Category Archives: Eelam

The Liberation Tigers’ in Crisis

Gerald H. Peiris, being a reprint of Chapter Six in his Twilight of the Tigers,  Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2009, with Vijitha Yapa Publications in Colombo as local distributors, pp. 151-77 … a reprint inspired by the presentation of Jeremy Liyanage’s Q and A with Karuna in mid-2010.

tamil-eelam  karuna7

The contents of this chapter, except its ‘Introductory Notes’ and the ‘Postscript’, are based almost entirely on an article titled “An Assessment of the Current Crisis among the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” written by me in March 2004 while the events that constituted the early stages of the revolt led by ‘Colonel Karuna’ against the Vanni-based Tiger leadership were unfolding in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.  It was published by the Jane’s Information Group, UK. Written as it was in the context of acute paucity of documented information on the rapidly changing and bewilderingly complex scenario in the ‘north-east’ of Sri Lanka at that time, the article contained a fair amount of reasoned speculation. Here, in this chapter, I have retained the original article largely unchanged mainly for the reason that some of my speculations and predictions proved subsequently to be correct. The changes of the original article made in the formulation of this chapter have involved only some alterations of tense, and the addition of foo-notes for clarification and substantiation, and a ‘postscript’, intended to update the impact of the events examined in the article from the viewpoint of the thematic concerns of this volume.   Gerald Peiris

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Two Sri Lankan Tamil Voices from the North Today

Frances Bulathsinghala, courtesy of Daily FT, 5 August 2016, where the title reads “Post-war voices from the north.” The emphases in highlighted colours, however, are additions by The Editor, Thuppahi

Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu: Rajini is 46 years old and an ex-LTTE Commander with a 10-year-old daughter. She is a widow. She has few visitors. Tamil politicians are rarely among them.  Occasionally she chases off military officers who enter her premises in her absence and make themselves at home for hours in her garden. She flies into a rage at them. She informs them that they have no right to enter her garden in her absence. They accept, grin, make some lame excuses and good-naturedly lope off after the cursory examination of the military reference documentation that is as important for ex-militants in post-war times as it was for civilians in peace times. 

It is peace. At least there is no gunfire now. Of the memories of fire that continue to burn in hearts and minds we do not know.

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Mahinda Rajapaksa commences Process of Losing the Peace, May-June 2009

Michael Roberts, drafted on 23rd May and printed in  Frontline, 26/12 of 6-19 June 2009. The original title was “Some Pillars for Lanka’s Future.” The reproduction here has been supplemented by the use of highlighting colours in blue and red… and different pictorial illustrations to that in Frontline.

One can win the War, but lose the Peace.” A cliche this may be, but it is also a hoary truism that looms over the post-war scenario in Sri Lanka. The triumphant Sri Lankan government now has to address the human terrain rather than the fields of battle. In facing this challenge, both government and people concerned must attend to another truism: as Sinnappah Arasaratnam pointed out long ago, extremisms have been feeding off each other and undermining political compromise in Sri Lanka over a long period of time. Now, apart from the well-known Sinhala chauvinist forces outside and within the Rajapaksa government, we must attend to the Tamil chauvinist forces in the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and elsewhere in Sri Lanka, in Tamil Nadu and in the ranks of the vociferous Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora across the world. These forces have to be undermined.

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Murali Reddy evaluates the Ram-Rajapaksa Conversation in July 2009

B. Muralidhar Reddy in Frontline, Volume 26 – Issue 15 :: Jul. 18-31, 2009, where the title is “Sri Lanka — A New Dawn? ... emphasis is the hand of The editor, Thuppahi

“The fast-moving developments in the country since the end of the war seem to show that the President’s strategy is working.”

redyy-on-mr-and-gsl-plans-july-2009President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake at the all-party meeting called by the governmentPic by Eranga Jaywardena

THE pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of what could be the future of post-Prabakaran Sri Lanka appear to be falling into place. A three-hour, no-holds-barred interview of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu group of publications, on the evening of June 30 appears to throw up several pieces that could fit into the puzzle.

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Extremisms in Lanka and Worldwide

Rajan Philips,  courtesy of The Island, 1 October 2016, where the title is With the West sneezing extremism, can Sri Lanka and others avoid catching cold?” .… Emphasis vvia highlighting is from The Editor,Thuppahi.

FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2013 file photo, Donald Trump appears on the "Fox & friends" television program in New York. Trump on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 told a group of New Jersey Republicans he expects New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to make it through the scandals that are plaguing his administration. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

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One would have thought that the old wisecrack needs to be reversed. The West may not be just sneezing, but has already got the cold, even worse, a bad fever of extremism. And that the worry would be if others can avoid the infection. Not so fast, says the wag, as there is quite a bit of Sri Lankan and South Asian sneezing and coughing going around, and we don’t need infection from the West to make matters worse. Jaffna’s Chief Protestor has signalled his periodical awakening from his chronic administrative sleep with the new “EzhugaThamizh” (linguists use ‘zh’ instead of ‘l’ for a unique Dravidian letter and sound) slogan. “Pongu” relates to the liquid state of matter, Ezhuga could be Freudian. Southern Chief Ministers are weighing in, or rising up, and the SLFP’s two-timing (between Mahinda and Maithri) Nimal Siripala seized on the sneeze from Jaffna to bark out a cough of his own on the inviolability of being unitary. Continue reading

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Defeating the LTTE: VK Shashikumar on The Basic Principles behind Sri Lanka’s Success

sashikumar VK Shashikumar. This article was first published in Indian Defence Review with the title Lessons from Sri Lanka’s War” . Read the original article at http://www.indiandefencereview.com/spotlights/lessons-from-the-war-in-sri-lanka/. I am indebted to Jitender  Kalra of the Editorial board for permission granted by email on 29th September 2016. Highlighting emphases has been inserted by the Editor, Thuppahi and some spelling corrections also made.

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Thoughts on de Silva-Ranasinghe’s Concise Delineation of the LTTE Defeat in Eelam War IV

Michael Roberts

This month of September 2016 I stumbled across an essay from 2009 that I had not seen before. I was puzzled because it is a splendid summary of the political and military factors that enabled the Government of Sri Lanka to overwhelm the LTTE in the course of Eelam War IV (2006-09), a force considered invincible by so many – including the Norwegian diplomatic ‘whiz-kid’ Eric Solhiem who told President Mahinda Rajapaksa in late March 2006 that Pirapaharan was “a military genius” (my interview with Lalith Weeratunga,14 June 2016). The puzzle arose from the absence of authorship in the version I came across – seemingly a foreign Australian agency and author.

serge-111Since few foreign reports had revealed any discerning understandings of the war,[1] I was stunned because this summary was as thorough a job as anyone could produce in a short essay. On reflection I decided that it must be Sergei de Silva Ranasinghe’s work because he had produced detailed accounts of the ongoing war while it was in progress (see incomplete list in separate Thuppahi item). He confirmed this by sending me the source, the Asia Pacific Defence Reporter issue dated September 2009 – a journal where he had also presented articles as the war unfolded. Continue reading

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