The threat of terrorism is still very real in Sri Lanka


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Photo by christhedunn. Used here under a Creative Commons license.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - on a state visit to India - told reporters that the recent bombings in Indonesia should remind us that the "threat of such violent extremism is still very real."

Associated Press

"Yesterday's bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia, provide a painful reminder that the threat of such violent extremism is still very real. It is global. It is ruthless. It is nihilistic and it must be stopped," she said.

"We have a great sense of solidarity and sympathy, having gone through what we did on 9/11," she added.

Her voice rising, Clinton insisted that the U.S. demand for international action against terrorist should not be taken lightly.
This statement, however, comes after her stern advice to Sri Lanka (one of the more successful nations in the fight against violent extremism.)

When the violent extremist, the Tamil Tigers, were cornered and nearing defeat, Hillary Clinton called for a truce. She accused Sri Lanka of causing "untold suffering" and told the Sri Lankan authorities that the world was "disappointed."

Reuters

"I think that the Sri Lankan government knows that the entire world is very disappointed that in its efforts to end what it sees as 25 years of conflict, it is causing such untold suffering," Clinton told lawmakers, referring to the thousands of civilians trapped in the war zone.
A U.S. Secretary of State should be wary of giving extremist such sound bytes to further fuel their propaganda.

Hillary Clinton, in her new role as U.S. Secretary of State, must also realise that there should never be double standards when it comes to fighting terrorism. She was harsh in her assessment of Sri Lanka's conflict despite the fact that it was the Tamil Tigers who were holding civilians as a human shield.

Taking on the Tigers to free over 200,000 of it's own citizens can be compared to Obama ordering snipers to take out Somali pirates when an American hostage sat nearby. Lives or life, the risk is the same. Tough decisions must be made from time to time.

Terrorism will continue to threaten our communities. How we react to it's threat is what will help deter terrorist.

In order to eradicate global terrorism and violent extremism, one cannot wage war on Islamic extremist and at the same time call for a truce with Tamil extremist.

If Sri Lanka is to ensure that violent extremism is a thing of the past, it must ensure that all remaining combatants are apprehended and all hidden weapons and explosive caches are unearthed.


Sri Lanka Army search operations on Saturday, July 18th 2009, discovers a Tamil Tiger submersible vessel hidden 500m into sea by the Tigers. Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Army.

While de-mining is a big part of the resettlement process, ensuring the Tigers don't re-group to kill thousands more is as crucial.

Mahinda Rajapakse was clear when he said he can't let Sri Lanka become Baghdad.

Rushing the resettlement of the displaced Tamils, and pressuring Sri Lanka into rushing the resettlement process is not going to serve any positive purpose. If a thorough screening of the displaced is not completed, former combatants may melt into the jungles, and take Sri Lanka back to civil war.

62 days after the end of hostilities, Sri Lanka continues to unearth tonnes of hidden explosives. Sri Lanka also continues to apprehend senior combatants posing as civilians in the camps.


Search operations conducted based on information revealed by apprehended Tiger combatants, has helped authorities unearth over a tonne of explosives. The largest find of it's kind since the fall of the Tigers. Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Army.

Aid workers, the biggest critics of the camps, say that restricting the movement of these displaced is illegal. Their lack of concern for Sri lanka's future, due to their focus on merely satisfying the immediate rights of the displaced, can be equated to short term thinking and a lack of understanding of the work involved for a nation rebuilding after 30 years of war.

As a tax payer I want the government to ensure the Tigers will never re-group and take Sri Lanka back into war. Too many have paid the ultimate price and this is a good time to ensure all that was not in vain. I also want the government to ensure it does everything it can to bring some normalcy to the lives of the displaced during this time.

At the moment the Rajapakse administration is struggling to cope with a global financial crisis, the issue of the displaced, de-mining, search operations for explosives, and a political package to please all minorities on the island.

It's safe to say the administration is stretched and requires assistance in ensuring everything moves smoothly. That's one thing that criticism and pressure cannot help accomplish.

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