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WHO PLANNED THE EELAM WAR?



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KAMALIKA PIERIS


After World War II ended in 1949, several countries got together to debate the issue of war. This gave them the opportunity to outlaw war and create agencies to settle future conflicts peacefully through negotiation. Instead of doing this, they ‘legalized’warfare through the ‘Geneva Conventions.’ Armies could shoot and kill each other. These countries then enlarged the scope of lawful war to include wars within states (civil wars). They announced that ‘national-liberation-movements-fighting-against-alien-occupation-and-racist-regimes-in-the-exercise-of-their-right-of-self-determination’ were entitled to take arms and use force. This gave the green light to both genuine and bogus liberation movements.


The western powers saw civil war as a useful political tool for intervening in sovereign states, partitioning them and controlling the segment useful to them, such as the east of Sri Lanka with access to the Bay of Bengal. These internal wars were therefore labeled ‘conflicts between sovereign states’, making the existing government an aggressor instead of the legitimate ruler. The ‘liberation movement’ was permitted to engage in terrorism. Terrorists were ‘lawful combatants’. International law said terrorism was outside its scope and wriggled out of the issue. Thanks to all this, rogue secessionist groups could now seize territory by force and get it recognized as a separate state in the UN, using ‘friendly countries’


It is now suspected that the Eelam war was not a home grown war. It was masterminded by outside forces. A group of Jaffna boys who had never left Jaffna and who did not know English styled themselves ‘Liberation Tigers’ and said they were seeking ‘self determination’ for their ‘nation’. They went to war with little training but somehow managed to get territory and hold it. How did they do it?


The LTTE did receive some sporadic training. India trained them in the 1980s. Norway had provided training at the Special Forces training camp in Rena on weapons tactics and military strategy (2003). Norwegian ex -Special Forces had trained Sea Tigers in underwater demolition in Thailand. Instruction on conducting the war could have come from abroad. The VSAT high frequency equipment acquired by the LTTE in 2002 could transmit voice, pictures, video without any interception by anybody.


But the main reason LTTE was able to defeat the army was because they had superior weapons and explosives. They had a continuous supply of highly sophisticated weapons sent by a weapons procurement network operating from a foreign country. They were able to procure armaments from all over the world and transfer them across borders without any difficulty.


LTTE had a formidable array of weapons, far superior to those owned by the Sri Lanka army. They had at least 30 pieces of heavy artillery. Also assault rifles, self loading rifles, light machine guns, sub- machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, anti aircraft weapons, such as surface to air missiles and peddle guns. A four barreled air defense gun with a range of 2,000 meters was found by the Sri Lanka army. This was a formidable acquisition and the army wanted to know where it came from.


LTTE was not a lawful army; therefore they smuggled in the weapons, including heavy items, by carrying out mid sea transfers 200 nautical miles off Sri Lanka. They used special semi submersible submarines, capable of carrying 10 tons of equipment. Other items such as power generators also came in. LTTE had a fleet of 50 ships, and was managing two dozen ships at any given time. Sri Lanka wanted the International Maritime Organization to investigate how the LTTE managed to operate this fleet when it was a proscribed organization. They also wanted the countries which provided flags of convenience investigated.


Large hauls of arms was recovered from Mullaitivu, Vakarai, Vishvamadu, Wellamulliwaikal beach, Panichchankerni jungle and Alanchipotha. Arms were also found in Kumana National Park. Troops found six boats laden with 996 kilos of explosives at Puthukkudiyiruppu, 1,004 kilograms of C4 plastic explosives at Mollikulam, over 80 varieties of bombs at Iranamadu and two other stocks of explosives, elsewhere, weighing 2,500 kilos and 3,900 kilos. ‘The amount of weapons found is unbelievable,’ said the army much still remains to be recovered. These could not have been only for Sri Lanka.’


There was a ‘navy’ with fast attack craft fitted with powerful outboard motors, radar and communication equipment. These had been smuggled in. ‘Indumathi’, a 16-metre long wave rider class boat, had a mounted twin-barrel anti-aircraft weapon and multi purpose machine guns. LTTE also had pedal type suicide boats and stealth craft laden with explosives. They had also tried to mine the sea, using limpet mines, pressure mines and closed circuit diving equipment


Certain findings indicate that LTTE was preparing for a massive sea battle. Two huge torpedoes with launchers were recovered from Puthukudiyiruppu, ready to attack a ship. The navy wanted to know who purchased these and how were they brought into Sri Lanka? Under international law only governments can purchase torpedoes. Four submarines were found in an ultra secret factory there. Interpol was asked to find out how advanced equipment from Switzerland and Norway came to be fitted into these submarines.


LTTE started an ‘air force’ of small, fixed wing aircraft. ‘Air Tigers’ were added to ‘Sea Tigers’ and ‘Sea Pigeons’. Three Czech built Zlin 143 planes came secretly from South Africa. These arrived by ship in knocked down condition and were brought ashore in large trawlers. Of the seven airstrips built by the LTTE, Mullativu could accommodate large aircraft. The military wanted to know where the heavy machinery needed for its construction had come from


The Army Commander was asked on ‘Thulawa’ how did the LTTE acquire the knowledge to run this war? Were they helped by foreign countries and NGOs? This was a frequently asked question. His answer was ‘yes.’ Sri Lanka Army said foreign military experts had come in and provided training and advice on weapons. The heavily fortified defenses of deep ditches and strong bunds behind which the LTTE hid in Eelam War IV, could never have been constructed without external help, Ukrainian specialists came and trained LTTE in sea warfare. Japanese experts came, developed submersibles and built a camouflaged tunnel for launching these in a high security zone in Puthukkudiyiruppu area. Sri Lanka Air Force stated that foreigners came and trained the LTTE in using planes. South African pilots are expert in night air raids and its mercenaries could be easily hired as trainers.


It is suspected that NGOs, who had worked with LTTE, had helped in the war. Equipment belonged to Oxfam and Save the Children were found in a high tech satellite communication facility at Puthumathalan. Troops found 20,000 litres of petrol in Iranamadu and Puthumathalan area also a massive stock of diesel and kerosene oil in Dharmapuram, in plastic barrels which could hold 225 liters of fuel each. Only NGOs had the authority to transport fuel to LTTE areas.


Western countries had refused to help the government win the war. Britain had refused to provide spare parts for army’s aging Saladin and Daimler armoured cars. US and NATO also refused. Army then bought Cadillac armored cars from USA, but the US did not provide the number agreed and only gave six, without the turret and gun, ‘though we had paid for them.’ Britain provided ten 30 mm guns with 6,000 rounds of ammunition but refused to deliver 2000 more rounds which had been agreed. Certain countries had not allowed aircraft carrying war


items to fly over their airspace. The government had to search for a country which would ship the Bushmaster guns bought from Russia. Finally Poland agreed to allow the use of its port.


When it became clear that the government was going to win the war and the LTTE was going to lose, President Rajapaksa came under heavy pressure from western powers, to suspend the offensive and resume ‘peace talks’ with the LTTE. When Kilinochchi was taken, (January, 2009) US, Norway, UK and France exerted pressure. India, UK, France wanted the war stopped in April 2009. There was also an appeal from Japan. These countries were trying to save the badly cornered LTTE.


USA has also worked behind the scenes to get the LTTE leadership to surrender to a third party. About two months before the final battle US had offered to evacuate the top LTTE leaders and their families. There were secret negotiations to take away Prabhakaran, Sea Tiger wing leader, Soosai, intelligence wing leader Pottu Amman and their families, numbering over 100. The US Pacific command sent a team of experts to look into this. USA feared that if Prabhakaran was arrested by the government he would tell them how the west helped him in the war.


LTTE committed serious war crimes throughout out the Eelam wars. USA, UK, European Union, Japan India and the UN did nothing to stop them and never censured their actions. However, according to a report filed by Times Online, the US military has used satellites to spy on Sri Lanka during the final stages of its battle against the LTTE. India too deployed aircraft fitted with sophisticated equipment to monitor the war. US sought to justify its action on the ground that it was looking for evidence of war crimes.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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