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Is Sri Lanka’s long civil war nearing an end?

January 9, 2009

By C. Bryson Hull

Sri Lanka’s army has the Tamil Tigers on the run with a string of convincing military victories. Many people are asking if one of Asia’s longest-running civil wars is near its end after 25 years.

 Sri Lankan tanks patrol near the town of Kilinochchi (REUTERS/Buddhika Weerasingh)

Fresh from capturing the separatist rebels’ self-declared capital last week, soldiers are busy squeezing the last piece of the northern Jaffna Peninsula the Tigers still hold, hitting it from the north and south. The military and analysts say the Tigers are moving their heavy guns and toughest fighters east to the port of Mullaittivu for a final showdown .

 The Tigers say they are confident they will reverse their losses, as they have done in the past. Many also fear the Tigers will carry out more suicide bombings and guerrilla attacks in the south to compensate for the shrinking northern battlespace. 

 

The Tigers are now confined to a wedge of the northeast, starting to the east of the A-9 road which bisects the north, the ocean on one side and jagged line roughly following the A-34 road that terminates in Mullaittivu.

One challenge that could complicate the military offensive there is the fact that most of an estimated 230,000 civilians are located in poor conditions, which rights groups say are aggravated by both the Tigers and the government.

                                                                                                                                            

 Sri Lankan  commandos patrol on a military vehicle near Kilinochchi on Jan. 4 (reuters/Buddhika Weerasingh)

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Sri Lankan  commandos patrol on a military vehicle near Kilinochchi on Jan. 4 (reuters/Buddhika Weerasingh)

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Sri Lankan  commandos patrol on a military vehicle near Kilinochchi on Jan. 4 (reuters/Buddhika Weerasingh)

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Sri Lankan  commandos patrol on a military vehicle near Kilinochchi on Jan. 4 (reuters/Buddhika Weerasingh)

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Sri Lankan  commandos patrol on a military vehicle near Kilinochchi on Jan. 4 (reuters/Buddhika Weerasingh)

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nonetheless, the government says it has implemented a zero civilian casualty policy. Past disregard had provoked outside intervention from India or the international community, which now would stop the most successful military drive by the Sri Lankan forces in the entire history of the war. India, the United States and other nations are urging that care be taken of the civilians by both sides, and that the government negotiate with Tamil parties — but not the LTTE — to address the underlying issues behind the war.

 

Add into this mix President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s apparent plans to call an early election to capitalize on the military success and 2009 is looking to be a monumental year on the Teardrop of India. With so much at stake after 25 years of combat, where do you think the war, Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers are heading?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Comments

One should understand that the Tamileelam people always wanted self rule and this was proven from Vadukottai resolution.

If Srilankan government thinks this can be solved. I doubt this. The simple reason is Tamileelam will always get the support from Tamils globally especially from Tamilnadu. This will keep the war going on. Sometimes with low intensity and sometimes high. This will be the case even in Prabhakaran’s absence.

Ultimately, self rule for Tamileelam people is the only way to resolve this issue. Whether it’s a separate country or confederal model, Srilankans need to decide.

Posted by Duraivelan | Report as abusive
 

Regardess of Government claims, of Zero civilian casualty, hundreads of civilian casualty has tekn place. Silence of Media and the international media not existing in the war area has kept like it is a beautiful war.

Posted by Ananther | Report as abusive
 

No war will ever come to an end unless one party completely annihilates the other…or both parties recognize the need to come to a compromise…but who wants to compromise anyway?

Posted by earl bumotad | Report as abusive
 

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