Category Archives: security

SIOT or Special Action Infantry Teams: Their Origins and Critical Role in Eelam War IV

During m researches I discovered that the SIOT teams were a critical element in enabling the SL Army to outmanoeuvre the LTTE during Eelam War IV. Brigadier (Retd) Hiran Halangode has indicated[i] that General Sarath Fonseka was responsible for initiating this concept in 2001. He sent me a Memo written up Brigadier Ralph Nugera at some point in the past. Ralph Nugara (the correct spelling – altered in the military to rhyme with pronunciation?) is a Peterite whose skills were honed as a commando to the point where he led one of the special force units that crossed the Nandhikadal Lagoon on the night of 18th April 2009 and breached the fortified bunds of the LTTE on its eastern side. This was undoubtedly a remakable operation whihc demanded inovation and skill … as well as careful training beforehand against dummy embankments and defences re-rcreated well to the rear of the ongoing battles.

 I was fortunate in being able to interview Ralph before he retired in 2017; but this item is presented without recourse to my interview or memories thereof.[ii] I present the Nugera Memo sent by Brigadier Halangode.

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Blake Foreshadows New American Approach to Sri Lanka … and the Rajapaksa Combo

Daya Gamage, in Asian Tribune, 12 May 2019, with this title “Robert Blake indicates Washington’s new approach to Sri Lanka”

Robert O’Blake, former (2006-2009) American ambassador to Sri Lanka and onetime assistant secretary for South and Central Asian Bureau (2009-2012) of the US Department of State indicated how Washington would approach Sri Lanka having seen the deteriorating security situation in this South Asian nation – which could affect Washington’s military design in the Indo-Pacific region – while assessing the rapidly changing political environment possibly favoring the return of the Rajapaksas.

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Stephen Long’s ‘Revenge Politics’: Questionings

Michael Roberts

In a riveting article in Asian Tribune entitled “Sri Lanka: A Tragic Lesson in Revenge Politics,” Stephen Long has assessed Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s contribution to Sri Lanka’ victory during Eelam War IV in this style: “With the precision of a skilled strategist, Gotabhaya decisively defeated the LTTE. With limited resources, the military intelligence network he put together to keep track of the terrorists was second to none; he literally had the country “wired” for real-time information-collecting and feedback to authorities.”

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Sri Lanka as Lilliput Isle between Two Giants

Political Editor, Sunday Times, 19 May 2019, where the title runs “Sri Lanka caught in the big power conflicts”

When elephants fight, an African proverb says, it is the ants that get crushed. In essence that encapsulates how the small and weak become dangerously vulnerable when big powers fight for dominance and even hegemony. That is Sri Lanka now.

President Maithripala Sirisena returned from China on Thursday after adding another explosive chapter to this big nation power play. His Media Office head-lined a statement saying, “three significant agreements with China on national security and development were signed.” However, there was no mention of what these agreements were or the different titles.

Bilateral talks on security between China and Sri Lanka under way Continue reading

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Vengeance! How Personal Vendettas BLINDED Sri Lanka’s Security Bulwarks

Stephen Long, in Asian Tribune, May 2019, where the title is Sri Lanka: A Tragic Lesson in Revenge Politics”

My relationship with the island nation of Sri Lanka began over twenty years ago. At that time, it was engaged in a bloody 30-year civil war that eventually claimed the lives of an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people. A deadly tsunami had devastated the country on Dec. 26, 2004, and on November 19, 2005, Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected to the first term of his presidency. From his predecessor, Chandrika Kumaratunga, a lady of questionable ethics, Mr. Rajapaksa inherited a country in chaos; it was rife with political corruption, racial, cultural, and religious conflicts, as well as poverty and social turmoil. The beleaguered natives were weary of hardship and death, of the seemingly endless war, of being left behind by economic development, and of living in constant fear that a suicide bomber might suddenly appear and blow them to bits.

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Intolerance. The Deep Currents within Sri Lanka

This last week  i received two emails, one from a friend in Canada and another from a well-placed senior person in Colombo, which, quite independently, touched on Ahmaddiya, Christian and Rohingya refugees brought to the island as transit refugees by UNHCR and parked in the western coastal areas. Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey’s recent public address confirmed the thrust of these two emails. The implications are disheartening and should fore all of us Lankans to review our recent history and its shortcomings.

ONE: Email Note from Canada, 15 May 2019

Hello Michael,  The following might be of interest to you as a social scientist. (A) I read the story (in the link below) at Google News – which sends me stories on SL to my inbox, This is interesting as I was unaware that SL had “foreign” refugees. There were rumours that Rishad Badudeen (Minister – Puttalam) was settling some Bangladeshis in Wilpattu. Continue reading

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An Incisive Summary of Factors that enabled the Easter Bloodbath

General HMHA Herath, in Island, 15 May 2019, where the title is Who was behind the Easter terrorist attacks?”

While the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, the real story is a bit more complicated than that. To millions of Sri Lankans the Easter Sunday tragedy must have seemed a nightmare come true, a frightening déjà vu of the rampant violence this island nation has known for thirty years of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terror. The horrific attacks in which an estimated 253 lost their lives and many hundreds were wounded, signaled that the decade’s calm that prevailed after LTTE’s 2009 destruction by Sri Lanka’s Army is over.

1 What went wrong?

At the time, victory over the LTTE inspired confidence and heady optimism. A 2012 defense seminar in Colombo heralded “Peace and Stability” as its core theme and the five ‘Rs’ (Reconstruction, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Reconciliation) as the imperative agenda for Sri Lanka. The mood at the time was upbeat and the country’s future seemed bright. The safety of the post-war period brought to the country millions of tourists (2.1 million in 2017 alone), and the reconstruction of Sri Lankan economy and infrastructure commenced apace. With the horrific Easter disaster, this process has come to a grinding halt. And the troubling question is what developments allowed it to happen. Continue reading

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