Sri Lanka: State of the Siege

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October 30, 2006: Two days of peace talks ended in failure. The LTTE demanded that the government lift its siege of the LTTE controlled Tamil population in the northeast. The government demanded some progress in a final peace deal. The LTTE won't talk seriously until the siege is lifted. The government believes that the LTTE is weak, and cutting off air and sea supply lines will make the LTTE weak enough to be destroyed.

October 29, 2006: An LTTE suicide bomber was intercepted, but five civilians were killed.

October 28, 2006: There is some violence every day, mostly in the form of artillery and mortar fire. Along the front lines, there is occasional rifle and machine-gun fire. Not much in the way of casualties.

October 27, 2006: The LTTE is hoping that humanitarian organizations can apply enough pressure to the government to allow for more outside access to the besieged Tamils in areas controlled by the LTTE. So far, the government politely talks to the humanitarian groups, does nothing, and ignores the protests that follow.

October 25, 2006: As is usually the case, the war in Sri Lanka is being decided by logistics. The navy has been increasingly successful at intercepting rebel sea movements from India. The air force has also bombed LTTE air strips. The rebels are trying to buy more boats, to replace the dozens that have been lost in the last month, and one, perhaps two, new air strips are being built. LTTE tactics rely on relatively large expenditures of ammunition, so new supplies are essential. LTTE fighters are not as fierce as they used to be, and the LTTE fears that a major defeat of their troops would cause the entire rebel movement to collapse.

 

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