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Old 07-03-2006   #1
SWJED
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Default Sri Lanka Entering 'Low-Intensity' War

2 July Associated Press - Sri Lanka Entering 'Low-Intensity' War.

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... A year ago they called it a "Shadow War." Not anymore...

Four years after a cease-fire raised hopes for peace between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels, Sri Lanka is teetering on the brink.

The brink of what remains the question.

Naval battles, suicide bombings and jungle clashes have once again become the norm on this tropical island that for two decades has been largely known for the ferocious ethnic struggle between its Hindu Tamil minority and its Buddhist Sinhalese majority.

Still, the government and Tigers insist they are abiding by the truce, even as they settle into a pattern of attack and retaliation, with plenty of saber-rattling in between...

The roots of Sri Lanka's conflict stretch back to the years after independence from Britain in 1948, when the government made Sinhala the official language, gave Buddhism a prominent role and Tamils faced widespread discrimination in schools and jobs.

In 1983, a spasm of anti-Tamil violence that killed hundreds sparked war. Each side fought viciously: the Tigers used suicide bombings and murdered rival Tamil militants; the government routinely tortured Tamil civilians. The death toll stood at more than 65,000 when the cease-fire was signed in 2002.

By then, the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam controlled wide swaths of the north and east where they have a country complete with border guards and traffic police...

The inner workings of the Tiger leadership remain a mystery to outsiders, and there's widespread speculation about their motives for attacks such as a June 15 bus bombing that killed 64 civilians, most Sinhalese.

Many say the Tigers are simply trying to push the government to grant broad autonomy over the territories they control. Others warn the rebels could be softening up government forces ahead of the rainy season, which starts in August, when the government's armored vehicles would be bogged down in mud.

The government's motives are clearer - it faces pressure from hard-line political allies, generals and Sinhalese nationalists to destroy the Tigers...
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Old 07-03-2006   #2
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Default Additional - Child Soldiers...

2 July Reuters - Tamil Tigers: Child Fighter Claims High.

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Claiming they have just trained 6,000 civilians in armed combat, the Tamil Tigers accused the United Nations on Sunday of exaggerating the number of child fighters in the rebels' ranks.

A 2002 cease-fire between the Sinhalese-dominated government and Tamil rebels is rapidly deteriorating, with rising violence killing more than 700 people since April in this island nation off the southern tip of India.

A statement on the rebel group's Web site challenged UNICEF's claim that 1,387 children were among its fighters and said more than 800 of those listed were over 18 years old. Tamil Tigers have admitted to using children to fight their separatist war but have pledged to stop the practice...
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Old 10-01-2006   #3
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Default Links here in the US...

From the 30 Sep 06 Baltimore Sun: 6 Charged in MD Arms Deal Sting
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...The elaborate sting operation took center stage in Baltimore this summer, where federal agents put up a Singapore arms broker at a four-star Inner Harbor hotel, arranged for him to attend religious services at a mosque in Laurel and took him to a shooting range in Harford County so he could test-fire machine guns they said he was interested in illegally buying.

The ruse, authorities said, led representatives for the Tamil Tigers insurgents in Sri Lanka to deposit $700,000 with undercover agents as a down payment for millions of dollars in sniper rifles, submachine guns and grenade launchers. The arms dealers also inquired about unmanned air vehicles and buying surface-to-air missiles to shoot down Israeli-built aircraft in Sri Lanka, according to federal court papers...
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Old 03-27-2007   #4
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Default Tamil Tiger Air Raid

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COLOMBO (Reuters) - A Tamil Tiger light aircraft bombed a Sri Lankan air force base next to Colombo international airport before dawn on Monday, killing three airmen and wounding 16 in the first such air strike by the rebel group.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said more such attacks by its air wing would follow, threatening to deepen renewed conflict in the island state off the toe of India.

Airline and government officials said the civilian airport, 23 miles north of the capital, was not damaged but was closed for several hours following the attack.

The military said the bombs hit a barracks, and that none of its aircraft was damaged. Sri Lanka's stock market fell in early trade following the attack.

"A light Tiger aircraft flew over the air force base and dropped explosives. There have been two explosions. At the same time our air defenses activated and there is a search operation going on," said an air force spokesman, Group Captain Ajantha de Silva.
Taken from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...032601734.html

Pictures can be found at this Tamil website http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=21668

The Air Force fighter jocks must be thrilled by the prospect of A2A combat in small wars!
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Old 05-31-2007   #5
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ICG, 29 May 07: Sri Lanka's Muslims: Caught in the Crossfire
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...The Muslims are the forgotten party in the Sri Lankan conflict. They have never resorted to violence to achieve their aims and so have never been properly consulted on how to end the conflict. With the new war in the east, they again are caught in the crossfire. Any initial support for the government’s offensive is waning as the TMVP replaces the LTTE as a threat, and Muslims once more face serious insecurity and concerns about Sinhalese nationalism....
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Old 06-01-2007   #6
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Seems to me SL has been in Low Intensity war for about 20 years now... the fighting has been far worse and the terrorism much more intense a decade ago ... is this another case of mastering the obvious by a writer who just heard about the SL war? I am sure it is.
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Old 06-12-2007   #7
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The Economist, 7 Jun 07: A War Strange as Fiction
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...an ugly war that has claimed over 70,000 lives flickers and, as currently, flares. Last year, according to official figures, more people died violently in Sri Lanka than in Afghanistan. In the past 18 months over 5,000 have been killed, compared with fewer than 200 in the previous three years. Sri Lankan pundits are calling this violence “Eelam War IV”: the fourth round in the struggle for an Eelam, or independent Tamil homeland. A ceasefire, brokered by Norway in 2002, is officially still in place. Yet government and Tigers are both preparing for bigger battles. A peaceful resolution to Sri Lanka's conflict may never have looked less possible....
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Old 06-18-2007   #8
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ICG, 14 Jun 07: Sri Lanka's Human Rights Crisis
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II. HOW NOT TO FIGHT AN INSURGENCY

“Yes, we can beat the Tigers, and no, we ain’t headed that-away”, Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UN in Geneva.

Previous government attempts to combat Tamil nationalist militancy have all been accompanied by serious human rights abuses. Not coincidentally, all have failed. From the late 1970s onwards, government policy has been characterised by tough anti-terrorism laws and harsh police action against alleged militants, while successive administrations have ignored underlying political grievances. Government repression fuelled violent reaction and provided popular support to what were initially small and marginal groups in Tamil society.

The cumulative effect has been disastrous....
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Old 06-18-2007   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
From the 30 Sep 06 Baltimore Sun: 6 Charged in MD Arms Deal Sting

Geez, I could have shown the guy Baltimore neighborhoods where he could have just bought machine guns off the street. Much less risky.

The Singapore connection is interesting. The Tamil Tigers have probably made as much use of a global diaspora community as any insurgency (save perhaps the IRA).
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Old 06-18-2007   #10
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Originally Posted by SteveMetz
...The Tamil Tigers have probably made as much use of a global diaspora community as any insurgency (save perhaps the IRA).
In the 2001 RAND pub, Trends in Outside Support for Insurgencies, The LTTE is the focus of Chapter 3: Diaspora Support for Insurgencies.
Quote:
...This chapter analyzes the scope and dimensions of diaspora support for insurgencies. It provides an in-depth examination of how the LTTE has harnessed its overseas migrant community, using it for funding, arms running, and a host of other activities. The LTTE's experience is not typical, but rather represents the apex of how an insurgent organization can exploit a diaspora for its own ends. Drawing on the LTTE's experience, as well as that of other insurgencies, the chapter then describes the reasons why immigrant communities often support insurgencies in their native lands and examines the difficulties that many host governments have in halting this form of assistance. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the utility of diaspora backing in general and its value relative to states....
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Old 06-18-2007   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
In the 2001 RAND pub, Trends in Outside Support for Insurgencies, The LTTE is the focus of Chapter 3: Diaspora Support for Insurgencies.
I once bought a suit from a Tamil tailor in Singapore so, unfortunately, I may have underwritten an RPG myself.

There's a huge Tamil population in Canada as well.
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Old 08-11-2007   #12
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HRW, 6 Aug 07: Return to War: Human Rights under Siege
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Sri Lanka is in the midst of a human rights crisis. The ceasefire between the government and the armed secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) exists only in name. Since mid-2006, when major military operations resumed, civilians have paid a heavy price, both directly in the fighting and in the dramatic increase in abductions, killings, and “disappearances.” The return to war has brought serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

The LTTE is much to blame. The group, fighting for an independent Tamil state, has directly targeted civilians with remote-controlled landmines and suicide bombers, murdered perceived political opponents, and forcibly recruited ethnic Tamils into its forces, many of them children. In the areas of the country’s north and east under its control, the LTTE harshly represses the rights to free expression, association, and movement....

Human Rights Watch has long documented abuses by the LTTE, particularly the LTTE’s systematic recruitment and use of children as soldiers, the targeted killings of political opponents, and its abusive fundraising tactics abroad. We will continue to report on LTTE abuses and press the LTTE to change its practices.

This report, however, focuses primarily on abuses by the Sri Lankan government and allied armed groups, which have gotten decidedly worse over the past year. As the hostilities have increased, the government’s respect for international law has sharply declined, with it often appearing indifferent to the impact on civilians in the north and east....
Complete 131 page report at the link.
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Old 11-08-2007   #13
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ICG, 7 Nov 07: Sri Lanka: Sinhala Nationalism and the Elusive Southern Consensus
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....Peace is a long way off. The LTTE has demonstrated a clear lack of interest in a negotiated settlement. The government is beholden to and sympathetic with forces that conceive of Sri Lanka as an essentially Sinhala and Buddhist nation. Denying the existence of legitimate grievances specific to Tamils and the need to accommodate their concerns in a settlement, the politically dominant forms of contemporary Sinhala nationalism assert that the central problem is a terrorist threat that needs to be crushed.

Despite claims to be committed to a political solution, the decision to rely on hardline Sinhala nationalist parties with an ideological commitment to the unitary state has left the government with little option other than to pursue the LTTE’s military defeat. Any meaningful southern consensus on devolution – necessary for a lasting solution – will take time but without much stronger international efforts to persuade both the government and the UNP to find common ground beyond unitary and federal labels, there is little chance the APRC will produce a political package attractive to Tamil moderates and able to win two-thirds support in parliament. Reaching a sustainable settlement will be even harder if government plans to establish new Sinhala settlements and weaken the power of Tamil and Muslim political parties and civil servants in the Eastern Province are in fact carried out....
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Old 12-15-2007   #14
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The East-West Center, 14 Dec 07:

Muslim Perspectives on the Sri Lankan Conflict
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The Sri Lankan ethnic conflict is often regarded as a two-way contest between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority, ignoring the interests and concerns of the island's 8 percent Muslim (or "Moorish") minority. One-third of Sri Lanka's Muslims are concentrated in towns and districts located within the Tamil-speaking agricultural northeast, a region envisioned as independent "Tamil Eelam" by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In the postindependence period, the Muslim leadership at the national level abandoned their colonial identity as Arabs ("Moors") and adopted a religious identity as Muslims, clearly defining their ethnicity as neither Sinhala nor Tamil. Muslim politicians emphasized coalition politics with mainstream Sinhala parties until the outbreak of the armed Tamil secessionist campaign in the 1980s. Since then, Muslim communities in the northeast have suffered violence and dispossession at the hands of the LTTE, and they have been harmed by indiscriminate military campaigns conducted by the Sri Lankan armed forces. A Muslim political party, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, was formed in the 1980s to defend the security of the northeastern Muslims, and it has sought to secure an equal role for the Muslims in peace negotiations following the Ceasefire Agreement of 2002. A narrow Sinhala vs. Tamil mindset, and a complex set of sociological and political factors within the Muslim community, have limited the direct participation of the Muslims in the peace process. However, because of the large Muslim population in the multiethnic northeast, Muslims must be actively involved in any long-term settlement of the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict.
Complete 100 page paper at the link.
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Old 02-20-2008   #15
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ICG, 20 Feb 08: Sri Lanka's Return to War: Limiting the Damage
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Sri Lanka is in civil war again, and there are no prospects of a peace process resuming soon. On 2 January 2008, the government announced its withdrawal from a ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This formalised a return to conflict that has been underway since 2006 but also presaged worse to come. The humanitarian crisis is deepening, abuses of human rights by both sides are increasing, and those calling for peace are being silenced. There is no present chance of a new ceasefire or negotiations since the government, despite pro forma statements in favour of a political solution, is dependent on hardliners and appears intent on a military decision. International actors must concentrate for now on damage limitation: protecting civilians from the war’s worst effects and supporting those working to preserve Sri Lanka’s democratic institutions.

In addition to heavy fighting in the north, the first weeks of 2008 have seen the assassinations of a government minister and a Tamil opposition member of parliament, multiple bombings in Colombo, a wave of deadly attacks on civilians in the majority Sinhalese south, and widespread disappearances and killings of non-combantants in the north and east. More than 5,000 combatants and civilians are estimated to have been killed over the past two years. At least 140,000 have fled intensified fighting in the north, and more are likely to be forced out if the military continues its push into Tiger-controlled territory. If the government’s military approach in the east is a precedent for its conduct of the northern campaign, civilians and their property are at grave risk.

Much of the blame for the resumption in violence lies with the LTTE; its ceasefire violations and abuses of the population under its control pushed the government towards war. The Tiger strategy was to shore up internal support by provoking a Sinhala nationalist reaction; it worked, although the insurgents may come to regret their approach. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has also overplayed his hand. Relying on support from Sinhala extremists, he has let them set an agenda that allows only for a military approach.....
Complete 38 page paper at the link.
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Old 02-28-2008   #16
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http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/...2450520800.htm

End of ceasefire in Sri Lanka — Will it lead to peace?

While the abrogation of the ceasefire in Sri Lanka has raised fears internationally that the ethnic conflict will escalate, it is seen by Sri Lankan authorities as creating space for a more inclusive and sustainable peace process, one in which it clearly wants India to be more actively involved, says G. PARTHASARATHY. The author is a former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan.

That apart, there are two corrections that I wish to make.

The statement, "......ferocious ethnic struggle between its Hindu Tamil minority and its Buddhist Sinhalese majority." as contained in the article, "Sri Lanka's Return to War: Limiting the Damage", is incorrect.

The Sri Lankan struggle is an ethnic 'struggle' and has no religious fervour spurring it on. In fact, the top echelon of the LTTE has Christians as was the late Anton Stanislaus Balasingham aka AB Stanislaus, the LTTE's Chief Negotiator and think tank. He was a Roman Catholic, whose first wife (who died) was a Protestant. His second wife is an English lady.

Second, all Tamils of the Tamil Diaspora do not support the insurgency. So go ahead, with a clear conscience and buy as many suits as you like from them, be they in Singapore or in Timbuctoo!

Last edited by Ray; 02-28-2008 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 02-29-2008   #17
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Default This will be interesting....

Bloomberg has an interesting article this evening on Sri Lanka



Quote:
Sri Lankan Army Captures Mannar Water Control Area From Rebels

By Paul Tighe

Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka's army captured sluice gates controlling water supplies in the Mannar area in the latest advance against bases held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the north.

As many as 30 Tamil Tiger fighters were killed or wounded during a daylong battle in Sinnaodaippu, the Defense Ministry said on its Web site late yesterday. The LTTE hasn't commented on the attack.

Air force jets bombed an LTTE artillery command center in Jaffna yesterday and pilots ``confirmed that the target was accurately taken,'' the ministry said.

Sri Lanka's military is staging almost daily attacks on the LTTE's estimated 7,000 fighters in the north, the last region held by the group after it lost control of the east in July. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government has vowed to eradicate terrorism in the north while seeking a political settlement with all Tamil groups in the region.

The LTTE, designated a terrorist group by the U.S. the European Union and India, has been fighting for a separate homeland for 25 years in a conflict that has killed more the 70,000 people.
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Old 03-11-2008   #18
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HRW, 6 Mar 08: Recurring Nightmare: State Responsibility for “Disappearances” and Abductions in Sri Lanka
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The resumption of major military operations between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in mid-2006 has brought the return of a haunting phenomenon from the country’s past—the widespread abduction and “disappearance” of young men by the parties to the conflict. With the de facto breakdown of the 2002 Norway-brokered ceasefire between the parties, and its formal dissolution in January 2008, it is likely armed conflict will intensify in thecoming year. Unless the Sri Lankan government takes far more decisive action to end the practice, uncover the fate of persons unaccounted for, and prosecute those responsible, then 2008 could see another surge in “disappearances.”

Hundreds of enforced disappearances committed since 2006 have already placed Sri Lanka among the countries with the highest number of new cases in the world. The victims are primarily young ethnic Tamil men who “disappear”—often after being picked up by government security forces in the country’s embattled north and east, but also in the capital Colombo. Some may be members or supporters of the LTTE, but this does not justify their detention in secret or without due process. Most are feared dead....
Complete 243 page report at the link.
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Old 04-09-2008   #19
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The Washington Times, 7 Apr 08: Sri Lankan Rebels Set Up US Branch
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.....Mrs. Mauskopf said the LTTE has "covertly operated within the United States" for years, drawing on the country's financial resources and technological advances to further its war of terror. She said the organization had undertaken a major worldwide campaign to raise money for its offensive against the Sri Lankan government.

In Maryland, Thirunavukarasu Varatharasa, a Sri Lankan national, was sentenced in January to 57 months in prison on charges of conspiracy to provide support to the LTTE and the attempted exportation of arms and munitions. In a sting operation, he and three others negotiated to buy a laundry list of weapons from an undercover business in Baltimore.

A criminal complaint said Varatharasa conspired to export $900,000 worth of machine guns, ammunition, surface-to-air missiles, night-vision goggles and other military weapons to Sri Lanka. A co-conspirator, Haniffa Osman, who lives in Singapore, even traveled to Baltimore to test fire some of the weapons at a range in Havre de Grace with undercover U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.....
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Old 04-24-2008   #20
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Default Hundreds Killed in Sri Lanka Battle

Hundreds Killed in Sri Lanka Battle, al-Jazeera English, 24 April 2008.

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Heavy fighting between Tamil separatists and government soldiers has subsided in northern Sri Lanka after intense battles left hundreds dead or wounded.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) claimed on Thursday they killed more than 100 soldiers, wounded about 500 and lost only 16 of their fighters in a 10-hour firefight the day before.

But the defence ministry said its forces killed more than 100 Tigers and reported losing 43 soldiers, with another 33 missing in action.

It was the security forces' biggest loss in a single offensive since October 2006.
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