Tuesday, January 6, 2009

US Treasury fights in Sri Lanka's Uncivil War

This post examines recent geopolitical developments in Sri Lanka to divine the financial dimensions of the ongoing war in that country. Sri Lanka is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, just south of India's southern coastline. Here's a link to The United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mr. Blake's speech on the United States Department of State views on Sri Lanka at the University of Madras (Chennai) on October 24,2008.
According to Ambassador Blake's speech, sometime after November 2007, the United States Department of the Treasury designated the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization under Executive Order 13224, thereby freezing the TRO's assets in the US and prohibiting Americans from dealing with them. This was following an anti-terrorist investigation in which the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was linked with the TRO.
The official Department of State stand is to catalyze a political solution in Sri Lanka and establish a democratic government for all of Sri Lanka. It appears that the US has allowed the Sinhala Army to defeat the LTTE, mainly by choking off funding to the LTTE, in order to hasten the 'political solution'.
On January 01, 2009, offensive divisions of the Sinhala Army in the Wanni Theater of operations announced the imminent capture, within 48 hours, of the LTTE Capital of KilliNochi. Tiger propaganda would have it that KilliNochi was simply a 'ghost town', already evacuated by the Tigers before its capture. The Sinhala Army is now pursuing the capture of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the supreme leader of the Tigers.
Sri Lanka in 2007 was de facto an island with two nations on it. The North and North Eastern parts of Sri Lanka were controlled by the Tigers, while the rest of Sri Lanka was the actual Sinhala nation with its capital in Colombo. The Tigers had set up border control posts to delimit their territory. The Tigers had their own Army, Battle Tanks, a Sea Tiger navy fleet, and so on. Throughout the last few months of 2008, every week there were reports and announcements in the Indian media of miraculous successes of the Sinhala Army.
Some 200,000 Tamil civilians overall are reported to have been displaced, with massive uncounted civilian casualties of Tamils caught in the crossfire between the Sinhala forces and the Tiger strongholds. Both New Delhi and the international press have maintained a studied silence on the issue. There has been no Indian intervention, with the exception of one ship from India containing humanitarian relief supplies for the Tamils. There has been no discussion on this issue at the United Nations; no proposals for a ceasefire; and no talk of any outside military intervention to stop the violence.
My analysis is that the international silence on the ongoing war in Sri Lanka is closely connected with Sri Lanka's Natural Gas Reserves, The European concerns over Russian Natural Gas supplies and Gazprom's recent decision to cut off NG supplies to Ukraine.
Most importantly, all this probably has profound implications for what is really going on behind the scenes in the unfolding battle between the Reliance Group Ambani brothers over the new Natural Gas finds in the Krishna Godavari basin in India.

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