Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On the Process of Detigerfication

I would like to take a departure from my usual discussion of military issues and discuss the matter of preventing a return to war when the current conflict ends. This task is of critical importance to the future of Sri Lanka, and I feel it must be addressed before the current fighting is concluded.

With Sri Lankan soldiers pouring into the Wanni from all directions, the LTTE is facing extinction. While the war is far from over, plans must be made on how to deal with the population of the separatist heartland once the LTTE has been eliminated as a conventional fighting force. A plan for reconstruction and reconciliation is vital to the success of whatever peace follows this terrible conflict. The most pressing issue of the postwar reconstruction will be the question of what to do with LTTE military veterans, political figures, and any other Tamils who actively supported the rebel group during the war. This challenge may be as daunting as defeating the LTTE in the first place, and will define what kind of country Sri Lanka will be for the rest of its existence.

An understanding of history will only serve to help Sri Lankans develop solutions for this problem. Two excellent examples are the period of reconstruction following the American Civil War and the German process of denazification after the end of World War Two. It is from this later example that I have derived the name, “detigerfication” to describe the task facing Sri Lanka. Through these examples we can see three primary issues regarding enemy veterans. First, the war crimes trials of Nazis at Nuremberg should be studied as Sri Lanka forms a judicial task force to bring to justice members of the LTTE accused of war crimes. Second, the treatment and legal status that former Nazis and Confederates faced in their respective countries should be examined and an appropriate system developed for Sri Lanka. Finally, the way the United States and Germany dealt with the cultural aspects of their conflicts offer insight into Sri Lanka’s cultural future.

Nazi war criminals standing trial in the first row

The Nuremberg Trials following World War Two tried and convicted many Nazis, executing some and imprisoning others, for war crimes committed against enemy civilian populations, as well as their own citizens during the war. Sri Lanka will undoubtedly have some such special judicial organization established to deal with LTTE war criminals, and most Sri Lankans would probably cheer at the thought of Velupillai Prabhakaran being tried and hung for his role in numerous LTTE atrocities.

However, while Sri Lanka should enter into this judicial operation with the hope of bringing war criminals to justice, effort should be made to avoid punishing individuals solely for being members of the LTTE, or being members of s certain rank. Rebels who ordered or participated in war crimes should be hunted down, regardless of their rank. If there is not enough credible evidence to indict a surrendered LTTE officer of a war crime, even if it is a high-ranking colonel, then he should be allowed to live out his life in peace. If a conscript is suspected of killing civilians, then they should be tried and punished if convicted.

For example, if a rebel is known to have been present at the Battle of Mullativu, he is simply a war veteran. If he is also known to have participated in the murder of surrendered Sri Lankan soldiers after the base fell, he should then be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It is of utmost importance that the postwar trials be an exercise in justice, not a witch hunt. To achieve this, the government should declare a general amnesty to all members of the LTTE with the condition that this does not absolve them from being guilty of any of war crimes. This partial amnesty will not excuse the actions of war criminals, but will ensure that tens of thousands of Tamils who acted in good conscience during the war will not be persecuted by a court of vengeance.

The question of what to do with LTTE veterans goes beyond prosecuting those suspected of war crimes. There is also a matter of their political and economic future. In postwar Germany, the Allied Powers clamped down on former Nazis both as a means of preventing the Nazi Party’s survival after the war and as a means of retribution against the world’s most hated political group. Regardless of their education or skill, the only legal jobs former Nazi Party members could have in Europe were manual labor jobs. The two highest (out of four) classes of offenders were also banned from voting and running for public office. American general George Patton was fired from his postwar position in Germany because of his opposition to this system. He argued that most Nazi Party members had not committed war crimes and were the most, if not the only, Germans qualified to work in government positions. This was only one aspect of a collective punishment system where the Allies blamed all Germans for the war and the Holocaust. Nazi literature, symbols, and other objects reminding Germans of the Nazi Party were also destroyed in an attempt to totally erase Nazism from German society.

Sri Lanka should think twice before taking such a hardliner’s stance on reconstruction. Unlike Germany after World War Two, Tamils in Sri Lanka are unlikely to adopt an intense guilt complex because there is no event, like the Holocaust, that clearly marks their bid for independence as evil. Many will argue that both sides committed war crimes, leaving only political perspective to decide who, if anyone, was fighting on the side of righteousness. The result will be that a great many Tamils will be proud of their LTTE heritage and will continue to support the ideals they fought for, even if Tamil Eelam will never come to pass. Will Sri Lanka deny voting rights to a huge portion of Sri Lankan Tamils because of this? Will these same Tamils be limited by the government to the least prestigious jobs in the country? Fortunately, the liberation of The East is proving Sri Lanka’s willingness to include former enemies in the government. The once ludicrous idea of Colonel Karuna, the rebel leader who led the final assault on Elephant Pass, becoming a member of the Sri Lankan government is now a reality. Successful elections in the East give further hope that Reconstruction in the North will be a successful exercise in democracy.

It is of vital importance that the people in the Wanni do not suffer from large unemployment rates. Poor individuals who cannot find lawful employment will be vulnerable to recruitment by guerillas, especially if they have families to feed. The same risk applies to children. The education system must be reestablished as soon as possible, once the major fighting has ended. Special attention should be given towards helping child veterans adjust to civilian life and assisting them in getting an education. The transition from military to civilian life is difficult for people of any age, but will be even harder for the thousands of child soldiers who will survive the war.

Sri Lanka might do well to consider a policy closer to the reconstruction process in America in this regard, though this example also has aspects that should be avoided. President Andrew Johnson, who took the presidency following the death of President Abraham Lincoln, declared a general amnesty for all Southern citizens who took an oath of allegiance to the United States. This option to have a full return to citizenship in return for, what was basically a promise to not wage war against the state, greatly helped reduce the level of partisan violence during Reconstruction. However, the exclusion of Confederate officers, political officials, and wealthy landowners from this amnesty has a counter effect, intensifying Southern hatred for the Union and Northern citizens. This hatred was furthered by the passing of the 14th Amendment, which stated that no rebel or supporter of the Confederacy could be elected to public office.

This general amnesty, as already stated, is of critical importance as it offers a future to the tens of thousands of Tamils who acted honorably during their participation in the war. Establishing a means for people to appeal their exclusion from the amnesty also has merit, as there will always be flaws in large-scale policies. Not only is this a fair and just move, but also an act to ensure a lasting peace. By allowing tens of thousands of former rebels the option to have civilian lives with full rights and no threat of legal or military retribution, they will be much more likely to accept reunification.

While the persecution of landowners in the American South hardly applies to Sri Lanka, there are other, more relevant, aspects of Southern Reconstruction that Sri Lanka would do well to avoid or modify. Sri Lanka should be able to make the distinction between top tier LTTE leaders and LTTE public servants who are the only people with any administrative experience in the region. Banning what amounted to nearly every known public figure in The South created long lasting bitter sentiments in the former Confederacy and the same would likely be true in the Wanni. Sri Lanka should recognize, just as Patton did in Germany, the need for experienced political workers who have had an existing relationship with the local population. Imposing an appointed government from Colombo or forcing Tamils to pick representatives from a tiny pool of pre-approved individuals will do little more than help the LTTE remnants recruit people for guerilla action. There is also the threat of showing favor towards Eastern Tamils over their Northern kin. Former rebels dominate government in the East and Northern Tamils should be given similar accommodations. Granted the East is being run by defectors, while the North would be run by surrendered, but loyal rebels, however, showing favor towards Eastern Tamils will encourage Northern Tamils to continue the war as partisans. As long as Sri Lankan Tamils, or certain groups of Tamils, feel that the rest of the island is subjugating them, there will always be people willing to plant bombs and assassinate politicians.

Americans from The South are famous for taking the Confederate flag into battle in every war after the Civil War ended. Here, Southern soldiers carry the flag into battle during the Vietnam War.

The Sri Lankan Civil War is a culturally defining event that will not simply go away with the fall of the LTTE. Tens of thousands of LTTE veterans and their families will make up a large portion of every Tamil community, and a great many will view them as heroic fighters of a lost cause. The simple fact of the matter is that the LTTE’s goal of a separate state enjoyed wide support from the Tamil people, and that will not change with the end of the war. Sri Lankans must choose between accepting this new aspect of Tamil culture, or fighting it at every turn in an attempt to eradicate it from society.

To put the decision in a different light, Sri Lankans must choose between two futures for their country. They can ban the Tiger flag and Tiger uniforms, outlaw the construction of historical monuments and museums to the rebel cause, and discourage Tamil communities from celebrating Hero’s Day. This will certainly make several non-Tamil Sri Lankans feel better, since the last thing they want is for the LTTE to have remembrance shrines on the land so many loyal Sri Lankans gave their lives to liberate. The drawbacks, however, would be a continued, possibly intensified, feeling of persecution among Sri Lankan Tamils and their permanent hatred of the rest of Sri Lanka for being forced to forsake their fallen loved ones. Given the fragile nature of the post LTTE peace, it would likely be a key factor in a return to war.

Alternatively, Sri Lankans can accept this new aspect of Tamil culture as a natural result of having fought so long and hard, both for their cause and for the more instinctual desire to protect their homes and families. After all, the reasons wars are fought and the reasons people fight wars are often very different. An example the late American Civil War historian Shelby Foote once mentioned that fits very well with the Sri Lankan conflict involved a conversation between a Union soldier and a captured Confederate. The Union man asked why the Confederate was fighting, to which the he replied, “Because you’re down here.” With this example in mind, it’s easy to see how the average fighting man often does not risk his life for the grand political goals of nations and empires, but to protect home and hearth.

Tolerating Tamil pride for the struggle and sacrifices that people from every Tamil community have participated in does not legitimize the LTTE, but instead acts as the extension of an olive branch. Sri Lanka, by allowing Tamils to honor and remember their fallen loved ones, will send the message that all those lost in this war, even those who carried arms against the state, make up a national tragedy that must never be forgotten. While this will almost certainly result in the symbolism of the LTTE becoming forever entrenched in Sri Lankan Tamil culture, it does not mean that Tamil separatism will forever flourish, and indeed it may help restore Tamil pride in Sri Lanka in a matter of decades instead of a matter of centuries.

Confederates in Afghanistan

This can certainly be seen in American culture. The American South made the transition from separatism to patriotism, despite holding fierce pride for their rebel heritage, all while Civil War veterans were still alive. Southerners now make up the majority of the American Armed forces and have taken Confederate flags to war with them in every conflict since the Civil War. A confederate flag flew over Shuri Castle in the Battle of Okinawa during World War two, was as common as the American flag in Vietnam, and has flown over Iraq in two wars now. In Korea, North Koreans and Chinese troops were baffled by the Confederate flag and continually failed to determine what UN member nation the flag represented.

I can only hope Sri Lanka will have the good fortune of having Tamil soldiers hide Tiger flags in their helmets while risking their lives for a united Sri Lanka fifty years from now. To achieve this same combination of nationalism and pride in one’s heritage in Sri Lanka would be remarkable. Without a doubt it can be done. The only question is whether or not the rest of Sri Lanka is willing to truly bury the hatchet when the shooting stops.

As a closing thought, I’d like to share a famous quote by President Lincoln, in the hopes that the attitude he expressed will prevail in Sri Lanka:

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish, a just and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”
— President Abraham Lincoln


sie.kathieravelu said...

A good article that forsees the future and considering what has to be done. Well and good.

But the writer forgot to address the cause for the war and its solution.

In my opinion the basic cause was asking for equal treatment of all citizens. The writer has not though an answer for it. He has taken it for granted that can move as they are now.

What happened politically after the civil war in America, that he has not discussed. Why?

In my opinion it is the system of governance. The system allowed "corruption" to flourish unabated.
This "corruption" took cover under war and grew well to prolong the war.

For ALL THE PEOPLE to lead a pleasant life and live in serenity, corruption has to be eradicated. Following the writer can I coin a new word "decorruptfication".

"Decorruptfication" can be started right away. We need not wait for the war to end. I have a formula which can be distributed free of charge. Any taker?

Separate the powers of parliament and empower different groups of people's representatives with different powers so that no single group has the full power. All the groups together will make the whole. The country is not divided but the powers of parliament are divided/separated

Different groups to be elected for administration, fiscal management, planning, implementing, policy and law making, auditing and for any other function you may deem necessary.


E.T. Bailey said...


There will certainly need to be efforts to ensure equal rights and status under the law, both on paper and in practice, for all races in Sri Lanka. On this no believer of democracy can contest. However, the causes of the war and the solutions to the political issues that Sinhalese and Tamil Sri Lankans will have to find are topics of a different article. This article deals specifically with LTTE veterans' rights and rehabilitation into a post-war, united Sri Lanka.

My focus is usually on strategic and tactical matters on the battlefield, so when I agreed to write on a social issue I picked one that will most directly affect my special interest, those who fight wars.

Besides that, I felt that there will be many people who want to discuss the general reforming of the nation and Tamil rights in Sri Lanka, but I have seen only a very few people ever talk about what to do with the rebels once they are defeated. That's why I purposefully focused on this issue and not on civilian matters.

Obama took Tamil Tiger donations said...

Obama (as well as the head of the US Congress Caucus on Sri Lanka - Rush Holt) has been taking money from the Tiger leadership per the article below. Do you believe that if and when he intervenes in Sri Lanka at the Tigers request (on the basis of HR violations instigated by the LTTE) that the SL military will be starved for funding after he imposes EU partnered economic sanctions? Also, being that Biden accepted Congressman Holt's false testimony which was paid for by the LTTE in 2007 which led to the cessation of US Military aid to Sri Lanka, and the fact that Biden is pushing for Iraq to be split into three, do you believe he might continue his anti-Sri lanka policies in the white house?

In March 2008, hopeful presidential contender Barack Obama accepted campaign contributions from the leadership of a terrorist organization that helped blow up the World Trade Center. Even more shockingly, Obama accepted the money from the same terrorist leader, Mr. Ram Ranjan, who was removed from a fundraising role within the Clinton Presidential Campaign at the end of last year after his terror links were exposed, according to the Clinton presidential campaign’s senior foreign policy advisor, Andrew Shapiro.[1]
The terrorist leader and Obama fundraiser at the center of the controversy, Mr. Ram Ranjan, was identified in the January 22, 2005 issue of the Seattle Times[2] as being the leader of the New Jersey branch of the banned Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (T.R.O.). In November 2007 the U.S. government banned his organization and designated it as a terrorist front for the Tamil Tiger suicide bomber organization. As a result of the ban, it is illegal for U.S. citizens to transact with the T.R.O. A U.S. Treasury press release dated November 15, 2007 asserted that the “T.R.O. passed off its operations as charitable, when in fact it was raising money for a designated terrorist group responsible for heinous acts of terrorism,[3]” according to Adam Szubin, Director of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Director Szubin went on to say that “T.R.O. has raised funds on behalf of the LTTE through a network of individual representatives[4]” including Mr. Ranjan, as an embarrassed Clinton presidential campaign learned the hard way last year.
Furthermore, on January 10, 2008, the U.S. F.B.I. homepage ran a cover story titled “Taming the Tamil Tigers[5].” The F.B.I. article described the Tamil Tigers and their network of front organizations in America as being “among the most dangerous and deadly extremists in the world … we’re determined to stop them, using the full range of our investigative and intelligence capabilities[6].”Another FBI report[7], dated March 27, 2007, detailed the Tamil Tigers involvment in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, according to the Asia Times[8]. In addition, a thorough investigative report documenting the Tamil Tigers’ many connections to al-Qaeda and many other Islamic terror groups Tigers was published by the world renowned Israeli-based International Institute for Counter Terrorism in April 2008. [9]
Just as puzzling is Barack Obama’s connections with convicted felon Vaiko Gopalswamy, an Indian politician. Vaiko is the most vocal supporter of the Tamil Tigers in India. Vaiko has been repeatedly arrested and served jail time for his violations of India’s Prevention of Terrorism Act. In July 2008, Obama was photographed hugging Vaiko at a donor’s meeting according to an article in the leading pro-Tamil Tiger terrorist website. [10] Soon after this meeting, veteran Sri Lankan observers noted that Obama had begun to use Tamil Tiger slogans in his public discourse and stance on the conflict. For example, Tiger propaganda constantly makes use of the slogan “responsibility to protect,”[11] a reference to a hoped for foreign military intervention which will lead to the creation of an independent Tamil state. Obama has publicly used the phrasing “responsibility to act,” a shockingly similar phrasing. Many observers are now wondering what Obama plans to do in relation to the conflict, especially since he has publicly embraced jailed terrorist leaders in addition to accepting documented, and possibly undocumented, funds from the Tamil Tiger leadership and their fundraisers.
It appears that Obama is being used by the Tamil Tigers for what Canadian government intelligence agencies described last year as an “intensive propaganda campaign”[12] being waged in the Tigers’ efforts to “lobby western politicians”[13] in order to cripple (via ill-premised sanctions) the democratically elected Sri Lankan government’s counter terror campaign. This is not the first time that the Tamil Tiger terrorist organization has tried to influence American politicians with money. U.S. Congressman Rush Holt is known in Sri Lanka as a “patron saint” of the Tamil Tigers, having publicly accepted tens of thousands of dollars from the Tamil Tiger leadership.[14] Also in 2007 Holt helped engineer the cessation of all U.S. military and counter terrorism assistance to Sri Lanka on the basis of one-sided premises fed by his terrorist financial patrons.[15]
It is quite puzzling as to why Barack Obama would partner with suicide bombers who are allies of al-Qaeda and who also have a history of assassinating heads-of-state who partner with them. History abounds with examples, and here is a particularly disturbing one: in the 1980’s Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi succumbed to Tamil Tiger political pressure and gave signals that he would lighten up on them. After Prime Minister Gandhi came to his senses and withdrew his subtle support for them, he ordered over fifty thousand Indian soldiers to hunt and destroy the Tamil Tigers. After Prime Minister Gandhi changed his mind and went after the terrorists, the Tamil Tigers sent a suicide bomber after him and, in 1991, they blew him to pieces.
The families of the thousands of victims of the suicide bombers that Obama took money from cry for justice and relief. Obama should promise that he will never allow America’s foreign policy to be influenced by the criminal money and the racist propaganda of the Tamil Tiger terrorists. If Obama refuses this decency, then at least one ray of hope remains: the indictment of U.S. Congressman Mark Siljander on January 16, 2008 by the U.S. Department of Justice for essentially peddling influence and taking money from al-Qaeda[16], serves as a warning and as a first step in restoring the faith of non-terrorist supporting citizens in their elected officials. It is hoped that, barring Obama’s severing of his ties to the Tamil Tigers and their Islamic partners, all relevant authorities will crackdown on his acceptance of support from this banned terrorist organization that the F.B.I. has pledged to dismantle.
[1] Fernando, Philip. “Clinton Office Rejected and Returned Campaign Funds from LTTE Supporters in America.” Asian Tribune. February 10, 2008. http://www.asiantribune.com/?q=node/9566
[2] Ismail, Raviya. “Tsunami Disaster Hasn’t Mended Sri Lankan Divide.” Seattle Times. January 22, 2005. http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20050122&slug=srifactions22
[3] U.S. Department of Treasury. “Treasury Targets Charity Covertly Supporting Violence in Sri Lanka.” U.S. Treasury Press Release. November 15, 2007. http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/hp683.htm
[4] Ibid.
[5] U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations. “Taming the Tamil Tigers.” F.B.I. Press release. January 10, 2008. http://www.fbi.gov/page2/jan08/tamil_tigers011008.html
[6] Ibid.
[7] Singh, Ajit Kumar. “Global Hunt for the Tigers Assets.” April 25, 2008. Asia Times. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JD25Df04.html
[8] Ibid.
[9] Jayasekera, Shanaka. “Tamil Tiger Links with Islamist Terrorist Groups.” June 2008. International Institute for Counter Terrorism (Israel). http://www.ict.org.il/apage/25445.php
[10] Tamilnet. “Yes, we can” Vaiko tells Obama.” July 13, 2008. Tamilnet.com. http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=26345
[11] Gamage, Daya. “Defining Barack Obama: Part Five – Combating Terrorism, Human Rights & Foreign Policy”. October 10, 2008. Asian Tribune. http://www.asiantribune.com/?q=node/13639/print
[12] Bell, Stewart. “Tamil Tigers trying to influence politicians: CSIS report – Group waging a ‘propaganda campaign’.” November 6, 2007. National Post. http://www.nationalpost.com/story-printer.html?id=8193e1a1-b592-4...
[13] ibid.
[14]Leelarathna, Hassina. “US Lawmakers with ties to LTTE money.” February 11, 2008. The Island. http://www.island.lk/2008/02/11/features1.html
[15] Leelarathna, Hassina. “US Lawmakers with ties to LTTE money.” February 11, 2008. The Island. http://www.island.lk/2008/02/11/features1.html
[16] Shenon, Philip. “Former Congressman is indicted over ties to Islamic charity.” January 17, 2008. New York Times

E.T. Bailey said...


I think your concerns about Obama intervening in Sri Lanka are not ones you should lose sleep over. Though he has demonstrated to me his sympathy with the LTTE's cause, which upsets me, I am not concerned that he will involve America to any significant degree. It just goes against the pattern of his foreign policy views.

I think your main concern though is the possibility of military sanctions that would include the EU, and I absolutely put this concern in the "if" column, not the "when." While this is not beyond the realm of possibility, I don't think it very likely that Europe would unite behind this goal. If Europe can't get their act together on the Iranian Problem, there is little reason fro Sri Lanka to fear anything.

For curiosity's sake, what if the US and EU combined to cut off military transactions with Sri Lanka? If that occurs, Sri Lanka will still have China, Pakistan, Iran, and dozens of other nations to purchase weapons from. I find it very difficult to believe that China, the nation that sells weapons to Sudan, would deny Sri Lanka the weapons they want out of some question of morality. China is also capable of replicating just about any weapon that Europe could provide and Sri Lanka needs, specifically, small arms, Multiple Barrel Rocket Launcher rounds, and other munitions.

I even see some good coming out of this very, very unlikely series of events, which is the development of domestic production of war materials. Sri Lanka's insistence on buying what they are fully capable of making themselves has always puzzled me and I almost wish this sanctions situation were more likely, just to give Sri Lanka a kick in the rear it needs to take responsibility for supplying its own army.

As an American I am deeply disturbed that Obama and Biden will likely control American foreign policy for the next four years. From South Asia to the Middle East, to the Americas, I think just about every foreign policy idea they come up with is flat out wrong. That being said, Sri Lanka just isn't a priority for the United Sates and won't be for Obama if he becomes the president. To put Sri Lanka in perspective, America is more concerned wth Somali pirates than in the Sri lankan Civil War, and the same really goes for Europe too. For better or worse, the situation in Sri Lanka will require foreign nationals to be killed before the rest of the world will take notice.

telecom said...

E.T. Bailey, many thanks for yr thoughtful essay on an impending post conflict scenario in Sri Lanka. Psyche of the average Sri Lankan inhabitant is not conditioned on an eye for an eye ideology..It was a Sri Lanka Politian (JR) who prevailed on the world community in 1951 to abandon claim for war reparations from Japan quoting the Dhamma pada -"hatred ceases not by hatred, but by love.". Similarly Govt of Sri Lanka continues to supply food, medicine & other humanitarian needs to inhabitants including LTTE cadres' in northern area's under control of LTTE terrorists. LTTE carder's were provided with free access to medical treatment as & when needed. Fact that even the LTTE fighters are inhabitants of Sri Lanka is not lost at appropriate levels of governance.

Those who have committed heinous crimes including crimes against humanity will not live to face appropriate tribunals. Indeed, you may observe unique process Sri Lankan's deploy to gradually reintegrate her wayward sons & daughters in the North, in time to come.

Shan said...

lookslike you've succeeded to an extent with the botomline. the defence column is not on the online edition for weeks and to check i bought a copy today and lo behold the column is not on.

looks like they've taken him off

Constantin Demiris said...

Hello, ET Bailey,

Havent seen any articles from you at late.

Thambapanniya said...

E.T Bailey

I think you raised very good points in this article

but you have missed out on major factor!!!!

Detigerfication of the Tamil Diaspora specially the younger generation for them the idea of 'tamil tiger' = godfather culture cool bad boy image their parents instil so much hatred in them and because most doe not live in SL do not see the reality of the war

furthermore what is going to happen all the LTTE charity organisations/events that LTTE front organisations run year in and out?

Tamil Aid
THO to name few!!! like to know what would you suggest we should do with these guys...?
Ban them in SL thus their legitimacy to raise money questioned?

or "force" them to work with the GoSL?

or any other alternative

E.T. Bailey said...

I would like to apologize to everyone who reads my articles for my long absence from this site. You can expect a couple of articles in the near future that will be published here and in the Sri Lanka Guardian as soon as I am able to post them.


I wish this were the case, but I have seen articles in the Bottom Line since your comment that unfortunately confirms that he is continuing to profit from the works of others. I wish it were not the case.


As I said to Sie.Kathieravelu, the focus of this article was on the fate of LTTE veterans and political members. How to handle separatist sentiments among the Tamil Diaspora is the topic for another article.

However, I could have made some mention of LTTE financing organizations, such as those you mentioned. As I see it, these groups are an extension of the LTTE itself, serving in a strategic role to provide their comrades in Sri Lanka with the means of waging war. I see them in much the same way as I see the Confederate agents that traveled to Europe to procure arms and seek political recognition for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. As such, I view these groups as part of the LTTE polical government. However, the ability for Sri Lanka to do much in this regard is very limited. Since it is the policy of the Sri Lankan government to outlaw the LTTE and accept only an unconditional surrender, it would seem fitting to me that these groups not be negotiated with. If I were king, these groups would be brought to trial for procuring funds (and as a result, arms) for the LTTE. They would remain banned groups, their members would be wanted men, and the GoSL could pressure other nations to accept their ruling or at the very least have their own trials. In short, the pressure should not be lessened on these organizations just because the troops they sought to supply have been defeated.

If these organizations wish to surrender, then I would be more inclined to think the GoSL could include their members in the reconstruction process. That way their infrastructure and any remaining funds could be turned over and any violations of the rules of war by their members could be considered. Assuming they acted in good conscience, even if it was covertly, then I would have no objection to the same rights and privileges of LTTE military and conventional political veterans being extended to these individuals as well. However, this is an extremely unlikely scenario and in all likelihood they will live out their lives abroad. If they are hell bent on continuing to feed an insurgency then eventually they will be arrested and it will be up to the GoSL to pressure countries like Canada to hunt down and arrest the members of these groups until the insurgency finally ends.

Mango said...

Dear Mr Bailey,

Really appreciate your writing and analysis, which in my opinion outdoes of most of what passes for 'Defence Analysis' in the Sri Lankan press. As we appear to getting to final battles your thoughts on de-Tigerification are even more important.

I fear however that SL politicians, supremely capable of only acting out of their own narrow partisan interests, will waste this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from past mistakes.

Joseph said...

This sucks XFD.

Thareesh Kariyawasam said...

Thanks for the article. Very insightful.

Miss Information said...

I also thank you for this article. There certainly is a paucity of sensible discourse regarding this conflict and it is nice to know there are voices of reason who recognise that both sides need to learn from history instead of repeating its mistakes.

I look forward to more of your writing.


PurnimaN said...

Thank you for a very insightful article. LTTE was defeated in battle over last weekend. Your parallels of past wars and how post-war periods were handled should be reviewed by the Sri Lankan authorities before proceeding any further. Much of what you foretold have come to pass and Sri Lankans are basking in the warm glow of victory. However, we need to remember that another Sri Lankan community - Tamils are probably grieving for the loss of loved ones and the loss of a dream.

Thambapanniya said...

not sure if my reply went through...

E.T. Bailey said...


Your comment, whether it was supposed to be posted here or on one of my articles on the Sri Lanka Guardian website, it has not been posted. If it was intended for this blog, please try again. If it was supposed to be posted on the Sri Lanka Guardian, the administrators may have screened it or their could have been a technical problem. Regardless, please post it here.


I appreciate your kind words and agree with what you say. Despite the abomination the LTTE became, I mourn its passing, if for no other reason than as a sign of sympathy for the Sri Lankan Tamil population and in respect for their sacrifice and tenacious will to fight for their lost cause.


Because Google's blogging applications are not at all user friendly, I have put off posting articles here. However, you can find many of my articles on the Sri Lanka Guardian by clicking on my name, Eric Bailey, or by searching for that same name and "Eric T. Bailey" in the search bar. I plan to post all articles that are not already on this blog at some point in the future, including some articles that never made it to the public, for posterity reasons. While the issues discussed may or may not be current at this point, I think there is something to be said for having these articles available to see what people were thinking, and what issues dominated various periods of time during the Wanni Campaign.

Thambapanniya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thambapanniya said...

I replied to ur article few weeks back it seems it had not gone through :-S reply slightly changed but it resonates my earlier thoughts

Et Bailey I think it's time for that article

Quote " After all, the reasons wars are fought and the reasons people fight wars are often very different"

I greatly share ur thoughts specially regards to the quote above and ur thoughts on confederates... but the problem lies with sinhala nationalism (likes of JHU) which makes the 2nd path very difficult... as it may be viewd as favouring the tamils(mahaveera families who waged war/committed acts of terror for selfish gains) over sinhalese/muslims who suffered severely because of economy and ltte acts of terror... and priority need to be given to families of SLDF

however a path could be adopted which tend towards villification of Tiger leadership and blaming them for the plight of the tamils and portrayal of low lever ltte as mere "victims" of war including mahaveera families and ensuring through propaganda war


I really doubt such organisations will surrender... and how exactly are they going to surrender? I think the need of the hour is to ensure that this tiger network is dismantled just like the LTTE leadership...

These organisations are engaged in radicalisation of tamil youths. Some orgnisations like BTF are out there in the open but there are organisation that we may or may not aware of that carry out covert operations/infulence foreign govts and organisations.


****From the beginning, he adopted a twofold strategy — consisting on the one hand of an ‘international political campaign’ by galvanising the diaspora and international opinion in his favour and on the other by bleeding the economy and weakening the state through acts of terror. His success in sustaining the conflict for over a quarter century came from a combination of his own cunning and the lack of purpose, unity and determination in his enemies.****

break it down

1. ‘international political campaign’ by galvanising the diasporas (Mission accomplished)

2. bleeding the economy and weakening the state through acts of terror (Bleeding economy not fully achieved may be 75% and now threat is nullified (but budget may be allocated to strengthen the army to avoid future conflicts) but take time to recover)

3. and international opinion in his favour (partly achieved in west... but world power shift to east made this difficult... )

initiation of 1983 riots helped to achieved one but also contributed to some failures in 2. banning of ltte but helped to gather sympathy... had 1 & 2 existed prior to 83 Eelam would have been achieved... now 1 & 2 pretty much in place... another armed war non-associated with LTTE down the line could be detrimental

Further development on 1 & 2 in post war era


their primary goal will be infiltrating positions/organisations of power

****-It is time for the Tamils to mobilise their global resources to launch a diplomatic & economic offensives against the Sri Lanka

They will achieve this by primarily something simillar to

****I believe the umbrella organisations in Canada (such as Canadian Tamil Congress), Europe (such as British Tamil Forum) , USA (such as PEARL), Australia (such as Australian Federation of Tamil Associations) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in Sri Lanka need to come together to form a global body for the Tamils. This new global body for the Tamils could be called Tamil National Congress (TNC) and should be structured along the lines of a Tamil government in exile. TNC should be entrusted with the task of lobbying the international community and negotiating with the Sri Lankan government.****

and such organisations will be lead by Tamil nationalist professionals and academics such as politicians, engineers, lawyers (as described in article with a specific aim and objective)

Thambapanniya said...

my sincere hope is that Govt take necessary measures to aggressive stance to restrict their work including I/NGOs while taking soft approach to fill the void that may be left due to margnialisation and restriction of such organisations... forget the trials and everything go for complete ban of such organisations followed by prosecuting those who are responsible... photograph/details and database the persons responsible then carry out black-ops against those reside abroad meanwhile set up it's own charities with Sri Lankan influence with Sri Lankan agenda (this does not need to be explicit) but do so covertly. Further to to neutralise future threats GoSL should ensure that they themselves infiltrate foriegn organisations to preserve Sri Lankan interests while ensuring the rightful vilification of tamil tigers...

As per Tamil organisations simillar things with these organisations with aim of destabalising these organisations and ensuring they never actually materialise and grind to a halt... simillar to Karuna split (difference being Karuna being Sri lankan from the begining )