The LTTE has staged four types of attacks on Sri Lankan forces, installations, interests and the people, since the conclusion of Operation Riviresa III.
The LTTE last week struck and destroyed two naval craft in the north and massacred a village in the Puttalam area. While one was a classic commando strike reminiscent of the Indian Marine Special Forces, the Navy SEALS of the US, or the Special Boat Squadron of the British, the other was act of terrorism that once again reminded both the Sri Lankans and the international community whether Tigers are really acceptable to rule over the Tamil people.
The current thinking of the security community is to moot the required structures within the navy to play a pro-active rather than a reactive role and hit the Sea Tiger strike capacity and capability.
The recent Sea Tiger actions demonstrate that the LTTE can make its presence felt despite the recent setback of losing the peninsula.
The LTTE has also infiltrated and killed both Sri Lankan soldiers as well as Tamil civilians who are collaborating with the Sri Lankan security forces. The numbers have been small, but yet it is a sufficient indication of the plans and intentions of the LTTE.
The Sri Lankan government is considering the development of measures to break down the non- military LTTE structures in the peninsula. It is believed that business, professional, trade unions and student organisations of the LTTE still exist, although they may be dormant.
Meanwhile, the government is focusing on the development of the non-military component of counter insurgency strategy. Slowly but steadily the institutions for rehabilitation and reconstruction are coming up. Services in education, health, sanitation, roads, electricity, water and others are being restored. Food supply has dramatically improved.
The government has also discovered the previous government agents during the LTTE dominance in Jaffna had allegedly submitted false figures to the governments in Colombo to secure more supplies than the population in the north needed. The figure provided to Colombo of the northern population has been 950,000 while now it is revealed that the total number of civilians in the peninsula was less than 700,000 before Operation Thunderstrike, Riviresa I, II & III. Today, with the influx of the refugees and the displaced persons from Kilinochchi has increased the peninsula population to about 500,000.
How will the LTTE destabilize the peninsula? Will the LTTE bide for more time before, striking back? Will the LTTE wait until the government establishes a fully-fledged administration?
The thinking of the security community is that the LTTE will wait until the government expands its writ and stretches its troop capacity before it strikes.
It is likely that even if the Sri Lankan troops play a proactive rather than a reactive role the LTTE will follow the IPKF-LTTE model of making it hard for the IPKF to govern the north. Counter insurgency requires tremendous patience and strategy. While the government gradually consolidates the militarily recovered areas, the military and the civilian branches should work on the hearts and the minds of the Tamil people.Go to the Fifth Column