Combating Terrorism: The Sri Lankan Experience




 
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Boots
 
March 5th, 2015  
Tuan
 
 

Topic: Combating Terrorism: The Sri Lankan Experience


Sri Lanka, a small South Asian island nation located in the Indian Ocean, has been politically and economically destabilized due to an ethnic conflict that lasted over three decades. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), also known as the Tamil Tigers”, a secessionist-***-terrorist organization, fought against the Sri Lankan government to establish a separate homeland for Tamils in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. This organization acted as a “trendsetter” for the rest of the terrorist groups around the world. Many other organizations including Al Qaeda, Taliban and now ISIS have used LTTE’s tactics as a template for terrorism. In May 2009, the Sri Lankan security forces militarily obliterated the LTTE.

Thus, I would like share here the major causes that led to the defeat of this terrorist organization, which is rare among the global war on terrorism. This outline is divided into four sections. The first part briefly examines the way LTTE became a threat to the regional and global security; the second part examines the causes of internal conflict within the LTTE during 2002-2008 ceasefire; the third section deals with the international intelligence agencies sharing information with each other following 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States; and the final section concludes this outline with broader reflections.

Threat to the regional and global security
As a terrorist organization that possessed an army, navy, and rudimentary air force the LTTE was an example for other terrorist groups, and therefore, it became a threat not only to the domestic stability of Sri Lanka but also the security of the regional and global system as a whole. This led the international community to support the Sri Lankan government in its war against terrorism, which ended in the eventual annihilation of LTTE.

Internal conflict within the LTTE during ceasefire
The defection of LTTE’s top commander Karuna with two thirds of the organization’s manpower created a split within the LTTE, and this militarily weakened the organization. The Sri Lankan military intelligence exploited this situation and enlisted Karuna and his cadres in the Sri Lankan army as a paramilitary group, thereby making their fight against terrorism easy.

International intelligence sharing after the 9/11 terrorist attacks
Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in the United States, the international community came together and began to share intelligence on terrorist organizations to dismantle their operations throughout the world. This essentially crippled the LTTE’s maritime logistics support on which their survival depended on.

Conclusion
As such, the LTTE’s threat to the global security was obliterated due to the infighting within the organization and the international collaboration in combating terrorism.

Lessons
Does this latest military defeat of a terrorist organization make us ponder the improbable? Can we learn anything from the Sri Lankan experience to deal with ISIS? Can we apply a similar counterinsurgency or counterterrorism model that Sri Lankan military used against LTTE?

Let’s discuss
March 5th, 2015  
Queensman
 
 
Lessons
Does this latest military defeat of a terrorist organization make us ponder the improbable? Can we learn anything from the Sri Lankan experience to deal with ISIS? Can we apply a similar counterinsurgency or counterterrorism model that Sri Lankan military used against LTTE?

Let’s discuss [/QUOTE]


Does the Sri Lankan model of counterterrorism still involve the shooting of innocent civilians, women and children?
The widespread rape of civilians in captured villages? And the execution of captured rebel, terrorist or for some freedom fighters?

The Sri Lankan government had to resort to World War Two nazi terror tactics to beat the Tamil Tigers, it worked but at what costs? I used to love Sri Lanka but after the government started to use terror to fight terror, slaughter of the innocents and not controlling their own soldiers who went on to commit rape and murder, I lost all respect.
From a military point of view they did very good, especially after the early days.
But from a moral and humanitarian point of view, they failed miserably and in my opinion dropped into a cesspool of shame from which the stench is still very strong.

From your side of things I can see you were closely involved in this fight in your homeland, can you honestly say that you were unaware of atrocities being committed by the government? You also worked under cover so did you witness any of them, not the Tamil Tigers committing atrocities but the government that is supposed to protect it's own citizens no matter what race, creed, colour or religion.
As I have stated I do have Sri Lankan relatives so I know it to be true.
March 5th, 2015  
Tuan
 
 
I was only talking from a military dimension of the defeat of a terrorist organization.
I know that war is dirty, nasty, costly and evil.
But everything has a price. I am a Tamil myself who was directly affected by the war.
I am in no way justifying the Sri Lankan military’s atrocities against civilians.
You know that military is a military world over.
Yes, I worked with both parties of the conflict and both were the two sides of the same coin.
Some call it a war crime, some call it a genocide, and I call it a collateral damage!
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Boots
March 5th, 2015  
Kesse81
 
There´s nothing we can learn from your Civil War.
It was a perverse contest to determine who could show the least concern for civilian protection.

Collateral damage? So was Oradour-sur-Glane if we follow your way of thinking.
March 6th, 2015  
Queensman
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kagusthan
I was only talking from a military dimension of the defeat of a terrorist organization.
I know that war is dirty, nasty, costly and evil.
But everything has a price. I am a Tamil myself who was directly affected by the war.
I am in no way justifying the Sri Lankan military’s atrocities against civilians.
You know that military is a military world over.
Yes, I worked with both parties of the conflict and both were the two sides of the same coin.
Some call it a war crime, some call it a genocide, and I call it a collateral damage!

I was looking forward to debating with you but not after referring to genocide as collateral damage.
Seriously, that is just wrong on every level
March 6th, 2015  
Tuan
 
 
I agree that we paid a very high price to defeat the world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit. Is it worth taking that risk? Yes, I would say because there is no terrorism in my country anymore. It took us 30 damn years to wipeout those cults of thugs. I guess we have to live with that.

Anyways, I still think that the world can learn a lot from our experience.

Before you criticize us walk a mile in our shoes.

Here are some excerpts on Tamil Tigers by western authorities:

Quote from FBI
Quote:
As terrorist groups go, it has quite a résumé:
• Perfected the use of suicide bombers;
• Invented the suicide belt;
• Pioneered the use of women in suicide attacks;
• Murdered some 4,000 people in the past two years alone; and
• Assassinated two world leaders—the only terrorist organization to do so.

No, it’s not al Qaeda or Hezbollah or even HAMAS. The group is called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) or the Tamil Tigers for short.

Needless to say, the Tamil Tigers are among the most dangerous and deadly extremists in the world. For more than three decades, the group has launched a campaign of violence and bloodshed in Sri Lanka, the island republic off the southern coast of India.


Its ultimate goal: to seize control of the country from the Sinhalese ethnic majority and create an independent Tamil state. Along the way, it has launched suicide attacks, assassinated politicians (including a government minister this week and even the Sri Lankan President), taken hostages, and committed all of kinds of crimes to finance its operations. The resulting civil war has taken the lives of nearly 70,000 Sri Lankans on both sides of the conflict since 1983 alone.

Why should you care? Certainly because of the suffering and bloodshed that the Tamil Tigers have caused. And because its ruthless tactics have inspired terrorist networks worldwide, including al Qaeda in Iraq. But also because the group has placed operatives right here in our own backyard, discreetly raising money to fund its bloody terrorist campaign overseas, including purchases of weapons and explosives.

The U.S. government has designated the Tigers a foreign terrorist organization, so their activities here are illegal. And we’re determined to stop them, using the full range of our investigative and intelligence capabilities.

In April, for example, we struck an important blow when our Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York arrested the alleged U.S. director of the Tigers. The man supposedly held several fundraising events at a church and various public schools in Queens and in northern New Jersey in 2004. He is also accused of arranging high-level meetings between the group’s leaders and U.S. supporters.

We’ve also arrested another 11 Tamil Tiger-related suspects in the New York City region. And in Baltimore, following a multi-agency investigation, a pair of Indonesian men pled guilty and were sentenced recently for working with others to export surface to air missiles, state-of-the-art firearms, machine guns, and night vision goggles to the Tigers in Sri Lanka.




Quote from Canadian secret service CSIS:

Quote:
Curbing the LTTE’s transnational network will require concerted international collaboration. LTTE operations are global, they necessarily require a global response. To narrowly view the group’s activities within the context of a single state will provide a skewed, partial analysis that will be detrimental not only to Sri Lanka but also the international community in general. Such is the legacy of a world in which the dividing line between domestic, regional and international security has become increasingly blurred.

Unfortunately, the Western world has been particularly tolerant of the LTTE, in spite of its ruthlessness. Today, the group’s International Secretariat is located in London, its Paris-based Secretary directing the operations of front and cover offices in a geographic zone extending from Australia to Canada. To a large extent, this tolerance is a function of the common Tamil ethnic identity that underscores the LTTE both domestically as well as in the diaspora—something which has made it increasingly difficult for governments and law enforcement agencies to differentiate between ordinary Tamils and pro-LTTE activists. Moreover, many Western politicians believe that it is the ethnic or the minority vote that makes the difference in an election. As such, they tend to sympathize with the political aspirations and grievances of minorities and ethnic groups living in their constituencies. Because the Tigers have been able to run effective propaganda campaigns which have successfully mobilized significant sectors of the overseas Tamil diaspora in their favour, politicians have become increasingly reluctant to support tougher actions against the LTTE for fear that this would impinge on their local electoral support base.

By permitting the LTTE to open offices and establish representation, Western countries have unwittingly blessed the group’s political and military agenda. LTTE propaganda and fundraising activities conducted in Europe, Australasia, South Africa and Canada have proved vital to the Tigers’ ongoing terrorist and guerrilla campaign in Sri Lanka. Moreover, the generally unrestrained liberal democratic freedom that the LTTE has been allowed to enjoy in these states has enabled the group to slowly build and develop a complex, multi-layered and truly integrated global support structure which has become increasingly difficult to detect and root out.

The activities of the LTTE octopus have serious implications for Sri Lanka and the international community as a whole. As long as the group is permitted to conduct propaganda, raise funds, procure weapons and ship supplies to Sri Lanka, its guerrilla and terrorist campaign will continue. This will generate more violence and contribute to an already serious refugee problem, both of which carry significant implications for stability in what is already a highly volatile part of the world.

With globalization, events that affect the affairs of one state can have important implications for governments both regionally and globally. The movement of refugees, arms transfers, terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking—all of which are by-products of the LTTE’s war in Sri Lanka—have repeatedly demonstrated their potential to disrupt national and international security in the post-Cold War era. By appeasing groups such as the LTTE, Western states are helping to undermine not only the viability of their own borders, but also the integrity of the global system that they claim to represent.
Quote from Jane's Sentinel:

Quote:
As a highly innovative force, the LTTE is capable of retaliation against aggression, reprisals and pre-emptive strikes. Regular features of the LTTE doctrine feature the unleashing of widespread terror on soft targets. Concentrating on lightly or unprotected targets is a classic diversionary tactic in warfare, pinning down troops to static sentry/bunker duties and restraining search and destroy operations. The LTTE has bombed Sri Lankan commercial aircraft, trains and buses; gunned down priests, nuns, pilgrims and bystanders in a sacred royal city and shot Muslims while worshipping in mosques; frequently raided non-Tamil border villages and towns, massacring men, women and children; and land mined, ambushed and assaulted military and police patrols and posts.
March 6th, 2015  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Queensman
I was looking forward to debating with you but not after referring to genocide as collateral damage.
Seriously, that is just wrong on every level
I think you have overlooked the obvious though, in the research world it is said there are no wrong answers in research because all results improve your understanding of the situation.

The same is true here in that even in disagreement you can learn something even is what doesn't work.

Besides doesn't a debate require two opposing points of view.
March 6th, 2015  
Kesse81
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kagusthan
I agree that we paid a very high price to defeat the world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit. Is it worth taking that risk? Yes, I would say because there is no terrorism in my country anymore.
You became a monster to tackle one. No terrorism in your country anymore?? Are you fukking kiddin me! By violating a number of international conventions on human and labor rights.

In fact, the police and military have completely free hands to do what they want, and there is virtually no more than a few low-ranking soldiers who have been punished for the many well-documented brutality's against Tamils. Terror still flourishes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kagusthan
Anyways, I still think that the world can learn a lot from our experience.
Like what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kagusthan
Before you criticize us walk a mile in our shoes.
I´ve walked several miles in Taliban´s footsteps. And many others on this forum have experience with counter-insurgency warfare.
March 6th, 2015  
JOC
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kesse81
There´s nothing we can learn from your Civil War.
It was a perverse contest to determine who could show the least concern for civilian protection.

Collateral damage? So was Oradour-sur-Glane if we follow your way of thinking.
Speaking about the well known destruction and massacre that occurred at Oradour-sur-Glane by the 2nd SS panzer division in 1944 France. > 3000 towns and villages suffered a similar fate in the USSR during WW2. This resulted in the deaths of as many as 5 million people. The number in the Ukraine alone exceeded 1200. These were crimes that rivaled the Holocaust in magnitude. Often the majority of the people killed were women, children and old men since many of the young men were fighting. Many of the villages were burned down as the inhabitants were stuffed inside barns, or large public building that were then set ablaze, as machine guns were posted outside the building "that were boarded shut" in case anyone broke out.
March 6th, 2015  
Tuan
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kesse81
You became a monster to tackle one. No terrorism in your country anymore?? Are you fukking kiddin me! By violating a number of international conventions on human and labor rights.

In fact, the police and military have completely free hands to do what they want, and there is virtually no more than a few low-ranking soldiers who have been punished for the many well-documented brutality's against Tamils. Terror still flourishes.

Like what?

I´ve walked several miles in Taliban´s footsteps. And many others on this forum have experience with counter-insurgency warfare.
First of all, there is no need for profanity in this open forum. So let’s have some healthy, decent and useful discussions and please learn some netiquette, shall we?

Secondly, we have been trying for the last 30 years everything in order to explore other options and tools to combat terrorism such as the means of non-military strategies.

We tried Sun Tzu, the best way to win a war is without even fighting it. As such, eliminating the will to fight and destroying the spirit of the enemy’s potential to fight is also paramount.

Then we were told that an ideology has to be fought with another set of ideologies, rather than by swords and guns; may it be a religious ideology, ethno-nationalist ideology or secessionist ideology.

We even tried, Confucius, "don’t use cannon to kill a mosquito"….but you know what, nothing seemed to work with those hardcore terrorists, mate; so finally we invented our own theory that “terrorism can only be neutralized by terrorism”, and guess what it worked!!! We scared the hell out of them with the very same game they’d played.

Have you ever heard in the history of terrorism that a terrorist organization held more than 300,000 thousand civilians as hostage? Not only they held them hostage but also they used the civilians as a buffer mere human shield. What would you do in that situation? Would you negotiate with terrorists? Name a country which is ready negotiate with terrorists?

Yes, I agree with Mao Tse Tung, who wrote that guerrillas are like fish in an ocean of people. The LTTE “fish” brilliantly exploited how to make use of the “ocean” of the general populace. Since every LTTE cadre was Sri Lankan of Tamil origin, unfortunately the whole Tamil society in Sri Lanka came under suspicion. In an effort to detect and disrupt potential attacks, the Sri Lankan security forces established extreme security measures, including check points, cordon and search operations, abductions, detention camps, aggressive interrogation, disappearances, harassment and humiliation. Tamil men and women are still being treated in this way on a daily basis because they could possibly be former LTTE cadres. These counter measures of the Sri Lankan Security Forces in turn justify criticism that Tamils are not granted basic human rights within their own homeland.
 


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