EU to remove LTTE from terrorism list

Now is clear that colonialist and imperialist powers cause, promote and support terrorism. There are new “strategic partnerships” across the globe to deny equality, basic rights, and freedoms to people. That is the reason why Palestinians, Kashmiris, Tamils, Chechens, Muslims in Xinjiang continue to struggle for freedom.

The European Union has been mulling removing Hamas and the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) from its “terror list” as its top court took a step toward confirming the removal of Hamas, as well as the Tamil Tigers, from an EU terrorism blacklist despite protestations from Israel and the Sri Lankan government - the real cause for terrorism by accelerating state terror and repressive operations against the respective minorities.

An advocate general at the European Court of Justice, whose advice is usually followed by judges, recommended that they reject an appeal by the Council of EU member states against the lower EU court’s decisions in late 2014 to remove both movements for freedom and human rights from the sanctions list due to flaw procedures.

The EU Council’s appeal also cited the lower court’s failure to accept its argument that the groups’ presence on the US terrorism list justified sanctions. Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston concluded, however, that the EU could not assume that other countries gave those it listed sufficient right of appeal. Her advice, which also said some elements of the appeal were justified, is not binding. But judges’ rulings typically follow closely the recommendations of the advocates general. The ECJ said its justices were beginning their deliberations on the case and there was no set date for a ruling. The General Court did not address whether the groups’ actions merited inclusion on the list of terrorist organisations but ruled the procedures putting them on the list were flawed.

In both cases, judges of the EU’s General Court ruled that EU leaders relied too heavily on media reports rather than their own investigations when they imposed asset freezes and travel bans dating back 15 years on members of Hamas and the LTTE. Both organisations argued that they were engaged in legal wars against Israel and the Sri Lankan government respectively.

Israel offered no immediate comment on the court officer’s advice on Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip and has fought Israeli occupational attacks for three decades.

The Sri Lankan government had said in 2014 that it would provide the evidence which the court found lacking to support sanctions against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Israel gets all benefits from European nations and USA by calling the Hamas as terrorists. At the time, Israel, which apparently sells terror goods manufactured in USA and EU, has had fraught relations with the EU in recent years, “rekindled” the old trick of Europeans’ treatment of Jews in the Holocaust and denounced the bloc’s “staggering hypocrisy”.

However, the United States, opposing freedom movement in Palestine and supporting the Israeli fascism and fanaticism with its UN veto, has urged the maintenance of sanctions on Hamas. The assets have since remained frozen pending the appeal.

Hamas was founded in 1987, soon after the First Intifada broke out, as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood which in its Gaza branch had been non-confrontational towards Israel, refrained from resistance, and was hostile to the PLO. Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin stated in 1987 and the Hamas Charter affirmed in 1988, that Hamas was founded to liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel, from "Israeli occupation" and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The group has stated that it may accept a 10-year truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders and allows Palestinian refugees from 1948, as well as their descendants, to return to what is now Israel although clarifying that this does not mean recognition of Israel or the end of the conflict Hamas's military wing has objected to the truce offer Analysts have said that it seems clear that Hamas knows that many of its conditions for the truce could never be met.

The military wing of Hamas has launched attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, often justifying them as retaliatory, in particular for assassinations of the upper echelon of their leadership. Tactics have included suicide bombings, a tactic which was largely, but not totally abandoned after 2005, —and since 2001, rocket attacks. Hamas's rocket arsenal, though mainly consisting of short-range homemade Qassam rockets, also includes long-range weapons that have reached major Israeli cities including Tel Aviv and Haifa. The attacks on civilians have been condemned as war crimes and crimes against humanity by human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch.

In the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas won a plurality in the Palestinian Parliament, defeating the PLO-affiliated Fatah party. Following the elections, the Quartet (the United States, Russia, United Nations, and European Union) made future foreign assistance to the PA conditional upon the future government's commitment to non-violence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements. Hamas rejected those changes, which led to the Quartet suspending its foreign assistance program and Israel imposing economic sanctions on the Hamas-led administration In March 2007, a national unity government headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas was briefly formed, but this failed to restart international financial assistance.Tensions over control of Palestinian security forces soon erupted in the 2007 Battle of Gaza   after which Hamas took control of Gaza, while its officials were ousted from government positions in the West Bank. Israel and Egypt then imposed an economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, on the grounds that Fatah forces were no longer providing security there. In 2011, Hamas and Fatah announced a reconciliation agreement that provides for creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government. Progress stalled, until an April 2014 agreement to form a compromise unity government, with elections to be held in late 2014

In 2006, Hamas used an underground cross-border tunnel to capture the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, holding him captive until 2011, when he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Since then, Hamas has continued building a network of internal and cross-border tunnels, which are used to store and deploy weapons, shield militants, and facilitate cross-border attacks. Destroying the tunnels was a primary objective of Israeli forces in the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.

Hamas, its military wing, together with several charities it runs, has been designated by several governments as a terrorist organization. Others regard this designation as problematic. Israel outlawed Hamas in 1989, in 1996 the United States followed suit, as did Canada in 2002. The European Union defined the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades as terrorist in 2001, and put Hamas in its list of terrorist organizations in 2003 but such designation was successfully challenged by Hamas in the courts in 2014 on technical grounds. The judgment was appealed, but in 2016 a EU legal advisor recommended that Hamas be removed from the list due to procedural errors. The final decision is not thought likely to effect individual government lists

LTTE – a terrorist organization or defender of Tamils?

Any reaction to state crimes, violence or attacks is called terrorism while all terror operations by the states are glorified as heroism. LTTE as an umbrella organization was formed as a shield to protect from “enemy” attacks the lives and interests of Tamils living in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan regime used the Tamils in tea plantations and elsewhere to increase economic inputs but denied even basic requirements of the Tamil populations. Disparities between Tamils and Singhalese grew wider and conflict became strong. Lately, Tamils were attacked by Singhalese mobs with state backing, leaving conflict in Lankan society. State suppression methods were harsh which led to the demand by Tamils for separate Tamil state in the island. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is the only terrorist group which once possessed its own 'Military' – Tigers (infantry), Sea Tigers (sea wing) and Air Tigers (Air Wing), in the world, began its armed campaign in Sri Lanka for a separate Tamil homeland in 1983. Founded in May 1976 by Velupillai Prabhakaran, it waged a secessionist nationalist insurgency to create an independent state of Tamil Eelam in the north and east of Sri Lanka for Tamil people. This campaign led to the Sri Lankan Civil War, which ran from 1983 until 2009, when the LTTE was defeated by the Sri Lankan military during the presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The LTTE was a self-styled national liberation organization with the primary goal of establishing an independent Tamil state. Although it had dabbled with Marxism, Tamil nationalism was the primary focus of its ideology. LTTE was influenced by Indian freedom fighters such as Subhas Chandra Bose.LTTE denied being a separatist movement and saw itself as fighting for self-determination and restoration of sovereignty in what they called their homeland. Despite most Tigers being Hindus, the LTTE was an avowedly secular organization hence religion did not play any significant part in their ideology. The Tiger leader criticized what he saw as the oppressive features of traditional Hindu Tamil society such as the caste system and gender inequality. The LTTE presented itself as a revolutionary movement seeking widespread change within Tamil society rather than only independence from the Sri Lankan state; therefore its ideology included removal of caste discrimination and support for women's liberation. The Tiger leader also expressed his political philosophy as being "revolutionary socialism" which constituted the creation of an "egalitarian society"

Since people of Tamil Nadu, government and politicians cutting across their political brands supported the cause of LTTE, Indian government also supported and promoted growth and operations.

Due to its military victories, policies, call for national self-determination and constructive Tamil nationalist platform the LTTE was supported by major sections of the Tamil community. Narrow nationalist ideology the LTTE succeeded in atomizing the community. It took away not only the right to oppose but even the right to evaluate, as a community, the course they were taking. This gives a semblance of illusion that the whole society is behind the LTTE. At the height of its power, the LTTE possessed a well-developed militia and carried out many high-profile attacks, including the assassinations of several high-ranking Sri Lankan and Indian politicians. The LTTE was supposedly behind the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Gandhi in 1991 and Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993. One is not sure if the organization was used y some world powers to remove these leaders

Historical inter-ethnic imbalances between majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil populations are alleged to have created the background for the origin of the LTTE. Post independent Sri Lankan governments attempted to rectify the disproportionate favoring and empowerment of Tamil minority by the colonial rulers, which led to exclusivist ethnic policies including the Sinhala Only Act and gave rise to separatist ideologies among many Tamil leaders. By the 1970s, initial non violent political struggle for an independent mono-ethnic Tamil state was used as justification for a violent secessionist insurgency led by the LTTE. Over the course of the conflict, the Tamil Tigers frequently exchanged control of territory in north-east Sri Lanka with the Sri Lankan military, with the two sides engaging in intense military confrontations. It was involved in four unsuccessful rounds of peace talks with the Sri Lankan government over the course of the conflict. At its peak in 2000, the LTTE was in control of 76% of the landmass in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka.

At the start of the final round of peace talks in 2002, the Tamil Tigers controlled a 15,000 km2 area. After the breakdown of the peace process in 2006, the Sri Lankan military launched a major offensive against the Tigers, defeating the LTTE militarily and bringing the entire country under its control. Victory over the Tigers was declared by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 16 May 2009, and the LTTE admitted defeat on 17 May 2009.Prabhakaran was killed by government forces on 19 May 2009. Selvarasa Pathmanathan succeeded Prabhakaran as leader of the LTTE, but he was later arrested in Malaysia and handed over to the Sri Lankan government in August 2009.

Meanwhile, former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are increasingly taking to writing to articulate their reflections on the civil war, which came to an end in May 2009. In recent months, books of three ex-combatants of the LTTE have been brought out and by a coincidence, all are women. A few days ago, the 24-year-old Rathika Pathmanathan launched her book, which contains a set of poems and a narrative account, at an event here in the presence of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and leader of the Democratic Front Vasudeva Nanayakkara. Besides the original Tamil work, the Sinhala and English versions were also released. Six months ago, an autobiographical sketch of Subramaniam Sivagami alias ‘Colonel’ Thamilini, (who died of cancer 10 months ago) was released. It has been rendered into Sinhala and its English version is expected soon. Last month, the work of another ex-combatant was launched in Colombo.

The present political climate has been cited by many as the main reason for this “ literary” trend. ‘Perhaps, critics of the LTTE are encouraging people to come out with their accounts,” says a Tamil writer, who wishes to remain anonymous. V. Thanabalasingham, veteran journalist, says the trend has to be viewed as a reflection of self-criticism. The works also demonstrate that there were members of the LTTE who held views contrary to the position of the LTTE leadership on various issues at different points of time but these persons, bound by discipline of their organisation, had adhered to what the leadership had decided.

S. Sivagurunathan, who did the translation of Rathika’s work, says the regime change, which took place in January 2015, has paved the way for an atmosphere of freedom for people to express contrary views. Pointing out that the Sinhala version of Thamilini’s work has seen seven prints, he says this shows that many sections of the Sinhalese society are keen on knowing what had happened during the civil war. However, he feels that still, there is a substantial number of Sri Lankan Tamils who do not relish criticism of the LTTE or its chief V. Prabhakaran.

Rathika, who was in the LTTE barely for nine months during 2008-2009 after having been forcibly recruited, says she chose to write her experiences while she was undergoing treatment at a Colombo hospital during 2009-2010 for injury in the leg. “I did it as a way of overcoming my pain.” Conceding that her stint with the LTTE was short, she points out that there are many young former combatants who require proper guidance from society and the government. “Otherwise, there is every chance that these youngsters choose the wrong track,” she cautions.

Observation

It is indeed a historic decision by the EU to write off both Hamas and LTTE from its terrorist list.

UN has a positive role in this regard. It must ensure that the conditions that led the Hamas and LTTE to choose a path of war with the state terror techniques do not resurface in order to showcase it military prowess against the weak minorities and races.

While Hamas faction of the Palestinians are being terrorized by occupying Israel, the Tamil population in Sri Lanka is being ill treated by majority Singhalese community for which the regime and military-police systems provide full support and Lankan government now led by President Sirisena does not seem to take firm decision to support the needs of Tamils against the will and wish of his own Singhalese community.

It is global shame that colonialist trends still play their devastating role as regional big brother India continues to terrorize Kashmiris after enslaving them on a fake agreement with the former Hindu ruler of a soverign Jammu Kashmir . Indian media deliberately hides the truth about the Jammu Kashmir saying it was a part of India where as the truth is Jammu Kashmir was an independent nation and not an Indian princely state at all and India annexed Jammu Kashmir by fooling the National Conference leader Sheikh Abdullah with an offer of Premiership of new Kashmir under Indian Constitution. Once the deal is safely through, India- Nehru- withdrew the Premiership from Abdullah saying India cannot have tow Premiers.

That was a betrayal of Kashmiris by all concerned and unconcerned. Now whenever India loses cricket match, it quickly attack Pakistan in order to terrorize Kashmiris. Yesterday, India , by chance, lost the fourth ODI to visiting New Zealand though they are playing as per a game plan and package deal, India ahs arrested a few Pakistani officials in New Delhi on “espionage” charges. Indians –Hindus, who are terribly disillusioned by the unexpected defeat of Indian only “Bharatratna” team, are expected to forget the cricket loss and enjoy as Indian TVs show the Pakistani officals are paraded into North Block. India cannot tolerate if foreign teams defeat India in India and there takes all precautionary steps to see a package deal is struck before the tournament by the Boards and foreign teams do not bring best bowlers to “OUT” Indian batboys.

Prolific writer, Independent Analyst; Columnist contributing articles to many  newspapers and journals on world politics; Expert on Mideast affairs, Chronicler of foreign occupations & freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.)  Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA); Commentator on world affairs & sport fixings, Former university teacher; Author of eBooks/books

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