By Lal wijenayake –
Lot is spoken about the 30 year old conflict which is popularly recognized as the war and the heroes behind the defeat of the LTTE militarily. Each leader of our nation during the 30 years has contributed in some way towards the defeat of the LTTE militarily. It was like getting the opposite group balled out in a cricket match to win the match. Thankfully for President Rajapaksa, he took the final wicket and when looked superficially he has the right to claim that he won the match for the group. That is what is happening today. But if one particular sits down and consider deeply about the 30 year war, a single would have many items to ponder about.
JR signed the Indo – Sri Lanka agreement and pitched India (which supported the LTTE at a single stage) against the LTTE. He successfully deprived the LTTE of the base that they had in India and made India as well hot for the LTTE. This led to the series of events that eventually led to the LTTE getting banned in India.
President Premadasa adopted a somewhat various approach to weaken the LTTE. It is now clear from the accessible documentation that he tried to weaken the LTTE by making use of rival groups within the LTTE, specially the ‘Mahaththaya’ group.
President Chandrika Kumaratunga even though sincerely providing a political package to the Tamil people and even approaching the LTTE leadership, did considerably to strengthen and modernize the safety forces to enable it to face the establishing military circumstance.
Common Fonseka, undoubtedly the most dedicated commander of the Army we had and who meant enterprise and was not distracted by politics or private glory and /or privileges has on numerous occasions in public appreciated the assistance offered, during President Chandrika Kumaranatung period to enhance the fighting capacity of the security forces.
Now it is forgotten that it is in the course of her period that the most hard military operation to capture Jaffna from the LTTE was effectively concluded. This was an crucial turning point in the process of defeating the LTTE militarily. Capture of Jaffna deprived the LTTE the most essential administrative and military base to carry out its offensive against the security forces. The fall of Jaffna brought about demoralization amongst the LTTE fighters and skepticism of achievement among its supported within and outdoors the nation.
This military offensive was the most critical military victory in the fight to defeat the LTTE militarily.
President Wijetunge in the course of his quick term in office was able to liberate most parts of the Eastern Province from the handle of the LTTE.
For the duration of the two year period that Ranil Wickramesinghe was Prime Minister, he attempted to discover a political remedy with the assistance of the International Community. The ceasefire brokered by the International neighborhood and the events that led to the LTTE going back on the agreement entered into with the government on the peace approach and their tough-line stance exposed the LTTE internationally. That lastly led to the LTTE losing the sympathy that the LTTE was drawing from the International Neighborhood and lastly led to the isolation of the LTTE internationally, which was an crucial issue which eventually led to the help the Sri Lankan Government got from the United States, India, and other countries. This help was a main factor that led to the weakening of the LTTE militarily and ultimately to its isolation and defeat.
There had been two other aspects that should not be forgotten in any discussion on the military victory more than the LTTE. One is the function played by Lakshman Kadirgamar, Foreign Minister in the President Kumaratunga regime. His intelligent, effectively studied and polished diplomacy helped the international community to comprehend the nature of the LTTE movement and its aspirations. He was able to convince them that the LTTE is a threat not only to our nation but to all nations in the region and in truth the entire world. His diplomacy was a turning point in the way that the international neighborhood perceived the LTTE movement and its aims and its so called aspirations.
The other factor that helped the President to capture the last wicket was the enormous buildup of help amongst the international community towards nations fighting against terrorism, following the terrorist attack in USA, and the threat of such attacks throughout the world and much more specifically in the western world. The realization by the potent nations in the international neighborhood that terrorism can’t be fought in every nation in isolation but has to be a worldwide work beyond national boundaries was a significant truth that led to the military help that helped our courageous safety forces led by Sarath Fonseka below President Rajapaka’s regime to defeat the LTTE militarily and in truth to eliminate the LTTE.
*Lal Wijenayake – Chairman,Standing Committee on Rule of Law of the Bar Association