Category Archives: military strategy

Life and Death for SL Army Infantrymen on the Vanni Battlefront

Sinha-Raja Tammita Delgoda[1]

As a layman who blundered into a war of his own volition and someone who has lived in and worked in the Weli Oya border region for 6 months,[2] I think you are absolutely right in your stress on the difficulties encountered by infantry soldiers and the critical relevance of specific landscapes. Let me quote relevant segments from one of the Manekshaw papers published by India’s Centre For Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).

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Infantry Warfare and the Final Phase of Eelam War IV: Where Laymen Blunder into Infantile Assessments

Michael Roberts

 In his typically feisty style Mark Salter has taken issue with the characterization of a statement in his To End a Civil War as “infantile”  (within an article based on the Lt Col Gash files[1]). [This protest is now reproduced at the end of this essay as well]. Salter’s assertion is from an UTHR report which in turn is based on appraisals provided by Tamil civilians who survived the last stages of the war. Here I address both Salter and Rajan Hoole, a friend of mine and the central figure behind the exhaustive 2009 UTHR reports.

Sri Lankan Tamil civilians arrive to a government-controlled area after fleeing territory controlled by the LTTE separatist rebels in Puthukkudiyirippu…Sri Lankan Tamil civilians arrive to a government-controlled area after fleeing territory controlled by the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) separatist rebels in Puthukkudiyirippu, northeast Sri Lanka, March 26, 2009. Pictures taken March 26, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer (SRI LANKA POLITICS CONFLICT IMAGE OF THE DAY TOP PICTURE)

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Aussie News-Editor wants China kept out of the Pacific

Paul Maley, in The Australian,18 June 2018, where the title is China can’t be allowed to expand it’s influence in Pacific”

Australia cannot make the same mistakes in the Pacific that it made in the South China Sea, where Beijing militarised the area quickly and without serious challenge. China was successful because it moved incrementally and with a finely judged sense of risk. Sand was dredged, islands were created, runways were built, and, lastly, weapon systems were deployed. Individually none of these measures warranted much more than mild protest, but collectively they changed the strategic balance in the region.

Beijing has militarised a lot of the South China Sea

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Woollacott’s Insight in 1976: Tamils set for Guerilla War and Secession

In sorting through my papers I came across a news cutting that is historically significant. Here was one occasion where a visiting journalist deciphered a developing scenario correctly. That I retained the clipping in papers relating to an article  I drafted in 1976 is also significant. These circumstances are clarified briefly at the end of Woollacott’s piece. It is fitting that he should hold centre stage ((though, alas, Alamy have put a price on the only photograph I can find of Woollacott)…. Michael Roberts

Tamil satyagrahis being foricbly removed from Galle Face Green by Sinhala enthusiasts in 1956 during the former’s protest vs the Sinhala Only Bill … 1956 or thereabouts (see Victor Ivan: Paradise in Tears … http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2009/12/20/paradise-in-tears-%E2%80%93-new-edition-by-victor-ivan/)

 Ponnadurai Sivakumaran of Urumpirai was a budding resistance fighter who committed suicide by cyanide in 1974 when trapped by police. He is embodied here in high profile with SJV Chelvanayagam of the Federal Party as the embodiment of resistance to oppression. As such, he reflects the strands of Tamil thinking that Martin Woollacott discerned in 1976. Note that the Tamil New Tigers or TNT had been formed in 1972 and metamorphosed into the LTTE in 1976. In the meanwhile the Tamil United Liberation Front under SJV Chelvanyakam adopted the Vaddukoddai Resolution on 14 May 1976 calling for a separate state of Thamililam.

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June 16, 2018 · 4:29 am

Western Neo-Colonialism Today: An Incisive Note from Tony Donaldson

Context: When the Editor of Thuppahi circulates articles, he sometimes includes attachments or adds bibliographical references. Tony Donaldson read some of the references listed with the article on the last phase of Eelam War IV presented recently by Lalith Weeratunga. He then responded spontaneously and privately to two of my efforts from August 2015 and July 2016 in an email note sent today 12th June 2018. His thoughts are as incisive as thought-provoking. They are a boost to thought and debate. I place them in the inter-net world and challenge readers to respond. The two references are listed after his capsule-statement

 

Tony Donaldson’s Capsule Comment

Michael, …. Two great articles in “Ambassador Blake in Never-Never Land…” and the imperious interventions of David Miliband….  I am not surprised by any of this.  US diplomats should study anthropology for a few years. It might teach them to recognize neo-colonialism in their own value system.   Continue reading

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Honouring Sir Desmond de Silva, A British Legal Luminary whose Incisive Report serves Lanka

Rajiva Wijesinha, courtesy of The Island, 8 June 2018, where the title isSir Desmond de Silva passes away” … with highlights being the intervention of The Editor, Thuppahi

The death of Sir Desmond de Silva last week is a tragedy for Sri Lanka. But what is perhaps more tragic is that none of our decision makers can understand the blow we have suffered. Sir Desmond came into the picture very late in the day. The last government completely ignored both the commitments it had entered into freely, to deal with accountability issues, and also the mounting dangers of international criticism. It started indeed by immediately throwing away its best defence against such criticism, by dismissing Dayan Jayatilleka from the position of our Permanent Representative in Geneva.

Sir Desmond de Silva

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Understanding Military Organisation via the Sinhala War Poems – the Hatana Kaavya

Cenan Pirani: Widening the study of military organization in the early modern South Asian context: an examination of the Sinhala Hatana Kavya”, in South Asian History & Culture, Vol9/2, April 2018, pp. 207-24.

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