Tamil Diaspora since 2009

An interesting Noria Research piece by Lola Guyot on the evolution of Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora politics since the destruction of the LTTE:

“The divisions between these different political groups are not only due to rivalries between former sections of the LTTE. There are also generational and ideological elements. While members of the TCCs are typically first generation immigrants mainly socializing with their community, the new lobbying organizations are usually run by well integrated individuals, and in certain cases, by young second generation immigrants who became activists only after the war. These groups do not always have the same views on the goals to pursue and the strategies to adopt. With the defeat of the LTTE came a liberation of speech that made room for all these different views. But activists and organizations face contradictory pressures from the diasporic community and their Western interlocutors that affect their position.”

CPEC Master Plan

Dawn has tracked down key documents laying out the scope and ambition of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It’s quite something:
“thousands of acres of agricultural land will be leased out to Chinese enterprises to set up “demonstration projects” in areas ranging from seed varieties to irrigation technology. A full system of monitoring and surveillance will be built in cities from Peshawar to Karachi, with 24 hour video recordings on roads and busy marketplaces for law and order. A national fibreoptic backbone will be built for the country not only for internet traffic, but also terrestrial distribution of broadcast TV, which will cooperate with Chinese media in the “dissemination of Chinese culture”.”

Go read the whole thing.

The Tatmadaw rides high

A piece in The Diplomat on the charmed life of the Myanmar military these days:
“While everything else is in flux, the position of the Tatmadaw in national affairs appears more stable than ever. Snug in its constitutional bunker, it can reap the fruits of improved foreign relations, a cooperative civilian government, solid public support for their crackdown on the Rohingya, and the increased revenue that comes with a rapidly growing economy. The taciturn senior general can afford a brief, complacent smile.”

The hard line on Kashmir

This is a truly stunning op-ed by the former GOC-in-C of the Indian Army’s South West Command, particularly these selections:

“Public censuring and reprimanding of the security forces by senior officials and political leaders has steadily eroded the status and authority of the security forces. There is, therefore, a need to restore the primacy of the uniformed forces in society by concerted effort, at all levels.”

‘The anti-national elements in Srinagar thrive on the politically-motivated, anti-national, pro-Pakistan statements of the National Conference and PDP leaders”

“The example of the Ikhwanis is a good way of redressing the Valley’s situation. The Ikhwanis broke away from the militants, came overground and assisted the army in eliminating foreign terrorists”

I’ll write more about the convergence of hard-line Indian views with the long-held views of Kashmiri separatists later. Things will only get worse.

Opalo on African civil wars

A smart intervention by Ken Opalo here in response to my post below.

I was particularly struck by this passage:

“Completely anarchic conflicts involving collapsing states and incoherent hyper-localized rebellions — your stereotypical African conflict, if you will — are a unique historical experience rooted in the states that did really fall apart in the late 1980s to early 1990s (pretty much in the midst of Africa’s continental economic nadir). It is instructive that these states were concentrated in the Mano River region and Central Africa, some of the regions worst affected by the socio-political challenges of Africa’s lost long decade (1980-1995). ”

As Opalo suggests, for outsiders like me reading mainstream political science civil war studies rooted in African cases, this is indeed what we see presented as “how Africa is” – a lot of the literature I’ve read uses phrases like “warfare in Africa” and “ethnic politics in Africa” that asserts a particular politics – generally of greed and fear amidst neopatrimonial corruption – for the whole continent (a recent exception is Straus’s 2015 book, which focuses on ideology). I’ve always been struck by this, and wonder where its historical/sociological roots lie. It would be tricky for me to write something like “in South Asia, politics are characterized by X” since Nepal doesn’t work the same way as India, which in turn is a very different political kettle of fish than Sri Lanka.

Which is why it’s important, and valuable, to see pushback that emphasizes instead variation, both across countries and over time.