The government has only the censor to hold up the fig leaf to cover the mess it made for itself in the Eelam War.
The justification for the unprecedented rise in defence spending was not merely the retaking of the peninsula but the destruction of the LTTE's capacity to engage in large scale attacks.
The foolishly overzealous censor is the only effective means with which the government seems determined to carry on with the war.
elite special forces and the Navy to send in reinforcements.
In the Iran-Iraq war this tactic which was adopted against Saddam's army by the Iranians did not produce such swift results except the death of a large number of youth. Although Prabhakaran had code named the attack as Operation "Unceasing Waves".
This attack has, among other things, helped the LTTE preempt a key element in the government's strategy for the north - the opening of a Main Supply Route (MSR) to the north.
The Tigers seem to have assumed that the government would try to secure the route from Weli Oya - Kokkuthoduvai Alampil-Mullaitivu- Puthukkudiiruppu- Paranthan- Elephant Pass to Jaffna.
The vital and indispensable link in an operation to secure this MSR would have been the Mullaitivu base.
The army commander stated quite categorically in an interview recently that the Riviresa Operations had reduced the LTTE to a position where it could no longer carry out attacks like the one on the Pooneryn base in 1993. The government had its reasons for believing that the LTTE was militarily debilitated into a "Hit and run" organisation. The government's beliefs was generally shared by Delhi and most western countries - that the LTTE was almost dead duck.
Firstly, what was generally believed to be the LTTE's political and military mainstay- Jaffna - was assumed by the government to have come under its control.
Secondly, it was believed that the Tigers had lost a good percentage of their trained cadre in Op. Leap Forward, in the aborted assault on the Weli Oya base and in Riviresa One within a relatively short period, between July and December 95 - a shortfall which , in the government's view, should normally take a long time to rectify
Thirdly, India was solidly on the government's side in helping it cut off the LTTE's arms supplies from abroad. Delhi's commitment was well demonstrated in the interception and sinking of the Comex- Joux 3 off the Mullaitivu coast. It was assumed that the LTTE expended a massive quantity of ammunition during the second half of 95 and that its overseas supply lines were almost throttled due to Indian action and the hostility of most western governments. (That this was also the view of some "well informed" western military analysts in Colombo is evident from the recent Asiaweek story on LTTE's international network.)
Fourthly, it was again assumed that following the "success" of the Riviresa Ops. the LTTE which had not only lost its revenue base in the peninsula but was on the verge of losing its "collection" abroad. Countries with a large Tamil expatriate populations, like Canada and Switzerland had taken strong action against the LTTE and other western countries, including the US, were disapproving of the Tigers.
Without the revenue from abroad Prabhaharan cannot, it was thought, run his military machine on a large scale.
The army commander, the PA leadership, Delhi and the "Colombo based western military analysts" were, after all, basing themselves on these assumptions which appeared quite sound from a naive military point of view.
Why naive ?
these aspects of the LTTE's withdrawal from Jaffna were discussed in detail in these columns in February
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