Does Sri Lanka need a new war? | Sunday Observer
From LTTE to USA

Does Sri Lanka need a new war?

In May 2009 Sri Lanka sighed with relief as its Security Forces defeated the internationally proscribed terrorist-LTTE bringing to an end 30 years of terror. It took the fifth President to order his troops to defeat the LTTE while the Defence Secretary at the time has now become Sri Lanka’s seventh President and most of the ground commanders are now holding top posts in the present Government. With LTTE’s defeat Sri Lanka began a new chapter. The people were all in agreement that they did not wish to have any future conflict and they never wanted to live in fear.

That feeling was shortlived as a result of the 2015 weak governance that undermined Sri Lanka’s national security resulting in the 21/4 mass murder by Jihadi suicide bombers. The weak governance entered into a series of treacherous agreements all of which spelled doom for the country. Our Forces sacrificed their lives to prevent separatism in Sri Lanka. Their blood sacrifices should not lead to newer catastrophes by political blunders that place Sri Lanka under the United States flag via provisions of the ACSA-SOFA and MCC. We have gone through and suffered enough as a Nation. Sri Lanka’s leaders should not take us into new and unimaginable dangerous scenario.

Three agreements

The US is building its military strength in the Indo-Pacific Region with US Indo-Pacific Command regularly highlighting the importance of using Sri Lanka’s strategic location. The containment of China’s rise is the US goal. The three agreements are part of US strategy tool – Defence (ACSA), Diplomacy (SOFA), Development (MCC).

The three agreements US is pressurising Sri Lanka to sign will seal Sri Lanka’s fate forever.?

1. ACSA – Acquisition & Cross-Service? Agreement signed in secret in August 2017 (83 pages)

Sri Lanka by signing will allow US military?? access to Sri Lanka’s entry and exit points – Airports and? Ports for logistics, support, supplies and services - food, water,? billeting, transportation, air, petroleum, clothing, communication? services, medical services, base operations support,use of local facilities, training, spare parts, repair,? maintenance, port services – all of these activities will be done by US? personnel on Sri Lanka’s facilities.?

Imagine the number of US personnel and equipment and perhaps no-go areas that will be demarcated on our land.

US can at any given time use one of their infamous excuses ‘war on terror’ ‘war on drugs’ ‘war to protect US interests’ and even deny Sri Lankans entry to their own country.

Imagine how many Sri Lankan Muslims are likely to be subject to profiling from US Jihadi terrorist watchlist?

War against Islamic terrorism is one that US will peddle and one that is certainly tied to the Easter Sunday mayhem.

Imagine how India/Tamils and Palaly Airport will also come under US scrutiny using varied excuses. Tamils will soon realise their folly as will India. The drug peddlers from India and Sri Lanka may soon be without jobs!

By signing ACSA, Sri Lanka has got itself unnecessarily involved in the US-Sino conflict allowing US to use Sri Lanka for all of its logistical support services. This has completely nullified the spirit of the non-aligned status Sri Lanka has proudly been aligned to. China has been our traditional friend and we have never had to deal with altercations with China of the kind we continue to suffer at the hands of the US. We are riding on a wafer thin line of ‘hope’ that no conflict between US and China or any other country arises in Asia, for no sooner such does, Sri Lanka will be used as base by US.

What will happen to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and territorial integrity?

These warnings were aired when an artificial independence was created for Kosovo in 2008. Today, 10,887 km2 Kosovo has a US military base that is 3.86 km2 (955 acres). Today, Kosovo is no happy state.

While US bulldozes its presence on countries claiming to ‘help’ them, the most confounding aspect of this forced presence is the demand for countries to pay for US military presence. Using the argument that an agreement once signed denotes the country wanted US presence, US demands countries to pay for US military in their countries. This means soon Sri Lanka will have to be pocketing out to the US for US military under at least two agreements (ACSA and SOFA) Do we have the money to be making such payments?

2. Status of Forces Agreement / Visiting Forces Agreement (re-negotiated)

Under this Agreement US Department of Defence Military and Civilian personnel are to receive? immunities, exemptions and privileges equivalent to? diplomats under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.? By signing SOFA Sri Lanka is agreeing to allow US? Military and Civilian personnel/US contractors and employees can enter and? exit Sri Lanka using US identification, to travel even without driving? licence, to even carry arms.? Sri Lanka has to provide security and protection for? the US Military and Civilian personnel, their property and their records.? US Military and Civilian personnel will not pay any tax? or similar charges in Sri Lanka and can even refuse to pay tax on the Expressway.? US Military and Civilian personnel are allowed to? import/export anything and be exempt from any inspection, licence, other? restrictions, customs, duties, taxes within Sri Lanka.?

US Defence Dept vessels and vehicles will be permitted? to move freely within Sri Lanka and be exempted from any payment. US? vessels, aircraft will not be subject to payment of landing fees, port? fees, pilotage charges, lighterage, harbour dues which will be in facilities? owned and operated by GoSL.? US owned and operated aircraft shall not be subject to? pay navigation, overflight, terminal or similar charges by Sri Lanka while? Sri Lanka cannot board or inspect any of these aircraft or vessels.? US military allowed to operate its own radio? spectrum/telecommunications system and be free of cost to US by Sri Lanka.?

Dangers

While ACSA allows US to control Sri Lanka’s entry and exit points, SOFA is allowing US troops and civilians to go anywhere in Sri Lanka immune from any checking or payments and even carrying arms.

Have policymakers and advisors not envisaged the dangers that can arise for the country and its citizens?

This automatically takes our memories to how the conflict against terrorism started and the revelations by Gen. Wesley Clark.

Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11 but US not only bombed by invading it in 2001 and continues to occupy Afghanistan 19 years later with no likelihood of leaving.

The fates of Iraq, Libya and Syria are no different.

All those that helped US bring down their countries are also now no more or treated as traitors.

None of these countries are better off after US landed. These nations are devastated in every imaginable way. Does Sri Lanka want to enter this list and for what?

In the case of these countries, US forced itself upon them, in the case of Sri Lanka, we are inviting the devil propped by US arms industry and elite that are putting ordinary American citizens into debt while they make the profits.

Immigration and Covid-19 are newest tools to enforce US presence in countries claiming to ‘protect’ US national interests and assets.

3. Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact (MCC)

The third agreement is the MCC promising a grant gift of $480 million which is not coming to the Sri Lankan Treasury or to be handled directly by the Sri Lankan Parliament but by a private company that is reporting to the MCC and US Govt.

The amounts allocated are to be spent in a phased out way and careful reading of the clauses of the agreement will show that the MCC presence is not for five years but likely to remain indefinitely. While the greater fear for Sri Lankans is the likelihood of Sri Lanka’s land being grabbed most Sri Lankans are wondering their lives will be without land!

All three agreements provide tax exemptions and immunities questioning what exactly Sri Lanka is getting from signing these agreements.

Envisage a scenario where after signing the three agreements that offer US to use our money, our resources, our territory and even our people as virtual labour how do we deal with a situation like George Floyd.

How will Government come to our aid against US troops and civilians who have been given immunity for any crime?

How do we defend ourselves, when US will be creating their own territory inside our country to which Sri Lankans will be forbidden to enter? What happens in the case of expanding of these areas – how can we defend ourselves when we don’t have territory? Even to fight guerilla warfare, LTTE needed territory. If our territory is not ours, how can we defend ourselves? These are important questions to ask ourselves taking into consideration the aspects of these three agreements and linking them together.

Does Sri Lanka want to be inviting conflict to become like a Trincomalee oil tank farm that came under attack during World War 2 by Japan. Tank 91 was destroyed by the Japanese during the attack on the Trincomalee harbour on April 9, 1942. This is what the ruined oil tank looks like now.

This is what we went through for 30 years. We do not wish to enter a similar past this time by invitation. No nation should sign and invite trouble to their shores knowing the checkered resume of the nation Sri Lanka’s leaders are toying to sign with.

Those toying with the idea of proceeding to sign these agreements are not only going to cause internal issues that they can never deal with while knowingly making Sri Lanka a sitting duck for modern warfare in West vs East.??

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