Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sri Lanka gains GSP+ extension for 3 more years from EU

COLOMBO, Dec. 12 -- Sri Lanka will continue to enjoy the GSP+ (Generalized System of Preferences Plus) duty-free access to the European Union (EU) market for around 6,400 tariff lines, from January 1, 2009 to the end of 2011, a leading English newspaper reported Friday.

According to the Sri Lankan government's official newspaper Daily News, the EU has decided to extend this facility for another three years to Sri Lanka and 15 other developing countries, under the EU's special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance.

Preferences under the GSP+ are in addition to the standard Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) extended to the developing countries.

Duty-free access means a considerable tariff reduction over the rates applied under the regular GSP scheme, said the newspaper.

The GSP+ provides an important incentive to developing countries to ratify and effectively implement a set of international standards in the fields of human rights, core labor standards, sustainable development and good governance.

The Sri Lankan government said earlier that the extension of the GSP+ facility to Sri Lanka while being in force is subject to the findings of inquiries being conducted by the EU on the implementation of certain UN and ILO conventions.

Sri Lanka are facing accusations of human rights violations against a backdrop of escalating military conflicts between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in the north.

The inquiries, started in October, was expected to be completed within one year.

(Xinhua)

Troops advance towards Iranamadu junction - Wanni Operation - 12 Dec 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sri Lanka Uses YouTube As Weapon Of War

Brian Calvert | World Politics Review

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- In the silent, low-res imagery of the closed-circuit video footage that rapidly spread across YouTube, the young Tamil woman appears unafraid, even poised. Wrapped in a crisp sari, hair in a tight bun, she waits across the desk from the political secretary of a Sri Lankan minister. But something, almost imperceptible in the footage, goes wrong. So as a dozen people go about their business behind her, the woman rises from her chair, tugs at her bra and explodes, her torso vaporized in a C4 blast that kills her and the secretary, instantly raising the Sri Lankan death toll by two.

The November 2007 attack video was not posted by the apparent attackers, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, but by the Sri Lankan government's Ministry of Defense, whose 25-year war with the insurgents has been marked by many losses on the information front. The launch of a viral video on YouTube, however, demonstrated a more sophisticated effort to control what is called the "information environment," an effort to "publicize insurgent violence and use of terror to discredit the insurgency," a tenet of the U.S. Army-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual.

The information war, fought through images and language, is over narrative. The Tamil Tigers want to be seen as liberators; the government wants to paint them as terrorists. In this struggle, over the past few years, the government has gained the upper hand.

Read the whole story here.

Lion flag hoisted in Terumurikandy - Wanni Operation - 11 Dec 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

India digging her own grave - A letter from Mumbai

As a responsible democratically elected leader, the Prime Minister of over one-billion of people in India, Dr Manmohan Singh should categorically reject, without any reservations or conditions, the racist demands made by some of the pro-LTTE politicians in Tamil Nadu.

The pro-LTTE politicians in Tamil Nadu, "Political Jokers" or "Political Criminals", who seem to be in the LTTE pay-roll, demand that India should interfere and a ceasefire agreement (CFA) be made between the Government of Sri Lanka and the world deadliest terrorists, the LTTE, who assassinated the former Indian Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi, and many other Tamil political leaders, religious leaders and innocent Tamils who opposed or, did not support their terror activities.

The so-called CFA, as in the past, will definitely provide a breathing space for LTTE to re-arm, re-group and continue to their terrorist activities.

Our Prime Minister should be fully aware that LTTE has very well established business links with many other leading international terrorist organizations in the world. Therefore, any actions taken by Dr Singh to protect the LTTE which is in the verge of collapse will help to development of terrorist activities in Indian soils as well.

About two weeks ago, I myself witnessed the suffering of innocent Indians during the Mumbai terror attacks. Most of the victims were ordinary civilians and none of them were politicians neither from the central Government nor from the state of Tamil Nadu.

Being the Prime Minister of India, you have the moral responsibility to protect all the countries in this region, rather than being selfish retain in power. So, the world expects you to discharge those responsibilities as the Prime Minister of India and not as another "cheap" politician who will do whatever the "dirty" work to be in power.

I am sure, you have not forgotten that the leader of LTTE Pirapaharan is wanted by India with regard to the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

At the moment, as a result of LTTE, every Tamil in the world is branded as a "Terrorist" by the international community. If the demands by pro-LTTE politicians are accepted by Dr Manmohan Singh, all Indians living in India and in other parts of the world will fall into the same boat and our credibility will be lost.

Dr Manmohan Singh should be fully aware that the next episode of the pro LTTE groups will be demanding the state of Tamil Nadu as an Eelam (Separate country solely for Tamils). If Dr Manmohan Singh surrenders to these racist demands of pro-LTTE politicians in Tamil Nadu, our grandchildren will definitely be reading Indian history books where Dr Singh's name is documented under the "Traitors of India."

R. Malhotra
Mumbai
India

NGO/INGO Frauds Revealed in Alampil - Wanni Operation - 10 Dec 2008

Featured Videos - Archive

Ratak Ratak By Nimesha Jayasinghe


Sri Lanka Aims To Lure Investors - Bloomberg


Sri Lanka Is Asia's Best Performer - Bloomberg


Ayubowewa Maha Rajaneni (song)


We are the Lions (song)


No time for ceasefire now, but time yet for surrender - President Rajapaksa


Luxurious life of Pirabhaharan family exposed


British MP visits Sri Lanka and reveals the TRUTH about LTTE terrorism


Minister Hemakumara speaks truth to a TNA MP


H.E the President visits Kilinochchi


Ranil Wickramasinghe & UNP MPs - Today & Yesterday


EELAM country (Tamils love LTTE) you can see!


CBC News: Toronto's Tamil Protesters Exposed


A speech we should all listen to by Sri Lanka Consulate General Bandula Jayasekara


Mangala Samaraweera vs Army Commander on War & Military


Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Media Attacks


UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake on Military Achievements


Api Innam Oba Wenuwen - Ft. various artists


A Song from the Battlefield


Song tribute to War Heroes for liberating Kilinochchi


Hela Jathika Abhimane


රන් මලක් ලෙස (Ran Malak Lesa)


Ma Adaraneeya Mage Amma Wethatai

Sri Lanka clothing exporter goes east with US aid

Dec 10, 2008 (LBO) - Brandix Lanka, a top Sri Lankan clothing exporter, has got US aid to train workers in a new factory it has set up in the island's east which the government is trying to develop after driving out Tamil Tiger rebels.

The US Agency for International Development and Brandix Lanka are working together to train 600 people for employment at the new factory in Batticaloa district, a US embassy statement said.

Under the Apparel Sector Training Partnership, USAID's grant of 100,000 dollars will provide a monthly stipend and a meal allowance for the workers during eight weeks of pre-training.

Brandix has committed 500,000 dollars to fund all of the training costs, and the monthly stipend during an additional six months of on-the-job training.

"We believe that providing job skills training and giving new workers experience will help people from this conflict-affected area rebuild their lives through steady employment," said USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn.

Graduates of the Apparel Sector Training Partnership program will be eligible for permanent employment with Brandix, the statement said.

"While local average incomes are only 26 dollars per month, graduates will earn at least 85 dollars per month," it said.

The trained workforce will provide the company with a prepared labour pool with the first group of 70 workers starting training on December 1, 2008.

"Brandix is committed to taking bold action to generate gainful employment in the Eastern province to enable a wider segment of the population to benefit from the growth of the apparel industry," said Brandix CEO Ashroff Omar.

"We believe it should be the duty of the corporate sector to help reduce the vast disparity in the per capita income of the east in comparison to the rest of the country."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lion Flag hoisted in Nayaru after 20 years - Wanni Operation - 09 Dec 2008

Origins of "the military solution" and its consequences

by H. L. D. Mahindapala

The broadband of NGOs, Marxists, academics and assorted intellectuals, who dominate the current discourse on public affairs, has been hounding the government accusing it of pursuing “a military solution” to the Sri Lankan crisis. This broadband of activists, however, does not point a finger, with the same emphasis, at the Tamil Tigers who have been pursuing nothing but a “military solution”. Their accusations are presented as if it is the Government that is bent on pursuing a “the military solution” against the peace-loving Tamil Tigers.

Incidentally, there is nothing original in this accusation. Velupillai Prabhakaran, who has been prosecuting a relentless war against his own Tamil people and the Sri Lankan government, too has been accusing the government of seeking a “military solution”, particularly after Mavil Aru – the point at which he started running backwards. He has never admitted that he has relied exclusively on “military solutions” to get as far as he did. On the contrary, he is wont to pose as the irenic conciliator who attended peace talks and was the first to make unilateral declarations of peace.

Of course, he has never admitted that he is also the first to make unilateral declarations of war. Or that he was the first to walk out of peace talks. In his annual speech delivered in 2005 he is on record saying that he was about to launch his Eelam War IV when he was hit by the tsunami. His decision to wage a Eelam War IV confirms that he had no intention of adhering to the terms and conditions of the Ceasefire Agreement he signed on February 22, 2002 promising to keep the peace. His on-again-off-again peace declarations were mere temporary breathers for him to recoup and pursue his permanent “military solution”.

Looking back it is clear now that he signed the CFA only as a temporary halt on his way to his next step of Eelam. Analysts have refused to recognize that he powered his way to CFA through the barrel of his gun. Successive governments were either reluctant to engage the Tigers militarily, believing in the myth of the Tiger superiority, or were under national and international pressure not to pursue the “military solution”.

Prabhakaran, on the contrary was not restrained by any such pressures. He succeeded because he flouted every known cannon of national and international law and pressures that hindered his "military solution". Prabhakaran was certain that his chances of getting anywhere were through “military solutions” and not through international agreements or international law. He brazenly ignored the agreement with UN not to recruit under aged children and he has not stopped this war crime even after Secretary-General had reported him three times to the Security Council. He tore up the Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement because he did not want to end up as Chief Minister. He shot the CFA to pieces because he was not content with the limitations that restricted his ambitions of achieving his elusive Eelam.

Having defied India and the international community led by Norway he was confident that his “military solution” could not only bring diplomats of the international community to his doorstep but also dictate terms to them. He miscalculated the pressures forcing the successive governments to restrain their “military solutions” -- if they had any at all – as a sign of his military superiority and invincibility. What was needed was a government that was ready to take him on directly without yielding to his militarism.

The success of Mahinda Rajapaksa government was due to its unswerving commitment to plan, organize and direct its “military solutions” to match Prabhakaran’s militarism. The Rajapaksa government provided the most determined leadership against Jaffna-centric militarism which opened the way for Prabhakaran to take over the leadership of the Jaffna Tamils. Prabhakaran has managed to get as far as he did because the previous governments did not have a matching “military solution”. Prabhakaran’s illegal violence succeeded because the legal violence of the state was not organized or prepared to challenge his “military solution.”

By the time he came to Mavil Aru he had territory, resources, goodwill of the international community, power and political prestige to dictate his terms and conditions. Mavil Aru, he thought, would be another cake walk that would add glory to his “military solution”. His overall plan was to go beyond the boundaries defined in the Ceasefire Agreement to his elusive Eelam. He had already in his pocket Kaddaiparichchan, Mutur and Sampur – all key points in and around the mouth of the Trincomalee harbor. He was in a commanding position to cut off supplies sailing from Trincomalee to Jaffna where the troops were stationed.

It was in Mavil Aru that he met his Waterloo – literally and metaphorically. He was aiming to cut off the water supplies to farmers down stream. It was then that President Mahinda Rajapaksa decided to take “military solution” as a serious strategy to meet the persistent and unrelenting “military solution” of Prabhakaran. For the first time two “military solutions” met head-on, each testing the other. The pro-Tiger pundits never dreamt that the Mahinda Rajapaksa’s “military solution” would win. Even at this eleventh hour the pro-Tiger lobby is hoping that Prabhakaran would pull a rabbit out of his hat. They are baffled as to why Prabhakaran has run out of rabbits. If Prabhakaran can produce a “military rabbit” now they will not object to it. In fact, they will produce excuses to justify it. It is only when the Security Forces are winning that they oppose the “military solution” and prioritize the “political solution”.

The crisis in Sri Lanka has dragged on primarily because neither India nor the international community has been able to make Prabhakaran abandon his “military solution“ and join the democratic mainstream. But the propaganda barrage has been directed against the government, almost exclusively, for seeking a “military solution.” But is this argument based on historical realities or is this argument based, like most of the arguments of this broadband, on convenient political myths. Who really are the fathers of “the military solution”? Was it “the Sinhala state” that sought “a military solution” or did the “military solution” originate in a
non-Sinhala community? And if so where and when did the “military solution” originate?

Even a cursory glance at the political and military history of the post-independence period will reveal that it was not – I repeat NOT -- “the Sinhala state” that launched “the military solution.” It was first formulated, organized, propagated, financed, directed and manipulated nationally and internationally, by the Jaffna-centric political class/caste when they collectively passed the Vadukoddai Resolution in 1976, calling upon the Tamil youth “to flinch not till the goal of a sovereign state of TAMIL EELAM is reached.” It was a direct declaration of war by the Jaffna-centric political class/caste on the rest of the nation. No other community or government had taken this drastic step of officially declaring war on another ethnic community/communities.

The “military solution” is spelt out in the two concluding paragraphs of the Resolution. The battle cry is couched in soft but clear terms: “This Convention (held in Pannakam, Vadukoddai, the constituency of the leader of the TULF, S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, on May 14, 1976) directs the Action Committee of the TAMIL UNITED LIBERATION FRONT to formulate a plan of action and launch without undue delay the struggle for winning the sovereignty and freedom of the Tamil Nation; “And this Convention calls upon the Tamil Nation in general and the Tamil youth in particular to come forward to throw themselves fully in the sacred fight for freedom and to flinch not till the goal of a sovereign state of TAMIL EELAM is reached."

In hindsight it is abundantly clear that it was the biggest mistake of Jaffna-centric politics. At the time only M. Tiruchelvam, one of the leading lights of peninsular politics, saw the inherent dangers. Perhaps, he may have had some inkling of separatist politics leading them to a dead end – literally and metaphorically. But though he shared some of the feelings of what Malini Parasarathy of The Hindu called “Tamil chauvinism” he was shrewd and sensible enough
to gauge the limits of the power of Jaffna-centric politics. Ram Balasubramanian states: “He was opposed to the 1976 Vadukoddai Resolution that demanded a separate state of Tamil Eelam and advised Mr. Chelvanayakam against it.” ( p.5 – Senator Tiruchelvam’s Legacy, edited by Ram Balasubramaniam, Vijitha Yapa publishers, November 2007)

By the time Tiruchelvam rushed from Colombo to intervene it was too late. According to Prof. A. J. Wilson, who wrote his biography, Chelvanayakam had combed the wording in the Vadukoddai Resolution minutely and scrupulously and approved it. The rest is history, as they say. The consequences that flowed from it were unstoppable. Prabhakaran is the child that was born out of this Resolution. A whole new crop of militant groups rose to power on the full force of the endorsement granted to violence in the Vadukoddai Resolution. At the height of the separatist movement, 37 separate groups were operating in Jaffna. ( p.126 -- A. J. Wilson, Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism: Its Origins and Dvelopment in the 19th and 20th Centuries, CBC Press, Vancouver.) The Vadukoddai Resolution was like providing ladders to leaping monkeys, as they say in Sinhala folklore.

Prabhakaran had already signaled the direction in which he was going to take his war by taking the scalp of Alfred Duraiyappah in 1975. Not a single “Gandhian” in the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) expressed any horror or condemnation of the assassination of Duraiyappah. They were privately jubilant that the Tamil youth, whom they had brain-washed with the politics of hate, were meting out punishment to the Tamil traitors. The Tamil elders of Jaffna, who were in command of the peninsular politics at this point of time, had entered into a symbiotic relationship with the Tamil youth. When they called upon the youth of Jaffna to take up arms and never cease until they achieve Eelam they handed over power, which they held tightly in their fists throughout the feudal and colonial times, to the restless Tamil youth.

The Vadukoddai Resolution unleashed all the mono-ethnic hate politics of Jaffna-centric leadership that had risen to a critical point to demolish the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic polity of the nation. The unambiguous political message contained in the Vadukoddai Resolution was that the Jaffna Tamils were opting out of the tried and tested framework of parliamentary democracy and committing themselves unequivocally to “an armed struggle”. In passing this resolution the Jaffna leaders were deliberately accepting and endorsing a “military solution” to achieve their goals embedded in mono-ethnic politics.

The consequences of this decision were disastrous to the nation as a whole and to the Jaffna Tamils in particular. The “military solution” was a choice made by the Jaffna-centric leadership and they have been pursuing it relentlessly since then. The responsibility of making that choice and pursuing it should be laid, fairly and squarely, on the leadership of Jaffna Tamils only.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

AlJazeera Update on Sri Lanka's War


Sri Lanka's military says it's captured a town controlled by the rebel Tamil Tigers deep inside the rebels' territory. The Tamil Tigers have controlled Kokavil since 1990. It's only a few kilometres from the LTTE defacto capital, Kilinochchi. It's not possible to independently verify the army's claims. But as Al Jazeera's Minelle Fernandez reports, the Tigers remain defiant.

North Western and Central Provincial Councils dissolved

The North Western and Central Provincial Councils have been dissolved with effect from midnight today.

Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon told that the related gazette notification has already been prepared. Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekenayake is confident that they would be able to secure a resounding victory at the polls, further strengthening the Mahinda Chintana Programme. He said the support of the Tamil polity of the estate sector was with the Government. North Western Chief Minister Athula Wijesinghe observed that the people of his Province are eagerly awaiting to carry forward the Mahinda Chintana Programme. He emphasised that the people of the region would be able to display their strength to the opposition at the polls the Government’s initiatives to counter terrorism.

ITN

Monday, December 8, 2008

UNP hands over No Confidence Motion against Government

MP Joseph Michael Perera handed over a UNP sponsored No- Confidence motion against Government. The motion was handed over to the Secretary General of Parliament short while ago.

Tamil Tiger Links with Islamist Terrorist Groups

Shanaka Jayasekara, Terrorism Researcher, Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (PICT), Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is known to have an active presence in several informal sectors such as credit card cloning, money laundering and human smuggling in Europe and North America. However, the LTTE has emerged as a formidable force and influence within the informal arms market and such has attracted collaborative arrangements with other terrorist groups. The LTTE has developed close relationships with several Islamist groups operating in such networks in a mutually beneficial manner.

Palestinian Groups

In the early years of the Tamil militancy in Sri Lanka several Tamil groups received advanced military training from Palestinian factions in the Middle East. The first known contacts were established around 1978-1980 between London members of the Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students (EROS) and Syed Hameed of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) London branch. The PLO connection provided weapons training opportunities for a limited number of Tamil youth in PLO camps in Lebanon[1]. A member of the early batches that received training in 1978 from the PLO backed Al Fatah group, currently leads a Tamil political party[2]. In the period between 1980-1984, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), headed by George Habash, provided weapons training to several batches of PLOTE members (People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam) in PFLP camps located in Lebanon and Syria[3]. The Palestinian leaders provided much of the initial international exposure and support to the fledgling Tamil groups.

International expert on suicide terrorism Dr. Robert Pape, examining the proliferation of suicide operations, points out that the exposure to Lebanese training and tactics by Tamil groups influenced the adoption of suicide operations in Sri Lanka[4].

By the mid 1980s the Tamil Tigers had eliminated all other groups and emerged as the most ruthless Tamil group in Sri Lanka. It also absorbed the trained combatants of other groups. The Tamil Tigers which until then had received most of its training and weapons from the Indian Intelligence Services (RAW and Third Agency), found the experience and knowledge of Palestinian trained combatants compatible with its ruthless tactical repertoire. On the 5 July 1987 the Tamil Tigers conducted their first suicide operation. In the period between 1990 and 2000 the Tamil Tigers had conducted over 168 suicide operations[5].

Prior to the current conflict in Iraq, the LTTE carried out the largest number of suicide operations by any terrorist group. The LTTE transformed suicide operations which terrorists had considered an esteemed tactical approach used exclusively against high-value targets, to a production-line approach. The formation of a standing suicide army known as the Black Tigers is a reflection of the mass-scale production line approach of making the human bomb a common everyday weapon. The LTTE introduced the concept of “soft target suicide operations” that effectively delivered a low-cost high visibility outcome to boost the image of the group. This radically transformed the tactical nature of all future suicide operations globally. Suicide operations were less about the target, and more about building profile and augmenting the image of the group. The LTTE innovated and improved detonation devices and concealment methods contributing significantly to the advancement in the technology used for suicide operations. With the beginning of the second Intifada in Gaza and the West Bank in September 2000, the use of mass-scale “soft target suicide operations” proliferated as part of the tactical repertoire of terrorist groups in the Middle-East. Thereafter from 2004, the Jama Al Tawhid wal Jihad, headed by Sunni cleric Al Zarqawi, which later affiliated itself with the Al Qaeda and conducted the largest number of soft target suicide operations in Iraq.


Kurdish European Network

The LTTE maintained close relations with the Kurdish Support Group in France in the 1990s. The European network of the LTTE was modeled largely on the diaspora support networks operated by the Kurdish groups[6]. The former head of the LTTE international office, Lawrence Thilagar received a special invitation to speak at the inauguration of the Kurdish Parliament in Exile (KPE) on 12 April 1995 in The Hague, Netherlands. It is reported that the close contact between the LTTE and PKK resulted in the LTTE acquiring 11 surface to air missiles of Greek origin from the PKK[7].

Afghanistan and the Taliban
During the period 1998 -2001 the Taliban regime in Afghanistan operated a major weapons procurement operation based at the Ariana Airline office in Sharjah. Much of the military hardware that the Taliban acquired through the Sharjah network was supplied by the infamous Russian arms dealer Victor Bout also known as the Merchant of Death. Victor Bout and his business associate Sanjivan Ruprah have supplied weapons and training to several West African rebel groups and are accused of involvement in the illicit diamond trade[8]. Victor Bout operated an air cargo service at the Sharjah airport known as Air Cess, which together with Ariana Airlines co-handled most of the military deliveries between Sharjah and Afghanistan[9]. It is estimated that the Sharjah network operated 3 to 4 flights daily between Sharjah and Kandahar transporting weapons and supplies to the Taliban[10]. During this period 17km away in Dubai, the LTTE also operated a cargo company known as Otharad Cargo, headed by Daya the younger sibling of Nithi a Canadian based member of the LTTE’s KP Unit. It is suspected that Otharad Cargo acquired several consignments of military hardware as part of consolidated purchase arrangements with the Taliban’s Sharjah network. It was also the function of Otharad Cargo to service the operations of the LTTE shipping fleet in the Gulf region. Officials of an Asian security agency believe Kumaran Pathmanadan (KP) head of the LTTE procurement unit (KP unit) traveled from Bangkok through Karachi to Kabul on 19 May 2001 and had meetings with Taliban officials on matters relating to the Sharjah network.

Information recovered from a Laptop Computer of a LTTE procurement agent now in the custody of a Western country provided detailed information on LTTE activities in Pakistan. The LTTE had registered a front company in Karachi which had procured several consignments of weapons for the LTTE and several other Pakistani groups. A shipment of weapons procured by this front company and en-route to Sri Lankan waters was intercepted by the Sri Lanka Navy and destroyed in September 2007.

Brian Joyce in an article in the Jane’s Intelligence in November 2002 on Terrorist Financing in South Asia states that the LTTE shipping fleet provided logistics support to Harakat-al Mujahideen, a Pakistani militant group with Al Qaeda affiliations to transport a consignment of weapons to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the Philippines[11]. The LTTE used a merchant vessel registered by a front company in Lattakia, Syria until 2002 to service most of the grey/black charters.

Eritrea and Al Qaeda Affiliates
Since the United Nations arms embargo on Eritrea and Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa has evolved into a major hub for the informal arms trade. In opposition to Ethiopian military support to the Transitional Government in Somalia, the Government of Eritrea is accused of providing material support to the Islamist rebels in Somalia led by the Islamic Courts Union (ICU)[12]. The Islamic Courts Union which controls areas in Southern Somalia is a constituent member of the Union of Islam (Al Ittihad al Islamiya) headed by Hassan Dahir Aweys having close affiliations with the Al Qaeda. The Bakaaraha arms market near Irtogte in South Mogadishu is considered the central distribution point for the informal arms trade in the Horn of Africa. A report by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia under Security Council Resolution 1724 (2006) dated 18 July 2007, provides explicit evidence of Eritrean involvement in the transport of weapons to Somalia. The report provides evidence relating to the purchase of cargo aircraft by Eriko Enterprises in Asmara which is believed to be a front company of the Eritrean government to make regular weapons deliveries to Somalia[13]. The same company is also referred to by The London Times in a February 2007 article in which it claims to have evidence that General Tambi, of the Eritrean Defence Forces used Eriko Enterprises to charter several Antonov and Ilyusion transport aircraft from Aerolift Aviation to move large quantities of men and material to Somalia[14]. In addition, the UN report also states that the Eritrean government delivered a consignment of six SA-18 surface-to-air missiles to the Islamic Court Union in Somalia.

Eritrea has emerged as a major transshipment point and sanctuary for key players in the informal arms trade. The LTTE established a presence in Eritrea primarily to operate in the informal arms market. It is believed the LTTE maintains regular interactions with many armed groups including groups affiliated to the Al Qaeda operating in the Eritrean Network. The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee report dated 15 December 2006, explicitly stated that the Government of Eritrea provides direct support to the LTTE[15]. The Eritrean connection is extremely important to the LTTE, in fact LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran sent a personally signed fax to President Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea on 24 May 2006, communicating directly with a Head of State[16]. President Afewerki, prior to the secession of Eritrea from Ethiopia in 1993 led the Eritrea People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) a rebel movement for the independence of Eritrea.

The UN report also indicates that most of the weapons flights to Somalia originate from the port city of Massawa in Eritrea. The report documents several Aerogem Aviation aircraft operated by Fab Air making regular deliveries to Somalia[17]. The LTTE shipping fleet is known to have a presence in several East African ports. In fact, on 23 May 1997, the LTTE vessel MV Limassol took delivery of a consignment of Motars from Zimbabwe Defence Industries at the Port of Beira in Mozambique [18]. The sea access from Massawa port in Eritrea provides convenient shipping facilities for the LTTE to transport weapons to international waters off the coast of Sri Lanka.


MILF and Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines
The LTTE had established a longstanding business relationship with Islamic groups in the Philippines. In 1990s, LTTE procurement agent Dharmakulaseelan was responsible for transferring funds from Canada to the Philippines for the procurement of specialized weapons[19]. Dr. Rohan Gunarantna in an article in the Jane’s Intelligence in July 2001 on Islamist Rebels in the Philippines states that the LTTE sent two Combat Tacticians and Explosive Experts to Southern Philippines to train members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)[20]. In April 2007, Police Supt. Rodolfo Mendoza, of the Philippines Police stated that intelligence reports had alerted the Philippine authorities to several Tamil Tiger members visiting Abu Sayyaf camps in Southern Mindanao[21].

LTTE Activity in the Middle East

Unlike in Europe and North America, LTTE front organizations have not actively engaged in publicly mobilizing the Tamil expatriate community in the Middle East. This was mainly due to the less permissive environment and low tolerance regimes in the region. However, over the last two years LTTE members in Qatar have engaged in regular fundraising events. In November 2007, the LTTE cell in Qatar held a public celebration for LTTE Heroes Day in the Ar-Rayyan area in Doha. The LTTE members are also involved in violent intimidation of dissident Tamil supporters in Qatar. It is alleged that LTTE member Sukasan had brutally murdered a member of the Karuna Group in Sanya, Doha in February 2006 [22]. The LTTE has also established an embryonic cell to promote fundraising and shipping activity in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Conclusion

The links between the Islamist terrorist groups and the LTTE are not driven by ideological compatibility, but by the need to influence factors of pricing and convenience in the informal arms market. In most cases the LTTE has developed links with Islamist groups to organize consolidated purchasing opportunities. The LTTE with an annual budget of US$ 200-300 million, supported by an institutionalized procurement network, diaspora based technical expertise and a shipping fleet is a valued partner to other terrorist groups in negotiating procurement deals. The LTTE has the capacity to provide logistical support and facilitate training to partner entities. The LTTE has used its shipping fleet and technical expertise for the delivery of weapons and transfer of competencies most often driven by financial motives and lucrative commercial opportunities.

International Institute for Counter-Terrorism

Hero’s Progress

by Keerthi Warnakulasuriya

In November 2002, Tamil Tiger chief in an interview with a Tamil Nadu magazine said “I have seen many Prime Ministers, Defence Ministers, Presidents and Defence Chiefs of Sri Lanka, but, all of them had seen only one Prabhakaran.” Prabhakaran was in a position to boast as one President donated him millions to purchase arms while a Defence Secretary presented him with state of the art Desert Eagle pistol and another Prime Minister handed over a tax free high frequency tele communication equipment. Prabhakaran also remembers one funny Defence Secretary coming to meet him with the Army Commander.

The Sri Lankan leaders seen by Prabhakaran never thought of defeating him militarily. But, in 2006, Prabhakaran saw a President and a Defence Secretary of a different mould. Even though Prabhakaran expected to see a Defence Secretary who would call ‘machang’ to Pulidevan and who will take apples to the injured terrorists, his expectations ended as a day dream.

Prabhakaran, came to know the real Defence Secretary and the Army Commander, only when he was driven out of the East and the Vanni Operations began.

In 2007, on his day in November 28th, in his anniversary speech he said threateningly “Even though I destroyed the Sinhala land, they have still not realized what they are in for.” In 2008, November, he himself realized that the Eelam map has changed beyond recognition. The President, the Defence Secretary and the Commanders of the forces had other plans to say enough is enough of this scourge which was the major barrier for the peace and development of the country.

Today, November hero is fighting to defend Kilinochchi and Mullativ, the last of the Eelam land.

Wanni Operation - 07 Dec 2008