The involvement of external powers in the post-war period of the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict (2009-2012)
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This essay specifically focuses on how the conflicting and competing interests of regional and extra-regional powers shape or affect the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It offers a nuanced understanding of the contemporary Sri Lankan ethnic conflict in the context of external engagement. Looking at the historical background of the conflict, and cognizant of neo-realist and democratic peace theories, it explains why the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict still defies solution. Taking an audit of the Sri Lankan peace process, it elucidates how the shift in the global distribution of power upset the balance of power between the parties in Sri Lanka and led to the Eelam War-IV. Analysing the last phase of the war, it explains how the Sri Lankan Government managed to defeat the ‘invincible’ military force, the LTTE with the diplomatic, economic, and military supports of major powers. It assesses prospects of peace in post-war Sri Lanka in relation to external engagements. It finally argues that without concerted international pressure, Sri Lanka seems a most unlikely candidate for achieving positive peace. It ultimately makes some recommendations to the protagonists to the conflict as well as to the international community.