Sri Lanka: Blaming Eritrea

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September 21, 2007: Small clashes continue in the north, causing several dozen casualties a day. The LTTE continues to lose support among the Tamil population. As a result, there are more LTTE terror attacks against Tamils, in an effort to restore discipline. But this has just led to more Tamils passing information to the government. This, for example, resulted in air force bombers hitting an underground munitions storage depot in the northeast. The resulting secondary explosions were large, loud and spectacular. This is a big deal, because the navy has cut LTTE munitions imports considerably. That, plus the increasing attacks on munitions already in hand, has resulted in far less artillery and mortar fire from the LTTE in the north, and fewer bombs being used for ambushes or terror attacks.

The LTTE now admits that it is fighting a defensive war, and trying to hold on to the territory is still controls in the north. The army does not want to make a major push, and incur thousands of casualties. Instead, pressure is kept on the LTTE, in the hope that rebel morale will continue to slide, and ultimately result in LTTE collapse, or the rebels will agree to resume negotiations.

September 19, 2007: Police in the capital arrested two suspected LTTE terrorists, and found a dozen bombs that had apparently been smuggled into the city and hidden in a building. The LTTE has been trying to organize a major terror campaign in the capital, in order to demoralize the armed forces.

September 16, 2007: Government officials accuse Norway and Eritrea of aiding the LTTE weapons smuggling effort. Eritrean ports tolerate all sorts of shading shipping activities, and the Norwegians have had close relationships with the LTTE, as part of an effort to get the rebels to negotiate a peace deal with the government. That has led to many Sri Lankans believing the Norwegians favored the LTTE. Government efforts to halt LTTE arms smuggling has brought unwelcome publicity to ports in places like Cambodia, where gunrunners can bribe local officials to ignore the illegal shipping of weapons.

 

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