Sri Lanka

DoctorDoom

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So far the threads in this forum concern insurgencies in the Americas. While understandable and valuable I think there are many other insurgencies which would be enlightening, so I will begin to expand the geographic scope of our discussions here, if everyone agrees.

I have always wanted to learn more about the conflict in Sri Lanka, an unbelievably brutal and long-lasting "civil war".

If there is anyone who has some first hand knowledge, please share with all of us. I will try to do some research and post as much information as is possible. The main questions that I would like to focus on are:

1-What is the relevance of this conflict to the function of American military forces? What lessons can we draw?
2-Which critical events determined the chronology of this conflict and are most relevant and revelatory for our current conflicts? Indian intervention? Governmental repression?
3-How is the Sri Lankan conflict unique, and do these elements make it somehow different enough from other insurgencies that it does not well inform our current situation? Is Sri Lanka somehow an outlier in the spectrum of global insurgencies?

Please post articles or information with comments as they pertain to these questions. Please provide as careful evidentiary analysis as possible. I think this "study-group" format would be most useful. We can add more points of discussion as the thread progresses.

Thanks all!
 

Marauder06

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Wow, good thought-provoking post. Regrettably, my "knowledge" of Sri Lanka is a girl I briefly dated in college. Time to do some research.
 

DoctorDoom

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Most recent news, sorry I have been neglecting this.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-03-09-tamil-tigers_N.htm

It appears that this struggle has ossified into a stalemate, and nothing short of total extermination of one group or another can end the bloodshed.

The lesson I think is that a decision has to be made early on by an intervening nation to establish stability and overwhelming dominance. This is a lesson that we might have learned from the Indian intervention, which was largely ineffectual.

I did a quick calculation of the ratio of troops to Iraqi population vs. the ratio of NYPD officers to NYC population. The results though of course not rigrous, were interesting. This may be one lesson to draw from the Sri Lankan experience.
 
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augcog

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Tamil Tigers have initialized an Air Force.... of sorts

one weird thing I read in the Wall Street Journal 10 years ago or so was that
the Tiger Leader, Prabhakhan or whatever, go the idea of using human suicide bombs by watching Death Wish 2!!!

The Tigers have been on the vanguard of suibombs way before the Arab world caught on...

Great questions Doom, hope I can try to answer someday...

Col. Karuna has a breakaway faction of a few hundred soldiers :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karuna_Amman
 

AWP

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He's out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. And he is still in the field commanding troops.

Other than that blurb I have nothing to contribute. Hijack over, please continue with a normal discussion.
 
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augcog

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He's out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct.
this seems to be the way to "Win" , to have Western Values of Decency is to "tie both your hands around your back" , or just cut your own legs off

Child conscription seems like the way to go in 3rd World Conflict, as you get a pool of very skilled combatants amongst the survivors

the Janissaries of the Ottoman Empire come to mind, and especially the Lord's Resistance Army in No. Uganda
 

pardus

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He's out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. And he is still in the field commanding troops.

LOL, I love that movie!

An ex Brit SAS bloke wrote a book, can't find it at the moment, he went to Sri Lanka as a contractor and had written about it IIRC, he was a bit freaked out by it and later became a priest.

http://http://www.colombopage.com/archive_07/April25183052CH.html

Tamil Tiger leader in New York arrested by FBI
Wednesday, April 25, 2007, 18:30 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 25, New York: The director of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger terrorist group in New York was arrested yesterday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Queens, NBC news affiliate in New York WNBC TV reported.

Karunakaran Kandasamy was arrested by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force on federal charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, prosecutors said.

U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf for the Eastern District of New York said that as head of the American branch of the LTTE, Kandasamy allegedly oversaw and directed group’s activities in the United States, including fundraising.

According to officials the allegations against him include holding fundraising events in November and December 2004 at a church and a public high school in Queens and at a school in South Brunswick, New Jersey.

Assistant FBI Director Mark Mershon was quoted by the report saying Kandasamy hasn't merely supported the Tamil Tigers' cause, but also orchestrated U.S. support.
 
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augcog

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thanks pardus, great news
i hate those fux Tigers, but you gotta give credit for effectiveness, they sure do
know how to deal the black hand

what is heartbreaking for me is that a major issue of the conflict is Legitimate uppitiness of Sinhaleeze Buddhist dmoinance on the Tamil Heathen Hindoo kulture

oh well, not all dumbshits will go "ghandi"

scary, though, as I am just starting to run my very own op, which a critical feature is support for the LRA in Uganda/Sudan
LRA has been designated as a Terrorist org by State, so I must be careful to not get caught in any nets

maybe you can tell me the title, so i won't go to Kampala, or ugh, Khartoum
 

DoctorDoom

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Child conscription seems like the way to go in 3rd World Conflict, as you get a pool of very skilled combatants amongst the survivors

the Janissaries of the Ottoman Empire come to mind, and especially the Lord's Resistance Army in No. Uganda
I think this is precisely the wrong lesson to draw from the conflicts in the 3rd World. If anything most child soldiers are worthless and contribute to lack of discipline and defeat. Every example that I can think of bears this out.

The Janissaries are a completely different animal and cannot be compared to the drug addled youth gangs with Kalashnikovs that unfortunately hold sway in large parts of Africa.

Indeed, the Tamil legacy may be directly traced to their youth and lack of discipline and socialization.
 

Typhoon

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According to officials the allegations against him include holding fundraising events in November and December 2004 at a church and a public high school in Queens and at a school in South Brunswick, New Jersey.
Holy Flurking Schmidt! :eek: :mad: What the hell were those educators at the schools in question thinking!?

If anything most child soldiers are worthless and contribute to lack of discipline and defeat. Every example that I can think of bears this out.
Absolutely. When the enemy starts using children as front line soldiers, it means they are running out of adults and their army is falling apart. The first thought in my head when I read this was Germany at the end of WWII.
 
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augcog

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The Janissaries are a completely different animal and cannot be compared to the drug addled youth gangs with Kalashnikovs that unfortunately hold sway in large parts of Africa.

Indeed, the Tamil legacy may be directly traced to their youth and lack of discipline and socialization.
excellent point DocDoom
 

pardus

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Absolutely. When the enemy starts using children as front line soldiers, it means they are running out of adults and their army is falling apart. The first thought in my head when I read this was Germany at the end of WWII.
Not nessasarily.

Child soldiers are good for a couple of reasons and are prefered over adults as a result.
They are easily manuipulated, moulded to whatever you want them to be.
They are fearless and yet dependent.
Kids try to impress and mimick.
Expendable, ruthless, abundent.

Sad but true.
 

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Typhoon

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Child soldiers are good for a couple of reasons and are prefered over adults as a result...They are easily manuipulated, moulded to whatever you want them to be...They are fearless and yet dependent...Kids try to impress and mimick...Expendable, ruthless, abundent.
Good points, Pardus. I thought about that very thing after my original post when I had to step away from the computer and do some school stuff...
 

DoctorDoom

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Not nessasarily.

Child soldiers are good for a couple of reasons and are prefered over adults as a result.
They are easily manuipulated, moulded to whatever you want them to be.
They are fearless and yet dependent.
Kids try to impress and mimick.
Expendable, ruthless, abundent.

Sad but true.
True, children are more easily molded; but as pure fighting troops they are weak physically and mentally, and often are little use but cannon fodder, but you are right, easily manipulated.

Abundance is another thing all together. If you look carefully all the significant child armies come to be in places where endemic conflict has eradicated most of the able bodied adult males, and where women are horribly mistreated. It appears that child soldiers really only become useful when the recruiting force has no other manpower pool to draw from. This holds true in sub-saharan Africa and Asia, but in Latin America where women are more active in civil conflicts this is less so the case.
 

pardus

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True, children are more easily molded; but as pure fighting troops they are weak physically and mentally, and often are little use but cannon fodder, but you are right, easily manipulated.

Abundance is another thing all together. If you look carefully all the significant child armies come to be in places where endemic conflict has eradicated most of the able bodied adult males, and where women are horribly mistreated. It appears that child soldiers really only become useful when the recruiting force has no other manpower pool to draw from. This holds true in sub-saharan Africa and Asia, but in Latin America where women are more active in civil conflicts this is less so the case.
True Doc, These wars in Africa are not won through skill, rather by intimidation and overwhelming an equally ill-disiplined incompendent force.
The child soldiers really come into their own once they take an area and the slaughter begins.
A well disiplined, well trained and well equiped force has little trouble against "armies" like these, hence EO's great success in Sierra Leone etc...
 

DoctorDoom

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Back to Sri Lanka, the Navy is reporting significant success against rebel forces. They are also predicting a military victory in 2-3 years against the Tigers.

The Tigers have already lost control of significant portions of the eastern part of the island. However, I question whether or not a military victory is truly of any use. While the Tigers may be destroyed as a force, the bloodshed has hardened and radicalized both sides to an extent that I think rapproachment would be impossible, particularly if one side "won" the war.

The question is, what to do next? In Iraq, our best bet may be to create a balance of power such that sectarian and ethnic rivals have equal power. That may be the only way top create stability. Of course, that means a lot more killing before both sides realize that they can't "win".
 
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