Victory at all Costs?


The Diplomat contributor Sergei DeSilva is finishing up a piece for us on the aftermath of the Sri Lankan government’s victory over the Tamil Tigers ahead of the election taking place next week.

But in the meantime, it seems, the government is still struggling to fend off accusations of unnecessary brutality. This piece in the Guardian highlights the damage a lack of candidness is doing to the government’s reputation:

‘The Sri Lankan government continues to believe that aggressive denial is the best policy. But the price it is paying in lost credibility is rising. The European Union is considering ending textile trade benefits to Sri Lanka over its human rights record, while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) took the extraordinary step of delaying an emergency loan for months. At the direction of the US Congress, the US State Department produced a report detailing alleged violations of international humanitarian law during the final months of the conflict.’

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Interestingly, there are continued rumours circulating that Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief V Prabharakan, who the Sri Lankan military say was killed, is actually still alive:

‘A new website,, which claims to be the official website of the rebel outfit, a few days ago published that the Tiger chief is alive:

‘Terming the Sri Lankan government’s assertions that LTTE founder V Prabhakaran was killed in an encounter in May 2009 as ‘rumours’, Tamil Maaran, the spokesperson of the Tigers, promised the citizens of Tamil Eelam that the Tamil chief will appear before them.’

Almost certainly just propaganda. But still uncomfortable for Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa appears determined to milk the defeat of the Tigers in his campaign against opposition candidate and former military chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka.

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