There is divided opinion whether the military should go into Kilinochchi
The LTTE, after its humiliating defeat in the Jaffna peninsula and resounding success over Mullaitivu, has adopted the strategy of fighting at two fronts.
First, the LTTE has deployed about 6000 cadres to resist the offensive from Paranthan. The LTTE is using not only the weaponary but also the troops to dig trenches to consolidate their position.
Second, as a diversionary, the LTTE has beefed its Eastern strength and ordered the commanders to strike border villages and dominate as much terrain as possible in the East. The attack on Arantalawa, where men, women and children were butchered was a part of that strategy.
The LTTE’s ability to fight conventionally - without significant ground fire power and air power -is an It has done so using its own propaganda machinery as well as
A closer look at the events in the Eastern Province from 1992 to 1994 demonstrates that the Sri Lankan military could take the East and dominate that terrain without difficulty. During those intervening years, the Sri Lanka government strategy was to contain the LTTE in the north and engage the LTTE in the East. Over 40,000 troops fought 1200 LTTE cadres mostly in the Batticaloa and Ampara districts.After flushing out the LTTE from the towns, the military confined the LTTE into the villages and the jungles. Thereafter, the military established detachments in the borders of the towns and the villages and started striking LTTE static bases. After a while the LTTE had only mobile bases in the Eastern Province.Then General Lucky Algama, together with the Independent Brigade Commander Brigadier Janaka Perera, established forward operational bases on the borders on the villages and the jungles and began to conduct operations into the jungles. After a while the LTTE structure in the East began to crumble. There was no medicine and food. The desertions increased and Prabhakaran summoned a bulk of its rank and file from the East to the North. By 1993, less than 400 LTTE cadres were in the East. A bulk of the cadres that were recalled to the north, including their commander Karuna, underwent retraining. The retraining included a specialist course in how to attack camps.
This course was developed after the LTTE attack on the Elephant Pass camp, which cost the LTTE heavily. The self criticism that followed led the LTTE to rethink their strategy and develop new institutions such as special recce groups to mount surveilance on camps.
The Eastern cadres in the north also took part in a number of military operations. The best known was their attack on Pooneryn, where Karuna personally took part in the operation.
In fact, nearly 40% of the cadres that took part in the Pooneryn operation in November of 1993 were cadres from Ampara, Battacaloa and Trincomalee. At least 25% of the cadres that died and received injuries were from the East. Prabhakaran retained a bulk of the Eastern cadres as he wanted to defend the peninsula by a demonstration of strength. After Operation Thunderstrike in November last year, the heavy losses on the LTTE side led Prabhakaran to make a critical decision. The Eastern cadres would return to the East to pressurize the Sri Lanka army not to pull out any more troops from the East. Today, a bulk of the Eastern cadres deployed in the north has returned with orders to destabilize the East.
The intelligence wing the East has received instructions to take on important targets in the East. In fact about 25 suicide bomb kits were sent to the East to take VIP targets.
The definition of a VIP target has altered in the LTTE vocabulary since recently. Today, the LTTE will not only confine a suicide bomb strike to a President, Prime Minister, Minister or a service commander.
It could also include a committed middle level army officer actively spearheading anti LTTE operations.
The Eastern terrain is difficult for the guerrilla to have huge camps like in the Mulativu or the Wanni jungles. Whenever the military wishes it could retake the East from the grips of the LTTE. But, the best military strategy is not to allow the LTTE to dominate the East.
where the guerrilla moves his forces, dependent on the tactical advantage.
This is a massive mental block introduced to the military when General Hamilton Wanasinghe was heading the defense machinary. He explictly ordered the then army commander General Cecil Waidyaratne not to shift troops either from the East to the North or from the North to the East.
The only exception was Operation Yal Devi where both the troops and the LTTE suffered heavy casualties in Polopalai - the road to Kilali. In the current context, the ideal strategy should be for military commanders in various districts to be tasked to conduct anti-LTTE operations.
- it will require a political directive and military support from the highest levels.Go to the Fifth Column