The long civil war which has caused so much death and destruction in Sri Lanka is over. The Tamil Tigers are trapped in a narrow stretch of the northeast portion of the island and are literally fighting for their lives against overwhelming force. Unfortunately, thousands of innocent civilians are caught in the Sri Lanka vise which tightens every day. Artillery continues to pound the encircled area and the UN is pleading for a cease fire in order to allow civilians to flee. The current UN estimate is over six thousand civilians have been killed. However, the Sri Lanka government is exhausted after years of war and death so it intends to go on until their enemy is completely crushed. There is no forgiveness in this government.
India has now become concerned because refugees are fleeing to their shores in search of refuge. The government of India has insisted there must be an immediate cessation of hostilities but it is doubtful their voice will change anything.
Sri Lankan troops just won a major victory by seizing the Tamil rebel capital and being in a position to completely end the civil war which has raged for over two decades. Instead of using its position of power to offer conciliation to the Tamil, the Sri Lankan government decided on hard policy and officially outlawed the rebels. The government ruled out any possibility of peace negotiations since it apparently expected complete victory and an end to the rebellion. Sri Lanka has refused to allow outside media into fighting zones so it is difficult to know the exact strength or desires of Tamil rebels.
The real question is whether loss of the capital will be the type of blow which ends the ability of the Tamil rebels to continue fighting. They have previously suffered severe losses only to bounce back since there are numerous sources in the world to supply them with money and arms. The taste of victory in January may be replaced in August with the bitter taste of war and death. Now is the time to make every effort to offer compromise and bring the Tamils into the government rather pushing them to the outside.
Hundreds of Chad rebels penetrated the capital of Chad as they fought against government forces. It is believed the fighting is raging just outside the presidential palace after the rebels made a lightening advance across the oil-producing African nation. Col. Thierry Burkhard, a French miiitary spokesperson, said about 1,500 rebels are now actualy in the capital. Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh, a leader of the opposition which is supporting the rebels, said the state radio has gone off the air, and “at the moment we are not hearing any firing. The rebels are in the city. Civilians are in the streets. They are watching what is happening.”
The fighting has led the European Union to delay dispatching its peacekeeping mission to both Chad and the neighboring Central African Republic. The EU forces were supposed to protect nations from the chaos caused by the Sudan government’s policies in Darfur which has led to insurgencies flowing out of Darfur into neighboring African nations. The new head of the African Union said Satrudy that the bloc would not recognize Chadian rebels should they seizee poweer. “If the rebellion succeeds cetainly we will excommunicte them from the African Union ntil normalcy and democratic institutions are restored in that country,” said Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete.
One can only support the African Union’s decision to protect democracy in Chad. But, it is confusing that no such stand has been taken against President Kibaki in Kenya who, literally, overthrew an election result through voting fraud and manipulation which has resulted in chaos in the country. Why does the AU have contradictory policies?
As rumors continue circulating about a potential armed thrust into the Kurdish region by Turkish troops in hot pursuit of Kurdish rebels, Turkish businessmen are packing up to go home. There are extensive projects in Kurdistan that are operated by Turkish businessmen, but according to Ahamd Ajar, head of the Turkish Businessmen Society, “Major companies are ending their work in northern Iraq on the way to return home.” This ending of business follows on the heels of Iranian businessmen being forced to halt activities due to American pressure and closing of border crossings from Kurdistan to Iran. Kurds estimate they are losing at least a $1,000,000 a day because of American actions against Iran.
There is apparent need for the United States and representatives of the Kurdish semi-independent government to reach some agreement that would end attacks by Kurdish rebels in Turkey. These continued attacks which result in death of Turkish soldiers and civilians only serves to heighten tension. There is also need for the United States to cease interfering in the affairs of Kurdistan by deciding who can do business on their territory. The Kurds apparently want an Iranian business presence and should have that right.
Posted in Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Peace, Politics, Turkey, War, World News
Tagged Iran, Kurdistan, rebels, Turkey, US