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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2643

Tigers Lose Support With Exploding Bombs

From our Political Correspondent

Colombo, 18 January, ( Predictably, the Tamil Tiger set off their explosives targeting civilian on 16th January, the last day of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA), to grab the national and international headlines conveying their main message that they want the CFA to continue even though they had reduced it to an unworkable farce. Predictably, they avoided confronting the Security Forces because they do not have the strength to combat them man-to-man. So they took the cowardly way out by targeting unarmed civilians.

There are other aspects too to this latest round of bombing. First, the Tigers want to impress that the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) will have to pay a heavy price for abrogating the CFA. Second, it is meant to halt the current military offensive which has been approved by India as the right path to end violence. Third, the Tigers are aiming at sending a message to the international community that they must intervene to save them from annihilation by putting pressure on the Government of Sri Lanka to stop the war.

None of these will be achieved by bombing civilians. The GOSL has paid heavily for hanging on to a CFA which has put the nation through another violent phase without ushering in the promised era of peace. The Tiger violence which lasted during the time of the CFA and the Tiger violence after it was abrogated establish clearly that the Tamil Tigers will continue with their violence unabated, with or without the CFA. In fact, violence increased from day two of signing the CFA in February 22, 2002. Besides, the Norwegian peace facilitators failed to bring the Tamil Tigers to the negotiating table and keep them long enough to work out a political solution acceptable to all communities.

Their second objective of diverting the forces away from the main battlefields will not succeed because the Security Forces have advanced significantly to stop when they are the gates of the Tigers. They are not going to stop to give the Tiger terrorists any breathing space. The military strategists are pushing ahead according to their pre-planned road map to Killinochchi.

Finally, if the bombs are meant to impress their military might on the international community it can be said without fear of contradiction that the Tigers have wasted their explosives in achieving just the opposite. The world-wide condemnation of the bombing which "bears all the hallmarks of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam", (American Embassy in Colombo), should convey the clear message to the Tigers that they cannot win and influence the international community with bombs. If anything, Tiger bombs should convince the world at large that the GOSL was right in abrogating the CFA to face the Tiger violence head-on without going through the charade of a non-existent CFA.

The predictable cycles of violence also point to the utter bankruptcy of the Tigers: they never had any viable policy outside violence and they continue to believe that their terror tactic can win them their elusive goals. Neither their history of violence nor the current international and national political realities indicate that they have any future in pursuing violence. As in the past, violence can only lead to (1) decimation of the Tamils; (2) increasing the suffering of the Tamils; (3) further isolation from the international community; (4) increase in war crimes and crimes against humanity; (5) strengthening the hands of the GOSL to wipe out the Terroristan; (6) weakening the lobbying power of the Tamil diaspora; (7) further demonizing of the Tamil Tigers as the evil force in Sri Lanka politics that must be eliminated; and last but not the least (8) dragging the war into an extended period without any hope of gaining territory, victory or glory for the Tigers.

The increase in violence is a sure sign of Tiger desperation. Tiger violence has been accepted in the past because of some gains in territory, or in building up hopes for a future Eelam, or in proving their military superiority, or increasing its bargaining power with the GOSL. But the prevailing scenario does not hold out any promise for the Tigers to get back what it has lost. With every defeat it has lost face with the world at large and its own people. The Tigers are left with only two options: 1) resort to terror tactics violating international humanitarian law or (2) getting back to the negotiating table. They will not take to (2) but they will continue with (1). Hence the explosions in the urban areas.

Tigers left their tell-tale marks by exploding bombs on the last day of the CFA. But, predictably, they refused to accept responsibility. P. Nadesan, the new head of the Tiger Peace Secretariat, told BBC: “We are a conventional force. We will launch attacks on military targets but we will not target civilians." The Tigers have played this trick so many times that not even the Tigers believe it now. If, as stated by the new peace-maker, the Tiger are a conventional force targeting only military bases why are the civilians dying in buses and civilian centers?

On top of losing everything else the Tigers have lost credibility too. As the Tigers creep deeper into their holes in the Vanni the public should be prepared to hear more and more of these jokes from P. Nadesan.

- Asian Tribune -

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