அரசியல் பிரச்சாரத்தின் ஆதாரக் கோட்பாடு

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அரசியல் பிரச்சாரத்தின் ஆதாரக் கோட்பாடு.

'' நீதி, மதம், அரசியல், சமுதாயம் சம்பந்தமான எல்லாவித சொல்லடுக்குகளுக்கும் பிரகடனங்களுக்கும் வாக்குறுதிகளுக்கும் பின்னே ஏதாவதொரு வர்க்கத்தின் நலன்கள் ஒழிந்து நிற்பதைக் கண்டுகொள்ள மக்கள் தெரிந்துகொள்ளாத வரையில் அரசியலில் அவர்கள் முட்டாள்தனமான ஏமாளிகளாகவும் தம்மைத் தாமே ஏமாற்றிக்கொள்வோராகவும் இருந்தனர், எப்போதும் இருப்பார்கள். பழைய ஏற்பாடு ஒவ்வொன்றும் எவ்வளவுதான் காட்டு மிராண்டித் தனமாகவும் அழுகிப் போனதாகவும் தோன்றிய போதிலும் ஏதாவது ஒரு ஆளும்வர்க்கத்தின் சக்தியைக் கொண்டு அது நிலைநிறுத்தப்பட்டு வருகிறது. சீர்திருத்தங்கள், அபிவிருத்திகள் ஆகியவற்றின் ஆதரவாளர்கள் இதை உணராத வரையில் பழைய அமைப்பு முறையின் பாதுகாவலர்கள் அவர்களை என்றென்றும் முட்டாளாக்கிக் கொண்டே இருப்பார்கள். இந்த வர்க்கங்களின் எதிர்ப்பைத் தகர்த்து ஒழிப்பதற்கு ஒரே ஒரு வழிதான் உண்டு. அது என்ன?

பழைமையைத் துடைத்தெறியவும் புதுமையைச் சிருக்ஷ்டிக்கவும் திறன் பெற்றவையும், சமுதாயத்தில் தாங்கள் வகிக்கும் ஸ்தானத்தின் காரணமாக அப்படிச் சிருக்ஷ்டித்துக் தீரவேண்டிய நிர்ப்பந்தத்திலிருக்கிறவையுமான சக்திகளை, நம்மைச் சூழ்ந்துள்ள இதே சமுதாயத்துக்குள்ளேயே நாம் கண்டுபிடித்து, அந்தச் சக்திகளுக்கு ஞானமூட்டிப் போராட்டத்துக்கு ஸ்தாபன ரீதியாகத் திரட்ட வேண்டும். இது ஒன்றேதான் வழி. ''

மாமேதை தோழர் லெனின்
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Sunday, 29 March 2015

Iran Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal

Iran Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal
By DAVID E. SANGER and MICHAEL R. GORDON NY Times MARCH 29, 2015

Foreign ministers from other world powers joined Secretary of State John Kerry in an effort to reach the outlines of a nuclear accord with Iran by a midnight Tuesday deadline. CREDIT Pool photo by Brendan Smialowski

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — With a negotiating deadline just two days away, Iranian officials on Sunday backed away from a critical element of a proposed nuclear agreement, saying they are no longer willing to ship their atomic fuel out of the country.

For months, Iran tentatively agreed that it would send a large portion of its stockpile of uranium to Russia, where it would not be accessible for use in any future weapons PROGRAM. But on Sunday Iran’s deputy foreign minister made a surprise comment to Iranian reporters, ruling out an agreement that involved giving up a stockpile that Iran has spent years and billions of dollars to amass.

“The export of STOCKS of enriched uranium is not in our program, and we do not intend sending them abroad,” the official, Abbas Araqchi, told the Iranian media, according to Agence France-Presse. “There is no question of sending the stocks abroad.”

Depending on the technical details, that could make the process of enriching it for military use far more lengthy, or perhaps nearly impossible.

Nonetheless, the revelation that Iran is now insisting on retaining the fuel could raise a potential obstacle at a critical time in the talks. And for critics of the emerging deal in Congress, in Israel and in Sunni Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, the prospect of leaving large amounts of nuclear fuel in Iran, in any form, is bound to intensify their already substantial political opposition.

If an accord allowing Iran to retain the fuel is reached, the Obama administration is expected to argue that it would not constitute a serious risk, particularly if it is regularly inspected. So far under an interim agreement negotiated in 2013, Iran has complied fully with a rigorous inspection process for the stockpiles of its fuel, the International Atomic Energy Agency has said.

But the development could give opponents another reason to object, adding it to a list of what they call concessions made by an administration in search of an agreement. If Iran ever bars the inspectors from the country, as North Korea did a dozen years ago, the international community would have no assurance about the fate of the fuel. Nor has Iran answered longstanding questions about its suspected nuclear design and testing of components that could be used to detonate a warhead.

Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who has been critical of the emerging accord, said the development raised serious questions about a possible deal.

“The viability of this agreement as a reliable arms control accord is diminished by this,” Mr. Takeyh said. “One of the core administration arguments has been that the uranium would be shipped abroad as a confidence building measure.”

On the assumption that Iran’s uranium stockpile would be small, the United States and its negotiating partners had been moving toward an agreement that would allow Iran to retain roughly 6,000 centrifuges in operation. It is not clear how much that might change if the fuel, even in diluted form, remains in the country.

If the fuel had been shipped to Russia, the plan called for MOSCOW to convert it into specialized fuel rods for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran’s only commercial reactor. Once it was converted into fuel rods, it would have been extremely difficult for Iran to use the material to make a nuclear weapon.

It is not clear what form the fuel would take if it remains on Iranian territory.

The disclosure also adds a new element to the growing debate over whether the proposed agreement would meet President Obama’s oft-stated assurance that the world would have at least a year’s warning if Iran raced for a bomb — what experts call “breakout time.”

The argument over warning time, which was accelerated by a skeptical paper published over the weekend by the former chief inspector of the International Atomic Energy Agency, offered a taste of the kind of arguments already taking shape in Congress.

On Sunday, Republican leaders made it clear they would press for more sanctions against Iran if no agreement is reached here by Tuesday. In an interview with CNN, Speaker John A. Boehner expressed doubts about a potential agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.

“We have got a regime that’s never quite kept their word about anything,” he said. “I just don’t understand why we would sign an agreement with a group of people who, in my opinion, have no intention of keeping their word.”

With pressure mounting to settle on the main parameters of an accord, negotiators were still divided on how fast United Nations’ and others’ sanctions on Iran might be lifted. Important differences remained on what kind of research and development Iran could carry out on new types of centrifuges during the last five years of what is intended to be a 15-year agreement.

There was a clear sense that the talks were approaching a pivotal moment as the foreign ministers from other world powers joined Secretary of State John Kerry in an effort to reach the outlines of a deal by a midnight Tuesday deadline.

“We are not there yet,” said one Western official who, like others in this article, declined to be identified because he was discussing diplomatic deliberations. “There are lots of pieces floating around.”

Yet even if a deal was reached by late Tuesday, American negotiators made clear that this was just an interim step, and that any final agreement would require months of negotiations over what were once called “technical agreements” but are now clearly the source of CONTINUING disagreement.

That calculation over “breakout time” is so complex that experts from Britain, France, Germany and Israel all have somewhat slightly different calculations than those of experts from the United States.

The debate over breakout time intensified when Olli Heinonen, who ran inspections for the I.A.E.A. before moving to Harvard several years ago, published a paper on Saturday concluding that, based on leaked estimates that Iran would operate roughly 6,500 centrifuges, “a breakout time of between seven and eight months would still be possible.”


A senior Obama administration official here said that while he did not dispute Mr. Heinonen’s figures, the former inspector had conducted a textbook calculation rather than examining the real-life conditions at Iran’s facilities.

Like other countries, Iran loses some of its nuclear material every time it is changed from a gas to a solid, and its machinery, the evidence shows, does not run at perfect efficiency. The official said that the United States had created a measure based on what American officials have called the “fastest reasonable” estimate of how long Iran would take to produce a weapon.

Some experts outside government say the American assumptions are reasonable, and perhaps even generous to the Iranians — who have taken 20 years to get to this point, far longer than it took PROGRAMS, including in North Korea and Pakistan, to produce bomb-grade material.

But the emergence of COMPETING estimates could pose a political problem for President Obama, who has made breakout time the paramount measure for a potential agreement.

Parts of the agreement have begun to leak out, and reflect the balancing act underway: An effort by the United States and the other five powers here to cripple Iran’s ability to produce enough nuclear material for a weapon for at least 10 years, while letting the Iranians preserve a narrative that they are not dismantling major facilities, or giving in to American pressure.

For example, a deep underground facility at Fordow — exposed in 2009 — would likely be converted to make medical isotopes. That means it would not be used for enriching uranium.

But several hundred centrifuges might still be spinning there — the facility now has about 3,000 — and that fact alone, American officials acknowledge, could provide fodder to opponents of the deal.

Reporting was contributed by Thomas Erdbrink from Tehran, and Andrew Siddons from Washington.

ஹூத்தி யுத்த ஆதரவுச் சுவரொட்டி


The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen

The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss

As a Saudi-led coalition wades into the fight for Yemen – currently under siege from Houthi rebels who are backed by Iran - Robert Fisk examines the much wider-reaching repercussions of this escalating conflict

ROBERT FISK - Robert Fisk is The Independent’s multiple award-winning Middle East correspondent, based in Beirut-  Author Biography   Friday 27 March 2015



Saudi Arabia has jumped into the abyss.

Its air attacks on Yemen are a historic and potentially fatal blow to the Kingdom and to the Middle East.

Who decided that this extraordinary battle should take shape in the poorest of Arab nations? The Saudis, whose King is widely rumoured in the Arab world to be incapable of taking decisions of state? Or the princes within the Saudi army who fear that their own SECURITY forces may not be loyal to the monarchy?

The “story” of Yemen appears simple. Houthi rebels, who are Shia Muslims, have captured the capital of Sanaa with the help – so say the Saudis – of the Iranians. The legitimate President
– Abed Rabou Mansour Hadi – has fled to the Saudi capital of Riyadh from his bolthole in the old southern Yemeni capital of Aden. The Saudis will not permit an Iranian proxy state to be
set up on their border – always forgetting that they already have an Iranian-proxy state called Iraq on their northern border, courtesy of the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. The real “story” is more important. Perhaps half of the Saudi army is of Yemeni tribal origin. Saudi soldiers are intimately – through their own families – involved in Yemen, and the Yemen revolution is a stab in the GUTS of the Saudi royal family. No wonder King Salman of Saudi Arabia – if he indeed rules his nation – wishes to bring this crisis to an end.

But are his bombing raids on Sanaa going to crush a Shia Muslim rebellion?

You can understand what it looks like from Riyadh. To the north, the Shia Muslim Iranian Revolutionary Guards are assisting the Shia-dominated Iraqi government in their battle against
Sunni Muslim Isis. To the north-west, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are assisting the government of Alawite (for which read, Shia) president Bashar al-Assad against Isis and al-Nusrah and whatever is left of the so-called “Free Syrian Army”. The Shia Hezbollah from Lebanon are fighting alongside Assad’s army.  So are Shia Muslims from Afghanistan, wearing Syrian uniforms. Saudi Arabia claims the Iranians are in Yemen with the Houthis. Unlikely. But be sure their weapons are in Yemen.

Unprecedented in modern Arab history, a Sunni Muslim coalition of 10 nations – including non-Arab Pakistan – has attacked another Arab nation. The Sunnis and the Shia of the Middle East are now at war with each other in Iraq, in Syria and Yemen. Pakistan is a nuclear power. The armies of Bahrain and the Gulf states include Pakistani soldiers. Pakistanis were among the dead in the first great battle against Iraqi troops in the 1991 Gulf War.

But already, the battle for Yemen is dividing other Arab countries. In Lebanon, the former Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Saad Hariri has praised the “brave and wise” decision of King

Salman to attack. Mr Hariri is not only a Sunni – he is also a Saudi citizen. But the Shia Hezbollah, who oppose Saudi intervention, called the Saudi assault an “uncalculated adventure”.

These words were chosen with care. They are exactly the words the Saudis used against Hezbollah after it captured three Israeli soldiers in 2006, a stupid political act which STARTED the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon that year.

The Americans do not know what to do. They cannot give the Saudis direct military assistance – their nuclear talks with Iran are more important – and so their soft verbal support for King Salman is supposed to mollify their Sunni allies and avoid antagonising the Iranians. But the closer a nuclear deal comes between the US and Iran, the more forcefully their partners in the Arab world will push their cards. What provoked the Saudis into their extraordinary adventure in Yemen was not the approach of Houthis towards Aden but the approach of US-Iranian agreement at Lausanne.

Hezbollah may call the Saudi attacks a “Saudi-American conspiracy” – an overused phrase which contains some truth – but the reality, evident to every Arab, is that the Saudis, armed (or over-armed, as many might say) by the US, are clearly prepared to use their firepower against another Arab nation rather than the traditional enemy further north. Listening to the rhetoric of the Saudis, you might think that they were bombing Israel.

History may say that the attacks on Yemen are the START of a great civil war between Sunnis and Shia in the Middle East. This would satisfy the West – and Israel – in a belief that the Arabs are at war with themselves. But it may also be true that this is the last attempt by the Saudis to prove that they are a major military power. In 1990, faced with the arrival of Saddam’s legions in Kuwait, they asked infidel America to protect them (to the fury of Osama bin Laden). They are a Wahabi nation, loyal – officially, at least – to the same theology as the Taliban and Isis. Saudi provided 15 of the 19 hijackers of 9/11. They gave us Bin Laden, who – let us not forget – was also of Yemeni tribal origin. After Yemen supported Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, the Saudis threw tens of thousands of Yemenis out of the Kingdom. In revenge for their disloyalty. Do they expect Yemenis now to rally to their support?

The last time the Saudis involved themselves in Yemen, they fought Nasser’s Egyptian army. It was a disaster. Now they have the Egyptians on their side. Indeed, they even suggest the Egyptians may stage a landing in Yemen. But to do what? To ensure that Yemen remains a faithful Sunni nation? Will this assuage the Sunni militias battering the Egyptian army in Sinai?

More seriously, will it resolve the coming struggle within the royal family, whose princes do not all believe Yemen must be the cornerstone of Saudi power – nor that Wahabism must be the permanent sectional belief. And who gains from the new Yemen crisis? The OIL producers, of course. And that means Saudi Arabia – and Iran.

How Yemen became the front line of a Mideast-wide war

How Yemen became the front line of a Mideast-wide war
By Mohamad Bazzi March 27, 2015
March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

In the early morning of Mar. 26, Saudi Arabia went to war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. In doing so, Saudi leaders opened the latest chapter in a long history of meddling and influence over their southern neighbor.

Since Saudi Arabia was founded in the 1930s, its leaders have tried to keep a friendly regime in power in Yemen and to prevent it from posing a threat to Saudi interests. That often meant meddling in Yemen’s internal politics, keeping populist movements in check, using guest workers as leverage, buying off tribal leaders and occasional military interventions.

This time, the stakes are higher for both Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Saudi leaders say that, along with a coalition of nine other countries, they launched airstrikes and are blockading the Yemeni coast to drive back the Houthis and their allies in the Yemeni military, who have taken over much of the country in recent months. The Saudis and their Gulf Arab allies want to restore Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.

The conflict in Yemen is complex, with a shifting set of alliances. Hadi and his supporters, who are mostly Sunni Muslims, are backed by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. The Houthis,

who belong to a sect of Shi’ite Islam called Zaydis, are allies of Shi’ite-led Iran, the regional rival of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states. While the Saudis are quick to label the Houthis as Iranian proxies, it’s unclear how much support they receive from Tehran.

The Houthis are allied with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a longtime dictator who was ousted from power after the Arab uprisings of 2011 spread to Yemen. Once a Saudi ally, Saleh was replaced by Hadi in 2012 under a deal BROKERED by Riyadh. But Saleh still retains support among large segments of the Yemeni security forces and those troops helped the Houthis capture the capital, Sanaa, and move south toward Hadi’s stronghold of Aden.

With direct Saudi military intervention, Yemen has now been dragged into a regional proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. This series of battles in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Bahrain have defined the Middle East since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. Over the past decade, the traditional centers of power in the Arab world — Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states — grew nervous about the rising influence of Iran: its nuclear ambitions; its sway over the Iraqi government; ITS SUPPORT for the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas, and its alliance with Syria.

yemen coalition

The proxy war is drawing in more regional actors. For example, Egypt’s security interests are not directly affected by Yemen, unlike Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. But Egypt’s military rulers are now highly dependent on FUNDING from the Saudis and their Gulf allies. Hours after the start of the Saudi-led bombing campaign, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said in a statement that Egypt’s navy and air force would soon join the fight, and that its army was ready to send ground troops to Yemen “if necessary.”

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia increasingly see their rivalry as a winner-take-all conflict: If the Shi’ite Hezbollah gains an upper hand in Lebanon, then the Sunnis of Lebanon — and by extension, their Saudi patrons — lose a round to Iran. If a Shi’ite-led government solidifies its control of Iraq, then Iran will have won another round. So the House of Saud rushes to shore up its allies in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and wherever else it fears Iran’s influence.

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Yemen’s geography and web of tribal, regional and sectarian alliances make it a difficult and costly for foreign invaders to exploit. Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt suffered significant losses during past military adventures there.

For centuries, Yemen was an autonomous province in the Ottoman Empire. With the empire’s collapse at the end of World War I, Yemen SECURED its independence as a kingdom in 1918 and its first ruler was Imam Yahya, head of the Zaydi sect. (The Zaydis have long been a minority in Yemen. Today they comprise about a third of the 24 million total population.) In the 1920s and 1930s, Yahya extended his rule over tribal lands across northern Yemen, which was then mostly inhabited by Sunnis.

But Yahya, who kept Yemen isolated and had virtually no outside allies, faced pressure from Saudi Arabia throughout his rule. In 1934, two years after Ibn Saud established the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, he fought a short war against his southern neighbor. The Saudis seized the provinces of Asir and Najran from what Yahya and other Zaydis considered “historic Yemen.” That set the roots of a territorial dispute along the coast of the Red Sea and conflicts over border demarcation that would last until 2000.

Yahya and the Zaydis also skirmished in the south with the British, who had established a colony in the port city of Aden and its hinterlands since the 1830s. After Yahya died in 1948, his son and successor, Imam Ahmad, ended the kingdom’s isolation. He established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and China, hoping to SECURE military and development aid.

This caused new tensions with the House of Saud, which feared communist influence at its southern border.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, the Arab world struggled to rid itself of the vestiges of colonial rule and hereditary monarchies. A group of Egyptian military officers, led by the charismatic Gamal Abdel Nasser, overthrew British-backed King Farouk in 1952, and kindled the hope of Arab unity. Nasser used his populist appeal, powerful military and rousing speeches (broadcast over the newly invented transistor radio in a popular PROGRAM called Voice of the Arabs) to influence events in other Arab countries, including Yemen. But the Arab liberation movements would end in great disappointment — a politics of betrayal, exile and carnage.

When Yemen’s Ahmad died in September 1962, his son and successor, Imam Badr, was overthrown within a week in a coup led by army officers. Inspired by Egypt’s Nasser, the officers declared the Yemen Arab Republic. The royal family resisted the coup and sought support from the House of Saud, which did not want a successful military-led republican regime next door.

The Yemeni revolution quickly devolved into a civil war, and Yemen became the scene of a proxy battle between Egypt and Saudi Arabia — viewed by many as a struggle for the future of the Arab world, between the so-called “progressive” republican regimes and the “conservative” monarchies. Nasser decided to throw his weight behind the new military regime and flooded Yemen with Egyptian troops. At the end of 1963, there were 30,000 Egyptian soldiers in Yemen. By 1965, that number rose to nearly half of the Egyptian army — 70,000 troops.

The Egyptian army was bogged down fighting tribal guerrillas on their home terrain. Over the five-year war, more than 10,000 Egyptian troops were killed and the Egyptians failed to advance far beyond the capital city, Sanaa. Blinded by his fervor to promote revolution in the Arab world, the Yemen war became Nasser’s Vietnam.

At the same time, the Saudis were FUNDING the royalist opposition, providing arms and hiring foreign mercenaries. But the Saudis did not make the same mistake as Nasser of committing thousands of their own troops to the fight. Nasser finally withdrew the last Egyptian forces from Yemen after the humiliating Arab defeat in the 1967 war with Israel.

When the civil war ended, northern Yemen remained a republic. The Saudis were not able to restore the monarchy, but Egypt had suffered such a defeat that it no longer had much sway over Yemeni politics. Around the same time, in the southern provinces that had been COLONIZED by the British, a Marxist-ruled state was established in late 1967 with Aden as its capital.

South Yemen — officially known as the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen — soon became a Soviet satellite state.

In May 1990, after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, South Yemen united with northern Yemen (which had been ruled by Ali Abdullah Saleh since 1978) to form a single state, the Republic of Yemen. By that point, northern Yemen was heavily dependent on Saudi aid — which was intended to balance Soviet assistance to South Yemen — and remittances from several hundred thousand Yemenis WORKING in the kingdom.

Saleh became president of the newly unified state, and he soon faced a severe test that would strain his relationship with the Saudis. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990, prompting the United States to send hundreds of thousands of troops to protect Saudi Arabia. Saleh was allied with Hussein, who had the support of most Arab countries and Western powers during his eight-year war against Iran.

Saleh was reluctant to tow the Saudi line and cut off all relations with Iraq, which was an important TRADING partner and oil supplier for Yemen. At the time of the Kuwait crisis, Yemen

also held the rotating Arab League seat on the United Nations Security Council. After Yemen voted against the Security Council resolution that authorized the use of force against Iraq, the

United States and Saudi Arabia cut off all aid. The Saudis also expelled nearly 750,000 people — Yemeni workers and their families, some of whom had lived in the kingdom for decades.

The expulsions cut off the majority of remittances and devastated Yemen’s economy.

The expulsions and their aftermath OFFER an instructive lesson for Saudi leaders who today are waging war against the Houthis, hoping to turn Yemenis against them. In 1991, Saudis hoped that Yemenis would blame Saleh’s government for instigating the expulsions and the subsequent economic collapse. But instead, Yemenis rallied around their leader, disdained the Saudis and expressed open admiration for Hussein.

In 1994, leaders of southern Yemen tried to secede after years of frustration with the north. A war broke out between the north and south, but Saleh’s forces defeated the southern rebels within a few weeks. The Saudis, still angry at Saleh for his no vote at the United Nations, had supported the southern rebels with arms and FUNDING. But once again the Saudis backed the wrong side, and the Sanaa government reimposed unity by force.

Saleh’s relationship with the Saudis remained tense until the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. At that point, Saleh maneuvered himself as an ally of both the Saudis and Washington in fighting al Qaeda. From 2004 until late 2009, Saleh’s government waged a series of six wars against the Houthi rebels based in the northern provinces of Yemen, near the Saudi border. The Saudis supported Saleh through all of these wars, and the Saudi military was directly drawn into the last of these conflicts in 2009. Saudi forces suffered about 200 casualties over several months of fighting.

Today, Saudi Arabia has intervened more directly in Yemen than in the past. In light of this history, the Saudis are reluctant to send ground troops to fight the Houthis on Yemeni soil. But recent conflicts — in Iraq, Syria and Libya — show that air power alone is not enough TO WIN a decisive victory. And the longer this conflict drags on, the more likely that the Houthis will gain wide popular support as the defenders of Yemen’s independence against an aggressive and meddling neighbor.

Friday, 27 March 2015

A Policy Puzzle of U.S. Goals and Alliances in the Middle East

MIDDLE EAST | NEWS ANALYSIS

A Policy Puzzle of U.S. Goals and Alliances in the Middle East
By MARK MAZZETTI and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK MARCH 26, 2015 New York Times

Smoke rising from Tikrit, where the United States and Iran have similar aims. But in Yemen, they are on opposite sides. CREDIT Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Already struggling to navigate the chaos engulfing much of the Middle East, the United States is now dipping its toe into another conflict.

In Yemen, the Obama administration is supporting a Saudi-led military campaign to dislodge Iranian-backed Houthi rebels despite the risks of an escalating regional fight with Iran.

But in Iraq and Syria, the United States is on the same side as Iran in the fight against the Islamic State, contributing airstrikes to an Iranian-supported offensive on Tikrit on Thursday even while jostling with Iran for position in leading the operation.

All that while the Obama administration is racing to close a deal with Iran to remove economic sanctions in exchange for restraints on its nuclear program, alarming Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The site of an airstrike near the Sana airport on Thursday. Saudi Arabia and nine other countries began military operations in Yemen to counter the Houthis, who rallied against the airstrikes.

The administration finds itself trying to sustain an ever-growing patchwork of strained alliances and multiple battlefields in the aftermath of the Arab Spring four years ago. The momentary moral clarity of the demands for democracy across the region has been replaced by difficult choices among enemies and unappealing allies who have rushed to fill power vacuums.

Corrupt and dysfunctional Arab autocracies that had stood for half a century in places like Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya lost credibility because they had failed to meet the needs of the citizens. But no new model has emerged; instead, an array of local players and regional powers are fighting skirmishes across the region as they vie to shape the new order, or at least enlarge their piece of it.

Making sense of the Obama administration’s patchwork of policies “is a puzzle,” said Tamara Cofman Wittes, a researcher at the Brookings Institution and former senior State Department
official.

“But whether that puzzle reflects the lack of a coherent policy on the administration side or whether that puzzle simply reflects the complexity of the power struggles on the ground in the region — well, both are probably true,” she said.

The chaos gives regional rivals “more reasons to fight out that power struggle and more arenas to do it in,” Ms. Wittes said.

The lightning pace of events has fueled criticism that the Obama administration has no long-term strategy for the region. In picking proxies and allies of convenience, the argument goes, the administration risks making the chaos worse — perhaps strengthening terrorist groups’ hand, and deepening the chances of being drawn into fights Americans do not want.

One senior Obama administration official described the difficulty of trying to develop a coherent strategy during a period of extreme tumult.

“We’re trying to beat ISIL — and there are complications,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We have a partner who is collapsing in Yemen and we’re trying to support that. And we’re trying to get a nuclear deal with Iran. Is this all part of some grand strategy? Unfortunately, the world gets a vote.”

The administration had until recently held up Yemen as a model of a successful counterterrorism campaign, only to see the American-backed government in Sana crumble and the efforts against Qaeda operatives in Yemen crippled indefinitely. Earlier this week, American Special Operations troops stationed there had to detonate their large equipment before evacuating

Yemen and flying across the Red Sea to an American base in Djibouti — concerned that the war matériel would fall into the hands of the Houthi forces.

In Yemen, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, the administration talks as if it is supporting the orderly transitions to state building, but its actions are in fact helping to dismantle the central states, said Peter Harling, a researcher with the International Crisis Group, who with the journalist Sarah Birke recently wrote an essay analyzing the regional dynamic.

In each case, local players like the Islamic State or the Houthi movement have stepped into a power vacuum to stake their own claims, but none have the credibility or wherewithal to unify or govern.

But Washington, Mr. Harling said, insisted in each case on maintaining the fiction that its favored local player had a viable chance to rebuild an orderly state — whether moderate rebels in Syria, the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad or the Hadi government in Yemen.

The Western powers “have to pretend the situation is not as bad as it is, so they don’t have to accept failure and take ownership of the situation,” Mr. Harling said. “In many years of working in the region, I have never seen such a distance between statements and fact.”

The Saudi-led military campaign against the Houthis has led to fears of a burgeoning proxy war among the Middle East’s big powers. But it is unclear how, or if, Iran will directly respond to a campaign led by a coalition of Sunni nations against a Shiite militia force.
Some Middle East experts caution that the Houthi rebels are hardly puppets of Tehran, and that Iran spent years largely ignoring the group’s struggles in Yemen.

Stephen Seche, a former American ambassador to Yemen, said that the Houthis had rarely defined their struggle in Yemen in sectarian terms and that their ties to Iran had been overstated by Gulf nations.

“The Saudis and the Sunnis have made this a sectarian issue,” he said. “This military campaign is the Sunni world saying to Iran: Get out of our backyard.”

Saudi officials argue that Iran has orchestrated the Houthi military advance so they can exert influence on yet another Middle Eastern capital and destabilize Saudi Arabia’s southern border.

Adel al Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, told reporters Thursday that there was evidence that Iranian Revolutionary Guard operatives and Hezbollah fighters had embedded with the Houthis. He called the military campaign a way to protect the Yemeni people as well as “a way of protecting our national interests.” But while Saudi officials welcome American support for the Yemen operation, they are keeping a wary eye on the United States’ interactions with Iran elsewhere in the region.

Leslie Campbell, the regional director of Middle East and North Africa programs at the National Democratic Institute, said that it was hard to ignore the notion that the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen was in part a message to the United States as it negotiates a nuclear deal with Iran and finds, to some degree, common cause with Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Iraq.

The message, he said, is “if you all want to make friends with Iran, have a good time; this is what you’re going to get.”

Few disagree that the continuing tumult in the Middle East has scrambled American priorities there. This has led many to argue that the Obama administration’s policy for the region is adrift — without core principles to anchor it.

But amid the confusion, some experts said that there cannot be an overarching American policy in the Middle East at the moment. The best the White House can do, they said, is tailor policies according to individual crises as they flare up.

“I would be more concerned if we had some sort of overly rigid policy,” said Barbara Bodine, another former American ambassador to Yemen who is now the director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.

“It is messy. It is contradictory. That’s foreign policy.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mark Mazzetti reported from Washington, and David D. Kirkpatrick from Cairo. Helene Cooper contributed reporting from Washington.New York Times Highlights ENB

Thursday, 26 March 2015

யேமன்: மத்திய கிழக்கில் மற்றொரு உலகமறுபங்கீட்டு போர்க்களம்!



WAR & CONFLICT
Iran warns of bloodshed as Saudi-led forces bomb Yemen
At least 18 people reported killed in air strikes in Sanaa, as Iran warns violence could spread across the region.
26 Mar 2015 13:56 GMT | War & Conflict

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Saudi-led air strikes hit Houthi targets in Sanaa and Aden
18 civilians killed in Sanaa during overnight attacks, civil defence sources say Coalition of 10 countries including GCC nations involved in operation, Saudi says Egypt and Jordan confirm their PARTICIPATION in Saudi-led coalition

Saudi air strikes on Shia rebels in Yemen have triggered a furious reaction from regional rival Iran, with top officials warning that military action could spill into other countries.

Saudi Arabia said that a coalition consisting of 10 countries, including members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), had begun air strikes at 2am local time on Thursday, targeting Houthi positions in the capital, Sanaa.

According to Al Jazeera sources, the strikes carried out by 100 jets from Saudi and its coalition, have destroyed Iranian-made missile launchers in the capital Sanaa.

Houthi military barracks and air bases controlled by the rebels were also reportedly destroyed, Fayez al-Duweiri, a retired Jordanian general and defence analyst, told Al Jazeera.

The Houthi-run health ministry in Sanaa said that at least 18 civilians were killed and 24 others were wounded in the Saudi-led attacks on the capital.

The bombing of the Houthis, who are said to be backed by Iran - a charge Tehran denies - came after several weeks of warnings that Yemen was descending into civil war.

Saudi Arabia said it had launched the bombing raids to reinstate what it called the legitimate government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has been holed up in the main southern city of Aden since fleeing rebel-controlled Sanaa.

ENB File Photo Yemen Regions

The Houthis and their allies within the armed forces had been closing in on Hadi's last bastion, Aden.

Houthi TV aired pictures showing the aftermath of the air strikes in Sanaa

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the air strikes would lead only to greater loss of life.

"Military action from outside of Yemen against its territorial integrity and its people will have no other result than more bloodshed and more deaths," he told the Iranian-owned Al-Alam television channel.

"We have always warned countries from the region and the West to be careful and not enter shortsighted GAMESand not go in the same direction as al-Qaeda and Daesh," he added, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

He also called for an "urgent dialogue" among the Yemeni factions "without external interference".

The comments from Zarif, who is in the Swiss city Lausanne for talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Iran's CONTESTED nuclear programme, echoed condemnation of the Saudi-led strikes by officials in Tehran.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Sanaa, Houthi spokesman Mohammed al-Bukhaiti called the military action a declaration of war on Yemen, adding that reports alleging a Houthi leader, Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, had been injured were false.

Meanwhile, thousands of pro-Houthi protesters gathered in Sanaa on Thursday to condemn the Saudi-led air strikes. In the city of Taiz, supporters of President Hadi organised a rival protest.

Sanaa targeted

Huge explosions were heard in Sanaa as strikes hit an air base at the capital's airport and other locations in the city, an AFP correspondent reported.

Strikes were also reported on targets in the Malaheez and Hafr Sufyan regions of Saada province, a main Houthi stronghold on the border with Saudi Arabia.

Citing Saudi military sources, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV channel reported that 100 Saudi war planes were involved in the operation, dubbed "Decisive Storm".

ENB File photo: Oil field in Yemen and Regional map
The United Arab Emirates is participating with 30 jets, Bahrain with 15, Qatar with 10, Morocco and Jordan both with six, while Sudan offered three planes, officials said.

An Egyptian official told the AFP news agency that Egypt would also take part. Saudi Arabia said that another four Muslim countries including Pakistan wanted to PARTICIPATE in the Saudi-led military coalition.

Kuwait's defence ministry announced it was sending three squadrons of its F-18 Super Hornet aircraft to Saudi's King Abdulaziz airbase in Dhahran to take part in the offensive.

Four Egyptian warships also entered the Suez Canal on Thursday en route to the Gulf of Aden after Cairo pledged military support for the campaign, canal officials said.

The officials said the ships will take part in operations "to secure" the strategic waters that control southern access to the Suez Canal.

Pakistan, which has longstanding ties to Saudi Arabia, was examining a request from Riyadh to join the coalition, Islamabad said.

"I can confirm we have been contacted by Saudi Arabia in this regard. The matter is being examined," foreign office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

US delegation happy with Lanka

US delegation happy with Lanka

March 21, 2015 07:21 Eric P. Schwartz

A US delegation, which visited Sri Lanka to assess the climate for religious freedom, other human rights, and tolerance, have noted progress on the issues in Sri Lanka since the country’s 2015 election.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said that it was encouraged by statements made by officials with whom they met, and in particular welcome
comments in support of national reconciliation among all Sri Lanka’s religious and ethnic communities.

USCIRF Commissioner Eric P. Schwartz said that during their recent three day visit, USCIRF had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affaris, Mangala Samaraweera, Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa, Minister of Buddha Sasana Karu Jayasuriya, and Minister of Muslim Religious Affairs Abdel Halim Mohamed Hasheem, as well as representatives from Sri Lanka’s diverse religious communities, among others.

“We are encouraged by statements made by officials with whom we met.  In particular, we welcome comments in support of national reconciliation among all Sri Lanka’s religious and ethnic communities.  After a devastating war and reports that religious minority communities were increasingly subjected to attacks in recent years, the new government’s engagement with religious minorities is an important step forward in the effort to promote national unity and increased space for all religious groups,” he said in a statement.

USCIRF welcomed other measures by the government, in the areas of freedom of expression and association in particular, which tend to create a climate conducive to religious freedom.

“We are very pleased to hear that reports of abuses perpetrated against minority religious communities have diminished over the last few months.  We encourage the government to hold
perpetrators of such crimes accountable.  We believe accountability will encourage a critical sense of security and well-being among affected communities,” Schwartz added.

While welcoming recent government measures, Schwartz called on the authorities to ensure the ability of religious communities to practice their chosen faiths without restriction.  This
includes the ability to build houses of worship and to be free of any acts of intimidation or harassment.

Schwartz said his delegation left Sri Lanka with a sense of great encouragement, and look forward to further progress on critically important issues. (Colombo Gazette)

Lanka a model for others says UN


Lanka a model for others says UN
March 23, 2015 18:45

The United Nations (UN) says Sri Lanka has served as an important model for other countries in terms of demonstrating the importance of policies such as free-education and free-health  for promoting human development.
Subinay Nandy, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka said
 that Sri Lanka’s recent renewed emphasis on upholding human rights and the rule of law, whilst addressing lingering inequalities and promoting peace, mean that the newly proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – which explicitly address these issues – fit well with local priorities, and Sri Lanka’s aspirations and unfolding development vision.

Nandy was speaking at the launch of the Millennium Development Goals Country Report 2014 for Sri Lanka at an event graced by Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs, Dr. Harsha De Silva, this morning.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a set of eight goals agreed by world leaders in 2000 to be achieved before the end date in 2015. The eight MDGs range from halving

extreme poverty rates to promoting gender equality and providing universal primary education. As countries near the end target date in September 2015, governments around the world are reviewing their progress towards achieving the MDGs in the last 15 years.

The MDG Country Report is the third MDG review report produced by Sri Lanka. It is also the first report that covers the entire country, allowing comparison across the 25 districts and providing policy makers with information to identify and support regions lagging behind. It also analyses achievements and thematic areas requiring further attention.

Speaking at the launch event, Dr. Harsha De Silva said: “The government of Sri Lanka understands the need in building bridges, in integrating our society, and in Sri Lanka being a country of Sri Lankans. I hope that we can make further progress in integrating the differences within communities. We have to ensure that in our market framework there is social goodwill and economic justice. That is what we mean by a social market economy.”

The Report, which was prepared by the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka, is a joint publication by the Government of Sri Lanka and the United Nations in Sri Lanka. Its findings show that Sri Lanka has performed well against the MDGs overall, having already achieved or being on-track to achieve the majority of the goals and indicators.

Highlighting Sri Lanka’s MDG performance, Nandy, stated, “The findings in the report make a strong case for Sri Lanka to be a leading and credible actor in the global deliberations around the development agenda for post-2015. Sri Lanka’s long history of INVESTMENT in health, education and poverty alleviation programmes, has translated into robust performance against the MDGs, and Sri Lanka has many lessons to SHARE”.

Ms. Shanthi Sachithanandam – CEO, Viluthu.
Looking to the future, the report also highlights certain areas that require additional focus such as Women’s Empowerment, Nutrition, Climate Change and Regional Disparities and these were discussed during a panel discussion on ‘Priorities Moving Forward’. The panel discussion took place with the PARTICIPATION of Alain Sibenaler – UNFPA Representative, Dr. Suren Batagoda – Secretary of the Ministry of Power and Energy, Ms. Una McCauley – UNICEF Representative, Dr. Shanthi Goonewardena – Director, Nutrition Coordination Division, Ministry of Health, and Ms. Shanthi Sachithanandam – CEO, Viluthu. (Colombo Gazette)

Sri Lanka's new leader heads to China after winding back ties


Sri Lanka's new leader heads to China after winding back ties
AFP By Amal Jayasinghe

Sri Lanka's new president heads to Beijing this week for talks with China's leadership, seeking to smooth ruffled feathers after scuttling Chinese-funded projects and seeking stronger ties with regional rival India.

Maithripala Sirisena swept to power in January, ending a decade of rule by Mahinda Rajapakse, whose close alliance with Beijing had irked the island's traditional close ally India.

Sirisena has moved to wind back Beijing's influence, which became the strategically located island's biggest foreign financier and enjoyed significant political and even military influence under Rajapakse.

Sirisena has unnerved China by suspending a $1.4 billion "port city" project in Colombo that India considered a security risk, and ordering a review of other Beijing-financed projects and loans amid allegations of corruption.

Experts say the president will be seeking a divorce of sorts from China during the three-day state visit starting Wednesday, while trying not to upset the economic giant.

Sirisena will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping along with other members of the leadership, Colombo said.

"The former government allowed China a free run in Sri Lanka," Sri Lankan political commentator Victor Ivan told AFP. "President Sirisena wants to maintain a normal relationship that will not irritate India."

The visit is about "bringing balance in Sri Lanka's engagement with two Asian rivals", P. Sahadevan, professor of South Asian studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, told AFP.

Shifting influence 

Sirisena made India -- rather than China -- his first foreign trip after winning the January elections, seeking to rebuild ties with Delhi damaged by tensions over Beijing's influence on the island.

Delhi was reportedly furious after Chinese submarines were allowed to dock at Colombo port last year when Rajapakse was still in power.

Beijing has been accused of seeking to develop facilities around the Indian Ocean in a "string of pearls" strategy to counter the rise of rival India and secure its own economic interests.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Sri Lanka and other Indian Ocean nations in March in a bid to counter that influence, and reassert Delhi's traditional role in the region.

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who visited Beijing a month after Sirisena came to power, has said the new administration will not allow Chinese submarines in Colombo.

Colombo is also seeking to renegotiate huge loans given by China for projects at rates as high as 8 percent, Sri Lanka Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told reporters recently.

China had emerged as Sri Lanka's biggest single financier, accounting for about 40 percent of some $2.03 billion in foreign money spent on infrastructure projects in 2013, according to the latest Central Bank of Sri Lanka report.

China was also one of the few countries to defend Sri Lanka's human rights record under Rajapakse, who angered Western nations for refusing to cooperate with an international probe into allegations of war crimes on the island.

In contrast, the new government has won support from the West for its attempts at reconciliation between ethnic minority Tamils and majority Sinhalese, as well as moves to ensure accountability for crimes committed during the separatist war.

With Western backing and support from Delhi, the government has secured more time to address allegations that troops under Rajapakse's command killed up to 40,000 Tamil civilians while defeating Tamil rebels in the finale of the war that ended in 2009.

Sri Lanka strengthens laws against terrorist financing

Sri Lanka strengthens laws against terrorist financing
Mar 18, 2015 17:19 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)


COLOMBO (EconomyNext) - Sri Lanka's foreign minister Wednesday sought parliamentary approval to strengthen laws against terrorist FINANCING and said a local inquiry into alleged
human rights abuses would help create better conditions for foreign INVESTMENT.


Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the amendments, giving effect to United Nations regulations on terrorist FINANCING, were in line with the country's international obligations.

The amendments include widened coverage of freezing orders, expanded provisions for handling foreign requests, reporting of attempted transactions and redress for persons
inadvertently affected.

"The amendments are aimed at strengthening Sri Lanka’s domestic legislative framework to comply with UN Security Council Resolutions on terrorist financing and MONEY laundering,"
Samaraweera said.

"The amendments will strengthen the capacity of the law enforcement and judicial authorities responsible for investigating MONEY laundering and terrorist financing."

Samaraweera also said government action to probe allegations of hman rights abuses in its war against Tamil separatists would strengthen its international credibility and create better
conditions for foreign INVESTMENT.

"Sovereignty carries with it great responsibility which involves duties towards one’s own citizens.

"When a government fails to discharge such duties, external intervention of an unwelcome nature is difficult to prevent," he said, referring to a UN human rights probe launched during the
ousted Rajapaksa regime.

The new government managed to get the UN Human Rights Council report on the allegations, to have been presented in March, deferred till September after promising a domestic inquiry
more robust than one Rajapaksa had done.

Samaraweera said Rajapaksa had "alienated communities within the country as well as Sri Lanka’s international partners" by refusing to address issues of concern locally.

"Taking action locally as a responsible nation that is accountable to all sections of our population, upholding the rule of law, good governance and democracy while working in cooperation with the international community is the only way to project ourselves as a country that is at peace with itself.

"This is the only way to enable a secure atmosphere that is essential for foreign investment that is required for the long-term economic development of our nation," Samaraweera said.

"It is our objective to ensure that the international recognition of our armed forces personnel is further strengthened by taking action against any misdemeanours that some individuals may have committed and tarnished the image of our forces." 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sarath Fonseka promoted to rank of Field Marshal



Sarath Fonseka promoted to rank of Field Marshal (Watch Report)
 Mar 22, 2015  

The investiture ceremony was held at the premises of the Ministry of Defence under the auspices of President Maithripala Sirisena.

Sarath Fonseka is Sri Lanka’s first Field Marshal. The rank of Field Marshal, which never retires, is equivalent to the position of a cabinet minister and is the highest rank in the three armed forces of the world.

All Field Marshals carry a baton in their left hand, a symbol of their high position.

Fonseka joined the Ceylon Army on February 5th, 1970 as a cadet officer and after completing his officer training at the Army Training Centre was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, Ceylon Sinha Regiment.

He went on to hold several commands and staff appointments.

Sarath Fonseka served as a Battalion Commander; Brigade Commander; General Officer Commanding of the 57th Division; Commander, Security Forces Headquarters, Jaffna and Chief 
of Staff of the Sri Lankan Army before he was appointed Commander of the Army on the 6th of December 2005.

Following his appointment as the Commander of the Army, then Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka went on to implement many reforms.

On the 25th of April 2006, Fonseka was targeted by an LTTE suicide bomber. Although seriously injured in the explosion, Fonseka, who was no stranger to battle wounds, returned to active service following a quick recovery.
As the Army Commander, he took the fore in cornering the LTTE from Mavilaru to Nanthikadal, and eventually accomplished the end goal with a complete victory.
Following the war victory, the commander who was among the heroes who made immense sacrifices to liberate the nation from the clutches of terrorism, was elevated to the rank of General.

He was then appointed as the Chief of Defence Staff.

An active PARTICIPANT in military operations including Balavegaya, Jayasikuru and Riviresa, Fonseka received many medals in appreciation of his unwavering service.

He is a recipient of the prestigious Rana Wickrama Padakkama, the Rana Shura Padakkama, the Vishishta Seva Vibushana, the Utthama Seva Padakkama and the Desha Puthra Padakkama.

After a military career spanning more than 30 years, Fonseka retired from military service, having ridden the country of the terrorism which had afflicted it throughout almost his entire career.

Today, he embarks on a new journey of service to the nation as Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.
==========================
General Fonseka Made Field Marshal
By P.K.Balachandran Published: 22nd March 2015

COLOMBO:  Gen.Sarath Fonseka, Sri Lanka’s army chief during the 2006-2009 Eelam War IV, has been made Field Marshal in recognition of the pivotal role he played in defeating the dreaded Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). President Maithripala Sirsena conferred the title on him at a ceremony here on Sunday.

Fonseka is the fourth South Asian General to be made Field Marshal, the others being General Sam Maneckshaw and K.M.Cariappa of India, and Gen.Mohd.Ayub Khan of Pakistan.

Rendering justice to  Fonseka was Sirisena’s electoral promise because the General had been dismissed, arrested, tried and sentenced by Courts Martial on trumped up charges, at the instance of the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Fonseka had won laurels for the way he conducted the war against the Tamil Tigers. He abandoned conventional ways, matched the ingenious tactics and strategies of the LTTE, fully utilized the superior numerical strength and fire power of the armed forces, and kept up pressure on the enemy. He broke tradition by insisting on the full deployment of naval and air power to aid the war on land.

Fonseka broke army units into small groups of eight, and made these highly trained and motivated men infiltrate Tiger-held areas, track down the fighting cadres of the LTTE and eliminate them. He transformed the Lankan army from a defensive outfit to an offense force.   

However, President Rajapaksa suspected that Fonseka was harboring political ambitions and was planning a coup. He was arrested, tried, sentenced and deprived of his rank, medals and pension. But  thanks to international pressure, he was let off before he completed his sentence. He unsuccessfully CONTESTED for the Presidency against Rajapaksa in 2010. He entered parliament, but only to vacate his seat on being sentenced. As leader of the Democratic Party, he supported Sirisena in the last Presidential election.

Not all Lankans approve of the decision to make Fonseka Field Marshal. He was not popular in the army. And supporters of Rajapaksa say that other service commanders and former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa should also have been given equivalent titles.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

PFLP: Results of Zionist elections simply reflect racist nature of the state

PFLP: Results of Zionist elections simply reflect racist nature of the state
Mar 18 2015

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine stated that the results of the Israeli election simply reflect the nature and structure of the racist, fascist Zionist society that produced these results and elected the Likud Party and its right-wing allies, who engaged in the most open and extreme anti-Palestinian attacks on our people and their rights throughout the campaign.

The growth of overt extremism and racism in the Zionist society and the climate of fascism is only fueled by the failure of Palestinian and Arab officialdom to confront the occupation state, as well as the international imperialist powers who provide cover for its crimes and rampant violations of international law and preserve its immunity and impunity from accountability or prosecution.

The Front emphasized that confronting Zionist extremism and responding to these elections requires a clear and decisive Palestinian policy that casts aside the illusions of reliance on futile negotiations, and instead builds a unified national strategy to confront the enemy and struggle for the full rights of our people, based on our strategic path of resistance to build on all achievements.

The Front demanded the immediate implementation of the Palestinian Central Council resolutions passed at its last session, to disengage with the occupation state and its officials, first and foremost, ending security coordination and rejecting the path of the Oslo Accords which have been so destructive for the Palestinian people, and to end the Palestinian internal division through a serious project of national unity based on a unified program and the rebuilding of the PLO through elected, democratic institutions embracing all Palestinian forces, and following up to seek prosecution of the leaders of the Zionist state in the International Criminal Court.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

இனப்பிரச்சினைத் தீர்வு போன்ற சிக்கலான விடயங்கள் தற்பொழுது பரிசீலனைக்கு எடுத்துக்கொள்ளப்படமாட்டாது. மைத்திரி

பொதுத் தேர்தலின் பின்னரே இனப் பிரச்சினைக்குத் தீர்வு - மைத்திரி திட்டவட்டம்



இனப்பிரச்சினைத் தீர்வு போன்ற சிக்கலான விடயங்கள் தற்பொழுது பரிசீலனைக்கு எடுத்துக்கொள்ளப்படமாட்டாது.

பொதுத் தேர்தலின் பின்னர் அமைக்கப்படும் தேசிய அரசே 13ஆவது அரசமைப்புத் திருத்தம், இனப்பிரச்சினைத்தீர்வு மற்றும் பிரதான பிரச்சினைகள் குறித்து பரிசீலனை செய்யும்.

அதற்கு அனைத்துக் கட்சிகளும் ஒத்துழைப்பு வழங்கவேண்டும்.
  
ஊடகங்களின் ஆசிரியர்கள் மற்றும் முகாமையாளர்களை நேற்றுக் காலை சந்தித்துப் பேசிய போதே அவர் இவ்வாறு குறிப்பிட்டார். 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Mangala- Local inquiry create better conditions for FOREIGN INVESTMENT!

Sri Lanka strengthens laws against terrorist financing
Mar 18, 2015 17:19 PM GMT+0530

COLOMBO (Economy Next) -
Sri Lanka's foreign minister Wednesday sought parliamentary approval to strengthen laws against terrorist FINANCING and said'...........................................;
A local inquiry into alleged abuses would help create better conditions for  FOREIGN  INVESTMENT

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the amendments, giving effect to United Nations regulations on terrorist FINANCING, were in line with the country's international obligations.

The amendments include widened coverage of freezing orders, expanded provisions for handling foreign requests, reporting of attempted transactions and redress for persons
inadvertently affected.

"The amendments are aimed at strengthening Sri Lanka’s domestic legislative framework to comply with UN Security Council Resolutions on terrorist financing and MONEY laundering,"
Samaraweera said.

"The amendments will strengthen the capacity of the law enforcement and judicial authorities responsible for investigating MONEY laundering and terrorist financing."

Samaraweera also said government action to probe allegations of human rights abuses in its war against Tamil separatists would strengthen its international credibility and create better
conditions for foreign INVESTMENT.

"Sovereignty carries with it great responsibility which involves duties towards one’s own citizens.

"When a government fails to discharge such duties, external intervention of an unwelcome nature is difficult to prevent," he said, referring to a UN human rights probe launched during the ousted Rajapaksa regime.

The new government managed to get the UN Human Rights Council report on the allegations, to have been presented in March, deferred till September after promising a domestic inquiry more robust than one Rajapaksa had done.

Samaraweera said Rajapaksa had "alienated communities within the country as well as Sri Lanka’s international partners" by refusing to address issues of concern locally.

"Taking action locally as a responsible nation that is accountable to all sections of our population, upholding the rule of law, good governance and democracy while working in cooperation with the international community is the only way to project ourselves as a country that is at peace with itself.

"This is the only way to enable a secure atmosphere that is essential for foreign investment that is required for the long-term economic development of our nation," Samaraweera said.

"It is our objective to ensure that the international recognition of our armed forces personnel is further strengthened by taking action against any misdemeanours that some individuals may have committed and tarnished the image of our forces."

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Foreign spies helped oust Mahinda – Gota

Foreign spies helped oust Mahinda – Gota
March 17, 2015, 12:00 pm

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says that some countries had the wherewithal to overthrow democratically elected governments, though Sri Lanka lacked such capacity.

War veteran Rajapaksa points out that there had been many such interventions over the years in various parts of the world. Sri Lanka was a case in point, Rajapaksa said.

The ex- Defence Secretary was responding to a query whether he endorsed his brother and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa accusation that the US, British and Indian intelligence services had got him ousted. Alleging that he had been a victim of a conspiracy involving intelligence services in an interview with The Hindu, the former President said that India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was operating without the sanction of the government.

The comment was made ahead of former Sri Lankan leader’s one-on-one meeting with Indian PM Narendra Modi.

Northern Provincial Councillor Dharmalingham Siddarthan is on record as having said that at the behest of the RAW; Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) assassinated two Jaffna district members of parliament, including his father Visvanather Dharmalingham (MP for Manipay) and K. Alalasundaram (MP for Kopay) in early September 1985.

Responding to another query, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that external intelligence services had subverted the former administration taking advantage of what he called privileged status enjoyed by them. Major countries maintained specialized units meant for clandestine operations outside their borders, therefore the former President’s accusation could be realistic, the one-time Commanding Officer of the celebrated first battalion of the Gajaba Regiment said.

Asked whether he felt the intelligence services under him had failed his brother by not identifying the then SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena’s move, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that secret services countered threats to national security. Rajapaksa insisted that intelligence services hadn’t been used in political projects under any circumstances.

Well informed sources told The Island that Maithripala Sirisena’s move, though being brought to the notice of the then SLFP leadership several weeks before the actual switching of allegiance by the top minister was ignored. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka never acquired a capability to tap hand phones though it could have helped anti-terrorist operations. Although, land lines could have been monitored, no one of importance used them any longer to enable us to benefit, he said.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa paid a glowing tribute to intelligence services while recollecting the circumstances under which they managed to apprehend Kumaran Pathmathan in August 2009 and kill Gopi over one-year ago. Even Welle Suda had been apprehended by Pakistan during the previous administration, though he was brought to Colombo only after the change of the government in early January, the former Defence Secretary said.

Commenting on the assassination of the then Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickremetunga in early 2009, Rajapaksa said that the new government should investigate further and tangible measures to bring those who had been responsible before a court of law.

Dismissing long persisting accusations that he in his capacity as Secretary to the Ministry of Defence ran death squads, Rajapaksa said that similar allegations were directed at previous governments. The outspoken former Defence Secretary said that those who had served him as soldier bodyguards were professionals and weren’t involved in any clandestine project beyond their legitimate tasks. The former Defence Secretary emphasized that he could vouch for the conduct of those who had served him loyally.

Weapons found in floating armoury are not state owned: Gotabaya

Weapons found in floating armoury are not state owned: Gotabaya
March 17, 2015  12:01 pm

Ex-President’s brother and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday (16) asserted that weapons recovered from the floating armoury in the southern port of Galle are not owned by the state.

While claiming that cabinet approval has been granted for the Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd and the Rakna Arakshaka Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd, Rajapaksa expressed that both local and internationally recognised institutions have obtained its services.

The observations were made at the Derana 360° programme.

According to the ex- Defence Secretary, the firearms are owned by those international organisations who obtain services of the security firms.

He also denied allegations levelled by former Minister Mervyn Silva. Earlier, the ex-Minister accused the former Defence Secretary of being involved in several high profile assassinations carried out in the country in the recent past and also blamed him for creating the ‘white van’ culture.

Rajapaksa also dismissed allegations that he was backing the controversial Buddhist organisation ‘Bodu Bala Sena (BBS).

Watch the full interview (In Sinhala below) 



Mahinda to contest for PM post

Mahinda to contest for PM post

March 17, 2015 16:23

Mahinda Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to contest for the post of Prime Minister under the Sri Lanka Labour Party at the next Parliament elections.

Labour Party leader A. S. P Liyanage said that the former President had talks with his party on the matter and has also gathered support for the move from some Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members.

Mahinda Rajapaksa had decided to contest under the Sri Lanka Labour Party after failing to secure the full support of the SLFP to be the Prime Ministerial candidate of the SLFP.

A. S. P Liyanage, a leading businessmen in Sri Lanka, had contested past Presidential elections but had often used his time on State media during election campaigning to speak in support of the former President.

Rajapaksa was replaced by current President Maithripala Sirisena as the chairman of the SLFP following the January Presidential elections.

The former President was later named as an advisor of the SLFP. (Colombo Gazette)

Monday, 16 March 2015

Rajapaksa says RAW rallied opposition to his presidency

Rajapaksa says RAW rallied opposition to his presidency- SUHASINI HAIDAR

ENB File Photo: Swamy MR
Claiming that the Research and Analysis Wing conspired with “Western agencies” CIA and MI-6 to rally the opposition led by President Maithripala Sirisena against his presidency, Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says he does not, however, believe Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the government was responsible.

In an exclusive interview to TheHindu, his first to any Indian media organisation since his surprise defeat in the presidential polls in January, Mr. Rajapaksa says he raised concerns with the government over his belief of a conspiracy. “I said the man [RAW station chief] who is here in Colombo, should be moved out. They agreed, but only at the very last minute before the
election, and by then it was too late,” he said at his residence in Colombo.

In January, a report by international news agency Reuters had claimed that an Indian intelligence official at the Indian Embassy in Colombo had been recalled over allegations he was part of a plan to unite and organise the opposition to President Rajapaksa. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had categorically denied that the transfer of the official was anything but routine, and “in natural course.”

While Mr. Rajapaksa alluded to the “RAW hand” in Sri Lankan politics in interviews to Dawn and South China Morning Post, this is the first time he has spelt out his accusation, saying that the plan to try and oust him began “two years ago”.

When asked pointedly if he felt the RAW was working under political guidance, he said, “No, no. I’ve never accused Mr. Modi.

“Because he only came in less than a year ago. It was a long term plan. They misunderstood me over the Chinese question. And that is why they planned this,” he added.

Mr. Rajapaksa’s comments come hours ahead of Mr. Modi’s visit to Colombo, where he is expected to meet the former President. Sources said the meeting was sought by Indian officials on behalf of the Prime Minister.

Mr. Modi met with President Rajapkasa three times last year, including the last meeting — reportedly very cordial — during the SAARC summit after the release of five Indian fishermen on death row in Sri Lanka.

Confirming that he will meet with Mr. Modi on March 14, Mr. Rajapaksa said, “Yes, I met him three times before. When he comes to my country, I felt I must meet him.”

Mr. Modi’s visit comes at a time of speculation in Sri Lanka over when parliamentary elections would be held by Mr. Sirisena. Under Sri Lanka’s system, while the Presidential poll is a direct contest between individuals, the Prime Minister is elected through Members of Parliament. This could lead to the hypothetical scenario of Mr. Rajapaksa, who still belongs to

President Sirisena’s party, the SLFP, returning to government if he were to win enough support from MPs.

Fuelling the speculation are Mr. Rajapaksa’s daily meetings with the public, while two big public rallies have been held in his absence by his supporters.

In the interview to The Hindu, Mr. Rajapaksa would not confirm that he was considering a political comeback, but was angered by the cases filed by Mr. Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremsinghe against his family members and associates. “If they didn’t, I would have just supported this government. But now they want to probe, put us in jail, take our passports
without any evidence. How can I retire like this? I never said I would retire. At the moment I am taking a rest.”

MR govt. defeated for standing up to India - Former Minister Amaraweera

MR govt. defeated for standing up to India - Former Minister Amaraweera

March 15, 2015, 10:11 pm

By Norman Palihawadane

Opposing Indian expansionism was the reason why the Mahinda Rajapaksa government was ousted, 
former Minister of Disaster Management and Hambantota District UPFA MP Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday.

 In a brief interview with The Island the former minister said the then government resisted India’s interference with Sri Lanka’s internal affairs and believed in home-grown solutions to the
country’s problems. "We wanted to solve our own problems without being a puppet in the hands of region’s Big Brother. We forged strong relations with China for that purpose and that
cost us state power," MP Amaraweera said.

"We extended a warm welcome to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who came here as a guest of ours and appreciate his commitment to strengthening Indo-Lanka relations, but on no ground can we countenance India’s interference with our domestic affairs."

The MP admitted that the previous government’s foreign policy should have been balanced. "We see the incumbent government is doing the opposite and it is too early to predict repercussions of this new trend," he said adding that being servile to India would lead to more problems for Sri Lanka.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

வீட்டடிமைத்தனத்தில் இருந்து விடுபடாத ஐரோப்பிய அன்னையர்கள்!

வீட்டடிமைத்தனத்தில் இருந்து விடுபடாத ஐரோப்பிய அன்னையர்கள்!

Mother's Day 2015: Forget the bunch of flowers, mothers deserve £172,000 a year

New study shows what mums would earn if they were paid for their parental labours
HANNAH BOLAND   Sunday 15 March 2015

Across Britain, burnt toast will be served to mothers in bed this morning as wayward older sons and daughters rush to deliver their supermarket bouquets. But, according to a new survey, we should be placing a higher value on motherhood all year.

Mothers have long known that their home workload was just as heavy as paid work. Now, a new study has shown that if they were paid for their parental labours, they would earn as much as £172,000 extra a year.

The, perhaps slightly  self-serving, study (commissioned by Interflora) looked at the range of jobs mothers do, as well as the hours they are working, to determine the figure. This would make their annual income £30,000 more than the Prime Minister earns.

By crunching the numbers, it found the average mother works 119 hours a week, 40 of which would usually be paid at a standard rate and 79 hours as overtime. After questioning 1,000 mothers with children under 18, it found that, on most days, mums started their chores at 7am and finished at around 11pm.

To calculate just how much mothers would earn from that labour, it suggested some of the roles that mums could take on, including housekeeper, part-time lawyer, personal trainer and entertainer. Being a part-time lawyer, at £48.98 an hour, would prove to be the most lucrative of the “mum jobs”, with psychologist a close second.

It also asked mothers about the challenges they face, with 80 per cent citing emotional demand as the hardest thing about motherhood.

Over a third of mums felt they needed more training and around half said they missed going out with friends.

Imogen Thompson, a campaigner for Mothers At Home Matter, a non-profit organisation aiming to get traditional family life recognised in the tax system, said: “Although light-hearted, it shows mothers matter all year long and not just on Mothering Sunday. The emotional, physical and mental energy mothers devote to their children can be relentless, but children are also sources of immense joy and happiness. Investing in time for parenting and nurturing relationships is money well spent.”
===================

பிற்குறிப்பு:
1) மேற்கண்ட விபரம் தன்னளவில் சொல்லுவது ஐரோப்பிய அன்னையர்களின் `குடும்ப உழைப்பு`, இன்னமும் ஊதியம் பெறாத உழைப்பாக உள்ளது அல்லது, அந்த உழைப்பு நேரத்துக்கு ஈடான ஓய்வு நேரம் அவர்களுக்கு வழங்கப்படும் நிலை இல்லாதுள்ளது என்பதே.
2) உலகில் மிக வளர்ச்சியடைந்த பொருளாதார நிலை கொண்ட ஐரோப்பாவின் நிலை இது.
3) அரைக்காலனிய ஆசியாவில்,நிலப்பிரபுத்துவத்துக்கு முந்திய உற்பத்தி முறை இன்றும் கட்டிக் காக்கப்படும் இந்தியாவில்,
4) மத்தியகால அடிமைத்தனம் இன்னும் ஆட்சி செலுத்தும் மத்திய ஆசிய, ஆபிரிக்க  நாடுகளில்,
5) உலக மறுபங்கீட்டு யுத்தமும், தேசிய ஒடுக்குமுறை யுத்தங்களும் கட்டவிழ்க்கப்பட்ட நாடுகளில் ,
6) ஆட்சிக் கவிழ்ப்பு `புதிய அரசுகளின்`  பாசிச அடக்கு முறைகள் தொடரும் நாடுகளில்,
7)ரோன் மற்றும் வான் வெளி விமான இராணுவத் தாக்குதலுக்குள்ளாகி வரும் பிராந்தியங்கள், மற்றும் பிரதேசங்களிலும்,
வாழும் தாய்மார்கள் மீண்டும் மீண்டும் பிரசவ வலியில் அலறி அழுவதையே காண்கின்றோம்!
இத்தனைக்கும் காரணமான ஏகாதிபத்தியத்துக்கு முடிவு கட்டாமல், தாய்க்குலம் விடுதலை பெற முடியாது!!
ENB Admin

புத்திர சோகத்தில் புலம்பியழும் தாய்மார்-தினம்


கத்தி அலறும் காட்சி ஈழத்தில்,


இன்றும் தொடர்கிறது!
``புதிய அரசே`` காணாமல் போனவர்களுக்கு பதில் கூறு!!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

மகிந்த ஆட்சியும், மைத்திரி ஆட்சியும் ஒன்றே! மோடி ஆர்ப்பாட்டத்தில் யாழ் மக்கள் தீர்ப்பு!



மகிந்த ஆட்சியும், மைத்திரி ஆட்சியும் ஒன்றே! மோடி ஆர்ப்பாட்டத்தில் யாழ் மக்கள் தீர்ப்பு!
தேர்தலைப் புறக்கணிப்போம் என எச்சரிக்கை!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Full text: PM Modi's address in Sri Lanka Parliament



Full text: PM Modi's address in Sri Lanka Parliament

March 13, 2015 19:05 IST
 On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Sri Lanka Parliament. He strongly pitched for enhanced cooperation in key areas of maritime security and counter-terrorism.
Below is the PM’s speech verbatim:

Honourable Speaker of Parliament, Mr Chamal Rajapaksa ji, 

Honourable Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Shrimaan Ranil Wickremesinghe ji, 

Honourable Leader of the Opposition, Mr Nimal Siripala De Silva, 

Honourable Members of Parliament, 

Distinguished guests, 

I am truly delighted to visit Sri Lanka - a land of beauty, culture and friendship. 

I am deeply honoured to be in this Parliament. I am conscious of its rich history. 

This Parliament represents one of Asia`s oldest democracies; and, one of its most vibrant. 

Long before many others in the world, Sri Lanka gave every individual a vote and voice. 

To the people of Sri Lanka, ayubuvan, Vanakkam. 

I bring the greetings of 1.25 billion friends; and millions of fans of Sri Lankan cricket. 

I bring the blessings from the land of Bodh Gaya to the land of Anuradhapura. 

I stand here in respect for our shared heritage; and, in commitment to our shared future. 

Last May, when I took the oath of office, I was honoured by the presence of South Asian leaders at the ceremony. 

Their presence was a celebration of democracy`s march in our region. It was also recognition of our common destiny. 

I am convinced that the future of any country is influenced by the state of its neighbourhood. 

The future that I dream for India is also the future that I wish for our neighbours. 

We in this region are on the same journey: to transform the lives of our people. 

Our path will be easier, the journey quicker and destination nearer when we walk step in step. 

As I stand here in Colombo and look north towards the Himalaya, I marvel at our region`s uniqueness – of our rich diversity and our common civilisational links. 

We have been formed from the same elements; and, from our interconnected histories. 

Today, we stand together as proud independent nations – sovereign and equal. 

India and Sri Lanka do not have a land boundary, but we are the closest neighbours in every sense. 

No matter where you look in India or Sri Lanka, the many strands of our links - religion, language, culture, food, customs, traditions and epics - come together into a deep and strong 

bond of familiarity and friendship. 

Ours is a relationship that is beautifully defined by the journey of Mahindra and Sanghamitra. They carried the message of peace, tolerance and friendship more than two millenniums ago. 

It is evoked by Kannagi, the central character of the great Tamil epic Silapathikaram, who is worshipped as goddess the Pattini in Sri Lanka. 

It lives in the Ramayan trail in Sri Lanka. 

It expresses itself in devotion at the dargah of the Nagore Andavar and the Christian shrine of Velankanni. 

It is reflected in the friendship of Swami Vivekananda and Anagarika Dharmapala, the founder of the Maha Bodhi Society in Sri Lanka and India. 

It lives in the work of Mahatma Gandhi`s followers in India and Sri Lanka. 

Above all, our relationship thrives through the inter-woven lives of ordinary Indians and Sri Lankans. 

Our independent life began at about the same time. 

Sri Lanka has made remarkable progress since then. 

The nation is an inspiration for our region in human development. Sri Lanka is home to enterprise and skill; and extraordinary intellectual heritage. 

There are businesses of global class here. 

Sri Lanka is a leader in advancing cooperation in South Asia. 

And, it is important for the future of the Indian Ocean Region. 

Sri Lanka`s progress and prosperity is also a source of strength for India. 

So, Sri Lanka`s success is of great significance to India. 

And, as a friend, our good wishes, and our support and solidarity have always been with Sri Lanka. 

And, it will always be there for you. 

For all of us in our region, our success depends on how we define ourselves as a nation. 

All of us in this region, indeed every nation of diversity, have dealt with the issues of identities and inclusion, of rights and claims, of dignity and opportunity for different sections of our 

societies. 

We have all seen its diverse expressions. We have faced tragic violence. We have encountered brutal terrorism. We have also seen successful examples of peaceful settlements. 

Each of us has sought to address these complex issues in our own ways. 

However we choose to reconcile them, to me something is obvious: 

Diversity can be a source of strength for nations. 

When we accommodate the aspirations of all sections of our society, the nation gets the strength of every individual. 

And, when we empower states, districts and villages, we make our country stronger and stronger. 

You can call this my bias. I have been a Chief Minister for 13 years; a Prime Minister for less than a year! 

Today, my top priority is to make the states in India stronger. I am a firm believer in cooperative federalism. 

So, we are devolving more power and more resources to the states. And, we are making them formal partners in national decision making processes. 

Sri Lanka has lived through decades of tragic violence and conflict. You have successfully defeated terrorism and brought the conflict to an end. 

You now stand at a moment of historic opportunity to win the hearts and heal the wounds across all sections of society. 

Recent elections in Sri Lanka have reflected the collective voice of the nation – the hope for change, reconciliation and unity. 

The steps that you have taken in recent times are bold and admirable. They represent a new beginning. 

I am confident of a future of Sri Lanka, defined by unity and integrity; peace and harmony; and, opportunity and dignity for everyone. 

I believe in Sri Lanka`s ability to achieve it. 

It is rooted in our common civilisational heritage. 

The path ahead is a choice that Sri Lanka has to make. And, it is a collective responsibility of all sections of the society; and, of all political streams in the country. 

But, I can assure you of this: 

For India, the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka are paramount. 

It is rooted in our interest. It stems from our own fundamental beliefs in this principle. 

Hon`ble Speaker and Distinguished Members, 

My vision of an ideal neighbourhood is one in which trade, investments, technology, ideas and people flow easily across borders; when partnerships in the region are formed with the ease 

of routine. 

In India, the growth momentum has been restored. India has become the fastest growing major economy in the world. 

The world sees India as the new frontier of economic opportunity. 

But, our neighbours should have the first claim on India. And I again repeat, the first claim on India is of our neighbours – of Sri Lanka. 

I will be happy if India serves a catalyst in the progress of our neighbours. 

In our region, Sri Lanka has the potential to be our strongest economic partner. 

We will work with you to boost trade and make it more balanced. 

India`s trade environment is becoming more open. Sri Lanka should not fall behind others in this competitive world. 

That is why we should conclude an ambitious Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. 

India can also be a natural source of investments – for exports to India and elsewhere; and to build your infrastructure. We have made good progress today. Let us get together to harness the vast potential of the Ocean Economy. 

Our two nations must also take the lead in increasing cooperation in the South Asian Region and the linked BIMSTEC Region. 

Connecting this vast region by land and sea, our two countries can become engines of regional prosperity. 

I also assure you of India`s full commitment to development partnership with Sri Lanka. We see this as a responsibility of a friend and neighbour. 

India has committed 1.6 billion U.S. dollars in development assistance. Today, we have committed further assistance of up to 318 million dollars to the railway sector. 

We will continue our development partnership. We will be guided by your Government. And, we will do so with the same level of transparency that we expect in our own country. 

Last month we signed the agreement on cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy. 

More than anywhere else in the region, I see enormous potential to expand cooperation with Sri Lanka in areas like agriculture, education, health, science and technology, and space. 

Indeed, we are limited only by our imagination. 

We hope that Sri Lanka will take full benefit of India`s satellite for the SAARC Region. This should be in Space by December 2016. 

People are at the heart of our relationship. When we connect people, bonds between nations become stronger. That is why we have decided to extend the visa-on-arrival facility to Sri Lankan citizens. 

We will also increase connectivity between our countries. We will strengthen ties of culture and religion. Last month we announced reduction in fees for Sri Lankan nationals visiting 

National Museum in Delhi to see the Kapilavastu Relics. We will bring our shared Buddhist heritage closer to you through an exhibition. Together, we will develop our Buddhist and Ramayana Trails. My birth place Varnagarh was an international centre of Buddhist learning in ancient times. Excavations have revealed a hostel for 2000 students and in plans to redevelop the centre. 

Mr Speaker, 

A future of prosperity requires a strong foundation of security for our countries and peace and stability in the region. 

The security of our two countries is indivisible. Equally, our shared responsibility for our maritime neighbourhood is clear. 

India and Sri Lanka are too close to look away from each other. Nor can we be insulated from one another. 

Our recent histories have shown that we suffer together; and we are more effective when we work with each other. 

Our cooperation helped deal with the devastation of Tsunami in 2004. As a Chief Minister, I was pleased to share our experience in reconstruction after the Bhuj earthquake in 2001. 

Our cooperation is also integral to our success in combating terrorism and extremism. 

For both of us, local threats remain. But, we see threats arising in new forms and from new sources. We are witnessing globalisation of terrorism. The need for our cooperation has never been stronger than today. 

The Indian Ocean is critical to the security and prosperity of our two countries. And, we can be more successful in achieving these goals if we work together; build a climate of trust and confidence; and we remain sensitive to each other`s interest. 

We deeply value our security cooperation with Sri Lanka. We should expand the maritime security cooperation between India, Sri Lanka and Maldives to include others in the Indian Ocean area. 

I often say that the course of the 21st century would be determined by the currents of the Indian Ocean. Shaping its direction is a responsibility for the countries in the region. 

We are two countries at the crossroads of the Indian Ocean. Your leadership and our partnership will be vital for building a peaceful, secure, stable and prosperous maritime 

neighbourhood. 

In our deeply interconnected lives, it is natural to have differences. Sometimes, it touches the lives of ordinary people. We have the openness in our dialogue, the strength of our human 

values and, the goodwill in our relationship to resolve them. 

Mr.Speaker, 

Sri Lanka and India are at a moment of a great opportunity and responsibility – for realising the dreams of our people. 

This is also a time for renewal in our relationship; for a new beginning and new vigour in our partnership. 

We have to ensure that our proximity always translates into closeness. 

We were honoured that President Sirisena chose India as his first destination last month. I am honoured to be his first guest here. 

This is how it should be between neighbours. 

Tomorrow I will go to Talaimannar to flag off the train to Madhu Road. This is part of the old India –Lanka rail link. 

I recall the lines of a famous song ‘Sindu Nadiyin Misai’ composed by the great nationalist poet Subramanian Bharati in the early 20th century:

‘Singalatheevukkinor paalam ameippom’(we shall construct a bridge to Sri Lanka) 

I have come with the hope of building this bridge – a bridge that rests on strong pillars of our shared inheritance; of shared values and vision; of mutual support and solidarity; of friendly 

exchanges and productive cooperation; and, above all, belief in each other and our shared destiny. Thank you once again for the honour to be with you. 

Thank you very much