Friday, May 15, 2009

Sri Lanka within inches of victory

The desperate fighting against the LTTE ("Tamil Tiger") terrorist army is drawing to a close, but it is proving to be a very nasty close.

The LTTE main element is trapped on a spit of land between the ocean and a great lagoon and hold on to less than 2.5 square kilometers (about 1 sq. mile) of land.

Draw that area on a map of your home town... it is the size of a matchbox, militarily speaking.

Their human shields are once again making a break for the exits, with over 5,000 people attempting to cross the lagoon, only to be taken under fire by the LTTE they were supposedly "supporting". Only the intervention of Sri Lankan Army helicopters suppressing some of the fire from the LTTE allowed the escape to succeed, and even then many civilians were wounded.

So with victory within reach; a final military defeat of the LTTE after literally decades of terror and conflict...

...the administration of B. Obama in the United States has
"accused the government of “indiscriminate shelling” of areas containing civilians, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people on over the weekend"
...tried to get the Sri Lankan Army to "slow down", and is threatening to intervene in IMF loan practices as a means of applying pressure.

Read it all, please, and you be the judge.

4 comments:

Susan said...

I just read this one briefly-- OMG!

these poor people--

Will said...

I was pretty sure you'd bring this up when I read about it.

The civilian deaths are awful, but with the rebels deliberately firing at those who escape it can't end well.

There's no public opinion win to be had, so the army may as well go for the military victory.

How many rebels do we expect to escape the net by mingling with the civilians?

L.Douglas Garrett said...

@Susan & Will

Yes, it is a tragedy for the people caught up in the fighting. It always is... all that can be done is to try to save as many as can be saved, and aid them.

re: expected intermingling -- If my understanding is correct, the efforts to identify and segregate those fighters who attempt to co-mingle is pretty strict. This isn't a new thing, after all. I'd be more concerned about what of the LTTE leadership and terror-specialists made it to "Myanmar" (Burma) or Tamil Nadu (southern India) before the net closed completely. Defeating what of those there are, and preventing LTTE support cells like those in the UK, India, and Canada (to mention a few) from transforming into a PLO-like foreign terrorist movement will also take some serious work. Fortunately most of those networks (*not the general Tamil expatriate community!*) are so entrenched in criminal activities that the law-enforcement agencies of the host countries are already in pursuit of them.

***
@All

Now the hard part starts, as they say: The Sri Lankan government has announced military victory. As soon as the mopping-up is down to a tolerable level, let's pour in the relief aid.

Will said...

The don't have the leaders yet, but it looks like the civilians are free:

Bloomberg