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Stopping war: Prabhakaran's only option

The LTTE is making a virtue of necessity by agreeing to piecemeal evacuation missions. It is using such feigned humanitarian concerns to stem the rising tide of international opprobrium and obtain breathers in the hope that some miracle would happen and it would be able to escape decapitation. Therefore, the LTTE may try to spread out small scale evacuation operations over a long period of time by offering to release a small number of hostages at a time.

Leader of the National Freedom Front Wimal Weerawansa MP yesterday told the media that his party had information that the LTTE was planning to force over 200 women to commit suicide by setting themselves ablaze and project their action as a protest against the military offensives in a bid to shock the world into intervening to stop the war. But, nothing is going to save Prabhakaran, who has run out of tricks.

Prabhakaran has so far caused tens of thousands of his cadres to commit suicide in the name of an illusive cause. He has also expended a large number of human bombs or 'Children of fire' as he calls them to destroy political leaders and civilian and military targets. But, he has achieved nothing. Only sprawling manicured cemeteries remain in the LTTE-held terrain.

Time was when the LTTE boasted that it had established Eelam in all but name and all that it needed for its 'state' to be a reality was international recognition. Now that the iron curtain has been pulled down, we see that the de facto state Prabhakaran claimed to have carved out is devoid of any trappings of a state. Instead, it contains earth bunds and motes, which even a local government authority could have constructed within a year or so without shedding a single drop of blood or wreaking havoc on the country.

Prabhakaran will not stop fighting until all his cadres are destroyed in combat. The military says there could not be more than one thousand LTTE combatants left and they, too, will perish in hand-to-hand combat before long.

The war is now past the stage where Prabhakaran could stop it with human sacrifices. In Tamil Nadu, two misguided persons have already laid down their lives for the LTTE but in vain. What the LTTE is experiencing at present is the fate of any terrorist group which resists metamorphosis into a political force and perishes in the cocoon of violence.

Movements like the ANC and the IRA were mindful of limits to their violence and kept political options open. They knew exactly what they needed and were willing to make compromises so that bloodletting could be brought to an end through negotiations. Still, stigma attached to terrorism is such that Nelson Mandela, even after becoming an internationally acclaimed role model, continued to be on the US Terrorism Watch List until last year. President Bush had to change the law to take Mandela and other ANC leaders off the list!

Unless a terrorist outfit weans itself from violence when opportunities present themselves, both its means and end become one with the passage of time, as is evident from the experience of outfits like the LTTE, the Lord's Resistance Army (in Uganda) etc. that pursue unattainable utopian goals.

Rohana Wijeweera like Prabhakaran went on unleashing mindless violence until terrorism became the JVP's raison d'être. Finally, he and his killers became prisoners of their own violence like Prabhakaran and his cohorts, and had to pay for their crimes with their dear lives.

Wijeweera got an opportunity to give up terrorism when the late President Ranasinghe Premadasa offered to negotiate with him immediately after his election in 1988. But, he underestimated the power of the armed forces and went the whole hog to destroy the State causing in the process thousands of lives to be destroyed.

It was only after its decapitation in 1989, that the JVP realised the need for a democratic change. And ‘the new JVP’ did extremely well in mainstream politics and secured about 40 seats in the present Parliament. Had it avoided political miscalculations, it would have been able to retain its power base and remain the third force in Sri Lankan politics. If it discards its threadbare shibboleths and utopian ideals, it can still turn around its political project and be a kingmaker. Whether it will care to do so remains to be seen.

Prabhakaran is capable of any crime against the people in his clutches. For a man sending his loyal cadres on suicidal missions killing any number of civilians in a desperate bid to open an escape route is child's play.

Recently, we likened the situation in Mullaitivu to the Mumbai hostage drama, where terrorists used civilians as a human shield and killed dozens of them. During the last few days, Prabhakaran has killed many civilians trying to escape from his open prison. His death squads did not spare even infants and children. 'Liberators' laid bare their true faces as a bunch of bloodthirsty butchers. These hapless people must be rescued from the LTTE savages.

Prabhakaran cannot stop this war by sacrificing any more civilians or cadres. He has only one way of achieving that objective.

If he is the hero he is said to be, he must bite the cyanide capsule he is sporting or use some other method to shuffle off his mortal coil. And fast!

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