Sri Lanka: November 29, 2003

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taxes."

While the government is split over how to deal with rebel demands for Tamil autonomy, the rebels now demand that the government grant Tamil areas autonomy soon, or the rebel movement will declare independence. Hardliners in the government believe that the rebels have used the ceasefire to recruit and train new troops, increasing their size from 6,000 to 20,000. The rebels deny this, but there has been a lot of recruiting activity, especially the kind that involves kidnapping teenagers. While the rebels have been more effective because of better discipline, leadership and motivation, the majority Sinhalese are getting more motivated by the prospect of losing control over large parts of their native island. If the Sinhalese get their blood up, the Tamils could be in trouble.  There are more than five times as many Sinhalese on Sri Lanka than Tamils. Over two decades of fighting has killed 65,000 already, but in the year before the February, 2002, ceasefire, the Sinhalese troops demonstrated increased capability and fighting spirit. The next

 

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