Sri Lanka: Rebels Reeling From High Losses


March 14,2008: The pace of combat has increased, with over a thousand weekly casualties, most of them on the rebel side. The government believes it has killed over 2,000 LTTE fighters so far this year, while losing fewer than 200 military personnel. This rate of loss by the LTTE, along with lost fortifications, weapons and territory, indicates that LTTE control of the north will not last much longer. Unless, of course, the LTTE can put together one of the surprise offensive operations they have used in the past, to push back government forces.

Another sign of LTTE desperation is the selling of stolen cars, to raise badly needed cash. In the past, LTTE operatives had stolen cars and trucks in government territory, then moved them north or east into LTTE territory. But the situation is so desperate in the north, including fuel shortages, that these stolen vehicles are being driven south and sold.

March 11, 2008: A bomb went off in the capital, killing one and wounding six. The LTTE was suspected, as they have been notably more active lately in trying to carry out terrorist attacks in government territory.

March 10, 2008: For the first time in 14 years, elections were held in eastern Sri Lanka. As expected, former LTTE members, who had led a rebellion against the mainline LTTE leadership, won in the predominately Tamil area.

March 6, 2008: For a year now, the government has been negotiating the purchase of five MiG-29 jet fighters, for about $15 million each. Some legislators believe this purchase involves bribes, although the price is a bit below what MiG-29s are going for these days. The MiG-29 is sought because its radar can pick up small aircraft flying close to the ground. This is the kind of air force the LTTE still has, and the MiG-29 is the kind of aircraft that can deal with this threat. However, it has been nearly a year since the LTTE has sought to use these small, single engine commercial aircraft in an attack. The LTTE "air force" may well have been destroyed in one of the increasing number of attacks the air force has been making on rebel targets.


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