Sri Lanka: Fighting Fire With Fire


August 16, 2007: A final offensive against the remaining LTTE bastion in the north is being delayed by the rainy season, a shortage of troops, and a determined foe. Many soldiers are still in the recently liberated eastern province of Sri Lanka. There are still several hundred LTTE gunmen gone underground, and threatening guerilla warfare, and many arms caches to be found. These hidden supplies of weapons, munitions and bomb making materials have to be found, otherwise LTTE, or criminals will find the stuff and use it.

The army has also found that that tactics it used in the east, don't work as well in the north. The army destroyed the LTTE in the east by fighting a guerilla war against the LTTE, using an advantage in air power and artillery to support small units of troops sent into LTTE territory and terrorizing the terrorists. But the northern territory is not as wide open as in the east, and the LTTE troops are more experienced, and thicker on the ground. Small army units trying to replicate the tactics used in the east, have gotten beat up pretty bad, and forced to retreat. But the aggressive army patrols have succeeded in locating more LTTE bases, and these are being destroyed by artillery and the air force.

Meanwhile, the LTTE in the north continue to conduct their own guerilla campaign, although they are taking heavier losses than in the past. Where the LTTE is most vulnerable is at sea, and its "Sea Tigers" force is being hammered more than at any time in the past. In the last week, two leaders of the LTTE sea smuggling force were killed in clashes with the navy. The interruption of smuggling boats by the navy this year, has forced the LTTE to use their ammo reserves, and not fire as many artillery and mortar shells. This makes life a lot easier, and safer, for the army, which has plenty of ammo to fire back at the LTTE. But the army also knows that the LTTE hard core is in the northern part of the country, and this crew has said it will fight to the death. The army generals believe the LTTE will put up stiff resistance, and are not about to rush into a final battle without taking every precaution. That could take another year.


Article Archive

Sri Lanka: Current 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999



Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close