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DateLine Sunday, 13 January 2008

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Army chief racing against time before retirement

Tigers marooned in heart of Wanni:

The LTTE which has been branded as the most ruthless terror outfit in the world displayed its miserable plight with the dawn of the year 2008. This week, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the top intelligence agency of the USA through its official website ranked the LTTE as the most ruthless terror outfit in the world despite the desperate acts of the LTTE committed within the past few days.

The FBI has cited the assassination of Nation Building Minister D. M. Dassanayaka this week, and the assassination of two world leaders as among other reasons to build up their argument to prove recognition.

There is no argument with the judgment of the FBI which has all the justifiable reasons to say so, but at the same time they should also admit the fact that it was the democratically elected government of this small island nation which is fighting with this outfit to get rid of it but also from the face of the entire world, not only from the Sri Lankan soils.

And at the same time the entire international community should realise the consequences of providing legitimate rights to an organisation which had never practised democratic norms and values in their three decade long existence and above all to an organization, which has been branded as the most ruthless terror outfit, to try outs rule a part of the country or a community, without clipping their military capabilities.

Therefore, the international community at no time should back the idea of giving legitimate status to the LTTE locally or internationally, taking cognisant of the fact that such backing would end up by creating yet another terror state under the leadership of Velupillai Prabhakaran.

It was on that basis the Government of Sri Lanka officially withdrew from the Ceasefire Agreement and continues with the process of clipping the wings of the LTTE, though international community was not at all happy about the decision taken by the Government.

It seems the LTTE is once again trying its best to take the international community for a ride after the Government decision to withdraw from the CFA by declaring that they are ready to abide by the Ceasefire 100 per cent despite government withdrawing from it.

In a sense it was not a surprise to hear such a statement from the LTTE as they have already set examples by doing things hundred per cent contrary to what they state.

Therefore, no one can guarantee that the LTTE which had never stuck to their words in the past would abide by the Ceasefire if it is reactivated by suspending the government decision. But, there is no sign from the government to waver in its position though international pressures are heavy on the Government to continue with the CFA.

In this background the statement of the newly appointed Political Chief of the LTTE once gain can be best described as a statement depicting their miserable situation at the hands of the Security Forces.

The Security Forces are no longer worried about these statements as they are receiving the full backing from the Government to go ahead with their military operation to suppress the LTTE in Wanni and to get rid of the LTTE terrorism not only from Sri Lanka but also from the entire globe.

Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka who was quite realistic in his assumptions, predicts that there won't be a organisation in existence called LTTE, to abide by another round of Ceasefire.

In another words he reiterates the fact the Security Forces are capable enough to eliminate the LTTE terrorism very soon. On Friday night while sharing his views with the media personnel, he predicted that he won't palm off this burden of war to his successor. His words mean that he is determined to eliminate terrorism during his tenure as the Army Commander which has only an year to go.

As a nation suppressed by terrorism for decades we are lucky to have people who can boldly make these predictions. Though for many, it was an unrealistic task, but the Security Forces are realistic in their opinion and marching forwards in a realistic path to achieve its goal within this year.

It was that realistic path that has become a worrying factor for the Tiger outfit - not the Government decision to withdraw from the Ceasefire Agreement as pronounced by many. In face of this realistic approach by the Security Forces to defeat LTTE militarily, they have become miserable and making a futile attempt to come out of this grave situation.

The LTTE have been left with no other options rather than these desperate acts. But no doubt they are trying to achieve many objectives through these desperate acts.

The first among many objectives of the LTTE is to take a revenge for the assassination of their military intelligence leader Charles by Long Range Patrolling group of the Army.

The demise of Charles, no doubt, has created a big vacuum in the Tiger outfit. According to the military he was behind almost all the military raids, assassinations in Colombo and the South.

His task was to collect intelligence on military operations in the South which was a different and an extremely difficult task.

Though many people believe he was intelligence chief of the LTTE Pottu Amman's second in command, according to LTTE sources he was the fourth in line of the military intelligence wing. Kapil Amman is there between Pottu Amman and Charles.

There had been long-standing dispute between the Pottu Amman and Charles within the Tiger organisation. It was due to this fact he was sent to Batticaloa after the assassination of Ramanan the military leader of Batticaloa who is also military intelligence leader in the Tiger outfit.

But he has been summoned to Wanni by Tiger leader Prabhakaran since Pottu Amman has not brought positive results in military intelligence matters and terror raids in other parts of the country.

Therefore, his demise would create many blanks in the Tiger network operating outside the Wanni. Many desperate Tiger cadres have been left behind in Colombo and the suburbs after his assassination and it seems these desperate cadres are operating their own without any leadership or link with the LTTE.

Many believe the assassination of Nation Building Minister D. M. Dassanayaka was a reaction to the killing of their military intelligence wing leader. As many predicted Minister Dassanayaka had paid his life to a claymore mine targeted to another VVIP, most probably, Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle.

Whatever their target was, the LTTE has achieved many objectives through this heinous crime. Being a Minister with less security, his assassination raised many issues regarding the VIP security as many VVIPs tried their best to increase their security after Minister D. M. Dassanayaka's killing and Maheshwaran's assassination.

The Parliament has decided to increase the security of all MPs. Through this the LTTE achieved a bigger success because the Security Forces and Police have to deploy a large number of men for this task apart form their assigned duties in the Wanni and Jaffna. That would have been an indirect achievement by the LTTE at this point of time.

At the same time the LTTE also try to give a strong message that the Colombo is unsafe and show that their cadres are still active in Colombo. That was why, they detonate mini bombs in isolated but in vital locations in Colombo on regular basis.

Their intention is to scatter the troops committed for the Wanni battle front in other parts of the country through these desperate mine blasts. On the other hand they are trying to give a bad picture about Colombo security to the international community, especially with the tourists arriving in Sri Lanka.

But things are very positive on the side of the Security Forces as they are in complete control on the security situation in Colombo as they did earlier. But it was under very difficult circumstances they made all these to beef up security in Colombo.

The allegations that the Security Forces are engaged in ethnic cleansing with the removal of Tamils from Colombo lodges were made against them when they made attempts to remove unwanted people from Colombo.

Then large number of FR cases were filed against them where made their task more difficult.

But Security Forces could overcome all these obstacles due to unprecedented support from the general public.

The latest new Supreme Court decisions have also made their task difficult in Colombo. The removal of permanent barriers have provided much awaited opportunity for the LTTE to smuggle arms and explosives into Colombo and the restrictions of searches during night hours have given them much more opportunity to keep arms and explosives safely in their residences.

But the Security Forces keep the security tight amidst all these challenges while engaged in a massive battle by deploying three Divisions of the Army from Mannar to Vavuniya and the latest addition from Weli Oya sector with the deployment of battalions come under 59 Division.

So the Security Forces are well on target in their march towards Wanni strongholds of the LTTE creating a fear psychosis among them in the Wanni.

Due to this situation the LTTE will not be able to stay long live in Wanni as the civilians are waiting till they get a chance to flee from Wanni as they cannot tolerate the harassment of the LTTE.

According to reports from Wanni they are running out food supplies as LTTE is supplying food only to Mahaweer families while keeping food stocks for their consumption.

So Wanni has now become boiling pot, being surrounded from all fronts. So their desperate attacks won't give them much needed results as their existence is going to be a short one.

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Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
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