Tigers finished as military force

May 18th, 2009  

Topic: Tigers finished as military force



As the Sri Lankan army completes its clean-up operation against the last remaining Tamil Tiger rebels, the BBC's South Asia Correspondent Chris Morris looks back at one of Asia's longest-running civil wars.

The Tamil Tigers have been fighting against the Sri Lankan state for more than 25 years, led from the beginning by the elusive and dictatorial Vellupillai Prabhakaran.

Suicide bombing has been a speciality - their victims included Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa and the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The Tigers also allowed no political opposition within Tamil society - opponents were killed, and dissent was stifled.

But at times they enjoyed substantial military success.

In the past, they have controlled significant tracts of northern and eastern Sri Lanka, establishing the trappings of an independent country - including courts and a police force - in areas they regard as the traditional Tamil homeland.

Turning point

Now they are finished as a conventional military force. Their leadership has been decimated, and they no longer control any territory.
A Sri Lankan demonstrator looks on as placards burn outside the British High Commission in Colombo on May 18, 2009.
There have been Sinhalese protests against UK policy

It is a turning point in Sri Lanka's recent history.

There are still likely to be scattered guerrilla-style attacks - they already happen in the east of the island.

There could be bombs in cities.

The Tamil Tigers also control huge financial and logistical resources around the world, and they continue to enjoy significant support among expatriate Tamils scattered in many countries.

So much now depends on what the Sri Lankan authorities choose to do next.

The manner in which they pursued their military victory - ignoring international calls for restraint - may have radicalised a new generation of Tamils, both on the island and in the diaspora in Europe, Asia and North America.

There will be international pressure on Sri Lanka to implement a package of political autonomy for Tamil civilians quickly, to try to ensure that this conflict does not reignite with more violence in the future.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has promised that he will introduce political reforms which will satisfy Tamil aspirations.

It is not yet clear exactly what he has in mind, and there may be those in Colombo who want to be less magnanimous in victory than the president himself.

But the dream of Eelam - an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka - has come to an end.
1972 Armed with just a revolver, Velupillai Prabhakaran forms a Tamil militant group went on to become one of the most formidable guerrilla force. With their Army , Navy , Airforce , Police , Administration and financial institutions Ran a de-fecto mini state for 25 years State .

now we need to see how Sri Lanka treats it's Tamil minority for the actual conflict to end.

May 18th, 2009  
A Can of Man
Quite remarkable.
May 18th, 2009  

Some old pictures from the conflict .

LTTE aircraft , Or Sky Tigers as they called their Airforce

LTTE Navy submarine

A larger LTTE submarine, awaiting completion.

The largest underwater craft discovered by troops was about 35 feet in length and fitted with armour plates while the other three appeared to have been in the process of being built.

But How these weapons ended up in the hands of the LTTE?

LTTe Solders

May 18th, 2009  

Topic: Profile of rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran


Profile of rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka Velupillai Prabhakaran transformed a small band of poorly armed rebels into one of the world's most sophisticated and ruthless insurgencies and then made a string of miscalculations that led his Tamil Tigers to total defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan military.

Sri Lanka announced Monday that it had finished off the last of the rebels in the northern war zone and killed Prabhakaran, 54, and his top deputies.

To his followers, Prabhakaran was the steadfast heart of the battle to establish a breakaway state for Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority. But his many detractors saw him as the brutal ruler of a suicide cult who repeatedly sabotaged peace deals in his pursuit of power.

Over more than a quarter century of civil war, Prabhakaran's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam perfected the art of suicide bombings, assassinated top politicians including former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and fought the Sri Lankan government to a near-standstill.

At the height of his power, Velupillai Prabhakaran (Ve-LU'-pi-lay PRAH'-bah-ka-ran) a portly leader with a bushy mustache and trusty Browning pistol ruled as a virtual dictator over a shadow state of hundreds of thousands of people across a swath of northern Sri Lanka that had its own flag, police force and court system.

His guerrilla force was armed with heavy artillery, a rudimentary air wing that once bombed Colombo's international airport and a squad of suicide attackers. Its navy consisted of small attack craft, suicide boats laden with explosives, crude submarines and huge smuggling ships that plied the deep seas of the Indian Ocean.

The rebels reportedly earned as much as $300 million a year from their arms and drug smuggling, a network of fake charities and donations from Tamil expatriates.

But Prabhakaran was also a shadowy figure who rarely appeared in public, preferring to communicate in a sort of state of the nation radio address he delivered every November.

Tamil Tiger troops, some of them forcibly recruited by the group when they were children, saw Prabhakaran as their unquestioned leader. He ordered them to abstain from sex, cut personal ties and carry glass vials of cyanide on necklaces, so they could kill themselves upon capture.

"He is their brain. He is their heart. He is their god. He is their soul. And the whole organization runs around him," said Indian journalist M.R. Narayan Swamy, who wrote a biography of the rebel leader.

The rebel leader orchestrated surprise attacks on Sri Lankan bases that killed hundreds of Sri Lankan troops and retaliated against government offensives with devastating counterattacks.

The group's penchant for suicide attacks including the 1998 bombing of the Temple of the Tooth, Sri Lanka's holiest Buddhist shrine led the United States, European Union and India to outlaw it as a terror organization. The group also assassinated several Sri Lankan politicians, including former President Ranasinghe Premadasa.

Though Prabhakaran was sometimes hailed as a master strategist, he also made a series of misjudgments over the years that eventually led to his downfall.

He alienated his strongest allies in India by sending a female suicide bomber to kill Gandhi in 1991, apparent retaliation for sending an Indian peacekeeping mission here that turned sour.

During negotiations that followed a 2002 cease-fire, he rejected a deal that would have given the rebels broad autonomy over the north and east but not full independence, according to a diplomat with knowledge of the offer. It was widely seen as the best deal he could ever get.

Prabhakaran said he could not accept anything less than a separate Tamil state, dubbed Eelam. "Thousands of my boys have laid down their lives for Eelam," he told Indian journalist Anita Pratap in 1990. "Their death cannot be in vain."

In 2004, a top commander known as Col. Karuna ran afoul of the Tiger leadership and split from the group with thousands of his fighters.

Prabhakaran then called a Tamil boycott of the 2005 presidential election, which helped propel the hard-line Mahinda Rajapaksa to victory. After new peace talks failed, the rebels cut off the water supply to more than 60,000 people in eastern Sri Lanka, provoking an unrelenting government offensive that drove the group out of the east, captured their administrative capital of Kilinochchi and eventually destroyed them on the battlefield.

May 18th, 2009  
Judging by these photos they were better armed then a few nations.. Remarkable.
I hope that peace will reign in that region now when the smoke clears.
May 18th, 2009  
Originally Posted by KJ
Judging by these photos they were better armed then a few nations.. Remarkable.
I hope that peace will reign in that region now when the smoke clears.

Sothiya Regiment of the LTTE's Female soldiers - Parade in Killinochchi capital of LTTE

Colonel Soosai Head of the Sea Tigers , LTTE's Naval wing

May 18th, 2009  

Some more Pictures

Tamil Tiger Leader with elite Black Tiger commandos

LTTE soldiers during a training session


May 19th, 2009  
A Can of Man
Again, remarkable...
He probably didn't want the war to end completely. The war and the struggle itself was what kept him powerful and important.

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