Sri Lanka: The Enemy Within


January 27, 2008: The LTTE is taking a beating. Dozens of weapons storage sites have been captured by the military. These include boats that provided floating ammo dumps (some holding up to a thousand tons of munitions and supplies), able to move along the north coast to where they were needed. But the air force and navy have figured out how to spot these, and long range army patrols have found ammo dumps and camps deep inside enemy controlled territory. GPS enables the patrolling soldiers to accurately capture target locations, so the air force can quickly and accurately strike. The navy is also putting its own commandos ashore, and they are finding LTTE camps and ammo dumps. All the services are now able to gather more information on where LTTE leaders are, or have been. This has led to more air raids, or artillery attacks, that are hitting the previously elusive LTTE leadership.

So far this month, the government believes it has killed nearly 700 LTTE fighters, while losing less than forty soldiers. About a hundred civilians have died as well. Dozens of LTTE bunkers have been captured and troops have advanced over 20 kilometers in places. The army believes it is on a roll, and is planning to keep this up. Thus, in six months, taking down an average of 500 LTTE fighters a month, they would break the military power of the rebels. This is causing political problems, because many senior politicians do not favor a military solution. Many Sri Lankans agree.

Many Sri Lankans still fear the LTTE, but there have been fewer LTTE terror attacks than in the past. This is believed to be due to the military setbacks the rebels have suffered in the north. Despite that, there is suspicion that the army is behind some of the bombs that have gone off. That's because those bombs caused no casualties. That's not how the LTTE operates. But for the moment, the generals are not being restrained, because most Sri Lankans are tired of over a decade of fighting. If a military solution ends it, many voters are OK with that. Normally, Sri Lankans are not keen on the military, which is one reason the more ferocious LTTE have been able to take on the government, and drag out the fighting for so long. But the Tamil minority, from which the LTTE came, is also war-weary. Outnumbered more than five-to-one in terms of population, the Tamil rebels have been weakened by growing opposition to the LTTE terror and insistence on fighting on. If the Sri Lankan army doesn't crush the LTTE soon, internal dissent may do the job first.


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