Page 6 of 7 FirstFirst ... 4567 LastLast
Results 101 to 120 of 132

Thread: How Sri Lanka defeated the LTTE

  1. #101
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,021

    Default Hey Bob, all 6 of your question sets ....

    appear to be valid points that should be examined before some civilian (say JMM) sends you and Moore on an "intervention" - which if this civilian had any say would be a rare event. They seem to me to be more national security policy issues - so a fair topic for both the political and miltary sides.

    That having been said (first do a good political area study pre-intervention), another concurrent examination must be whether the incumbant government has examined those same points - and what did it conclude.

    I'd also add some factors based on the population's (and its sub-groups') perceptions of security, opportunity and ideology vice the incumbant and the insurgent - and let's go back and add into the mix Niel's factors (and Dayuhan's, and Bill's, and whoever else wants to enhance the area study).

    Now, if the incumbant government and the putative intervenor are on all fours after examining all the relevant factors in how and why the insurgency will be targeted politically and militarily, then intervention might be a "go". But, if any material differences exist between the incumbant and the putative intervenor, intervention is extremely questionable. History teaches us that those differences are more likely to grow worse over time - leaving the intervenor locked into the very possible illegitimacy of the incumbant (Tim Lomperis' "illegitimacy lock"; e.g, Vietnam).

    -------------------------------
    Independent of critical examinations by the putative intervenor of the incumbant and the insurgent, the putative intervenor should also conduct a critical examination of where the incumbant country fits into the pecking order of the intervenor's enlightened self-interest - and the overall plusses and minuses of intervention.

    Here is an example:

    In October 1951, the student conclusions to their study of US policy in Southeast Asia were presented to the college. Although opinions were somewhat divided, a large majority opposed any major US involvement. The conclusions of the majority could be summarized as follows:

    (1) The United States had probably made a serious mistake in agreeing with its allies to allow French power to be restored in Indochina. As a colonial power, France had done little to develop indigenous civilian and military leaders and civil servants in preparation for the countries' eventual independence.

    (2) Indochina was of only secondary strategic importance to the United States. The economic and military value of Vietnam, the most important state in the region, was not impressive. Politically and socially, Vietnam was obviously entering an unstable period with uncertain consequences. In any event, it did not warrant the commitment of US forces to its defense.

    (3) General war planning by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) envisioned a strategic defense in the Pacific, drawing the US forward defense line to include Japan, South Korea, and the offshore island chain (Okinawa-Taiwan-the Philippines). But in Southeast Asia, the line was drawn through the Isthmus of Kra on the mainland, excluding all of Indochina and most of Thailand. Thus, the Strait of Malacca and populous, richly endowed Indonesia were considered to be the prime strategic targets of the region.

    (4) Militarily, the region in general and Vietnam in particular would be an extremely difficult operational area, especially for US forces. Unlike the relatively narrow Korean peninsula, Vietnam presented very long land and coastal borders that would be almost impossible to seal against infiltration and difficult to defend against overt military agression. Much of the region was covered with dense jungle and much was mountainous. Weather, terrain and geographic conformation combined to present formidable obstacles for military operations and logistic support.

    (5) Politically and psychologically, the United States, if it were to become involved, would have to operate under severe disadvatages, for it would inherit the taint of European colonialism. The United States should not become involved in the area beyond providing materiel ["-iel", not "-ial"] military aid.
    "US Policy in Southeast Asia". Reports of Student Committees #13-17 (Carlisle Barracks, Pa: US Army War College, 1951), cited in Bruce Palmer Jr, The 25-Year War (1984) - with HT to Ken White for suggesting this book.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 09-09-2010 at 02:38 AM.

  2. #102
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,706

    Default

    Well, as I say, I think it is a big mistake to see COIN as "warfare", so of course the critical issues are civil/policy. After all, the heart of my perspective is that insurgency is a condition that comes to exist within a populace when that same populace perceives conditions of poor governance to exist. These are conditions caused by action or inaction on the part of the government so it stands to reason that the majority of the fix is on the part of the government as well.

    Just because the military focuses on applying violence to the violent aspects of the insurgent groups that arise from these conditions of insurgency; and just because civil governments are quick to dump the entire problem on the military once it goes violent, does not in turn somehow turn it into a military problem with a military solution.

    The Army/Marine Corps manual on COIN goes off the rails sentence one, paragraph one, chapter one, where it states that "COIN is Warfare." That's like going out the door with your static line unhooked. One big mistake up front makes the rest of the operation a whole lot harder than it ought to be.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  3. #103
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    1,665

    Default

    U.N.: Sri Lanka's crushing of the Tamil Tigers may have killed 40,000 civilians

    Sri Lanka’s decisive 2008-09 military offensive against the country’s separatist Tamil Tigers may have resulted in the deaths of as many as 40,000 civilians, most of them victims of indiscriminate shelling by Sri Lankan forces, according to a U.N. panel established by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

    The panel recommended that Ban set up an “independent international mechanism” to carry out a far more thorough probe into “credible” allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which held more than 300,000 civilians “hostage” to enforce a “strategic human buffer between themselves and the advancing Sri Lankan army.”

    Extensive portions of the report were published over the past several days by a Sri Lankan newspaper, the Island, and have been quickly repudiated by Sri Lankan authorities. U.N. officials confirmed the authenticity of the report but said the disclosure was incomplete. They said Thursday that the release of the report had been delayed amid discussions with Sri Lanka over the possibility of including a rebuttal in the report.

    The panel’s findings constituted a devastating indictment of the country’s military conduct during the final stage of the 28-year war, accusing government forces of shelling hospitals, no-fire zones and U.N. facilities, and blocking the delivery of humanitarian assistance to victims of the war. The panel calls on Sri Lanka to “issue a public, acknowledgment of its role in and responsibility for extensive civilian casualties in the final stages of the war" ...

  4. #104
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default

    Just curious, how many civilians did we kill in Germany, Japan, and Vietnam?

    40k civlians killed is of course tragic, but it was long running vicious civil war fought by the people and their militias. The UN can of course attempt to impose their rules of war if they wish, but at this point I don't see what good will come out of it. There were plenty of atrocities on both sides, it wasn't a single event that was an aberration, so who exactly are you going to put on trail and for what? Are we witnessing a new breed of ambulance chaser lawyers that will show up after every war and put everyone involved on trail?

  5. #105
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Calcutta, India
    Posts
    1,124

    Default

    The Sri Lankan insurrection was messy and brutal.

    No side was of angels.

    http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/...718_space.html

  6. #106
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,021

    Default Here are some data ...

    which call into question how effective legal rules are (as opposed to social norms) in reducing civilian casualties in either regular or irregular warfare. Sri Lanka was not the only messy and brutal event since 1900.

    See, Collateral Damage on 21st Century Battlefield, The Air Force Law Review, Vol. 56 (2005) (snip pp.77-80, attached as pdf) (emphasis added):

    Although the incidence of collateral damage in U.S. combat operations has declined since World War II due to improved technology and strategy, the number of civilians killed in conflict has generally increased. The relationship between concealment warfare strategies and high numbers of civilian casualties generated is evident from conflicts in virtually every corner of the world from Cambodia and Uganda to Kosovo and Colombia.[321] The number of civilians killed in conflict since 1900 is estimated at 62.2 million compared to 43.9 million military personnel. Further, the incidence of civilian deaths has increased since the 1949 Geneva Conventions.[322] One explanation for this rising trend is that concealment warfare is the method of choice with higher frequency among adversaries. A subjective review of media and special interest group reporting suggests a similar conclusion civilians and civilian objects account for the majority of deaths and destruction in 21st century warfare.

    321. [footnote too long to copy - see attached pdf for lots of data]

    322 GEOFFREY PARKER, CAMBRIDGE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF WARFARE 369 (1995); see also, ERIC V. LARSON & BOGDAN SAVYCH, MISFORTUNES OF WAR: IMPACTS OF COLLATERAL DAMAGE INCIDENTS IN RECENT U.S. WARS 2-4 (Mar., 26 2004)(unpublished manuscript on file with the RAND Corporation and author). Ruth Sivard estimates 109.7 million people were killed from war between 1900 and 1995, including 62.2 million civilians and 43.9 million military. RUTH LEGER SIVARD, WORLD MILITARY AND SOCIAL EXPENDITURES 1996, 18-19 (16th ed. 1996).
    A fair (though not conclusive) inference is that "concealment warfare" (combatants hiding in non-combatant populations) - encouraged by some provisions of AP I & II and of "Customary International Humanitarian Law" - has increased the relative frequency of civilian deaths.

    The full article (100+ pages) reviews collateral damage (with focus on US targeting) from WWI through OIF.

    Regards

    Mike
    Attached Files Attached Files

  7. #107
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Swansea, Wales, UK.
    Posts
    104

    Default

    Having read quite a bit of the report and seen the recent documentary aird on Channel 4 here in the UK, it certainly seems that their was a direct effort to target civilians. Particularly in instance where the ICRC had given GPS coordinates to the SLA of the locations of hospitals treating civilians and injured LTTE cadres alike, which had no military use. The constant moving of the no fire zones seems deliberate in order to force as many people as possible into as small a space as possible. The LTTE do not exactly come out clean either, use of suicide bombers in processing centres and the use of civilians to construct defences etc. However the LTTE are a perscribed terrorist organisation and are hardly expected to act like saints.

    The two issues that face the Sri Lanakn government are the conduct of it's armed forces which amount to war crimes and it's policy which amount to crimes against humanity. The cases of summary executions and rape from the SLA are clearly war crimes and their needs to be an investigate. The policy of the government in it's managing of the humanitarian crisis and the way it commanded it's armed forces, after all the chain of command goes right to the PM. No one likes to throw the word genocide about and I'm not saying it applies here, however the there does seem a concerted effort to cleanse as many LTTE cadres as possible and control the Tamil population caught up in the conflict.

    I've heard first hand accounts of how the government controled the movements of international NGO workers after the conflict. It was too big a mess to sweep under the carpet.

  8. #108
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,706

    Default

    Haven't been on this thread in a while.

    Mike: Killing the civilians of some enemy state in war is very different than killing non-combatant elements of one's own populace in COIN. This is one of the reasons why I distinguish that COIN is the actions of a nation to resolve it's own internal insurgency (not an intervetion) and that COIN is much more a civil emergency than war.

    Sri Lanka waged war against their own populace, and if what TBD lays out is true, there will be consequences. Not from the international community, but from the Tamil populace. This insurgency is perhaps suppressed, but the more brutal a government is in the suppression of internal revolt, the more certain and and the more bloody the blow back will ultimately be. Sure, elements of the Sri Lanka populace waged war against the government, but a government must be like a father attacked by a son. Sure you can just beat his ass and justify it by his attacking you first, but that ignores what drive a son to attack his father, and also ignores the consequences of a ### for tat retaliation.

    Our COIN doctrine sucks. It is a doctrine written by Colonial masters and Containment controllers. It is time for an update. FM 3-24 offers some pop-centric tactics, but leaves it within that colonial/containment context, so remains a fatally flawed approach.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  9. #109
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default

    There is no doubt that the Sri Lankan Armed Forces won "this" war against the LTTE, and they did so using tough tactics (there are many such examples in history). I spent a few weeks on three separate occassions in Sri Lanka and worked closely with their military. The country was in economic shambles (probably still is), morale was low, the hate that many (not all) Sri Lankan officers had for the LTTE was palpable. It was also understandable after years of brutal fighting. As stated elsewhere war itself can radicalize the opponents, and it is quite understandable why this happens.

    Bob is right, "if" the Sri Lankan government fails to integrate the Tamil people (which is what they need to do to consolidate their victory), then it is likely we will start seeing the embers of a new resistance. Often overlooked in this conflict was that the LTTE brutalized its own people to suppress other Tamil resistance groups, so defeat of the LTTE doesn't necessarily mean all Tamil resistance groups are defeated. The remains of those who were suppressed by the LTTE could very well be organizing their clandestine structure now, and there is still a large and active Tamil diaspora that they can reach out to for support. The last thing the Sri Lankan government needs to do at this point is provide a spark to gas by continuing to ignore the alleged crimes and continued suppression of the Tamils. The government is in a tough position with hostile NGOs in the country that have already formed their opinions. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few months. Unlike our approach where we attempt development during the fight (which hasn't worked), now is the time that the Government should be pushing development into the Tamil community. Not only development, but a common vision for a peaceful Sri Lankan where all the citizens enjoy its benefits. They need a spiritual leader that can ease the level of hate between the Singalese and Tamils, or this won't be possible. It is easy for us to sit back and criticize, but if you lived there and were traumaized by the war year after year, I don't think your feelings towards your enemy would magically disappear overnight. I don't like gay, leftist terms, but for lack of a better phrase there needs to be some sort of healing process.

  10. #110
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,021

    Default Don't recall that ...

    I've ever argued that killing the civilians of some enemy state in war is the same as killing non-combatant elements of one's own populace in COIN.

    I've no idea what will happen in Sri Lanka's future. My lawyerly crystal ball (always cloudy and cracked) went out the window effective 1 Jun - and my suits went into two large garbage bags and will be hauled away tomorrow (garbage day). Etc.

    Cheers

    Mike

  11. #111
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default

    Mike,

    don't throw your suits away! Just read the latest issue of Fortune Magazine and they had a couple of pieces on "retirement" coaches. One of the free tidbits shared was that retirees stop shaving, getting decent haircuts, and quit dressing for success, and this leads to less self esteem, etc. Not sure I'm buying it, but I'm going to shave next week, and dress for success at least once a week to ensure my self esteem doesn't dip into the red.

  12. #112
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Swansea, Wales, UK.
    Posts
    104

    Default

    Link to said documentary and related information. Available to watch for international audiances too. www.channel4.com/srilanka

    I think there is a lot to be said about the point made above. In the aftermath of the conflict the government had two routes they could go down, enfranchise the Tamil population thus helping to bring them on side (not as simple as that but I think everyone will know what I'm getting at), or brutally suppress them therefore preventing them from organising any form of armed resistance again. After years of brutal war and constant attacks from LTTE suicide bombers, hardly a vote winning tactic, the government obviously opted to the latter as in their minds they could care less for these pesky people to the north.

  13. #113
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,706

    Default

    Bill,

    I know that "we had to destroy the village to save the village" is widely accepted as a sound COIN practice (see current Clear-Hold-Build tactics that are the rage in Afghanistan); and that history is indeed replete with examples where some government defeated some insurgent organization; buying stability for some period of time, but always with insurgency springing up again somewhere among the populace.

    Perhaps a new location, different segment of the pop, or different leaders/ideology. But there is always one constant: A government that has not much changed in how it governs, and that believes that it "defeated" the insurgency so need not change. Our good allies in the Philippines are the modern poster child for this; the Algerians as well.

    Facilitating this is the belief that insurgency is something that is brought to the government, that causation rests in the dark hearts of "malign actors" or some evil ideology, or some insidious external plot. While all those things may exist one must always come back to the common thread, and that is the government itself. As you often point out, even when the insurgent wins, it typically is by a party that is only too quick to take up the same bad practices of the government they took down, and soon too find themselves subject to some growing insurgency.

    So no, I continue to reject your version of history, and believe that causation radiates out from government onto the populace, and that insurgency is a reaction to such governance. COIN is the reaction to the reaction by a government that is unwilling to recognize that they really don't need to counter anything so much as simply listen to their populace and make some minor, but essential modifications of how they govern.

    Yes the government of Sri Lanka "defeated" the Tamil Tigers, but in so doing I suspect have steeled the resolution of the Tamil people to their cause and inflamed perceptions of ill-will toward the government. Perhaps they can overcome the tactics applied to design and implement changes of governance that effectively resolve this insurgency, but until such time, this is a "suppression" rather than a "win."

    If this were war, your assessment would probably be accurate, but this is insurgency, and that is a very different animal altogether.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  14. #114
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default

    In the case of Sri Lanka, I'm not sure where we disagree? I am making the same points, but adding the fact that the level of hate between the Tamils and Singhalese was so thick you could cut it with knife, and that time of emotion frequently trumps reason.

    Not all insurgencies are due to a failure of government, but the insurgency and then civil war in Sri Lanka was clearly a case of the government failing, and now it failing to consolidate its hard earned victory.

  15. #115
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,209

    Default Small update: still bubbling along?

    News of this political conflict appears rarely, so I offer this as an update.

    From an Indian commentator on security issues and I've added text in italics to help to explain:
    ...Tamil Nadu is still hosting 114 refugee camps for 68,606 Sri Lankan Tamils. The UPA (Indian political party, currently in government)also made the mistake of bracketing Lankan Tamil issues with the LTTE. They failed to fathom the Tamil's emotional bonds with the diaspora. The mainland Tamil population, despite its revulsion after Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, started getting alarmed by the Rajapaksa regime's excesses (Sri Lanka Prime Minister}. They were also upset with New Delhi's ambivalent attitude towards the UN sponsored enquiry on war crimes. Lankan Tamil discontent resulted in the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) controlling 24 local government councils in the North/East (in Sri Lanka) after the July 2011 elections. The Rajapaksa family, which made this a prestige issue, could win only three councils through their Freedom Alliance (UPFA). They now say that the TNA is acting like the LTTE.
    Link:Sunday October 16, 2011 http://www.sunday-guardian.com/analysis/foreign-policy-must-make-sense-at-home-in-india
    davidbfpo

  16. #116
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,209

    Default A book to read

    Reviewed in the IISS journal Survival 'The Cage: The Fight for Sri Lanka and the Last Days of the Tamil Tigers' by Gordon Weiss, Pub. Bodley Head 2011. The author wasa UN officilA with the Tamil Tigers at the end and the reviewer is impressed:
    ..vivid and well researched...Sri Lanka has done important things right, including a health and education record that are almost unmatched in the developing world.
    I was struck by the reviewers comments on political violence generally:
    When everyone in a country believes his community risks annihilation at the hands of a desperate and implacable foe, the result is a widespread willingness to use whatever means that can the threat.
    An aside. There is a RFI on the LTTE:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=9697
    davidbfpo

  17. #117
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Swansea, Wales, UK.
    Posts
    104

    Default

    So it looks like Channel 4 are back with some more damning evidence, next week, Wednesday. Should be interesting.

    (Added by Moderator)

    Link to cited programme, it hopefully works beyond the UK:http://www.channel4.com/programmes/s...ing-fields/4od
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-15-2012 at 11:30 AM. Reason: Add link

  18. #118
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,209

    Default Sri Lanka’s ‘illiberal peace’: implications for Western influence

    The title of a KoW comment by David Ucko, the catalyst appears to be a WaPo article, although other links are embedded:http://kingsofwar.org.uk/2012/07/sri...liberal-peace/

    Two key points:
    The broader point is that the West was not needed nor was its approval sought.....we ought also to consider the declining currency of our professed Western ‘values’ – not least through our own actions, but also because of the wide variety of viable alternatives.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-15-2012 at 11:35 AM.
    davidbfpo

  19. #119
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,706

    Default

    A tragedy for the people of Sri Lanka, but can't say I was surprised by the article.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...XhW_story.html
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  20. #120
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default

    The misleading emotionalism in this Washington Post article is exactly what alienates the press in Sri Lanka, not only with the Government, but the citizens that endured decades of terrorism.

    Examples of journalism rag wording that one would expect to find in the National Enquire or similiar rags.

    scorched-earth campaign
    The United States and India, Sri Lanka’s two main trading partners, had largely looked the other way as the government crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels
    President Mahinda Rajapaksa took the war to the Tigers with unprecedented ruthlessness and single-mindedness.
    Then this dispassionate statement:

    At the height of their power, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ran vast swathes of Tamil-dominated northern and eastern Sri Lanka as a virtual mini-state. But they had also turned a struggle for the rights of the island’s Hindu and Christian Tamils into a terrorist campaign involving suicide bombers and child soldiers — assassinating anyone who stood in their way, including thousands of moderate Tamils, a Sri Lankan president and, in 1991, former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
    The article fails to address the LTTE didn't represent all Tamils, there were several opposition Tamil grops that the LTTE targeted, and they repeated used Tamil human shields in combat, and had what we now call a sophisticated and robust radicalization process that produced a number of suicide bombers long before it became the norm in the Arab world. The other side of the LTTE was their sophisticated global information campaign, that many reporters fell for hook, line and sinker.

    It is understandable the Government is tired of this one way reporting. There are definitely problems with the government that the government and its citizens need to address, which can probably be done more effectively without outside interference that puts the government in a defensive posture.

Similar Threads

  1. Sri Lanka rebels offer to lay down arms
    By Culpeper in forum The Whole News
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 05-18-2009, 09:50 AM
  2. PRC builds port in Sri Lanka
    By davidbfpo in forum South Asia
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-03-2009, 12:45 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •