Saturday, July 5, 2008

Aspirations astray?

The most daring and successful LTTE attack since the start of ‘Tamil Eelam War IV’ is clearly the Anuradhapura Airbase attack by 21 LTTE ‘Commandos’ who first entered the base as a group of civil construction workers. The result was the loss of 32 valuable aircraft, including two brandnew UAVs brought from Israel. The attack tells you a lot about the organization for ‘Tamil Eelam’.

The Tigers, many would agree, do it through cunning and deception. The response from the government’s side to such aggression has always been an aerial bombardment. Unfortunately for the Sri Lanka Air Force, the targets destroyed in aerial bombings have been limited. Whatever that was hit, except of course Thamil Selvan, has largely been publicly unverified.

On the other hand, Tigers make sure that the attack is carried through in person, often video taping the entire attack and maintaining radio contact right throughout. This they then publicize internationally. For those looking from the outside, this looks heroic, daring and clever—how a non-state group minnows a state. The modus operandi for these attacks is using valuable manpower on suicide missions; a quality the LTTE has achieved by unhinging itself from all military ethics. How does the LTTE manage this from an organizational standpoint?

In many ways, the Tigers are like a profit-making company. As long as the end meets the means and the means meet the end, the sacrifice of men, women and children in counterforce and countervalue targets is acceptable.

The goal is to maximize the return on investment made by a section of the Tamils. In layman’s terms ‘You give me your guilt-money, I give you Eelam’. The overt goal maybe Eelam, which in negotiations theory is called Positional Bargaining, where you say you want something, but have other interests that needs to be fulfilled first. These are covert goals. Examples of covert goals include the Tamil Diaspora Refugees’ interest in living out the rest of their days in the comfort of the Developed World or for Prabhakaran to immortalized himself or to see his daughter graduate from a College in Ireland.

The means of achieving both the overt and the covert goals could intersect each other at different intervals. As long as they do not separate from each other entirely, the two goals can coexist. But this does not explain why the Tigers have had the success that they have had in unconventional terms. To achieve the overt and covert goals successfully, there should be a flexible pursuit of more than one means of achieving that goal.

The means of achieving the overt goal is as wide as your imagination. The means are after all limited by only your imagination. The means employed by the LTTE so far include assassination of Tamil opposition leaders, assassination of Sinhala opposition leaders, raising garrisons of brainwashed suicide bombers, strengthening the cadre through forced recruitment of women and children etc etc. The ability to generate as many means as you possibly can can increase your chances of achieving the goal. Flexibility usually comes from the capacity of the leadership to hold and control power. Power is force. Force is equal to threat.

Operating within an impoverished minority group, this threat is implemented through thuggery and the gradual elimination of all resistance to thuggery, like moderate politicians for example. This is made possible by a one-sided International Consciousness on the issues in Sri Lanka.

The one-sidedness was initially because the governments of Sri Lanka, since Independence, had made serious errors, thus giving ample opportunity for cetain dormant ‘aspirations’ of the Tamil elites to be realized. Government’s over the years haven’t really improved much. Look for example at the recent attacks on journalists reporting the war.

However, government’s are usually on a short lease. We have seen many Administrations come and go, but the people of Sri Lanka remain. So does the LTTE, by the way.

What distinguishes the present Administration from their Opposition is an initiative to respond militarily to the Tamil Tigers which is approved by the majority because of the LTTE’s own actions. In one respect, the present Administration is an equal matching force to the LTTE. But this should be limited to areas where there is an LTTE, instead of being unleashed in the public eye in the south.

Every which way you look at it, the reality is that the general public will always outlive and outlast government. The general public means those that can make decisions for themselves without help from an armed agency for example, through its own right and power to vote. We saw this in the recent elections in the East to a small extent. Given the opportunity, the Tamils will indeed vote and make decisions for themselves within a democratic system.

The LTTE is no exception to the vulnerability of mass choice. If the current campaign becomes successful any further, small desenting opinions within the LTTE and the Tamil community will become larger and louder. Isolated incidents of extreme violence just won’t cut it for the LTTE anymore. Losing territory but continued insurgency from within the same territory is not a proper Return on the Investment made by the Tamils. Eelam after all is a consciousness tied to land. Incapacitated and unable to hold and retain the ground beneath its feet, the Tigers will lose its stripes and with it the legitimacy to represent the ‘aspirations’ for Tamil Eelam.


out_sider said...

Perhaps it is time to play by the same rules as the ltte and react like the Israel government. Make VP feel the pain and assassinate members of his immediate family.

Jack said...

Defenceanalyst, great article, sorry to go on a slight tangent, but your comments are the first news we are getting in a while about the AAB attack and you say 32 aircraft destroyed? Do you have a break down of this, as soon after I believe the highest estimates we like 18 maybe I am wrong. Also you mention the black tiger team worked as construction workers, was this the majority of the team were already working on the base or one or two? Thanks/.

Jack said...

out_sider I think that would be counter productive, as far as I know the LTTE hasn't targeted relatives of military or government personnel. So if this is started now they are sure to retaliate and that would mean even more resources have to be spent on protecting VIPs and now their families too. I am sure their families already get protection but probably not to the extent of the VIP/VVIP themselves

Red_Alert said...

out_sider, Israel's actions are deplorable and do not add any sort of legitimacy. Whilst Western media might be less vocal about Israeli actions, I'm sure they'll pounce on any acts of 'state terrorism'.

The tamil community will take it the wrong way as well. At this point in time, the priority is to show the tamil community our trust and support (as is happening with Army sponsored health clinics, dansalas etc in Jaffna).

However, this doesnt mean we take our eye off the target.. which is to seek and destroy the root cause of the problem.. the LTTE hierarchy

kuttu said...

no sinhalas planes allowed in SAARC meeting

indian air force will rule the lankan sky's

say no ?

no visit from india


Moshe Dyan said...

DW thanks for the article.

as you correctly said LTTE in its hayday successfully converged many different goals and aspirations.

i think it will still last thanks to tamil politicians who "peacefully" want to achieve tamil elam or follow a step-by-step approach to TE. what we don't realise is that there are two folds of anti-LTTE tamil (and other politicians).

1. one group is outright against tamill elam.

2. the other wants A MOVE TOWARDS tamill elam from where we are now.

the second group is highly dangerous. they can sustain the TE dream among the tamils EVEN is LTTE fails militarily. that way the TE dream is carried forward in spite of LTTE losing the war. they will also ensure that A MINIMUM set of pro-TE permanant fallbacks are put in place so that a future LTTE operations would be easier.

this has the "gorbachev effect". peoples in the soviet union didn't want his "reforms" (a patched-up communism); they wanted democracy. after that what happened?

ppl supported by anti-communists took charge. that was a good example.

the case of tamill elam is a bad example of it. MOST tamill ppl NEVER wanted a federal system or any form of power SHARING; they wanted and still want tamil elam. so the second group will do a (bad) peresthroika and obviously will be powerless to apply the brakes ON BOTH SIDES. the end result is again falling back on the LTTE.

however this doesn't mean LTTE will definetely become equally or powerful again. what it means is the LTTE or it successor will still have mass appeal from most tamils for a LONG time. this can ONLY be satisfied by tamill elam. again this does not mean they will get it. it means military pressure should be kept continuously, even after the war.

the importance of military & political groups like EPDP and TMVP becomes crucial at that stage.

Moshe Dyan said...

outsider & red alert,

israel's actions are justified in the CONTEXT it is in. it had to fight so many foes and thankfully ALMOST all of them have gone bust!

syria and iran remains the only real threats plus many terror groups.

syria and iran will be look after soon although i don't agree for another war especially in the middle east. then there are terrorists from all directions surrounding israel. they cannot be completely destroyed so they got to be managed. managing terrorists cannot be done without a little bit getting down to their level, unfortunately.

but some israeli actions are excessive and stupid.

on the iran affair.....

US has deployed a large number of frigates and aircraft carriers in the region last month. war is somewhat in the horizon. there is wide speculation that israel will launch a pre-emptive strike on iran (US strongly resist this). in the absense of direct support from russia, iran stand to perish like a lamb.

from the POV of the US, wacking iran surves multiple objectives. iran is financing both iraqi and afghan terrorists and winning in these two places needs iran to be busted.

that will be a tripple military victory for the US.

NOLTTE=Peace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NOLTTE=Peace said...

Another PWP comes and says "Sinhala Planes"...

There are no 'Sinhala Planes', what we have are 'Sri Lankan Planes'!

Patriot said...

don't you think that what happened in 1983-July and before...
what happened to Gen Kobbekaduwa and Gen Wijaya Wimalarathne
and popular Millennium City incidents..
so many cases are linked with a big conspiracy
UNP has a good connection with all these
knowingly or unknowingly
coz when ever UNP comes to the power, problem get worse (if anyone want details, carefully list events through out the history)

CASC said...


"Aspirations astray" is a very appropriate title and a warning any government of Sri lanka should heed. As you say, the people will always outlast the government of the day. All of the governments of Sri Lanka started off with good intentions initially but their aspirations went astray over time. Usually, their aspirations went astary because their impulse for self preservation was stronger than any need of the country. This meant that even the need to eliminate the LTTE took a back seat or was of secondary importance. Your call to this government to heed this warning and to stay focused on eliminating the LTTE is appropriate and timely. The Govt should use their imagination and energy to get rid of the LTTE rather than focus the energies of their best and brightest on fixing their perceived political opponents and other other perceived opponents in civil society. Because of the lack of developed institutions, the disregard for military professionals, and the lack of military professionals in positions of authority, ususally their was no continuity of government policies in matters of defence. In the past, defence polcies were associated with certain individuals and when those individuals left the scene policies changed dramatically. Basically there was no continuity in polcies.

I recently read in the Indian press about the death of Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw, their greatest military figure since independence. At one time when Indira Gandhi was worried about a military coup, he is supposed to have famously said "“Madame Prime Minister, you have nothing to fear, from me or the Army. You do your job. Let me do mine.” The LTTE has made use of this weakness in democratic governance to basically eliminate people who pose a threat to their existence (e.g. Ranjan Wijeyratna, Lalith Athulathmudali, General Algama, etc) knowing very well

While this government may be no different from previous governments in areas of governance, this is the only government since the start of the eelam wars that has bet the entire economy on the sucessful prosecution of the war in the short term. There will be dire economic consequences for the entire country should this war drag on for several years. Also, Sri Lanka has been blessed to have a military professional oversee the war in the form of the president's brother. However, the danger is that if the president or his brother leave the scene, there is the very likelihood that current policies will be discontinued by their successors.

kuttu said...


don't you think that what happened in 1983-July and before...
what happened to Gen Kobbekaduwa and Gen Wijaya Wimalarathne
and popular Millennium City incidents..
so many cases are linked with a big conspiracy
UNP has a good connection with all these
knowingly or unknowingly
coz when ever UNP comes to the power, problem get worse (if anyone want details, carefully list events through out the history)


sinhalas blame everything on UNP, ranil

when it rains - its ranil
when it floods - its UNP

hehe...sihalas always find a scapegoat

when the war goes on & on it will be ranil, unp


LKDOOD said...

48 LTTE rebels killed in Northern Sri Lanka clashes


kuttu said...

the real number is 129 not 48


all tigers are dead


LKDOOD said...

everybody needs to be on alert

tamilnet reports:

4 civilians wounded in SLAF bombardment reports:

Key LTTE gathering point raided by SLAF jets- Kilinochchi

kuttu said...

sinhalas government:

Key LTTE gathering point raided by SLAF jets- Kilinochchi


4 civilians wounded, Six houses have sustained serious damage in the aerial attack

NOLTTE=Peace said...

The Kuttu the PWP said 'Sinahala Planes' have been grounded.

The air-raid might have been carried out by 'Tamil Planes'.

kuttu said...


stupid sinhalas

that comment is about the SAARC summit


during the SAARC summit no sinhalas planes are allowed to take off

kuttu said...


everybody needs to be on alert


are you police ?


LKDOOD said...

MiG- 27 skids off runway

A MiG-27 fighter air craft of the Air Force had skidded off the runway at the Katunayake air force base a short while ago, while it was landing after a mission in Wanni. The air force said it was due to a fault in the wheel. The pilot is unhurt.


LKDOOD said...

yes i'm police


kuttu said...

A Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) MiG-27 fighter jet was forced to return after it sustained damage in anti-aircraft fire over Ki'linochchi area in Vanni Sunday afternoon, LTTE officials told media in Vanni. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) officials in Colombo, admitting that an aircraft had a troubled landing at Katunayaka military airbase in Colombo after carrying out an air strike, said that the fighter jet had 'skidded off' the runway while landing.

Independent TamilNet sources in Vaddakkachchi area confirmed that there was anti-aircraft gunfire that targeted the SLAF bombers, which engaged in the bombardment and that the bombers avoided circling over the area due to the attack from the ground.

Four persons were wounded in the air raid in Vaddakkachchi near Ki'linochchi. The wounded have been admitted to Ki'linochchi hospital.


SL will loose aircrafts if these attacks continue

SL said...


your mom will loose her vagina if you keep terrorising this forum.

SL said...

oh, i forgot to add



kuttu said...

another sinhalas modaya

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