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Of the many tactical withdrawals of Tigers

A battered Prabhakaran is reported to have told his acolytes that his boys did not lose Pooneryn and they only opted for a tactical withdrawal.

(The LTTE‘tactically withdrew from Mankuluma yesterday, while these comments were being written!)

Of late, the Tiger chief has begun to sound like the military spokesmen of yore who used to take refuge in euphemism whenever the military suffered ignominious defeats. The Elephant Pass military installation, according to those spokesmen, never fell; the army only resorted to a tactical withdrawal. Troops withdrew in such a way that they reached the Jaffna town in no time and the then government had to beseech the neighbouring countries for help to save them from the marauding terrorists.

Before them, Prabhakaran had ‘tactically withdrawn’ from Vadamarachchi in 1987 and India had to whisk him away to safety. At present while he is resorting to ‘tactical withdrawals’ in the Vanni, his Tamil Nadu allies are campaigning for a ceasefire! Curiouser and curiouser! Why should they be so perturbed, if they are certain that he will be able to make a comeback after a few ‘tactical withdrawals’?

Prabhakaran may go down in history as a failed messiah but his name is sure to enter the Guinness Book of World Record as the person who staged the longest ever tactical withdrawal in the world. That began from Mavil Aru in 2006 and is still on. His boys have covered a lot of ground!

Whom is Prabhakaran trying to fool? Even a tyke in this country knows a tactical withdrawal is nothing but running for dear life. We have seen pickpockets making 'tactical withdrawals' with the police in hot pursuit, haven't we?

If what Prabhakaran has taken recourse to at Pooneryn is really a tactical withdrawal by any chance, then let's hope and pray that there will be a few more such withdrawals. For, in such an eventuality, the Tigers will find themselves in the deep blue sea beyond the eastern coast and this country will be a better place to live in.

It is time Prabhakaran stopped deluding himself and his followers. He cannot wish away his trouble. He ought to come to terms with the fact that his terror campaign has turned full circle after twenty five years of fighting and he stands a zero chance of winning this war.

He has eliminated the democratic Tamil political leadership save one or two senior members, killed thousands or ordinary Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim civilians, sacrificed tens of thousands of Tamil youth and children, murdered dozens of Sinhala political leaders and wasted billions of rupees in the name of his macabre cause. But, there has been no Eelam!

The only beneficiaries of his terror campaign have been the economic refugees promoting terrorism in this country and perpetuating her conflict from a safe distance so that they and their progeny will be able to live in clover in the Occident without being sent back home.

Some Scandinavians in need of a port in warm waters and the foreign powers seeking a strong presence in the region on the pretext of helping Sri Lanka resolve her conflict may also have gained from Prabhakaran's murderous campaign. All others have been victims of his terrorism.

It is clear that the LTTE has over the years come to be considered a curse even by those it promised to 'liberate'. The acid test for the liberation credentials of any guerrilla outfit is enlistment. Time was when the LTTE had long lines of volunteers falling over themselves to fight for it. Today, it has had to forcibly recruit children and adults. No armed group enjoying popular support could have come to such a pass. The LTTE's predicament belies the claim being made in some quarters that the Tigers may be able to resort to guerrilla warfare by mingling with people. That would have been possible if the LTTE had not put the populace through hell in the name of liberation.

Instead of backing the Tigers, there is the likelihood of civilians turning against them at some point of time, as feared by senior LTTE leaders themselves according to human rights activists. This is what the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) the UTHR (J) says about the public mood in the LTTE-held terrain: "Several LTTE leaders who deal with the people know the extent of resentment and the curses uttered out of their hearing. Instances of popular jubilation have also been reported when air force bombers hit an LTTE target. At a place 12 miles north of the frontline, a senior LTTE leader told some friends, "Should the Army advance this far, the people would rebel against us! –– (UTHR (J) Special Report No: 28, Dec. 04, 2007)

Had Prabhakaran been a CEO in the corporate sector, he would have been sacked a long time ago for his failure to deliver or for steering his organisation to disaster. The Chief Executive of the failed Lehman Brothers, it may be recalled, is to be 'terminated' by the investment firm next month without any bonus, according to the New York Times.

How on earth can Prabhakaran justify his ‘multi billion-rupee’ failure?

Prabhakaran must admit that the god of war has gone over to the other side as the Fuehrer said following his crushing defeat at Stalingrad. It is only wishful thinking that he can bounce back and transform the LTTE into a formidable killing machine once again. The Tigers are losing their teeth and he is getting long in the tooth. During the past quarter century, he only unleashed hell and ruined the prospects of his movement without making any progress as regards his separatist goal.

He may have built 'court houses' and set up 'banks' to project the areas under his jackboot as a de facto state, but such institutions could not stand on a foundation of illegitimacy. They were still born, though he propped them up through sheer force.

All these years Prabhakaran has been trying to establish Eelam a la pavement hawkers who run away when the police descend on them and return to ply their trade later.

No longer can he play that game!

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