Is there a military solution to the war in Sri Lanka?


264 thoughts on “Is there a military solution to the war in Sri Lanka?

  1. Killing Prabhakaran would go a long way. However, it’s often unsafe to destroy something without having something better to replace it (as per Iraq, and life). There has to be a political solution to enable moderates to fill that void rather than something even more extreme

  2. There IS a military solution to the war in SL. But winning the war won’t solve the problem. Yes, you have to take care of the symptoms, but you also gotta take care of the desease. And that can’t be done acceptably by the military.

  3. Aadhavan militarily there is a solution to THIS war… the LTTE aren’t that great a fighting force, take away their cover (which was once proposed by Ranjan Wijeratne – I believe his exact words were “napalm the bloody wanni and make the villagers caught in it national heroes”) and finishing them off militarily wouldn’t be unimaginable.

    The few heavy military defeats the SL Army has faced have been to either wilfull negligence on the GoSL’s part (I’m including the military top brass as well) or lack of political will. Militarily there is a solution to THIS war but like Blacker I agree that it’ll be akin to applying a band aid to an amputation unless you deal with the underlying factors.

  4. ‘Military solution’ – as a catch phrase is, I think, inappropriate while being an oxymoron.

    By saying military solution we mean that defeating the Tigers, i.e. – getting them to lay down their arms, and eradicating them as a fighting force, will ‘solve’ the problem. Yes, it might be a solution to the problem of war. And in that limited brief advocates of nuking the Wanni may have a point.

    But that would be a ‘military victory’. Not a ‘military solution’. The only way I envisage a miltary solution is standing over all the surrendered LTTE cadres, monitoring their movements and those of potential dissidents, and threatening them with death as soon as they look like proposing something mildly rights based. That to most – apart from perhaps JustMal – is not a ‘solution’.

    A solution can only be found diplomatically, politically and socially – not to mention legally. A military victory may guarantee peace by default for a few years. But sooner or later another Uncle P will be born. And if things continue the way they are he will find a way to bugger things up again.

    ‘Military victory’ – yes, possible. If the arms dealers who actually run the country want one.

    ‘Military solution’ – never.

  5. Both sides can win battles but not ‘the’ war and hence a military solution cannot be durable because what you will have is temporarily battles being won and lost and temporary claims of winning the war.

    A comment on ‘eradicating’ the LTTE. The LTTE might be an atrocious, terrorist group, if you want to call it that, but the decision to take up arms by the Tamils was not a decision taken by one man or group. It was a result of historic, politic and social processes and hence largely a ‘natural’ product of history. I also believe that armed struggle in itself has nothing wrong it and has a lot of value. The Indian Independence struggle, the struggle for democracy in South Africa all had an armed struggle element in their independence struggle movement. But to claim that armed struggle is the only form of struggle is unacceptable to me. To have parllel, different forms of struggle is important to me and it is a political and diplomatic form of advancing the struggle that will help the Tamil community help eradicate its grievances and establish self-governance. That is not what is being realised by the Tamil community at large. This has lead to a situation where – because of the rigid form of the struggle which has now perhaps has become idolised and centralised in one person and group and their ‘one track’ ways of achieving their ends – has led to a clouding of the value and the authencity of the Tamil community’s struggle for autonomy and self-respect.

    The LTTE thinks that the struggle for remedying the grievances of the tamil people = the LTTE movement and hence rejects alternative and moderate and other parallel forms of struggle. Even if it believes in politically and diplomatically taking the struggle forward this has a secondary value for them and it is the military way of doing things which they know best and are most interested in.

  6. Yes. There is. And it is the ONLY SOLUTION.

    BUT I DO NOT mean by ‘military solution’, army outside the barracks and continues fighting. We can have smart military solution with Army inside the barracks.

    Example: Abomb is military tool. An owner can get things done without using it, but just accruing it. That is a military solution too. Abomb Stops lot of posible wars.

    Example: My mother used to show me cane and told me to finish the plate of rice. She didn’t hit me. But I eat. That is a military solution.

    Remember, this is not the first Arm-Struggle in Sri Lanka – this will not be the last one too. We can fix the LTTE issue, but something else will come up next. It is just matter of time.
    We have Police failure in Sri Lanka – that is why this type of things keep on popping up.

    Military is the protection of the parliament. Parliament is the head of the democracy. Without fixing military, political solution will not last.

    Father must have control over children. Military must have control over the society. If children do not respect the father, he has to fix him self first before start the Father~Son talk.

    But at the end of the day Father & Son must talk. That is life. That is nothing to fix. (If you are a father, you may know what i’m talking about) When we come to the taking stage, we will not have any more ‘problem’ to solve – other than issue to work out and way to tack the issue.

  7. Yes it will. Where,

    Militray solution can be defined as: blasting the hell out of the LTTE.

    And War can be defined as the armed conflict which prevails in the North NOW.

    But I don’t think that it would provide a solution to the underlying contributory factors to the war. For that, the only “military solution” is the total annhialation of either the Sinhalese or the Tamils. As it’s some people of both parties who sustain the “war” and the “struggle”.

    Why did some of the Tamils take to arms? Look into that, address that, and the solution will become eminent.

    Can we take the JVP uprisings of the past, and compare them?

  8. T,

    I don’t think it’s logically impossible. It’s just improbable that either side could completely vanquish the enemy. On the one hand, even if the Government manages to take control of the 2/3rds of the NorthEast that is presently under the control of the LTTE, the LTTE could go back to their roots and fight as a guerilla force. I don’t think the war in Iraq is anywhere near over, although technically the new Iraqi regime has been installed under a new constitution.

    On the other hand, if the LTTE does manage to play it safe until Bush and the war on terror becomes part of history without substantially diminishing their military ability, it is still highly unlikely that they would be able to capture and secure the major NorthEastern towns that are not in their control, given Pakistani assistance to the SL mlitary and the fact that the brightest military commander in the island now fights for the other side.

    The Ranjan Wijeratne option would not have been implemented by that erstwhile gentleman, even if he had not been killed. Basically, the dependent economy of Sri Lanka and its servient politics does not accommodate the carrying out of such brilliantly conceived military strategies.

  9. Eventual military defeat of the LTTE is inevitable. Prabhakaran will not live forever. Even if we don’t manage to kill him off, he’ll atleast have to die of some illness or old age eventually. The LTTE will become leaderless and will disintegrate once that happens. The differnt tiger factions that spring up will probable finish each other off. We just have to hold on till then.

  10. Every society have problems with government or some one else. if any one thinking of solving them eventually – by talking – or any other way – it is just a dream. Once we solve the LTTE current issue, some other problem will come up. It is not only unique to Tamil society it is common to anyone. We need a good mechanism to handle those issue day to day – democracy is the one we use right now, if that is not suitable; we may need to find something else. That is a deferent story.

    Just because some one have a problem – it do not mean they should get arms. But in SL, in my short life time I have seen two armed uprising. This type of things happen because of the weakness of our military and only can solve by smart military solutions.

    Who ever it is, military can bring them to the democracy – where we suppose to solve problems at.
    So the solution to the war is military – and solution to the every day life problem is democracy.

  11. Aadhavan,

    The fact is that the GoSL’s current strategy is borne out of pure political will… the SL military was and always has been superior in every aspect it just suffered from the lack of a collective political backing.

    The ideal step now would be for the GoSL to actively back (NOT select) a moderate tamil voice (either a person or collective) and provide the necessary platform for them to represent the Sri Lankan Tamil community. An alternative moderate voice is something that SL Tamils lack at present (if only because most have been murdered by the LTTE). Can you think of any person/group that could conceivably represent the majority of Sri Lanka’s Tamils? I’m sorry because I cannot.

    “The Ranjan Wijeratne option would not have been implemented by that erstwhile gentleman, even if he had not been killed. Basically, the dependent economy of Sri Lanka and its servient politics does not accommodate the carrying out of such brilliantly conceived military strategies”

    Don’t be so sure about that machan, if you reckon that eventually the USAs war on terror will be relegated to the history books, dependent economy or otherwise we (and the rest of the world) wouldn’t have even have taken second look at the razing of the wanni. Plus to be honest it wasn’t even his idea in the first place… This was a suggestion by American military advisors who were willing to supply the napalm as well – I should know I was present when he (Ranjan not the Americans) said all this.

  12. “The ideal step now would be for the GoSL to actively back (NOT select) a moderate tamil voice (either a person or collective) and provide the necessary platform for them to represent the Sri Lankan Tamil community”

    I disagree. The tacit or implicit backing of an alternative voice by the government will completely undermine the credibility of that voice in the minds of the Tamils. The ‘voice’ will be perceived as yet another attempt by the government to use Tamils to undermine the quest for self governance and autonomy, and thus not be accepted by the Tamil community. The EPDP is one such voice. If an alternative voice is to be a credible alternative for tamils, it must be a home grown movement, rather than a government sponsored one.

    Re the use of Napalm and the razing of the Wanni, I suspect that such a military action firstly does not yield the desired results (as seen in Lebanon for instance) and second, is not feasible given the current geopolitical dynamics. Machang, I seriously don’t think that the Indian government will be able to wait and watch the genocide of tamils living in Wanni. Not because the fakirs love us Tamils, but because the Tamils in Tamil Nadu won’t be very happy with such a policy being carried out by the Sinhalese. And it’s not only India. The killing of 17 aid workers provoked such a huge hue and a cry, wonder what will happen if the state starts on a genocidal policy? have you ever stopped to think what Colombo will look like if economic sanctions are imposed on it by India and the EU? Or worse, if India carries out a ‘humanitarian intervention’ to save the tamils. I doubt that the government will ever embark on such a policy mate, instead they will try and contain the Tigers and play the wait and watch game and the problem will go on unresolved. Unless the people of the country, on both sides can pressurize the leaders to sue for peace.

    The truth is that the politics of the south and it’s military strength is totally dependant on international assistance and hand outs.

  13. “Re the use of Napalm and the razing of the Wanni, I suspect that such a military action firstly does not yield the desired results (as seen in Lebanon for instance) and second, is not feasible given the current geopolitical dynamics.”

    First off Lebanon and the Wanni are not even remotely similar battlegrounds… It’s fair easier to clear out a jungle cover than it is to level out a rugged mountain terrain. The fact is that without the cover of the Wanni the LTTE camps wouldn’t stand a chance to an aerial assault.

    “The killing of 17 aid workers provoked such a huge hue and a cry”

    And what’s happened since – nothing mate… do you see any inquiries?.. come to think of it the call for an inquiry into the muttur killings has all but died down as well.

    “Machang, I seriously don’t think that the Indian government will be able to wait and watch the genocide of tamils living in Wanni.”

    I think you’ll find the furour will be shortlived as will any supposed sanctions. No matter how you spin it one man’s genocide is another man’s collateral damage. The russians did it in Chechnya, the USA is doing it Iraq… they see it as a means to an end. In this climate of global terrorism, things like this are soon forgotten. It’s a fucking shitty situation but it’s the truth.

    “have you ever stopped to think what Colombo will look like if economic sanctions are imposed on it by India and the EU”

    Remember Mrs B’s closed economy… ask your parents… it’ll be a cakewalk compared to that… the fact is that in the remote chance that it does happen, it won’t last long.

    “I doubt that the government will ever embark on such a policy mate, instead they will try and contain the Tigers and play the wait and watch game and the problem will go on unresolved”

    Never said they will machan… just said it was something that was considered at one point

    “If an alternative voice is to be a credible alternative for tamils, it must be a home grown movement, rather than a government sponsored one.”

    That’s what I meant machan, in no way would a GoSL appointed rep ever have any credibility, there’s just too much distrust… BUT whomever the Sri Lankan Tamil community selects should be given the platform and full backing of the GoSL – just so that you remove the idea of the LTTE being the sole (self appointed) representative of Sri Lankas Tamils.

  14. T,

    Sorry to interrupt inthis dialogue that you are having with aadhavan.

    Just one comment on the alternative Tamil voice.I dont see the difference between ‘appointing an alternative tamil voice’ and ‘giving a platform and providing full backing’. It will be a difficulty for any serious authentic tamil alternative voice to attach in any way or receive backing from the GoSL. This will never happen unless it is possible to convince the Tamil people that the GoSL has got rid of its majoritarian label. I dont see that happening in the recent future.

    All the alternative voices can do is to be very low key and try to influence events behind the scenes. There can be no existent of a credible alternative voice in open. Even if there is one it cannot last long. They will be shot dead. By whom? The first guess is easy and in most cases will be the correct guess as well. But an understanding of the current political dynamics in the country will tell you that there are more than one guesses to make here.

    All the references to alternative tamil voices by the GoSL will be then people like Douglas Devananda and Anandasangaree. Thats is the very unfortuante situation we are in.

  15. Aadhavan / T – I find your exchange very interesting. Can I ask you both (and Aacharya and whoever else wants to butt in) something? What will be the future of Karuna?

  16. T, re razing the Wanni – mmm I love the smell of Agent Orange in the morning? Maybe the American advisors were relics of Vietnam 🙂 What’s to stop the LTTE from hiding arms inside villages or using non-combatants as human shields? A bit harder to justify napalming random villages because they were suspected LTTE hideouts.

    I beg to differ on one point: there is a difference between Russia, the US of A and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka – due in no small part to July 1983. We do not have enough geopolitical influence to force people to look the other way. The Russians do. Even with the Russians, I think the turning point in international condemnation was when Chechens carried out the Beslan and Moscow theatre raids. The difference: the Chechens admit culpability… the LTTE denies most bombs are their doing

    Ravana: one point of view (admittedly, not one I subscribe to very often – but valid nonetheless) is that Karuna is just as much a dissident as the people mentioned in your earlier post. The only difference from the LTTE’s point of view is that he opposes them by force of arms instead of through political opposition. Should we not err.. protect him like our own mother?

    Smart commander, brutal warlord, a pawn in the larger regional political game … call it what you like. I can’t fault the GoSL or accuse them of short termism for their present handling. The LTTE is the heart attack, Karuna is the flesh wound which may fester tomorrow (or may not). In fact, even if it certainly festers tomorrow – the heart attack still needs to be dealt with first. Then again, there were other fringe Tamil groups (PLOTE?) which were hung out to dry for fighting with the army. Maybe he’ll go the same way.

  17. Also I’m curious at the background behind the whole Karuna split. Iqbal Athas had an article last Sunday where he started off showing how personally close Karuna was to Prabha and its mind-blowing to think how bad the falling out has been.

    I remember there were corruption allegations against him. Were these serious or trumped up? With the doubletalk that goes around these days you can never be sure no?

    Also (& I’m really interested in Aadhavan’s perspective here) how bad is the divide between Eastern Tamils and Jaffna Tamils? The caste divide in Tamil society was extreme during the pre-LTTE era. Does this have a huge bearing on the Karuna split?

  18. I’m excerpting that Iqbal Athas bit about Karuna below. I’m sorry but it’s a bit long though…

    A few months after the Ceasefire Agreement of February 2002, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was badly disturbed by an incident.

    Somewhere near a house in which his wife Mathivathani and children lived in the Wanni, a land mine had gone off. He wondered whether this was part of an internal plot to eliminate him. For reasons of security, he lived separately and visited the family regularly. As chief of the Intelligence and Operations Wing Shanmuganathan Shivashankar alias Pottu Amman was ordered to conduct a full inquiry, most of the LTTE leader’s personal bodyguards were hurriedly purged.

    Mr Prabhakaran then turned to his most trusted confidante for help. That was Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna, then the LTTE’s military “Commander” for the East. He promptly dispatched 500 of his highly trained cadres from Batticaloa to Kilinochchi. The men were to form the inner caucus of Mr. Prabhakaran’s personal protection unit.

    Such was the trust placed on Karuna. The families of the LTTE leader and Karuna were very close. Mathivathani and Karuna’s wife Neera were inseparable friends. During the past three phases of Eelam War, it was he who led all the major LTTE military offensives against Security Forces. This was together with his trained hardcore and battle-hardened cadres from the East. That included both defensive and offensive roles. In the first, he gave leadership to thwart the Security Forces’ advance in 1997 to link Vavuniya to Kilinochchi. It was during the military’s longest, costliest and nearly two-year-long offensive codenamed “Operation Jaya Sikurui” (Victory Assured). In the latter, he led guerrilla cadres on a string of offensives which the LTTE codenamed “Oyatha Alaikal” (Unceasing Waves). They led to the fall of Kilinochchi, Elephant Pass and adjoining areas that were under Security Forces control in 1999.

    If Mr. Prabhakaran trusted Karuna for his prowess in the battlefield, he trusted him equally on the peace front too. So much so, he was made a part of the LTTE delegation for peace talks with the then United National Front (UNF) Government.

  19. Aacharya is right. The only way foster an alternative voice for the legitimate Tamil grievances is to allow it to speak for itself. Not foster it under GOSL patronage. Paradoxically however, this would require the military suppression (defeat?) of the LTTE – who have been known not to be too fond of the ‘alternative’ voices. The voices themselves cannot be those of people despised by even the – for lack of a better word – ‘moderate’ Tamils.

    An all out Apocalypse Now style assault on the Wanni will lead to international consternation. I certainly don’t want another Lebanon on my hands. Not only will India get pissed off but so will Norway, as the Tamil populace of those countries carry a fundamental labour force and vote base. SL in its current state cannot afford to be seen to condone a policy of genocide. Minor incidents (such as the Pottuvil killings, which we still don’t know who did) can be swept under the carpet. But not a government policy. Who will GOSL hide behind?

    One thing I don’t agree with Aacharya is that there is a necessity for alternate voices to be low key. I don’t think so. Sri Lankan soldiers are dying for this cause. LTTE cadres are dying for this cause. But neither the LTTE or the GOSL can murder ALL the Tamils if they raised their voices together. It’s Utopian – but it’s the only alternative to keeping quiet, and has much the same result, except that you won’t be the ones getting killed. It’s just a thought, I maybe missing the wood for the trees.

    Karuna is a smart bugger. Every dog has its day and maybe he saw the sun setting on Prabha’s. Unlike Uncle P though Karuna is a warlord whereas Uncle P has this whole Father of a Nation image shit going for him. Karuna is bad news. Sooner or later someone is going to get rogered.

  20. Apart from the whole international opinion angle, the razing of the Wanni would involve the mass killing of our own citizens. That’s no way to treat people that you want to convince that you want to live with.

  21. T,
    Quite apart from the moral argument against genocide, for all the reasons cited by the likes of ghostwriter, sophist and others, the mass murder/genocide scorched earth? policy is not one that the Government can and will embark on.

    I think that trade with India constitutes 50% of this country’s business. I don’t think it will be very funny if Big Brother to the North decides to clamp down, either militarily or economically. It’d take a crazed nut to carry out such a policy, and the repercussions on the South as a whole will not be very pretty.

    I don’t think the situation in Chechnya is one of genocide. It isn’t in Iraq or, as you have pointed out, Lebanon. Besides, Russia gets away with Chechnya because there is a trade off with America with mutual benefits to keep quiet about the other’s excesses. Plus, there’s the entire petro diplomacy dynamic that plays into the situation there. What pray, does the little Sri lankan govt have to offer the world in return for keeping hush about genocide? What will convince the Indian government to risk a huge domestic political fallout in their most industrialised state, and worse, give up its ambition of projecting itself as a regional power and stability provider?

    Machang, these simplistic, macho sounding sound bites like, “all it takes is to nuke the NorthEast” or “carpet bomb” or “napalm” the Wanni, are only useful for people like Ranjan Wijeratne and Co. to fantasise over a drink, or to assuage their own insecurities. I don’t think they could credibly be any part of a rational, self serving domestic and foreign policy.

  22. Ravana,
    Re Karuna I wonder
    1) who is really pulling the strings here
    2) what are karuna’s ambitions.

    It’s also important to remember that RAW and ISI are using the Sri lankan situation as a playground to thrash out and settle a few old scores. I don’t know how this is directly relevant to Karuna, but it seems very likely that RAW is very, very involved.

    Who’s pulling the strings? What are his ambitions? I haven’t got a clue, but I know that it’s a lot more complicated than just the Government using a defector against VP. There are many other actors in this play. And unlike forum theatre, we the audience can do nothing but sit back, watch this shit unravel and hope we don’t killed.

  23. What is ISI?

    I think it is likely that as you say the Indians were behind the split of the LTTE (i.e. using operatives to approach and woo Karuna). I cannot see how it could have been achieved by anything other than desi-to-desi communication and I think they may have used Indian Tamil operatives to approach him, build up trust etc, offer him a deal – you do this, we’ll do this in exchange. All this is speculation, mind you.

    What is confusing, and what needs to be clearly explored and understood is what the two parts of that exchange are, if in fact the Indians are behind it. We know to some extent what Karuna is doing now, what does he plan to do in the future. What does the Indian government get out of it? What are their motives? What does Karuna want for himself in the future?

    As, NKR asked before, how great is the rift between Eastern and Northern Tamils? Do you find Eastern Tamils supporting Karuna now, or is he a something to be ashamed of?

  24. ISI are the Pakis.

    Ya its interesting that the Paki ambassador himself said that RAW was behind his claymore attack. It’s not impossible he was just trying to yank India’s chain though.

    India’s interest in making the Karuna split is to find a way of regulating the LTTE. Also bear in mind that the new UNP-SLFP deal is supposed to be one that was forced on them by the Indians (by the way ambassador Nirupama Rao’s no of photo ops in the newspapers over the last couple of weeks is crazy)

    India can’t deal with the Tiger thing directly because of their dependence on Tamil Nadu votes. But it seems the Nehru-Gandhi’s are acting behind the scenes to foster some kind of resolution at the moment

  25. Bullshit resolution. India is very happy with the status quo. That is the existence of a protracted armed conflict in the country. I’ll come to why they would want that later. But, the key to preserving status quo during the ceasefire period was to prevent the Tigers from becoming too powerful. There was a feeling I think, that the Tigers might go for an all out military option, and it seems to make good sense for them to weaken the Tigers just so that war goes on. They would also want to make sure that the government never completely dominates militarily either. Hence the non committal support fot the GOSL military machine and keeping the Karuna card in the bag, to unleash him on the government if the forces get too comfortable. Again purely speculation.

    While the specifics are largely assumption based, I’m more certain of the fact that India is very happy with the way things are going. The South Indian economy is thriving and the last thing it needs is competition from Sri Lanka. South Indian ports are rapidly advancing and catching up on Colombo. Furthermore,India is well on its way to economically subjugating Sri Lanka. If you control the economy, you control it’s politics as well.

    The Jaffna Tamils and the batticaloa Tamils don’t have an identical social identity, but the common political identity of the Northern Tamils and the eastern Tamils was never in doubt. A friend told me that in the Batti University, there is a sense of shock over what has happened with Karuna. Of course, he still has plenty of supporters and henchmen on his payroll.

  26. “First off Lebanon and the Wanni are not even remotely similar battlegrounds… It’s fair easier to clear out a jungle cover than it is to level out a rugged mountain terrain. The fact is that without the cover of the Wanni the LTTE camps wouldn’t stand a chance to an aerial assault.”

    That’s rubbish, T. You point out that Lebanon and the Wanni are quite different, but then compare the latter to Chechnya, which is completely different again.

    As Ghostwriter’s already pointed out, napalming the jungle won’t work. It’s not a viable tactic. The Americans tried it with Agent Orange in Vietnam, and it did not work. It is literally impossible to totally erradicate natural cover with even defoliants. Only an absolute numbnut would thing it could be done with napalm. Wijeratne was quite aware of the impossibility of the tactic, but the high command at the time was following an American-style military only strategy. Thus we had many similar comments, notable was Lakshman Algama’s “Catch them by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow.” An outdated idea that had already failed decades before.

    Helicopter assaults on LTTE camps? One inconvenient little detail, T: we don’t have enough choppers. We can’t airlift even a battalion in one go, and that’s the minimum requirement for conventional heliborne assault ops. Remember the IPKF chopper assault on Jaffna town in ’87? That’s what happens when you don’t have the aircraft — you get your arse handed to you, usually in little pieces.

    Ravana, ISI — Inter-Services Intelligence.

  27. Let’s presume a purely military solution does not exist.

    Theoretically, I think military operations can nevertheless be used to weaken the LTTE’s negotiating position. However, I’ve heard it mentioned that in the past, military pressure has not been able to force the LTTE to the negotiating table. Is this true? Why did it fail?

    Conversely, in the present situation, it appears that the LTTE is bowing to military pressure, although this could be a ploy to recoup. Question is, how far should the GoSL proceed with the military pressure before agreeing to a ceasefire? Should it try to capture territory, bases? Which ones?

  28. Generally speaking, the LTTE tends to make concessions and compromises when they are in a militarily weaker position. The LTTE will not respond positively to acts of goodwill from our side. Only strategic realities have any impact on them. The LTTE must be mentally conditioned the same way you train a dog. This has been shown to be effective in the last few months. Before the government started this military campaign, the LTTE would make up dozens of excuses as to why they would/could/should not have peace talks. But now they are so desperately calling for immediate negotiations.

    The LTTE must be put in a position where it doesn’t have the option of going back to war if their demands are not met in negotiations. It should be kept under constant pressure.

    A victory in war doesn’t necessarily have to be achieved by bombing out the enemy. A major compromise by the LTTE would be an effective surrender.

  29. Just Mal,
    if the government does negotiate a settlement with the Tigers, that would be the best case scenario for the Tamils. Nice to see that your views have changed so radically. Leaves a glimmer of hope for this country.

    remember, historically, the government war is being waged to protect political status quo, the LTTE’s war was to change staus quo. Not all Tamils agree with the LTTE’s alternative solution, but all Tamils resent the status quo. A majo compromise by the LTTE that still substantially changes status quo is very acceptable to average tamils. We’re on the same track man. I like you NGOT, pro Tamil types peaceniks

  30. Aadhavan I take it that most of your last post was tongue in cheek.

    Ravana makes an interesting point though. When is it enough military pounding? It is impossible to argue with JustMal when he says that the LTTE only want to negotiate when militarily weakened. They’ve employed it as a tactic before and will again by all accounts. It’s like going into a clinch in a boxing bout.

    However, unlike a boxing bout, we have all reached the consensus that a victory to one pugilist is not the solution we crave, and that even if it was it was probably unattainable. So the clinching and the kidney punches will go on till kingdome come. That’s not desirable.

    If the government accedes to the peace talks and calls a halt to all offensives and retaliatory operations, they negate all the achievements that they have racked up in the recent past and nullify all the sacrifice of lives on both sides. It’s like the losing team shouting ‘last try wins’ when the darkness is approaching. Never mind if you’re leading by 10. That is also not acceptable.

    In the same vein it is conceptually impossible to talk peace when one is beating the crap out of the person you’re talking with. So what the to do?

  31. In the end, Ravana, a ceasefire has to be just that. A cessation of all hostilities. The failure of the current CFA was partly because both sides (at various times) attempted to circumvent the CFA and carry on hostilities. You use of a clinch as an analogy is correct, but a ceasefire shouldn’t be a clinch, but more like the time between rounds.

    It’s arguable whether military victory has or has or hasn’t brought the Tigers to the table in the past. Certainly cumulative military action has forced the Tigers to accept talks as a time out.

  32. Ravana,

    I think it’s important we remember that the two parties go into negotiations with bargaining chips, and that is where military strength comes into play. The LTTE is not the only party here that wants to talk when it is weak. In December 2000, the LTTE declared unilateral ceasefire, but the government armed with Pakistan’s handouts did not accept the gesture. It was after the Katunayake attack that hit the economy that the government was willing to talk…and the south wanted its government to talk. On a larger scale, I have made the point earlier on this blog that Tamils think it was the military activity of the Tigers in general that forced the government to even consider talking about the ethnic problem.

    But the punching does not have to go on till kingdom come if the two sides are willing to compromise. Of course the question of how much compromise will be determined by what your bargaining chips are. The hope of course, is that military parity will force the two sides to consider a federal model as a compromise solution.

    The problem is that the two sides still think they can alter the military balance in the short term and thus return to the table with more chips. I sort of think that any substantial alteration of the balance is unlikely, unless the Government boasts of victories where they not only take territory, but destroy the LTTE’s heavy artillery with the taking of territory, or alternatively if America changes their President and foreign policy and stops chanelling military handouts to the forces via Pakistan.

  33. Short term alteration of the balance is not unlikely, Aadhavan, even substantially. The fall of a major base or town, or even the killing of an individual leader can have substantial effect.. It has happened numerous times in the past (Katu, EPS, Jaffna). But your point that both sides feel that this is doable is correct.

    In the end, the decisive battle is going to be at the table, and all these lesser battles are just a prelude.

    The LTTE command recognizes this, and to greater extent, so does the GoSL. The problem is the southern population. Their lack of perception (evidenced by guys like Sitting Nut & Mal) is the reason the GoSL doesn’t have the political will to gain either victory or force a compromise. When you have comments like Mal’s above about training the Tigers like dogs, you realize that the general Sinhalese population still hasn’t a clue what we’re up against. Talking to a Northeastern Tamil, you’ll often hear the same thing, that the GoSL only understands the stick. Either way, until it’s recognized where the decisive battle is, the punching will go on.

  34. First of all Comment Number 32 was not by me. I think it’s Sophist, inadvertently commenting as Ravana (because I was using his computer this morning).

    Aadhavan – That’s an interesting point you make there. You think the Americans are behind the Pakistani support? Fresh idea, not unlikely, though.

    David – Are there any specific strategic territories left that can be captured or any targets that can be as easily taken out as easily as Sampur? Once the GoSL runs out of easy targets, I think then we are likely to see a return to negotiations. They’ll drag their feet until then. Fortunately, I don’t think there are many easy targets left. Although, I could be wrong.

    On the other hand, leaving some easy targets unaffected could also be a bargaining chip – a deterrent to pulling out of talks once they do start. I hope some big shot is actually sitting down and thinking about the this stuff, and where to draw the line, strategically.

  35. Well said. The two parties have got so used to fighting, they’ve forgotten how to outsmart each other and win battles at the table, as evidenced by the amateurish exchanges at the recent talks.

    e.g –
    GoSL – you killed so and so and many more
    LTTE – actually we’ve killed many more. I’ll give you my books where we talk about it.
    GoSL – Oh, that’ll be lovely. Will you autograph my personal copy.

  36. Ravana, in this kind of war, a strategic target would be anything that the enemy must defend. On the GoSL side that’s pretty easy to find — Palaly & China Bay would be top end. On the LTTE side, the Sea Tiger bases all along the east coast would be a good start. None of these need to be held or defended against counterattack for long. It only has to be rendered unusable for a limited period to demonstarate its vulnerability. Like Katu. No strategic target would be easy, though. They rarely are. Not sure I would term Sampur easy either!

  37. Ravana,

    I thought it was obvious that Uncle Sam was behind the Paki donations.

    Come to think of it, there seem to be at least two reasons that support such an assumption. Firstly, Pakistan itself and Pakistani military in particular are recipients of American largesse. The Musharaff regime is heavily propped up by Bush and Co. It is unlikely that American military aid to Pakistan will be routed to Sri Lanka without American express sanction.

    Second, America has expressed its desire to help the Sri Lankan military repeatedly. It has used equivocal language with regard to the conditions for that support, but the desire has been stated. Without risking dragging its name into the mud in Sri Lankan politics or risking Obama or Hilary crushing McCain in the debates with the accusation that American military aid is helping the armed forces of Sri Lanka kill innocent civilians like the 17 aid workers and the 10 Muslims, it makes a lot more sense to route the aid through Pakistan.

    There is another reason. pakistan has no stake in the conflict here. They stand nothing to gain by supporting the Sri Lankan military. If I’m not mistaken , post Elephant Pass multi barrels were the first time Pakistan had donated arms to SL. i don’t think the massive amounts of military aid from Pakistan now can be explained as being purely a result of the personal friendship between Musharaff and Sri Lal. America though, does have a stake in seeing that the Tigers don’t secede. They, I suspect want the government to finish off the war, and then will pressure the Govt to sign a deal with the “democratic” Tamils, who like the SL government will allow the Americans to do their thing in Trinco and the rest of the North East.

    In any case, there is an institutional political reason why America does not want secessions. Too many little little countries sprouting all over the place could empower the south against the north, given the one state-one vote at the UN, and the consensus voting regime at the WTO.

    Blacker, other than the boosting of morale, in military terms, how strategic are Sampur and the checkpoints in Muhamalai. From what you know, was there a battle for Sampur or did the Tigers withdraw. I read that the Tigers had taken their heavy artillery and crossed Veruhal Aaru. Is this true?

  38. Aadhavan, Pakistani military aid to SL began in the ’80s, so it’s nothing new, and certainly is nothing to do with either Musharraf, Srilal, or even the Americans. When SL began large scale airborne training in the early ’90s, it was done in Pakistan, South Africa, and Israel, again without any American connection. When dedicated fire control training for artillery commanders and FOs began in the mid ’90s, it was done in Pakistan. When pre-delivery training of for the MiG-27 began in the late ’90s, it was done with the PAF. Pakistan (like India) does have a stake here. The Pakistanis will put a dog into any fight that is on the peripheries of India. It’s all connected somewhere. True, Pakistani involvement has increased (and it might be through increased US funding). This doesn’t mean anything either way, and there’s no real evidence for either argument.

    None of the recent battles are really strategic ones, Aadhavan. Sampur & Muhamalai were more important for their attrition. It’s the first time the SLAF is having real success using jets in the close support role. Most of these battles have been ploys to draw out the Tiger arty where the Kfirs and MiGs can get ’em. That’s their real importance. If DBS Jeyaraj’s prediction about Elephant Pass is right, then that’ll be the first real strategic battle.

    Yes, there was a battle for Sampur (all those soldiers didn’t shoot themselves). Yes, the Tigers withdrew (some might say ran like the clappers). Yes, they did take their arty across the Veruhal. What was left of it after the jets had a go. Whichever way you look at it, the Tigers have taken a beating these past months. Nothing they can’t come back from, but a beating nevertheless.

  39. Yes err…sorry. Ravana usurped my computer – so that was me.

    Aadhavan you’re right. The punch trading will continue, and it is only to be expected that those in the lead, ie – the GOSL at present, will be the ones least likely to agree to talks.

    I think we have all arrived at the consensus that military victories will be mere bargaining chips at the table. And both sides want to go in with as many as they have. We all agree – I hope – that regardless of the collection of chips, the final battle will have to be fought out at the negotiating table.

    My concern however, is the fact that the GOSL due to several stakeholders to whom they are indebted, the Army, the voters, coalition partners will be loathe to withdraw in the wake of these victories – real or imagined.

    It’s a tough call for the GOSL to make, but acceding to the request of talks despite holding the temporary upper hand will give the GOSL the moral high ground (that’s one for you JustMal) and establish some shred of credibility among the Tamil people.

    Whether the LTTE are serious about talks is yet to be seen, but I don’t think GOSL is in a position to refuse their overtures for much longer.

  40. David, Riviresa, which came immediately after the end of the Kumaratunga ceasefire in 1994, was the last clear time of having the Tigers on the backfoot that I remember. (I was not following war news closely then so I might very well be wrong about this). This time around, again, immediately after a ceasefire we seem to have the Tigers on the back foot. Is this because the Tigers consolidate new bases during ceasefires which are in territory that are very vulnerable to attack?

    From your last post, it appears that the SL military gets better trained and aquires new capabilities continually. Is the another reason the GoSL appears dominant now? Are the SL armed forces of 2006 significantly better than the SL military of 2001? The air attacks seem to be working more effectively than ever before.

  41. “That’s rubbish, T. You point out that Lebanon and the Wanni are quite different, but then compare the latter to Chechnya, which is completely different again.”

    David I’ll think you’ll find the ‘rubbish’ in the quote above.

    In the Lebanon/Wanni comparison I was referrring solely to terrain and not the ideological struggle. I apologise if by saying…

    “First off Lebanon and the Wanni are not even remotely similar battlegrounds… It’s fair easier to clear out a jungle cover than it is to level out a rugged mountain terrain”

    …you somehow misconstrued the two, I didn’t think it needed to be made simpler.

    The Chechnya comment was part of my argument that in the event of napalming (which again I never suggested as a military strategy, just put forward someone else’s idea that I privy too), in my opinion, the furour would be shortlived as would any sanctions… see I didn’t compare it to terrain… at all… got it all in one Blacker?

    “We do not have enough geopolitical influence to force people to look the other way.”
    Ghostwriter, just turn that sentence around and you get:

    “We do not have enough geopolitical influence to force people to look ‘our’ way.” – I think you’ll find that we don’t need to force people to look away, we are insignificant enough for that to happen organically.

  42. “If I’m not mistaken , post Elephant Pass multi barrels were the first time Pakistan had donated arms to SL”

    I didn’t say they didn’t help with the training David. Just that there were no substantial donations of arms. I may be wrong, but all your examples are assistance in the form of training. I already knew there was training assistance. In any case, was it given free of charge? The huge shift in policy, with these massive handouts and direct military aid I hypothesised, was due to America. What is your reason for the shift in policy? It’s unlikely that they have any more stake now than they did 6 years ago right?

    In any case I adduced two other arguments besides the one you had problems with. That America props up Pakistan’s military and that America has always expressed a desire to help out the armed forces, but that political reasons may militate against such a policy being carried out overtly.

    T, if we are really insignificant, why does the most powerful nation in the world, send its top officers here from time to time (Armitage and Burns of late) to bully the Tigers and encourage the government. Why does the US have a problem with the Tigers buying American arms when the US make a huge profit out of selling arms. Why does Pakistan keep sending those handouts over?

    I was a little surprised when Musharaff revealed that it was Armitage who had delivered the “stone age” threat. He must have been pretty high up and he was pretty involved here also wasn’t he?

  43. ok Aadhavan the US is fighting a little thing called the “war on terror” and it is being fought mainly on two fronts:

    1. The physical attack – whether covert or otherwise there are military operations being carried out against insurgents and terrorists.
    2. The image that it is actually doing something about global terrorism (which the US has pointed out is its self appointed duty to stamp out) – this includes helping the GoSL fight the LTTE (a terrorist organisation).

    Richard Armitrage is part of USA’s ‘face’ when it comes to dealing with global terrorism and being the deputy sec. of state, he is the most junior in terms of position (next to the sec. of state and defence sec. and national sec. advisor) and thus most likely to be sent to SL.. It serves their broader purpose to actively help other nations, no matter how small, fight terrorists.

    “Why does the US have a problem with the Tigers buying American arms when the US make a huge profit out of selling arms”

    Come on machan do you really need to ask this question? If it ever leaked that they were clandestinely selling arms to a proscribed terror group it would seriously undermine their global image. So it is more advantageous to show that they’re doing something about global terrorism.

  44. ya, so it’s image is important and that’s why it won’t allow genocide against the community that the terrorists purport to fight for, perpetrated by what is supposed to be a democracy. Either Sri Lanka is too insignificant for the LTTE to be even a problem, or it is significant enough for genocide to be a problem.

  45. T, thanks for attempting to articulate your earlier arguments, but they are still flawed. It isn’t “It’s fair easier to clear out a jungle cover than it is to level out a rugged mountain terrain”. So far no one has been able to clear even moderately sized areas of jungle successfully. Mountain terrain on the other hand is comparatively easy to interdict via aerial mine-laying, as the Soviets did in Afghanistan. Even if you don’t want to use mines, modern technology makes detection of hostiles far easier in mountains.

    If you were not putting forward the ‘napalm’ idea as a tactic, why bother to mention such a ridiculous proposal at all? It was laughable when Wijeratne suggested it, and hasn’t changed since. What was your point, pray tell?

    There has been no similar strategy by the GoSL in the past, so deducing that there will be no sanctions or a short-lived furor has no basis.

    Ravana, I’m not sure if Riviresa was the last successful period or not, but never mind, let’s say it was. That offensive was clearly different to the penny packet fighting we’ve seen now. Certainly the Tigers push the envelope and establish positions in areas that are sometimes vulnerable to attack, but I can’t knowledgeably comment if this is the reason for the GoSL successes following ceasefires. It certainly was different in ’90, when the period immediately following the ceasefire was markedly bad for the GoSL.

    The difference this time is that the fighting hasn’t been really to grab or hold territory of any significance. Whether it’s Muhumalai or whatever, it’s nothing of real importance. As I said earlier, the significant gains have been in the destruction of LTTE infrastructure, personnel, and support weapons. The Army has managed not to overreach itself and kept it’s offensives tightly within it’s comfort zones. If Jeyaraj is right and the GoSL makes a drive for Elephant Pass, then that would be a significant deviation from current strategy (that of using real or alleged Tiger aggression as an excuse for a smack on the nose).

    I’m not sure if I can say that the SL military is that much better than it was. It’s kept up with technological advances, and certainly did use the ceasefire for large scale training (contrary to popular theory at the time). One area that the forces have seemed to have improved over my day is that they no longer put as much funding and reliance in armour. Instead they’ve put more into real interdiction and close support.

    Aadhavan, you’re right about the weapons vs training. But this may not necessarily be about US policy. Certainly, the US support of Pakistan has given the latter a lot of spare stuff to pass on to us. They did this with the stuff left over from arming the Afghan Muj by giving it to the Taliban. Don’t know if it’s free or not. Is anything ever free, even if you don’t pay cash?

    IF the US is behind the weapons donations, it isn’t so much about keeping it secret as much as practiclities of weapon type. The US doesn’t manufacture the stuff we use (Soviet bloc), whereas Pakistan has access to huge quantities of this, so it’s easier to pay for them to give it to us. So I don’t think it’s a change in Pakistani policy, just an increase in aid.

  46. Yep, I think it is. You know, I think I should tell you guys now that… er… I never meant to just post the question up there. Basically, I lost the post when I hit the publish button and I thought I went back to delete the title. Clearly, I hadn’t done this probably and i was surprised to see so mmany comments on the post in the morning. Well done. That’s serendipity for you.

  47. Aadhavan,

    As far as I know genocide is any act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. If by burning jungle cover for the express purpose of eliminating terrorist camps a some villages (just to be clear – I am NOT suggesting that the villages are insignificant) get caught then it isn’t genocide, it’s termed collateral damage (which is a bullshit term really in my opinion).

    Machan genocide is a very powerful word that gets thrown around far too easily. I agree that if the GoSL actively targeted Sri Lankan Tamils en masse as a policy then THAT would be genocide.

    When the US carpet bombed Iraq in 1990 the deaths of innocent Iraqi’s weren’t termed genocide…

    “Either Sri Lanka is too insignificant for the LTTE to be even a problem, or it is significant enough for genocide to be a problem”

    Basically supporting the GoSL fight terrorism would further their image as global fighters of terrorism. Helping out (either militarily, politically, financially) smaller countries like SL would boost their image among the more powerful nations. The term “collateral damage” was coined by the Americans to absolve themselves of frankly criminal military actions and would most likely be adopted to continue with support in the event of actions such as that of Ranjan’s

    Come on Blacker don’t make me laugh…To a former military man you would most likely see the inherent flaws in such a tactic but a politician wouldn’t and there have been many flawed military strategies put forward by politicians that have been carried out against military advice (Rumsfeld/Bush and ccupation of Iraq being a case in point).

    Don’t be so sure that a “laughable” strategy wasn’t a serious one at some point.. I don’t know why it was abandoned, maybe it was deemed cost inefficient, maybe he listened to military top brass. The fact is that flawed as it may have been it was a serious option at one point and could have had a major impact (either by being successful in clearing out jungle cover or furthering the cause of the LTTE) on today’s situation.

  48. “There has been no similar strategy by the GoSL in the past, so deducing that there will be no sanctions or a short-lived furor has no basis.”

    Maybe not but were there severe, long lasting penalties for Black July? Hell we’ve got a whole generation who deny it’s importance (read Just Mal’s comments)

  49. T, Wijeratne’s comment was political bombast at the time. He was a very militarily savvy person, and certainly new the tactic wasn’t viable. The reason the tactic wasn’t attempted was because he wasn’t dumb enough to flap his hands and try and to fly to the moon either. It’s apparently impossible. Even if it is possible to clear jungle sufficiently with chemicals (which it is not, as Vietnam proved), we don’t (and never had) the aircraft to do it.

    Iraq was not carpet-bombed. No country has done this since WW2. Carpet bombing is a convenient media term for any sort of heavy bombing. Like high velocity rifles. Anyone know of low-velocity rifles being used by the Army?

    Black July wasn’t a premeditated policy. It was more a spontaenous event. It was more of a GoSL failure rather than an active strategy. Sanctions don’t come into play in that situ.

  50. T, the definition of genocide is a complex and controversial one. I’m working on a moot and there are cases that just discuss this question – what is the mens rea of genocide? I think the wiping out of hundreds of villages, will in the popular mind, constitute genocide though.

    Not so sure about Black July being spontaneous David. I think the truth is a little murky, but there seemed to have been elements of state planning and collusion together with spontaneous brutality of the mobs. Rajan Hoole writes about this in his book and other writings.

  51. Sure, Aadhavan, Black July’s not a cut & dry thing. Of course there was collusion and planning, but to say it was the GoSL is a bit speculative. Certainly individual politicians probably had a hand in it. But the idea that it was engineered by the state is a convenient theory that most Sinhalese fall back on to avoid responsibility for the fact that most of the mayhem was caused by ordinary Sinhalese. We can see similar patterns with post-war Germans blaming the state and the Nazis for everything, when in reality it was really the ordinary volk who did most of the persecuting of the Jews.

  52. Hold on a second there.

    If you read the the UTHR(J)’s take on this whole thing, which I personally find the most balanced, it’s fairly clear that the 1983 riots had government sanction. Cyril Matthew, Gamini Dissanaike, Lalith Athulathmudali and Ranasinghe Premadasa are all named to varying degrees of responsibility. Ministry vehicles were used to transport mobs, electoral lists were used to identify Tamil houses, arrested rioters were released on orders from politicians. The President did very little to stop the violence. For over 24 hours there was no curfew. He addressed the nation only about five days later, and when he did it was apparently clear that he thought the backlash was justifiable, or understandable as a reaction to the killing of the thirteen soldiers.

    I don’t think, the scale of 1983 of the 1983 could have ever been possible if not for government sanction and encouragement.

  53. “Black July wasn’t a premeditated policy. It was more a spontaenous event. It was more of a GoSL failure rather than an active strategy. Sanctions don’t come into play in that situ”

    Bullshit – there were politicians (and some of them are still active) who played very active roles in directly co-ordinating and organizing death squads.. some provided lists of tamil households whilst others provided weapons – All with JR’s knowledge. I’ll bet anything that RAW, ISI and even the CIA knew this… the fact is that nothing happened, there weren’t any long term repurcussions from the international community to covert state sponsored killings.

    “Iraq was not carpet-bombed. No country has done this since WW2. Carpet bombing is a convenient media term for any sort of heavy bombing”

    Apologies for the incorrect terminology – so there were heavy aerials bombings in Iraq (1st gulf war), which resulted in significant civilian casualties and were termed ‘collateral damage’.

    “the definition of genocide is a complex and controversial one”

    I completely agree Aadhavan, which is why we should be careful when applying this term to a military action which directly aimed at eleminating either agents of terrorism or their ability to move freely also affects a civilian population.

    As I understand it there has to be the ‘direct intent’ to commit genocide – that as you pointed out would be where mens rea would be applicable… and the actus reus element (by which I mean the commisioning of genocide) for an action to be deemed a genocide. Wouldn’t it be hard then to justify labelling a military campaign against terrorists as a genocide even if civilians are affected as there is no intent to target them directly?

    As I mentioned earlier military action by sovereign states against terrorists which affected civilians were labelled ‘collateral damage’ in order to assuage any direct responsiblity over the deaths. They were however never termed ‘genocide’. The same terminology was applied when Isreali rockets hit Palestinian targets regardless of the presence of civilians. Isn’t it likely then that similar military action in SL would be deemed as such (by the internaional community) and not regarded as genocide?

  54. “We can see similar patterns with post-war Germans blaming the state and the Nazis for everything, when in reality it was really the ordinary volk who did most of the persecuting of the jews”

    Sure there must have been some but to say that ordinary folk were responsible for most of the persecution is inaccurate. the internment/death camps, the segregation, the ghettos and persecution were organized via the state and agents of the state (Gestapo, SS).

    Agree with Ravana, the state were not merely guilty of turning a blind eye… whether it be just a few members, and they were senior figures – the state actively organized and abetted death squads. It may not have been express policy but it was sanctioned and promoted by representatives of the state.

    “Government sanction (still an arguable point) is different from government strategy, wouldn’t you agree? ”

    In this case no, it was in retaliation to the deaths of the 13 soldiers. In my opinion the strategy was to drive home the message that the response to such actions would be grossly disproportionate.

  55. T,
    the genocide Convention definition is still very controversial and can never be clearly and authoritatively interpreted by a court, so all we have are poular notions of the word.

    Genocide = genos (people) + cide (killing)

    The popular notion of genocide could therefore include the wilful killing of an entire people group with the intention of killing all the combatants within that group.

    In any case, a man is presumed to intend the natural consequences of his action, so if you knew you were going to kill all the people in an entire region, that’s very clearly genocide. Unless you can justify your action as being proportionate military action or invoke self defence or claim that you were drunk and get the penalty mitigated! You can try, but I doubt you can show that the napalming of the entire Vanni is proportionate.

  56. T, you seem unable to grasp the distinction between a government policy/strategy and the involvement of individual members of the GoSL. Is it that difficult?

    I know the current popular trend is to blame it all on the politicians and terrorist leadership for our own sins, and T’s theory is similar to mal’s in this. The entire Sinhalese population would like to forget that they did this collectively. Sorry, but blaming the government as usual won’t cut it.

    T, you again are unaware of the facts that you try to ridicule. The segregation, persecution, and extermination of the Jews were carried out by Germans, some of whom happened to be Nazis. Hitler was a democratically elected leader, not a dictator as some like to think. Throughout the war he had almost total public support until the very last year. This is not fantasy. Read ‘Hitler’s Willing Executioners’ by Daniel Goldhagen if you want to talk about this stuff, but please get a clue before dragging out these forlone cliches.

    Anyway, I don’t really think arguing about Black July is of any use. There is no real evidence of GoSL collusion, and guys like T and Mal find it convenient to blame it all on the state. Conversely, the latter then blames it on the JVP or individual politicians or whatever. Guess no one wants to accept that we did it ourselves.

    But we’re getting sidetracked. I hope its self evident that there’s a difference between a riot and targeted extermination of villages and natural habitat. There has been no such strategy in the past, and T’s comparing it to a lack of sanctions after Black July is flawed. Which was my point.

  57. I don’t think it was a explicit government strategy to kill Tamil civilians during the 1983 riots, although elements in the government did fan the flames, and the leadership turned a blind eye. Although individual politicians should share the blame, the government as a whole can be seen as mostly foolish and tardy. Truth is, it’s open to speculation as to actually how much sanctions there was.

    One thing though is unlikely, I don’t think it was a strategy in the sense that it was a long-term plan. The soldiers were killed, somebody started a riot at the funerals (with or without involvement of a politician) and then the violence spread. Government reaction to the riots indicate uncertainty and division about what action to take more than anything else, I think.

    However, David, I don’t think the majority of Sinhalese wished that consequence upon the Tamils, and what you’ve said in your last couple of comments seem to suggest just that.

  58. Blacker you make it sound as if the majority of Sri Lanka’s Singhalese population wanted Black July to happen or are to blame, which is a ridiculous notion. I can’t and don’t want to speak for mal but never once did I imply that civilians were blame free – you seem to have arrived at that conclusion all by yourself.

    The fact that some civilians were actively involved in Black July is in no way a representation of the entire population in the same way that you assert that just because some Govt ministers were in collusion with the mobs is not a representation of the Govt. Either both sets are totally responsible or they aren’t.

    My assertion is that despite the appearance of chaos Black July was in fact an organized, targeted campaign against citizens of a minority with politicians, military personnel and civilians being involved (now Blacker please don’t take this to mean that I am referring to ALL military personnel ok). The lists of Tamil households were distributed, police were ordered to stand down, rioters were released from custody, thugs were provided with transport… all this was done by politicians not civilians…

    Ok Nazi’s were German, Hitler was German, The SS were German… so Germans carried it out.. there… happy?

  59. Aadhavan,

    Once again I agree with you in that the genocide convention definition is controversial and can never be clearly and authoritatively interpreted by a court.

    However, military action (whether it be in civilian areas or otherwise) invariably involves some degree of risk to civilians (even the most precise lazer guided smart missiles carry some degree of civilian risk). The military is aware of this fact, tries to minimize this and certainly does not intend it so it cannot be termed genocide even if civilians casulaties are sustained. In this scenario, I don’t think that civilian casualties in a campaign aimed at eliminating terrorist cover could be termed as the “wilful killing of an entire people group”.

    Anyway as Balcker (and I am inclined to agree since admittedly he posseses a superior military knowledge than me) has pointed out such a campaign would be nearly impossible to carry out and even if it were we have never had the capability to carry it out. My initial point was that this was once considered as an option and was never intended as a quip or comment over an arrack… that’s all. Fucked up times, fucked up measures..

  60. Ravana & T — If I gave the impression that the entire Sinhalese population wanted the Tamils killed or moved out, and that ’83 was cheered by the Sinhalese, let me correct that impression. That was NOT what I meant. And nothing Mal or T said gave me that notion. What I DID mean was that the Sinhalese population (in hindsight) prefer to blame the whole thing on the GoSL & thugs (just like the German population preferred to blame the Holocaust on the SS & the Nazis). Individuals in the GoSL, military, and civil leadership probably did provide transport, electoral lists, etc, but the killing and looting was carried out by ordinary Sinhalese (some of whom are thugs). I lived in Mutwal at the time and watched the Sinhalese from down the road burn the Tamil home opposite mine. They weren’t professional thugs, just the guys down the road. One of my former advertising colleagues actually took part in the looting & rioting (I wouldn’t class him a thug) and right upto a few years ago was actually using a lot of the looted appliances and furniture in his home. T, saying “some civilians were actively involved ” is inaccurate and gives the impression most of those involved weren’t civilians. They were MOSTLY civilians, aided and abetted by individuals in high places.

    So my point is, the Sinhalese population needs to accept that it was they who did it. Not the politicians. Not the JVP. Not the thugs. The Sinhalese. Until this is acknowledged, there will be no moving on, and this accusation will continue to be levelled at even unborn generations. This observation isn’t something I conjurred out of the air, but a conclusion I’ve drawn from many conversations (some with guys like T & Mal). As I’ve said before, I often wondered how so many Tamils were killed and injured when almost every Sinhalese has a heart-warming tale of how he (or his family) sheltered Tamils from the ‘mobs’.

    “My assertion is that despite the appearance of chaos Black July was in fact an organized, targeted campaign”

    This is arguable, and there’s no real evidence that it was pre-planned. More a case of opportunistic politicians jumping onto the wild horse of the rioters. And that is my point — this is different from a strategic targetting (of the napalm type), which requires pre-planning and training, and in fact a policy decision.

    “I don’t think that civilian casualties in a campaign aimed at eliminating terrorist cover could be termed as the “wilful killing of an entire people group”. ”

    Actually, it can. Particularly when the campaign is obviously futile even from the outset. And if destruction of natural cover has an adverse or even fatal effect on a population (as it will), then it can (and probably will) be termed willful killing. That is why a scorched earth policy is now considered tantamount to genocide in the international courts.

    And T — Hitler was an Austrian.

  61. “My initial point was that this was once considered as an option and was never intended as a quip or comment over an arrack”

    For this to be true, Wijeratne would have to be unaware of the capabilities of the Armed Forces, and he was quite aware. Do you honestly think he didn’t know how many aircraft the SLAF possessed at the time? Please. Let it go, T. You brought up a silly point, it was shot down. Don’t reinforce defeat.

  62. Boys this point has been laboured. Honestly, y’all are like girls sometimes. Bicker, bicker…

    Genocide is indefinable in a unversally acceptable format. Suffice it to say that people are aware of what it entails. Military is targetted, while civilians are massacred. If the government kills thousands upon thousands of tamils it would be genocide and equally culpable if it were a policy decision or ‘collateral damage’. Civilian life must be protected. And only the government has a responsibility to do that. We cannot clothe a terrorist organisation in robes of social responsibility.

    None of us have all the facts of 1983. Most is what we observed, and have heard from close friends, parents and acquaintences. Our take on the situation is thus coloured the specific stories we have heard.

    The GOSL is guilty of a crime of omission. There is no conceivable reason why the rioting could not have been quelled with the deployment of police/military under strict supervision. The fact remains that GOSL didn’t do that, and allowed a significant portion of its electorate to be subject to racial violence. It was not cool.

    Quite apart from the Sinhalese (whose involvemen was in varying forms and degrees), it is the GOSL as an institution representing the state of SL that must apologise for its laissez faire approach to Black July. If they do so, great strides will be taken toward reubuilding communal trust.

    It doesn’t matter who did what where and when. The fact remains that it was done, and we have to move forward – not argue about who was to blame for the past.

  63. I disagree with the last para, machang. You can’t move on until blame has been acknowledged by the guilty. Saying “oh it’s awful, but let’s move on” doesn’t cut it when a large portion of people have been wronged, denied justice, and have no prospect of restitution for said wrongs. The Nüremburg trials and the South African reconciliation commissions went a long way to help people ‘move forward’. There hasn’t even been such an attempt in SL.

    Anyway, as I said, I was just trying to pint out the difference between ’83 and a proposed extermination policy. Didn’t mean to get caught up in discussing who was to blame for ’83.

  64. T,
    machang case closed. let’s agree to disagree. Fucked up times is a relevant appraisal of what is happening now I fear…

  65. Sorry, can’t let it go. T, ALL Austrians were granted German citizenship after the Anschluss, but they remained Austrian.

  66. DB: I fear you are mistaken.

    A.H. was awarded citizenship by some regional government (couldn’t remember which one it was, Wikipedia says Brunswick). He could not run for public office without being a citizen of Germany. The award was IIRC, engineered by the Nazi Party but nonetheless something he (AH) voluntarily did.

    The Anschluss to which you refer took place 6 years later, in 1938. Not sure what your point was in bringing it up – but AH was a German citizen well before the event.

    I am not familiar with the South African commission, but Nuremberg (and to a lesser extent, the IRA reconciliations) actually tried (in the legal sense) the people involved. Is such a thing possible within the broad context of responsibility that you claim? I’d suggest not. If someone participated in or profited from the looting and violence, let them be tried in a court of law and tossed in jail. Do you see an alternative?

    I hereby move that Godwin’s Law has been invoked on this thread 🙂

  67. Hilarious. There’s a law.

    Blacker obviously I’ve worded myself badly. By accepting guilt I meant that the GOSL must initiate a process like the South African TRC or Nuremberg. Regardless of the political chicanery of both those commissions it would go towards establishing the GOSL’s bona fides for righting wrongs.

    No – restitution is impossible when people have been killed. But compensation etc., and official indictment of the culprits is necessary. CBK tried something but it was very small scale. Not good enough.

    When such a massive disassociation from the rule of law is engineered Ghostwriter, subjecting those responsible to the rule of law is disprportionate. Imagine the injustice if those responsible were tried under the minor criminal offences of arson, looting, criminal damage and the like. It would be a joke.

  68. Ghostwriter, well done for discovering Godwin’s Law.

    David said:

    “I disagree with the last para, machang. You can’t move on until blame has been acknowledged by the guilty. Saying “oh it’s awful, but let’s move on” doesn’t cut it when a large portion of people have been wronged, denied justice, and have no prospect of restitution for said wrongs. The Nüremburg trials and the South African reconciliation commissions went a long way to help people ‘move forward’. There hasn’t even been such an attempt in SL.”

    In fact, the head of the Sri Lankan government has apologised for 1983, and there has been some attempt to make reparations, although I don’t know to what extent his has been effective. I suspect, that like most reparations, it is no where close to enough. I am not aware of anybody facing charges for 1983, or whther this is even legally possible.

    Text from government website below. Full speech available on site.

    President apologises to the Tamil Community
    [July 24, 2004 – 6.30 GMT]

    President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday made an emotional and unqualified apology to the Tamil people of Sri Lanka on behalf of the State of Sri Lanka and the Government on the 21st Anniversary of ‘Black July’. At a simple ceremony at the Presidential Secretariat attended by religious leaders, the PM and senior members of the Cabinet, 30 Tamil people were awarded a symbolic compensation by the President herself.

    The Presidential Truth Commission she appointed in 2001 had recommended that 937 cases be compensated for their sufferings at the hands of Sinhala mobs during the pogrom against their Community in July 1983. The Commission in its report said, ‘The victims, their dependants or heirs should be compensated as a matter of right and not as a matter of charity.’

    All recipients who are resident in Sri Lanka will receive their compensation by the end of August 2004. The Ministry of Rehabilitation is in the process of contacting the persons now domiciled overseas.

  69. Ghostwriter — Sorry, I can’t remember why I brought up the Hitler thing myself. Never mind. Consider it dropped.

    As to Nüremberg and South Africa, I believe Sophist has just articulated my point. In addition, the South African Truth Commissions were quite different to Nüremberg (they were not trials) but did a lot to help the country move on. The method was not the same, but the goal was.

    Ravana — Chandrika’s apology carries no weight (believe she apologised to the JVP for ’87-’89 too!) without concrete measures to make ammends for what happened. These must include prosecutions and reparations, amongst others.

  70. I propose that Tanya heads the SLTRC – the Sri Lankan Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I need to be told the truth and reconciled.

  71. lol.. guilt tripping pooftahs. thankfully, most sinhalese aren’t such blood traitors. some of u probably descend from whores of portuguese soldiers. lol… david blacker for example. how could a half assed mongrel outcast eurasian have an anglo surname anyway?

    fuck 1983. when the peace talks succeed, and when the exclusive tamil state is created and possibly protected by 15000 scandinavian troops (as suggested this morning by the ex slmm head), do you think a single tamil would be left in the south after all sinhalese are killed and chased out of the northeast? 1983 would be nothing compared to what would happen then. do you think sinhalese are so neutered that they would allow 1/3rd of their country to be carved out as an autonomous state for tamils (and we’d fund it until eternity with our tax money coz it won’t be a seperate state anyway), and have the rest of the country be multi-ethnic and multi-cultural and to top it off apologise like poofs with truth commissions and shit. dream on…

    blood for blood.

  72. No, flower boy (what a fag name), they’d wank about like you online, calling for blood but not having the balls to do anything about it. Black July? They should call it Pink July — you Sinhalese can’t even organise an effective riot.

  73. Ha ha ha. In a time when you can’t tell a Tamil from a Sinhalese, I wonder what the fuss is. There actually isn’t any difference, Flower kolla, so why fight? You’re probably at least half Tamil yourself.

  74. God justmal – where do you get off. You really are a piece of work. What’s the matter are you treated like shit in Australia?

    What a loser.

    DB – justmal is not half Tamil, or half Sinhalese or half anything – he’s half mad and the rest uneducated and a complete racist.

  75. Hehhe.. shut up ugly little black greasy bitch. You should start wearing a pottu like other Tamil women coz that’s the only way to draw people’s attention away from the shithole your face is. Tamils are rock solid proof that we have evolved from apes, and some of us haven’t evolved completely yet. The ideal image of Tamil perfection is Hanuman, the Dravidian monkey who sucks Rama’s Brahmin cock. I mean you people must really hate the way you look, otherwise why would you mutilate yourself, try to make kebabs out of your body parts, walk on hot ash etc all to worship that monkey god? And oh, what’s with Tamil men and the cock obsession. Why do they need to call themselves Maha Lingam and Sundara Lingam hahaha… Does that explain why all these Tamil bitches are falling over each other trying to get raped by our army boys? Blacker is just a half bred mongrel, you are a barely a half human.

    Makes me so happy to think about what would happen to your relatives and their property in Colombo 6 when LTTE gets Eelam. LOL… Oh yeah. We really need to get rid of scum.

  76. The above is the reason why the Sinhalese majority have been unable to get rid of the LTTE or solve the Tamil issues for over twenty-five years. The moment they come up against inconvenient facts they degenerate into abuse, profanity, violence. The Sinhalese forever lost international support when they lost their self-control in ’83. Idiots like Flower will never learn from this, but continue to advocate more riots, merely backing up the Tiger propoganda machine which uses fags like Mal as the caricature of the Sinhalese.

    But why all the shouting, Mal? You live in an Australian slum, don’t you? You won’t be here to organize riots, even if you could actually button your straitjacket and get out of the house. So why all the hot air? Eelam are not, you’ll still be just another black in a white world.

  77. Nah.. I’ll take the first plane into Sri Lanka wit a bunch of ma mates and machetes. Hehhe.. We’ll loot all the houses in Wellawatte (later burn dem down) and have a huge ass garage sale in melbourne. Wouldn’t mind bonking a few Tamil bitches too. I mean they are all virgins. Hopefully they’ll all wear big red pottus. Hehhe…

    Blacker umm you aint white either. Hahaha.. A half bred mongrel great grand son of a portuguese soldier’s low caste whore doesn’t become white when he takes an anglo surname. Is Blacker a shortened form of DatBlackCuntWhoFinksHesWhite?

    Umm is monash a slummy suburb? lol.. monash is white? lol… i don’t think so.

    look mate unlike a half ape slave critter race that forever depends on the sympathy and support of their white masters, the Sinhalese don’t give a shit about “international support”. we aint no house niggers.

  78. Normally, I’m all for freedom of speech, but Just Mal does not add any value to this discussion because he does not even make an attempt to justify his point of view. He seems more irked than usual today, which is probably a result of his point-of-view that the Sri Lankan military was kicking ass in the North and East being shattered by the recent developments at Mahumalai. Let’s take a vote on this: should we ban Just Mal?

  79. You a pure-blood Sinhalese, Mal? You seem to take offence at ethnic mixing, but what of your heritage? Or is ‘Mal’ short for ‘Malcolm’ and thus a pitiful attempt to fit in with the whiteys?

    Does it give you a sense of power to be able to sit in front of a computer in Melbourne and piss on the environment we live in? It’s a lot easier when your skin isn’t on the line isn’t it. Why don’t you take a late night walk through Springvale in your new boots and pinstripes and see just how much of a man you are. Or better yet, hop your lanky ass on a plane and fly over and let David and I show you a few lessons in respect. Don’t forget to bring some friends and machetes to the airport or you’ll miss out on the free cavity search. We know you like that.

    Oh, and since when was the ‘suburb’ of Monash a white neighborhood? Not that such a thing exists anyway. Take a closer look at the roadsigns next time, dimwit. It says ‘City of Monash’ and encompasses some of Victoria’s most multi-cultural suburbs.

    In case anyone else hasn’t caught on yet, Mal here is just a waste of space. I’d suggest just ignoring him but I expect he’ll be making quite a racket shortly. Probably call me a fag or something.

  80. Nah, don’t ban him. Arguing with a retard is so much fun. Of course, you Sinhalese might want to ban him, since he makes y’all look bad.

    Monash, Flower boy? They wouldn’t let you in there if you touched your toes for them.

    You bonk Tamils? Don’t they bonk you usually?

    Low caste whore, Flower? Recognise your relatives? Apparently the Portugese loved Sinhalese women cos they were so easy.

    Your mates, Flower poof? Don’t you mean inmates?

  81. omg dave ur such a poof. but den, what can u expect from da army biach. lol… probably spends his days lying in a ditch in the backyard fantasizing about assault training… hahaha..

    and jl.. who said monash is white.. i said it’s not. the army bitch was saying i feel out of place in a slummy white suburb.. we both know how curry it is.

    umm… bro i do business in springvale with vietnamese junkies. i’m cool wit dem. can take a walk anytime in da nite wit a spliff in ma hand.

    nuff abt my ethnic heritage or wutever. u don need to play for a team to support da team rite? my support for sinhalese is a choice, not a matter of course… just like i’ve chosen to support schumacher instead of alonso.

    oi army bitch i’m not low caste.. lol. ur ancestors were probably low caste sinhalese whores and portuguese gun cleaners. hahaha.. blacker=blackmore=blackamoor. ravana [edit] probably descends frm da same stock. is he related to da [edit] brewer family?

    my ex gf (da biach) is tamil. and u know wut da biach calls and texts me every fucking day saying she’s sorry and she loves me and do i wanna listen to this fucking stupid tamil song called loosu penne about a girl crazy in love.. hahaha.. can u believe the bitch sleeps hugging ma old smelly tee shirt. haahha… dumb tamils.

    oh ravana.. the sla started kicking ass again in the east.

    i really think they should have a riot in sri lanka.. in fact let’s have a riot that never stops.

  82. Hey David, you need to check out the Just Mal’s website, man. It’s hilarious. It’s like this dedicated shrine to his ex-girlfriend who appears to have dumped him for someone who is not such a wacko. She happens to be Tamil, and clearly this guy can’t handle the rejection, so he’s channelling it into hating Tamils. Also, he’s only 21.

    Check out what he says about her:

    “I thought you were my star. My own. No one elses. But you are a star. A star that lights up the whole world. You don’t belong to me. You belong to everyone who needs you and wants to look up at you and dream about you. I have no right to keep a star as my own. A star should be free to light up the whole world. I could never come close to a star. If I do, my eyes will go blind. I only see your light, and never see the real you. I’d rather look at you and ask for guidance if I’m lost and don’t know where to go, but I won’t dream about coming to you. Be a star, brilliant, distant and free to shine with happiness. I will find my own angel.”

    And jusxtapose this with what he says about her above:

    “my ex gf (da biach) is tamil. and u know wut da biach calls and texts me every fucking day saying she’s sorry and she loves me and do i wanna listen to this fucking stupid tamil song called loosu penne about a girl crazy in love.. hahaha.. can u believe the bitch sleeps hugging ma old smelly tee shirt. haahha… dumb tamils.”

    Hey, Just Mal, does your “star” know what you’re saying about her? Also, you know the shit that’s going to pop up online when your future potential employers run a search for [edit:JustMal’s real name] is not going to make your job hunting after university any easier. Or, is pushing drugs a long-term career choice?

  83. Hahahahaa. Thanks, Ravana. That makes my day, machang. I owe you a beer for that.

    “I thought you were my star”

    Hahahaha. Jeez, Mala, you’re a bigger wanker than we thought before.

    “I will find my own angel”!!!!!

    Come on over, Mala, let us love you!

  84. David said:

    “Nah, don’t ban him. Arguing with a retard is so much fun. Of course, you Sinhalese might want to ban him, since he makes y’all look bad.”

    That’s true. It does make the Sinhalese look really bad. Fortunately, I’ve never come across anybody remotely this malicious and racist in Sri Lanka. Even Janapathi is not this bad. When I lived abroad, I found the Tamil and Sinhalese communities far more separate and paranoid of each other than in contemporary Sri Lanka. Just Mal and Ashanthi are cases in point. Although, in fairness to Ashanthi, I must say I haven’t heard anything THIS bad in a while.

  85. No, me neither. There were a few anon/trolls on Moju who sounded like this, but that was probably Malcolm by another name.

  86. /When I lived abroad, I found the Tamil and Sinhalese communities far more separate and paranoid of each other than in contemporary Sri Lanka./

    That certainly is true, especially in the case of 1st and 2nd generation migrants. There is no Sri Lankan ethnic identity that both Sinhalese and Tamils can agree on. Intermarriage in the naturalised Lankan community in Australia is only about 3%, and the 3rd generation tends to leave behind their ethnic identities.

    For me, it’s a choice. I don’t even like Sinhalese people in Melbourne. They are all rude stupid fobs. My personal political beliefs are mostly libertarian and a little bit existential. When it comes to issues related to Sri Lanka, I’ve chosen to be racist, chauvinist, totalitarian and xenophobic. It’s actually a lot of fun to get worked up about something that’s of no consequence to my life. As I said earlier, you don’t need to play the game to support a team.

    So Blacker, you’ll always be my half bred army bitch in these blogs. And ravana, if you really want to remain anonymous you might want to change your flickr id to something a little less revealing. Ashanthi and I are not the opposites of the same coin. She actually honestly believes in her own filth. Me, I’m just a bored cynical agent provocateur on school holidays.

  87. And why all the calls for riots, malcolm? You’ve never seen one. You weren’t even born back in ’83. You’re barely an adult now.

  88. It’s hard to explain Blacker. For some reason I like to believe in Realpolitik and Machiavellianism when it comes to Sri lankan issues. Anything is moral as long as the benefits outweigh the negative consequences. The end justifies the means.

    Remember when I said anything is justifiable for the Sinhalese cause. That’s what my whole personal ideology on Sri Lanka is based on. I’ve picked a side and that makes the other side (anyone or anything non-Sinhalese) the enemy. I just want my horse to win. And that requires mass riots. I don’t necessarily have to believe in any of this. If the Sinhalese don’t win I could just sigh and move on.

    It’s a pet project and a work in progress. I don’t have all the answers yet. But basically I just want all the Sinhalese to be a little bit more extreme. Rioting is unleashing pure brute force on the enemy.

  89. The ‘end justifies the means’? I’m sure the same was said of Auschwitz and Hiroshima. A harsh stance for you to take when you don’t even believe in any of it.

    The kind of rioting you call for won’t hurt the ‘enemy’. It’ll just get a whole lot of innocent people killed. But then you consider anyone not Sinhalese to be the enemy so that should work too. Incidentally, do you mind if we lynch you Indian/Pakistani ass while we’re at it? And maybe your Vietnamese pimp while we’re at it?

  90. I think the bugger wants to know what it feels like to say racist stuff. Probably makes him feel more of a man wanking to second hand stories of blood, gore and riots… poor bugger no. He also loves the attention, and since I have sympathy for him, I’ll oblige him writing this post.

  91. you should try it first with your bird machang…then post her mutilated pic on the net with your Sinhala cock deeply embedded in the Tamil corpse…at least that way you can claim credit for it no…

  92. That’s what you wish you could do, Mala. You gonna kill the big scary Tigers with your mouse? What a wanna-be. Guess everyone wants to belong to a cause, and when your Tamil girl has just dumped your sorry arse, this is an easy way to get back at the scary world. Guess when you’re 21, frothing over a keyboard is easier than the real world.

    Keep pushing for riots, mala. That’s sure to make your ‘horse’ win. Thank God we don’t have too many supporters like this wanker.

  93. Yes AA, it’s quite obvious what he’s trying to do. It’s not like he scores any points for subtlety. Still, it’s fun toying with the little shit when I’ve got a few moments to spare.

    Hey onlyMal, why don’t you try telling your boss to shove one of your precious phones up his chink, spick (or whatever racial slur is appropriate) ass and see how fast you end up on the unemployed line at Centrelink. Must be nice living in a country with strict non-discrimination laws. How else would a retard like you get a job?

    “Anything is moral as long as the benefits outweigh the negative consequences. The end justifies the means.” Would you like a little demonstration of this principle in action, Flower Boy?

  94. Umm.. i work for safeway now.

    I did tell my old boss to fuck himself up the arse (he was a new zealander btw) and blackmailed him for a few grand (coz he employed an american backpacker without a work permit). the guy lost his job and now works as a cook for starfish caf in glen eira.

    Anywayz how did you get into this JL? Was I even talking to you cupcake? Aren’t you some kinda drama queen from that play on Venice? Hahha.. are you one of those poofs who get into other peoples’ fights just to feel like a man for a change? Hehhe… Just go and be jolly with your jolly mates lucifer. This aint your shit.

  95. What’s the matter, Mala? Scared more and more people are latching onto what a loser you are? A loser who’s crying after a Tamil chick? A chick who dumped you because you’re a wanker who needs to go online to get a hard on?

  96. Ah pardon me for not doing my research right. It’s Safeway near Mt. Waverley, right? Or did I mess that up too?

    Let’s see, you’re name’s [edit]. You studied at Ananda College and probably did your A’ Levels around 2002. Then you moved over to Monash in Malaysia, I’m guessing because you didn’t have the grades for university and finally ended up at Deakin studying Accounting. Or are you still trying to get into University? What was that about Monash next year? Please tell me which campus. I have a few friends who’d love to meet you.

    Does your sweet [edit] know what her little [edit] has been saying about her behind her back? What was it? “my ex gf (da biach) is tamil… hahaha.. can u believe the bitch sleeps hugging ma old smelly tee shirt. haahha… dumb tamils.” I’m sure there was more but haven’t you hurt her enough? Her birthday’s coming up in a couple of months. Maybe you should get her a present and make up. Or maybe that Chinese hooker is still interested in rocking your world. Why don’t you go park outside her door and see.

    What gives Mal? I thought jumping into fights and getting people riled up is what you’re all about. Are you sad because someone else is having a little fun? Don’t want to share? Oh, boo hoo. Run home to mommy. Yeah, I’m one of those ‘poofs’ and I like my children ‘tight’, just like you. You can run, but you can’t hide that sweet little ass of yours.

    So, my dear Dextr, do you want to tell me again just what is and isn’t my ‘shit’?

  97. actually blacker. there’s this bugger called [edit] who was bonking the Tamil chick while mala was going out with her. That was what prompted the “you’re a star who belongs to the whole world but me” poem. The capacity of humans to forgive is amazing isn’t it?

    Anyway, its all on his blog, fascinating stuff. Bugger was pining after her Tamil arse while she was on a illicit fuckfest. Then she calls it off and the bugger decides she was such a bitch only after she dumps him…then blames her behaviour on all Tamils…before she dumped him she was the sweet angel who just deserved a better cock….and she deserved it, so he adored her.

    Hey Just Mal, if we remaining Sri lankans can learn to forgive like you did, the ethnic problem will be history mate…

  98. Haha, this just gets better n better!

    Hey, Mala, if you hate for Tamils was at least genuine, there’d be something to debate. But you’re just a tosser who got tossed.

    So the ‘star’ belongs to the whole world, huh? Guess the whole world must be showing her a good time. Why don’t you just post her phone number up for us? I’m sure she’d enjoy some real half-breed mongrels after a limp wanker like you.

  99. Hmm, I’m a little late on this discussion but now its plain comical.

    I think I’ve heard it all now with justMal using Libertarianism to advocate/defend tyranny of the majority, what a kak.

    Mal – You and I must have been reading different books on libertarian thought. I don’t understand your argument. The sine qua none of libertarian thought is the protection and maximizing of individual liberty by constraining government action and limiting the size of government. If this is the case then the Liberty (and there by the rights) of all individuals must be equally protected by the government. Therefore irrespective of one’s ethnicity, the call for the protection of individual liberty negates (and makes impossible) calls to, or the application of, the tyranny of the majority.

    Also, you said

    Intermarriage in the naturalized Lankan community in Australia is only about 3%

    I am genuinely interested in this statistic and study of the Lankan community. Where did you get it from? Could you please point it out as I’d like to get hold of a copy. I wouldn’t be surprised about it either given that I’ve been to more interracial marriages than the opposite. However a majority of them did not involve lankans (just most of the aussies I know). However I’d expect the same pattern across most migrant groups.


  100. AA – You mentioned about the feelings of Batti uni students and their support against the GOSL ( or was it the south ). I’m curious, speaking to people I know from the north they don’t seems to have such a North vs South mentality. They are mainly from older generations but it seems to me that there is a strong feeling of difference in later generations. What do you reckon, is there much hostility to the south or is it the GOSL, can you articulate these feelings ?

  101. David – Just out of curiosity do you think they’ll try to have another go at Elephant Pass before SunGod day in November ? And what it is with the whole world knowing that there was going to be an offensive? I guess history repeats itself.

  102. Nice to see your input, Ivap. I was holding those points (#113 ) in reserve but you put them a lot more eloquently than I would have.

    It seems one of my comments has finally made it through the comment filter. Check them out at #101.

  103. Boys boys boys….I go away for a weekend and this what this thread has degenerated into.

    I’m very annoyed! Not with JustMal because his halfwittedness is beyond his control, and the fact that his lack of friends allows him the time to stir up trouble for trouble’s sake cannot be blamed on him but squarely on his mother who really should have kept her legs together.

    I am annoyed instead with DB, JL and to a lesser extent AA and Ravana for buying into this little cunt’s plan. He has succeeded overwhelmingly in dragging this discussion down into the gutter in which his capacity for intellectual thought resides and we have done him a favour by joining him there. C’mon boys – thos sort of like reaction to vitriole is what started the problems in the first place.

    I’m not going to dignify Mal with an (already done) exposition of the weakness of his positions (both political, and clearly sexual).

    Suffice it to say that by allowing ourselves to be dragged into this mire we have failed. And I urge that it not be repeated.

  104. Yeah, I know. It’s was just too much and fun we got a little carried away. 🙂 No regrets for me.

    Still, looks like things might get back on track now. Wasn’t part of the discussion before, but was following it.

  105. I don’t know Sophist, the satisfaction of seeing the following in my inbox this morning may have been worth the mud-wrestling, I think.

    —–Original Message—–
    Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2006 9:26 PM
    Subject: ado matchang

    hey [edit], can i please get u to remove my name and other personal stuff from your blog dude? it’s not very nice. thanks bro..

    Just Mal – Incidentally, I AM going to remove your name and other personal details from this discussion. So chill.

  106. Yes, you should remove that. I think the lesson’s been learned (though I have more should you need a reminder).

    You should also remove his ‘comment’ on your About page. It’s only fair.

  107. Yes they did. Which just goes to show why there is NO military solution to this war. The side that gets ‘hammered’ changes from week to week. Screw this shit. It’s going nowhere fast. Unlike the traffic in Colombo which is just going nowhere. Slowly. I couldn’t even make it to the station on Friday.

    About JustMalKadana – I think his mail can be cited as the bastion of irony.

    ‘It’s not very nice’, he says. Hilarious.

  108. Mal, Sophist made me feel bad. Apologies for the comments mate.

    IVAP – I can’t pretend to represent the specific feelings of the Tamils currently living in the North. I’m originally from Jaffna and was born there, but I live in Colombo. The views I attribute to them are gleaned from conversation with family and friends still living in the North, and from the Tamil media.

    I don’t think one can generalise the sentiments of all people living in the North with regard to the south or the government. However, the views range from deep disappointment and distrust of the government to pretty radical hostility. You may be right that the younger generation is more hostile, although that may be due to the fact that youngsters are naturally more hostile and angry. The hostility though, feeds on personal experiences as well as historical narratives that may have been passed down to them by parents and elders who may not look as hostile, but who still seethe with anger and resentment.

    There is also the phenomena of doublespeak and I have personally witnessed this countless times. Tamils very often speak about the ethnic issue very moderately, almost adopting a pacifist stance when in the company of Sinhala friends, while the true extent of their feelings will only be revealed in conversation with other Tamils. This is not always the case, and once a certain level of trust has been reached, Tamils might be more open to honest discussion with Sinhala friends. I have often despaired that the only times Tamils are honest with their Sinhala friends is when they can’t take it any longer and get into heated arguments on the ethnic conflict. We have to learn to be more honest without getting pissed off at each other. Only then will there be a true appreciation of the other’s position.

    As to the south – GOSL dichotomy, I haven’t met a lot of (or any for that matter) tamils who hate the Sinhalese people. I may be wrong, but I haven’t seem the hatred kind of racism a lot. There is a feeling that the southern people are selfish and lack understanding and the will to grant a political solution. I think the hatred is limited to political leaders.

  109. Aadhavan said: “I haven’t met a lot of (or any for that matter) tamils who hate the Sinhalese people. I may be wrong, but I haven’t seem the hatred kind of racism a lot.”

    I agree with this, and I think it is true for the Sinhalese as well. I’m not saying racism does not exist, but I think the primary problem is one of apathy, more than racism, in the case of the Sinhalese.

  110. tamils in colombo won’t tell you what they really think about the conflict… especially if you’re sinhala… close friends or not…

    they may be neutral… or criticize the LTTE… but inside… deep inside the have a little “smile” every time the LTTE does well militarily…

    and they have respect for the LTTE’s disipline and commitment…

    if they criticize it is becasue they are guilty or “high caste” (LTTE is against caste system)

  111. I agree with the first part of your comment, Yo, and i can see why some should feel that way.

    What do you mean by “if they criticize it is becasue they are guilty”?. Guilty of what?

  112. Don’t be silly, Yo. The Tamil population worldwide is estimated at 75-80 million. I doubt they all have a relative in the 10,000-strong LTTE. If you meant the current resident SL Tamil population, that’s still around three million. Still highly unlikely. Maybe you should articulate what you mean by ‘extended’. Do you mean my mother-in-law’s brother-in-law’s sister’s third cousin once removed?

  113. Thanks for the replies.

    Don’t know if their is hatred but I think there is a lot of jealousy flowing in both directions, perhaps even leading to a lot of politics of envy masquerading as indentity politics in the past.

  114. Ivap, just to add to what I said earlier — Jeyaraj, in his rather gleeful account of the failed GoSL op, still claims that the latest fighting was part of a plan to take Elephant Pass. This seems unlikely to me, given the small number of troops used. Not more than a reinforced brigade or a brigade group. An actual offensive with the aim of retaking EPS would involve a full division, and consist of a multi-pronged attack, possibly with a amphibious landing or an attack on the Saltern Siding from the mainland. The Army seems to have lost a company of troops, and this would have been stomached regardless if it was a real offensive. More likely this is part of probing operations that will attempt to knock out Tiger defences around EPS, thereby rendering the area untenable to the Tigers. So far the GoSL has shown no inclination to engage in anything larger than brigade-sized ops, and an assault on EPS would take more than that.

  115. Jeyaraj also compares this to a failed op (Aghni Kheela) from some years ago in which the GoSL lost about 600 troops. Again, this is mostly wishful thinking by Jeyaraj, and an attempt to celebrate the first real battlefield victory by the LTTE this year.

  116. According to a source, it appears that GoSL troops had been venturing out towards Elephant Pass. The airforce and navy were not informed. Neither had this come up in a president’s meeting with the top military personnel that morning.

  117. Just heard about the Kfir downing. Near Negombo apparently. At the moment looks like it was not due to the LTTE. Not sure what the details are. This coupled with the morning’s 70 Navy personnel killed in the suicide attack near Habarana, does not bode well for the strength of the GoSL’s negotiating position at the upcoming talks.

    I don’t know whether there are even any targets left to GoSL from the air. Apparently, airforce carried out seriously heavy bombing of a village used for training on Saturday morning. They had used like 32 air bombs, compared with just two used on the “orphanage”.

    Unsubstiated info, you understand.

  118. It was 94 navy personnel, most of them returning home on leave. Kfir downed due to ‘technical reasons’. Blacker we lost two battalions. They had driven APC’s into a trap and been shot up like fish in a barrell. The last few credible members of the Army Top Brass are seething at Sarath Fonseka. This was a proper fuck up machan and even though DBS’s account of it might be similar to the Sinhala text book accounts of the Dutugemunu – Elara story, there is no doubting the impact the last 36 hours have had on our fighting ability.

    Going BACK, once AGAIN to the original question – if anything proves that the answer is a negative its these incidents. Mahinda’s luck had to run out at some point.

    Aadhavan – perhaps it is necessary for us to examine the reasons behind the ‘moderate’ tamils veiled approach in discussing the subject with Sinhala peers. Is it out of necessity to belong, or necessity to survive…or both? Or are there any other attributable reasons?

  119. by the way david… DBS jeyaraj is NO friend of the LTTE… in fact he is VERY ANTI-LTTE…

    but the recent articles show that even an anti-LTTE tamil likes to see them kick the SLA’s ass every now and then…

    can you all understand the depths of the tamils feelings on this… even the anti-LTTE in the end prefer them to the GoSL…

    and the TNA, the OVERWELHMINGLY elected tamil MPs, say the LTTE are the reps of the tamils…

  120. Yo, I think Aadhavan, Sophist, David, T, and I are not unaware of the depth of the Sri Lankan Tamil feelings on the LTTE. To many the LTTE is the lesser of the two evils, because it is their own evil, if you like.

    We’ve been discussing this topic from April on various blog posts. You might want to have a look at my post “Give the Sinhalese a F*cking Break” which was my initial foray into the subject. Also, has a lot of other discussions. Things have eveolved since then.

  121. Sophist — an infantry battalion’s about 1,200 troops, so are you saying we lost 2,400? I don’t think so. An infantry company’s about 120-150 bayonets, so the actual fighting strength of a battalion (A,B,C, & Support companies), is about 600. So to lose the fighting personnel of two battalions would be 1,200 casualties. Have we lost that?

    Yo — never said Jeyaraj is pro-LTTE. I’m quite aware of his stance (pro-Tamil and anti-GoSL). He doesn’t have to be pro-LTTE to celebrate their combat victories (as you yourself have pointed out).

    I still mainatain (from what I can make out) that this isn’t a big push for EPS. Though it obviously is a defeat. Yes, looks like an ambush (going on Jeyaraj’s account), or a flanking counterrattack. It still looks like a probing attack or a prelude to a later offensive. To me, at least. I will stand corrected if subsequent news proves me wrong.

  122. ravana – for the uninitiated like Yo it might be a good idea if you collate all the links into one post for future reference… just sayin

    yo, I think the depth of feeling is well understood in this forum and I don’t think the people mentioned by ravana(#140) are ethno-centric in their worldview. I could be wrong but I get the feeling that most people on this forum are meritocratic and really care very little about their own ethnic identity other for the type of food they end up eating at the end of the day.

    BTW does anyone know who the LTTE inner sanctum are? It’s political and military organisational structure, bureaucracy, hirerarchy, etc ?

  123. Yo, I don’t know to what degree I agree that I “care very little about [my] own ethnic identity”, but you are right in that my identity as a Sri Lankan certainly supersedes my identity as a Sinhalese.

    David, I think you may be right about what happened. It fits in with what I’m hearing, but there are some rumours going around which attempt to convey surprise that the President, air force and navy were not informed. If this was a preliminary op, as you think it might have been, would they have been taking all this equipment with them? Also, would it be possible for the local commander in that area (a colonel perhaps?) to order such a large amount of troops and equipment on an operation without higher approval? How high does the approval need to be for something of this nature? The army commander? The president? 

    It’s odd that the airforce was not used for air support to clear the area first, isn’t it? Does that indicate that they thought it was a low risk op? 

  124. “I could be wrong but I get the feeling that most people on this forum are meritocratic and really care very little about their own ethnic identity other for the type of food they end up eating at the end of the day.”

    Ivap, count me out. My ethnic and religious identity define who I am as a person. I do care very much about my ethnic identity.

    Ravana, to me, my Sri Lankan identity superceding my Tamil identity is contingent on my belief that the configuration of the state will change one day, and that there would be some sort negotiated solution to the conflict. I look forward to the day when I don’t have to choose between being a full blooded Sri Lankan nationalist and holding on to my Tamil identity.

  125. Well, Ravana, if you take the worst-case scenario (and I’m using Jeyaraj’s account for that), he estimates casualties as a single infantry company (if someone has a higher casualty rate, pls link me that info). He also claims about three or four tanks/AFVs knocked out. Now, a reinforced brigade or a brigade group (which is my estimate of the ground coningent) would be most likely commanded by a brigadier (occasionally a senior colonel), and isn’t “a large amount of troops” when taken in context. It would consist of the teeth companies of two battalions, an Armoured squadron (or two), and Arty detachments in support (maximum of 1,200-1,500 troops, a bit more if you include the infantry support companies) . This therefore, looks like a limited operation, similar to the others that have been going on (Sampur, etc). The fact that it was in the vicinity and direction of EPS, is the reason for Jeyaraj’s conjecture (something he’s claimed was on the cards for awhile now).

    I would take with a large pinch of salt the fact that the Prez, Air Force, etc, were unaware of the op. I think it’s more likely that the politicians (in uniform & out) are now distancing themselves from the failure. Jeyaraj claims that Kfirs & Hinds were used in support, so the SLAF knew something was on. The downed Kfir could very well have been damaged by AAA and forced to ditch on the way back to Katu. Or its a big coincidence.

  126. ravana, aadhavan – Admittedly that was a provocative comment aimed at eliciting some responses. I didn’t mean to offend anyone. To what extent does either of your ethnicities matter in your professional and economic activities as opposed to your private affairs? In these areas of your life do you expect to be dealt with and act based on merit and ability or is there a certain expectation of preferential treatment based on groups identity/rights?

    BTW, I take it that some you guys are lawyers. Is there anywhere I can find online access to recent judgments of the SC? seems to have fallen off the net and the justice ministry site is outdated. Was looking for the N/E judgment and ended up having to get it from the asiaintrbune.

  127. aadhavan – I’m not sure if you can answer this but would appreciate it if you can. From my discussions and readings it appears that for many “moderate” Tamil people the legitemacy of the armed-struggle should have ended with the indo-lanka accord. That is, it was a sufficient starting point to revert back to non-violent polical action. If this is the case, for any future proposal to be concidered legit would it require Indian acquiescence?

  128. “To what extent does either of your ethnicities matter in your professional and economic activities as opposed to your private affairs? In these areas of your life do you expect to be dealt with and act based on merit and ability or is there a certain expectation of preferential treatment based on groups identity/rights?”

    For me personally, I expect no preferential treatment because i’m a Sinhalese. The only possible counter example I can think of is at checkpoints where I seek quickly to establish that I am Sinhalese by demonstrating my knowledge of the language, so that the time spent in checking documents etc. would be minimised. Profiling happens and if you demonstrate you don’t fit the profile, you are less likely to get hassle.

    From Aadhavan’s point of view that might sound like a loaded question. Minorities in any community help each other out. It’s a natural phenomenon.

  129. I’m with Ravana on this one that my ethnic identity as a Sri Lankan far outweighs any affiliation I may have to the Sinhalese race. When I have to fill a form which includes ‘race’ I ALWAYS say Sri Lankan. A sub category is redundant to me.

    I can see where Aadhavan comes from because very justifiably he doesn’t believe that the state is inclusionary of his ethinc identity even as far as to say that the two are mutually exclusive. He is optimistic enough to believe that the status quo will change and that in itself is to be lauded without expecting more.

    Blacker – my pater told me two battallions. He has his sources I’m not questioning anything. I don’t think two were wiped out but two were deployed and APC’s captured. He also told me that there was no call for air cover and Sarath Fonseka is being vilified by all who have a brain in the military circles.

    Mate I can’t help you with a website that’ll have the judgements updated so quickly. Lawnet is useless and MOJ might as well not take up the cyberspace. It’s news to me that the Asian Tribune carried it. Must read it.

  130. Two battalions deployed is what I estimated too. But casualties stand at about a company. often, as soon as casualties hit the 100+ mark, the words ‘debacle’, ‘catastrophe’, ‘defeat’, etc are bandied about. No general wins every battle. And upto now Fonseka has done much better than his ‘old school’ predescessors.

  131. Yeah David.. apparently 11 cadres are still at large… Curfew in galle. so far only one death and 10 injured. News that 3 Tamil shops have been burnt though and police have fired tear gas at looters… Maybe justmal’s relatives down south have been reading this blog….

  132. “To what extent does either of your ethnicities matter in your professional and economic activities as opposed to your private affairs? In these areas of your life do you expect to be dealt with and act based on merit and ability or is there a certain expectation of preferential treatment based on groups identity/rights?”

    I don’t expect to be treated better or worse than anyone else. That’s not to say that ethnicity is not important. Identity is what you see in the mirror, it’s critical to the way you think and live your life. We all have multiple identities, some more dominant than others. I like to think my dominant identity is based on my faith. But I don’t expect to be treated any different to a Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu.

    Ivap, don’t think the 13th Amendment was satisfactory. A lot of Tamils do sincerely hope for something more substantial than powers that can be rolled back at the whim of the central parliament. The thirteenth amendment basically was devolution of power, yet the center reserved the right to undo that devolution. This is a big problem for Tamils. Most don’t want separation, but look forward to something that is permanent and structural.

  133. Am between exams and wet nappies these days so participation will be intermittent

    aa – Actually I wasn’t even thinking of the 13th amendment rather was wondering if any upcoming constitutional proposal(s) put forward by the GoSL is to be accepted by the “moderate” tamil community whether it needs tacit indian support as I’d expect the LTTE to reject it in favour of somethnng akin to another ISGA.

    sophist – Mate, I’m conditioned to first world expectations, a lapse on my behalf.

    As for the question of ethnic identity it seems from all of your comments the concern your for ethnic identities and actions in this regard are stricly in the private spheres of your lives.

    … back later

  134. The isga was not intended to be a final solution. It was merely an interim mechanism to deal with the failures of sirhn and nerf and to ensure some sort of stability and return to normalcy in the NorthEast. I think that there is a false perception that the LTTE are closed to federalism. This is not the case and assertions that the LTTE have gone back on the Oslo declaration are not true. The GoSL:however have definitely revisited the federalism commitment, and now assert with alarming regularity that a solution must be within a unitary system. It is possible that the LTTE commitment to federalism is conditional, but the commitment to “explore federal models” still stands. Federal models represent a spectrum of power sharing options though, and as long as the parties disagree on the type of federal model or the extent of power sharing, that’s fine. One of the prblems is that the southern polity is still not sure of what it wants. Hopefully, the SLFP UNP consensus will change that.

    I don’t think Tamil moderates want India’s blessing or any other country’s blessings for that matter. What matters is the substantive degree of power sharing. On the other hand though, there is a perception that just as in the case of the 13th Amendment, any concessions by the southern polity towards the Tamils can only be generated either through the military effort of the LTTE or through pressure from the Indian government, or both.

    Btw, unless you are engaged in identity politics or religious work, I don’t see how a person who is engaged in apolitical, secular work could have an ethnic identity that is primarily concerned with the public sphere in the sense that you mean it. Is it even possible to delineate clearly between private and public spheres. If ones worldview is conditioned by multiple identities, is that a manifestation of ethnic and religiopus consciousness in the private sphere or public sphere?

  135. Aadhavan – If and when a negotiated settlement is reached, most likely in the form of a federal framework, how do you see the best way to transfer power to the newly formed regional government?

    The fear of many people – and if Curious Yellow is anything to go by, Tamil Sri Lankans, as well – is that LTTE will not tolerate other parties.

  136. Well, I suppose that there has to be a prior commitment to whatever solution is reached, before it can be even remotely successful. If both parties are committed to making the solution work, then that solves most of the problem.

    Of course, that doesn’t answer your question of whether the LTTE will allow for multi party democracy. I think there are two possible responses to your question. Firstly, given time, the Tamil people will exert pressure on whatever government that rules them, to be more responsive to their needs. I’ve heard that this is happening on a low scale in LTTE held areas, where the people are getting more vocal and the LTTE seems to be conceding a little. The LTTE’s authoritarianism is tolerated by the Tamils in the NE, because it is their only hope of being able to negotiate on a equal level with the government. When war becomes unnecessary, and when the money starts to pour in and when development occurs, then there is a certain pressure on the governors to be more transparent and democratic. I don’t think we have to go in with the thinking that multi party democracy needs to be there from day one. The lesson of post independence SL politics is that multi party democracy is in itself not the answer to your problems. The number one priority it seems to me, is the effective and rapid rehabilitation of the NE. This needs a massive effort, and petty party politics can hinder that effort. So I think democracy is important, but an imposed democracy is not going to do much. The LTTE must change, but I believe that at the end of the day, it is the Tamils who can make the LTTE change. But beofre that, there has to be normalcy, political stability and economic development. Democracy works best when the people have clamoured for it and won their rights. When democracy is imposed, people tend to devalue the rights that go with democracy, and you have a dangerous fascinaton with the idea of dictatorships and nominal democracies among the people.

    Second, a solution where the LTTE are the governing aouthority would induce a situation whereby the LTTE become accountable to the international community People will say that the LTTE does not care about the international community, and my answer to that is the GoSL dislike the international community as much as the LTTE. The difference is that the LTTE is not accountable or dependent on the Co-Chairs as much as the GoSL.

  137. Aadhavan- aren’t you taking for granted the fact that Tamil Sri Lankans will be able to exert pressure on the LTTE? What mechanisms will prevent the LTTE becoming a fascist, dictatorial, military government, especially if, as you seem to think is suitable, we accept that democracy does not need to exist from day one?

  138. Ravana, I think it’s premature to demand that these mechanisms be named when we aren’t anywhere close to even going for a federal solution. Suffice it to say, that these mechanisms do exist and can be utilised when a draft constitution is drawn up. I also doubt very much that the millions of Tamils worldwide (including Tamil nadu) will accept a Tamil dictatorship in Eelam. A dispora that funded the LTTE could very well fund a new terrorist anti-LTTE group.

  139. That wasn’t a demand, David, it was a searching question fueled both by my own curiosity and a reaction to the questions raised by people like the UTHR(J), Curious Yellow, and Sittingnut. As mistaken as Sittingnut’s worldview is, the issue of how to ensure democracy in a regional government under federalism is a valid one. I don’t think we can just leave it to chance, hoping that it will evolve from people power, or international pressure. Since Aadhavan is a law student, I thought he may have some ideas on possible specific mechanisms.

  140. Well, looking at it technically, there will be laws and a constitution and a Supreme Court to look into violations of the constitution. These things are legal constraints and it’s not too difficult to put them in. The larger question is what will ensure compliance with the legal rules, and the answer has to be political, not legal.

    There will never be a perfect legal mechanism to ensure that the LTTE changes. Only a political reconfiguration that makes it more likely. If on the other hand, a future racist federal government at decides that federalism is a mistake and attempts to bring back the NE under a unitary state, there can be no legal solution to that problem. The SC might determine it to be unconstitutional, so what? There has to be a political reality that makes such a move less likely.

    Politically, I suggested that the Tamil people and the international community will be able to change the LTTE. I’m willing to discuss why the Tamils will be able to change the LTTE, but for now, suffice it to say the Tamils aren’t looking to the South or the GoSL to ensure their future safety and security. The stauts quo is a real mess. The long term answer is federalism. The concern for political rights of the Tamils should not be used to deprive them of the collective rights they have been clamouring for, for over half a century. Ultimately, Tamils must decide what kind of government they want.

    I also think ravana, that the LTTE will change naturally, if there is a federal solution and the trust that there will be no military threat from the Sri Lankan government. There would be a temptation to maintain the current level of militarization when a threat is perceived.

  141. “The concern for political rights of the Tamils should not be used to deprive them of the collective rights they have been clamouring for, for over half a century.”


    “Ultimately, Tamils must decide what kind of government they want.”

    Don’t quite agree with that, because that assumes that any regional government will represent only the Tamil people. There are a lot of Sinhalese and Muslim Sri Lankans living in the North and East. Any federal government has a responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens and handing over power to an LTTE regional government, especially in the East, without guarantee of a multi-party system from the word go, will severely disenfrachise the citizens, perhaps even the majority in those areas. Also, consider that the Karuna faction is perhaps now as legitimate a representative of Eastern Tamils as the LTTE is, if not arguably more so. In sum, I think there is a strong case to say that democracy, elections and multi-party systems must be built in from the word go.

  142. “In sum, I think there is a strong case to say that democracy, elections and multi-party systems must be built in from the word go. ”

    Certainly in a federal system, yes. In the event of an independent Eelam, however, the GoSL can hardly be the entity to insist on this, given the lack of trust. During the independence process, it would also be impractical for the GoSL to attempt to force the issue, as it will be seen as the withdrawing colonial power. Either way, democracy will have to be brokered by a strong third party, something that neither side seems to be currently open to.

    Finally, I doubt the overall realism of insisting on preconditions, just as I doubt the realism of asking the Tigers to lay down arms prior to talks.

  143. It doesn’t need to be a precondition, just something that needs to be negotiated into the framework by the GoSL.

    I can’t envision a scenario where an independent Eelam becomes a reality, unless the LTTE acquire nuclear weapons or similar WMD. In twenty-four years of war, the majority in the South still vote on cost-of-living as the number one issue, not a solution to the war. The LTTE has not affected civilian life in the South drasticaly enough for the people to concede a separate state, and certainly, in this context, any politician who attempts to promote and independent state will quickly be voted out. Unless the LTTE achieve an independent Eelam militarily, they will not achieve unless there is a drastic “unknown unknown”, to use Rumsfeldian terms, which comes into play.

  144. You’re probably right about an independent state, Ravana.

    But let’s take a federated province as the probable outcome. This will not happen in one go. It’ll most likely be preceded by an ISGA-type scenario, that could very well drag on for years while a constitution, provincial police, administrative issues, and all the other millions of details are argued ad nauseum and finally ironed out. During this time, the LTTE will administrate their areas and consolidate their control. Without a doubt, this will include a certain amount of disappearances, assassination of rivals, and all the other things that we saw happening during the CFA. Can’t be helped, it’ll have to be stomached as part of the price for longterm peace. This might then culminate in the first provincial elections for the new province. These will then be won overwhelmingly by the LTTE — heck, even Tamils can cook up a crooked electoral win. Most of our own elections in the south have had a certain amount of cooking, and this will undoubtedly be the same in the north. What sort of government will then ensue remains to be seen, but it will be a ‘democratic’ one by name, if not in deed. And on it’ll go. So I doubt the federal govt will have much say in the matter; not if they wish to look like they are not interfering.

  145. Ravana,

    On the minorities within the NorthEast, I think it’s important that any federal setup takes into account the interests of these groups. There are models where the Muslims for instance, could form one non contiguous unit, while a redone delimitation process could draw up the map in such a way that as far as possible the Sinhala dominated areas fall outside the devolved unit. In any case, minority and collective rights must be enshrined in a federal bill of rights that is interpreted by an impartial and representative Supreme or Constitutional Court.

    I don’t think the issue Ravana is whether multi party democracy is built in to the system. I think it must. I thought your concern was whether the LTTE will abide by such legal rules. I suggested earlier that while legal and constitutional rules and norms may be established, the compliance can only be ensured through political means.

    Karuna will and cannot have the legitimacy that the LTTE has until he is supported by a political party that has the overwhelming support of the Eastern Tamils, until he is considered important enough to be included in the political negotiation process as a partner in the pursuit of a solution and until he stops fighting alongside the SriLankan army. Oh, and he will not have a leg to stand on and negotiate until he controls territory and stops being protected by the Sri lankan government.

  146. I know, the lack of desirability for freer and and fairer elections in the rest of country really would undermine the credibility of the central government to preach to the regional government. (Also, I am not sure the the LTTE would NEED to win in a crooked manner. Most Tamil Sri Lankans seem accepting of the practices of the LTTE, and they might seek to reward the LTTE for their commitment in fighting for their rights, albeit at the cost of their personal freedoms, economic prosperity, and the death of their children).

    However, I believe a theoretical interference-okay-in-the-event-of-no-elections-and-no-political-freedom must be built in into the final devolution, not necessarily the interim one.

    In addition, literally for the sake of argument:

    1. Military must be in the hands of the federal government, with affirmative action type policies ensuring regional and / or ethnic represntation.

    2. Police force must be regional – especially hiring policies.

    3. Education, health etc must be regional.

    4. Taxes must be regional as well as federal.

    5. Foreign policy and international trade must be governed by the centre.

    6. One currency, one central bank.

    I think the big disuptes are going to be number 5 and number 1.

  147. 1 could be solved by having a NorthEast (regiment? – for want of lacking better terminology) that comprises existing Tiger cadre no…

    5 – I don’t know. Economic independence is going to be a huge issue. Even bigger than foreign policy. There is a perception among Tamils, that come the end of the war, the economy of the NothEast will take off through the roof. Not sure that Tamils will want to be constrained by bad choices made by the south.

  148. I can’t see how you can reasonably have a common currency and not have the federal government having final regulation over international trade. Imports and exports determine the price of the currency and therefore monetary policy has to be tailored accordingly. It’s not like the federal government will have incentives to crack down on development in the NE, as long as federal coffers also benefit. Individual businesses in the North and East will have the freedom to seek foreign buyers in foreign markets, obviously.

  149. I wouldn’t hold too much hope that the northern economy will go through the roof. That rarely happens immediately after such a devastating war. It will take time. A federal economic centre will be a two-edged sword, because while it will take in taxes from the states/provinces, it will also have to support the north til it gets moving. Guys like Mal will be opposed to this.

  150. Alter ego, I’m a little out of my depth when it comes to the issue of fiscal federalism, but can you explain to me how the EU common currency system works. I know the EU is not federal, but since they have a comon currency, is final regulation of import and export controlled by the EU and not the individual member states. If this is the case, I am unaware of it.

  151. If I may speak for Alter Ego here, this is from the EU’s external trade web page ( :

    “The implementation of a common trade policy was historically at the heart of the original plan that led to the founding of the European Union. Experience shows that in the world trade competition it pays to team up with other countries. The European Union is the world’s largest trading bloc, accounting for about one fifth of all world trade. Its common trade policy enables its 25 members to speak with one voice on the international stage. This is all the more important in a globalised world in which economies tend to cluster together in large regional groups.”

    However, the EU parliament has no explicit control over trade. Comparing the EU model to the Sri Lankan one, however, is misplaced because there a vast differences, economically and politically that hinder the working of a similar system.

  152. I’m not comparing or suggesting we adopt the EU model. Just questioning the assumption that the center must have explicit control over trade if you are to adopt a common currency. That was Alter’s original point I think. Seems to me that you really don’t.

  153. Boys….enough now no. We seem to have digressed a fair bit. As I’ve said many times before the answer seems to be NO. So let’s move the fuck on shall we….?

  154. sophist, I disagree. Once there is consensus on the thinking that a military solution is not the way forward, there has to be a debate on what form a political solution will take. It logically follows, and it is crucial. It’s what our leaders should be discussing and debating at peace talks, instead of the body bag count type diplomacy they will be engaging in a few days from now. Maybe the nex tpost from Ravana will address this issue.

  155. A military solution will never create a distinct peace, and just settlement of the problem. Yet many on this forum are seriously underestimating the LTTE’s capabilities. Many also show their lack of understanding in basic military concepts 😀

    The LTTE has had the odds decked out against them exponentially from the very beginning, and at each critical phase have shown the ability to make qualitative leaps in their ability to wage war to make advances; what started out as a small band of boys armed with a pistol is now a full-fledged conventional-cum-guerilla group capable of achieving military parity with a force 10X larger, more armed and well funded. penetrating any targe on the island.

    The LTTE does not however have the capability to secure both Trinco and Jaffna simultaneously due to sheer manpower limitations however within a state of a protracted full-scale war both sides will desire and be pressured into another ceasefire. Hence the LTTE only needs to capture the towns and significantly hurt the SLA, and the people’s will for war (easily taken care of by crippling the economy) forcing the government into another military ceasefire wherein the LTTE will have captured large amounts of territory it can’t hold within full-scale war. Jaffna if captured can be held within a fullscale war once the SLA is eliminated from the north, but Trinco will be impossible to hold, considering the volative ethnic mix in the east as well.

    Peace talks will never lead anywhere unless there is a decisive military parity, and this can only be achieved by full scale war. Those who believe this conflict is an example of ‘peace, as another means of war’ a reversal of Clausewitz’s statement, are also mistaken. This is war by other means, a war launched to satisfy the political aspirations of the Tamil people that couldn’t be solved by political means.

  156. Quite right, Dravid. The LTTE’s vigorous arse-kicking of the IPKF was ample proof of their abilities. One of the world’s largest armies couldn’t do what the GoSL has done.

    In fact, odds of ten-to-one are pretty good in guerrill warfare, so saying the odds are stacked against the Tigers is a bit inaccurate.

    Both diplomacy and warfare are both parallel arms of conflict, so it’s no point arguing whether war is an extension of policy or if policy is an extension of warfare. The bottom line is neither the GosL nor the LTTE is going to get what it wants via the battlefield.

    War is only half the battle.

  157. War is theoretically half the battle, yet in the situation that prevails in Sri Lanka both sides are incapable of achieving anything through politics. The Tamils have attempted for many decades to peacefully get their rights and identity as a minority protected within a unitary country to no avail. All the agreements signed between the Tamil and Sinhala polity were all reneged on by the shifting Sinhalese governments. Hence Tamil Nationalism took on a militant nature alongside its political component. Eventually the militant nationalist movement eclipsed the failed political means. Today there are only negotiations because of the military might the Tamils have developed.

    Right now there will never be a breakthrough in negotiations as both sides will not make any bold gestures. It is better if there is a short full scale war wherein the military parity will be decisively tilted in one side’s favour hence making any subsequent negotiations more viable.

    The breakup of the nation on the long run is inevitable as the Sinhala polity keeps on forgetting about the previous negotiations and military parity in favour of the perceived military parity. As Ex-Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, who proved to the world his might, has now in his greying years has said in no uncertain terms in the above-mentioned book that “Sri Lanka — the country will never be put together again”. Never 😀

  158. ” It is better if there is a short full scale war wherein the military parity will be decisively tilted in one side’s favour hence making any subsequent negotiations more viable.”

    First, there IS full-scale war going on. Second, it is patently obvious that neither side is capable of a decisive victory. Nothing that will tilt the strategic balance.

    “Jaffna if captured can be held within a fullscale war once the SLA is eliminated from the north,”

    I think you’re putting the cart before the horse, mate. In order to capture Jaffna, the LTTE would have to FIRST eliminate the Army from the North. This has never been done in 25+ years, and doesn’t look like a possibility now. The LTTE was at the peak of its military prowess in the late ’90s and early 21st century, prior to the Karuna/TMVP split off. The LTTE no longer holds the East, and has its ‘sole represantative’ status seriously under threat by the TMVP.

    For all these reasons (and others) the GoSL & the LTTE have decided on a ‘points system’ of war — attrition, if you like — to gain incremental advantage at the table.

    Your theory may have been valid 5-8 years ago, Dravid, but is a bit out of date in the current situ.

  159. No ‘full-scale’ war is not going on, in full-scale war Colombo will not be quiet 😉 It is not clear that there exists no possibility for a clear victory.

    Nope the LTTE is stronger now than ever, the Karuna split hasn’t affected their ability to capture Jaffna. Karuna has only really taken at most a hundred or so eastern cadres with the majority of the eastern cadres having been reintegrated into the LTTE. Karuna is operating directly out of SLA camps and hence can never claim to be representative of Tamils.

    The GoSL and LTTE don’t decide on whether they want a war of attrition, one side forces the other into it as desired, this is merely a phase between low-intensity war and full-scale war. Just you wait and watch, soon there will be full-scale war… when that occurs we will see for sure whether the military parity can be decisively tilted.

    The theory only seems out of date, considering all the news/analysis being pumped out of the media outlets recently, media outlets who constantly change their viewpoints, but if one were to ignore them and truly take a detached view of the conflict one would realize that both sides have stockpiled much more weaponry and that LTTE have also incorporated a new C4I-like command and control structure that Karuna glimpsed on the Easter Day knockout when eastern cadres of the Jeyanthan brigade launched a rapid knockout attack on his ability to operate. This is exactly why today he needs operate right out of the SLA 😀

  160. “No ‘full-scale’ war is not going on, in full-scale war Colombo will not be quiet”

    Colombo ISN’T quiet — where do you live? If you mean we haven’t had another CBSL or Kolonnawa or Katu, that’s true, but that is more to do with LTTE inability than a the fact that the war is ‘low scale’. You are attempting to justify a preconceived theory through faulty analysis. Colombo is certainly quieter than in the late ’90s, but it isn’t out of LTTE choice.

    “Nope the LTTE is stronger now than ever, the Karuna split hasn’t affected their ability to capture Jaffna. ”

    Then why haven’t they captured Jaffna? The new Pakistani-driven fire support concept has made it impossible for the LTTE to even hold small areas or towns for long. So beyond hit&run terror strikes in Jaffna, a capture of the town is unlikely. The LTTE hasn’t even been able to capture outlying areas like Vasavilan, which will have to happen if they are to suppress Palaly. Without the latter, Jaffna’s a no hoper.

    “Karuna has only really taken at most a hundred or so eastern cadres with the majority of the eastern cadres having been reintegrated into the LTTE”

    Again, pure conjecture, Dravid. The Siruththi Pulli special operations unit alone numbers over 400 terrorists, and this wasn’t the only unit to join the TNVP. Could you tell me where you got this “hundred or so”?

    ” Karuna is operating directly out of SLA camps and hence can never claim to be representative of Tamils”

    More conjecture, Dravid. I know it’s popular to have conspiracy theories to justify improbable arguments, but you miss the point. How a group operates or where it is based has little to do with its representation of a people. The LTTE (and other terror groups) operated under India’s wing for decades, but that didn’t stop them claiming to represent all Tamils, the TMVP is no different. And I didn’t say they represent the Tamils, just that they an challenge the LTTE’s claim.

    “The GoSL and LTTE don’t decide on whether they want a war of attrition, one side forces the other into it as desired”

    Obviously they didn’t sit down over a beer and decide this. But the fact remains that the decision has been made by the respective leadership groups.

    “Just you wait and watch, soon there will be full-scale war… when that occurs we will see for sure whether the military parity can be decisively tilted”

    Well, good idea. Why talk about it now if your argument is “wait & see”?

    “The theory only seems out of date, considering all the news/analysis being pumped out of the media outlets recently”

    As with the rest of your post, Dravid, you are jumping to premature conclusions, based on non-existant ‘facts’. What makes you think I rely on the media as a source?

    “but if one were to ignore them and truly take a detached view”

    Yes, it’s sometimes convenient to ignore facts, but that won’t help your argument.

    And btw, putting in smiley faces doesn’t really make you more sound in your argument 😉

    Ravana, C41 is a US-designed command & control chain based on computer/electronic/radio systems. While this may bring LTTE technology a step up, it’s hardly a decisive weapon. Wars are not won by electronics. If so, we should have won by now!

  161. Have you ever slowed to think of the possibility that the LTTE hasn’t done anything in Colombo because they are waiting for the right timing? Same goes with capturing Jaffna, just because you are able to check the king doesn’t necessarily mean you do so unless it brings you checkmate in the short or long run.

    Karuna is operating out of the SLA barracks, this has been common knowledge, in fact an Australians news network even went to see for themselves. The majority of eastern cadres that were taken by Karuna have all rejoined the LTTE right after the Easter day knockout. I know the punnakku fed by the Southern media goes against all that I have said but that is not my issue….

    Wars are not won by electronics, but improvements in command&control structures go a long way in improving the ability to execute quick operations.

    Its funny how basic truths such as Karuna exists today because of the explicit assistance of the SLA MI are false to you. Just curious then what do you rely as a source of information?

    PS putting emocs on doesn’t mean I think they make my arguement more sound 😛 now thats some faulty logic there…

  162. “Have you ever slowed to think of the possibility that the LTTE hasn’t done anything in Colombo because they are waiting for the right timing? Same goes with capturing Jaffna,

    I have. There are several possibilities for why the LTTE hasn’t done anything major in Colombo, one of which is that they are waiting for the right moment. Another is that they are incapable. Since July, they have been unable to capture or hold any useful areas or strike at any real targets. Until I see something contrary to that pattern, I see no reason to believe they are capable. If you have anything to back up your argument, like a pattern of behaviour, please put it forward. I am quite aware of the LTTE’s strengths, and am quite open to any info you have. I just see none pointed out by you, except vague theories.

    “just because you are able to check the king doesn’t necessarily mean you do so unless it brings you checkmate in the short or long run”

    Similarly, the simple lack of a move to check isn’t evidence of a capacity to do so.

    “Karuna is operating out of the SLA barracks, this has been common knowledge”

    I never said they didn’t. I’m sure many of ’em do. I question your theory that they ONLY operate from GoSL camps, and your conjecture that this somehow makes them incapable of representation. As I pointed out already, the LTTE operated in eaxctly this manner for decades.

    “The majority of eastern cadres that were taken by Karuna have all rejoined the LTTE right after the Easter day knockout”

    What do you consider a majority? You’ve already made the ridiculous claim that the TMVP consists of a hundred fighters. Anything to back up these claims?

    “improvements in command&control structures go a long way in improving the ability to execute quick operations”

    Certainly; as are many other factors, none of which you are able to quote credibly. You claimed a C41 C&C as evidence, I merely point out that that’s not sufficient.

    “Its funny how basic truths such as Karuna exists today because of the explicit assistance of the SLA MI are false to you.”

    Where have I said this? At least have the common courtesy to be truthful in quoting other bloggers, even if you are vague in your argument.

    “Just curious then what do you rely as a source of information? ”

    Well, you already said that I shouldn’t rely on the southern media; and I don’t. Does it matter exactly where I get my info, or where you get yours? Scoffing at the other’s source would be a lame tactic, my friend, so let’s not go down that road.

    If you think I am unaware of the LTTE’s strengths and weaknesses, you would be mistaken. I have firsthand knowledge of both. But I base my theories on accurate info, and until you supply some, your argumants lack weight and credibility in the context of debate.

  163. Continue that belief that the LTTE are incapable… time will prove you wrong as it has done the Sinhala polity that continually sought a military option again and again in the three decades of war. Don’t worry I’m not mistaken about the fact that you are unaware of the Tiger’s strengths. My sources of information are more direct than anything you can scour off the internet/media.

    There is a saying in Tamil that goes like ‘Puli pathunguvathu paaivathatku’ which means the Tiger crouches to Pounce 😉

  164. Judging by his ISP address, Dravid lives in Canada. So, I’m guessing his source is some pro-LTTE group that operates in Canada.

    Dravid, when was the last time you were in the Wanni, to see the ongoing results of the conflict for yourself? The rest of the country has not been affected anywhere nearly as bad as the North and East, and therein lies the crux of  the stalemate. In so many years of war, the LTTE have been unable to affect the South badly enough, to make people prioritise this issue at the polls. The South continues with high levels of economic growth (I think 7% this year) and a relatively high level of personal freedom, while the North and East, by contrast, is impoverished, malnourished, and has no personal freedom. I doubt this situation is going to change soon. For one thing, the LTTE’s sourcing of arms is now more difficult than ever, as is the LTTE’s fundraising activity. Apart from this, their business links with Al Quaeda are well known, and terrorist type bombs in Colombo will only increase the likelihood of military support from the Americans. 

    We may very well be in  in the endgame now, but I don’t think it’s the GoSL that needs to worry about a checkmate, if a checkmate is, in fact, a possibility. 

  165. Blacker as much as I’d like to I can’t agree with you on just one point. That I don’t think the fact that Colombo is not burning can be taken as evidence that the LTTE is incapable. True the Tigers attempts to hit targets with impunity has been curtailed. But if they wanted to badly enough they could. And we all know that, given their track record.

    I think an attack on Colombo would do more harm than good to the long term plan of the Tigers which is why they’ve been hanging about.

    I’m also skeptical about the whole findingclaymoresonthesideoftheroad thing. Claymores are probably a dime a dozen on the black market and it could be anyone from reward hungry cops, to government propogandaists.

    Recently a text did the rounds giving out registration numbers of LTTE vehicles which apparently infiltrated Colombo laden with explosives. They know the car numbers but can’t locate the fuckers. That doesn’t inspire me with confidence.

    Dravid whoever your sources are please tell them not to fuck around. This whole fighting thing isn’t funny regardless of which side of the fence you’re on. Pointless no? Buggers like Ravana, Aadhavan and I will get killed and the buggers who are actually responsible for the ‘grievances’ of the Tamil people will continue to live in their fortified mansions with armed guards. Bastards. So apart from actual terror – nothing will be achieved.

    Please tell the ‘boys’ not to kill us. I’d offer to do the same but I don’t know any of the GOSL boys.

  166. “My sources of information are more direct than anything you can scour off the internet/media. ”

    I’m sure the drug-pushing wanna-be freedom fighters in Scarborough are a god source. Please do enlighten us further with your bright shining shafts of intelligence.

    “There is a saying in Tamil that goes like ‘Puli pathunguvathu paaivathatku’ which means the Tiger crouches to Pounce”

    Yes, thank you, DBS Jeyaraj has already told us. Another of your ‘sources’? At least be original in your thoughts instead of regurgitating another man’s point of view.

    “Blacker as much as I’d like to I can’t agree with you on just one point. That I don’t think the fact that Colombo is not burning can be taken as evidence that the LTTE is incapable.”

    I didn’t say they were, Sophist. I just pointed out that there can be several reasons for the lack of LTTE action in Colombo. Jumping to the conclusion that they are just biding their time isn’t based on fact, just popular thought. I’m sure they are, in fact, waiting for an opportunity; but that doesn’t mean they have a free hand. If they do, I’d like to see indication of it (in the form of successful attacks against strategic targets in the last 6 months). I’m not asking for evidence, just indications. There aren’t any at the moment. I’m quite open to ideas and will admit I’m wrong if proven so.

    Some 6 months or so ago, I predicted an attempt by the LTTE to try and overrun a major northeastern base as a prelude to talks. This didn’t happen. Some may say that I overestimated LTTE strength at the time. I’m not sure I did. Strength and capability don’t always mean the same thing.

    Many point out the recent counterrattack northeast of EPS as a sign of a LTTE resurgence. This is not indicative of that, necessarily. People were quick to jump on the SLA and the Army commander and various others as being incompetent just over a single minor battle. It was in fact a very narrow front with a long open and vulnerable right flank. It was perfect for defence. The fact that the LTTE pushed back this GoSL probe doesn’t prove they’ve returned to their strengths of a few years ago, or even last year.

    Dravid’s comments on the TMVP has been something the LTTE has attempted to tout ever since Karuna started hurting them — he’s small, a gangster, has no support, etc. It’s good propoganda, but still propoganda.

  167. Ravana I’ve been in and out of Vanni ten times since the ceasefire, I’ve also been there for extended periods during the previous Eelam Wars. Give me a legitimate source showing that the LTTE has links to Al-Qaeda.
    Sophist fighting isn’t fun, but so isn’t the indiscriminate killing, rape, and abduction of Tamil civilians by a state government claiming to represent them. In fact I don’t necessarily support the LTTE because I am extremist but because I am a Tamil nationalist, the overwhelming percentage of Tamils desire a separate country. The right of self-determination gives us the ability to separate in any manner desired. Give us a federal system and we will eventually secede many years down the road. There would have been no militant nationalist movement had the Sinhalese polity properly acknowledged the political nationalist movement and given us the right to secede in a democratic manner, yet this was prevented by the last amendment to the constitution. Give us an internationally certified referendum on whether those living in the NorthEast want a separate country. I have no sway over the ‘boys’.
    David I am not familiar with DBS Jeyaraj using the proverb… have a link? I haven’t read anything of his for quite some time as he should be termed BS Jeyaraj. Karuna was propped up by SLA MI and RAW, if he truly was as powerful as you say he is, he would have run over all LTTE installations in the east and completely debilitate the situation in the East, but this has yet to happen. There was no resurgence of the LTTE, just a perception of it by the media, and all those incapable of seeing the larger picture…
    The endgame is here and how it turns out…
    Judging by his ISP address, Dravid lives in Canada. So, I’m guessing his source is some pro-LTTE group that operates in Canada.
    Dravid, when was the last time you were in the Wanni, to see the ongoing results of the conflict for yourself? The rest of the country has not been affected anywhere nearly as bad as the North and East, and therein lies the crux of the stalemate. In so many years of war, the LTTE have been unable to affect the South badly enough, to make people prioritise this issue at the polls. The South continues with high levels of economic growth (I think 7% this year) and a relatively high level of personal freedom, while the North and East, by contrast, is impoverished, malnourished, and has no personal freedom. I doubt this situation is going to change soon. For one thing, the LTTE’s sourcing of arms is now more difficult than ever, as is the LTTE’s fundraising activity. Apart from this, their business links with Al Quaeda are well known, and terrorist type bombs in Colombo will only increase the likelihood of military support from the Americans.
    We may very well be in in the endgame now, but I don’t think it’s the GoSL that needs to worry about a checkmate, if a checkmate is, in fact, a possibility.

  168. Would you accept the Times of India as a source? (claims strong link):

    …or perhaps the US embassy (weaker link, but still of grave concern to the US interests):

    Question: Mr. Ambassador, do you find any evidence about links between the LTTE and Al-Qaeda?

    Ambassador Black: I am not exactly current, as I have been away from home. Put it this way, I am very disturbed at the LTTE’s history as a terrorist organization. It has been a purveyor of training, knowledge, and equipment to a spectrum of terrorist groups, and we currently see many of these groups being mutually supporting. So you can play the game of one group connected to another to another, and I guess one could make connections, but I think that I would just rest on solid ground that the LTTE has been a disseminator of knowledge on how to conduct terrorist operations and has equipped other terrorist groups, which in and of itself is sufficient cause for alarm, and concern. The community of nations should attempt to constrain its activities, and do everything it can to bring them to the negotiating table.

    More articles of varying degrees of relevance and credibility:

    “In fact I don’t necessarily support the LTTE because I am extremist but because I am a Tamil nationalist, the overwhelming percentage of Tamils desire a separate country.”

    Really? I’m not so sure about this. I think the majority of Tamils would like a federal solution, not an entirely separate state. Arguably, the security of Tamils will be better guaranteed under a federal solution than an entirely seperate state. I think many Tamils are nervous about letting thhe LTTE hhave complete control. Just read the UTHR(J) website. Also, if the LTTE had this great support from the majority of Tamils why is it so afraid oof letting alternative Tamil voices be heard? Why does it kill off all other Tamil political representatives? If it was so secure in its sole representation status, it wouldn’t need to enforce this situation artificially. Just read the UTHR(J) website – it’s the most balanced account of Sri Lanka’s modern history I have come across.

    The fact is, that we don’t even hear the real grievances of Tamil Sri Lankans being talked about anymore. Neither the LTTE, nor the TNA, nor the Karuna faction seems to be doing anything actively to address the issues. This is partly because the issues at present are not as large as they once were. In fact, the present instances of discrimination (like the difficulty in getting Tamil language service at government departments) are few and far between.

    If the LTTE are genuinely interested in a negotiated solution, they must act now, while there is a chance of achieving consensus in the South. That is, if they are genuinely interested in the welfare of their own people. As I said before, life in the South goes on relatively peacefully; it is the North and East that suffers. 

  169. “David I am not familiar with DBS Jeyaraj using the proverb… have a link?”

    Here you go, Dravid:

    First paragraph, first sentence. Anything else I can help you with? Now how about some links to back up your silly theories? You may have visited the Wanni, Dravid, but try the East next time. We can all claim various degrees of personal experience, but it is irrelevant in a discussion where we (or most of us ;)) are nameless and faceless.

  170. I’ve visited some parts of the east too, although I admit not as frequently.

    Ravana the Times of India has run numerous stories on UFOs in the past… The SL ambassador hasn’t necessarily said that the LTTE and Al-qaeda are in cahoots, simply that their training might be passed on.

    You want to quote SPUR on this issue?
    Well then I have a good source to discuss the situation of African-Americans: 😀 Not very smart are we?

    David my theories are silly eh? lmao Well time will tell…

    Snippets from the Past – The Lessons of Time

    “…We trounced them. The LTTE ran for life. That will be the trend for the future also..” Sinhala Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka to State Controlled Sri Lanka Sunday Observer, 13 August 2006

    “…Linking of the land based Main Supply Route (MSR) to Jaffna through Killinochchi would be achieved by February 4, next year – I will shake hands with Pirabaharan after we defeat him” – Sinhala Sri Lanka Deputy Defence Minister, General Ratwatte, 14 December 1997

    “The IPKF got rid of the hard core elements. What is left (of the LTTE) is the baby brigade of young boys and girls. They will wet their pants when they meet my armed forces…” Sinhala Sri Lanka Deputy Defence Minister, Ranjan Wijeratne, 15 July 1990

    Where does this leave us? 😛
    Does Mr.David Blacker see a trend emerging?

  171. Only total war can possibly tilt military balance and bring peace… yet even then SL can never ever exist as a united country…

    Ravana as Ex-Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, who proved to the world his might, has now in his greying years has said in no uncertain terms in the above-mentioned book that “Sri Lanka — the country will never be put together again”. Never 😀

  172. Clearly Lee Kwan Yu is a far more reliable source than the people of this country. Damn fools Blacker and Ravana – can’t you understand this?

  173. 😀 Nicely put Sophist, the point I wanted to get across was that as an individual that led Singapore to become what it is today, actually studied Sri Lanka at first, since in those days Sri Lanka was relatively in amazing shape in its development. Today Sri Lanka is a destroyed nation…

    Blacker, me and you share many more things in common 😉 although on opposite sides of the fence..

    In the endgame everything is coming together…

  174. I thing you’re flattering yourself, mate. I fail to see any commonality with someone who’s best argument is a smiley face.

  175. Thamilan (sic) I agree with you wholeheartedly. Perhaps the fact that the Tamins have broken SL into what a former student of the country regards as an irremediable state should perhaps point that community in the direction that the Singaporeans were heading in in the first place.

    At the time Lee Kwan Yu was studying SL the ‘legitimate grievances’ of the Tamils existed. This method of addressing them didn’t. The logical assumption is…?

  176. Thamilan,

    i disagree. The Tamils cannot save Sri Lanka alone. You seem to subscribe to some silly theory that the Tamils are solely to blame for what we have now. You may not have intended to mean this, but that is how it is construed.

    If the Sinhala polity does not pull up its socks and deal with the problem, nothing the Tamils do will help save the country.

  177. Aadhavan, I take mild issue with your sweeping generalization on a couple of counts. Some of my venting now may have basis in other comments you’ve made however, not this one – but I think it still has relevance.

    If one does not have a solution, pointing out a problem in this particular environment is of minimal use. In an earlier instance, you said (I paraphrase and am too sleepy to hunt up specifics, but it was to ivap) that an amendment did not go far enough without being specific about why it did not go far enough and (more importantly, from my perspective) what you think needs to change (specifics please).

    In this instance, you say that the “Sinhala polity needs to … deal with the problem”. How? Forgive me for pointing out that more often than not, you come across as a naysayer and a wagger of fingers at the (Sinhala) polity and the (Sinhala) military without actually saying what you want changed.

    As you say, you may not have intended to mean this, but this is how I construe it 🙂

    I don’t say that I (or anyone else in this forum) has the power to grant you your wishlist by any stretch of imagination but if something does not work for you, then merely saying it doesn’t work is (to me) the same as sitting on the fence and passing judgement. What would you do if you were the polity? Without that sort of attempt at empathy from you, how can any of this possibly work? 🙂

    I would give lots to make the grievances (in my view legitimate, though hardliners may disagree) go away. But there needs to be limits set. What are those limits for you? With only critique at each and every turn and no explicit limits from your end; how can compromise ever be possible? This is what ticks me off about the majority of the Tamil moderates. Everything the polity does is “wrong” or “does not go far enough”. What more do they want? Umm, nobody gets very specific. It’s not like the moderates speak with one voice either – any more than the different facets of your supposed Sinhala polity do.

  178. The context in which th previous comment I made was the comment made by Thamilan that only the Tamils can save the country. I had an issue with that comment, because it seems to feed on the sentiment that the ball is solely in the court of the tamils.

    I don’t think you can accuse me of shifting the goalposts or shooting darts from vacillating positions. i strongly believe that a solution could be achieved within a single state, where there is a federal mode. I’m not presumptuous enough to lay down a blue print constitution now. However, I believe it is possible to debate and discuss broadly the issues that may arise if and when power sharing takes place.

    My criticism of the Southern polity is its unwillingness to share power with the minorities, via autonomy to the regions. I can tell you why the only significant concession(the 13th Amendment) was insufficient. It’s also important to note that the Southern polity was not in favour of the 13th Amendment. it was India that used all its political capital to push it through. If you think my criticism is misplaced, please inform me of whether my expectations are flawed, or whether my asessment of the South’s attitude to power sharing is wrong.

  179. Dravid,
    THAT’s your argument?! That the Times of India ran stories of UFOs? And that SPUR is to the LTTE what the KKK website is to African Americans?!
    Firstly, running a story on UFOs does not reduce the credibility of a news source. A UFO is an Unidentified Flying Object. Not all flying objects are identified. Sometimes, when people react to UFOs it creates a legitimate news story. Secondly, I was not quoting SPUR. I posted a link to a page on the SPUR site which in turn provides links to other web pages of varying degrees of credibility, as I said before.
    Further, your quotes of Sri Lankan military and defence leaders only illustrate the fact that such leaders all over make optimnistic pronouncements regarding their own capabilities and the weakness of their enemies. This is motivational propaganda and is good for the ground troops and people with insufficient intelligence to see through it. I can quote countles similar pronouncements made by the LTTE.
    I am surprised that you seem to buy in to their viewpoint. I am even more surprised that you think that type of thing would even pass as evidence. Is your position that this war can be won militarily by the LTTE based on your faith in these types of bombastic pronouncements by the LTTE?

  180. Ravana, the 13th Amendment lays down 3 distinct arms of government within the Provincial Councils. They are the Governor, the Chief Minister and Board of Ministers and the Provincial Council assembly.

    According to the 13th, the Governor is the head of the execuive branch in the PC’s, and he holds office “during the pleasure of the President”. There are no substantive checks and balances on the Presidents power to appoint or remove a Chief Minister. So executive power remains completely with the centre. No power sharing in the executive branch. The Governor controls the Provincial Public Service, and all appointments, transfers, dismissals and disciplinary control of the Provincial Council thus firmly rests with the agent of the center. It is interesting to note that subsequent Presidents have favoured military officers to be Governor of the NorthEastern provincial Council.

    The Chief Minister and his Board of Ministers are appointed by the Governor, utilizing his discretion as to who commands a majority in the PC. They are allowed to “aid and advice” the Governor, although he is not legally obliged to accept their advice. He is, on the contrary, supposed to exercise his power in accordance with Art 4(b) which vests plenary executive power with the president. So CM and his Board can rant and rave all they want, but the Governr can just ignore them. Remember, the CM is elected by the people, the Governor is not. Not only is it anti power sharing, it is blatantly undemocratic.

    Also, the allocation of funds to the PC’s are determined by the Traesury Secretary, the Governor of the Central Bank and three other Presidential nominees. Further, not a cent can be withdrawn for expenditure by the CM unless the Governor so recomends. Oh and by the way, the 13th Amendment enables the President if he is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the administration of the Province cannot be carried out, to himself assume all the functions of the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Ministers and declare that the powers of the Provincial Council shall be vested in the Central Parliament.

    With regard to the competencies of the PC’s, there are three lists, the PC list, the concurrent list and the reserved list-reserved for the central government. If you look at the provisions carefully, even Police and Public Order and the disposition of State lands in the regions is still controlled by the center.

    In any case Article 154G(10) of the 13th Amendment enacts:

    “Nothing in this Article (which empowers Provincial Councils to pass statutes) shall be read or construed as derogating from the powers conferred on Parliament by the Constitution to make laws, in accordance with the Provisions of the Constitution (inclusive of this Chapter) with respect to any matter, for the whole of Sri Lanka or any part thereof.”

    The first subject on the Reserved List (i.e. matters within the exclusive jurisdiction of the central Parliament) is ‘National Policy on all Subjects and Functions’.These Constitutional provisions taken together will enable Parliament to legislate by a simple majority on ‘all subjects and functions’ on the ground of ‘national policy’.

    Furthermore, all the center need to get rid of Provincial Statutes contained in the Provincial list is to change the constitution or pass a statute with a 2/3rds. In any case, the Central parliament is allowed to pass legislation through a simple majority on a range of matters concerning the PC’s including the salaries payable to the PC Ministers.

    Basically, there is no concept of power sharing within the 13th. Just a little decentalization at the ‘pleasure’ of the Honourable President. It is totally inadequate to satisfy the aspirations of the Tamils.

    The reason why the 13th fundamentally fails is that it is consistent, as the Supreme Court pointed out, with the unitary nature of the sri lankan state. in other words, all power must ultimately flow from the center. The center still reigns over all matters.

  181. Aadhavan I think the word ‘pleasure’ needs to be placed in the context of its monarchical beginnings and not conveniently misinterpreted to prove a point.

    Factually, you are right vis-a-vis the powers of the PC’s as opposed to the central government. I would go as far as to agree with you that further autonomy must be granted in order to satisfy the aspirations of the Tamils (and indeed other communities).

    However, the gist of your post is an analysis of how power needs to be further devolved. If you would permit me to stretch your logic, it would seem that we as nation states are also mere devolved entities from a central world government (theoretically, let’s say the UN). Devolution is a dangerous thing to discuss without setting parameters.

    You ask for a greater deal of autonomy (which I concede must be granted), but then also say that you believe a solution could be adopted within a unitary state. The Indian model is, I believe the ideal on which many theorists function in SL. As Ghostwriter said, while you say that the 13th amendment is not far reaching enough, I think it is only fair that you also say what you would like to have devolved to the state in addition to the current list.

    Also in doing so, as yourself the practicalities of devolving things like police power in a country like SL with its geographic limitations and political tensions. I am not saying it shouldn’t be discussed. But let’s think about it.

    I’m not asking you for a blueprint constitution – just rough guidelines within the two absolutes you have mentioned, i.e. – a unitary state, and the status quo.

  182. Sophist,
    I don’t think the point conveyed by “pleasure” in the sense that i intended it to be construed is a stretch, considering that the President’s power to appoint and remove the Governor of a Province is unfettered and cannot be questioned in any court of law.

    Also, i think there is some confusion on the meaning of a “unitary state”. A unitary state is where the central government is the source of all power and any decentralised or devolved institutions exercise power because the center wills them to exercise power. In other words, if the center wishes to roll back the devolutionary features, it can do so when it wants. A unitary form of government is fundamentally opposed to a “federal” one, where there is a sharing of power and competencies. in other words, there would be areas of competence for the devolved unit, that the center cannot infringe on, even if it so wishes.

    Due to the nature of the Tamils experience with agreements made with the state, a unitary form of government just won’t cut. Because the center can say, alright we’ll give the region coastal protection, but then roll back on that promise later if they want, without violating the constitution. In a federal form of government, if the Constitution says you have coast conservation, nothing the central government does can take that away from the region. Basically Tamils are looking for guarantees that are permanent and structural, and a unitary constitution can never provide that.

    So it’s not so much a question of what powers are devolved, but how strong is that devolution. I don’t think there is an issue with devolving police powers though. Most federal constitutions do devolve police power and it can go a long way in easing tense situations where the folks doing the policing are not ‘outsiders’.

    The question of whether the Indian constitution is a feeral one has been the source of much debate. It is often called a quasi federal constitution, because the centre can announce a situation of emergency, and roll back all the powers devolved to the regional units. Considering the eagerness of Sri lankan governments to declare states of emergency, the same provisions in a future sri lankan constitution could render any federal features redundant.

    As to your particular question of what model I prefer, i’m inclined to like the Canadian model of assymetrical federalism. However, I don’t beieve there should be preconditions on what matters go to the center and what matters are devolved. This can be negotiated based on our own needs. The central question is however, the nature or quality of devolution, is it strong or weak? So far, all indications from the SL government point to a hesitant approach to sharing power and an unwillingness to accept federalism.

  183. From what Aadhavan said, I think I agree with him that that is blatantly not enough. I also think that the police power should be devolved, not the armed forces though. (Then there is the little problem of the STF, since they are part of the police, which I think is against the law, anyway). The right to determine the head of the regional government should rest with the people of the region, and the right to collect some taxes should also be granted.

  184. Ravana,

    I haven’t come across bombastic pronouncements by the LTTE similar to the ones made by SL military commanders. Do you have any quotes. I may be wrong on this one though. I know they like to gloat overtheir famous victories, but i haven’t heard any naiive predictions of easy victory.

  185. Ravana the Times of India website has articles regarding the supposed usage of UFOs by certain governments in hidden bases, and their ulterior new global schemes. This is legitimate news eh 😀

    All those comments were what the sinhala masses believed through all those periods. And a similar view exists within the sinhala masses today just as in those periods. Those military commanders also actually believe what they say as well, their military expeditions were conducted in such a manner that one could conclude their planning was influenced by these beliefs.

    A federal model is also a suitable means of exploring peace, yet it too would probably lead to full-fledged separation. Any meaningful form of truly democratic devolution would eventually lead to separation.

    Look at what just happened in Muhamalai, the military brass and elite thought the LTTE forewarning the IC is a sign of weakness, they let this belief further prod them into executing the offensive.

    You realize TE has only put into use its veteran troops on limited occasions, and their navy was also used in a limited manner. The TE armed forces are now more than capable of launching high intensity blitz warfare. They can wage full-scale conventional warfare in their strongholds, and wage geurilla warfare in the East, they can also launch Special-forces like attacks all over the island on any target.

    VP and the TE armed forces don’t just exist because they want to make money or become powerful. They exist because the Tamil masses support them wholeheartedly. They exist because the Sinhala polity does not allow the Tamils the right to self-rule. The Sinhalese polity know very well that if a referendum on secession were to occur in the northeast today or in the past that it would be victorious. That is why they made it illegal to secede via democratic and constitutional means. We have the right to self determination as stated in many international documents.

    Separation doesn’t only address our greivances but allows us to take control of our future. Within Sri Lanka the selfish Sinhala elite will continue to take us all into ruin one way or another. They are incapable of bettering the lives of millions of their own non-Tamil citizens.

    “Many point out the recent counterrattack northeast of EPS as a sign of a LTTE resurgence. This is not indicative of that, necessarily.”
    Agreed. The LTTE was at its present strength the whole way through, hence there was no resurgence, simply a shift in perception. One’s perception and the ground reality are not the same.

    “People were quick to jump on the SLA and the Army commander and various others as being incompetent just over a single minor battle. It was in fact a very narrow front with a long open and vulnerable right flank.”
    So why fight in such a manner? I don’t think the SLA is incompetent be cause of this single ‘minor’ battle. I think they’re incompetent over what they’ve done over the past three decades 😀

    “It was perfect for defence. The fact that the TE forces pushed back this GoSL probe doesn’t prove they’ve returned to their strengths of a few years ago, or even last year.”
    So the GOSL invested all this manpower and preparation on a simple probe? Probes don’t cost you the deaths of hundreds of soldiers.

    Now Blacker let me ask you this… in your opinion is there any means for the SLA to gain victory over the TE forces enough to force them to negotiate? Do you think or foresee any way the TE forces can gain the upper hand enough to force the GoSL into further concessions or a separate state in itself?

  186. “more than capable of launching high intensity blitz warfare”

    Where? There hasn’t been a single successful offensive by the LTTE in the last six months. Where’s the indication of capability?

    “They can wage full-scale conventional warfare in their strongholds”

    Sadly, they seem unable to do so outside their strongholds, which is why I said they have in fact weakened marginally.

    “and wage geurilla warfare in the East”

    They are waging guerrilla warfare because the TMVP has forced them to, so it’s actually a setback that the LTTE now has to resort once more to a form of conflict they had attempted to move forward from years ago. The LTTE has long sort to distance itself from the image of being a guerrilla/terrorist group, but once more has failed.

    “they can also launch Special-forces like attacks all over the island on any target”

    The fact that they have been unable to hit anything of strategic value is the only significance. The LTTE always had the ability to attack throught the island, but they also once had the ability to attack worthwhile targets.

    “The LTTE was at its present strength the whole way through, hence there was no resurgence”

    This is arguable, but there’s not enough evidence to argue for or against it. I personally think the LTTE is slightly weaker and/or less organised than it was pre-TMVP. There can and may be many reasons for this. Some have been discussed here, some haven’t been for the simple reason that we don’t know enough about the internal affairs of the LTTE command structure, amongst other things.

    “I think they’re incompetent over what they’ve done over the past three decades ”

    Dravid, you may choose to pepper this discussion with your jibes against the GoSL and it’s forces, but this does little for the argument and appears rather childish. We can just as easily chuckle at the incompetency of the LTTE and the other militant/terrorist Tamil groups that have been unable to topple a tin-pot third world govt for over 25 years, in spite of the backing of India and other nations. They haven’t even come close to destabilising the south or making the slightest dent in the Sinhalese thinking. They are barely able to administer their areas or squash dissent in the east. The JVP, with no real outside backing, came closer to winning in a few short years. This, if for no other reason, makes a joke of the LTTE claim of being the Tamil champions. It’s not surprising that the eastern Tamils are looking elsewhere.

    “So the GOSL invested all this manpower and preparation on a simple probe?”

    “All this”, Dravid? Investment of a brigade group for a probe on a target that requires a full division (at the very least) is quite normal. The loss of a company of troops is certainly tragic (in human cost), but probably proved that an attack on that axis alone is insufficient. I still mainatain that the fall of EPS isn’t the GOSL goal at the moment. Containment of the area and denial of the Jaffna peninsula to LTTE troops in the EPS area is probably the shortterm objective. Both the LTTE and the GoSL see Jaffna and EPS as the two fortresses at either end of the peninsula battleground. Neither side is willing to commit to the casualties required, so probes are all that we see. An attack on EPS will not be attempted with a piddly brigade, but with at least a division (maybe two), amphibious landings, and massive air and arty prep. In my novel (which is fiction), I’ve sandboxed a hypothetical battle for EPS, and in it the GoSL uses a full division, plus elements of two others.

    “in your opinion is there any means for the SLA to gain victory over the TE forces enough to force them to negotiate?”

    If you mean incremental victories, yes, there are, both on and off the battlefield.

    “Do you think or foresee any way the TE forces can gain the upper hand enough to force the GoSL into further concessions or a separate state in itself? ”

    If you mean further concessions in the form of talks/negotiations, certainly. My last answer works for both sides, and is what I originally told you, Dravid, that both sides will seek incremental advantges to gain concessions at the table. A separate state isn’t even in sight, Dravid, so it’s a bit premature to expect that anything the LTTE can do will extract that from the GoSL just yet.

    Your use of TE forces instead of LTTE is amusing, particulaarly since the TMVP seems to like that prase too.

  187. Aadhavan – my mistake. I re read your post and you said within a ‘single’ state. Whereas I thought you said unitary. Hence my accusations of contradiction.

    Asymmetrical federalism. Interesting….

    Unfortunately Dravid says that the LTTE is supported wholeheartedly by the Tamil polity. He also goes on to say that Seperation will not solve the problem but give self determination.

    Is it not about time that the Tamil ‘polity’ decided what it wants? Self – determination or a cure for their ‘legitimate grievances’. If one can be achieved without the other, which is the most desirable?

  188. Ya, i don’t agree with Dravid that secession is the only way for the Tamils. I don’t think it’ll be good for the Tamils or the Sinhalese and I don’t think achieving a separate state is very feasible, not with the whole world against separation.

    Sophist, we’ve been through this whole question of representation before. What does it mean? Do the Tigers represent Tamils etc.. I think the quetion of support is very similar. The Tamil polity is not one single minded polity. However, unlike the Sinhala polity, the Tamil polity has for the last 50 years articulated its demand for autonomy and self rule. I can’t generalize Tamil opinion, but I can analyse Tamil aspirations as articulated by their political leaders, and you find an amazing common consensus. The Thimpu principles were just an example. The FEDERAL party is today’s TULF, and all Tamil politicians, even including Hon. Douglas whose party holds a solitary seat in parliament, still believe in autonomy for the North and East. The question is, what does this consensus for autonomy and self rule translate into. is it a call for a separate state or a federal form of government? The LTTE has toyed with the idea of a separate state, but at Oslo committed to “explore federal models.” The thinking of tamils has always been that autonomy must be achieved, and only if that is impossible within a single state must the option of secession be looked into. The LTTE, i believe have long given up the idea of a separate state, but are looking to maximise the degree of autonomy that could be worked out at the table.

    On the question of grievances v asspirations such as self determination, you’ll find that early post Independence Tamil politics was very “grievances” based. It was marked by asking for redress to Tamils grievances about representation, colonisation, standardisation, Sinhala only etc. Somewhere down the line the thinking began to shift from securing redress to grievances to talking about “aspirations.” The assumpton being that the grievances exist because of a certain state of affairs, and the fundamental structure of the state must change if the grievances are to be addressed. So to Tamils, there is no dichotomy between grievances and aspirations. One flows from the other.

  189. * oops, it’s grievances v aspirations, not asspirations! I was trying to make a political point and not identify the preferred genre of porn among the tamil community.

  190. “Then there is the little problem of the STF, since they are part of the police, which I think is against the law, anyway”

    What do you mean “against the law”, Ravana? Do you mean that paramilitary/anti-terrorist police units are illegal? If so, do you mean under SL law? They certainly are perfectly legal in most western nations. Germany maintains GSG9 as part of the federal border guards; most US cities have SWAT units; the British police has a dedicated anti-terrorist unit, modelled on the SAS; the RCMP maintained an anti-terrorist/hostage-rescue unit until the role was taken over by JTF-2. Even the use of special forces military units against criminals has now been accepted in the UK (an example is the use of the SAS during a prison riot some years ago, and the use of the SBS to storm narcotics-carrying ships).

  191. aadhavan: I never accused you of vacillating nor of shifting goalposts. I simply couldn’t, because I didn’t understand your position to begin 🙂 My point was that I heard mostly criticism when I wanted to hear your solution/alternative first and then critique based on your own position rather than (what seemed to me) to be a nitpicking over semantics.

    But thanks for humouring me and explaining your position, #213 and #215 in particular are most informative.

    My view was: In a sentence, what would make the grievances go away? Once those limits have been set, then there is (in my view) a basis on which negotiations can start.

    It’s interesting that you mention Canadian federalism as an ideal. Quebec nearly seceded in 1995… This was (if I recall) after some constitutional reform which took place in the early 1980s. What’s to stop provincial self determination in the North and East from being the first stop in what will ultimately become a secession?

    If there is already distrust between the state and Tamils, is it completely unfair to say that this distrust is also mirrored in the attitudes of the GoSL towards a terrorist organization? There is no other alternative voice for negotiations, is there?

  192. Quebec did ot nearly secede in 1995. Quebec nearly voted in favour of a secession in 1995. However, the Supreme Court of Canada in a reference re the secession of Quebec held that the Canadian constitutio and international law do not permit the unilateral secession of Quebec. In othe words, whether or not the Quebecois voted for secession, they could not actually secede unilaterally. Subsequent to this judgement, there have been no attempts to secede.

    The court noted
    “The various international documents that support the existence of a people’s right to self-determination also contain parallel statements supportive of the conclusion that the exercise of such a right must be sufficiently limited to prevent threats to an existing state’s territorial integrity or the stability of relations between sovereign states”


    “A state whose government represents the whole of the people or peoples resident within its territory, on a basis of equality and without discrimination, and respects the principles of self-determination in its own internal arrangements, is entitled to the protection under international law of its territorial integrity.”

    To me, federalism seems to be the strongest bastion against secession, because it satisifies the longing of the Tamils for self determination internally. Conversely, the denial of internal self determination would fuel a move towards external self determination, and this is what is happening right now. So the status quo fails. You have to provide something better.

  193. Granted. The status quo fails. I also concede your point that grievances if not addressed immediately can lead to aspirations. However, we must (since this has not become almost a matter of semantics) acknowledge that the only aspiration can be that the grievances be eliminated. If one flows from the other, which it does, then that is the logical conclusion. The ‘aspiration’ cannot be new and improved and snowball from a grievance into a demand. Legitimacy and proportionality are some aspects of these so-called aspirations that are sometimes overlooked by the LTTE.

    As such, Dravid and you disagree on secession. Dravid advocates it, you, Aadhavan, don’t. Without deeming guility by association, I think it is reasonable to point out that Dravid’s view is closer to the LTTE’s. And it is one that I must say is disprportionate. Even on a purely statistical/geographical basis, Eelam is far in excess of the needs of the populous who will potentially occupy it. This must be acknowledged by the Tamil polity in the same way that we (I don’t know who that is really) admit that GoSL is not representative.

    If I understand your argument correctly, you will be happy with a federal, yet ‘united’ single state if the GoSL is not majoritarian and ‘representative’ of all constituents?

  194. Aadhavan: this is venturing slightly far away from the topic at hand but to counter what you said … I quote (one source here)

    However, the court also emphasized that the rest of Canada would have a political obligation to negotiate Quebec’s separation if a clear majority of that province’s population voted in favour of it

    Would I trust the LTTE to stay out of a free and fair election? Even when it may further their own agenda to do otherwise? I think not.

    I’m not arguing against provincial self determination nor against federalism per se. But what I think isn’t acknowledged by the Tamil polity is that this is seen by many as the prelude to a full secession. Self determination in a federal framework, fine with me. Is anyone in a position to guarantee it won’t go further?

    Also, what Sophist said in #226 🙂

  195. Grievances do snowball into aspirations when unaddressed. Sometimes you see a pattern in the events that cause the grievance and you realize that the underlying causes for that pattern have to be eliminated.

    I think you’ve got to realize that the LTTE have in the recent past not even once said that they are insisting on a separate state. They’ve just given up that rhetoric. This is really significant. They’ve said that a single state should not be the parameter for talks, but they’ve not said that a separate state is either. On paper, they have agreed to explore federalism and accepted internal self determination. Sure, they’ll keep saying that if forced to they’ll have to break away and form a separate state, but the dominant rhetoric is one of demanding a political proposal from the government.

    I think you’ve got to realize that if you want to exclude the possibility of a separate state through legitimate constitutional means, then you just write it into the constitution that there is no unilateral right to secede. That’s it. On secession extra constitutionally, through military force, i don’t see how federalism is going to augment the capacity of the LTTE to defeat the SL armed forces. I

  196. Aadhavan, just on your last point — in a federal system, it is highly likely that the state government will insist that federal forces (read, armed forces) be removed from the state or minimised, and replaced by a national guard and state police. In such a scenario, it will be easier for the federated state to then secede extra constitutionally, because the federal armed forces would have to conduct a full invasion to prevent it. This will be much more costly than suppressing a secession in situ. So, from a purely military viewpoint, a federated state will in fact find it easier to declare UDI than it will without a federal system.

  197. Let’s assume the Constitution provides for a federal force. The full transition of power into a federal state is then carried out. If the LTTE do not agree to ship out or disband militarily, still you have the same situation that you have now. Where the LTTE controls vast swaths of territory in the North and East and the government forces- the major towns. how does this change through a federal constitution.

    We’re assuming here that there would be no provision for regiments based on territory though. Not sure how the discussion will work out on this thorny issue.

  198. * sorry Blacker, i misunderstood your point and hence the last comment. I don’t think a formal declaration of peace is going to be immediately preceded by a UDI as soon as the armed forces march out. Don’t think that’s very viable with internation scrutiny and all. Plus, you can write into the Constitution all sorts of safeguards to ensure that neither the regional military force nor the state miitary force dominate. I suppose you can have a phased out plan for demilitarisation of the North and East, which works well for both the state and the LTTE. if the Government agrees, with the help of the international community, you could have a general demilitarisation of the state as a whole. So you get the LTTE to scale down, but you get the army and navy and airforce to scale down as well so there is no insecurity that breeds militarisation on the other side. I’m sure there are plenty of options. You have to think out of the box and fashion a model to suit your own needs.

    I think the southern polity has to look at secession differently. You can’t secede and survive as a state without international recognition. If the government does show bona fides in addresing Tamil concerns no separate state is ever going to materialize.

  199. Aadhavan, it all depends on what the LTTE ultimately wants. If the plan is to use a federal system as a stepping stone to full independence, it would very well insist on almost total withdrawal of the federal forces from the Northeast, to be replaced by a state force that incorporates the LTTE forces. This might take time, but would eventually happen. At this stage, UDI would be far more viable for the LTTE than now. Even if the federal govt insists on a token presence of federal forces, these will be easily overwhelmed as in June ’90. My point is that UDI would anyway be extra constitutional, and therefore any constitutional safeguards will have no use from a military standpoint. Added to this, even if there is an overall constitutional downsizing of both the federal and LTTE forces, we will see the state forces legitimising their navy and building up their air force. This will be an early move for sure. I’m only looking at this from a military viewpoint, Aadhavan. A federated state/province will without doubt find it easier to attempt UDI than would a contested territory like the present Northeast. Militarily, there’s no doubt about it.

    Politically, it’s arguable. If the new stste govt proves to the international community its ability to govern better than the federal govt, it might very well win international support for UDI.

  200. On the last point, surely it’s obvious that UDI by an established (and possibly elected) provincial/state govt will be seen as far more legit than that of a terrorist group that is unable to even control the territory it claims to represent.

  201. If the LTTE (or whatever it may call itself by then) decides to go for full secession by military means after the implementation of a federal framework then the political fallout in the “other half” of the country will be immense.

    Good luck convincing the hardliners that we haven’t “given away” half the country for nothing then 🙂

    Isn’t that the problem with having elected or politically appointed officials make those decisions? They need to keep on making periodic bombastic statements and pander (or be seen to pander) to all of their constituents in order to retain their job. I wonder if the LTTE has quite as many stakeholders to keep happy as their GoSL counterparts do.

  202. Blacker, you are assuming a federal setup where plenary military powers go to the region. I’m not sure whether that is suitable here, for as Gwriter states, there could be resistance in the South to that plan. However, between plenary military power to the center and plenary military power vested in the regions, there are a number of alternatives that you are ignoring. Of these options, one such is the gradual and phased out demilitarization of the regions. I don’t think its realsitic given India’s watchful eyes that the Tigers, assuming they lead the regional administration, will be allowed to develop an airforce and navy. There could also be the option of an international peacekeeping force in the interim that convinces both sides and pressures them to put military options on the backburner. You could have a situation where the army belongs goes to the region, the navy gets integrated to the central forces and the airforce remaining with the center. My point is not to push one of these alternatives, but to suggest that there are a range of options to prevent both sides from controlling the military completely, which as you have pointed out might put in danger the political assurances made at the table.

    the LTTE are maybe not as pressurized by the ‘fickle mobs’ as the Sri Lankan government, but they too play to the gallery and to their constituency. They are acutely aware that they stand no chance of taking on a numerically superior and internationally funded Sri Lankan army without the support, albeit tacit support of the people in the regions they administer. if you are to be cynical and don’t believe they do good dor good’s sake, the need for recognition within their community explains why they spend a massive amount of money on welfare in those areas. Plus, they are contantly saying and doing things to appease the diaspora Tamil community.

  203. It is strange how tamils don’t get together. I mean look at some people like Douglas Devananda or however you spell his name is betraying tamils. he acts as if he is supporting tamils but no. he is actually planing to help to increase the sinhala colonisation. I have read a article that Douglas Devananda has planned to settle sinhala colonist in Tellipilai, jaffna. How weird is that to betray his own community. There is no proble by him going against the ltte, but betraying a community. that’s weird. I’m not sure if i’m correct here people, but this is what I read.

  204. Aadhavan, I’m not ignoring other models of fedaralism, I’m just basing my forecast on a particular model — American federalism. Both Canadian & German models give an alternate form of military structure. I personally feel that the US model is the most likely in military terms.

    It is not possible to say that Indian intervantion will prevent the development of a air and sea national guard on the lines of US state forces. There is no indication that India will intervene.

    In addition, both GoSL and the LTTE have been firmly resistant to an armed foreign peace keeping force. I think the best we could hope for would be UN observers similar to the ones posted in the Sinai in the early ’70s — largely impotent.

    I’m not saying that your alternate views are impossible, Aadhavan, just that I don’t see many indiacations towards that route.

  205. Well, for that matter I don’t see any indications towards any sort of legislative and executive power sharing from the government Blacker. If we base our forecasts on what the two sides say they want now, we will never have a workable solution. I was just making a point that federalism doesn’t necessarily mean an increased capacity , politically or militarily, to secede.

  206. Well, sure, we’re all making mere forecasts here, but since a federal solution seems the most likely avenue to peace, we have to talk about it, regardless of current indications. Within that hypothesis I looked at the more likely military balance, given the LTTE’s pattern of behaviour. My reasoning behind saying that the LTTE will demand and get its own state armed forces, is that unlike Israel, SL doesn’t(and likely will not) have the overwhelming muscle superiority to dictate terms the way that Israel has, in that it has indicated it will never stand for a Palestinian air force or navy.

    I can’t make it any clearer that a federated state will find it easier to secede unilaterally than a province that is part of a central govt. Even if the LTTE isn’t allowed to have an air force and navy, it’ll still be easier. There is no way that federal forces will be tolerated in the state. Removal of the Army from the northeast is something that is on the table for talks even now, long before a federal system has been tabled, so I think there’s no way the GoSL can expect to maintain forces in a new federated state, except for possibly at China Bay. So even without an air force to fight, the GoSL will think twice about invading and attempting to resecure a large area that the LTTE would have by then reinforced and fortified. History proves this theory, though not necessarily conclusively.

  207. David that scenario is likely. Say a federal solution is agreed to, and the Tamil nationalist movement reintegrates its military apparatus into the SL forces and then the Tamil province goes about a UDI, this UDI would have democratic legitimacy and hence be easily accepted by the IC.

    The funny thing is this is why the GoSL won’t give devolution via a federal system since the Tamils will insist their military apparatus stays intact. Yet any devolution via a unitary state will not be enough to address the Tamil aspirations.

    PS the TE forces are more comparable to Israel than SL will ever be…

  208. “this UDI would have democratic legitimacy and hence be easily accepted by the IC”

    It would not have ANY democratic legitimacy if it was extra constitutional, just as the LTTE has no legitimacy at present. I was merely pointing out that a federal system would make it easier for a UDI (mostly on military terms), not give it legitimacy.

    “PS the TE forces are more comparable to Israel than SL will ever be… ”

    Yes, Karuna & the TMVP have compared themselves to the Palamach, and yes, they have proved their fighting capability in hurting the LTTE, but I’d hardly compare them to Israel. I’m surprised you’d indulge in such fantasies, Dravid

  209. The UDI would have democratic legitimacy as long as the democratically elected members of that provincial parliament support it, or a referendum is held within the province ie Quebec. If this is against the constitution the the constitution in itself isn’t fair and should be ignored.

    TE forces =Tamil Eelam forces = LTTE 😀

  210. There can be no legitimacy to an unconstitutional action, Dravid. Such an action will once more remove any legitimacy the LTTE might have gained through a federal solution. If the chosen action requires that the constitution be ignored, it means that the LTTE had very little forethought and negotiating skills at the time that federak and provincial constitutions would be drawn up. I repeat that I was talking about military convenience. UDI has rarely been looked on favourably by the UN and the international community at large.

    Your attempt to call the LTTE the TE is as laughable as the LTTE claiming sole representation of the Tamils. The TMVP also calls itself the TE, so please clarify whom you are talking about. I might as well say ‘Tamil” instead of ‘terrorist’, which would be equally confusing. Why don’t you call ’em the NTE (northern Tamil Eelam), or Nits, for short?

  211. TMVP as I said before is small… they don’t control any territory and can only execute assassinations and smallscale attacks here and there. Their purpose is to make SLA actions seem like paramilitary actions…

    The constitution right now isn’t fair in itself. It doesn’t allow the minorities to seek separation via democratic means. If a future constitution also disallows this and the Tamil people desire to separate we have every right to do so… a Sinhala constitution in no way determines the fate of the Tamil people…

  212. “they don’t control any territory and can only execute assassinations and smallscale attacks here and there”

    Hmm, funny, but that’s more or less what many people are saying about the LTTE too. The fact remains that the northern Tigers can’t control their territory, have lost the initiative, and now can’t even claim to be representative of the Tamils. However much you may say that the eastern Tigers are small, the fact that their disbandment remains top priority on the LTTE list at the table.

    “The constitution right now isn’t fair in itself.”

    If you had bothered to actually read what Aadhavan & I were discussing you might have figured out that we were talking about a new federal/provincial constitution, and not the present one.

  213. Is that why the GoSL probe got squashed? Because the LTTE/TE forces can’t control territory? They’ve lost the initiative? What about Habarna, Galle?

    Sorry I wasn’t paying attention to that discussion. Lemme read it up.

  214. “Karuna will and cannot have the legitimacy that the LTTE has until he is supported by a political party that has the overwhelming support of the Eastern Tamils, until he is considered important enough to be included in the political negotiation process as a partner in the pursuit of a solution and until he stops fighting alongside the SriLankan army. Oh, and he will not have a leg to stand on and negotiate until he controls territory and stops being protected by the Sri lankan government. ”
    ~Aadhavan (post 168) completely agree

    lol what happened to JustMal… he was an interesting character…

  215. “What about Habarna, Galle? ”

    Don’t make me laugh, Dravid. The LTTE blow a couple of speedboats up in Galle, and you somehow think that’s a successful attack? Killing sailors going on leave in Habarana doesn’t do anything for the LTTE war effort either, beyond pleasing the Justmal’s on the other side.

    “Is that why the GoSL probe got squashed? Because the LTTE/TE forces can’t control territory?”

    Come on, Dravid, don’t be obtuse. You know I was referring to the LTTE’s inability to retain the East. The repulsing of the probe in the EPS area has been the LTTE’s only battlefield victory this year; and I certainly didn’t say the LTTE was a spent force. But even if you want to argue this point, the fact remains that the very heart of the Jaffna Tamil (the Jaffna peninsula), is contested territory. Just as the LTTE doesn’t need to win (just survive) to win, plays true there too; the Army doesn’t have to win on the Jaffna peninsula to defeat the LTTE. It just needs to exist there in order to prove the lie to LTTE administrative control of its ‘homeland’.

    But you’re clutching at straws, Dravid. The point is, no matter how small/weak you claim the TMVP is, or whatever Aadhavan’s view on the matter is, Karuna has shown both the Tamils and IC that there’s an alternative to the LTTE. That’s something the latter has tried to squash for almost 20 years. Now, instead of the Army being the main enemy, the LTTE needs to fight other Tamils. This will ultimately break the myth of LTTE defence of Tamil aspirations, and reduce the ‘great cause’ to one of internecine fighting. You can’t be fighting for Tamil rights if other Tamils are fighting against you. That is why in spite of the LTTE attempt to belittle the TMVP, the latter remains so high on their ‘to do’ list. The LTTE’s desperate (though futile) efforts to remove the TMVP through either military action or negotiation with the GoSL is proof of how serious the threat is.

  216. The LTTE have always been fighting other tamils who either sold out to the govt or to india. There was TELO earlier, and more recently the EPDP and now Karuna. I don’t think it undermines the cause of the LTTE to fight other tamils who are perceived to be under the protection of the government. It surely makes the LTTE’s job a lot more difficult, but besides the JHU and some others, no one is suggesting that Tamil aspirations be negotiated with Douglas or Karuna. I don’t think the IC thinks that Karuna is a viable alternative to the LTTE either. There’s nothing to indicate that they want the TMVP to be drawn into negotiations. And Tamils will have to be mad to think that they can somehow trust Karuna to negotiate concessions from the government on their behalf.

    I don’t know the effect in military terms of Karuna’s jumping ship. The military threat is probably very serious. However, if you are suggesting that Karuna is a credible and viable political alternative, that’s utter and complete rubbish.

  217. I am disappointed, Aadhavan. A very subjective post, that doesn’t address what I pointed out.

    The reason many other Tamil terrorist/militant groups “sold out”, was survival. Their ideologies don’t differ from the LTTE’s, they were forced to seek protection because the LTTE decided that they themselves would be the “sole representatives”, nothing more. Whether these other groups are seen by the IC to be “under the protection” of the GoSL, is arguable. More likely it is seen that these groups are with the the GoSL, and any division within Tamil militancy undermines the LTTE. This will only increase as the TMVP gains strength. It’s unfortunate to see you Aadahavan make the same mistake the GoSL did in the ’70s and ’80s. Strength doesn’t necessarily come from the establishment.

    Nobody thought it was worthwhile negotiating with the LTTE in the early ’80s either.

  218. Blacker, I’m not trying to make a normative point, but accepting the reality of the situation today. Of course I think the government should negotiate regardless of whether there will be an immediate cost incurred if they don’t. Do I think the government will? No. Past experience, as you yourself have pointed out suggests otherwise.

    In any case, what are the TMVP’s politics. Where do they stand on autonomy, federalism etc. Are they subscribing to a ‘militarized’ GG Ponnambalam strategy of trying to change the government from wthin. To be a credible alternative, people need to know more about policies than just a desire to kill Wanni Tigers. Maybe they will emerge in the future as a credible political party in the East. My point is that they are not right now.

    I’m sorry you misunderstand my point. Sure, divisions within the Tamil community weaken the LTTE. The LTTE’s sole rep theory was a load of rhetorical hogwash and they’ve discarded it now that the SL government and the IC recognize them and them alone as the negotiators on the Tamils side. The sole rep idea was introduced to achieve just that, that the LTTE would represent the tamils in all negotitions. Now that it has been achieved(through military means and not through moral authority) they are talking about “sole interlocutors of Tamil’s aspirations in negotiations with the government”

  219. Aadhavan, some months ago, I believe I suggested the fact that the TMVP was merely a military outfit, and that there was no indication of politics and policies (I think it was on, and you pointed out various speeches and statements that Karuna had made, outlining the TMPVP policies. So I’m surprised that you’re suggesting otherwise now.

    My point, however, isn’t whether they are worthy of negotiation, representation of the Tamils, a trustworthy political entity, or what have you. I was arguing Dravid’s rather trite comments on the LTTE’s supremacy in all things;)

  220. David I never stated that the LTTE possess supremacy in all things. Rather that they are more competent and capable than you give credit for in your posts…

  221. I don’t recall that exchange David, and I’m a little surprised i would have said it, but i would like to know the context in which I would have made such a comment. I don’t think either of us are going to be arsed tp go through indi’s archives, but i guess even if you were quoting me right, the two of us have been shifting our respective positions no…

  222. Dravid, I’m afraid you have no idea how much competency or capability I do credit the LTTE with; you’re going on the context of a single thread. There have been many such discussions on several blogs, and if you’d participated in them you’d be aware that I’ve often defended the LTTE’s competency and capability against many who were scoffing. I am quite immune to the propoganda you seem to think I am a victim of, just as I am equally immune to the counter-propoganda you yourself are a victim of.

    My sources are quite independent, and the fact that my line is quite middle-of-the-road is indicative of that. Most of your ‘facts, on the other hand, are nothing more than ‘bites’ off pro-LTTE websites. I would have at least some respect for your arguments if they were your own.

    Aadhavan, the vague context of the original discussion (if I remember right) was that someone suggested the TMVP be given a position at the table alongside the LTTE. I pointed out that this was silly given that they were purely military in nature. I think you then pointed out Karuna’s policy statements. I haven’t really shifted my position at all; just that I’ve been debating the middle ground against extreme view from both ends of the spectrum (the Snuts & Mals and the Dravids).

  223. David, I’m just as immune to the counter propoganda, in fact just as much as I shouldn’t assume your stance based on this one thread, you shouldn’t assume my stance with this one thread as well.

    I’m just curious what do you think VP will say come November 27th?

  224. Fantastic development no. The central government of its own initiative has decided to recognise the nationhood of the Quebecois. Shows how federalism has worked. And this comes only a decade after a secession scare.

    “Its rare to be able to say “told you so” with such finality”

    Told me what?

  225. Aadhavan,
    Told you that the legitimate fear of Sri Lankans who may otherwise consider themselves moderate is that we have exactly this situation occuring in SL.

    At which point you went to great lengths to say that we could write it out of the constitution etc.

    The nationhood push occured because of a minority government in Canada which needed the Quebecois bloc to stay in power. In my view, the classic example of a tail wagging the dog 🙂

    Opinion polls from outside Quebec (and even in the Anglo areas of Quebec) are overwhelmingly against this move. Quite apart from Canadian politics (which I’m sure is uninteresting to many), please consider the following:
    if there is a federal solution in SL as you propose, what is going to stop a partition of the country in the same sense occuring 5, 10, 20 years down the line?
    told you so? because secessionists and people who play minority politics usually get their way. Screaming discrimination works wonders in many cases, this is one of them.

    You said Canadian federalism was your ideal, I said Quebec wanted out. You said no, no, no.. With recent events, I said … uh … told you so. And I’m saying it again 🙂

  226. Quebec has been or is on the way to being accepted as a nation within Canada. What’s the problem. Many people think that the Tamils are a nation. Not all of them think that the Tamils should secede from Sri Lanka. It is very possible to have a national identity within a larger state identity. In any case, there’s a causal problem in your argument, in that there’s no causal link between the constitution of Canada and the recognition of the nationhood of the Quebecois. I think you’ll find with the passage of time that the Constitution will prevent the separatist movement in Quebec from effecting a secession just like it did with the Supreme Court decision in the mid 90’s.

    If Quebec secedes some day, you can tell me “I told you so”

  227. I think you guys are lighting the crackers too early. The words are “The Canadian parliament has approved a government motion recognising Quebec as a nation within a united Canada”. So this doesn’t mean Quebec is now a separate state equal to Canada and the USA. More like those tribal homelands in Apartheid South Africa. The words “within a united Canada” are crucial here.

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