Lalin’s Coloumn: Holbrooke, Devolution and War games
Posted on June 18th, 2013

By Major General (Retd.) Lalin Fernando– Asian Tribune –

(Admiral Leighton W Smith USN, C in C US Navy Europe and NATO and Allied Forces Southern Europe (1994-6) ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” who with his staff had prepared a military briefing on Bosnia for Holbrooke, the chief US envoy to Yugoslavia(1995+)

I always think of this excerpt whenever I read Dayan Jayathileke (DJ). Coincidentally Holbrooke US Ambassador to Germany, Assistant Secretary of State and head of the US negotiating team at the Dayton Peace talks wanted to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”bomb for peaceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. He also used to encourage the Croats and Bosnians to take additional territory before the cease fire even while negotiating peace. He was known to give unsolicited advice to others especially military officers and was regularly rebuffed by them especially so by Brit Gen Sir Rupert Smith Commander UN PROFOR Sarajevo and Admiral Smith. So Holbrooke impressed DJ but not the warrior Smiths. Strike a chord?

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-We got all the briefings ready and met in my office and we were treated to a couple of hours on Dick Holbrooke by Dick HolbrookeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

As for devolution, there are many experts on the subject (this does not include DJ and imitators). I have no intention to dwell on it. It was clear that at one time very few wanted it. When 8 of the 9 Provincial Councils started functioning, the country, less the corrupted, cursed. Why then is DJ carrying out propaganda, including veiled communal slants, for it?

Whatever is decided by the politicians should ensure the Tamils of Jaffna are given every opportunity to enjoy life and progress much the same as everyone else in SL. The Sinhalese meanwhile should not be made to regret whatever course their leaders take. Recent history and its cost if it is not already forgotten, will no doubt guide and weigh heavily on the minds and conscience of all concerned.

What is of concern is DJƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s urge to paint a doomsday scenario if his gratuitous warnings, veiled threats and advice on devolution are not heeded. One wonders whose cross he is carrying? It is certainly not the Tamils.

He misinterprets, invents, conjures, insinuates, threatens and boasts while hurtling an assorted and bewildering number of double edged shafts. Many have heard him before. There is no panic. He has been a politician (Minister), author, journalist, diplomat and of course a political scientist ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”but not an accurate oneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (Don Mahindapala).

DJ rummages around and produces a Holbrooke quote addressed to Milosevic the Serbian President (both no longer living) ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”I donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t give a damn what happened half a millennia ago, weƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢re living nowƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ .Was this mentioned to deliver a smashing if not slanted left hook to drop Sinhala Buddhists for the count. Nobody should take HolbrookeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”s lack of refinement seriously. This was his pet phrase. But is this, when quoted by DJ, a barb aimed at the Sinhalese who quote their history? Prof GH Peiris (Island Mid week review 5 June 13 page III) says to DJ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-demonizing Sinhala Buddhists ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦. is an objectively counterproductive past timeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚?

Is DJ who is also an expert in ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”strategic cum military mattersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ as Peiris, tongue in the cheek alludes and DJ gratefully laps? DJ does not select non Buddhists for vilification. Is it his view everything bad in SL is Buddhist Sinhala?

DJ has always sweated hard to impress that he is at one moment in Moscow, (INTEG?) next having breakfast in Singapore with the PM there, then in Paris, Vienna, Delhi (oops), Havana (cigars?) and of course lecturing diverse militaries. The people he knows are all famous including we are reminded ad nauseum, Maj Gen Mehta (Indian) and one Stephen Ratner.

He conjures a R2P scenario to sort out what is absolutely and only a SL sovereign issue (13 A) that concerns no one else including his Indian friends. He produces MK Anthony, Indian Defence Minister to bolster his blows.

The latter apparently made a reference to SL at the opening of what DJ states (Island 5 June) is the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-brand newƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ IAF air base at Thanjavur, (Tanjore) Tamil Nadu from where a squadron of SU 30s Mk1, air superiority, heavy, all weather long range (3,500kms) fighters are based. They are in about 5 other air bases too for that matter. It is as though DJ wishes SL to believe that IAF Thanjavur (less than 15 minutes flying time to Jaffna) was ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”scrambledƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ on 27 May 2013 to put SL on red notice? ThanjavurƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s objectives outside of its primary air defence rol, as also stated by Anthony, will be to provide protection for its Navy, Indian Ocean shipping lanes and vital installations in the area. Anthony spoke of defence to the Islands, quite clearly Andaman and Nicobar.

The Times of India, Deccan Herald and the Hindu reports of the opening ceremony of the base said nothing about SL. Indian media referred to the base as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”newƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ but not ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚brand newƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ for good reason. It has been in existence from 1940 when it belonged to the RAF who handed it over to the Airports Authority. The IAF took it over in 1990 and upgraded it unhurriedly from air field to air base. Certainly the IAF did not upgrade Thanjavur and station SU 30 Mk1s to devour SL even if the prospect makes DJ hysterical. Why was this misinterpreted by DJ? Is this ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”the eagles are comingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ scenario an intellectual interdiction?

DJ strains to educate readers on basic geography if not IAF strategy, as if no one else but he knew that Pakistan and China are to IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s west and east respectively, and SL is to the south. Has India not got amongst others, intercontinental and intermediate, air to air, air to surface, surface to surface missiles from Prithvi, (range 700kms) to Agni III (3,500kms) that can carry nukes too. So what is the sudden threat to SL that DJ discovered if not invented at Thanjavur to coincide with his devolution download? Has Mehta or even Ratner told him something confidentially? Should we all start getting into air raid or is it nuclear bomb proof shelters straight away or wait for DJ to give the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”all clearƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ 13 A signal?

We have had 4 years of a wonderful peace and much happiness after 26 years of harrowing conflict. So why is DJ hallucinating that the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”international communityƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ wants to reappear in SL? Are they the ghosts or proxies of the Diaspora terras? DJ slyly disparaging the SL forces says that ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-in any future scenarioƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦.. there will be no Tamil army ( was there one before?) fighting the Indians or anyone else who may come alongƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. Is this his hope and prayer? For whom? He presses on ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-There will be no foreign troops in the Sinhala areas and therefore no possibility of a protracted heroic guerilla war of national liberationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. Is he at the same time mocking our troops and predicting Armageddon for the Sinhalese?

Are there International Community mercenaries being tasked to take out SLƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s army in Jaffna so that thereafter the Sinhalese can be separated and isolated from the people of Jaffna and then engaged/ destroyed, vaporized? DJ calls it R2P.

DJ must know that if anyone decides to attempt to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”come alongƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, it wonƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t be like the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”last timeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (1987) either.

Our troops are already in Jaffna to give a fittingand extremely warm welcome especially to anyone DJ has in mind. The TNA says there are 16 army Divisions in the North. If so, they are in but not confined to barracks as in1987. They are some of the most battle hardened, professional and skilled troops around. In 1987 there was only an ersatz division with little artillery and just wheeled armour in Jaffna with enthusiastic but severely limited air and sea defences. Of course there were ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”terrasƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ too who gave the invading R2P 100,000 strong IPKF a bloodier nose than the Chinese did in the Aksai Chin mountains in 1962. A reminder was given them recently when just 30 Chinese soldiers sojourned in Ladakh for 2 weeks. India sat tight.

Has DJ any idea what the R2P martyrs strength will be? Or is he predicting a Bosnia type NATO bombing campaign even though Holbrooke, had he been alive, (Vietnam was his first foreign service posting) would probably ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-not care a damnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚? DJ who doesnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t want ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-protracted heroic guerrilla warƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ must know ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-the next timeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ will be in an almost totally Tamil area? Will he clarify about and for whom does he speak?

Whose victory or remembrance will it be if the 13A is jettisoned and DJƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s dire prediction of R2P occurs? The last time 23,000 soldiers and 77,000 others were killed, many as a consequence. They will be remembered. Does SL need to hear DJ by DJ anymore?

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Military officers are not trained to be politicians, we do not eat like them, drink like themƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦.. talk like them. And thatƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s not good or bad. ItƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s just a fact of lifeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ (Admiral Leighton Smith USN).


4 Responses to “Lalin’s Coloumn: Holbrooke, Devolution and War games”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Dayan Jayathileke (aka DON JUAN) is getting POUNDED left right and centre.

    What a traitor he is! MR has FINALLY realized the truth about this piece of dirt.

    SL does NOT need DJ anymore but DJ needs SL.

    R2P cannot protect 250,000 Tamils in Colombo!! In fact R2P will ENDANGER Tamils in Colombo!!

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:


    IT IS TANTAMOUNT TO AN INVITATION FOR A BRAWL. What you say in the fourth line is a possible scenario. God forbid.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    Gotabhaya is echoing OUR PLEAS! He is in effect saying that ETHNIC INTEGRATION of the North and East is central to achieving National Integration, and Permanent Communal Harmony! BRAVO, Mr. Defence Secretary!

    RISE UP ….. O Patriots of Mother Lanka …. RISE UP, in your TENS of MILLIONS, and REPEAL the 13th Amendment and DISSOLVE the Provincial Council System NOW. Raise your VOICE NOW to make PERMANENT the PEACE & HARMONY in our Resplendent Motherland!

    Gotabhaya abhors exclusivity for any race anywhere

    by Shamindra Ferdinando
    June 18, 2013, 10:00 pm

    Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said the Northern Province should be opened up for all communities to live in without further delay. That would be of pivotal importance to promote bonding among the people in the post-war era.

    The Defence Secretary emphasised that the Sinhalese shouldn’t be deprived of their right to buy land in any part of the country, including the Northern Province comprising the administrative districts of Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya.

    The outspoken official said that the Sinhalese and the Muslim public servants too, should be allowed to serve in the Northern Province as well as in the predominantly Tamil areas of the Eastern Province.

    Asked whether he would take up the issue with the government, the Defence Secretary said that he had explained the situation to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    Those who had been propagating post-war national reconciliation should promote bonding among people, he said, alleging that as long as the Northern Province remained ‘closed’ to other communities it would continue to be a breeding ground for separatist sentiments.

    Responding to a query, the Defence Secretary said that many Tamil speaking people from the Northern and Eastern provinces had moved to Colombo and its suburbs as well as other areas over the years. In spite of the conclusion of the conflict in May, four years ago, they hadn’t been asked to return to their original places of living, he said. Likewise, others should be able to live in any part of the country, he added.

    The Defence Secretary said that recently he had had an opportunity to meet a Tamil engineer attached to the RDA and his deputy, also a Tamil speaking official responsible for an ongoing project at a Colombo suburb coming under his purview. If they could work here without any hindrance why couldn’t the people of other ethnicities be given appointments in the Northern region, the Defence Secretary queried.

    He recollected the circumstances under which the LTTE had driven the Sinhalese and the Muslims out of the Northern Province. A Norwegian found guilty of slaughtering about 80 men, women and children in 2011 was on record as having said that he was inspired by LTTE project to drive out the Muslims, he noted.

    The official emphasised the importance of taking tangible measures to address contentious issues. Although, the LTTE could no longer pose a military challenge, the post-war national reconciliation process was at risk due to the Northern Province having special status, he said. The Defence Secretary insisted that Northern Province shouldn’t be exclusively Tamil and similarly there should not be any exclusively Sinhala or Muslim areas in the country.

  4. Senevirath Says:

    Lalith weeratunga is also opposing 13a good now we have 2 big men

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2023 All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress