The Consequences of another War in Sri Lanka: Frederica Jansz

As Sri Lanka is slipping back into a full fledged civil war, a common question that arises amongst the public is- What would be the consequences of such a war? Even though the parties involved in conflict believe in achieving something through that war, it is reasonable that another war is not affordable for the country.

Things began to change soon after Rajapaksa elected to power in the end of 2005. Circumstances developed a volatile situation in the country in December 2005, and since then it has been gaining more momentum. Those who strive for peace have continuously warned about this situation and the consequences that the war would bring to the country. Practitioners and analysts have voiced against such a military move saying that ‘another war in Sri Lanka is unthinkable’ in terms of social, economic and military contexts. The book ‘The consequences of Another War in Sri Lanka’ written by Frederica Jansz is one such strong voice against the war that threatens all of us.

In the executive summary, the author enlightens the readers about the ‘military and economic consequences of another war’. She examines the possible consequences of another war in Sri Lanka through a ‘scenario analysis’ quoting works in conflict resolution in Sri Lanka. The book is strong on reference to issues related to the subject and is a good approach to inform the readers.

As an investigative journalist, the author has informatively structured the concerned issues. A simple and comfortable framework has been articulated to address the question and this facilitates the readers to understand the realities. Each subject is short and simple, facilitating clarity of expression.

Referring to Kumar Rupasinghe’s newspaper article, the author explains three possible scenarios of another war are low intensity war, limited war and total war. Every scenario is explained with its characteristics. Discussing the reports and quotes of analysts, the author comes to the conclusion that a total war is most likely in the future.

“In relation to military consequences, there will be a lot of destruction .It will be a bloody war not only with combatants but will bear heavy consequences for civilians too”, says Kethis Loganathan. H.M.G.B Kottadenay, adviser to the Defence Ministry too believes that the war would be total and not limited or confined to an undeclared conflict. He predicts the cost of another war would be unimaginable.

Quoting to military sources Frederica point outs that in case the war breaks out again, the Sri Lankan armed force’s strength will increase at an annual growth of 8%.The LTTE would also expand its base and recruit more cadres.

The cost of military expenditure will revert to 5% of G.D.P. “The number of child recruits within the LTTE will sky rocket .The war would again lead to massive displacement”, says Kethesh Lgananthan in his interview.

Frederica notes a disturbing statistic, quoting Kotatakadeniya, that the war will claim another 10,000-20,000 lives in the first 5 years including that of armed personal, rebels and civilians. Focusing on the economic consequences of violent conflict, Frederica perceives the cost would be very high indeed. Some forty years of civil war in Angola, Colombia and Sudan have very badly affected their economic development and prospects in terms of politics and social. In Sri Lanka too, the earlier wars had high economic costs and prevented growth reaching its target of 6-8%.The country faced an economic slump in 2001.The author provides heaps of information to the readers to italicize that the cost of economic consequences of another war would be very high indeed.

Author provides valuable information on military and economic consequences of another war in Sri Lanka. Overall, this book is very informative and documented and is good read for anyone who seeks information on the effects of another war in Sri Lanka.

‘The Consequences of another War in Sri Lanka’ is published in Colombo by the Foundation for Coexistence and printed by Impulse Printers and Publishers.

Selvarajah Mathangi