Sri Lanka: Blind But Not Deaf

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November 2, 2007: The fighting along the northern front is increasing, with nearly 500 casualties in the last week. The air force is claiming five successful strikes in the last week, but there's no way to confirm that. The October 22nd LTTE attack on the air force base, containing most of the military recon aircraft, will have an impact. The government is scrambling to replace those aircraft and UAVs, but this will takes months. Meanwhile, the armed forces will be fighting partially blinded. The military can rely more on their radio intercept units, which have been successful in eavesdropping on LTTE radio traffic, and deriving much useful information. Same with the growing informant network inside LTTE territory in the north.

October 31, 2007: The continuing crime and disorder in eastern Sri Lanka is largely caused by the large number of rifles and pistols available. This is the result of two decades of LTTE violence, and importation of firearms. This has brought over half a million illegal weapons into the country. When the LTTE was defeated in the east, not all the enemy weapons were captured. Many are now held by criminal and political gangs, as well as individual citizens. The same pattern is expected to emerge in the north, as the LTTE is cleared out of those areas. The illegal weapons will be a problem for decades.

 

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