The LTTE is
losing the support of expatriate Sri Lankan Tamils. Even in India, where the
Tamils originally came from, more and more LTTE operatives are being hunted
down and arrested. In the last two years, India has arrested 55 LTTE
operatives. In the last week, key members of a gunrunning operation were
arrested. In Europe, there are now public demonstrations against the LTTE,
something that would have been impossible a few years ago, because LTTE
enforcers were present to punish those Tamils who were "unpatriotic."
The casualties have been low this year (a few hundred dead and wounded a
week), but consistently in favor of the army (about ten LTTE dead for each
government one). Every week, the LTTE loses ground. Three years ago, the LTTE
controlled over fifteen percent of Sri
Lanka, now they have only about six percent (4,000 square kilometers). The
Tamil population in this area numbers about 200,000 (a little over one percent
of the national population). The government continues to allow food and other supplies
to pass into LTTE controlled territory, as it always has, and the LTTE tries to
force civilians to move with them when the army advances into LTTE territory. Last
month, over 60,000 civilians (mostly Tamils) fled their homes to avoid the
fighting. Many of these had to risk their lives to flee towards government
controlled territory. LTTE fighters are assigned to force Tamil refugees to
move into the shrinking LTTE controlled territory.
The Sri Lankan government has become angry as it uncovers more evidence that
NGO (non-governmental organizations, like the Red Cross) resources (vehicles,
communications, food, fuel) are being used by the LTTE for combat operations. As
more LTTE territory is retaken, more examples of this NGO aid (usually
involuntary) to the LTTE is being discovered. The NGOs handle moving food and
other aid into LTTE territory, and distributing it.
LTTE prisoners tell of increasingly desperate efforts to recruit
fighters and obtain weapons and ammunition. Shortages of everything are
hampering the ability of the LTTE to defend their territory and population. The war is run on the cheap on both sides,
with the government spending less than two billion dollars for the fighting in
the north this year. The LTTE spends less than a tenth of that. It's mostly low-tech
infantry fighting, with a little artillery and air support.
July 30, 2008: The government
sent 19,000 additional security personnel to the capital, where a Saarc (South
Asian Association of Regional Corporation) conference took place between July
27-August 3. Saarc nations were confident enough in security to send senior
officials, and the LTTE has been unable to carry out any attacks. Actually,
LTTE gains nothing by attacking foreign officials, as its operatives work in
neighboring nations to arrange weapons and equipment shipments.