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Archive for July 11th, 2008

THE LTTE HAS started to suppress Government servants living in uncleared areas forcing them to contribute Rs. 4,000 from their salary to the coffers of the LTTE, Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said yesterday (9) based on the information from civilians fleeing the uncleared areas.

“Even the pensioners have not been left out of this, as they too are forced to contribute Rs. 4,000 out of their pension,” Brigadier Nanayakkara added.

He also said the civilians living under severe pressure of the LTTE were now fleeing to the cleared areas in large numbers.

“Five hundred and seventy seven civilians have already arrived in the cleared areas within this year alone with a large number of civilians reaching Government controlled areas within the first week of this month,” he added.

Brigadier Nanayakkara also said that an estimated 200,000 civilian population in the uncleared areas are living under severe pressure as the LTTE has made it compulsory for the civilians aged 17 to 50 to undergo 10 days military training.

“There is an indication that the LTTE is making a major effort to defend their remaining strongholds in the Wanni and recalling ex-LTTE cadres back to the organisation for this exercise,” the Brigadier added.

He said a number of Tiger cadres have surrendered to the Security Forces within the past few weeks as members of the outfit are beginning to realise the futility of their mission.

(Daily News)

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Delilah PALM

The Israeli Military Industries may have an answer to the limitations faced by the Sri Lanka Airforce and the Army in decapitating the LTTE leadership. The solution is in a IMI’s version of the Tomahawk Missile called Delilah Precision Attack Loitering Missile.

Decapitation strikes are currently designed around the capacity and or limitations of our strike capability, which is capable but limited to the range of LRRP units and MI spies. As seen in recent LTTE communications, the Tamil Tiger Leaders do still engage in limited functions, specially military funerals. Not a single leader has been hit in recent times before or after attending an event like this.

The arrival of a target of opportunity is usually preceded by a cordoning-off of an area, making it impossible for spies to infiltrate followed by a blanket of bodyguards and layer upon layer of LTTE units impenetrable by a small LRRP team. Tigers also confuse Military Intelligence by scrambling the venues and last minute changes to the routes taken by its leaders. Tiger leaders travel disguised and are highly mobile making it difficult for bombers to target them.

The IMI’s Delilah missile, first introduced in 2004 has a loitering capability like a suicide bomber and a remotely controlled engage-disengage function plus an on-board CCTV camera that directs the weapon to the target through a real-time video feed thus maximizing target efficiency and avoiding collateral damage.

Once fired from the ground, air or ship, the missile can home in on the GPS coordinates provided initially by HUMINT but if the target is not at the location, it can change course or completely disengage. If the target is not available when it reaches the location, the missile can literally wait for it to arrive while quietly hovering over the location.

The 30kgs of explosives on board and the agility of the missile is enough to take out even a fast moving VIP security detail, Zlin-143, floating weapons warehouse or any other movable or immovable object. The weapon can be fired from any standard rocket launcher system.

Delilah PALM, manufactured after 10 years of research and development by Israel has a range of 150kms and was recently ordered by the Chinese for their Military. It should be available to any friendly government of Israel for a price.

Click here for video

(Defence Wire)

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The political chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) B Nadesan has been vocal in talking to the media ever since the election in the eastern province concluded. In these “medialogues” the LTTE’s concern on the political and military developments taking place in Sri Lanka was evident. The successful implementation of the 13th amendment in the eastern province would pave way for restoration of peace and security there. And that would be political loss of face for the LTTE. (Fortunately for the LTTE, this does not appear to be happening with the required alacrity.)

In the two successive interviews in Indian media (to the populist Chennai Tamil weekly Kumudam and the other to the Times Now TV) Nadesan has touched upon developments in the India-Sri Lanka relations and in Tamil Nadu ‘Eelam’ politics. The reasons for this sudden LTTE interest in India and Tamil Nadu are not hard to understand.

The low profile visit of a high level Indian delegation that included the National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan to Colombo last June gave rise to a lot of speculative stories. The visit ostensibly to discuss security and other issues connected with the forthcoming SAARC conference spawned stories of induction Indian troops and gun ships to Colombo for ‘security cover.’ The unconfirmed report ruffled the dovecotes (or is it hawk perch?) of anti-India lobby in Colombo, with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) joining in to raise the decibel of protest against any such move.

To the LTTE, now beleaguered in the ever decreasing constricted domain in the north, the entry of Indian troops into Sri Lanka under any excuse would be bad news. The ‘follow up visit’ of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Delhi taking place now must have further added to LTTE’s worry about India.

With a regime not friendly to the LTTE in power in Delhi, the LTTE had not been keen on India’s intervention. That stand still appears to remain unchanged. In a Daily Mirror interview on June 12, 2008 Nadesan parried a pointed question on LTTE’s stand on India playing a role as peace facilitator and spoke about India giving consistent support to the Norwegian facilitated peace process. He was only reiterating what other leaders of the LTTE had said in the past on the subject.

On the other hand, the LTTE appears to be evolving a strategy to kindle the interest of the people of Tamil Nadu in the Eelam war which had been lukewarm at best. With the parliamentary polls around the corner in India, in LTTE assessment probably this was the right time to revive the subject in Tamil. LTTE’s idea was to enrolling the support of the people of Tamil Nadu to bring about a change in Indian policy on Tamil struggle (read LTTE). The LTTE ideologue V Balakumaran was the first to speak on this subject in recent times. In an Australian Tamil radio interview last month, Balakumaran while hoping India would change “its current policy towards us one day,” said “we believe firmly, our strong cultural ties to our brothers and sisters in India will help their policy makers to select a just and fair path towards our people.”

That inevitably brings the question of attitude of Tamil Nadu leaders towards the LTTE. The political fate of Tamil Nadu is decided by veteran leader of Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) M Karunanidhi now in power and J Jayalalitha, the supreme leader of the rival All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIDMK) sitting in opposition. Karunanidhi had been distancing himself from the LTTE after it was involved in killing Rajiv Gandhi, the former Indian Prime Minister, near Chennai in 1991. It was probably his way of absolving his past espousal of the LTTE cause even as Indian troops were fighting them. But Rajiv killing ended in DMK electoral rout and the LTTE became an
untouchable.

The LTTE appears to be making a studied appeal to M Karunandhi to come to the help Eelam Tamils (read LTTE) now suffering in the Sri Lanka war. In the Kumudam interview, Nadesan was all praise for Karunanidhi. Describing him as a person “with love for Tamil language and a man with full of Tamil sentiments,” he said he had a deep interest in the Eelam Tamil affairs. “As blood is thicker than water, seeing the despicable situation of Tamils in Eelam, he remains emotively firm [on this issue]. We fervently hope that the Kalaignar’s personal emotions of would turn into the emotions of the great organization DMK and along with the other political parties in Tamil Nadu.”

Nadesan further added that it was a mistake to say that Karunandihi was running an administration very strict on the LTTE because of the Central Government pressure. It seems the LTTE was prepared to grin and bear the past as far as Karunandihi was concerned. Nadesan made this clear when he said “Whatever said and done, it is not a wrong idea for us to expect that the Kalaingnar should consider beyond the borders of India’s national as well as regional political confines, but it is important that he should come forward to help the liberation of the Eelam Tamils.”

The LTTE probably does not want any other adverse issue related to the LTTE be raked up at this stage in Tamil Nadu. The most adverse issue is LTTE’s assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. It is an indelible black mark on LTTE however much the LTTE acolytes may speak of hidden hands and plots. The issue suddenly came to the limelight a few months back when Mrs Priyanka Vadra, the daughter of Rajiv Gandhi had a low profile meeting with Nalini Murugan, who is completing a life term of imprisonment in Vellore prison for her role in the Rajiv Gandhi’s murder. Her death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment at the intervention of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, the ruling Congress party president. Nalini has appealed for release from prison as she has completed 14
years of imprisonment.

Priyanka-Nalini meeting brought out the feeling of contrition in Nalini for her role in the black deed. According to media reports at that time, Nalini felt as if “all my sins have been washed off by Priyanka’s visit… I feel she has pardoned me by calling on me at the prison… I am indebted to her all my life.” This is hardly the image of an avenging killer fighting for the cause of Eelam. So when the TV interviewer raised the issue of Nalini’s release, Nadesan said the release would ‘recognise’ the legitimate aspirations of Tamil people. “We firmly believe holistic changes will take place and Indian government will recognize the legitimate aspirations of Tamil people and their freedom struggle,” he added.

The legitimate aspirations of Tamils are well recognised both in India and Tamil Nadu. It does not require the release of a person convicted of complicity in murdering an Indian leader who had great sympathy for the Tamil cause. And his memories still occupy a special place in Tamil Nadu. Nalini’s release would only churn up more dirt on LTTE’s deeds in Tamil Nadu which are already causing concern to law enforcing machinery.

In any case the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has his cup full even without taking up the Eelam cause at the behest of the LTTE. The survival of the present ruling coalition in Delhi, where he wields a lot of influence, is at stake. There are reports of back end proxy skirmishes between his two sons to seek a place in the sun in the pecking order of succession. The rising prices of essentials are hitting the roof top after the petrol prices were hiked. And he will have to work out a fresh strategy for the parliamentary election to hold on to his coalition flock, after the Patali Makkal Katchi (PMK) a minor coalition partner broke away.

The AIADMK under Jayalalitha is flexing its biceps to take on the DMK in the parliamentary poll. If the Eelam issue is taken up by the DMK leader, the AIADMK chief well known for her anti-LTTE stance will strike back.

Past elections had shown that the time for the Eelam cause as a “vote catcher” in Tamil Nadu was over. The LTTE would do well to rethink its Tamil Nadu strategy. It should study and understand Balakumaran’s advice in his radio interview. He said, “while support of the international community is necessary for achieving the goal of liberation, Tamil people should clearly understand that policies of the International community towards different nationalist struggles are often inconsistent and motivated by self-interest.” So probably the LTTE has to plough its own furrow now, because support from India and Tamil Nadu will require a total change of its act.

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At least four civilians were killed and 25 injured when Tamil Tiger rebels fired at a civilian bus in Sri Lanka’s deep south on Friday, the military said.

The incident in the southern district of Monaragala, far from the usual fighting in the north, came amid near daily land, sea and air attacks as the government pursues a strategy to gradually retake the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) northern stronghold and win a 25-year-old civil war.

“A civilian bus came under attack. It was small arms firing towards the bus. Due to the small arms firing three passengers died on the spot and another died after admission to the hospital and 25 were injured,” said military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara.

The military said that a day earlier ground fighting in the far north of the country had killed 19 Tamil Tiger rebels and injured 27 more, while two soldiers had died and 25 were injured.

The military also said fighting on Wednesday had killed 31 Tamil Tiger rebels and injured 32 while three soldiers had died and 20 were injured.

The LTTE, fighting to create an independent state in north and east Sri Lanka for ethnic Tamils, a minority in the predominantly ethnic Sinhalese country, were not immediately available for comment.

Analysts say the military has the upper hand in the latest phase of the long-running war given superior air power, strength of numbers and swathes of terrain captured in the island’s east, though they still see no clear winner on the horizon.

An estimated 70,000 people have died since the civil war began in 1983.

The Tigers regularly retaliate with suicide attacks increasingly targeting civilians, and roadside bombs, experts and the military say, deterring some tourists and worrying investors in the $27 billion economy.

(more…)

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Major General [Retired] Janaka Perera, it has been announced, is to be the candidate of the UNP for the post of Chief Minister of the North Central Province at the forthcoming elections for the Provincial Council for that Province.

In nominating Janaka Perera the UNP has departed from the practice common to all parties of nominating some political `hanger on’/stooge of no quality, with no achievement or record of service to the People to his name. This has been the tragic history of politics in our land.

Whether one likes Janaka Perera or the UNP or not, there can be no doubt in any person’s mind of Janaka Perera’s tremendous record of achievements and service to the country. So great are they that even the dictates of modesty do not restrain Janaka Perera himself from extolling them. The question that does rightly trouble one is how genuine is the UNP in so nominating him ? Has the UNP after an unusually long slumber, finally realized Janaka Perera’s enormous worth ? Or as I believe is the UNP, after an unprecedented string of defeats, seeking to use Janaka Perera to gain a victory at the polls and thereafter discard him? How is it, that if the UNP genuinely appreciated Janaka Perera’s achievements and worth, it did not even consult him before entering into the disastrous Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE; or appoint him as Secretary Defence or Chief of Defence Staff when it formed a Government in 2002?

From the several interviews given by Janaka Perera to the media, it is evident that he:- believes that the LTTE must be eliminated militarily in order to restore peace; believes and/or has been made to believe by the UNP that he would be its `Defence Spokesman”; and c) believes and/or has been made to believe by the UNP that he would be placed in charge of Defence and Security in any future government headed by the UNP.

The UNP however, has not committed itself to any of these matters. It therefore behoves the UNP to officially announce, in the interests of transparency in which Janaka Perera affirms he believes:- whether it is committed to the elimination of the LTTE militarily to restore peace; and, whether it is committed to making Janaka Perera, who is undoubtedly the most knowledgeable about Defence related matters among all member of the UNP, its Defence Spokesman and thereafter placing him in charge of Defence and Security in the event o it forming a government either by itself or in coalition with others

This is not all. Janaka Perera is not only justly proud of his achievements in stabilizing, developing and rehabilitating the villages in the Weli Oya sector, the residents whereof are entirely Sinhalese, but deeply conscious of the strategic importance of that sector and the need to maintain, develop and strengthen it. As a Patriot, an Officer and a Gentleman Janaka Perera would be the first to acknowledge the debt owed by the Nation to the countless number of patriots among the troops and residents of the area who sacrificed life and limb to stabilize, develop and rehabilitate those villages; and that it would be an unthinkable act of unadulterated treachery to dismantle a single village or evict a single resident from any of those villages.

The very existence of the villages of Weli Oya are, however, anathema to the LTTE and to its lackeys, the chief of which is the TNA, namely, an officially unacknowledged political ally of the UNP with which it has been co-habiting for several years. What is the policy of the UNP in respect of Weli Oya ?? Will it give an official solemn undertaking to the Nation that it is in agreement with Janaka Perera’s views on the matter; that it will maintain, develop and strengthen those villages; and will not, under any circumstances, dismantle a single village or evict a single resident from any of those villages?

If the UNP cannot commit itself to the above matters, it must follow as the night follows the day that it merely wants to use Janaka Perera to gain an electoral victory and then discard him. In such event, can Janaka Perera, as a Patriot, an Officer and a Gentleman remain within its fold as Chief Ministerial Candidate or otherwise?

There are other matters that deserve the attention of Janaka Perera which he, not being a `common’ political `carpetbagger’ must disclose to the Nation as a Gentleman Among them are the following:- Janaka Perera has expressed the view that Karuna and Pillaiyan must be charged with the murders of the Policemen in the East on the 11th June 1990. While there can be no question about the involvement of the former in that horrendous crime, the question of whether Pillaiyan, having regard to his age, was involved is in doubt. However, if there is evidence of his involvement, nobody could disagree with that view. The moot point to which Janaka Perera must, perforce respond, however, is whether he agrees that the cabinet of the then UNP Government [which included UNP leaderRanil Wickremesinghe] which was responsible for betraying those 600 odd Policemen by refraining from going to their aid, and refraining from giving them air or artillery support despite their repeatedly pleading for it when under attack by the LTTE; and finally ordering them to lay down arms and surrender to the LTTE, should not stand in the dock alongside Karuna and Pillaiyan on charges of the abetment of mass murder ?

The UNP has expressed the view that it supports the `merger’ of the Northern and Eastern Provinces which would necessarily result in the Tamil Population of the near mono-ethnic North `swamping’ the multi-ethnic population of the East and converting the Moors and the Sinhalese who together constitute the majority in the East to a politically insignificant minority therein. Does Janaka Perera agree to the gerrymandering of the electorate by merging the North and the East so as to deprive the Moors and the Sinhalese of their `voice’ in the management of their own affairs in the Eastern Province and vesting that `voice’ principally in the Tamils of the North? One officially acknowledged political `mistress’ of the UNP, namely, the SLMC , demands the creation of a separate autonomous `Muslim Unit’ within a merged North-East Province. The UNP has made some `noises’ expressing agreement with this demand and never rejected it. What are Janaka Perera’s views on the matter?

Janaka Perera is no `ordinary’ candidate. He comes forward in these polls with a record of achievement and service to the Nation that no candidate of whatever political colouration has come with in contemporary times. He stands high in the esteem of the People. The responsibilities cast upon his broad shoulders are therefore all the greater. He must do something that no politician has done in contemporary times, namely, `level with the People’. Despite his undoubted achievements and service to the Country, and the esteem in which he is held by the People, Janaka Perera is not exempt from the fact that a person is judged by the company he keeps.

(more…)

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The present Wanni offensive in context.

The present military thrust must be seen in context of the March, 1999 Ranagosa operation of the Army. The Sri Lanka Armed forces led by Sri Lanka Army launched a surprise four phased military operation from Vavuniya and Mannar fronts under the commandership of the then Wanni Security Forces Commander Major General Lionel Balagalle to capture entire Vavuniya district and most parts of the Mannar district.

The codename given to the operation was ‘Ranagosa’ (Battle Cry). The fourth phase of operation was for the troops to gain full control up to the west of Paranthan. The newly captured area which was brought under control with very little resistance from the Liberation Tigers Tamil Eelam (LTTE) , comprised 28 villages in which 20,000 people lived in approximately 960 sq km in Wanni west .

Though successful initially, it later turned into a terrible catastrophe in which the security forces suffered many reversals and lost control of Kilinochchi, Paranthan and Vedithalathivu due to shortage of manpower and many other factors. During that operation nearly 200 troops lost their lives and over 500 were injured.

Soldiers from the 57 Division, who commenced towards Thunukkai and Malavi in the West of Mullaitivu district, are now operating some ten kilometres away from Thunukkai. Through this northern supply route to Vedithalathivu, the Pooneryn road would also come under military control, resulting in the Tigers completely losing control of Vedithalathivu.

With the fall of Vedithalathivu, the troops would able to take control of most parts of the western area of the LTTE held areas. This would also result, in preventing the rebels sending the displaced Tamil civilians seeking refugee status in nearby India.

The present offensive comes nine years after the last time an attempt was made on the Wanni. This time around there is no codename and the troops had to face heavier resistance from the Tamil Tigers. The troops are focused on capturing the LTTE’s most important coastal stronghold Vedithalathivu in the Mannar front and Malavi in the Kilinochchi district.

The strategic importance of Vedithalathivu area lay in it being the Tigers’ main sea unloading location to the west of areas under their control. The LTTE has two escape routes from the Vedithalathivu area, one is the sea other one is to flee to north of the area on the Pooneryn road.

Up to date security forces have succeeded in capturing two thirds of the whole area in the Mannar district and many areas in the Vavuniya district; which Operation Ranagosa had captured in 1999.

On July 4, after days of fierce fighting soldiers of the 57 Division captured the LTTE-held Periyamadu village, which is on the boundary of the Mannar and Mullativu district. Last week, troops from 58 Division (Task Force 1) (Mannar front) and 57 Division (Vavuniya front) linked at south of Periyamadu.

The troops also continued putting pressure on Vedithalathivu from the south and south east and are nearly one kilometre away from Vedithalathivu while the 57 Division soldiers are some four kilometres away on the Periyamadu-Vedithalathivu road.

Attempts to bring in Indian pressure on offensive.

The LTTE’s main concern now is to pressurize India in order to stop the current military operation against them. In recent times, Tamil Tigers attempted unsuccessfully to persuade India to influence Sri Lanka to stop the Army march to their controlled areas. Against the backdrop of a failure to do so, a few LTTE sympathisers have currently organized a protest campaign in Rameshwaran, Tamil Nadu, charging the Sri Lanka Navy for attacking Indian fishermen.

Another tactic of the LTTE was sending more and more Sri Lankan Tamils as refugees to pressurize the Indian Central government. Earlier they used the Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarians and other MPs to put pressure on the Central government . But all these actions of theirs was of no avail.

A matter of equal concern to the LTTE is that if they lose the Western coast they would be unable to bring down arms and ammunitions from Tamil Nadu using fishing boats in small quantity.

Sri Lanka Navy charged that since June last year up to this month, as many as 6,839 Indian fishing boats were seen off the north Sri Lankan coast in Thalaimannar, Pesalai and Delft island seas.

The Navy said that those boats were here not only to poach fish, but smuggle various items for the LTTE . They claimed these boats carry fuel, bicycle balls and explosives for the LTTE and also that each boat gives 20 litres of fuel as a bribe to the LTTE to be able to fish in this area.

Considering these issues, the loss of the western area in the Kilinochchi and Mullativu district would badly affect the LTTE.

Ground sources have revealed that some 600 civilians have gone to Skundapuram in Kilinochchi from Mallavi, Thunkkai in the Mullativu district due to latest fighting in the region so far.

The main strategy of military now seems to be is once they gain control of Thunukkai, they could link Mannar-Pooneryn road with Kanakarayankulam through Thunukkai, and thereby create a new frontline connecting the newly captured areas.

Then the 58 Davison or Task Force, which was operating in ‘Rice Bowl’ would able to take over this fresh frontline.

In the meantime, soldiers of the newly established 62 Division now moving towards A-9 main road from Munudrippu and South of Palamoddai. The 621 Brigade is moving towards Palamoddai and the 622 Brigade to the A-9 road.

The troops are some ten kilomtres away from the A-9 main road. Recently, fighter jets from the Sri Lanka Air Force bombed north of Omanthai in support of the ground troops.

Welioya Front

Troops of the 59 Division early this week captured another important LTTE complex in north of Welioya. The complex known as ‘Michel Base’ was one of the satellite camps of the LTTE’s famous one four base.

The completely underground Michel base is one of the main camps in the area and troops captured it after weeks of fierce fighting with the Tamil Tigers.

Currently, LTTE is unable to face the army due to shortage of manpower, as a large number of their cadres are getting killed on a daily basis.

There are five battle fronts with six Divisions currently under operation in the Wanni region. Those are 53 and 55 in Jaffna, 57 (Vavuniya West), 62 (Vavuniya east), 59 (Welioya) and 58 (Mannar) Divisions. Given the difficulties of the LTTE in fighting with six fronts, there is a larger likelihood of the LTTE losing both ground as well as its Cadres.

However, ground troops confirmed that fierce fighting would erupt when the troops close in on the LTTE in Kilinochchi, since preparations are underway by the LTTE leadership for a final battle. The troops are at the boundary line of the last two remaining districts under LTTE control; Mullativu, Wanni. All of the main camps of the rebels are inside the areas under attack at present.

(Daily Mirror)

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