Sri Lankan Leader Says Tamil Rebels Nearly Defeated

Emily Wax in the Washington Post:

PH2009020300204 Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa proclaimed Wednesday that the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam would be “completely defeated in a few days,” potentially signaling an end to a 25-year insurgency that is one of the world's longest ongoing conflicts.

The rebels' last holdouts are penned in a small zone in the north of the island nation, and government forces say they are confident that they are close to crushing the insurgency. Analysts, however, say guerrilla fighting might persist for months.

Civilian casualties have been significant: U.N. officials said that 52 civilians were killed in the past day in one sector and that cluster bombs had struck a hospital.

More here. It is also worth (re)reading Ram Manikkalingam's analysis of the conflict written for 3QD a few months ago: What I have learned from being a part of Sri Lanka’s Civil War.