With the phoney ceasefire over and the Sri Lankan military pressing in on the LTTE’s northern heartland, three distinct scenarios are possible. But in all of them, the constructive role friends of Sri Lanka, in the region and outside, can play is the same.
My friend and 3QD contributor Ram Manikkalingam has an excellent analysis of the situation in Sri Lanka in The Hindu:
Sri Lanka’s phoney peace is over. By abrogating the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Sri Lankan government has finally proclaimed what has been a reality for two years — the effective end of the ceasefire brokered by the Norwegians six years ago. The Sinhala-dominated government and the Tamil Tigers have decided that war is not only inevitable but also required, before any fresh political process can emerge. President Mah inda Rajapaksa has promised to eradicate terrorism. His brother, Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, has promised to kill Velupillai Prabakaran, the leader of the Tamil Tigers. Scenting victory, the Sri Lankan military is pressing in on the Tiger heartland of the north on several fronts, while targeting Tiger leaders for assassination.
Meanwhile, the LTTE leader has proclaimed that only military force will work to change the government’s policy. He has directed attacks against hard military targets such as Air Force bases and soft political targets like ministers and civil guardsmen. The Tamil Tigers are using a combination of hit and run attacks, bombings and assassinations to deter and delay the government’s impending assault.
The Sri Lankan government has newly acquired armaments — multi-barrel rocket launchers, heavier artillery, precision guided missiles, and bunker busters — and has recruited 30,000 new recruits into its armed forces. The Tamil Tigers have developed an air wing, an effective sea wing, and have heavily infiltrated population centres in the Sinhala-dominated South. This next round of violence will lead to the deaths of thousands, the displacement of hundreds of thousands, and the destruction of property on a larger scale than what we have ever witnessed before in Sri Lanka.