Sri Lanka was for decades an example of how sectarian conflict can wreck an otherwise fortunate country. It has had three years to show how devolving power to an ethnic minority can bring about lasting peace. Now it looks as if the opportunity will be lost.
Sri Lanka paid an enormous price to bring 26 years of civil war to an end. An estimated 40,000 people died in the last months of fighting in 2009, bringing the conflict’s final toll to more than 100,000. This includes a sitting president, Ranasinghe Premadasa, and a former Indian prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, who were killed in suicide bombings by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.