Category Archives: law of armed conflict

The Gash Files IV: The War on Land

Michael Roberts, with emphasis in bold being my imposition

I will be reproducing pertinent sections of Lt Col. Gash’s “Situation Reports” (or Sitrep) verbatim below in single spacing with the date of each despatch specified at the outset, while indicating blacked out sections where pertinent. These reproductions are extensive and demand careful reading. Vital bodies of information will be highlighted in red as a guideline for readers; but they are encouraged to form their own appraisals.

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April 16, 2018 · 10:59 am

The Gash Files III: Trapped Tamils Out by Sea in 2009

Michael Roberts

As evident then and as confirmed by subsequent accounts, during the last phase of Eelam War IV from circa December 2008 segments of the corralled Tamil population began to rebel against the privations and dangers they were being subjected to by the LTTE’s grand strategy. While a considerable section of the people remained loyal to the LTTE to the very end,[1] others secured release from their situation through the efforts of international agencies working in cooperation with the LTTE and involving[2] the ICRC acting in concert with the Sri Lankan Navy and the Red Cross.

  Also see Roberts: TPS. Pictorial. Fig. 95 and its details

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The Gash Files II: LTTE’s Strategic Design

Michael Roberts

In Despatch COL/2/08 of12 March 2009 Lt. Col Anton Gash has this summary appraisal for his superiors: The LTTE has been forcing the civilian population to move in accordance with their tactical requirements. The NFZ is rigorously policed and patrolled by LTTE cadres, who control access to food and medical facilities, ensuring that their own needs are met before any capacity is allowed for civilians.”

This is a critical observation pointing in the right direction. Nevertheless, it falls short of the mark. The mass of Tamil civilians was not merely a tactical element. They were a central pillar in the LTTE’s grand strategy. For one, they constituted a defensive formation: just so many sandbags restraining the full deployment of the government forces’ military weaponry. While the standard description of the civilians as “hostages” in HR and Western circles does point in this direction, the terminology is “weak” and does not fully capture the overarching strategic purpose of the corralled civilian mass. In addition to serving as a restrictive ‘bund’, the civilian mass provided an active incentive for Western intervention in favour of a ceasefire and some sort of “political solution.

 a tent citty in the Tigers’ last redoubt –-Pic from UNPoE circa February 2009

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Lord Naseby Word-for-Word on The Farcical UN Reports on Eelam War IV

WION London, United Kingdom Nov 14, 2017, 12.21 PM (IST) Padma Rao Sundarji … AT http://www.wionews.com/world/un-fudged-sri-lanka-war-casualty-figures-uk-parliamentarian-says-citing-classified-files-24164

For eight years now, western nations and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva have slammed the Sri Lankan Armed Forces (SLAF) and the former Sri Lankan government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for brutal human rights violations during Sri Lanka’s three-decade long civil war against the separatist terror group, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Of special focus for the West has been the last phase of the war that took place around the Nanthikadal lagoon in North Eastern Sri Lanka.

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Revisiting Critical Issues in Eelam War IV: Summarizing Citizen Silva’s The NUMBERS GAME

Michael Roberts: “Introducing ‘Numbers Game’ – A Detailed Study of the Last Stages of Eelam War IV,” …….. https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/introducing-numbers-game-a-detailed-study-of-the-last-stages-of-eelam-war-iv/…. on 1 May 2013 where 46 comments can be found …. while the version here has some highlighting that is not contained in the Col-Tel version

Citizen Silva’s THE NUMBERS GAME can be found at…. http://www.scribd.com/doc/132499266/The-Numbers-Game-Politics-of-Retributive-Justice  OR http://www.margasrilanka.org/ [right panel at top—then click]

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Aussies celebrate a Victorious Cavalry Charge: The Light Horse at Beersheba in 1917

Peter Craven, in The Australian, 31 October 2017, where the title is “The Light Horse at Beersheba was poetry in motion”

The Light Horse and the Battle of Beersheba. It’s a strange story, though an old one, of how we turn the slaughter of war into the stuff of legend. But there’s a truth, as well as a myth, in the idea that this country came of age with Gallipoli; and that World War I’s official historian, CEW Bean, was on to something, not just propaganda and making the best of a bad lot, when he said the courage of the Anzacs was a defining moment.

George Lambert’s painting  The Charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba is an old-style celebration of an old-style battle, and looks to the memory of a chivalry that was being lost.
George Lambert’s painting The Charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba is an old-style celebration of an old-style battle, and looks to the memory of a chivalry that was being lost.

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The LTTE Debacle at Aanandapuram, April 2009

Michael Roberts

 When I interviewed General Shavendra Silva on 19th August 2017,[1] he identified three temporal turning points during the last year of the war (mid-2008 to May 2009). These were

  1. The SL Army’s capture of Pooneryn on 15th November 2008 which finalized the control of the western coastline (Hull 2015)
  2. The SLA’s capture of Paranthan on 31st December 2008.
  3. The SLA’s encirclement and decimation of a body of elite LTTE forces at Aanandapuram in the period 31st March- to 5th April 2009 as the Tigers were assembling for counter-attack.
  4.  Some footsoldiers at the heart of the battle and General Silva Continue reading

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