LTTE'S Self-Destruction
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Issue Vol 24.2 Apr-Jun2009 | Date : 07 Jan , 2011

There is a parallel here when we juxtapose the instance of Pakistan–its military and the people it holds in thrall as their sole protector. It is becoming obvious that the crack and the chasm between the people and their militant instrument and activities are emerging as dominant factors in the scale of success. It is particularly noticeable in insurgency–guerilla war combination. Same is the case with the waning insurgency in the J&K–chasm between the insurgents and the people. It is clear therefore that while insurgency, guerilla operations, militant activities are only means, the main thing is the mindset of the people and their active support. The militant leadership of the Tamil insurgency seems to have missed this reality in the conduct of insurgency, and the role of political activity in carrying on the struggle from the point armed activity has brought it to.

In this light the blame on the IPKF for its so- called failure in the three years of its involvement in Sri Lanka seems to be less than justified as its operations brought about a situation of devolution of power to the Tamils there in a suitable political arrangement , and which is once again being talked about as the best solution in the present situation as well, even as the mindset of not only the Tamils but also of the Sri Lankan and Indian governments has changed in favor of the people, relegating their leadership arrogated by the LTTE. The Times of India issue of 1 Feb’09 says, “In the past year India made a careful distinction between the LTTE and ordinary Tamils.

Also read: What the armed forces expact from DRDO?

It said the LTTE must be crushed even as ordinary Tamils are helped to reclaim political, economic and social rights. It is this distinction that drives India’s Sri Lanka policy”. The emphasis everywhere is on reconstruction and rehabilitation. Rambukwella, a Sri Lankan minister says “India’s influence will be greater after the demise of the LTTE” – a sea-change from the earlier LTTE’s image as India’s leverage in Tamil affairs to that of its demise! MJ Akbar writes in the same issue, “…Colombo has reason for continued suspicion of Delhi…But it has exchanged past bitterness for common sense, refused to let animosity interfere with trade, benefited from the ensuing economic partnership and created a sustainable and equitable relationship with Delhi”.

Prabhakaran alienated his eastern brethren, lost their support, cleared the way for their elected representation in the Sri Lankan parliament, adding another heavy blow to the LTTE’s Eelam idea and cause. His leadership is established and accepted more out of fear and ruthlessness than through persuasion and consideration for people’s will. Nearly two generations have suffered thus, with little to show by way of worthwhile progress. In Nagaland it was within a decade of their uprising that the Nagas got their statehood. In Mizoram their chief insurgent leader took over as the state’s chief minister, democratically elected, and within the constitutional framework.

The LTTE started seeing itself as a military power and started building its conventional forces–artillery, air force, navy. That led to its undertaking its conventional, positional war. These forces were at the particular stage no more than fancy stuff, as it turned out, when in opposition to the regular Sri Lankan military units, and offered set-piece territorial targets for attacks by superior forces. In the interregnum the fight with the LTTE over three decades saw the graduation of the largely ceremonial Sri Lankan military into a professional fighting force, with sufficient experience and military hardware.

The blame on the IPKF for its so- called failure in the three years of its involvement in Sri Lanka seems to be less than justified as its operations brought about a situation of devolution of power to the Tamils there in a suitable political arrangement, and which is once again being talked about.

LTTE’s premature conversion to conventional forces and positional war seems to have been its undoing. Worse, its traditional tactic of pushing upfront its civilian human shield, and ruthlessly resorting to it even in conventional war holding captive hordes and lakhs of helpless civilians in the shrinking war zone may have set afire human rights activists, and certainly must have displeased and endangered the human gun fodder.

LTTE is a banned terrorist organization, it cannot even change its name like Lashkar–e–Toiba, so famous and prominent the world over. In its Eelam obsession, in its irredeemable demand for enormous sacrifices by the people over years upon years, in its boorishly uncompromising self- righteous attitude which can only be called irrational and obstinate, and in its treating the very people as secondary and expendable, the LTTE has let a breach appear between itself and the people. Its senseless and demoniac exercise of terror, violence, assassination, destruction and elimination, with no thought, leave aside efforts, on reconstruction and relief for the people are widening the chasm. Its self-delusion of graduating to conventional forces and positional warfare has been leading it to self-destruction as is becoming clearer as days pass.

Its failure or refusal to judiciously mix political efforts, armed violence and flexibility of approach to arrive at an agreeable solution for the common weal of the people has left no friends, no help and little sympathy. India’s standing aside has already resulted in the Sri Lankan government seeking arms and ammunition from Pakistan as reported a TV channel. China eyes the Indian Ocean with renewed hope and desire. It has remained on sympathetic and helpful terms with the Sri Lankan government over these four decades and more.

Also read: Zardari in Sri Lanka: Counter-Balancing India

LTTE’s treatment of Sri Lankan Muslims is cause enough for the latter’s neutrality, and for extending welcome to Arab largesse. These possibilities will impact on Indian interests since “Sri Lanka is critically important to India’s big power ambitions” as one journalists puts it.

Despite being its northern neighbour’s (India’s) protégé and leverage, despite their role as the Sri Lankan Tamil’s protector, as their champion of demand for a place in the sun, and as the shield against Sinhala infliction, the LTTE has been found wanting in waging a successful insurgency war because of its wanton practice of excessive violence and terrorism, failure to ensure the people’s well–being and development, refusal to wisely and judiciously practise use of force and political dialogue in achieving their political goal; and because of their inflexible, obstinate rigidity, holding them captive to their fascist, dictatorial, brutally self-righteous tendencies. Fantancy of graduation to conventional forces and conventional war has capped its failure because of it being premature.

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