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Archive for June, 2009

Now that the Wanni battle is over, Intelligence sleuths are fully engaged in tracking down and arresting Tiger hit-teams who had infiltrated the city, to carry out attacks.

Military and Police Intelligence are not only successfully tracking down the Tiger hit-teams, but are also in the process of uncovering their sinister plans to create mayhem in the country.

Police Intelligence made a major breakthrough last week, when they bared a Tiger plot to assassinate President Mahinda Rajapaksa, which had been hatched with the connivance of two INGO officials and two local politicians.

Explosives uncovered

This Tiger plan was uncovered following the arrest of a Black Tiger who had been posing as a Muslim under the name Muskin. The day following the arrest of Muskin, another LTTE cadre was nabbed with explosives in his possession. Investigations later led to the arrest of a senior LTTE cadre as well. Sleuths attached to the Western Province Intelligence had discovered several bombs and large quantities of explosives from the hideouts of the Tigers. In one instance, they discovered a gas cylinder stuffed with over 40 kilograms of C-4 explosives at the residence of the senior LTTE cadre arrested at Weppankulam, Vavuniya. 50 detonators, a claymore mine, several bombs, hand grenades and wire rolls were among other items recovered from this house. A magazine, some live bullets and a micro-pistol were also recovered from the lodge of the Manager of Save the Children.
Investigations have revealed that the explosives meant for assassinating the President, had been transported to Colombo with the help of the two politicians, who are to be arrested. shortly.

The enemy within

Meanwhile, three drivers, two from two UN Agencies (one located at Kurumankadu, Vavuniya and the other at Puntottam), the third one from ‘Save the Children’, have now been arrested. It transpired during investigations that the Tigers had planned to transport explosives to Colombo from Kilinochchi by vehicles belonging to the UNHCR. Their mode of operation was to pack domestic cylinders with C-4 high explosives after removing the bottom cover and re-fixing it after packing. The vehicles belonging to two INGO officials, one of them an American, the other a Swede had been used to transport these cylinders packed with explosives from Kilinochchi. The two INGO officials have been taken in for questioning. Thanks to the efficient functioning of Western Province Intelligence Division, several previous attempts to assassinate President Rajapaksa and launch bomb attacks in the city by Tigers, could be thwarted. The timely arrest of two Tiger suicide bombers, Vatsala and Vadini, and a Police Inspector who had

aided and abetted them, by the Western Province Intelligence Division, aborted another attempt on the life of the President and his family members.

Meanwhile, State Intelligence is proceeding with investigations into the case, where an Army Colonel bought by the LTTE, had planned to assassinate the President, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Army Commander Sarath Fonseka.
It had transpired during these investigations that some officers from the Army, Police and the Navy had maintained ties with the LTTE and these officers are to be questioned.

War booty unearthed

Meanwhile, troops carrying out mopping up operations in Wellamullaivaikkal, had unearthed currency notes amounting to Rs. 6.4 million and a large haul of gold jewelry worth millions of rupees, buried inside a Tiger bunker. The authorities believe that the money and gold jewelry were removed from safes and vaults of Tiger banks. The currency notes and jewelry were found packed in polethene bags and school bags and buried about a foot under the bunker. Money and jewelry had been buried on the orders of Karikalan, and the Tiger leaders had appropriated portions from this `treasure trove’, before retreating to safety.
Prabhakaran’s parents have been brought to Colombo pending necessary legal action to be taken against them.
Security authorities have learnt from a Tiger under interrogation, that there had been three more `submarines’ similar to the one the troops discovered near the ship Farah-3 at Wellamullaivaikkal quite recently. The Tiger had revealed that they had put on a trial ride four submarines they had turned out. It was following this information that troops discovered the submarine near the ship. This submarine is believed to be the target identified and hit by a surveillance plane of the Air Force, which later came under the Army’s artillery fire as well, towards the end of the Wanni battle.

Army Chief pays tribute

Army Commander General Fonseka, who paid a visit to Mulativu on June 19, which was, incidentally, the first ever visit paid to this war-torn area by an Army Commander, took time off to inspect this Tiger submarine. General Fonseka, who was at the scene of the last battle, just one month after the historic victory, made it a point to pose for a picture with the heroes of the last battle. Later, he addressed the war heroes.

“There is no army in the world that has put a complete end to a war, after destroying the entire enemy hierarchy. Our army has demonstrated that its prowess and morale are not second to any other in the world. Some thought that I was out of my mind, when I said that I would finish the war in three years. We could successfully conclude this war that raged for 23 years with no end in sight, in a matter of two years and 10 months, after destroying 22,000 Tigers. We prosecuted the war according to a plan. We planned to corner the remaining Tigers in this stretch of land, before destroying them, and we did it. We, at Puthukudiiruppu, Putumatalan and Wellamullaivaikkal, repeated King Dutugemunu’s feats at Vijitapura.

“The entire world has already accepted that the Sri Lanka Army has achieved an amazing victory. We achieved this victory thanks to the valour and bravery demonstrated by our soldiers in a spirit of self-sacrifice. They fought day and night, undaunted by formidable odds. I have come here today, to pay my tribute to our valiant soldiers, for their memorable performance at this place just one month ago. All those soldiers who contributed to the victory will be honoured with medals and promotions,” said General Fonseka.

Promotions and postings

Steps are now being taken to award war medals to all heroes, including the fallen ones. Lieutenants will be promoted to the rank of Captain, Lieutenant Colonels to the rank of Colonel, and Colonels to the rank of Brigadier.

Military Secretary Brigadier Sumith Padumadasa issued a letter on June 22, appointing Colonel Aruna Jayasekara of the Gemunu Regiment, as Director, Operations of the Army. His predecessor, Colonel Aruna Wanniarachchi has been appointed Chief of Staff, Brigadier at the new Division headquarters in Mulativu. Director Planning, Brigadier Mahesh Senanayake has been appointed to act as Director Training, while functioning in his substantive post.

Major General Jagath Dias, who commanded 57 Division that captured Tiger bastions of Tampane, Periyatampane, Periyamadu, Palampiddi, Tunukkai Mallawi and Kilinochchi up to Vishwamadu, has been appointed as Deputy Ambassador to Sri Lanka’s embassy in Berlin. Major General Udaya Perera, who functioned as Director Operations of the Army, had already been appointed as Sri Lanka’s Deputy High Commissioner for Malaysia. This was the first time that Army Officers have been appointed to diplomatic positions while in active service. The main task entrusted to these officers is to counter anti-Sri Lanka terrorist forces active or likely to become active in the countries to which they have been posted.

(The Nation)

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If some one wants to convince that the path they are following is the correct one to achieve the set goal ahead of them, he or she must prove that fact after achieving the set goal following the very same path he or she believes in.
In the case of defeating LTTE terrorism Sri Lanka also proved the fact that it had followed the correct path in achieving the objective at a time the entire world, with few exceptions were objecting to path it had taken to defeat terrorism. Mullaitivu, Security Forces Commander Major General Nandana Udawatta, 55 Division GOC Brigadier Prasanna de Silva, 59 Division GOC Brigadier Chargie Gallage accompanying Army Commander to Mullaitvu.

Ultimately those who opposed the Sri Lankan Government’s effort to defeat the most ruthless terrorist organization or the terror movement, they thought were invincible, had to accept the bitter truth that the Sri Lankan Government had followed the correct path in achieving its objective of defeating terrorism.

Many experts on terrorism who had closely followed the conflict in Sri Lanka are learning lessons from the glorious victory achieved by the Sri Lanka Security Forces since this is the first victory against a terrorist outfit after the victory achieved by the Malaysian Government against terrorism in the 1950’s.

The research papers on Malaysia’s victory against terror movement says that although Malaysia lacks the ‘state of the art technologies’ that existed in many developed countries, the employment of ‘Human Intelligence’ had successfully contributed to defeating the terrorists.
Those who studied Malaysia’s success story against terrorism as a success story are no turning their eyes towards Sri Lanka’s success story on the war on terror to learn lessons for the yet unfinished global war on terror as Sri Lanka had fought a modern war against one of the most elite terror outfit in the world which had ships, aircraft and modern weaponry.
According to Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka the lessons from Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE will one day he added to military manuals will become a part of defence studies since this is the first success story against terrorism after half a century following the Malaysian conflict which was fought using 303 rifles in the 1950’s.
Important lesson
The recent editorial in the Washington Times states that there are nine lessons the United States and other countries could learn from Sri Lanka. The Washington Times said, “Perhaps the most important lesson is the debunking of the widely held belief that terrorism cannot be quelled militarily. The Sri Lankan military demonstrated that professionalism, strategy, discipline and unswerving commitment can beat terrorism.”
It is interesting to note that the Washington Times had stated: “Sri Lanka’s war was complex and challenging, spawning several dimensions of terrorist activity. The war was fought on the ground in Sri Lanka, while propaganda and funds for weapons were handled by LTTE supporters living in the West, and weapons were acquired from Southeast Asia and Central Europe.
Although the United States designated the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organization in October 1997, it was not until November 2007 that it banned the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization as an LTTE front organization. Until then, in the guise of charity, LTTE activists were collecting funds and transferring them to the Tiger war chest. Canada proscribed the LTTE in April 2006 and banned the World Tamil Movement (WTM) in June 2008. The banning of these front organizations was a major blow to LTTE terrorist operations.
Separatist dream
Even after the unequivocal military defeat of the LTTE, its overseas supporters defiantly keep the separatist dream alive despite annihilation of most of the LTTE’s leadership and the death of founder Velupillai Prabhakaran.
If unchecked, they may well transform that dream once again into virulent terrorism, and this time, the Eelam War may well be fought locally – by the Diaspora in the West”.
These countries are realizing all these facts the Sri Lankan Government was highlighting at each and every international forum they spoke about terrorism for the past few decades.
It was the very same point the late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, tried to drive home at each and every international forum he represented and it was the very same reason he was subjected to a cold blooded murder by the LTTE at his private residence in Colombo.
So that is the challenge the Sri Lankan Government and the international community had to face even after the defeat of LTTE terrorism in the Sri Lankan soils.
Therefore, the cooperation of the international community is a must to launch a campaign to crack down on the LTTE internationally before it become a threat to those Western nations where a more than some 800,000 thousand Tamil Diaspora is deeply rooted at present.
Now it is up to those Western nations to extend their support to the Sri Lankan Government to continue the effort of eradicating LTTE terrorism internationally too as the Sri Lankan Government is taking initiatives to do justice to the Tamil civilians who lived under the pressure of the LTTE for decades. Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka in conversation with Special Forces and Commando divers at the Vadduvakkal causeway, in Mullaitivu during his visit to Mullaitivu last week. Pictures by Rukmal Gamage.

The Sri Lankan delegation comprising Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa MP, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weerathunga and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who are now on an official visit to India are reportedly had discussions with Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh.
Displaced civilians in
The resettlement of displaced civilians in the Vanni and the de-mining process were high on the agenda during these discussions according to media reports from India as they were the main concerns of India which was closely following the Sri Lankan situation in the post conflict scenario.
As the President had highlighted in his ‘Victory Day’ speech the Government has embarked on a speedy development drive in the North to speed up the process of resettling the displaced civilians to close down all relief camps set up in Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna districts within 180 days program.
Resettling more than 282,000 people within 180 days is not an easy task to achieve in an environment where hundreds and thousands of land mines are buried. Above all, the Government cannot simply send them back to their villages without ensuring their safety and also without ensuring them a proper livelihood.
Defeating terrorism
But the Government has to take up the challenge in the same manner it had taken up the challenge of defeating terrorism. To achieve this objective the entire Government machinery will have to work alike with their commitment and dedication as the resettling of Tamil civilians back in their villages is the best way of ensuring that these innocent Tamil people will not been neglected at all.
Therefore, the entire Government machinery is now geared to develop the infrastructure facilities in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.
The Government had to make extra effort whereas these areas have not seen even a glimpse of development for the past few decades as the LTTE deprived them all rights the normal Sri Lankan citizen have enjoyed, for the past few decades forcing a useless war on them to achieve an unrealistic goal.
At last that so-called leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, had to die in vain after preying on thousands of youngsters who could have turned the land of Vanni into one of the most fertile agricultural lands in Sri Lanka in an environment free of terrorism.
National economy
Not only had the LTTE deprived an entire young generation of their lives but also made a considerable percentage of them disabled depriving their contribution towards to the national economy in an effective manner.
Apart from this the LTTE not only deprived them of those fertile lands for the past few decades but also filled them with mines making them inaccessible for years for cultivation even at a time the civilians are making an effort to stand on their own feet as independent men and women without being suppressed by the guns pointed at them by the LTTE.
So the Government has to consider all these factors in its effort of launching it’s development drive for the North and to put them on same gear on par with the development in the other parts of the country.
As a part of this process the Government has lifted the ban on fishing in the Northern and Eastern seas providing a great relief to the people who were depending on the fishing industry.
With the relaxation of fishing restrictions the fishing community of the North can now engage in fishing in the seas extending from North of Kokilai in the Eastern seas up to Nachchikuda in the North Western sea. They also can now engage in both day and nighttime fishing.
The Sri Lanka Navy has taken the measures to ensure the safety of the civilians involved in fishing activity. Special entry exit points are set up to monitor the movement of fishing vessels.
All fishing vessels have to be illuminated at night and those involved in nighttime fishing should be fitted with Radar Reflectors. Fishermen can use Out Board Motors of up to 15 horse power engine capacity.
Therefore, the fishermen especially in Jaffna can now switch from their traditional canoes to boats and go out of the shallow waters to engage in fishing activities under the supervision of the Navy. That will definitely be a great boon to the Northern and Eastern population who were heavily dependent on fishing industry.
Northern people
Apart from the measures taken by the Government to uplift the livelihood of the Northern people it had also taken measures to establish democracy in the North by announcing elections to the Jaffna Municipal Council, the citadel of Tamil politics in Sri Lanka and also for the Vavuniya Urban Council.
The Elections Department fixed August 8 as the elections date for the two Local bodies in the Jaffna and Vavuniya districts. The people in the Jaffna district will not get the chance of electing their own candidates for these two local bodies as this would be the first instance they are going to cast their vote without any pressure from the LTTE.
Therefore, the elections on August 8 will be one of the most crucial elections for the Tamils as it would give an idea about the true political affinity of the Tamil people as they are now free to cast their vote and the candidates are free to engage in their elections without any guns pointed at them.
Above all there won’t be any terrorists to fix claymore mines and point guns to assassinate elected members to these local bodies to run their own administration in those local bodies.
As all these measures are being taken to restore normality in the North the security concerns should also been given top most priority in the North and East and also other part of the country although one month had possed since the elimination of the LTTE from the country.
However, the Security Forces have not yet dropped its guard on security as Tiger elements are still haunting in the North and East.
The capture of female Tiger cadres inside the jungle in Puthukudiyiruppu South who had survived for one month after eating uncooked dhal and rice hiding from the Security Forces and the killing of LTTE leader in Jaffna were two examples of their alertness.
The 522 Brigade troops who conducted a search operation in the Kodikam area on information about the presence of a few suspected persons, observed one suspect hiding behind a bush and attempting to throw a hand grenade towards troops engaged in the search operation.
However, the alert troops instantly opened fire at the suspect killing him on the spot.
Subsequently troops had identified the deceased as a Tiger cadre named Salappan. They recovered a micro pistol, two hand grenades, one mobile phone and Rs. 6,100 in cash on the dead Tiger cadre.
The Security Forces have also intensified search operations in the East too in search of Ram and Nagulan who are hiding in the Eastern jungles since there is no indication that they are going to surrender.
If the Security Forces allow these Tiger cadres to move freely in any part of the country they will definitely take a risk to sabotage the normal life in the country as they are now in a desperate situation.
Therefore, intense security measures are a must at a time the Elections Department is planning to hold two key elections for the Jaffna Municipal Council and the Vavuniya Urban Council which are of utmost value for the Tamils.
(Defense-Technology News)

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“I do not know about solving grievances, but certainly the 13th amendment addresses them. Does the Parliamentary or Presidential system solve the grievances of the Sinhalese or the majority of ordinary people or the poor?”

Prof Senaka Bandaranaike discerns a pattern in Sri Lankan history of being ahead of the rest of the subcontinent but never being able to achieve a decisive breakthrough and sustain it. This happened at least three times, he once said in a lecture I attended. We now have a second chance. It is as if we have obtained a second Independence, when we were ahead of the game in the rest of Asia but we then blew it. Let’s not blow it yet again.

Malinda Seneviratne, a sincere young friend who should be an academic and scholar, is a serious-minded commentator. His criticism of my views on Indo-Lanka relations and the 13th amendment (Sunday Island June 21, 2009) should be answered because of the crucial importance of the interrelated topics to Sri Lanka’s future. I have excerpted Malinda’s main criticisms and reproduced them in italics.

“Dayan …says, correctly, that Sri Lanka’s relationship with India should be the cornerstone of her foreign policy, of her international relations, but adds that this is predicated on the implementation of the 13th Amendment. He does not explain why.”

Well, one could start with the fact that the day after the war was over, a top level Indian delegation paid a call on the President and the joint press statement that ensued ( May 21st) not only contained a commitment by the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the 13th amendment but to explore possibilities of a further dialogue.

The why of it is that 70 million Tamils will not go away from the demographic makeup of India; a significant percentage of them will always be concerned about the fate of their ethnic kin in Sri Lanka, constituting a political factor that no government at the centre will ignore. Furthermore, no government at the Centre will risk a significant degree of alienation of Tamil Nadu from the Centre, on the basis that the latter does not care about the fate of Sri Lanka’s Tamils. We Sri Lankan Sinhalese could very well argue that it is none of their or anybody else’s business but our own, but that is just not the way the world works. As Mervyn de Silva wrote “in the age of identity, ethnicity walks on water”. Look at the intervention or counter-intervention of Russia on behalf of the South Ossetians in the face of Georgian action. (The Indian conduct of 1987 was a perfect precursor of this). The 13th amendment is the concrete expression of the Indian concern balanced off with Sri Lanka’s sovereignty. Several scholarly texts, from different viewpoints, shed light on this nexus and its evolution. I refer to those by KM de Silva, Shelton Kodikara, John Gooneratne and Urmila Phadnis. Any attempt at erasure of the 13th amendment will only open the door to greater not lesser concessions because we shall be dealing with a globalized world and the Obama factor as well.

“…Now if relations with India depended on pandering to India’s every whim, submitting to its directives and/or accepting its policies as facts of life, then in the very least it is nothing more nothing less than saying goodbye to sovereignty. I believe that foreign relations have to be something more than that.”

Sovereignty not only has to be asserted, it has to be defended and defensible. Sri Lanka cannot defend its sovereignty against all comers from all points of the compass, North and South, West and East. It can defend its sovereignty only by power balancing in a multi-polar world. Starkly put, if we lose India, we even lose the Non-aligned Movement, and (as we saw in 1987) we are left naked.

“The 13th Amendment didn’t fall from the sky. Well, the parippu droppings aside, it did have a ‘logic’ from India’s point of view. That ‘logic’ was based on perception of the Sri Lankan situation. But what was ‘situation’ in 1987 is not ‘situation’ in 2009 and will not be ‘situation’ 100 years from now. Nothing is cast in stone. ‘Federalism’ was a ‘foregone conclusion’ four years ago. It is not now. Things change.”

True, but why assume it has changed only in one way rather than the other; away from federalism rather than towards it? In Sri Lanka for sure, but we exist within the world and time, and between 1987 and today falls the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia, the dawn of the new century and the information age, the emergence of Obama etc. In short, it is better not to re-open the issue of the 13th amendment because we could find that the point of equilibrium stops above and beyond it.

“What are the Tamil grievances that can be pulled from a territory, a geographical diga palalai, which logically would necessitate a territory-based ‘resolution’? Is there a history (that can be substantiated) and demographical reality that supports such these?”

There are grievances and there are aspirations. The latter are neither imaginary nor unwarranted. That which Virginia Woolf asserted on behalf of women writers is true of human beings in general: A Room with a View. It is part of the human condition that every individual requires an irreducible minimum of space in which to assert one’s distinctive identity and grow, without domination or interference from others. Every civic group needs political and cultural space. That is the bedrock argument for some measure of self rule or autonomy. It is rather different in the United States or France, where the Constitution does not privilege the culture or religion of any community, and there cannot be said to be – nor are there claims to being – a dominant ethnic, or ethno-religious community, culture or civilization. The US is a melting pot, a classic case of cultural fusion and change, while the French Republic is sternly secular, with neither veils nor crosses allowed in schools.

Some states and societies are a hybrid, such as India, which has a secular Constitution, a pluralist society (the Prime Minister is a Sikh, the most powerful politician is of Italian origin, the most powerful political family is mixed race) but also provides sufficient space for its constituent communities in the form of a quasi federal system and linguistic states.

Tamil grievances remain from 1951, when Senator Nadesan voiced his dissent over the National Flag. The recent events in Rakwana, Sabaragamuwa show that we are far from a situation in which society is integrated, discrimination is aggressively tackled and the state is neutral between communities. In such a context, where one individual is not the equal of the other and one community has more privileges than the other, it is the case the world over, that collectivities with their distinctive identities and inhabiting recognizable geographic areas over long periods, tend to seek some political space and measure of self rule/self governance. I cannot think of any state in the world, and I work among 193, that does not hold that Sri Lanka’s Tamils deserve and require equal rights in practice, as well as some autonomous political space, be it devolution of power to autonomous regions or provinces ( as in Britain or China) or something more. I repeat, the 13th amendment is the most modest and economical of these arrangements as far as the majority goes.

“If real Tamil grievances can be resolved only through the implementation and enhancement of the 13th Amendment, yes, by all means go for it; but if not, then it should be dumped where it belongs: the trash can. The 13th devolved power to politicians, it didn’t sort out the problems of ordinary Tamil. The corrective could be an amendment to the 13th of course, but if the core text was based on erroneous assumptions, that would be an exercise in futility…”

I do not know about solving grievances, but certainly the 13th amendment addresses them. Does the Parliamentary or Presidential system solve the grievances of the Sinhalese or the majority of ordinary people or the poor? Obviously not, but this does not lead to the conclusion that these institutions and practices should be dumped in the trash-can because they simply devolve power to politicians and Ministers. They must be retained because, as Churchill said of democracy, they are the worst, save all others.

“Dayan also says that the 13th is ‘the minimum cost of accommodation between the Sinhalese who are the majority on the island and the Tamil who dwarf the Sinhalese outside it; the only way to balance the two aspects of Sinhala collective existence: a majority on the island and minority worldwide, as well as the dual character of Tamil collective existence – a majority outside the island and a minority within it’. With this Dayan has moved quite a distance from his general thesis that Sri Lankans should be at the centre of sorting out Sri Lankan problems. We have to listen to all Sri Lankans. We can listen to those who are outside, whether they be Tamils or Gujaratis or the Masai; we are not beholden to follow their diktat. Yes, they can exert pressure, but why ‘accommodate’ them? Why should the Sinhalese Sri Lankans accommodate anyone other than their fellow-citizens (and yes, the word ‘accommodate’ has all kinds of negative connotations as well).”

As for “the Sri Lankan Sinhalese accommodating their fellow citizens”, it would be difficult for them to find any of their fellow Tamil (and Muslim?) citizens who could be accommodated short of the implementation of the 13th amendment at the very least. If Malinda could name a single Tamil political party or leading personality who is willing to settle for anything short of the 13th amendment, I would be pleasantly surprised. What he will discover is that even purely domestic political accommodation between the communities/ethnic collectivities is impossible other than on the basis of the 13th amendment at the minimum.

While I thank Malinda for identifying my “general thesis that Sri Lankans should be at the centre of sorting out Sri Lankan problems”, may I point out that there is a major distinction between Sri Lankans being at the centre of sorting out Sri Lankan problems, and Sri Lankan problems being capable of sorting out exclusively by Sri Lankans. That is the kind of isolationist position I have never held — thus I have not moved an inch, leave alone quite a distance, from my general thesis. My unit of analysis has always been the world system taken as single whole, a complex unevenly structured totality, and this is all the more relevant now that we are faced with the threat of a global protracted struggle with Tamil secessionism. If the battlefield is global, our analysis cannot be purely local. Sri Lanka’s sovereignty must be defended mainly by our efforts, but cannot be defended solely or exclusively by them, and must be defended by a broad united front or concentric circles of alliances. Full if graduated implementation of the 13th Amendment, i.e. the fullest possible devolution of powers within our Constitution, is an essential part of the minimum political programme on which such a global united front can be built and sustained.

Narrow nationalism is an inadequate basis for the defense of the national interest, which is why the greatest of nationalists or more correctly, patriots, were also the greatest of internationalists. An example would be Fidel Castro who never tires of quoting Cuba’s 19th century national hero, Jose Marti as saying “Homeland is humanity”. And Ho Chi Minh, who reminded us that “Nothing is More Precious than Independence and Freedom” but also recalled the correctness of Frederick Engels’ dictum that “Freedom is the recognition of necessity”. I commend the full implementation of the 13th amendment to Malinda, at least as a tough-minded Engelsian recognition of necessity as both prerequisite and corollary of freedom.

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ඊළාම් සටනේ එල්ටීටීඊ ත‍්‍රස්තවාදීන් ඉතා ශක්තිමත් ලෙස සිටි ස්ථානයකි මුහමාලේ ඉදිරි ආරක්ෂක වළල්ල. ආරක්ෂක හමුදාවන් නැඟෙනහිර මුහුදු තීරය දිගේ දකුණට ඒම වැළැක්වීම එහි අරමුණයි. මුහමාලේ සිට දකුණින් පිහිටි චුණ්ඩිකුලම් පුදුමාතලන් වැනි වෙරළබඩ ප‍්‍රදේශ මුහුදු කොටින්ට ඒ වනවිට ඉතිරිව තිබුණු මුහුදු ප‍්‍රදේශයි. ඒවා රැකගැනීමට ඔවුන්ට මුහමාලේ බලය තහවුරු කරගෙන සිටීම වැදගත් වෙයි.

53 හා 55 වන සේනාංක තුන් වරක් මුහමාලේ ඉදිරි ආරක්ෂක වළල්ලෙන් ඔබ්බට ඒමට තැත් කළ ද ඒවා ව්‍යර්ථ විය. 2006 ඔක්තෝබර 1 දා ද 2006 නොවැම්බර් 7 හා 2007 අප‍්‍රියෙල් 23දා ගත් ඒ තැත ව්‍යර්ථ විය.

එහෙත් 2008 වසරේ නොවැම්බරයේ මුහමාලේ ඉදිරි ආරක්ෂක වළල්ලෙන් ඔබ්බට එල්ටීටීඊ පස් බැම්ම හා බංකර් පෙළ කඩාගෙන යාම ආරක්ෂක හමුදාවන්ට වැදගත් විය.

මෙවර ඊට උරදුන්නේ 55 වන සේනාංකයයි. එහි සේනාංකාධිපති බි‍්‍රගේඩියර් ප‍්‍රසන්න ද සිල්වා ඒ සඳහා සැලසුම් සකස් කරමින් සිටියේය.

2008 නොවැම්බර් 10දා වනවිට 55 සේනාංකාධිපති සිය බළ ඇණි ඒ සඳහා පුහුණු කරන්නට පටන්ගත්තේ විශාල පොල්වත්තකට සිය භට පිරිස් ගෙනයමිනි.

55 වන සේනාංකය යටතේ 2008 නොවැම්බර් 18 වෙනිදා වනවිට මුහමාලේ ඉදිරි සතුරු ආරක්ෂක වළල්ලට පහර දී එය අත්පත් කරගෙන ඉදිරියට යාමට එහි සේනාංකාධිපතිවරයා සැලසුම් කරගෙන තිබිණ.

මුහමාලේ කොටි ඉදිරි ආරක්ෂක වළල්ල පිහිටියේ උස්බිමක තැනූ දිගු පස් බැම්මකය. දිගින් සැතපුම් කීපයක් වන එය වෙත ළඟාවීම ඉතා සැලසුම් සහගතව කළයුතුය.

එය බාරදී තිබුණේ 7 විජයබා අණදෙන නිලධාරී කර්නල් දීපාල් පුස්සැල්ලට ය.

පහරදීමට සුදුසුම කාලය රාති‍්‍රයයි. රාති‍්‍රයේ අඩඅඳුර ප‍්‍රයෝජනයට ගෙන එය කළ යුතුය.

සැලසුම වූයේ සතුරු ආරක්ෂක වළල්ලේ පහත් ප‍්‍රදේශයන්හි වම්පසින් හා දකුණු පසින් ගැඹුර අගලක් කපාගෙන ඒ මඟින් ඒ වෙත ළඟාවීමයි.

වම්පසින් වූ කළපුව දෙසින් 1 පාබල හමුදා රෙජිමේන්තුවත් දකුණු පසින් 4 වන ගැමුණු රෙජිමේන්තුවත් අගල් කැපීමේ කටයුත්ත පටන්ගත්හ.

එය ඉතා දුෂ්කර කටයුත්තක්. රාති‍්‍රයට සතුරාට නොපෙනෙන හා නොඇසෙන ලෙස අඩි පහක හයක අගල කපමින් ඉදිරියට මීටර කීපයක් යන භට පිරිස් ඒ පස් සතුරාට නොපෙනෙන්නට ආපසු ගෙනැවිත් දැමිය යුතුය.

මෙසේ මීටර සිය ගණනක් දිගු අගල් සතුරු ආරක්ෂක වළල්ල දෙපසින් ඔවුන්ට මුවාවී කැපීම ඉතා දුෂ්කර කටයුත්තකි. ආරක්ෂක හමුදාවන්ට මෙවර සටන් කළ යුතු වූයේ තුවක්කුවෙන් පමණක් නොවේ. ඊට උදැල්ල හා කූඩය ද අවශ්‍ය විය. ඉදිරිපසින් කණ්ඩායමක් ආරක්ෂාව සපයද්දී අඳුරත් සමඟ කපන කාණුවේ ප‍්‍රගතිය බලන්නට ඉඳහිට එය දිගේ සේනාංකාධිපතිවරයා ද පැමිණේ. රාති‍්‍රයට උස්වූ භූමිය දිගේ ඉදිරියට ගොස් ඔත්තු බලමින් ප‍්‍රහාරය සැලසුම් කිරීම භාරව කටයුතු කළ මේජර් ඉන්දික ප‍්‍රසන්න ලියන ගමගේ සමඟ කතාකරන්නට මට අවස්ථාව ලැබිණි.

මෙහිදී 7 විජයබා බලඇණිය භාරව සිටි කර්නල් දීපාල් පුස්සැල්ල ප‍්‍රහාරය සඳහා 8 දෙනොගේ කණ්ඩායම් කීපයක් යොදවන්නට සැලසුම් කරගෙන සිටියේය. මේ එක් කණ්ඩායමක නායකත්වය දැරුවේ මේජර් ඉන්දික ප‍්‍රසන්නය. ඔහු ජය සිකුරු මෙහෙයුමට ද දායකත්වය සැලසූ රණවිරුවෙකි.

’අපට විවෘත භූමිය හරහා කෙළින්ම යාම අපහසුයි. ඒත් රාති‍්‍රයේ අඳුරත් සමඟ අපි ඉදිරියට ගොස් උස්බිමට වී පහත් වී ඉඳිමින් සතුරාගේ කි‍්‍රයාකාරකම් ගැන ඔත්තු බලනවා. සතුරාගේ ඇස ගැසුනොත් කෙළින්ම පපුවට හරි ඔළුවට හරි ස්නයිපර් උණ්ඩයක් එන්න පුළුවන්.

බි‍්‍රගේඩියර් සර් ගේ සැලසුම අනුව සතුරාගේ බංකර් සහිත ඉදිරි ආරක්ෂක වළල්ල දෙසට අපි සෙබළු කානු දෙකක් දෙපසින් කපන්නට පටන්ගත්තා. සෑම රාති‍්‍රයකම කලබල නොවී මීටර් 25කින් හෝ 30ක් ඉදිරියට කානුව කපන්නේ සෙබළුන් මාරුවෙන් මාරුවටයි.

ඒත් සමහර දවස්වලට මීටර් 10 – 15 කපාගන්නටවත් නොහැකි වෙනවා. ඒ ත‍්‍රස්තවාදීන්ට නොදැනෙන්නට කළ යුතු නිසා. මෙසේ කාණු කපාගෙන ඉදිරියට ගිහින් එකපාරටම සතුරා වෙත පහරදීමටයි අපේ සැලසුම වුණේ. අපේ සෙබළුන්ගේ දැඩි කැපවීම නිසා අපට ඉතා සූක්ෂ්ම ලෙසින් කාණුව කපා අවසන් කරගන්නට හැකිවුණා. ඉදිරියේ සිටින සතුරාට එය නොපෙනෙන්නට පොල්අතුවලින් අහුරා ගත්තා.

සතුරාට අපේ සැලසුම හා කි‍්‍රයා පිළිවෙත කෙසේවත් දැනුණේ නැහැ. එදා 2008 නොවැම්බර් 18 වෙනිදා. රාති‍්‍රයේ සතුරාට නොදැනෙන්නට අප කණ්ඩායම් කීපයක් අගල් දෙකෙන් හා විවෘත බිම හරහා සතුරා දෙසට අඳුරේම ගමන් කළා. මා යටතේ වූ විජයබා රෙජිමේන්තුවේ සෙබළු අටදෙනාගේ කණ්ඩායමත් මැදින් ඉහළට ගමන් කළා.

වම්පසින් වූ කළපුව දෙසින් ඇති අගල දිගේ පාබල රෙජිමේන්තුවේ සෙබළුන් ද දකුණු පස ඒ 9 මාර්ගය පැත්තේ වූ අගල දිගේ 4 වන ගැමුණු රෙජිමේන්තුවේ කණ්ඩායමක් ද ඉහළට ගියා.

7 විජයබා කණ්ඩායම මෙහෙයවූයේ මමයි. අපේ ඇල්පා, බ‍්‍රාවෝ, මාලි හා ඩෙල්ටා කණ්ඩායම් හතරම මීට දායක වුණා.

කපිතාන් එම්.බී.පෙරේරා සැරයන් සිල්වා හා සිසිර කුමාර කෝප‍්‍රල් චන්දන පීරිස් හා කෝප‍්‍රල් අජිත් කුමාර අනෙක් කණ්ඩායම්වලට නායක්වය දුන්නා. අණදුන්නේ කර්නල් දීපාල් පුස්සැල්ලයි. ඊට ඉහළින් බි‍්‍රගේඩියර් ප‍්‍රසන්න ද සිල්වා සර්.

මේජර් ඉන්දික ප‍්‍රසන්න මේ කණ්ඩායමට නායකත්වය ගෙන ඉදිරියට යද්දී ඉදිරි සතුරු ආරක්ෂක වළල්ලේ එල්ටීටීඊ සාමාජිකයන් කිසිවක් දැන නොසිටි අතර ඔවුන් වෙනදා මෙන්ම සිය මුර සංචාරයේ යෙදෙන අයුරු ඉදිරියෙන් ‘රෙකී’ කිරීමට ගිය සෙබළුන්ට දක්නට ලැබිණ.

අන්ධකාරයේ සතුරු සීමාවට ඔබ්බෙන් ‘රෙකී’ කිරිම හෙවත් ඔත්තු බැලීම ජීවිතය පරදුවට තැබීමකි. සුළු ශබ්දයකින් සතුරා කි‍්‍රයාත්මක වුවහොත් වෙඩි උණ්ඩය පපුවට හෝ ඔළුවට කෙළින්ම එල්ල වෙයි. එහෙත් අපේ සෙබළුන් ඒ සඳහා නිර්භීතව ඉදිරිපත් වන්නේ සිය කැමැත්තෙනි.

මෙහෙම යන වෙලාවක ලුතිනන් ඒ.ටී.රාජපක්ෂගේ පාදයට බට්ටෙක් පෑගුණා. ඔහුගේ පාදයට දැඩි හානි සිදුකරමින් බට්ටා පුපුරා ගියා. අවට මරඋගුල් ඇති නිසා කවුරුත් පරෙස්සම් වුණා. මරඋගුලකට අහුවුණා නම් 10-15ක් මැරෙනවා. අපි එවර තවත් ප‍්‍රවේශමෙන් නිහඬව සිටියා.

එදා 18 වෙනිදා රාති‍්‍රයේ ඉදිරියට යාම ඇරඹූ අපි හෙමින් හෙමින් 19 වෙනිදා පාන්දර වනතුරු ගමන් කළා.

අගල දිගේ ගිය අය සතුරාට මීටර් 15ක් පමණ ළංවුණා. මං විවෘත භූමිය ඔස්සේ 7 විජයබා කණ්ඩායම් දෙකත් සමඟ ඉදිරියටම ගියා. උන් අපේ ශබ්දය ඇසී බංකර් වලින් එළියට ආවා. උන්ගේ පස්බැම්ම දිගේ ඇවිද ඇවිද බලන්නට වුනා මිස අප ඉන්නා දෙසට ආවේ නැහැ. ඒත් අපි වෙඩි තිබ්බේ නැහැ. වෙලාව එනතුරු.

උන් කතාකරන හඬ අපට ඇසෙනවා. සතුරු ඉදිරි ආරක්ෂක වළල්ලෙ නායකයා ලෙස සිටියේ ‘ආලවන්’ ඔහු ඉන්නා බව අපට ඔවුන්ගේ කතාවලින් වැටහුණා.

මේ වන විට අගල් දිගේ ගිය අය උස්වූ භූමියට ඇවිත් උන්ගේ බංකර් දෙසට ගොස් සැඟවී සිටිනවා. සතුරා මුර කරමින් සිටියේ ඔවුන්ගේ පස් බැම්මේ එක් කොණක බංකර් පේළියකි. අප එයට ළංවුණේ තවත් පැත්තකිනි.

“ආලවන්” එදා අණ දුන්නා අප අසා ගෙන උන්නා.

ආලවන් දැන් අපට පේන නොපෙනෙන තරම ළඟට ආවා.

‘ආලවන් අන්නා ආලවන් අන්නා’ උන්ගේ එකෙක් කතා කළා. අපට ඔහුට වෙඩි තියන්නට හොඳටම පුළුවන්. ඒත් අප වෙඩි තිබ්බේ නැහැ. ඒ වෙලාවේ උන්ට යමක් දැනුණා. වම් පැත්තේ බංකරයක සිටි ත‍්‍රස්තවාදියා එක පාරට අප දෙසට හැරී වෙඩි තිබ්බා. මා එවිට පස්බැම්ම උඩින් බලාගෙන සිටියේ මගේ ඔළුව ත‍්‍රස්තවාදියා දකින්න ඇති. ඔහු වෙඩි තියන කොට මං වම් පැත්ත බැලුවා උණ්ඩය මගේ ඔළුව ළඟින් ගියා. මා බේරුණේ නූලෙන්.

ඉන්පසු උන් ‘අල්ලපිය අල්ලපිය’ කියා කෑ ගැසුවා. ‘අල්ලපිය’ යනුවෙන් දෙමළෙන් කියන එක උන්ගේ ‘කෝඩ්’ එකක්. ඒකේ තේරුම ‘දුවපන් දුවපන්’ කියන එකයි.

අපි කණ්ඩායම ළඟ ඉන්න බව උන්ට තේරුණා. අපි ආවේ බලාපොරොත්තු රහිතව නිසා උන් පසුපසට දිව්වා.

එවිට පාන්දර 3.30 ට අපි උන්ගේ ආරක්ෂක වළල්ලට පැන වෙඩි තිබ්බා. බෝම්බ විසිකළ නයිට් විෂන් තුවක්කු වලින් දුවන ත‍්‍රස්තවාදීන්ට වෙඩි තිබ්බා.

උනුත් අපිට ඉවක් බවක් නැතිව වෙඩි තියනවා. උන්ගේ පස්බැම්ම අල්ලාගත් අපි ඊට මුවා වී වෙඩි තියන්න ගත්තා. මේ අතර තමයි ත‍්‍රස්තවාදියාගේ වෙඩි පහරක් අපේ සෙබළෙකුට අතට වැදුනේ. තවත් වෙඩි පහරකට ගොදුරු වීමට කලින් කෝප‍්‍රල් මැදගෙදර සොල්දාදුවෙකු තල්ලු කළා ඉවතට ඒ වෙඩි පහර වැදුනා කෝප‍්‍රල් මැදගෙදරගෙ පපුවට, ආරක්ෂිත ආවරණය පැළඳ සිටි නිසා ඔහුගේ ජීවිතයට හානි වුණේ නැහැ. ඒ දක්ෂකම නිසා සෙබළෙකුගෙ ජීවිතය බේරුණා.

සමහරවිට තමන් ළඟ සිටින සගයා වෙඩි පහරට මැරෙනවා දැක දැකත් ඊළඟ සගයා ඉදිරියට යනවා. අපි පස්සට දිව්වේ නැහැ.

උන්ගේ පස් බැම්මට පහරදීමට අපේ සන්නාහ සන්නද්ධ බලකායත් ආවා.

එදා නොවැම්බර 19 පාන්දර සටන හරිම දරුණුවට ගියා. අපේ අය 12 ක් මියගියා. 36 ක් තුවාල ලැබුවා. ඒත් සටන අතහැරියෙ නැහැ. සතුරා පළමුවරට මුහමාලේ උන්ගේ ඉදිරි ආරක්ෂක වළල්ල අතහැර දිව්වා. අපි සන්නාහ රථ සමග විත් එය අල්ලා ගත්තා. තවත් මීටර් 100 ක් 200 ක් ඉදිරියෙන් වූ සතුරු සීමාවට ගියා. උදෑසන වන විට එල්ටීටීඊ මළ කඳන් හැම තැනම තිබුණා. උන්ගේ තුවක්කු බෝම්බ අවි ආයුධ හැම තැනම වැටිලා එල්ටීටීඊ මළසිරුරු හතලිස් ගණනක් තිබුණා. සටනට නායකත්වය දුන් ආලවන් නම් නායකයා ද මැරි සිටියා.

ඒ මුහමාලේ සටනට ඉදිරියෙන් ගොස් නායකත්වය දුන් මේජර් ඉන්දික ප‍්‍රසන්න ලියනගමගේ කළ විස්තරයයි.

මෙහිදී සෙබළුන්ගේ චිත්ත ධෛර්ය හා කැපවීම අතිවිශාලයි.

එමෙන් ම ඉහළ සිට පහළට වූ නායකත්වය ද විශිෂ්ටයි. සේනාංකාධිපති තුමාගේ අණ හා සැලැසුම් හරියට ම කි‍්‍රයාත්මක විය. එහි දී සටනට මෙහෙයවූ 551 වන බලසේනාධිපති කර්නල් ජයන්ත ගුණරත්න 552 බලසේනාධිපති කර්නල් උදලුපොල හා 553 බලසේනාධිපති කර්නල් මහින්ද වීරසූරිය ගේ නායකත්වය විශිෂ්ට විය.

ඒ අතර ඊට පහළින් වූ සෙබළ මුළු මෙහෙයවූ මේජර් ඉන්දික ප‍්‍රසන්න ඇතුළු කණ්ඩායමත් නිර්භීතව ඉදිරියට ගිය අතර මුහමාලේ සතුරු ඉදිරි ආරක්ෂක වළල්ල අත්පත් කරගැනීම එදා විශාල ජයග‍්‍රහණයක් ලෙස සලකනු ලැබිණ. එය වසර 2 1/2 ක් මුළුල්ලේ අත්පත් කරගැනීමට නොහැකිව තිබු එකකි. හතරවන ඊළාම් යුද්ධයේ සැලැසුම් වල විශිෂ්ටත්වය ඉන් හොඳින් පැහැදිලිව පෙනේ. ඉන් අනතුරුව 55 සේනාංකයත් 53 සේනාංකයත් මුහමාලේ දෙසින් දෙපැත්තකින් දකුණට ගමන් කරන්නට මාර්ගය පාදා ගත් අතර ඉන්පසු 55 සේනාංකයට නැගෙනහිර වෙරළ තීරය දිගේ දකුණට ගමන් කරද්දී ලැබුණු අභියෝග අති විශාල ය.

මුහුදු කොටින්ගේ ප‍්‍රහාර වෙරළ තීරය දෙසින් එද්දී ගිනියම්වූ වැලි පොළොව හාරා ගෙන සතුරු බංකර විනාශ කරමින් ඉදිරියට ආ ඒ ගමන අතිශයින් බියකරුය.

ඒ ඒ සේනාංක බලඇණි යටතේ ඉදිරියට ගිය සෙබළුන් ලද අත්දැකීම් එකිනෙකට වෙනස් ය. ඉදිරියෙන් යන සගයා මැරි වැටෙද්දී තම පපුව උණ්ඩයට දීගෙන නොබියව ගමන් ගන්නා සෙබළුන්ගේ කතා අති බිහිසුණුය. යුද්ධය ජයගත්තේ ඔවුන්ගේ මේ නොසැලෙන චිත්ත ධෛර්යයි. අප සෙබළුන්ගේ ඒ චිත්ත ධෛර්යට සදා ණයගැතිය.

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Sri Lanka recently emerged victorious from one of the world’s longest-running conflicts, once termed an “unwinnable” war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), also known as the Tamil Tigers.

The LTTE is considered one of the deadliest terrorist groups, having invented the concept of the modern-day suicide bomber and carried out the murder of two sitting heads of state. In addition, the Tamil Tigers pioneered use of female suicide bombers, homemade minisubmarines, ultralight aircraft and “warehouse ships” pre-positioned on the high seas to resupply terrorist operations on shore.

These homegrown terrorists held Sri Lanka hostage through brutal acts of terror for almost three decades, demanding a separate state for ethnic Tamils in the north and east of Sri Lanka while building a vast global terror network.

Many more than 70,000 people were killed and at least 300,000 wounded. In U.S. terms, that would be the equivalent of 1.25 million dead Americans with 4.3 million wounded. The human suffering and economic dislocation is staggering yet is somehow ignored consistently by those abroad who profess to cherish democracy and the dignity of man.

As the self-appointed global leader in the war on terrorism, the United States could learn some significant lessons from Sri Lanka’s victory. Here are our top nine:

• Perhaps the most important lesson is the debunking of the widely held belief that terrorism cannot be quelled militarily. The Sri Lankan military demonstrated that professionalism, strategy, discipline and unswerving commitment can beat terrorism.

All too often, the greatest obstacle to military success is the starry-eyed interference by third parties insisting that only diplomacy and negotiation can bring a true end to terror-based conflicts. History has demonstrated repeatedly, and Sri Lanka has just underscored, that negotiation is doomed in the face of an implacable enemy with an absolutist agenda seeking to create change by ruthless use of force.

• Terrorist outfits are highly opportunistic. They excel in politically manipulating third countries as they engage in hollow cease-fire arrangements to buy time, regroup, rearm and initiate surprise offensives. Even in defeat, terrorist operations may continue by initiating violence inside nations that house their exiles and their remaining power base.

• The terrorist support structure dies hard. Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger terrorists were, and still are, backed by an extraordinarily sophisticated, wealthy and highly educated business and professional class. Actively preventing ex-patriot supporters of defeated terrorist organizations from funding, supplying or otherwise supporting the creation of follow-on entities that will resume the violence — albeit under different names, with different faces — must cap victory on the battlefield.

This means, in the Sri Lankan case, that the United States, Canada, Australia, Great Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth are the front-line states in ensuring that their territories will not be used to reignite LTTE’s failed but extraordinarily bloody terrorism.

• Terrorist movements rely upon the apathy of third countries toward the suffering that groups operating on their soil cause in distant nations. The hypocritical and self-serving attitude apparent in the commonly expressed “they are engaged only in fundraising here, not violence” not only rationalizes inaction, but also cripples international support for counterterrorism moves deemed vital to host nation interests.

• Even the most sophisticated and creative terror organizations make bad decisions and demonstrate self-defeating behavior. The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by LTTE operatives in India brought a profound backlash that saw India effectively bar its soil from being used as a staging area for operations inside Sri Lanka. Once denied physical sanctuary in neighboring countries for combatants, logistics and training activities, terror/insurgent movements are severely crippled.

• Historical animosities do not yield to the wide-eyed “split the difference” mentality that is the hallmark of Western diplomatic and political naivete. Such an approach alienates all parties to a conflict and results in self-deception while exposing the incompetent middleman’s own population to attack. Conflicts rooted in history are complex and should not be reduced to simplistic equations.

• If elected Western leaders actually believe their own rhetoric that all civilized nations must cooperate in this global war on terror, they must actively support the anti-terrorist initiatives of fellow democracies around the world. Ideological movements, religious cults, political insurgencies and cults of personality that employ terror to push their agenda should be eradicated as quickly, as universally and as completely as possible.

Even leaders who hold fast to “pragmatism” as a political creed need to be reminded that the incubation and development of terrorist activity in far-off lands will come back to haunt their own citizens sooner rather than later. The Tamil Tigers’ terrorist activities went largely ignored by the West for decades. But the techniques they developed have killed thousands in unrelated terror attacks around the world.

For instance, use of “boat bombs” was copied by terrorists in the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Aden Harbor. Western ambivalence toward this long-running tragedy has been costly.

• Sri Lanka’s war was complex and challenging, spawning several dimensions of terrorist activity. The war was fought on the ground in Sri Lanka, while propaganda and funds for weapons were handled by LTTE supporters living in the West, and weapons were acquired from Southeast Asia and Central Europe. Although the United States designated the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organization in October 1997, it was not until November 2007 that it banned the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization as an LTTE front organization. Until then, in the guise of charity, LTTE activists were collecting funds and transferring them to the Tiger war chest. Canada proscribed the LTTE in April 2006 and banned the World Tamil Movement (WTM) in June 2008. The banning of these front organizations was a major blow to LTTE terrorist operations.

• Even after the unequivocal military defeat of the LTTE, its overseas supporters defiantly keep the separatist dream alive despite annihilation of most of LTTE’s leadership and the death of founder Velupillai Prabhakaran. If unchecked, they may well transform that dream once again into virulent terrorism, and this time, the Eelam War may well be fought locally – by the diaspora in the West.

Peter Leitner is president of the Higgins Counterterrorism Research Center and previously served for 31 years in various national security positions. Rajika Jayatilake is a communications specialist with expertise in international media and public relations.

(The Washington Times)

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There’s one thing you men will be able to say when you get back home. Thirty years from now, when you’re sitting by your fireside, with your grandson on your knee and he asks “What did you do in the great World War Two?” you won’t have to shift him to the other knee, cough and say, “Well, I shovelled sh*t in Louisiana” – General Patton

A death of a criminal, who led a murderous group that caused immense sufferings on innocent, is indeed a great relief for those who have to live under constant threat of that group. When, this criminal is one who is responsible for the deaths of over 75,000 people and one who threw a nation to the verge of destruction, the news not only brings relief to the nation, but also the individuals who brought that relief become national heroes. Their effort becomes a legend that would be told from generation to generation.

The death of V. Prabhakaran, the megalomaniac killer who haunted Sri Lankan citizens for 30 years is certainly a story that would never be forgotten. Defence.lk team presents the true story of the valiant effort that ultimately brought an end to the most implacable curse caste on Sri Lankan citizens.

“The End Battle” is for the generations to come, so they would know the difference between the true heroes who secured them a life without terror and the scoundrels who sought to destroy the nation they born by promoting terror for their own advantage.

The End Battle was fought for nearly four days starting from 16th to 19th May 2009 by Sri Lanka army 53, 58, and 59 Division troops on a neck of land situated on the north-eastern coast of the Island. The battle resulted in the total elimination of the Liberation Tamils of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the most barbaric terrorist outfit known to the mankind.

The Road to Mullivaikkal

Sri Lankan armed forces undertook their noble mission of ridding the country of terrorism in July 2006 when the LTTE closed down Mavil Aru sluice gates, denying water for over 30,000 civilians. With in one year, they accomplished their mission in Eastern Province and were knocking on the doors of Wanni mono-ethnic hellhole under Prabhakaran’s tyranny.

It took another 2 years for them to reach the final destination. It was a battle like no other. The challenges faced by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces were immense. The way they were dealt with was unique. They had to fight with a terrorist outfit that took 200,000 odd civilians at hostage and held them as a human shield. They fought with extreme care to avoid civilian casualties. It was for the benefit of those civilians more than anything else that they were risking their lives.

Also, there was a powerful section of the international community that did not want Sri Lanka to defeat terrorism. The agenda went beyond boundaries of the Island, one that wanting to keep the region unstable and non-competitive. Every armed forces personnel from private to general knew that there was no room for trial and error. The above section of the IC was already dancing to tune of the terrorist propaganda with great deliberation.

Like a swan separates milk from water, the soldiers had to rescue civilians from the terrorists. They boxed in a terror group that held almost 15000 square kilometres in the Island to 1000 square metres at the end.

They accomplished the largest hostage rescue mission the world has ever witnessed with great success before they struck the final blow on the terrorists. Thus, road to Mullivaikkal was not a cakewalk by any means. It was marched with great sacrifices, fortitude and professionalism on the part of Sri Lankan soldiers.

The Terrain

The final battle took place in an area not more than 4 square kilometres. The battleground was a narrow stretch of land opening to the Indian Ocean from the East and to the Nanthikadal lagoon from the West. Thus, there was an open beachhead on the East, a dusty scrubby land in the middle and a waterlogged stretch full of mangroves on the West.

On a large scaled map the ground can be seen lying diagonally to the North- South axis as it is located on the northeastern coast of the Island . It has one main road access, the A-35 [Paranthan- Mullaittivu] that runs on the northwest- southeast axis, slanting itself towards the lagoon bank.

Yet, anyone who stepped into the terrain where this historic battle was fought would soon know that the description is not as simple as above. There were plenty of manmade and natural barriers that no other battleground of the identical size would ever have.

There were two causeways to be crossed, an open beach to be marched on, over dozen of earth bunds to be cleared, hundreds of enemy bunkers to be neutralized, and above all there was an human shield made out of over 75,000 civilians that had to be rescued before the final push.

Also, the terrain offered excellent hiding places for the terrorists more than they need and possible escape routes if they had ever managed to breach the army forward boundaries on the ground or the naval blockades at the sea .

The deployment

There were three Army Divisions and one Task Force mainly involved in the ground battle. The 53 Division commanded by Major General Kamal Gunrathne, the Task Force 8 commanded by Colonel G.V. Ravipriya, which was again placed under the operational command of the 53 Division and the 58 Division commanded by Brigadier Shavendra Silva were the main offensive elements that fought the End Battle.

The 58 Division marched southwards along the A-35 axis dominating the ground stretching from the road to the coastal belt whereas the 53 Division marched on the same axis, dominating the ground stretching from the A-35 to the lagoon bank.

The 59 Division commanded by Major General Prasanna Silva, though remained defensive at the End Battle, made a vital contribution to the final victory. It was the 59 Division that was holding the defence line south of Vadduvakal causeway for months until the other offensive elements swept down from the North.

Three days before the End Battle, 59 Division troops crossed the Vadduvakal causeway and established their defence immediately south of the no fire zone. It was by this manoeuvre that the Army could rescue majority of the last group of civilians held at hostage by the terrorists.

The Battle

The final battle unfolded as Sri Lankan armed forces successfully completed the largest hostage rescue mission ever conducted by a conventional military force. Troops started rescuing the last group of hostages since the 16th May morning and declared the mission accomplished by the next day morning.

Meanwhile, troops of 58 Division linked up with 59 Division troops on the coast by the evening on the 16th. The link up marked the liberation of the entire coastal belt in the Island from the terrorists clutches.

Thus, the coastal belt was sealed off for the terrorists making it impossible for them to venture in to the seas.

Then, troops of the three Divisions started boxing in the terrorists from the North, East and South leaving only the lagoon bank on the West open for the terrorists as bait. If the LTTE terrorists wanted to try anything than surrendering themselves, they had no option than swallowing the bait, which they ultimately did to their demise.

The Failed Surface Attack

The terrorists made their first attempt to escape on the 17th morning. They launched a surface attack across the lagoon using boats around 3 AM and landed on the western bank of the lagoon. The attack was at the army defence line at Keppularu where 53 and 59 Divisions linked with each other. However, the attempt was soon foiled by well-prepared troops causing a heavy toll to the terrorists.

According to the ground commanders, the aim of the terrorists in the initial attack was to establish a foothold on the eastern bank of the lagoon and then to open up an escape route to the Muthiyankaddu jungle. One senior officer called the attack a desperate attempt made using an obsolete strategy.

“We knew that the terrorists would try this option first. They tried to breach the line at the link as they always did, but only to meet the most prepared adversary. They wrongly analysed the planning capability of the army and swallowed the bait”, he said.

“If they managed to establish the foothold there, they would certainly evacuate the leadership and the others across the lagoon and disappear into the huge Muthiyankaddu jungle. The victory over terrorist would have long delayed if they achieved this,” he further said.

The 5 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment (5 VIR) of the 53 Division and 19 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (19 SLLI) of the 59 Division were the battalions that crushed the first escape attempt of the terrorists. The 5 VIR soldiers collected over 40 bodies of slain LTTE cadres whereas another 90 odd bodies were collected by 19 SLLI. The total terror bodies found after the attack was 148.

According, to the intelligence sources, senior LTTE military leader Jeyam had led the attack. However, he had not come to the front as most of the senior LTTE leaders do and was killed on the next day.

Straight to the lion’s mouth

On the 17th May morning, troops rescued the last group of hostages held by the terrorists, bringing an end to the hostage rescue mission. By the evening of the same day, troops were able to box in the remaining terrorists to an area not more than 600 x 500 m keeping the lagoon bank on the west still open.

With the nightfall, Special Forces and infantry units of 58 Division pierced into the “box” from the southern edge, pushing the terrorists to fall into the trap waiting for them. Only three options left for the LTTE leadership, either to surrender, or to fight to the death as a true fighter or to try escaping like a coward until the last moment, betraying all his closest followers, including his not-so-loved son, Charles Anthony.

Knowing the character of the LTTE leader for a long time, the battle-hardened commanders realized that he would try to save his life at any cost. A snare was laid to lead him straight to their hands.

Major General Kamal Gunarathne, General Officer Commanding [GOC] of the 53 Division was quick to identify the crucial role that his troops have to play in the end battle. He called the entire battlefield commanders to place their troops at red alert and briefed them how to deal with the last escape attempt of the LTTE. All possible escape routes were blocked, ambush teams were placed, and all counter penetration measures were taken.

Commander of the Army, General Sarath Fonseka , was well briefed on the situation and the battle preparations were made under his direct guidance. By the 17th May evening the battleground was set for the final encounter and the soldiers were waiting for the LTTE leader to make his move.

The End Battle

As anticipated, the LTTE leadership opted to escape using the route that army was so eagerly wanted him to take. His plan was to escape with a small group of his personal bodyguards while all other cadres die in fighting with army, as a deception to cover his movement. He did not want to take even his elder son, Charles Anthony with him, but freed himself from the burden by ordering some of the most senior LTTE military leaders to take him from a different route. Over 12 million rupees found near the location where Charles Anthony was killed might give an explanation how those LTTE leaders were persuaded to the task.

It was troops of 17 Gemunu Watch [GW] to have the first contact with the terrorists. According to Lieutenant Colonel Keerthi Kottachchi , Commanding Officer of the 17 GW, a group of terrorists disguised as civilians had asked his troops manning the defence at the lagoon bank to let them in around 2.30 AM on the 18th May.

“It was my troops that manned the civilian rescue point at Karayamullivaikkal. The terrorists had come along the lagoon bank and were hiding in a small islet that lies in front of our defence .Only a small group of them have come to our line and pleaded the officer there to let them in saying there were lot of casualties among them”, Colonel Kottachchi said.

However, Colonel Kottachchi was well briefed of the situation by his Task Force Commander, Colonel G.V. Ravipriya and Brigade Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Lalantha Gamage of the possibility that the terrorists might launch an attack disguising themselves as civilians. The 17 GW was a unit under the command of 682 Brigade of the Task Force 8, which was also under the operational command of the 53 Division.

“Since, all civilians were already rescued, I have given strict instruction to not to take anyone in, until dawn. Around 3 AM, the officer at the rescue point reported that the group who called them civilians was becoming violent and trying to force into the line. So, I ordered him to fire two shots into the air and take control of the situation”, he said.

With the firing of two shots, nearly 200 terrorists opened up fire and charged into the defence. The end battle began.

“We were well prepared for the attack”, said Lieutenant Colonel Lalantha Gamage 681 Brigade Commander. “The terrorists neutralized two of our bunkers opening about a 100m gap in the defence. Most of the initial intruders stepped into the beaten zone of our machine guns and died on the lagoon bank itself. The commandos and infantrymen killed about 100 LTTE cadres including some of the most senior leaders even before they stepped out of the water”, he added.

The plan of the terrorists as analysed by the military officials were to take hold of the A-35 road for some time and execute their escape plan whatever it was with the attack at the 17 GW frontline, it was evident that about 100 other LTTE cadres had infiltrated into the area shown in the map, through various location of the lagoon bank. However, army had pre plans to deal with such an infiltration. The terrorists were again put into a box sealed with three strong defence lines of Army 53 and 58 Divisions.

The 53 Division held the northern and southern defence lines across the A-35 whereas the 58 Division held the eastern line along the A-35. Soon after the first engagement, Commandos and Special Forces under the operational command of 53 Division were sent to reinforce the northern defence line. With no strongholds or hideouts they earlier had, the terrorist ran in every direction with in the box until they finally met their fate. With the failed infiltration, LTTE lost 90% of its remaining cadre with in 24 hours.

The first terrorist group to meet their fate at the hands of army counter penetration troops was the group comprising of Charles Anthony. The group was gunned own by 5 GW troops before they walk 250m distance from the point of infiltration.

A large majority of the other infiltrators who managed to step on the ground were dealt by the 58 Division troops manning the defence line on the coastal side of the A-35 road. Over 100 other LTTE cadres who remained hiding in the mangroves were killed by the commandos, Special Forces and infantry troops conducting mopping up operations.

Meanwhile, another group comprising over 100 LTTE cadres tried to breach 58 Division defence, north of Vadduvakkal with the first light of the day. This group of also met the same fate at the hands of Special Forces soldiers and infantrymen already engaged in mop up operations in the last remaining LTTE hideout.

The ambulance that mislead media

The End Battle gave birth to number of speculations among the media circles than any battle in the Sri Lanka’s war on terror. The government has allowed number of media personnel in state and non-state media to cover the progress of the battle from the battleground itself.

However, the inherent thirst of media personnel for new information clashed with inherent chaotic situation created in the battleground that resulted in number of unsubstantial news items. The defence.lk team was not an exception.

The controversy that affected most on defence reportage was about an ambulance that supposed to have hijacked by the terrorists to transport their leader. This ended up with a huge uproar in media that the LTTE leader was killed.

“It was an ambulance belonged to the Advanced Dressing Station of the Air mobile brigade, a senor military official of the 53 Division said.

“It was destroyed by the terrorists may be in a failed attempt to hi jack the vehicle. We initially received from the soldiers that there was a burnt body lying closer to the destroyed vehicle that have a similar structure to the LTTE leader. Later, the information was proven wrong”, he added.

The Mission Accomplishment

On the 18th May evening, troops not only crushed the desperate attempt of the LTTE to escape but also took hold of the last remaining land under the LTTE control. Commander of the Army, General Sarath Fonseka declared the accomplishment of the mission by liberating the motherland from terrorism. The next day morning (19th), His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces was to officially declare the liberation of the country at the parliament.

Meanwhile, military commenced clearing operations to neutralize possible enemy pockets and to collect the bodies and captured LTTE assets. On the 18th May itself over 350 bodies of slain LTTE cadres were collected. Intelligence officials managed to identify some 30 odd top level LTTE cadres before the nightfall. However, the whereabouts of LTTE chief V. Prbhakaran, his intelligence chief Pottu Amman and Sea Tiger chief Soosai were still a mystery.

However, the country was celebrating not only the liberation of the country but also the death of LTTE leader, as media including state media continued to confirm the same. However, Army refrained issuing an official statement on the death of the LTTE leader but expressed its strong belief that the LTTE leader may be among the dead.

In reality, the process of identifying the bodies and collecting them was still in progress. Yet, not for a second army ignored the possibility of that the LTTE leader may be alive. Despite relaxing the operations, the battlefield commanders tightened the clearing operations, with the soldiers starting to search every inch of the shrub on the ground and the mangroves in the lagoon.

The End of the villain

The 19th May 2009 was indeed an unforgettable day for all Sri Lankans. The President officially declared the liberation of the motherland from clutches of terrorism. Addressing the parliament, he said that from the day onwards the laws made in the democratically elected parliament would govern in whole country. The country was jubilant and the celebrations were on.

Meanwhile, the day was still busy for the soldiers. The battlefield commanders were yet to get the ultimate catch of the trap they laid. Major General Kamal Gunarathne, Colonel G.V. Ravipriya and Lieutenant Colonel Lalantha Gamage were preparing to launch the final phase of the master plan, the clearing of the last remaining patch of mangroves that lies south of the causeway at Karayamullavaikkal .

Lieutenant Colonel Gamage was confident; it was just the previous night that he swore to his fellow officers that it was his troops that would catch “Prabha” at the end. Those who planned the battle knew that the 681 Brigade Commander was not talking nonsense. If Prabhakaran swallowed the bait as planned and remained live, he had nowhere to go than hiding in the mangroves behind the 4 Vijayaba Infantry [4 VIR] frontline.

The commandos already cleared a large part of the mangroves on the previous day evening. Knowing the possibility that LTTE leader had betrayed majority of his followers in a deceptive attack to save his life, the second clearing operation was launched in the remaining part of the mangroves by both commandos and 4 VIR troops around 8.30 AM on the 19th morning. 

Lieutenant Colonel Lalantha Gamage, and Lieutenant Colonel Rohitha Aluwihare, Commanding Officer of the 4 VIR were on the frontline expecting for a good news. Two eight man teams and one 4 man team of 4 VIR Bravo company were in the mangroves.

The first team into the mangroves, lead by Sergeant SP Wijesinghe, encountered heavy small arms fire as they stepped few metres in the growth. The soldiers had to wade through thorny bushes with water up to their chest.

Sergeant Wijesinghe was quick to feel the presence of a high profile LTTE leader in the area from the resistance he had got. The team charged mangroves despite all difficulties and managed to collect five bodies carrying pistols and small arms that were usually carried by VIP escorts.

The Brigade Commander and the Commanding Officer were soon informed. One of the bodies was identified as of Vinodan, one of the most senior bodyguards of the inner protection team of the LTTE leader. “With in seconds we knew the importance of the finding”, Lieutenant Colonel Lalantha Gamage said.

“The matter was informed to the GOC and under his guidance, the first team was ordered to hold the line and sent another eight man team and a four man from the flank to support them” (see map). The second team was lead by Sergeant TM Muthubanda.

After an hour of heavy fire fight in the mangroves the guns were suddenly fell silent. A message came from the team leaders that there was body bearing similar appearance to Prabhakaran found among 18 other dead LTTE cadres. Both Lieutenant Colonel Gamage and Lieutenant Colonel Aluwihare rushed into the mangroves and found that the villain who haunted the nation for 30 years was no more.

The Achilles’ heel

The end of the megalomaniac killer and the megalomaniac outfit he created finally did the justice to the 19 million Sri Lankan citizens who suffered immensely due to the madness he unleashed. Ironically, it was the same madness and the hatred championed by Prabhakaran and his followers that became their Achilles’ heel.

Had the insular minds of Prabhakaran and his ardent followers abroad could perceive the reality, at least 500 LTTE cadres could have saved their lives even at the last moment. It is quite clear that Prbhakaran kept his last hope at the strength that he believed to be there with the pro terror Tamils abroad. Perhaps, he might have thought that Donald Gnanakoon and the lot had the power to send whole US army to Mullivaikkal to save him. Unfortunately, propaganda lies of LTTE could only took few mediocre diplomats for a ride and made them making fool of themselves by clamouring for a terrorist outfit.

On the other hand, it appears that the so-called “diaspora” Tamils supportive of terrorism had believed that Prabhakaran processed some kind of super natural powers and therefore his outfit would be invincible. Perhaps, they might have believed Prabhakaran was buying time to use some secret weapon that can whack whole Sri Lanka Army with a single blow. What they did not know was that that Prabhakaran was a coward who spent most of the hard earned “diaspora” monies sent to him for his own luxury.

However, the most immediate victims of this two-way deception carried out for last 30 years were the Tamils lived in Wanni under Prabhakaran’s tyranny. The brutal war that was fought at the expense of the Tamil youth had no genuine interest one the part of the person who led it or the people who funded it. The whole process was conducted out of unbridled hatred and lacked the scope to reach anywhere near to its so claimed goal, redressing legitimate grievances of the Tamil people.

In contrary, Sri Lankan Armed Forces fought a different war backed by strong will of the national leadership. Every member of armed forces and police shared the vision of their Commander in Chief that is to create a country free of terror for the next generation. Instead of hatred they brought the kindness on their Tamil brethren. They risked their lives to save innocent civilians from the evil grip of LTTE terror. They braved the raining artillery and mortar shells only with the riffles in their hands to free the civilians held hostage by the terrorists.

Finally, it was their kindness that was understood by the Wanni civilians and made them to seek protection with the soldiers. There was no bloodbath, no genocide, massacre as predicted by pro terror media but an end to terror and freedom to the Tamil nation.

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Sri Lanka is pouring more troops into former rebel-held areas in the east of the island to hunt down remnants of the Tamil Tigers following their defeat in the north, a state-run weekly said Sunday.

The military was boosting its strength in the east — around the towns of Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ampara — to where some guerrillas are thought to have fled, the Sunday Observer said.

“The main concern of the army is to nab the remaining Tiger cadres now moving in the Eastern Province,” the paper said. “The Sri Lanka army is now taking measures to increase the strength in the east.”

There was no immediate comment from the military, which declines to discuss troops deployments publicly.

However, official sources confirmed that security forces have begun combing jungles in the east, and have already clashed with two groups of fighters from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The Tigers have admitted that they lost their top leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in a final battle last month, but the military believes that some lower-level cadres may still be in hiding and could try to regroup.

(AFP)

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