There are signs of a political storm brewing in the distance. The SLFP dissidents are girding up their loins in a bid to take on their bete noire President Mahinda Rajapakse. The inauguration of a new wing of the SLFP is slated for today at Horagolla. The Rathu Sahodarayas have issued a threat of a general strike. The UNP is threatening to take to the streets shortly against the government. It has apparently pinned its hopes on the Rajayogaya (ascendancy indicated in a horoscope) of its leader and the SLFP rebels are banking on that of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.
Meanwhile, Prabhakran, cornered on the military front, is readying for what he calls his final battle. The political turmoil in the country couldn`t have come at a better time for him. He has always been lucky. Whenever he fights his way into a cul-de-sac, someone rushes to his rescue.
Rajiv Gandhi saved him in 1987 from Operation Liberation, which almost accounted for him. India dropped parippu and coerced President JRJ into calling off that offensive and offering a political solution. President Premadasa took him off the hook, when the IPKF was about to finish him. His strength had been reduced to about 600 cadres, when Premadasa lavished arms and funds on him and helped him survive the IPKF onslaught. The Premadasa government also gave the LTTE shelter in army camps! President D. B. Wijetunga, ably assisted by the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, cleared the East in 1993/94 and the Tigers were trapped in the North. President Wijetunge`s strategy was to push northward from the Eastern Province. Then came President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who gave the Tigers the much needed breather for rearming and regrouping in 1994. In 2001, Prabhakaran was lucky again. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe chose to take on President Kumaratunga rather than the Tigers, with whom he entered into a truce without her knowledge. Thus, the Tigers were home and dry in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the resultant US-led war on terror that gave all terror outfits a scare the world over.
When Karuna broke away, leaving Prabhakaran high and dry, President Kumaratunga refused to cash in on the situation, though she had sacked the Wickremesinghe government vowing to protect the national security interests. She blundered by allowing armed Wanni cadres to move into the government held areas in the Eastern Province at that time in violation of the truce to take on the Karuna Faction. Had she been wise enough to capitalise on the situation, the LTTE would have been debilitated irreparably and Prabhakaran wouldn`t have been able to capture at least a culvert let alone an irrigation scheme like Mavil Aru.
Today, the political storm on the horizon has the trappings of deuce ex machina for the Tigers looking for an escape route. Politicians being politicians have chosen to further their interests come what may. They don`t give two hoots about Prabhakaran, as he is not a political threat to them as such and they won`t mind even entering into an unholy alliance with him, if that suits their purpose. Even the Rathu Sahodarayas, who make a big show of their anti-terror sentiments, have no qualms about joining forces with the much maligned Tiger proxies to humble their estranged presidential friend. They don`t also care whether their proposed trade union action will bring about political uncertainty and impact adversely on the government`s war effort, which they claim to support to the hilt. Their sole objective is to flex muscles and make their one time darling, President Rajapakse, fall in line.
However hard southern politicians strive to win the political battles they fight so fiercely, it is Prabhakaran who emerges victorious in the end. All that they get in return for the service rendered to him is a bomb. President Premadasa, who saved Prabahakaran from the IPKF was blown to smithereens and President Kumaratunga had a narrow escape from a suicide bomber. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was politically destroyed through a polls boycott in the LTTE-held areas, at the last Presidential election.
But, they don`t seem to mind that. Prabhakaran is smart enough to avoid fighting more than one enemy at a time. He always makes overtures to a section of the southern politicians. In 1994, he supported the SLFP and in 2001 he backed the UNP. That way he has been able to prevent the southern politicians from uniting against him.
Prabhakaran has claimed on more than one occasion that he knows next to nothing about politics. But, none of the southern politicians can match him where adroit political moves are concerned. It is not only the local politicians whom he manipulates. He has made even Indian politicians putty in his hand.
The Central government does as the Tamil Nadu government says and the Tamil Nadu government does as Prabhakaran says. Look at the way he has made a ventriloquist`s dummy of India`s National Security Advisor.
While disrupting Sri Lankan Parliament through his proxies, he gets the British Parliament to further his interests. The day may not be far off when he will be in a position to manipulate the US Congress as well. He has many UN officials in his pocket and once he succeeded in getting the former UN Secretary General to issue a condolence message when one of his senior cadres was killed in Trincomalee, despite the fact that the LTTE is on the UN List of Shame for child conscription!
It is unfortunate that the warring politicians have failed to see the benefits that accrue from their battles to Prabhakaran, who has neither permanent friends nor permanent enemies. He, they should realise, has only a permanent goal.
Don`t we hear him guffawing in the Wanni?