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Old 06-01-2009   #41
Bill Moore
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Default Bravo

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What think thou of a Lawfare thread and where ?
I would love to see one, probably under Small Wars Participants (military-other) or under Global and General (international politics), but you sir are the expert in this area, I'll gravitate to where ever you post.
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Old 02-13-2010   #42
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Default Looking for info on Sri Lanka's defeat of the LTTE

I have to write a relatively short paper for a class on terrorism and terrorist groups (a problematic definition, I know). I have wide latitude on the subject and thought I would look at Sri Lanka's defeat of the LTTE and the employment of the "ruthless" approach. I mainly want to focus on the shift in strategy over the last decade, how they handled the international objections (human rights), and prospects for long term stability.

Bottom line, am looking for good books and articles as sources, or credible websites. This isn't a dissertation, but the sources need some rigor.
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Old 02-13-2010   #43
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Default Pointers

Niel,

There are several hits on LTTE here and one main thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=7413 and I expect places like IISS have commented on what happened. I suspect Indian observers watched the most, try http://www.satp.org/and maybe the Israelis who acted as advisers to the Sri Lankans IIRC.
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Old 02-14-2010   #44
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Niel,

There are several hits on LTTE here and one main thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=7413 and I expect places like IISS have commented on what happened. I suspect Indian observers watched the most, try http://www.satp.org/and maybe the Israelis who acted as advisers to the Sri Lankans IIRC.
Been interesting trying to find disinterested (objective) comment - most of the articles or sites are clearly partisan to one side or another.

The summary by Bill Moore in the thread you linked helped.
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Old 02-14-2010   #45
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Cavguy,

The latest CRS report may interest you and there is also this paper by a Sri Lankan General.

Hope those help.
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Old 02-15-2010   #46
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I have wide latitude on the subject and thought I would look at Sri Lanka's defeat of the LTTE and the employment of the "ruthless" approach. I mainly want to focus on the shift in strategy over the last decade, how they handled the international objections (human rights), and prospects for long term stability.
As concerns "ruthless" I would pass on the commonly heard question from many foreign officers as to why is it OK for the US Army to kill "100's" of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet not OK for others to do the same given far greater strategic need in defence of their actual home lands.

I submit that Sri-Lankans merely observed that US(?)NATO conduct of operations gave very wide latitude to the idea of what levels of force were acceptable in the pursuance of policy.

From what I have seen and heard Tactical methods used were mostly just "best practice" give the threat, terrain and policy.
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- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
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Old 02-15-2010   #47
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Default common sense doesn't apply

Wilf,

Excellent points and they to many conflicts around the globe. I wish some of our DOD and DOS policy members would comment on how any nation could feasibly defeat a separatist movement like the LTTE following our policies? Policies as you stated that we wouldn't follow ourselves. From where I sit we seem to generate extremely naive policies that are beginning to result in America influence being less welcome in many parts of the world. One only need to review the Leahy Amendment on human rights violations to get an understanding of how far we have gone down this road to unintended isolation from the real world.

The losers now (and their supporters, both State and non-State in the global community) get to take the winners to trial, which means that the conflict will continue via lawfare that Jmm99 wrote about a few times. In a way the EU, UN, U.S. and others have joined hands with the LTTE, while China and others have joined hands with the Sri Lankan government. Is this a World War (using lawfare)?

I think the West in general is getting to the point that our extremely simplistic views of right and wrong are going to result in us in having less influence on the world stage as we continue to isolate ourselves in a concoon of quixotic ideals that simply don't apply in the real world. Perhaps the saddest part of this is the intent to support human rights is good, but in practice the way we apply the policies results in indecisive action, which in turns results in conflicts dragging on for years. This results not only in much more suffering, but in lost generations that know nothing but war.

If it is essential to our national interests to enter a conflict (directly or indirectly), then whenever possible I would recommend pushing for a strategy that resulted in a decisive victory instead of prolonging the status quo by applying naive policies. I realize the world isn't black and white, but in many cases we "seem" to add imaginary complexity.
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Old 02-15-2010   #48
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Default Some points from afar

Niel,

Thinking a little about LTTE and the 'ruthless' approach. First LTTE were themselves ruthless, which helps explain India's decision to exit. Throughout the war no all Tamils sided with LTTE - once they had been confined to the Jaffna area. LTTE were not the only targets of the Sri Lankan state, IIRC a left wing revolt amongst the Sinhalese was repressed brutally before LTTE "took to the stage".

LTTE ran an effective PR campaign abroad, amidst the diaspora, but many in that community only co-operated from fear. Their PR failed to gain traction amidst a wider audience - including the Tamils in southern India. Compare the LTTE abroad to other Indian insurgent groups, who has heard of them? Very few.

The war went on so long and only spectaculars, e.g. Colombo airport attack, got external attention, so Sri Lanka knew few would oppose a 'ruthless' approach.

Were the LTTE exhausted by the end?
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Old 02-15-2010   #49
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Wilf - Are you wondering why the Israelis can't fire 155mm artillery into Palestinian towns at will? I really doubt it is the U.S. holding the IDF back, perhaps you should ask them.

Bill - Can you cite a single serious example of the "losers" taking the "winners" to trial? Where has this happened where the so-called "winners" didn't deserve it? Do you think that, say, the Bosnian Serbs are being unjustly persecuted for the "battle" of Srebrenica? Or perhaps the Hutu supremacist FAR shouldn't face any consequences for their counterinsurgency "techniques"? Or maybe we need to take a second look at Charles Taylor's record from a more understanding perspective. And I don't know why everyone hated on Saddam Hussein - don't people understand that the Kurds and Shiites were violent too? After all, Saddam's tactics really brought the whole Kurdish-Arab conflict to a swift end --- if we'd just allowed him to "finish the job" back in 1991, we wouldn't even be talking about a Kirkuk problem now, would we?
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Old 02-16-2010   #50
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Default Helpful links

Cavguy,

You may find some of these links useful. Most are from Tamil websites, so of course they're bias, but professional. The conflict continues, though the means for resisting have changed (for now).

http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=31156

Quote:
Given the failure of the international community's responsibility to protect the Tamil people during the slaughter and during the post-massacre collective internment in Manik Farm, new national and transnational litigation strategies must be explored by all actors supporting the cause of Tamil justice so that substantive remedy can be afforded to the thousands of Tamil victims.
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=31091

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Unavoidable Politics
Many young British Tamils, as do their non-Tamil peers, profess an aversion to the morally questionable arena of politics. ‘I am not into politics; I believe in human rights’ some say. But politics and human rights are inextricably linked. To try and improve human rights whilst turning a blind eye to the politics driving abuses and repression is not only futile but foolish.
An attempt to mobilize the Diaspora youth to take political action.

http://www.tamilcanadian.com/news/

News posts from the Tamil Diaspora in Canada, also contains links to their version of the history of the conflict, etc.

http://www.europeanvoice.com/article...ces/67156.aspx

Quote:
The Commission recommended on 15 December that member states suspend the preferential trade terms after a Commission report published in October found “significant shortcomings” in Sri Lanka's compliance with its human-rights commitments under the scheme, known as the GSP+ regime.

Sri Lankan officials say that the suspension is unfair because it refers to the situation on the ground when the country was at war against Tamil insurgents. They argue that the situation has much improved since the Tamil Tigers were defeated last year. EU diplomats dispute this view and say that the problems are not all linked to the Tamil situation.
I'm sure further bankrupting Sri Lanka will improve humanitarian conditions in Sri Lanka.

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/200...-to-surrender/

Good picture of Diaspora protesting outside the White House. Article provides some interesting insights, but putting it in context it was written shortly after the LTTE's military defeat.
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Old 02-16-2010   #51
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Default Couple of points...

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One only need to review the Leahy Amendment on human rights violations to get an understanding of how far we have gone down this road to unintended isolation from the real world.
You, sir, are a master of understatement (in the vernacular; you got that right!).
Quote:
I think the West in general is getting to the point that our extremely simplistic views of right and wrong are going to result in us in having less influence on the world stage as we continue to isolate ourselves in a concoon of quixotic ideals that simply don't apply in the real world.
True, I believe -- unless someone screws up and gives us a wake-up call, a likely occurrence...
Quote:
...the way we apply the policies results in indecisive action, which in turns results in conflicts dragging on for years. This results not only in much more suffering, but in lost generations that know nothing but war.
Absolutely correct. Our half baked approach kills more of us and them and does more general harm than would occur with firm and rapid action...

Tequila:
Quote:
...Can you cite a single serious example of the "losers" taking the "winners" to trial? Where has this happened where the so-called "winners" didn't deserve it?
Isn't that in the old eye of the beholder as they say? Particularly the last clause...

In any event, I think Bill was looking at the future and simply discussing the trend line. It hasn't truly happened yet in a major way but the portent is obvious.

What we cannot know at this time is whether that will be a good thing or a bad thing...

P.S.

Left this off...

Re: Wilf and 155s; I think his point was that we, the US, are rather hypocritical with respect to who should shoot what and where, i.e a rule for us, another for others. I personally think he's correct.

Last edited by Ken White; 02-16-2010 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 02-16-2010   #52
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Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
.....I mainly want to focus on the shift in strategy over the last decade, how they handled the international objections (human rights), and prospects for long term stability.

Bottom line, am looking for good books and articles as sources, or credible websites. This isn't a dissertation, but the sources need some rigor.
There is a tremendous amount available on the human rights issue, so I won't bother with that. But here's some other material you may find of use:

UK House of Commons report with a brief general history and a detailed look at the conflict from '02 on: War and Peace in Sri Lanka

A pair of RSIS commentaries: Ending the LTTE: Recipe for Counterterrorism? and Military Defeat of the Tamil Tigers: From Velvet Glove to Iron Fist.

And this one from the East-West Center, published just before the final push by the Sri Lankans: Countering Violent Extremism: The Fate of the Tamil Tigers

Outside of complaints regarding the campaign against the LTTE, the Sri Lankan government isn't looking so clean in plainer terms. Since winning the presidential election last month, Rajapaksa has had his political opponent arrested, purged the military and assaulted/jailed numbers of journalists who were critical of him during the election campaign. Opposition protests have been broken up by the police in Colombo and other cities. Even without the LTTE, the government is doing itself no favors in the legitimacy/stability department.
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Old 02-16-2010   #53
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Thanks for all the sources. My paper (last of grad school!) will likely point out that the LTTE's defeat is owed mostly due to the following factors:

1) Political Isolation from terror attacks
2) Reduction of its expat funding network (related to #1 in the EU and India)
3) Physical (geographical) isolation
4) Introduction of massive aid and political cover from China on the government side that allowed the "ruthless" approach.

Overall, I think the tactics used by the Sri Lankan government didn't really change, mainly the shaping conditions.

My graduate thesis came to the conclusion that possession of external support and sanctuary were the best predictors of insurgent victory, rather than the tactic used. This action is another confirming case study.
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Old 02-16-2010   #54
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Originally Posted by tequila View Post
Wilf - Are you wondering why the Israelis can't fire 155mm artillery into Palestinian towns at will? I really doubt it is the U.S. holding the IDF back, perhaps you should ask them.
Ken White is correct. My point is the US killed 12 civilians in A'Stan yesterday, with no condemnation from the UN, EU, or anyone and the theatre commander, McChrystal was not accused of war crimes.
....and yes, this gets talked about a lot here. How is something "OK" in Iraq and Afghanistan, but almost exactly the same action "not OK" in Gaza?
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 02-16-2010   #55
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Some excellent paper have been released by ICRC on the Sri Lanka and LTTE offensive.Especially concerning its impact on the practice of war and restriction of humanitarian field.
This also echoes with Wilf questions. Basically it is not Ok to kill civilians in Irak or Afganistan.
Following Sri Lanka and Swat valley offensives, ICRC even went up to call for a new round of Geneva Convention discussions to addapt and extend civilian protection to new forms of war.
All available on ICRC website.
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Old 02-16-2010   #56
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How is something "OK" in Iraq and Afghanistan, but almost exactly the same action "not OK" in Gaza?
"Almost" exactly?

Call me when U.S. forces kill over 250 children in Marjah, or when Marjah turns into one of the most densely-populated parts of the world.

Also, like I said, do you guys have any real examples of an "unjust" war crimes prosecution by the ICRC (which the U.S. does not even support) or even any solid examples of how the U.S. or the West is losing "global influence" (I thought we didn't really care how the rest of the world thought of us, Ken, since they are fated to hate us/be jealous of us no matter what?) due to our insistence on care for civilians in wartime?
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Old 02-16-2010   #57
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Call me when U.S. forces kill over 250 children in Marjah, or when Marjah turns into one of the most densely-populated parts of the world.
Just in Marjah, or in the 2003 invasion? Amiriyah in 1991?

Moreover population density is highly variable and context specific, and I've never seen it specified in ROE.

Point being, in Afghanistan alone since 2001, as a result of US military action you have:
direct deaths: at least 5,568 - 8,360
indirect deaths in initial invasion: 3,200 - 20,000
direct & indirect deaths: 8,768 - 28,360

You can argue all you want about the accuracy of these figures. Folks are rarely swayed by facts.
Now let us be clear. If it really mattered, air strikes and artillery would simply not be used in Afghanistan. - but this is the real world and war is extremely complicated, messy and unpredictable, so civilians will always die, once you start using force. American lives matter more to Americans than Afghans. - and that rule applies for most peoples.

My point being it is easy to pontificate about levels of force used, when it is not your civilian population under fire, and your own strategic requirements are far less pressing.
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
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Old 02-16-2010   #58
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Default The ICRC is a marginally well intentioned organization

of little real worth so I don't pay them much heed...
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even any solid examples of how the U.S. or the West is losing "global influence" (I thought we didn't really care how the rest of the world thought of us, Ken, since they are fated to hate us/be jealous of us no matter what?) due to our insistence on care for civilians in wartime?
I do not know if we're losing global influence, nor do I or most Americans particularly care. I also believe that said 'influence' is predicated to a great extent on the strength of the USD. What I do know is that our popularity fluctuates wildly but has never been great so far as the rest of the world is concerned.

Said popularity does go up when we save someone from from a bad day (which happens a lot) and it goes down when we throw our weight around or screw something up (which happens even more often). In my observation, our popularity was not great in 1947 (first year I paid attention) and has been on a generally downhill slope with only occasional upticks since. mid to immediate post Viet Nam was the lowest point I've seen. Iraq was just a slight downturn compared to VN.

The fact that no one like to be bailed out of difficulty by someone else also intrudes; immediate gratitude turns to resentment...

All that to reiterate that I and many I know do not really care (a few I know do care -- but not a great deal...) what the rest of the world thinks of us; that our 'global influence' is and off and on thing dependent on many factors; and that the fact that we espouse one rule for ourselves and varied more stringent rules for others merely makes us hypocritical -- the effect of that on our popularity or influence is indeterminable and infinitely variable. That effect has nothing to do with what I said or why I said it.

Our 'insistence' on care for civilians in wartime is a totally practical thing. Killing or harming too many has adverse military effect; we're simply trying to avoid that. That 'concern' is enhanced nowadays for propaganda reasons and to be politically correct and placate the American left. I suspect much of it would go out the window if we had a real war on our hands. You read this? (LINK). Shows what happens when the gloves are removed, whole different attitude. And the American left was in charge then...
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Old 02-17-2010   #59
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The fact that no one like to be bailed out of difficulty by someone else also intrudes; immediate gratitude turns to resentment...
Reminds me of something a nice old Chinese guy told me, he started out as an orphan working in the Malayan tin mines before WW2 and ended up quite successful. He said, "In this life, don't hurt anyone...but don't help anyone either." I used to think he was joking.
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Old 02-17-2010   #60
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Default Aside from not leaving the 's' off "likes," I should've said

'will sooner or later' turn to resentment.

Very wise oriental gentleman you talked to...
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