Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - COMMENT -

The pub­lic of Sri Lanka need not worry. Those who seem con­cerned that our for­eign pol­icy is like a rud­der­less boat with no­body at the tiller, bet­ter think afresh. It is in safe hands what­ever the lo­qua­cious mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion might say.

Only the other day the For­eign Min­is­ter (the third un­der the ya­ha­palana ad­min­is­tra­tion) told our leg­is­la­tors that he is armed with an ace. Never mind where he keeps it -whether up the sleeve or un­der the pil­low -- he will play it when the time is ripe.

Let those-sov­er­eign states, civil so­ci­ety groups, jour­nal­ists and com­men­ta­tors who in the last decade or so have cas­ti­gated Sri Lanka for the way it fought an en­emy which in their ex­pert knowl­edge could not be mil­i­tar­ily de­feated, take note. Our For­eign Min­is­ter is now armed and ready to press the but­ton just like Kim Jong-un did last week send­ing his lat­est toy right into the Pa­cific Ocean to join the shoals of tuna which the Ja­panese turn into de­li­cious sashimi.

For­eign Min­is­ter Ti­lak Mara­pana said he knows when to play the ace. My fear is that some­body else is more likely to play the joker. It is not that some have not been play­ing the joker over and over again, turn­ing Sri Lankan for­eign pol­icy into a tragic- com­edy, de­fy­ing sense and sen­si­bil­ity.

So what is this ace that Mara­pana has armed him­self with and thinks he can break the bank? Well, it is the in­for­ma­tion which Lord Naseby had been able to wrench out of the Bri­tish For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Of­fice (FCO) from the war time con­fi­den­tial des­patches sent by UK’s De­fence At­tache’ in Colombo to the FCO and the de­fence estab­lish­ment.

These vi­tal des­patches, de­spite be­ing heav­ily redacted to save the Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment from diplo­matic em­bar­rass­ment, present a dif­fer­ent pic­ture of the last six months of the war against the LTTE, es­pe­cially with re­gard to the number of civil­ian ca­su­al­ties, por­trayed by Sri Lanka’s crit­ics.

The number of civil­ian ca­su­al­ties as as­sessed by De­fence At­tache’ Lt. Col An­ton Gash based on fig­ures he had been able to put

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