Posted on June 30th, 2022


Sarath Fonseka is credited with two achievements relating to the Eelam war. Firstly he single handedly, opposed the Ceasefire Agreement of 2002 (CFA) and secondly he played a major role in winning Eelam War IV.

Fonseka had strongly opposed the Ceasefire Agreement. He was the only officer who had the guts to publicly oppose the CFA, said Shamindra Ferdinando, especially the move to remove high security zones.  He flatly refused to do so, as long as the LTTE had artillery pieces and long range mortars.

Austin Fernando, then in charge of the Peace process, had accused Fonseka of undermining the entire peace process by refusing to cooperate by vacating public buildings in the Jaffna peninsula.

Shamindra said that the country should be grateful to Fonseka for taking a firm stand on the CFA. Had he given in to political pressure at that time, the outcome of the war would have been different.  LTTE could have overrun the Jaffna peninsula and won the war.

Fonseka is admired for his role in   winning Eelam war IV.  He will always be given credit for that. Kamal Gunaratne in his book Road to Nanthikadal, states that Sarath Fonseka was essential” for Eelam War IV. All plans for the war were prepared under his direction. He selected the commanders of the units. He did so ignoring seniority, in favor of proven ability.

Fonseka supervised the battles, from long distance, I think. During the last siege at Mullaitivu, Kamal said Fonseka’s phone calls were a nuisance, because it took him away from the fighting but also a help because of the support Fonseka provided.

Fonseka was on holiday in China during the last days of the    war. During the final stages of the armed conflict, Fonseka went to China with his mobile phone and the map of the Wanni, said Jagath Jayasuriya. But  Fonseka was contactable on telephone. He used to call and verify reports.

Fonseka was in China from May 1 to May 17.  He returned on the night of May 17. The war ended onMay 18, 2009.  This helped Fonseka to avoid the charge of war crimes. Fonseka’s name is never mentioned in the war crime charges of the west, though he was the Commander of the army at the time, noted critics.

Channel 4, while throwing blame on the President, Defence Secretary, General Shavendra Silva and General Prasanna Silva, leaves out Sarath Fonseka from its war crimes charge, observed Rajiva Wijesinha. Amnesty International spokesman Sam Zarifi also stresses the responsibility of the first two, and absolutely omits Sarath Fonseka.

Sarath Fonseka had political ambitions and the USA took note of this. USA’s ambassador to Sri Lanka, Robert O Blake engaged Fonseka at the height of Eelam war IV, said critics. He persuaded Fonseka to apply for permanent residency in the US. Fonseka was awarded permanent residency in USA  well before the Eelam war ended.

To get a US Green card you normally need to live in USA for five years but it could also be got if the Head of CIA, Attorney general or Head of immigration advised that the applicant could provide confidential information vital to their country, said analysts.

Fonseka was Chief of Defense staff as well as Army commander at the time. He was therefore privy to defense and other official secrets. The public is entitled to ask Fonseka whether he had obtained US citizenship by giving confidential defense information to the US authorities, said critics.

Fonseka visited Washington at least three times, after the start of Eelam War IV. He went in November 2006, November 2008 and November 2009. He spent too much time hanging around Washington during the LTTE conflict, said John Stanton.  

In November 2006, he went to Washington on a three-day official visit. He had meetings at the Pentagon with the Chief of Staff US Army, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other senior officials of the Army.

Fonseka went to the US in November2008 to tour Washington, while the Sri Lanka army was fighting at Muhamalai and Kilinochchi, commented critics. Fonseka is perhaps the only permanent resident of the US with the exception of Pakistan’s Musharraf, to be accorded such a reception in Washington, they said. Fonseka returned in December 2008.

His third visit was in 2009. Gen. Fonseka and his wife left for the U.S. on October 23 2009. Fonseka, who is a U.S. Green Card holder, has a residence in Oklahoma. His visit is in connection with renewing his Green Card which affords him residency in the U.S. This is a prelude to U.S. citizenship, media reported.

Their visit was to be partly official. Fonseka was invited to U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii for farewell ceremonies to its commander Admiral Timothy J. Keating. But there was a complication.

US Department of Homeland Security  had wanted to interview Fonseka on a statement he had has made earlier regarding the Sri Lanka army refusing to accept the surrender of LTTE soldiers. Fonseka got alarmed. He contacted lawyers, the embassy and the Foreign ministry.

The Government of Sri Lanka had protested to the US ambassador. The interview should not take place, the government of Sri Lanka said.  Despite Fonseka’s status as a green-card holder, the U.S. does not have any jurisdiction over him because he entered the country on a Sri Lankan passport.

General Fonseka is a citizen of Sri Lanka and he holds a diplomatic passport from Sri Lanka.  Further, Fonseka could not divulge privileged information on the war and its conduct without approval from the government of Sri Lanka. “Fonseka returned to Sri Lanka without going for the interview.

It is suggested that Fonseka had engaged in covert and overt politics some time during these three  visits, while holding high position in the army. at one of these visits he had    made a politically incorrect speech at a Buddhist temple in the USA causing the chief prelate of the temple to intervene to lessen its negative impact. On his last visit Fonseka had ‘sung like a bird’, said Dayan Jayatilaka. (Rajiva Wijesinghe. Lakmahal at war. P 329).

In 2010 USA selected Sarath Fonseka to be their man in Sri Lanka. Fonseka      came forward as a candidate for the 2010 Presidential election. The US threw its weight behind Fonseka. Many Sri Lankans saw Fonseka as a tool of the US government and western interests, said John Stanton. other forces were also rallying behind Fonseka, added the media.

Sarath Fonseka’s campaign for the Presidency has a “made in USA” tag on it said a Daily News editorial. Sunday Observer ran the headline, ‘west behind moves to regime change’. if Fonseka comes, there will be external interference in Sri Lanka on an unprecedented scale, Sunday Observer added.

The problem was how to present a coarse, humorless general as an erudite individual of some refinement and polish and dent Mahinda Rajapaksa‘s unbelievable popularity. To this end, a massive USD 140 million was pumped into the country through conduits that include NGOs that has been identified as being friendly to US interests, reported Asian Tribune.

for the election campaign, USA borrowed items from Obama campaign such as the slogan, ‘change.’  The dirty tricks played via SMS, Twitter, and Face book are similar to those employed in the recent Iranian elections. Internet manipulations visa SMS, Face book and Twitter took place during the Sri Lanka presidential campaign. A disinformation campaign was unleashed with the connivance of the foreign press and certain foreign embassies, said the media.

Fonseka had a tremendous backing at the election. UK, US and Norway are supporting Sarath Fonseka, said critics. The day before the Presidential election, Fonseka group held a meeting with representatives of the Colombo based diplomatic community. Those attending included American ambassador, British, Australia, EU, and Norway.  When Sarath Fonseka, arrived in Parliament, after the general election ‘the first thing he did inside the House was to wave at the British and US envoys in the VIP gallery, noted the media.

Fonseka received the support of many local political parties. UNP-TNA-SLMC- JVP   backed Fonseka. JVP was getting huge sums from US and Norway to support Fonseka in the Presidential election, said critics.

 TNA declared its support for Fonseka’s candidature and the northern and eastern provinces responded accordingly. Fonseka comfortably won all northern and eastern districts.  Sampanthan said that Rajapakse refused to consider TNA demands, while Fonseka said he would consider the demand for merger of North and east.

TNA stated that Fonseka had agreed to their conditions. There is a signed agreement. Diplomats and foreign governments have been informed. Copies of the agreement were sent to foreign representatives too, said TNA. The LTTE overseas were also fully behind Fonseka.

In the Presidential election of  2010, we saw a scowling candidate issuing threats to all and sundry from the public platform, unlike before. Apart from the lack of smile, it is the pure hate that has been emanating from the opposition platform has been frightening to watch. Fonseka has entered the political forum to settle scores with his former boss and it shows.

 He threatened to dismiss police officers, court marital army officer, chase economists out of the country and to imprison literally all who cross his path. Never before have presidential elections had a candidate who so liberally doles out threats. How will he behave when in power, if he behaves like this   when out of power, onlookers asked. Those who saw Fonseka at work at close quarters and knew the plans he had if he won the election , were most relived that he lost.

In spite of the support of USA as well as a coalition comprising the UNP-JVP-TNA-SLMC-ACMC and the Civil society”, Fonseka suffered a humiliating defeat. Fonseka lost by a staggering 1.8 million votes. Fonseka won in North and east, also Colombo municipality, Dehiwela, Negombo, and Galle. He won in  places where there were less Sinahla Buddhist, said analysts. Roughly about 8% Sinhalese voted for Fonseka. Fonseka complained that the election had been rigged. He wanted foreign countries to interfere. He repeatedly said they must interfere.

After the election ended, the Fonseka    group, instead of going home, took up residence in a hotel with a large retinue of armed personnel. They took a whole floor of the hotel. My recall is that Karu Jayasuriya and Mangala Samaraweera also joined them.

The foreign press was kept standing by. False information was fed to the world from the hotel and it was taken up by the world media. There was speculation that they had planned to carry out a coup d’état there.

‘There was something going on’ before the election, Mahinda Rajapaksa said later. Fonseka was moving Special Forces to Colombo, also forces from Sinha regiment that he considered were loyal to him. he was harboring deserters as well.

After Fonseka’s defeat there was a reversal. Over 26 retired military officers who had supported Fonseka in his Presidential election campaign joined the government after the election. They said Fonseka was now with the JVP and did not help them at all, when they were in difficulties. Some of them were barred from entering his office after he joined the JVP.  He took no action when they were detained by the military. He did not have an iota of concern for his fellow officers and their families who underwent immense problems after the presidential election, they complained.

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