Sunday, November 30, 2008

HEADS ROLL IN INDIA, OVER THE MUMBAI MASSACRE

THERE is no denying it. The Indians totally screwed up when faced with the deadly and well organized attacks by terrorists in Mumbai. Already at least 183 are dead, hundreds wounded and the death toll may climb over the next few days.

Now the second scene, the blame game is on.

Shivaji Patel, the Home Security honcho has reportedly offered his resignation, as any self-respecting bureaucrat would do. MK Narayanan, who once had the gall to dictate that Sri Lanka must not acquire her defensive requirements from anyone other than India, and that India herself would decide what Sri Lanka needs, had followed suite and offered his too. Maybe that was the only way to prevent a summary dismissal, since the Indian PM is said to have accepted Narayanan's resignation without hesitation, while Patel's employment situation is not yet clear. Narayanan's departure is good news for us Sri Lankans, even though we should not be seen jubilant over this outcome.

Interrogation of the captured terrorist in India would be 'direct' as one western security person described it, meaning it would involve physical coercion and torture to obtain information swiftly from the sole surviving terrorist. The Indians should pay particular attention to identifying whether any of the terror group managed to escape and hang around to attack again later. Interestingly, western media are still describing the attckers as 'militants' while only nations which have suffered similar attrocities in the hands of such brutes are calling them what they truly are; terrorists. The average Indians deserve our sympathy and our support in learning to deal effectively with such brutes so that our region can become safer.

Initial reports from India seems to suggest these terrorists are from the Pakistani controlled Kashmiri region and quite possibly linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba or LeT, even though a previously unheard of group calling themselves Deccan Mujahideen claimed responsibility initially. LeT is presumed to be connected to the shadowy Pakistani intelligence outfit, the ISI and this could lead to a potentially souring of relations between the two countries, unless they act like grown ups in the face of the subtle and manipulative intentions behind the overt action, obviously aimed at creating tension between the two nations.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

LTTE FIZZLES AND INDIA BLEEDS INCOMPETENCE

THE much spculated upon Nov 27th came and passed in Sri Lanka with hardly any fireworks from the LTTE. Many proponents of the terrorist outfit promised a spectacular display of power from the LTTE, but even the Tigers' much anticipated live telecast was interrupted by a last minute air strike by the SLAF against the last remaining broadcast tower somewhere in Killinochchi. The terror chief, now a whining pussy since meeting a real army in combat, pleaded for help from an insensitive Indian establishment and begged for support from anyone who would be ignorant enough to do so. The SLA's 57th and 58th divisions entered downtown Killinochchi and started mopping up operations with scarcely any media coverage.

In the meanwhile, November 27th brought fireworks to Mumbai. Well trained and armed terrorists struck at least 10 locations in a synchronized strike, killing over 160 and wounding hundreds. Among the dead are citizens of US, UK, Japan and Israel, some of whom were singled out for slaughter. The attacks which started around mid-day on Nov 27th continued well into Friday the 29th with the Indian commandoes still struggling to overpower a single gunman holding up a number of hostages. Perhaps overcome by a combination of fatigue, sleeplessness and running out of ammunition, the last of the attackers was killed by Indian commandos three days later.

The Indians bungled from start to finish in this sorry spectacle watched by a global audience. The attackers obviously outclassed the Indians in every aspect of the fight and left everyone feeling sorry for the average Indian, who depends on such incompetents for security. Throughout the entire episode, the level of high descipline of the attackers and the lack thereof of the Indian armed forces was obvious.

The first Indian responders arrived armed with olde worlde .303 rifles and some carrying sticks. The majority hid behind vehicles while the others stared or walked around. There was no visible command structure in existance to deal with the very credible terrorist threat even hours after the firing had started. The local anti-terror cheif was seen in hurried discussions with a number of individuals, after which he entered the Taj Mahal Hotel, to be promptly gunned down by the attackers. He and the other two senior military personnel were dead even before any cohesive counter action could commence. Much later, ordinary military was seen swarming into the hotel carrying a variety of assault weapons, AK47 and T-56 types, none of which are suitable for close quarters combat in a hostage setting.

Much later, an Mil-17 helicopter was seen hovering over the Jewish Center, in which a number of hostages were held by the attackers. The chopper hovered for at least 5-10 minutes while the commandoes rappelled down like a group of old ladies on a picnic and giving ample warning to the terrorists of their arrival. The helo was well within small arms range, was hovering for an unnecessarily long period of time and could have easily become a funeral pyre for the entire strike team, had the terrorists decided to carry out a pre-emptive strike on them. Fortunately they didn't, but the loudly announced arrival of the commando force sealed the fate of the hostages, as all of them were later found shot dead.
Given the failure to control crowds effectively, it is also quite possible that some attackers may have simply dropped their weapons and merged into the swarming crowds, to fight yet another day. If so, India's problems may not have ended yet, even while they seem to quickly assume so.

The short and long term outcomes of the Indian 9/11, as this is termed by western media, will have a profound effect in the region. The Indians were tested and were found lacking and have demonstrated a dangerous degree of incompetence in dealing with a modern day threat scenario. At this point, it appears the next attack targetting India could be a matter of time, given the glaring weaknesses in their defensive apparatus. India needs help and must listen to and learn from friends. Sri Lanka and Israel could be two formidable sources of knowledge for the Indians to learn from.

The effect of this attack on India will also have a massive impact on how they view terrorism in the region, including in Sri Lanka. The SLG's military campaign against the LTTE will now find a more staunch supporter in India, while the Tamilnadu tamil extremist base would be left without any credible excuse to support terrorism in Sri Lanka.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

SLDF CONTINUES STEADY GAINS



IN one swift move the LTTE was driven off the southern perimeter.

Divisions 57 and 58 reportedly entered the Killinochchi city areas on November 27th amidst stiff resistance from the LTTE and fighting is continuing.

In the meanwhile the terrorist attacks in Mumbai are unfolding to be a major screw up by the Indian defence establishment and looks increasingly like a comedy of errors. The very apparent unprofessional and amateurish conduct of the Indian security forces are incredible to watch on live television.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

MUHAMALAI - FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE FALLS TO THE SLA











LTTE CASUALTIES
by Apino


The pictures are many and some too graphic for display. But this is a time of reckoning, not only for those who are seen here dead and dismembered, but also for all of us who want this to be truly the 'Final War' which ends all wars in Sri Lanka for a very long time.

The anti-terrorism initiative against the LTTE was something that we had no control over. It had to be done, so that ordinary people could live without fear.

Nevertheless, the fighting will come to an end soon, and hopefully the remaining armed LTTE cadres would come to their senses and surrender to be rehabilitated into civillian life.

The bigger challenge facing the ordinary Sri Lankan is not devolving power to a single minority. We are fully capable of doing anything that needs to be done. Rather it is finding the right solutions and making certain that all Sri Lankans, irrespective of any differences can be equally privildged.



There are some very important potential mistakes the Sri Lankans need to be aware of, in order to avoid them. Foremost among them is NOT to reward any minority for the mayhem they've caused in Sri Lanka for over two decades. To do so would create a precedent for someone else to embark on the same violent path.
Instead it becomes more important to learn to accept everyone as fellow citizens and forge a single identity within which unity can be found and dialogue can lead to issue resolution.







































Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NEXT PARANTHAN AND ON TO ELEPHANT PASS



NOT shown on this map; Sri Lankan Defence Forces also liberated Mankulam.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

POONERYN RE-JOINS THE CIVILIZED WORLD

SRI Lankan Defence Forces finally arrived in Pooneryn located at the northernmost tip of the island, and seperated from the Jaffna peninsular by the Kilali lagoon. However, the LTTE maneged to remove their heavy artillery positioned in this area before the arrival of the SLDF.

The military's Task Force 1 has now acomplished their primary task of completely decimating all LTTE strongholds on the western coast. Their accomplishment also completes sea-denial to the LTTE on the western coast, and thus making it almost impossible to smuggle in supplies and weapons from Tamil Nadu.

Once mopping up ops are completed in and around Pooneryn, the Task force 1 will be available to facilitate opening up a land route to Jaffna and make future opeartions that much easier. It will also sanitize the Kilali lagoon of any terrorist activity, and relieve the pressure on the main bases in Jaffna which were targetted by the LTTE using heavy weaponry based in Pooneryn.

Meanwhile SLDF Divisions 57 and 58 are on the move and will probably complete capture of Killinochchi within a matter of days or weeks. However, it is important that the SLG keeps such news to a minimum, to prevent giving an ulcer to the tamilnadu nattami circus.

The thrust targetting Paranthan also is continuing, and its capture will allow Divisions 53 and 55 currently pining the LTTE terrorists down in Elephant Pass to go into action. Elephant Pass may not be a walk over, but its capture at this point would conclude a decisive phase of the anti-terrorism operations in northern Sri Lanka.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

URGENT APPEAL

The following urgent request has been released by the MOD seeking help from overseas based Sri Lankans on behalf of our Armed Services.

The Ministry of Defence of Sri Lanka has made a request through the Foreign Ministry, to all Missions abroad, to supply a medicine required to control foot infections caused by fungi and bacteria to overcome foot infections. The product should ideally contain a potent anti-fungal/anti-bacterial compound, the main ingredient of which contains 1% Triclosan. The Defence Ministry has indicated that the current product used by them is under the trade name Irgasan DP - 300. The trade name is indicated here for purpose of information only and these products by any other trade name is also in order. If you are unable to find the above product in USA, please try Clotrimazole 1% under the brand name LOTRINAN. We are kindly requesting you to contact all concerned Sri Lankans to assist our forces in their time of need.

All donations could either be delivered to the Consulate Office or to the nearest temple in your locality. If you wish to contribute money all cheques should be drawn in favour of the ' Consulate General of Sri Lanka ' for which a receipt will be issued by the Consulate. Your generous contributions towards this noble task is greatly appreciated.

With kind regards Ananda Wickramasinghe Consul General Consulate General for Sri Lanka - Los Angeles Suite 1405, #3250 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. USA 90010 Phone: 213 387 0213 Fax: 213 387 0216

Your friendly pharmacist may be able to identify generic alternatives as well.

Monday, November 3, 2008

MUDDLING THRU' - BUSINESS AS USUAL

LTTE's tincan aircraft managed to slip through not a defective defensive network, but a defective offensive thinking network, and as a result Sri Lanka found itself with its ass hanging out in public.

Scattered news items from various sources are starting to piece together an ugly picture of incompetency which is now starting to become not only worrisome, but also extremely irritating. While the SLAF rushed around trying to blame the escape of the air borne terrorists on the failure of infra-red heat seeking missiles on board the F7G interceptor to get a lock on, the whole interception attempt appears to have been a muddle of errors from start to finish.

First of all, there's the question of whether or when the SLAF became aware of the air borne threat. Though some media tries to comfortingly explain that the terrorists were under the surveillance of multiple radar systems at all times, the fact remains that the SLAF's F7Gs were directed to head out to the Wanni and bomb potential landing sites, instead of attempting to take down the LTTE aircraft using guns in the event the missiles failed. If the enemy was under radar surveillance, the SLAF air traffic controllers should have been able to direct interceptors to the target aircraft precisely. Going by a timeline that is gradually starting to emerge, it appears as though the SLAF bombed the LTTE's known landing site long before the Zlin aircraft even managed to arrive at the Kelanitissa power station and drop bombs causing over approx Rs.100million in damages. It is very doubtful whether the F7G and the Zlin ever shared airspace close enough for the SLAF aircraft to even try to get a lock on.

A further worrisome news that has surfaced and is making the rounds of opposition leaning news media says the SLAF was not even aware of the LTTE aircraft activity until security personnel from the President's House called them. If this is true, communication systems, the chain of command and crissis management in the SLAF is definitely due for a serious overhaul.

It is not only time to find answers to the question as to what really went wrong the night the SLAF completely bungled the LTTE interception, but more importantly, to take serious decisions and implement changes that are quite obviously needed at the heirarchical levels of the SL Air Force.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

IMF WARNS SL ON SHORT TERM DEBT

I nearly fell off the chair laughing on this one; the IMF warns Sri Lanka that its economic growth may slow due to short term financing....

"...COLOMBO, Nov 2 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that Sri Lanka's "impressive economic growth" was at risk unless it shored up its balance sheet and trimmed reliance on short-term foreign debt amid the global credit crunch.

The IMF said it expects economic growth to slow to 6.1 percent in 2008, below the central bank's estimated 7 percent and the 6.8 percent recorded last year. It predicted growth of 5.8 percent in 2009.

"(IMF) directors expressed concern that the combined build-up of macroeconomic imbalances, balance sheet vulnerabilities, high inflation, and external financing poses serious risks to economic stability," the IMF said in its annual assessment of Sri Lanka.

It said the global financial crisis, which has drastically cut the availability of credit, had made "Sri Lanka's external accounts ...vulnerable to a reduction in international investor risk appetite." The related article can be found here;
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/7974853/print


Sri Lanka has let loose on a counter-terrorism campaign of unprecedented proportions to bring parts of the country that had fallen into anarchy in the North and the East. The expenses caused in this process are siginificant enough to have long term effects. Every country that has had to take on challenges of such magnitude have suffered economic consequences and have suffered for decades as a result.

In Sri Lanka's case it is to be a drop of 0.9% from the forecasted 7% GDP growth. This is in an year the entire world is experiencing massive economic travails and recession. Sri Lanka is yet expected to have an annual economic growth of at least 5%, even in the midst of the military action costing her billions.

Does the IMF expect us to run in fear of our own shadow? Give me a break, puhlease...!

FASTING MOVIE MORONS THINK OTHERS ARE STUPID

WHEN the ego takes flight, intellectual curiosity goes in the toilet.

Two of Tamilnadu's celuloid heroes are on a fast, demanding Sri Lanka cease military action against 'tamils'. Perhaps it is their general level of illiteracy or incomprehension, but both the Indian and sri Lankan governments have explained what it is; a counter-terrorism operation to rid Sri Lankan soil of tribal, racist tamil Tiger terrorism, while millions of tamil civillians live in peace in Sri Lanka.

The two movie idols, a typical fawn and a narcisist, are generally seen in action on the screen beating up a million bad guys without having a hair out of place and end up owning the girl, while thousands of malnourished Tamilnadu coollies pay through their ass to go watch these sorry spectacles and forget their own real misery for a change. Having learnt to expect absolute unquestioning trust from the illiterate hordes, these guys expect the rest of the world to believe that they would seriously precipitate incapacitating themselves or losing their looks, for the cause of someone else. Heck, these guys haven't cared a damn about the millions of starving and homeless in Tamilnadu. And they think we are stupid. As we all know, the Tamils in Sri Lanka don't care a piss for the Indian Tamils, treat the ones working in Sri Lanka like crap, and howl to only when in need of help.

Soon the Fawn and the Narcisist will have a senior tamilnadu political jokester make an impassioned plea to give up the fast. They will then give it up, make politically gainful speaches to the nattami population and that will be that. These are just another couple of Tamilnadu's aspiring political entrants testing the waters to see how much of an advantage they can get out of the blood letting in Sri Lanka.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

TAMILNADU NATTAMI CIRCUS STARVES TO FORCE TERROR ON US..

..AND WE KEEP BUYING THEIR MORONIC MOVIES, WHICH SUPPORTS THEM...

WTF?...is the question I really have to ask.

Sri Lanka has been bleeding to death and the hostiles on the other side of the sea have always cheered at the prospects of our demise. And yet our economy and business keep on buying from them, and provide a ready cash flow for their cheap, lunatic entertainment which never really reaches appreciable quality standards.

Just last week we saw one group of monkeys clamour for their banana and gradually subside. Now another couple of celluloid heros of monkey cinema are on a gastronomical misadventure calling for intervention in Sri Lanka in support of terrorism.

Sri Lanka should make a conscious effort to teach these bastards a lesson. If the government cannot take an overt stance in this regard, at least the Sri Lankan entreprenuers and movie goers can. All that needs to be done is to refuse to patronize movies in which any of these terrorist supporters and our enemies make money out of, or play a role in. That should not be too hard, these monkeys are just too ridiculous to be missed.

Watch or play a game, patronize local theatre, watch TV, or your neighbor's wife. Stop patronizing TamilNadu movies, please people. And tell the movie theatres that we will boycott any Tamilnadu movies if they decide to screen them. There is a need to establish our independence from the thalathel sakkiliyas across the border, and there's more than one way to do that. And if you still continue to miss them too much, go to the zoo. We've got better looking monkeys there.
More about the Tamilnadu greasy monkeys

Thursday, October 23, 2008

FINAL BATTLE IS ON

AS the nattami circus in Tamilnadu fizzles out with the Indian bureaucracy taking a firm stance with the cooperation of the well established south Indian policy makers, the Sri Lankan Defence Forces have commenced the thrust into LTTE held area.

Although taking Killinochchi has its propaganda value and would be a tremendous blow to the racist Tamil movement, it lacks real strategic value. Bypassing K'nochchi and taking Paranthan instead would allow the security forces greater tactical and strategic advantage.

On the coastal front, Division 58 has almost reached Pooneryn, capturing which would complete sea denial to the LTTE on the eastern sea board. Taking Pooneryn would also open the Kilali region to naval dominance and allow Divisions 53 and 54 in the peninsular to go active.

There is also speculation about a prominant LTTE leader's possible defection soon. The LTTE forces getting boxed in on the western divide of the A9 highway will soon face the reality of either surrendering or death. Middle level LTTE leaders who are now becoming disillusioned with the movement are expected to take advantage of this situation to surrender to the SLDF.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

TAMILNADU'S LONG TERM SECESSIONIST PLANS SURFACE

Lanka-e-News, October 22, 2008, 1.45PM) "Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Vaiko on Tuesday (21) warned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that any help extended to protect the integrity of Sri Lanka would only jeopardise the unity and integrity of India itself.

Addressing a meeting here, Mr. Vaiko said that there had been a resurgence of support for Sri Lankan Tamils in Tamil Nadu. People in the State would not hesitate to throw out any government at the Centre “if it does injustice” to the island Tamils.

He said he and his party cadres would not hesitate to carry arms to Sri Lanka in support of Sri Lankan Tamils in their struggle for Tamil Eelam. He was capable of mobilising people from all over the country for this purpose.

Chairman of the party presidium M. Kannappan said the opponents of LTTE were "Tamil traitors." He warned the Centre not to force Tamils in the State to launch a struggle for a separate Tamil Nadu. .."

It would be interesting to witness Vaiko attempting any thing of this nature, as he clearly understands that the Sri Lankan Defence establishment would have little trouble dealing with him. Vaiko is a demogogue, a panderer to the low end gallery and yet has to make any significant political inroads in Tamilnadu politics to be considered a power broker. In fact his latest assertion, which is a clear threat to India's national security, could easily become a career limiting move for him as well.

Sri Lanka needs to take a pro-active stand against these miscellaneous irritants, and would do well to let India know in advance that any attempts to smuggle arms or support the LTTE within our territorial boundaries would be dealt with deadly force.

T'NADU CIRCUS DISCLOSES SECESSIONIST THREAT TO BOTH INDIA AND SRI LANKA

THE Tamilnadu political circus began ratcheting up the heat on the Central government in New Delhi, as the Sri Lankan Defence Forces began encircling the major domain of the Tami Tiger terrorists in Killinochchi.

As major battles for Killinochchi were drawing closer, the TamilNadu's racists began to pressurize the Center to force the Sri Lankan government to halt its military offensive against the Tamil Tigers.

This led the Central Government to face a unique situation. It carries moral responsiblity to support its neighbor Sri Lanka, since the LTTE was a monster created and supported by a previous Indian administration. It also has so far failed to bring the LTTE's killers to justice for the murder of Rajiv Gandhi and thousands of Indian soldiers. It has also failed to bring LTTE's killers to justice for many terrorist attacks carried out on its soil. On the other hand, mass resignations threatened by Tamilnadu's politicians could seriously undermine its political clout.

The political tsunami in Tamilnadu also suddenly brought the well known threat of secession again to the forefront. Tamilnadu's failed politician 'psycho' Vaiko went as far as to verbally threaten secession if a seperate state of Eelam in Sri Lanka is not allowed. Related article from the Hindu; http://www.hindu.com/2008/10/23/stories/2008102360660700.htm

The Indians will now face their long awaited moment of sanity, where Tamilnadu is concerned. The idea of secession obviously was never far from the chauvanists of Tamilnadu, and a seperate state in Sri Lanka would have ideally supported that effort since military action could be planned and executed from the dense jungles of Mullaitivu, in which thousands of Indian soldiers miserably failed to successfully confront the LTTE. The LTTE would support a 'Greater Eelam' and where would it be best located, but in Tamilnadu itself, with its thriving economy.

India walks a tight rope, and has her own future as well as her reputation at stake in the next steps her leaders take regarding the Sri Lankan terrorist situation. Supporting a seperate state administered by teh world's most ruthless terrorist group in Sri Lanka may provide temporary releif from minor political discomfort for now. In the long term it would prove suicidal for India without fail. Supporting terrorists would also bring her into worldwide contempt and make India the laughing stock of the international community.

Not playing any role in Sri Lanka could also be interpreted as a sign of weakness by her neighbors, even though Sri Lanka's alligiance to India has grown many fold in recent years. India would finally wish to witness some form of autonomy being granted to the Tamil minority which it can claim credit for.

Sri Lanka for her part needs to take the opportunity to empathize with India's concerns and find a middle ground which favors both. It has a convenient explanation, which Sri Lankan leaders have so far failed to exploit; an outright military win against the LTTE would leave the government in a position of strength and its population filled with confidence in the ability of the Sri Lankan Defence Forces to defend the nation's soverignty and territorial integrity. From success would flow national confidence, and that confidence can and must be exploited to devolve greater autonomy not only to a single minority, but to every one who lives in the country. To consider a particular linguistic group as specially priviledged, would be a reward for terrorism and a recipe for another, greater disaster. This is why devolution needs to be even handed, without favoring any particular group.

Local governments can and need to be provided with greater autonomy while overall national policy making is retained by the Parliament of the Sri Lankan central government. This would help reduce wastefulness and inertia of the present political establishment and lead to a more balanced power structure which will provide stability for the future. It will also provide a basis for an inclusive nation in which all Sri Lankans feel a sense of belonging, where long term peace and prosperity can be found.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

SRI LANKAN ECONOMY

WE've always had an imports dependent economy when it came to goods. Our best export always has been skills and people. In the global scale of things, we've been a trend setter, a nation of global nomads and a skills based economy.

How sustainable would this be? What are the personal implications for those who seek wealth and prosperity abroad and yet crave to return home someday? These are largely unexamined, unanswered and known only to those who have lived through the experience.
At a larger level, the sustainability of the trade deficit (the deficit caused by higher import cost versus lower export income) has drawn scholarly interest. Here is an article worth reading;

MORE MICRO-LENDING; ANOTHER SRI LANKAN MUST

THIS is a wierd way to present a good idea, but the underlying truth is undeniable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISUq5k-jJ-g

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

TALKING POINTS - LEARN FROM BROTHER OBAMA

SRI LANKA shares a unique, even if unenviably similar situation with the present day United States. Both are economically troubled, for different reasons, and have to look to the future to overcome their problems.

Watching the US political contestants Obama and McCain vying for the Presidential seat gives an insight into what future leaders should be offering nations as promises versus what they should not. So far, Obama has proven to be a vastly superior speaker, inspirational and visionary. McCain is the proven hero of the country, a nice guy who didn't get his right opening until almost too late in life. And when he did, his opportunity comes in the long shadows of one of the most unpopular and ineffective regimes of US history. To further complicate and diminish his chances, his chosen VP candidate is proving to be a liability so far. Between baby-sitting his VP wannabe and attempting to stem the bleeding of potential votes, McCain is drowning slowly. Irrespective of who finally wins, both these presidential candidates offer a grand study in leadership qualities that our leaders and people can learn from, and should.

Both Obama and McCain's careers are examples of how leaders should be allowed to reach those leadership positions. They've both served their country and people, and done so selflessly. They are both faced with the prospect of cleaning house after the monumental failures of the present administration, and are adopting futuristic visions and a fighting stance. Grit and determination to succeed is their hallmark and the future is their promise.

There is no shame in learning from anyone. Sri Lanka's present and future leaders should watch these men and learn from them. Sri Lanka would do well to emulate the thinking, planning and execution of economic strategies by the next US administration to help pull our nation out of the doldrums it is currently in.

We have had to fight a vicious war in search of peace. When it is over, our people need and deserve peace and prosperity, which our leaders need to be held accountable to deliver. In developing a vision, Sri Lanka could learn much from the evolving scene in the US.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

ECONOMIC TRAVAILS AND TURBULENT TIMES

THE world is reeling under the weight of the present economic crissis. The US stocks took a further beating today and caused further deterioration of confidence among institutional as well as individual investors alike. While the present economic turmoil is widely discussed and speculated as being next to only the Great Depression of the 1930's, it is by size far smaller and should be easier to fix.

The onset of US Presidential elections with a very probable change of incumbant in the White House, from big business favorite Republican to a Democrat widely seen as a liberal, also contributes to the uncertainty in some measure. Irrespective of who finally wins the Presidency, the US appears to be on the threshold of revolutionary change in many ways, and some of which should herald a new era in economics, politics, international leadership and technological advancements.

For Sri Lanka, the advent of a new President in the US could have potentially serious consequences. For quite a while Sri Lankans home and abroad have been closely watching and following up on the evolving scene, sometimes in trepidation as one time presidential candidate Hillary Clinton openly declared Tamil Tiger terrorists to be freedom fighters. With such intellectual incapacity it is little wonder that she is no longer in the race.

Watching the contestants Obama and McCain, something which comes through with clarity is how much they both still remain in the same page with the present regime, which they both criticize for diplomatic failures worldwide. Interestingly, there has not been any clear evidence that either of these would prefer to deal with identified terrorists any differently than the Bush White House has done over the past years. Also, given the magnitude of the economic crissis they are about to inherit, it is doubtful whether the new administration would have enough time to devote to a low intensity conflict in a far away Third World country. Nevertheless it may be in Sri Lanka's own interest to cause maximum damage to the LTTE before the change of Presidency takes place in the US.

Monday, October 6, 2008

SUICIDE BOMBINGS HERALD END OF TERROR

THE cawardly hyenas from the Wanni struck again, this time killing yet another group of unarmed people in Anuradhapura, most notable among them being retired Maj.General Janaka Perera.

Maj.Gen Perera became a celebrity for a spectacular operation which he conducted in the Weli-Oya area in the 1990s when his troops slaughtered hundreds of Tamil Tiger terrorists in one night, by adopting unconventional defensive tactics which they soon turned into an ongoing offensive. He was also instrumental in turning another LTTE offensive on Jaffna Peninsular into a route for the terrorists. From those times onward he had been on the LTTE hit list and his move to get involved in politics probably made this valiant soldier easier to access for his assasin.

In other areas of conflict the SLAF is now said to be in possession of sophisticated Mig29 aircraft which hopefully would be proven useful in the current context, while providing a solid platform for air defence into the future. Whether the SLAF has fancy hotrods to play with or not, the SL Defence Forces have continued thier thrust and are within spitting distance of downtown Killinochchi. The SLAF meanwhile possesses 'bunker busters' which can take out targets 40meters underground, according to military sources. What's holding them back is unknown.

The coming weeks will provide Sri Lanka an insight of what it means to achieve a decisive military victory over the world's number one terrorist outfit, when more powerful nations have been struggling against lesser opponents. The Sri Lankan case will most probably become the text book case for future anti-terror operations the world over.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

THE WAY FORWARD

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's commander in Afghanistan has said the war against the Taliban cannot be won, the Sunday Times reported.

It quoted Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith as saying in an interview that if the Taliban were willing to talk, then that might be "precisely the sort of progress" needed to end the insurgency. "We're not going to win this war. It's about reducing it to a manageable level of insurgency that's not a strategic threat and can be managed by the Afghan army," he said.

He said his forces had "taken the sting out of the Taliban for 2008" but that troops may well leave Afghanistan with there still being a low level of insurgency.

That's how Reuters reports a conflict involving Western governments while the reporting on the conflict in Sri Lanka would always revolve around why there could not a clear winner and how hard it would be for Sri Lanka to move forward without giving concessions to groups determined to cause the nation irreperable harm.

Sri Lankan leaders and civillians need to look to a horizon where there could always remain the threat of violence and terrorism, but reduced to manageable levels from where it was two years ago as well.
There has never been any need to give concessions to terrorists. We have busted the myth that terrorism cannot be defeated militarily. And that fact is not reported quite conveniently, by those who used to use it as a slogan.
Terrorism can and must be defeated. Sri Lanka is a clear example of this fact.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A NATION'S CHOICES AND NEED FOR CONVICTION

A fairly decent write up here from Expressbuzz.com;

"...Vast improvement in terms of armaments, tactics, territorial control and popular support among Sri Lankan Tamils over the past twenty years, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are in deep trouble today. It is not that they are about to lose their political headquarters, Kilinochchi. In the past, they had lost and regained it. The critical difference between the past and the present is that, for the first time, the Tigers have no influential domestic or foreign political force to pull them out of the woods. Following Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, support in Tamil Nadu and India has thinned, and post 9/11, the West has been looking at militancy in an unfavourable light.

On the domestic front, the majority Sinhalese community has closed ranks behind the hawkish regime of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. On the battlefront, the LTTE is facing an enemy who is no longer hidebound, reticent and inconsistent.

The government’s earlier piecemeal approach has given way to an integrated politicomilitary campaign based on a long-term, grand design. The armed forces now use small, highly mobile, deep penetration teams, which are but replicas of the LTTE’s dreaded sabotage and assassination squads. The use of unconventional jungle paths has sprung surprises on Tiger defenders. To thin and wear out the enemy, the armed forces have kept a 200-kilometre coast-tocoast front constantly active, conducting offensives and probing missions, as jet bombers and helicopter gunships pound identified targets over a wide swathe of land. However, it will be a grave error to think that the LTTE is on the verge of annihilation.

It is only now, after nearly a year and a half of heavy and constant fighting, that the army is encountering the Tigers’well laid out defence lines, its guns and its best fighting units. Despite claims to the contrary, progress has been slow and painful, of late. The greatest asset that the LTTE has is the local population. For this, Colombo is to blame. Had the police not abducted, detained and forcibly repatriated North Eastern Tamils over the last two years, the trapped war zone Tamils would have come over to the government-held areas. If Colombo had implemented the constitutional provisions for devolution, and if persons in authority had not declared that Sri Lanka belonged to the Sinhalese only, the average Tamil would not be ‘sullen’, as India’s National Security Advisor M K Narayanan put it. Conditions in post-war Iraq and Afghanistan show that if underlying political issues are not addressed, success in wars may not mean the end of violent conflict..."

This article certainly raises some interesting thoughts and leads to the need for a political doctrine on how seriously we view national soveriegnty and our security into the future.

This one WILL necessarily have to be the final conflict. It will need to establish precedents, expectations and modes of operation. It will need to hardwire the Sinhala polity into understanding that all forms of militancy need to be stamped out, and without mercy or concern for outside opinion. For the individual it must carry a simple and blunt message; Sri Lanka will always remain a single, unified nation and its problems need to be resoved through negotiation and within a democratic framework.

No one seriously doubts there could be further attempts to fuel unrest or even outright militancy after the LTTE is snuffed out. No one should also be allowed to have any serious doubt regarding the resolution of not only the present government, but also any in the future to stamp it out with determination and conviction. This is why the present precedents need to be turned into national security policy.

There could be another short rebellion or two, which will add impetus to the ongoing social modification and fertilizer to the soil from the fresh corpses. In the end, a change of generations will erase all memories and create a new environment and a set of ground rules for a unified nation.

ENDGAME - A MUST

A possible scenario analysis of the future moves available to both the SLDF and the LTTE point towards a protracted guerilla war faught deep within the Mullaitivu jungles.
This is in the unlikely event that the LTTE would be able to blunt the Sri Lankan Defence Forces' overwhelming superiority in the coming months and survive the present onslaught to an extent where they continue to possess not only fighting cadre and equipment, but also credible leadership, an uninterrupted supply route/s and effective communication and mobility. Understanding this situation clearly allows the SLDF to drag the LTTE into urban and open space warfare where higher casualties can be inflicted upon the enemy.
Losing Killinochchi would have almost an unquantifiably large impact on the LTTE, not only in strategic and morale terms, but also in its newfound incapability to define a future goal in terms of past accomplishments. For many years, the slogan ' the goal is unmistakable' emblazoned with a map of Sri Lanka's North and the East held the racist Tamils of Sri Lankan origin now living all over the world spell bound and ready to contribute. On both militant and moderate platforms there was a basis on which a protracted campaign of violent and other struggle could be justified and fuelled. Losing Killinochchi denies the basis for the entire argument. It also tells the world a profound truth about Sri Lanka and its people; we shall not be intimidated or put down by violence.
Sri Lanka today stands on the threshold of sustainable peace and prosperity following a decisive defeat of the LTTE. This would irritate her enemies without any doubt. And our enemies who have proven to be resourceful many times in the past can also be depended upon to do their utmost to sabotage Sri Lanka's struggle to end terrorism yet again in many forums, including through authoritative international institutions such as the United Nations.
This is why Sri Lanka must take the initiative to take the fight out to those who could even potentially create problems for us, by adopting a Bush doctrine of carrying out pre-emptive strikes against those individuals and organizations which are conspiring to attack us. This could be done in many forms; listing such individuals as persons wanted in connection with supporting international terrorism and requesting their extradition and/or prosecuting such individuals in their own countries of residence, causing them severe hardship of a level adequate to keep them busy defending themselves, and not have the resources to conspire against us.
Sri Lanka also must not waste a single opportunity to highlight the importance of defeating terrorism on our soil, since that sets a basis for a previously unprecedented lesson that terrorim does not work and it can be defeated militarily. This must be done repeatedly and often, loud and clear. We do have plenty of friends all over the world who will agree with us and also support in establishing that lesson in no uncertain terms.
Nothing is too crazy in our situation. In war all that matters is winning. Not how.

Monday, September 29, 2008

MILITARY BLUNDERS IN POLITICAL SPEECH MAKING

FOR decades Sri Lanka bled as politicians blundered trying to make military decisions. As a result Sri Lanka failed to fight its racist tamil terrorist problem the way it should have been.

Fast forward to the present, and we have a government which has figured it all out. The politicians make the political decisions and the present outfit has enough common sense to leave military decisions to its Defence Forces. The results are obvious and until now things have worked out quite well.

To throw a wrench into this nice scenario, the SLA's chief General Fonseka has started making political speeches to the media. His most recent comments to the media about Sri Lanka belonging to the majority Sinhalese is nothing short of incendiary and would be viewd by the minorities with distate. It is actually distasteful for the majority of us, who have always wanted a pluralistic nation within which everyone feels the same sense of belonging. Comments such as Gen. Fonseka's are not only unnecessary, they also are poorly timed and cause damage to a nation that has already suffered enough.

There is no doubt that the military is capable of the task entrusted to them. Politics is not a part of their job; theirs is not to question why, but is only to do and die. Gen Fonseka is an excellent soldier and must keep his interviews to military matters where his expertise lies.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

TAKING KILLINOCHCHI

THERE'S great significance in taking Killinochchi.

The media focusses generally on the fact that it would literally dismantle any pretexes to a seperate state by the LTTE, which is only a part of the larger totality. A more stark and brutal reality is about to dawn on the entire tamil extremist horde when this historic event happens; there will never be a seperate state, and all and every sacrifice made for over two decades has been for nothing, Zip, zilch, a big fat zero.

The LTTE leadership would be hard pressed to show what they've accomplished, besides a rapidly increasing number of cemeteries. Media coverage from the liberated areas show economic depriviation and a primitive lifestyle for a people who've been forced to live under bestiality of a magnitude unknown elsewhere. The only construction visible in the liberated areas, besides the plush residences of the LTTE top rungers, are the elaborate cemeteries, in which the more recently dead have been buried en masse.

Thirty years ago those who joined the movement would have done so out of a sense of youthful and ideological enthusiasm. Passage of time generally brings people into contact with realities of life and those who survived so far and even the thousands who joined more recently did seriously believe in the prospect of being able to live a normal civillian life at some point.

The fall of Killinochchi would re-define their realities. Until now the average LTTE cadre who never recieved pay, but did recieve only food that was supplied by the Sri Lankan government, could look forward to at least a pompous funreal with a polished grave stone. Under the new realities, even that could not be expected. For thirty years of fighting, the average LTTE cadre gets nothing, but a failed dream fast disappearing in a new dawn...

The possibilities of internal rebellion by disillusioned rank and file just increased a thousand fold for the already paranoid LTTE leadership.

Sri Lankan Defence planners would do well to consider these factors and look for opportunities in this evolving scenario.

OUR OPTIONS ON THE A9

SO far the SLA has kept its operations out of the lower end of the A9 highway and the Omanthai entry/exit point is where civillians from the LTTE controlled areas cross over into govt controlled areas. There are SLDF and LTTE controlled check points within a short distance of each other and civillians undergo considerable difficulty at each.
If the objective of keeping the A9 out of battle plans is to facilitate free civillian movement, in particular an escape route for the civillians, allowing an LTTE check point defeats that purpose and only serves the enemy, who manipulates civillians and uses the road for war logistical purposes. The SLA should re-think this situation and liquidate any LTTE presence expeditiously.
Taking out any LTTE presence would make it a more attractive escape route for the civillians and force the LTTE heirarchy to continue to commit manpower to try and control civillian movement. Each of the escaping civillians make it one less human shield for the terrorist group, now facing annihilation by the determined Sri Lankan forces.
As this point provides a low-cost pressure tactic for the SLDF, military strategists should consider assaults on any LTTE presence on the A9 at least from now on.
In yet another interesting reporting, our one and only Iqbal Athas of the Sunday Times (08092008) says "...This week troops broke through a bund that the guerrillas had constructed at two different points. The locations cannot be disclosed for obvious reasons.."
Since it is very likely that the LTTE already knows of the SLDF getting thru its defences, the presumed enemy in this case would be the general public and the readership. The Sunday Times seriously needs to consider implementing a sanity check on what he writes. To assume intellecual inferiority of an audience is a fatal mistake for anyone to make and Athas has already made too many.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

SMALL BOAT OPS BY NAVY COMMANDOS

AS the SL Defence Forces closed in on Killinochchi, the SBS [Special Boat Squadron] and RABS [Rapid Action Boat Squadron] commandos intercepted a fleet of sea-tiger boats off the coast of Nachchikudah.
In the ensuing fight, at least 10 LTTE boats were reported to have been sunk, with 25-30 Tamil Tiger terrorists killed.
The SLNs attacks have led to a decimation of sea-tiger capacity, leading to serious logistics problems to the terror outfit. Interestingly, increasing numbers of combat craft used by the SLN are now domestically produced and match or surpass performace standards of equipment imported earlier.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

TAMIL TIGERS USE INGO EQUIPMENT FOR WAR PREPARATIONS

The heavy equipment in use in this video were apparently taken into the LTTE areas by the International non-governmental organizations interfereing in SL.

SLAF should be tasked with taking these out.

video

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LTTE TINCAN SHOT DOWN?

At last there is a breathless announcement of an LTTE tincan being shot down by one of the newly acquired F7G's, following the combined air-ground-artillery attack by them on the main Vavunia Special Forces camp.
What's disappointing is that the LTTE has already shot down scores of SLAF aircraft including high speed jets as well, with less sophisticated systems over the years. Over the past few months when the LTTE decided to carry out an air-strike, they've been able to execute them with no credible opposition other than a spectacular fire works display by the SLDF.
The SL Forces possesses much greater capabilities when compared to the LTTE, and yet have been unable to shoot down a couple of crop dusters. That is until now, provided the news about shooting one down is accurate. The desperate need to even cook up a success story at this point is understandable. Whether deliberate lying is excusable or acceptable, will be a matter of individual choice.
The issue here is not about weapons. It is definitely about training and deployment of assets to deal with each threat. It is true that the LTTE had the advantage of being able to watch and identify each flight before determining how to strike. And yet, the SL Forces who possess similar or even superior intelligence gathering capabilities are still falling by the way side.
I am reluctant to accept the zlin shoot down story without some concrete proof. If it was a missile strike, at least we'd have some assurance that once fired, there would be little or no escape for a prop-kite.
Speeches about what little harm the tiger tincan airforce did each time doesn't cut it. Neither is it ok to be talking about their inaccuracy or the non-exploding bombs. The SL forces need to have counter-measures that work and people who know how to make them work.
This is an issue of training and management capability and people must be held accountable for the failures so far.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

UN SAYS IT CAN'T ADVICE LTTE ON HUMAN SHIELDS

THE govt is on the ball this time.
They've asked the UN to get involved in moving the trapped civillians to safety, discharging part of the responsibility of a legitimate government concerned about its citizens.
The UN says they cannot direct either the LTTE or civillians who choose to stay behind, but will continue to provide humanitarian assistance where and when necessary.
Nevertheless this is a dialogue the SLG needs to have on a continuing basis with all humanitarian aid agencies to ensure this resource is utlized to the maximum.
"..Last week the Government called on the INGOs based in the Wanni to persuade the LTTE to allow civilians to leave for Government-controlled areas without imposing restrictions on them, following reports that the separatists were holding on to the people and using them as human shields....
...United Nations agencies in Sri Lanka have said they are unable to advise civilians to vacate LTTE-controlled areas despite a government request to this effect. Heavy fighting in the Wanni has forced thousands of civilians to move deeper into guerrilla-dominated areas..."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

PUNITIVE WAR AND IMMUNITY FROM LAW

SL Defence Forces took a beating when the Tamil Tigers launched multiple counter-strikes a few days ago and lost between 50-100 soldiers. At least 100-200 have been injured during the same time. The particluar military contingent that was targetted had been on continuous deplyment over the past 2 years and fatigue may have played a role in it taking high casualties in this event.
The military seems to take it all in the stride, and everything appears to be business as usual. Follow on attacks by the SLDF killed at least 30 Tigers within the next 24 hrs and the relentless pressure is continued. However, it needs to understand and address the needs of its combat forces for rest and replenishment and address those needs as the intensity of operations continue to grow.
For a change the pro-LTTE media has something to crow about and the howling is on. The focus is on the numbers of SLA killed, which is only slightly higher than the LTTE's own killed, anywhere between 30-75 for the same period. Some people count the numbers, while conveniently ignoring the facts of where all the action is leading to.
For the average Sri Lankan there appears a light on the distant horizon, and a hope that our future generations would be able to live without fear, while for others the writing is on the wall; for their wet-dream of an ethnic pure landscape built upon murder of thousands of defenceless innocents is dying just as day-break kills all dreams.
In the meanwhile, petty criminality and the numbers of those who challenge the law with apparent impunity and recieving political immunity appear to stay unchanged, if not increasing daily. Though a notorious supporter of Merv the Perv stands accused of molesting an under-age girl the police appear to be either helpless or dis-interested in dealing with this issue. A social situation which is a nurturing ground for vigilanteism already exists and the day when wide-spread lawlessness breaks out agianst those who practise violence against the helpless, defenceless and the innocent is about to dawn.
A light on the horizon was the recent denial of bail for the buddhist monk who violated noise pollution laws and challenged a court order, by the higher courts of Sri Lanka. A politico-religious circus is likely be the outcome, which the courts should stoically refuse to budge to.

Monday, September 1, 2008

MALLAVI TAKEN

Independent sources put the possible LTTE dead at abt 80+ in Mallavi.

There is a YouTube vid on a mass funeral for LTTE cadres. Look this up, if you have a moment, without gloating. These are also young men and women of our land, dead for a mis-timed, mis-understood and mis-bogotten conflict destined to end in failure.

There will be many more of these scenes before it all ends, unknown and quickly forgotten. The surviving families will soon want to avoid the fact that their family members died for a cause the victorious majority hates. They will be left with only memories and a gradually subsiding sense of loss.

The dead will be soon forgotten, as Sri Lanka hopefully moves fast to leave it all behind and create a new reality for her people.It will be necessary to erase all evidence of this struggle, bulldoze the cemetaries and wipe out all places and entities that can provide a hook to re-latch on to racist terrorism.

The victorious need to write history on their own, in their own words. Bravery of the enemy may be known, even admired, but necessity demands erasure of their existance and glory permanently from record.

Twenty years from now, it would be largely forgotten. A generation from now, none of it would even matter.

Friday, August 29, 2008

LEAFLETS URGE WANNI CIVILLIANS TO MOVE TO SAFETY

THE SLAF has started air-dropping leaflets requesting civillians in the Wanni areas to move to safety behind government areas, ostensibly as a prelude to a final drive to liquidate the remaining LTTE forces in their last stronghold.
Even though the leaflets are air-dropped, there will be little evidence whether the helpless civillian population would be either able to access the literature, and even if they did, act according to the government's instructions. It takes little or no imagination to understand how easy it would be for the LTTE to order the civillian population not to access the papers falling from the skies.
The SLG has so far failed to utilize all available resources that must be put to test in this moment of truth. One such resource that has not only been wasted, but has even turned hostile occasionally when not managed properly, are the International non-governmental organizations, or more infamously known as INGOs. Given the open bias shown by some of them towards the LTTE and its activities, it is no secret that to the SLG and majority of the population the title INGO itself is a dirty word.
Nevertheless it must be boune in mind that some of these organizations are bound by charters that hold their officials accountable for the activities entrusted to them. Similarly there are some which are independent of funding from any government/s, and sustain themselves through donations recieved from individuals and organizations for their genuinely charitable activities.
The time has come for the Sri Lankan government to approach or even coax some of these more dependable INGOs and specialist entities such as the International Committe of the Red Cross [ICRC] to intervene and provide safe passage to the Tamil civillians in the Wanni to move into designated areas until the LTTE is disarmed. There is no necessity for any discussion of Government writ and/or objectives of its counter-terrorism operations.
Having taken such an action, the Government could deny responsibility subsequently for any potential charges for possible civillian casualties that may result from planned future combat operations.

NEW REALITIES, NEW PERSPECTIVES AND NEW OPPORTUNITIES

AS the anti-terror operations in Sri Lanka reach a decisive and euphoric climax, it is important to stay dis-engaged from the evolving drama, to be able to continually evaluate each change which comes with its own inherent set of new opportunities.
Most people in Sri Lanka, including those les miserables caught up in the malarial Wanni jungles are hoping for a quick end to the violence and establishment of a sustainable peace. The only thing which stands between achieving that peace and prevention of a huge loss of life in the process are the rabid LTTE leadership and a few die hard adherents of a bankrupt argument for racist segragation.
The message the Sri Lankan government carries to the civillians and the rank and file of the LTTE must focus around the possiblities that exist for those who are willing to make peace. It is easy to surmise they would be listeining intently, given the fact that the majority of the new conscripts are unwilling pawns of a suicidal campaign for the LTTE even while its leadership makes elaborate plans to escape from being held accountable for monstrous human rights violations.
Sri Lanka must seriously consider motivating the middle level cadre of the LTTE, some of whom may yet be untainted by crimes against humanity, to liquidate the top rung of the terror outfit, and thereafter become partners in a civilized dialogue towards achieving a sustainable and dignified peace.
To be truly effective, the alternate to that choice should leave no doubts in the minds of the LTTE members; that is, failure to accept this offer would ensure that they too would be treated as similarly as the leadership in time to come.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

LOCAL GOVT ELECTIONS AND ANTI-TERRORISM OPERATIONS

UPFA the ruling party is winning the local govt elections with sweeping margins. Though there was election related violence and possible rigging in some of the electorates, an end result which leaves this govt firmly in power is definitely in the interest of the country, given the war situation. A significant power shift could have caused problems Sri Lanka does not need at this hour.
The SL Defence Forces continue to perform credibly in the anti-terrorist operations being conducted in the last remaining two districts, Mullaitivu and Killinochchi. The Army is poised within 12 kilo meters of Killinochchi while Special Forces are deep into the jungles of Mullaitivu. Some elements of the 58th Division are also reported to be already within striking distance of LTTE targets in Killinochchi.
The fighting is bound to take a different style, and is going to be difficult. The LTTE has had all the time in the world and have the traditional advantage of the defender. Nevertheless, the initiative still remains with the SLDF since the initiative for the first strike even now is largely with them. That is unless the LTTE is capable of moving a large contingent of men and material to cause siginificant damage to the amassed forces and precipitate a recognizable change in the conduct of the next phase.
SL forces are expected to be handicapped by not being able to resort to wide use of artillery and air-superiority, two aspects that have dominated to keep the momentum in their favor so far. A weapon which has proven decisive in the fighting so far, the Multi-barrel rocket launchers will have reduced utility due to the proximity of civillian centers in the battle ahead. That is unless the SLG manages to move the civillians out of harm's way first.
The LTTE will do their utmost to prevent the loss of their 'human shield' the civillian population that also has been now armed. Even though a civillian armed against a legitimate government is technically operating outside the law and liable to face consequences, changing geo-politics demand the SLG treat them differently. How this plays out, when combat weary troops reach them will be unpredictable. The govt forces will definitely need to minimize civillian casualties and focus on communicating with them to disarm any, without loss of life on either side.
The coming weeks promise to be an era of historical significance. As the LTTE fights with its back to the wall, and a determined SLA pushes home its attacks to decisively finish off the enemy, the task before the politicians and diplomats is going to be challenging. As much as our military forces have proven more than adequate and professional in dealing with the tasks entrusted to them so far, whether the Sri Lankan diplomatic community will prove a match to the task that is now going to be placed before them, will remain to be seen.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

CHASING PEACE IN SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka may be close to peace
Ravi Velloor
Sri Lankans have just completed another month of introspection, as they have every July for so long now. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the country’s Tamil insurgency.After 70,000 deaths and years of despondency, however, there is a glimmer of hope that the Sri Lankan army’s recent battlefield successes might presage an end to the civil war in the north of the island.Troops have fought their way into Tamil Tiger strongholds. The feared fighters are said to have lost two-thirds of their strength. Their supply lines from sympathisers in India have been crimped by a vigilant New Delhi working in tandem with Colombo.
“Never before have the Sri Lankan forces been better placed to defeat the Tamil Tigers,” says retired Major-General Ashok Mehta, an expert on military affairs. He commanded Indian forces in Sri Lanka’s Batticaloa sector when New Delhi intervened in the civil war between 1987 and 1990, sending its troops, unsuccessfully, to subdue the Tigers. Such assessments fall on welcome ears in Colombo as it ponders the effects of a generation lost to the war.Racially similar but culturally apart, Sri Lanka’s Sinhalas and the Tamil minority began drifting apart in the 1950s when Sinhala politicians made a series of decisions on language and education that were unfavourable to the Tamils.
Most people reckon the island’s simmering ethnic tensions passed boiling point in July 1983, when Sinhala mobs in Colombo set upon Tamils in the streets. Hundreds of innocents were slaughtered. Sinhalas were reacting to news that 13 soldiers had been ambushed and shot in Jaffna, the centre of the Tamil region.For those with longer memories, July resonates for another reason.
On July 27, 1975, a man on a bicycle rode up to Jaffna mayor Alfred Duriappah, as he was walking to a Hindu temple, and shot him. Duriappah, a Christian Tamil who stood for national unity, died on the spot. The killer, it turned out, was a little-known smuggler named Velupillai Prabhakaran.Today, the 53-year-old Prabhakaran, as head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, is the world’s most durable guerilla chieftain. With other Tamil militants going mainstream, Prabhakaran alone stands in the way of the country’s resurgence.
The country’s economic outlook ‘depends critically’ on an end to the war, according to the International Monetary Fund. If Colombo succeeds in vanquishing Prabhakaran, there is little doubt that Sri Lanka could be looking at renewed prosperity. Indeed, back in 1977, when it began to liberalise some thought the tear drop-shaped island could turn into a Singapore in the Indian Ocean.
But the move to free up the economy by the late JR Jayewardene surprised India’s then prime minister, the socialist-oriented Indira Gandhi, who was close to Russia. Sri Lanka’s tilt towards the US also troubled her. To counter Jayewardene, Mrs Gandhi stoked Tamil nationalism on the island.In the 25 years that Tamil separatism has raged, Sri Lanka’s enormous potential has been shackled. Its $28-billion economy, suffering some of the worst inflation in Asia, is dependent on tea exports, tourism and overseas remittances.
But despite all its troubles the economy has been growing by more than 6 per cent annually in recent years. In the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, Sri Lanka outscores every significant South Asian economy, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.Dr Nihal Samarappulli, executive director of the country’s Board of Investment, says realised foreign investments passed $700 million last year, a 15 per cent jump from 2006.
“This is an economy waiting to take off,” says Mr Mahen Dayananda, who stepped down two weeks ago as chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. “If investors wait for the entire problem to go away before coming in, they could be too late.”Who knows what may have been if the island had avoided its ethnic convulsions. Such are the thoughts passing through the minds of people in Colombo who have known better times.
Sri Lanka may yet gain back its economic muscle but its return to innocence may be a while coming.
The Straits Times/ANN

THE RAINS ARE COMING AND THE GAME COULD CHANGE

THERE is a lot of speculation in the pro-LTTE Tamil media, most of which predicts a counter-strike by the Tigers once the heavy monsoon rains start and logistics in the western coastal areas become a nightmare.
"...For instance this was what Thinakkural had to say in its August 8 issue.
“The forces restlessly fighting will be fed up and disgusted owing to their inability to achieve the goal and will also be subjected to battle stress and fear due to which they will not be able to face the fierce retaliation of the rebels.

Troops are now thinned out in a vast area between the areas of Manthai, Illuppakkadavai, Mannar-Vavuniya Road and Paliaru River. The jungle areas and the basins of Parangiyan Aru and Nayaru in this terrain will cause havoc to the troops during the forthcoming monsoon, because there are no proper road networks in this sector and when these rivers begin to flood, troops will be bogged down.

If troops continue to advance northwards, the Tigers who are in a strong position in Palamottai and Moonrumurippu might move westwards cutting across the troops’ supply route and trapping them in Vavunikulam, Panankamam and Sivattikulam into death. Also the Sea Tigers will play havoc by their sea borne operations. In such an event army would be deprived of even the Thalladi base in Mannar, as they lost the elephant Pass base complex in 2001.”

Almost all Tamil newspapers except the Thinakaran published by the Lake House foresee the future of the Wanni battles on the same line of thinking, apparently because they want to appease the general Tamil psyche..."
Sri Lankan defence planners should be aware of these facts and anticipating a conuter-strike in the areas of highest vulnerability. Pre-empting the LTTE's ability to conduct such a counter-strike must surely be topmost on their minds.

Friday, August 15, 2008

LET'S GET A MOVE ON...

THE NGOs are at it again. They are howling blue murder and want the war to be stopped, so that 'Internally Displaced Persons' can be attended to.

These so called IDPs have a choice. They can easily move into the government controlled areas and will be looked after better than most other working people of Sri Lanka are. Of course they'll have to slip past the Tamil Tiger human shield collectors who are marshalling them further towards the LTTE's garrisons to be put in front of the SLA's guns. The NGOs prefer to play blind to this aspect.

And then there are the Tamils who choose to do it on their own and support the LTTE. While these guys should be allowed to make their choices and take the consequences, the NGOs apparently think the SLG should be accountable for them too. We do feed the bastards anyway.

While Sri Lankans have been embroiled in war for two decades, the world moved on. Recently a British group directly connected brain cells harvested from a lab rat into a robot. This invention jumps the previously unsurmountable problem of interfacing neurons and electronics and opens a whole new realm of possibilities. Hello Robo Cop...!

Check this out http://www.sciam.com/video.cfm?id=AE158F95D6F734922F2394D69B2B59AB

Thursday, August 14, 2008

BAD BOYS, BAD BOYS...WHAT YUH GONNA DO




..WHEN THEY COME FOR YUH...


Few in military circles believed that the Tamil Tigers would give up Vedithalthivu, the main sea Tiger base in the north western coast without a fight. True to its strategic importance, the Vedithalthivu Sea Tiger Base was heavily fortified.
A 10 Km trench was built from 2 km south of Vedithalthivu on the coast to Paramarayankulam, which is located 10km east of Vedithalthivu. That trench line functioned as the primary defence of the sea Tiger base. This defence line had been fortified with eight feet high sand dunes and the vicinity of the camp and its access routes had been heavily mined with anti personnel mines and booby traps. Inside the trench line aka primary defence line, the secondary defence line was located. Bunkers had been built in close proximity to each other and battle hardened Tiger cadres of the Charles Anthony Brigade had been assigned to front line duties.
Vedithalthivu had been under the control of the LTTE since the departure of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in 1990. In 1999, the security forces engaged in operation Ranagosa and attempted to seize control of the sea Tiger base, but in vain.
The military operation to capture the Vedithalthivu base gathered momentum after the clearing of the Rice Bowl area of the size of 152 sqkm. With the capture of the Rice Bowl area, the security forces succeeded cutting off the supply routes to the Vedithalthivu sea Tiger base.
On June 30, 2008, the two military divisions - 57 and 58 Divisions- who are inching into the Tiger hinterland of the Wanni linked up in Pallaimadu, west of Vedithalthivu. 10 Gajaba Regiment and 12 Gajaba Regiment attached to the 581 Brigade began to advance further northwards from 12th mile post on the A 32 Pooneryn Sangupiddy- Mannar road. The two battalions were supported by the fifth armoured corps.
On the southern flank, troops of 6 and 8 Gemunu Watch pushed further northwards. From the eastern direction, two other battalions - 9 GW and 12 GW- advanced towards the sea Tiger base. Second commando regiment of Sri Lankan Army was deployed in small teams to engage in reconnaissance duties, ambushes and sabotage attacks on the enemy logistics.
On July 3, 2008, three small groups of four -man commando teams of the Bravo Company under Capt. Bandara Subesinghe shattered the perceived impregnability of the camp with a daring raid against a fortified Tamil Tiger bunker line in the southern perimeters. This swift assault during which four commandos lost lives had been a turn around in the battle for Vedithalthivu.
Armed to the teeth, 12 Bravo men approached the Tiger bunker line, carefully avoiding the booby traps and anti personnel mines. When they launched an attack on the southern perimeter defences of the Tiger base, it took the defending Tiger cadres by surprise.
The three “four- man teams”- were led by Sergeant Asitha Kumara, Cpl N. V. Vanasinghe and Lance Cpl Indika Kumarage. The commandos advanced two hundred meters ahead of the heavily fortified Tiger defenses. During their assault, they decimated five LTTE bunkers.. As the battle raged, frenzied radio communications between the Tiger cadres and LTTE Mannar leadership indicated a collapse of the peripheral defences. Yet, the Tigers put up stiff resistance. MI 24 attack helicopters were called in for close air support.
Sergeant Asitha Kumara was hit by a Rocket Propel Grenade attack as he raided a Tiger bunker line; Cpl Vanasinghe thrust himself in defence of his wounded comrade. In the meantime, the Tigers inducted an estimated 200 cadres to fight the twelve commandos. During the fight, Cpl Vanasinghe was hit by a shrapnel and succumbed to injuries. The battle raged for five hours and the Army sent another team of commandos led by Lt Kollurai as replacement. Lt Kollurai was also wounded in the battle.
Finally, Lance Cpl Indika Kumarage decided to pull back with his wounded and fallen comrades. Sergeant Asitha Kumara and Cpl N.V. Vanasinghe were killed in action and the commandos were compelled to leave the body of Sergeant Asitha Kumara inside the trench when they pulled back after decimating nine bunkers of the LTTE. His body was later handed over to the Army through the ICRC.
Sergeant Asitha Kumara and Cpl Vanasinghe were posthumously promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major and Sergeant respectively. Intercepted LTTE communications revealed that 28 LTTE cadres had been killed in the five hour battle. Seventeen cadres were killed in the first thrust of the attack when the commandos decimated five bunkers. Cpl Ariyaratne, who was also killed in the battle after his team was sent for the assistance of the besieged commandos, was also promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Lance Cpl Indika Kumarage was promoted to the rank of Corporal and recommended for the Weera Vickrema Vibushana gallantry award.
This swift daring assault by the Bravo company of the 2nd Commando Brigade had been a turn around in the battle for Vedithalthivu. The capture of about 200 meters of the southern perimeter defence of the camp killing at least 28 cadres had been the prelude to a series of daring small group operations by 2nd Commando Brigade. These small opertions led to the fall of the mighty sea Tiger camp so fast.
With the capture of the southern perimeter, the Army Chief ordered Brig. Shavendra Silva to go ahead with the main operation to invade Vidattaltivu. The 8-man teams of the 2nd Commando Regiment was prepared for the operation on 10th of July. The teams were approaching Vidattaltivu from all directions.
Commandos operating in small teams had been carrying out surprise attacks on selected strategic locations in the LTTE defence line. Small groups of commandos approached the camp in every direction, mainly conducting reconnaissance missions on the LTTE build- up in the area. A stretch of the Mannar-Pooneryn Road was under observation by the 8-man team of Lt. Marasinghe of Delta group under Maj. Jaliya Dehideniya.
Alfa group of 2nd Commando Regiment under Maj. Samantha Kodituwakku attacked an LTTE bunker in Walimarandamadu area on July 13. The following day, a group of tigers erecting a bunker came under attack by the 8-man team of Sgt. Sanjeewa. Seven terrorists were killed in the confrontation. Five bodies of the slain Tiger cadres were retrieved by the commandos. Meanwhile, Echo group under Capt. Sha Hameed and the 8-man team of Cpl Rajakaruna were advancing from the direction of Paramarayankulam, east of Vidattaltivu. Capt. Nalin Soysa was the acting Officer Commanding (OC) of Bravo group under Maj. Ratnayake. The platoons under Lt. Thusitha Kumarage and Sgt Kumarasinghe (Rodney) were advancing along the Uvilanundiyaru canal bank in Vidattaltivu. Lt. Marasinghe’s and Cpl. Chandralal’s teams were about 600 metres behind them.
The 8-man teams of Echo group under Capt. Sha Hameed and the 8-man groups of Sgt. Rodney, Sgt. Bandara and Lt. Thusitha Kumarage advanced from several directions and joined them. They had reached the target area and were ready for the operation. In the morning of Tuesday 15th of July 2008, LTTE cadres had been deployed at regular intervals of 150 metres on access roads to Vidattaltivu and Pooneryn.
However, The Tigers, realising that Vidattaltivu was under siege, started to retreat by Tuesday afternoon. Cpl Chandralal’s team that climbed up a tamarind tree got at their targets accurately. The fugitive LTTE cadres transporting their heavy weapons by tractors and Canter lorries came under artillery attack in Thaddampiddi teak plantation losing at least 50 of them. By Wednesday morning (16), the tigers destroyed their vehicles and the main water tank in Vidattaltivu. They blasted the buildings and the vehicles one by one.
Meanwhile, Echo group of Capt. Sha Hameed lay in ambush to target vehicles leaving Vidattaltivu base. They gunned down two cadres attempting to flee on a motorcycle. The soldiers immediately hid the bodies and prepared for the next attack. The soldiers noticed two trucks moving towards Vidattaltivu. When they opened fire, one truck sped off despite gunshot injuries to its driver while the other ran off the road and turned turtle. One of the cadres was captured. The two trucks had come to move camp at Vidattaltivu.
Sgt. Bandara, Sgt. Kumarasinghe and Lt. Thusitha Kumarage proceeded toward Vidattaltivu by the west of the main road. LCpl. Priyantha and his team joined them. Bravo group was advancing from the east of Vidattaltivu and Delta group from the southeast. When the four groups met, they were about a km. ahead of Vidattaltivu.
Alpha group under Maj. Samantha Kodituwakku entered from the direction of the town and Echo group from the direction of the lagoon. Bravo group entered from the east. The 581 and 583 Brigades broke into the FDL from the direction of Nedunkandala. 6 Gemunu broke down a part of the FDL. The base, earlier manned by about 200 LTTE cadres, was deserted in the face of the military operation.
The MI 24 attack helicopters were called in to target the sea Tiger boats. Fighter jets of the Sri Lanka Air Force also conducted several sorties against another sea Tiger camp located in Vallaipadu, north of Vedithalthivu The only casualty in the military mission was Lance Cpl Kumara of the Delta team of the 2 commando regiment. He was caught in a booby trap as he stormed an LTTE bunker.
The advancing Commandos, under LTTE gunfire, broke into the LTTE stronghold. Vidattaltivu town fell to the security forces by Wednesday 16th of July 2008, afternoon. They painted over “Welcome to Vidattaltivu Sea Tiger Base” on a board at the entrance to the camp with “Welcome to Commando Base”, hoisted the Lion Flag and celebrated their victory.
“It was a successful operation. Our forces marched steadily and intensified their attacks after July 14. LTTE leaders Bhanu and Luxman lost control of their forces. Our soldiers fought valiantly and broke down the most formidable LTTE FDL. The Tigers fled from the area faster than they did during the attack on the Rice Bowl. Their leaders had nowhere to turn,” said Brig. Shavendra Silva.