ONE = A Summary Report
Diego Garcia is part of the Chagos Atoll, a “group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean” (Jayaweera 2018). Though discovered in 1512 by the Portuguese explorer Pedro Mascarenhas, it was uninhabited till the French moved in and took over in 1783. The atoll passed to the British after the Napoleonic wars in 1814/15. Thereafter the atoll was administered from Mauritius and was considered part of its domain. Over the years the overseers and workers imported to work the plantations and settlements on the islands became indigenized as “Chagossians” and by the 1960s are said to have been around 1500 in number (note the imprecision).
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THE SPECTATOR, Editorial, 18 August 2018, with title “Terrorism isn’t ‘losing’. It has already lost”
By now, the routine is familiar: a lone wolf strikes, roads are sealed off, buildings locked down and a biographical picture begins to emerge. Often, the perpetrator turns out to be born and bred in Britain. His astonished friends and neighbours say they saw no signs that he had succumbed to fanaticism. It later emerges that radicalisation happened incredibly quickly — perhaps inspired by online videos — and the terror plan was so low-tech that interception would have been impossible. How, it might be asked, can any country protect itself against such threats?
Pic from Getty
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I proceed, here, to extract motifs from the details on the happenings in 2009 within the principle theatre of war that have been summarized in Gash IV. This arena has been aptly identified as “the Vanni Pocket” by Serge de Silva-Ranasinghe and is in the north western corner of the island. My comments will be marked A, B, C, etc for ease of reference.
Situation Map, 2 February 2009
A= The Grand Strategy of the LTTE
In his secret situation report of the 28th January, Lt. Col. Gash notes: “The LTTE appear to have no options left, and the language on TamilNet and other similar platforms is clearly striving for international intervention to force a ceasefire on the GoSL. Further civilian casualties are now inevitable as they no longer have options to move away from the combat zone. Without the presence of the IDPs the LTTE would be subjected to unrestricted air and artillery strikes, so have no incentive to release them. The SLA is exercising restraint but, without a change in political mood, will not hold back entirely.”
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