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Shifting the Narrative on the War on Terrorism due to Little Sri Lanka: Part 6 Prohibit Voting

June 20, 2011

Shifting the Narrative on the War on Terrorism due to Little Sri Lanka: Part 6 Prohibit Voting

First published May 26th 2009 10:06

LTTE prohibit voting: The fourth crucial mistake by the LTTE Rebels.

As late as 2006 the LTTE had almost everything that was stated in their manifesto. They controlled one third of the land in Sri Lanka and the government forces appeared to be powerless to stop them. The after effects of the Tsunami had left the nation reeling under a heaving burden. 30,000 people had been killed in a matter of minutes and millions were left homeless. For once there was a problem that appeared to be bigger than the Civil War. It was a human catastrophe that swept around the entire island showing no mercy for who it killed. Not only were government controlled areas hit but so too were LTTE (Tamil Tiger) areas. For several weeks it was rumoured that the LTTE leader was washed out to sea and drowned. The rumour proved to be false leaving any hope of Tsunami induced end to the war as little more than a dream.

However the disaster had precipitated an opportunity for Norway to broker a ceasefire between the sides as long as certain conditions were met. One of those conditions was to allow the Tamils living in LTTE controlled areas to vote in elections. The other was to look at autonomy of the areas controlled by the LTTE. A complete defeat of the LTTE seemed impossible, most because the war had been going for so long, and so compromise that would facilitate peace would be the next best thing.

The offering on the table by the government at that time was a version of federalism where you would have two states in one nation. The proposal was popular in international circle where the LTTE were deemed as impossible to defeat and also in other circles who considered a two state solution as justified. All that was required for the plan to be accepted was for the serving Sri Lankan Government to win power and for the LTTE to show goodwill by allowing elections to take place in their territory.

At this point the LTTE were able to adopt a legitimate veneer to their pseudo state of Eelam. The capital of Kilinochchi was built up to represent what the new state would look like. NGO’s and international journalists were invited to be taken on tour of the roads and offices. All the major aid organizations had offices and representatives in Kilinochchi. The LTTE had its own police force, taxes and traffic rules. They even had their own courts and judges. They were establishing all the trapping of a state within a state. With so many prominent people visiting what could possibly go wrong?

When the federal elections came Prabhakaran broke his promise to allow the Tamils living in his pseudo state the right to vote. The order went out that anyone who voted would be shot. Prabhakaran had no interest in a federal style of government under the nation of Sri Lanka. He wanted a full independent nation called Eelam and it was a demand that cost the LTTE dearly.

Captured LTTE arms

By banning Tamils in LTTE territory from voting Prabhakaran changed the whole dynamic of the election outcome. Had he allowed the people to vote then they would most likely favour the standing government because it was willing to offer them a chance at statehood. Instead he removed crucial votes from the process and that caused a change of government from one that favoured negotiating with the LTTE to one that wanted to confront them.

The true irony of the last election is that Prabhakaran was the one who unintentionally engineered his own demise. When Mahindra came to power he initially rattle a lot of sabres but did little else. Politicians promising to crush the LTTE had come before and all had failed. Only after the LTTE cut off the water flow to the southern farmland did they decide to take action. It was the excuse that Mahindra wanted and he was able to use this issue to go forward with his mandate to crush the LTTE once and for all.

President Mahindra Rajapakse

There is a lot of speculation as to why Prabhakaran ignored this once in a lifetime offer for statehood. Yet the underlying motive always points to the desire for an independent Nation called Eelam. Instead of taking second best Prabhakaran failed to read the times and presumed that he could indeed crush another counter insurgence. He may have seen Rajapakse’s threat as being no different than the litany of idol threats over the past 25 years.

However what had protected the LTTE was not its battle field prowess so much as the corruption of the Sri Lankan governments over those years. The Civil War was a football that could be kicked about and solving it was in many ways detrimental to many careers. What changed this time was that the Sri Lankan Armed Forces were allowed to do their job without political interference. It was a change that the LTTE did not see coming.

More than any mistake this last one of not letting Tamils in the LTTE areas vote caused their own demise. Had Prabhakaran been willing to make a deal and accept a federal autonomous state then he might be toasting his own victory instead of lying dead with top of his head missing. Inflexible and arrogant he created the problem that no solution. There was no option left but to fight and when it actually came down to real fight the LTTE suddenly fell apart. Prabhakaran would have lived long enough to see his entire empire crumble before his eyes, and may have known that his own family was killed before realized that he had failed. Such is the arrogance of a fanatic.

Prabhakaran would have seen his whole empire crumble before he died. Ironically he caused it to collapse.

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