After the war

All indications are that the decapitation of the LTTE is imminent. Ink on this comment may still be wet when the final offensive draws to a successful conclusion.

It is not just a civil strife that Sri Lanka has quelled; it has won a ‘world war’, given the backing the LTTE received from the leading nations on a flimsy pretext. It is a miracle that a small country could withstand such unbearable international pressure without buckling and accomplish a military mission against a ruthless terrorist outfit with tentacles spread all over the world. Some world powers stand unmasked! By having made an abortive attempt to scuttle the war against the LTTE, they have forfeited whatever moral right they may have had to crusade against global terrorism.

It is being argued in some quarters that though the LTTE is crushed on the battlefront its war will continue in some other form. Residual terror might last for sometime in the form of terror attacks mainly on civilian targets in the rural backwaters carried out by some remaining LTTE cadres. But, a fully-fledged guerrilla war is never a possibility without a solid base, which the LTTE will be left without after losing the last patch of resistance.

The LTTE managed to wage an effective war of attrition as it operated from the Vanni which no government could wrest control of for over two decades. The LTTE won’t be able to operate from Tamil Nadu either. It no doubt has stockpiles of arms and a support base there but it won’t be able to set up base there because of India’s national security concerns. No other country will want to harbour the LTTE anymore. So, anyone who expects an LTTE comeback is only hoping against hope! There is little that the Tiger backers also could do overseas after the collapse of Prabhakaran’s Golden Key with billions of US dollars going down the gurgler. It is doubtful whether they will be left with funds, energy and, most of all, any morale to create another Prabhakaran and begin a separatist project from the very beginning. The biggest problem of what remains of the LTTE will be cadres. The LTTE had to do without volunteers for years and therefore had to recruit child soldiers. Now that the East and the North have been opened up, no more forcible conscriptions will be possible.

Moreover, the Vanni people will never forgive the LTTE for the brutal crimes it perpetrated against them in the name of liberation. Prabhakaran laid bare his true face by killing the hostages who tried to escape. He has killed more Tamil people than members of the armed forces and civilians of other ethnic communities. All the democratic Tamil political leaders have perished at the LTTE’s hands. So, that the LTTE, which was without volunteers to fight for its cause and faced with a severe manpower crisis even when its performance was at its zenith, won’t be able to attract new members to resume terrorism goes without saying.

The LTTE’s failed military campaign may adversely affect many including the bogus peaceniks and the whole caboodle of INGO/NGO activists who lined their pockets on the pretext of conflict resolution and humanitarian assistance. The liberation of the Vanni has proved that they swindled their donors to the tune of millions of US dollars without doing anything for the people in that part of the country. Worse, all their predictions have proved wrong!

They never allowed the international community to consider the elimination of the LTTE as an option in making peace in this country thus giving undue importance to Prabhakaran and his killers. They generated and propagated many myths about the LTTE, and duped the world into believing that it was invincible. Ironically, that stood this country in good stead because the western governments supportive of the LTTE did not care to derail the war as they thought finally the army would be sucked in and destroyed either in Kilinochchi or Mullaitivu. They eagerly waited until the army met its Waterloo only to be mistaken. Like Prabhakaran who led a life of luxury, these INGO members, too, enjoyed life drawing as they did princely salaries which even CEOs in the West may envy. After the war, they will have to exert themselves to make a living as their donors are likely to lose interest in Sri Lanka. This is a worrisome proposition for the members of the Fifth Estate (read INGOs).

These failed and corrupt INGO/NGO activists won’t give up easily. They will go all out to keep their businesses afloat by being party to the reconciliation and rebuilding processes. They have already approached some venal government politicians for this purpose. They have mastered the art of greasing palms and perhaps they may be able to win over those political potentates. Unless they are denied a toehold in the post-war projects, they will go the same way as their much advertised peace and humanitarian projects. However, there is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are a few genuine INGOs and NGOs which have operated in this country for decades and won the confidence of the public and rendered some service. They need to be identified while the errant ones are weeded out.

The post-war scenario is likely to be as challenging as the war itself. It is not a question of a guerrilla war against but sinister operations by those who failed to scuttle the war and save the LTTE to promote their agenda. It is hoped that the government which conducted its military campaign successfully will avoid pitfalls in the post-war phases of resolving the crisis.

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