Sri Lanka: Six Weeks To Go


December 30,2008: The navy blockade continues unbroken, despite desperate LTTE attempts to ship weapons and munitions in. There are only a few bits of coastline where the LTTE can land stuff, so it's easier for the navy to catch the smuggling attempts.

The fighting around the LTTE capital of Kilinochchi is apparently attracting the best fighters the LTTE has left. That's because some army units have been hit with well prepared and led counterattacks. These were attempts to push the army back, but these offensive operations failed. Sometimes there were heavy army casualties, but the soldiers stood their ground and stopped the LTTE attackers. That didn't happen 5-10 years ago, and is one reason why the LTTE are on their last legs. The rebels no longer have a qualitative edge on the battlefield.

Advancing troops have captured an LTTE airstrip, hidden under nets and foliage. The army is advancing up the east coast, past the town of Mullaitivu, and down the east coast along the Jaffna peninsula. The LTTE defenses consist of recently recruited fighters holding out in recently built bunkers. The morale of the LTTE fighters is rapidly declining, as is their battlefield effectiveness.

The government is also getting more information on the day-to-day whereabouts of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran. The air force is bombing these locations, hoping to kill or wound Prabakaran (whose death would be a major blow to the LTTE). In any event, the army believes they will have Prabakaran, dead or alive, with six weeks. While there's always a chance that Prabakaran will flee the island and attempt to keep up a terror campaign from exile, that is considered unlikely. Sri Lankan diplomatic efforts have gotten the LTTE declared an international terrorist organization, and it's unlikely any nation would allow Prabakaran to operate within their borders.

December 28, 2008: Outside the capital, an LTTE suicide bomber attack left eight dead and several dozen wounded. More such attacks have been expected, but have not materialized so far.


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