Ulf’s Sisyphean task and other matters

The Head of the Nordic monitoring mission Maj. General Ulf Henricsson is on record as saying that the Wanni Tigers and the Eastern Tigers are not agreeable to patching up differences through negotiations. He has, according to one of our front page reports yesterday, said the SLMM is willing to help the two warring factions resolve their differences.

Ulf doesn’t seem to know the Tiger from the wolf. Tigers, he should know, are a different kettle of fish altogether unlike other terror groups. They don’t believe in ironing out differences. They only wipe out dissidents. It looks as if Ulf had to do some homework urgently as regards the LTTE before trying his hands at resolving differences between the two outfits.

Now for Mr. Henricsson’s benefit, let’s have a brief look at the fate that awaited those whom Prabhakaran perceived as threats to his leadership. TULF Leader A. Amirthalingam was Prabhakaran’s mentor but he had the ageing and respected political veteran assassinated together with senior Tamil politician, Yogeswaran in Colombo. He killed the leader of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) Padmanabha to clear his path to monopolising the armed struggle. Leader of the People’s Liberation Organisations of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) Uma Maheswaran was eliminated in the same manner for the same reason. Leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) T. Sabarantam was also removed from the Eelam struggle so that Prabhakaran could reign supreme. He didn’t spare the Leader of the Tamil Eelam Army (TEA) Devan either. Besides, Prabhakaran didn’t hesitate to get cadres of other Tamil groups butchered in their hundreds if not thousands to ensure that he would be unrivalled in his terror war. Ironically, having done so many to death in the most barbaric way, now he complains of his cadres being killed by the Eastern Tigers. He wants Karuna disarmed!

Inside the LTTE, many who fell out with Prabhakaran suffered cruel deaths. The killing of LTTE Deputy Leader Mahattaya is a case in point. He and two hundred others were branded traitors and gunned down after prolonged torture. More recently, LTTE Batticaloa leader Paduman was summoned to Kilinochchi, when the LTTE leadership suspected dissent in the Eastern sector. That was the last heard of him. Karuna, too, was asked to report to the LTTE headquarters but he was too smart to walk into the trap. He broke away and started championing the cause of the Eastern Province Tamils.

It is wishful thinking that the SLMM will be able to bring Karuna and Prabhakaran together to sort out their problems. Karuna may by anything but a fool. One time military commander of Prabhakaran, he knows his erstwhile leader for what he really is. The LTTE is Prabhakarn and Prabhakaran the LTTE. It is as simple as that. Each and every recruit must take an oath of allegiance to him and remain faithful to him right throughout without giving the slightest indication that he or she is a threat to his leadership. Physical elimination of anyone who defies his orders is Prabhakaran’s modus operandi in keeping his terror empire intact. Hence, his recent orders to destroy a fleet of Navy vessels with monitors on board, as they had not heeded his warning against accompanying the Navy. But for the fierce resistance by the Navy, the monitors on the Navy vessels would have visited the land of no return and Prabhakran wouldn’t have given two hoots. Now, we hear that the Sea Tiger Chief Soosai is in hot water, as he failed to sink the ship carrying over 700 soldiers. Mr. Henricsson need not be surprised if he hears in the course of time that Soosai, too, is no more.

Settling a dispute through negotiations is possible, Mr. Henricsson will agree, only with those who are capable of rational thinking and being flexible. Prabhakaran kills, therefore he is. He kills even innocents just to show he is the boss: There is no other way to explain the killings of Rajini, Neelan, Sarojni (Yogeswaran) et al. If he stops killing, he will cease to be. But unfortunately, even the world powers that unleashed hell on Afghanistan and Iraq to effect regime changes in a bid to facilitate democratisation of those countries have shut their eyes tight to the real obstacle to the resolution of the conflict in this land—the intransigence of the Tigers. As much as Mr. Henricsson, who believes the differences between the Wanni Tigers and the Eastern Tigers could be resolved through negotiations, those who urge the government to go on talking to the Tigers, without doing anything to rein them in, are hoping against hope and paying lip service to the peace efforts.



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