In any country the majority community is running the administration. We
cannot prevent that situation. If a minority is ruling the majority that is
a dangerous situation and it is a problem. That is an unrealistic situation.
In any democratic country the majority should rule the country.
This country will be
ruled by the Sinhalese community which is the majority representing 74
percent of the population....We are almost at the beginning of the end. We
have finished almost two thirds of the LTTE that�s about 9,000 of them which
is a large number. One third of the war has to be fought. The tail enders of
a cricket team do not perform the same way, like the middle order batsmen
and the opening batsmen do."
We are 'almost at the beginning' of whose end?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind. And it
is not a game.
"How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky? Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry? Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take
till he knows That too many people have died? Yes, 'n' how many
years can some people exist Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head, Pretending he just
doesn't see? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, The
answer is blowin' in the wind (Bob
Dylan - Blowin' in the Wind)
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the
wind. And it is not a game.
"...Linking of the land based Main Supply
Route (MSR) to Jaffna through Killinochchi would be achieved by February
4, next year (1998) - I will shake hands with Pirabaharan after we
defeat him.. At any cost, we have to re-unify the country. Those
who scoff at our plans are in for a shock.."
IPKF got rid of the hard core elements. What is left (of the LTTE)
is the baby brigade of young boys and girls. . ..Now they (the LTTE) are
running without their shoes out. Very soon their pants will go too. They
will wet their pants when they meet my armed forces. There will be no
LTTE or watch posts soon. (We will) flatten the LTTE" ...I am going all
out for the
LTTE. I never do
anything in half measures."
"The mistake which despots have been
making ever since organised states came into existence and which, it
seems, they will go on making to the end of the chapter, is that they
coercive power, which is physical and material and therefore
palpable, and underestimate the power and vitality of ideas and
sentiments. A feeling or a thought,
towards liberty, cannot be estimated in the terms of concrete power,
in so many fighting men, so many armed police, so many guns, so many
prisons, such and such laws, ukases, and executive powers. But such
feelings and thoughts are more powerful than fighting men and guns and
prisons and laws and ukases.... But the despot will not recognise this
of history have no meaning for him. ..He is deceived also by the
temporary triumph of his
repressive measures.. and thinks,
�Oh, the circumstances in my case are
quite different, I am a different thing from any yet recorded in
history, stronger, more virtuous and moral, better organised. I am
God�s favourite and can never come to harm.�
And so the old drama is staged again and
acted till it reaches the old catastrophe..."
And so the old drama is staged again -
and we are at the
whose end? The answer, my friend,
is blowin' in the wind. And it is not a game.
The Army Commander who is confident of bringing the war into a turning point
discusses the situation with Defence Columnist Ranil Wijayapala
Almost two years have passed since Security Forces commenced offensive
operations against the LTTE from Mavil Aru battle on July 26, 2006. Army
Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka was sitting in his room after attending a
Security Council meeting where he got the good news of the capture of
Vidathalthivu in the North Western Coast by the troops attached to the 58
The Army Commander claims that they have been able to destroy two thirds of the
military capabilities of the LTTE during these two years operations and the
troops are at the beginning of the end in their war against the LTTE. He is
confident that he can bring the war into turning point in August at the rate the
Security Forces are advancing into Tiger territory.
He says the common masses have no choice but to fight against the LTTE if they
want to see that the nation survives despite the economic hardships they have to
face in the face of the soaring cost of living.
�Like any other country in the world where people have to fight wars to
safeguard the territorial integrity of their countries they have to go through
hardships. They have to spend a lot of money. They have to sacrifice. The
Sinhala nation has to sacrifice if you want to protect the country and survive,�
the Army Commander says.
He also totally rejected allegations levelled by some groups relating to recent
attacks on journalists while stating that the media should act in a responsible
manner according to accepted ethics.
Q: Almost two years have passed since the offensive operations against the LTTE
began with the Mavil Aru battle. Where do we stand now ? Are we still at the
beginning, in the middle or at the end?
A: The Mavil Aru battle started on July 26, 2006. We are almost at the beginning
of the end. We have finished almost two thirds of the LTTE that�s about 9,000 of
them which is a large number. One third of the war has to be fought. The tail
enders of a cricket team do not perform the same way, like the middle order
batsmen and the opening batsmen do.
Q: Does that mean that Security Forces have passed the difficult part of the
A: The LTTE capability wise has got depleted to a larger extent. Areas will
start collapsing at one stage, now their strength is getting depleted and they
have started to leave their vehicles behind. Last one week we recovered three
LTTE vehicles. I don�t think the Army had ever recovered LTTE vehicles in the
Q: You mean that the war is now on fast track?
A: Looks like it is beginning to move fast. Every week we move about three
kilometres unlike in the past.
Q: Is it possible to take LTTE strongholds in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu within
A: We cannot give an exact time frame in capturing locations but at the rate the
LTTE losing their cadres they have got weakened. They have lost one third of
their capabilities. So we will see the way things are happening.
Q: You said you can take the ongoing military operations against the LTTE to a
turning point by August this year. Are you confident in achieving that target?
A: Obviously we are nearing the turning point now, through the way LTTE is
reacting. In another three to four months time you would see very clearly how
the things change. Obviously once we capture Thunukkai and Mallavi it has to be
a turning point. We are just four kilometres short of Thunukkai now. Once they
lost the places like Thunukkai and Mallavi they have to admit the fact that
things are changing.
Mallavi is something like an alternative hideout for Prabhakaran in the past. He
had been living in Mullaitivu, Thunukkai or Mallavi. All the NGOs are operating
from Mallavi. Now they have already lost that as civilians are not there
We have already gone 40 kilometres into the LTTE territory in the North. It is
quite a long distance. Jaya Sikuru operation took two years to go to Mankulam.
But in two years we cleared the East and also gone parallel to Mankulam. We are
almost in line with Mankulam.
Q: Security Forces are giving figures saying that LTTE has lost more than 9,000
cadres. But they are managing to maintain a considerable strength with them. How
can the LTTE manage to maintain this strength?
A: The LTTE forcibly recruited 3,000 cadres within this period. Then they
deployed their political cadres and those who were serving in the Police have
also been deployed in the battlefront after providing them with weapon training.
Then it is justifiable they still have a 5,000 strength.
At the beginning of the war we knew that they had 2,000 strength in the East.
Only 300 were able to survive. In the North we thought they had 7,000 cadres.
But we feel they might have little more than that.
Q: How many more can they recruit?
A: They can get some more from forced conscriptions. But as I said they can get
from political cadres. They will not be motivated. They have about another
200,000 civilians. Now we hear that they are training anybody over 15 years and
below 50 years. But they cannot be motivated to fight a battle.
Q: According to your estimations what is the current strength of the LTTE?
A: The LTTE has a 5,000 strength at present. Out of that they have deployed 1500
in Muhamalai. The balance is deployed in the Wanni. Not all of them are on the
battlefront. They include the administrative cadres, and Prabhakaran�s personal
security personnel. Heavy guns are still with them. It is due to these heavy
weapons our soldiers are getting killed and injured.
But they cannot use them effectively due to the military strategy we adopted in
these battles. These heavy weapons will become a problem to them once the area
gets constrained. Keeping them will be a big problem to them once we capture
more areas in the North. They need places to keep them and have armours.
Q: You said that Security Forces have advanced some forty kilometres interior
into the LTTE territory. But the LTTE managed to keep the civilian population
with them. How have they managed to do so?
A: They have fairly a large area in the East of A-9 road. We have gone only
towards Mullaitivu direction. On the West of A-9 road they are dominating over
50 per cent of the area. They can always keep on taking civilians back within
If we push forward some more than the civilians will have to go into the areas
where civilians are not normally supposed to go in to the North. Then we will
see problems beginning in those areas. Now they have High Security Zones.
Certain areas are demarcated out of bounds for civilians. They can�t do all
these once civilians are pushed back some more.
Q: The Military had not touched the A-9 road during these military operations.
Is there any specific reason for this?
A: We have to go on the A-9 road, then we�ll be leaving all the jungles to the
LTTE. I don�t believe in sitting on the roads and leaving the jungles to the
LTTE. It is better to have jungles for us and get the LTTE to sit on the roads.
Once we have jungles we can go wherever we like at a stage. When we go towards
the North you can see we are getting close to the A-9 road. If we continue the
same frontage at some stage we will go almost upto A-9.
Q: The Security Forces despite their victories in the North have not been able
to control Tiger activities down South, especially in Yala, Kataragama?
A: It was small group of Tigers who opened fire of the Kataragama bus. It was
the same group who fired at the Police from a long distance. It is not a big
problem for two or three terrorists to hide in jungles. We believe that they are
coming towards this area from Kanchikudichchuaru jungles.
STF and Police have been deployed in these areas. Their strength will be
increased in the coming months to control Tiger activities inside these jungles.
The LTTE cannot maintain a bigger force and attack whatever the area they like
in those areas. But for a small group, it is not a problem to operate in these
Q: What is the situation in Kanchikudichchuaru jungle?
A: A helicopter came under fire from that direction when President was attending
According to our information around thirty Tiger cadres are operating inside the
jungle. They are getting supplies from the Muslim and Tamil villages around
them. Until we get rid of them things will remain the same.
I think the STF is going to be strengthened in that area very soon. Then they
will lose the capability to operate inside these jungles. Even we will
strengthen our presence their whilst engage in operations in the North. It is
not a difficult task to control terror activities in the East. It will happen
Q: We need more manpower to dominate the areas once we capture more areas in the
North. Do we have enough manpower ?
A: We have over 3,000 recruits joining the Army every month. When we began the
Army had 118,000. Now it has gone upto 162,000. So as we go on we will get
enough manpower because of youth joining the Army with a high commitment. So,
you don�t face any problem for manpower. We have created lots of new battalions
- about 40 of them. Already there are about a reserve of 12,000 in Jaffna.
A reserve of about 30,000 operating in Vavuniya, Mannar and Welioya. I don�t
think there will be a problem of holding the areas liberated by us.
Q: Foreign Media reported quoting you that the war will continue for at least
another ten years. What is the story behind this?
A: All what I said was that the LTTE can continue as an insurgent as long as
they get the support of Tamil chauvinists, extremists and the Tamil Diaspora.
For example the terror organisation like Hisbullah can maintain their activities
with a handful number of members like underworld gangs.
They can do terror acts once they get explosives and weapons. What I am saying
is that such terror activities can exist. But we can win the war after
destroying the military capabilities.
We can take the LTTE controlled areas under the Government control. But it will
take a quite a long period to get rid of insurgents. That will be applied to any
country in the world. To solve that kind of a situations we need to have a
political solution. the President has already discussed these issues.
Q: You also believe in the fact that though LTTE is militarily defeated there
should be a political solution to address this issue?
A: Through war we are destroying their military might. There are problems. For
those political problems we need to have political solutions. But I don�t think
that those problems are not similar to that is being raised by the LTTE.
As a Third World country each and every citizen of this country is facing
problems. Politicians those who are trying to win the votes for their survival
have blown these problems out of proportion to survive in politics.
I don�t believe that they are facing new problems. I don�t think the people in
the North and East are subjected to any injustice. There is section of society
whether they Sinhalese, Muslims or Tamils or whether they are living in the
North, East or South suppressed due economic problems.
Though we give political solutions those politicians in the North and East
cannot solve all the problems faced by the people living in the North and East.
In any country the majority community is running the administration. We cannot
prevent that situation. If a minority is ruling the majority that is a dangerous
situation and it is a problem. That is an unrealistic situation.
In any democratic country the majority should rule the country. This country
will be ruled by the Sinhalese community which is the majority representing 74
percent of the population. More than 50 per cent of the Tamil population is
living in and around Colombo.
Sometimes they are living much better than the Sinhalese and Muslim community.
Even today I am saying that they have not been subjected to injustices as
claimed. Is that only the Tamil people living in the North and East are facing
problems. The entire population living in the South too are facing the same
problems like them.
Q: You have stated that the LTTE capability to fight as a conventional Army has
been destroyed. On what basis are you making this statement ?
A: We have deprived them of their military capabilities to a great extent.
During the last two years they have not attacked us using conventional methods.
The LTTE too cannot defend their areas sticking to conventional methods. That is
why they are withdrawing from some areas. Not only they have lost conventional
military capabilities they have lost guerrilla warfare capabilities too.
They are fearing even the jungles. When we are moving inside jungles they used
to create open areas clearing the jungles using bulldozers. They cannot boast of
their guerrilla capabilities they had earlier.
The only tactics they can use to take the civilians as a shield to continue
their fight against the military. If the civilian population is not there in the
Wanni they would have had to flee from the area by this time. They are using
these civilian population to get information from which direction the military
is advancing and to lay mines, build bunkers, set trappings against the