Sri Lanka: December 11, 2004

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as do the rebels, who have been rebuilding their forces.

The government increased the defense annual budget eight percent (to $541 million), and said the armed forces would get ready for a resumption of war with the Tamil rebels. The LTTE rebels are still apparently split into factions that are attacking each other. The smaller LTTE factions have to remain hidden, as the mainstream LTTE insists that there be no factions. But LTTE offices and officials continue to be attacked. The LTTE blames all of this on the government, which they believe has sent agents into LTTE territory to make it look like their is serious dissention within the LTTE. But there are problems among the LTTE population, many of whom are tired of the authoritarian, and sometimes capricious, rule of the LTTE. As a rebel organization, the LTTE is a dictatorship, and demands discipline and loyalty from all Tamils. Those Tamils that openly disagree with the LTTE are often threatened or killed. Moreover, the LTTE continues to demand that any peace talks involve the possibility of a separate Tamil state on the island. The government refuses to discuss this, and knows that many Tamils would be happy with more autonomy. The government apparently believes that a resumption of the war would find the LTTE with less support among Tamils than before. If the government could defeat the LTTE militarily, the Tamils could be given autonomy and life could go on as it was

 

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