri Lankan government but by the Indian authorities, who believed he played a role in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, as well as by Interpol, MI6 and the CIA.

    “Prabhakaran made the decision to kill Rajiv Gandhi,” Pathmanathan says. After India sent a peacekeeping force into Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers and the Indian army became enemies.

    “Prabhakaran thought the Indians had tried to kill him, so he thought he’d kill Gandhi first.”

    Certainly the death of Gandhi, killed by a female suicide bomber, was a turning point, both in showing the world what the Tigers were really like and in turning India into an implacable enemy of the LTTE.

    Pathmanathan now admits much that the Tigers did was wrong, but he also lists a series of injustices and provocations that he believes the Tamil community suffered, such as a language policy that favoured Sinhalese. But he recites this list reluctantly. He wants his fellow Tamils to stop thinking always about the past, because that kind of thinking only leads to more bloodshed.

    When I ask him directly about Prabhakaran, he responds, but with some reluctance: “Prabhakaran was a very charismatic leader. When I met him he was a genuine, friendly character. He was always willing to die for the Tamil cause. From the first day when I met him, in 1974, to the last day when he died, in 2009, he never changed from his philosophy, his determination.

    “But also he was never flexible, never willing to change to accommodate the changed world.

    “He should have been more flexible. It was wrong for him to kill his own people. Prabhakaran became more like a dictator as the years went by.”

    There are two themes on which Pathmanathan and Defence Secretary Rajapaksa are strikingly in tune: the key role the Americans played in the final defeat of the Tigers, and the role they would both now like the Tamil diaspora to play for Sri Lanka.

    Pathmanathan believes the transformed international environment after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks led directly to the Tigers’ defeat.

    But let’s have Rajapaksa take up that part of the story. Gota is a national hero in Sri Lanka and his office, next to the President’s compound in central Colombo, is crisply military. He is sharp and precise and very businesslike.

    One of the greatest problems the Sri Lankan military had, he tells me, was that the Tigers would bring in heavy-duty weaponry on big ships that would loiter outside Sri Lanka’s waters while flotillas of small craft would go out and collect the weapons from them.

    “Most of their weapons they bought on the open market,” Rajapaksa says. “Many of their artillery pieces were North Korean in origin. They even had anti-aircraft missiles. “Their artillery and mortar was often enough to match the Sri Lankan army, or even more than the Sri Lankan army had. Their artillery caused a lot of our casualties.”

    One turning point in the war came when the Sri Lankan navy was able to sink these Tiger supply ships: “Between 2006 and 2008 we destroyed 12 of these floating armouries.” What made this possible? “The Americans were very, very helpful. Most of the locations of these ships were given to us by the Americans,” Rajapaksa says.

    American satellite technology located the ships and enabled the Sri Lankans to hit them. Before that, the Americans had been somewhat ambivalent about the Sri Lankan struggle. They never remotely justified or approved of the Tigers, but nor would they supply weapons to the Sri Lankan forces. Yet throughout the conflict, Sri Lanka got most of its military hardware from Israel and Pakistan, two military allies of the US that would probably have been susceptible to American entreaties not to supply arms.

    Pathmanathan believes the transformation of American and international thinking generally after 9/11 meant the Tigers’ path of armed conflict was no longer a viable long-term strategy.

    “We couldn’t oppose the whole world,” he says. “But Prabhakaran was opposed to peace negotiations. He used peace negotiations only as time out to rebuild his army.” Pathmanathan says he constantly urged a negotiated settlement on Prabhakaran, but to no avail.

    The other issue on which Rajapaksa and Pathmanathan present an odd unity ticket is the role they would like the Tamil diaspora to play in Sri Lanka. Pathmanathan wants the diaspora groups to drop all ideas of separatism, to stop trying to stir up trouble, and instead come back and spend time in Sri Lanka, and above all invest and build there.

    Pathmanathan is now involved in running orphanages and vocational training centres.

    Rajapaksa makes the same point. He thinks there is a danger of the Tamil diaspora promoting extremism within Sri Lanka: “The diaspora should understand that they live in countries distant from Sri Lanka. Mostly they live in developed countries and enjoy all the facilities of developed countries. But some of them want the poor people of Sri Lanka in this difficult environment to take up arms to further their (the diaspora’s) ideology. They don’t send their own children, who go to university in developed countries, who enter the professions. But they will talk of the fight for a Tamil homeland — who is doing the fighting?

    “The diaspora can raise money and make propaganda, but who will suffer from their efforts?”

    Pathmanathan makes a similar case: the situation in Sri Lanka today, especially in the Tamil areas, is infinitely better than it was during the Tigers’ war. Who would want to go back to the killing and the suffering? What his people want now, Pathmanathan says, are jobs and development.

    Rajapaksa understands the challenge of reconciliation: “This is not an easy task, especially for the people of the north. More than 55 per cent of Tamils live outside the north and the east and have no issues of reconciliation.

    “They mingle with other communities all the time.

    “But people in the north were so long isolated from the rest of the community and brainwashed into separatist attitudes. Although we have built a lot of infrastructure in the north, reconciliation won’t take place fully overnight.

    “It will take time and the concentrated efforts of all the major parties involved.

    “The majority community also has to extend its hand to show that we can live as one nation.”

    Later this month, provincial council elections will take place in the Tamil north. They may be a positive political development, or conceivably an occasion of difficult polarisation.

    But if Rajapaksa and Pathmanathan can come together on the need for reconciliation and development, and given the booming economy all across Sri Lanka, there is surely a lot to be hopeful about.

  3. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    To quote the article: “TNA is fearlessly campaigning for independence for Tamil majority Northern Province and multiethnic Eastern Province from Sri Lanka.” That is exactly what Ali Jinnah did in order to divide India. Though the Satyagraha movement perfected by the Mahatma included both Muslims and Hindus for decades fighting for home rule it was the British (or foreign entity like India regarding Sri Lanka) who first planted the seed of dissent by bringing up the flimsy issue of the “Muslim problem” to an India whose diversity defines her.

    Ali Jinnah at a dinner was told of the idea of the Muslim state of Pakistan to be formed as the “homeland” for all Muslims in the Sub continent. where the letter “P” stands for the Punjab and the letter “K” stands for Kashmir in the word “Pakistan”. Though the Mahatma was successful in using active nonviolence or “Satyagraha” to achieve home rule he was not successful because he lacked the ability to change tactics and hand over the power to use force if necessary to ensure the integrity of India.

    It came at a terrible cost as the British withdrew leaving a divided India along religious lines which the British wanted. They did not want a united single India for if it were achieved would have risen to be a true regional power, even a world power. The British with the help of Ali Jinnah who was sick with TB a secret only known to his Doctor and by London cultivated the creation of Pakistan. Had the Mahatma handed powers to Nehru to organize a military stand against this outrageous sabotage by the British where most of India’s Sepoy army were Hindu or Sikh, India would have retained a land the size of the US state of Alaska (550 thousand square miles) and avoided the endless energy spent between Pakistan and India in a never ending war which to date keeps India pinned down.

    Now Sri Lanka is facing the same dilemma with the LEGAL political party of the Tamil National Alliance who are just LITE agents now in political garb. Unless Colombo takes a very hard stand against the TNA and destroy them, literally destroy them Sri Lanka will again face the specter of Eelam. Colombo or at least the Buddhist Sanga should have the back bone to spit in the face of the LITE supporting UNHRC and do what needs to be done to secure the integrity of Sri Lanka.

    Had the Congress party learned of Ali Jinnah’s illness they could have delayed the process till he died or assassinated him while launching a massive strike on a much smaller Muslim Sepoy army. The US or China or Russia or for that matter Great Britain or Germany did not become powerful without using force to get that power. China used brute force to annex Tibet and Russia annexed Eastern Europe to become the Soviet Empire. The US gained lands when she won the war with Mexico in 1849 and gained Arizona, New Mexico, to California.

    Only India emerged in the 20th century smaller than she was in the 19th century for her inability to deal with the likes of Ali Jinnah and the failed concept of Pakistan for most Muslims of the sub continent do not live in that nation which was the main reason to form it. Since then India has used the same “divide and conquer” methods to cut Pakistan’s power in half and then turned her attention to Sri Lanka with the same purpose. Failing to achieve it through war India now is using the diplomatic route to achieve the same goal. Colombo must come to terms with this possibility and neutralize the TNA in every manner and make this act a stern reminder to others with similar aspirations.

    That is why New Delhi is silent to the rise of TESO (Tamil Eelam Supporters Org), has thrown her full support with the TNA who regularly goes to New Delhi for consultations on domestic issues like the 13th amendment, and it is India that has and will continue to attack Sri Lanka with “human rights abuses” since she has a mole leading the UNHRC , a mole named Navi Pillai who will effectively divide Sri Lanka with the help of the TNA.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    If any Sharing has to happen, it ought to be SHARED RESPONSIBILITY for the WELFARE of ALL Sri Lankans, by one and all. Shared Sovereignty is Eelam by yet another name. The TNA games are getting more deceptive & subtle, and endangers not only the Tamil community of Lanka, but also all others.

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