Last November Prabhakaran bragged in an interview with an Indian magazine that capturing Kilinochchi would be a daydream for President Mahinda Rajapaksa. But, yesterday the President's daydream came true! Prabhakaran had to abandon that township which he used to proudly call 'the capital of Eelam' and run for dear life.
The fall of Kilinochchi has sent the LTTE's spin doctors masquerading as journalists and defence experts running in search of fig leaves to cover their nudity. One of them recently concocted a cock-and-bull theory that the LTTE had so far used only new recruits to battle the advancing army and the best cadres would be deployed later. Can anything be more absurd than this? Are we to gather that Prabhakaran was so naïve as to vow to defend Kilinochchi against the army on several fronts with the help of a bunch of greenhorns alone? Why weren't those 'brave Tigers' used to fight tooth and nail to defend their 'capital' at least after their boss had undertaken to prevent its fall at any cost.
The LTTE's decision to give up Kilinochchi and suffer the worst ever defeat is tantamount to a tacit admission that it cannot go on fighting. This, all Tiger backers must come to terms with.
Nothing could have dealt a worse blow to the LTTE's morale than the loss of Kilinochchi. It has no way of defending Mullaitivu which the army is poised to take anytime. The LTTE is likely to collapse before long under unbearable military pressure brought to bear on it on several fronts. When that happens, the irate civilians Prabhakaran is keeping in his shrinking 'empire' at gunpoint will attempt to break free thus making him face a double whammy.
Whatever the armchair military experts, 'fifth columnists' and ambassadorial pundits may say, the LTTE has dug its own grave and is about to lie in it. Prabhakaran is paying the price for his hubris, savagery and military miscalculations. Today, the man who contemptuously spurned President Chandrika Kumaratunga's offer of the entire North sans elections for ten years in the early 1990s and the Oslo Declaration which envisaged federalism has had to hide in an area which the army says is smaller than the Thoppigala jungles. He should have known better than to plunge the country back into war by capturing the Mavil Aru sluice gates in 2006!
The army and its indefatigable Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka deserve plaudits for having fought so valiantly and captured the so-called heartland of the LTTE. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa have effectively silenced their critics who sought to pooh-pooh the country's war on terror. However, the government must not lose sight of the need to take steps to obviate through political means the factors that gave rise to terrorism.
The LTTE yesterday caused one of its brainwashed cadres to blow himself up near the Air Force Headquarters presumably in a bid to upstage the capture of Kilinochchi. No amount of blasts is going to help the LTTE avert disaster. This country has learnt to live with terrorism and is known for its extraordinary resilience. The only way Prabhakaran can prevent his cadres and himself from perishing is to surrender.
The capture of Kilinochchi is not a blow to the LTTE alone. It has sent a strong message to others of its ilk all over the world that the civilised world is capable of eliminating the scourge of terrorism.