State Response to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as an Illicit Power Structure

by Thomas A. Marks and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Tej Pratap Singh Brar, PRISM, National Defense University, Washington, DC, May 24, 2016

CHAP_9 Sri Lanka

Lessons in an Era of Illicit Power Structures

It is challenging, after the short breathing space of five years, to draw lessons from this most vexing case of an illicit power structure challenging a licit power structure that erred.

LTTE was an insurgency that struggled to transcend its origins as a traditional rebellion in order to leverage the new possibilities in a post-Cold War world. This it did, both physically and virtually, integrally linking its struggle to regional and global Tamil communities—the Tamils of southern India and the Sri Lankan Tamil global diaspora, respectively—in such a way that it could retain the strategic advantage long enough to achieve its goal of Eelam. In the process, it became almost legendary for its melding of commitment to destruction with its imagery of a new world emerging. With its suicide bombers and the cyanide capsules worn by its combatants—many of both being women—it set the Sri Lankan state back on its heels time after time.53 Meanwhile, the dictatorial Eelam world it created was hailed for giving a people dignity and freedom, not only driving off the communal Sinhalese oppressors but also, in the process, shattering Tamil bonds of caste and gender inequity.54

The conflict waged by the state, which began as ineffective counterinsurgency and gradually grew to equally ineffective civil war fighting, illustrated another set of lessons. At each stage in the conflict, Sri Lanka struggled to comprehend just what it was involved in—and came up short. Initially, it treated protoinsurgency as emerging terrorism, thus emphasizing kinetic response when it should have been addressing the roots of conflict. Later, having mastered counterinsurgency’s martial facets, it neglected the necessity of a holistic response, resulting in India’s intervention. In the post-Indian context, the emergence of hybrid war—the blending of irregular and regular warfare with criminality and even (in its attempts to use chlorine gas in shells at one point) “WMD (weapons of mass destruction) warfare”—was mistaken for conventional conflict, resulting in devastating government defeats and LTTE’s temporary victory. Finally, in the renewed 2006-9 fighting, a new civil-military team engaged in the functional equivalent of national mobilization and delivered a virtuoso display of integrating strategic, operational, and tactical levels of combat to deliver a knockout punch.

LTTE’s end, when it came, had all the characteristics of the Second World War’s denouement in Berlin or the ashes of Japan’s incinerated cities. Colombo, ecstatic over its triumph, simply could not comprehend that it had again missed the bigger picture: the fundamental shift to an age of “new war” (more recently termed “hybrid warfare” by the world’s militaries), in which powerful advocacy groups sought to make impossible, both practically and conceptually, the “total war” of past eras. It was just such a total war that Sri Lanka had fought. Its warfighting adaptation had been almost completely in the application of kinetic power, without the reforms in human rights and legal components necessary to engage in combat within what has become a global fishbowl. Colombo’s strategists were quite ignorant of (and certainly unprepared for) the corresponding growth of new global norms, notably “R2P” (the responsibility to protect) and the right to intervene, together with the accompanying demands of what has been termed “the liberal peace.” Indeed, it would be difficult to understate the mounting intensity with which both state and nonstate actors sought to slow, even end, Colombo’s final push toward LTTE’s annihilation, or the resulting sense of betrayal that Colombo ultimately felt toward the international community.55

In the events outlined above, a pathway led from the world of traditional war to what has been called “new war,” “postmodern war,” “postheroic war,” or even (though from a different theoretical angle) “fourth-generation warfare.”56 Regardless of terminology, the heart of the strategic matter was that in the post-Cold War global arena, use of force was to be legitimate, discriminating, and secondary to more compelling concerns (e.g., human security). It could be argued that this describes the strategic (and even tactical) requirements of counterinsurgency.

But counterinsurgency balances its kinetic and nonkinetic facets as required for successful mobilization to the extent necessary for victory, whereas advocates of the new approach to warfare see the use of kinetics as itself a symptom of a larger failure.57 To use force to resolve the issue at hand—in this case, a drive for separatism—was to forfeit legitimacy. To add to this the bloodshed and destruction inherent in total war was to cross into criminality, which is precisely what very vocal and active voices asserted in demanding legal actions against the victors following the May 2009 obliteration of Eelam.58

Indeed, if any one characteristic may be seen as central to postmodern war, it is the supremacy of framing and narrative over the tangible imperatives of war. And it was in this area that Sri Lanka found itself thoroughly on the defensive. Colombo’s frame of “victory” was all but overwhelmed by a shrill countering frame of “repression,” and Colombo’s narrative trumpeting a triumph over terrorism was all but swamped by a rival narrative of communal repression and barbarism. Warfare, as traditionally waged, found itself struggling to deal with lawfare: attempts to use new international norms and the law to force cessation of hostilities, intervention by external actors (state and nonstate), and prosecution of key government figures.59 Matters were not eased by what can only be described as the shrill moralizing of both state (particularly the United States and the UK) and nonstate (particularly international human rights groups) critics.

And yet, given the astonishing level of brutality and suffering that Sri Lanka had endured for three decades, its wounded attitude was quite comprehensible, as were the realities that emerged from the major combat that ended only with LTTE’s surrender.

A globalized world has so empowered netwar at the geostrategic-legal level of international relations that it all but compels the waging of conflict in the intangible rather than tangible dimension. 60 Facts on the ground count for far less than facts in the mind,never mind whether those “facts” are true or later prove false. Seeing is no longer believing. Indeed, believing has become seeing, with disabling pressure from a networked world directed against the party judged to be “in the wrong,” that is, the party judged to have forfeited legitimacy.

If we imagine the Chiapas conflict, which inspired the emergence of the netwar concept, ending not in retreat by the Mexican state but in elimination of the Zapatista challenge, Mexico would be in a position not so different from that occupied now by Sri Lanka. It has secured its desired end state of an indivisible Lanka, the land of the Buddha, through achieving the objective of LTTE’s destruction. But its ways (which included not only material but also psychological national mobilization) have been found wanting. Communal chauvinism, goes the critique, provided the fuel that allowed an overhauled war machine to “win,” and democracy itself was collateral damage, along with justice.61 In such an assessment, the reality of an illicit power structure that had done as much as any in the post-World War II era to earn the label “evil” becomes irrelevant.

This, too, may be seen as emblematic of the new age of war. Ultimately, the conflict morphed into one of dueling narratives on the fundamental merits or demerits of Sri Lanka’s democratic, market polity. In such a battle, the increasingly problematic and despicable nature of LTTE’s decision making and actions was irrelevant, as if the very intensity of Colombo’s transgression in “winning ugly” revealed much about Colombo’s structural and moral inadequacy, and rather less concerning LTTE’s evil agency. It is in examining this process that we can draw lessons.

1 This estimate, even if accurate for the Eelam conflict, is surely off the mark when the JVP insurgencies are included. One expert, in fact, has noted that various sources put the number killed in JVP II alone at between 20,000 and 60,000, with 40,000 the most commonly cited figure. See Tom H. J. Hill, “The Deception of Victory: The JVP in Sri Lanka and the Long-Term Dynamics of Rebel Reintegration,” International Peacekeeping 20, no. 3 (June 2013): 357-74.

2 See Harshan Kumarasingham, “The Jewel of the East Yet Has Its Flaws”: The Deceptive Tranquillity Surrounding Sri Lankan Independence,” Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics, Working Paper no. 72, June 2013,

3 See Thomas A. Marks, Maoist Insurgency Since Vietnam (London: Frank Cass, 1996), 174-252; Tej Pratap Brar, “Sri Lanka’s Civil War” (paper presented at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study conference, “Postcolonial Wars: Current Perspectives on the Deferred Violence of Decolonialization,” Oct. 30-31, 2008, Harvard Univ.

4 See John Richardson, Paradise Poisoned: Learning about Conflict, Terrorism and Development from Sri Lanka’s Civil Wars(Kandy, Sri Lanka: International Centre for Ethnic Studies, 2005), 441. On the communities mentioned, see IIyas Ahmed H., “Estate Tamils of Sri Lanka: a Socio-Economic Review,” International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology 6, no. 6 (June 2014): 184-91; Valentine Daniel, Charred Lullabies: Chapters in an Anthropology of Violence (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 1996); Amer Ali, “The Genesis of the Muslim Community in Ceylon (Sri Lanka): A Historical Summary,” Asian Studies 19 (Apr.-Dec. 1981), 65-82.

5 See Geoffrey Powell, The Kandyan Wars: The British Army in Ceylon 1803-18 (Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword, 1973); Channa Wickremesekera, Kandy at War: Indigenous Military Resistance to European Expansion in Sri Lanka 1594-1818 (New Delhi: Manohar, 2004).

6 See A. C. Alles, Insurgency 1971, 3rd ed. (Colombo: Mervyn Mendis, 1976).

7 See Chelvadurai Manogaran, Ethnic Conflict and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka (Honolulu: Univ. of Hawaii Press, 1987), 78-114; Sumantra Bose, Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Cyprus, and Sri Lanka (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 2007), 6-54.

8 See, for example, the mimeographed publication by LTTE’s eventual number two, Anton S. Balasingham, On the Tamil National Question (London: Polytechnic of the South Bank, 1978). On mobilization, see Bryan Pfaffenberger, “Ethnic Conflict and Youth Insurgency in Sri Lanka: The Social Origins of Tamil Separatism,” in Conflict and Peacemaking in Multiethnic Societies, ed. Joseph V. Montville (New York: Lexington, 1991), 241-57; Siri T. Hettige, “Economic Policy, Changing Opportunities for Youth, and the Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka,” in Economy, Culture, and Civil War in Sri Lanka, ed. Deborah Winslow and Michael D. Woost (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 2004), 115-30.

9 The emergency was formally lifted on August 25, 2011. See Stephanie Nolen, “Sri Lanka Announces End of 28-Year State of Emergency,” Globe and Mail, Aug. 25, 2011,

10 Government of Sri Lanka, “Prevention of Terrorism Act,” July 20, 1979,; N. Manoharan, Counterterrorism Legislation in Sri Lanka: Evaluating Efficacy (Washington, DC: East-West Center, 2006).

11 See Stanley J. Tambiah, Leveling Crowds: Ethnonationalist Conflicts and Collective Violence in South Asia (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1996), 82-100.

12 See Sixta Rinehart, Volatile Social Movements and the Origins of Terrorism: The Radicalization of Change (Boulder, CO: Lexington Books, 2013), 109-37.

13 The single best treatment of LTTE is M. R. Narayan Swamy, Tigers of Lanka: From Boys to Guerrillas (Delhi: Konark, 1994). See also M. R. Narayan Swamy, Inside an Elusive Mind: Prabhakaran—the First Profile of the World’s Most Ruthless Guerrilla Leader(Colombo: Vijitha Yapa, 2003).

14 No single work serves as an authoritative source on funding of the Eelam groups (later LTTE alone). Although written well after the events discussed here, a useful reference is Anthony Davis, “Tamil Tiger International,” Jane’s Intelligence Review (Oct. 1996): 469-73. On support provided by Tamils in Canada, see Paul Kaihla, “Banker, Tiger, Soldier, Spy,” Maclean’s, Aug. 5, 1996, 28-32.

15 See Tom Marks, “India Is the Key to Peace in Sri Lanka,” Asian Wall Street Journal, Sept. 1920, 1986, 8. This work involved access to numerous prisoners and captured documentation, supplemented by fieldwork in Tamil Nadu, where members of all groups were quite forthcoming concerning assistance they received from New Delhi and Tamil Nadu State (which was running its own foreign policy of sorts). It was rumored (but known only later) that RAW’s station chief in Madras, K. V. Unnikrishnan, had been compromised by the CIA. For two years until his arrest, he reported on Indian support to LTTE. See Sandeep Unnithan, “Madras Café Brings Back Uncomfortable Memories of the CIA’s Honey Trap,” India Today, Aug. 29, 2013,

16 See G. Palanithurai and K. Mohanasundaram, Dynamics of Tamil Nadu Politics in Sri Lankan Ethnicity (New Delhi: Northern Book Centre, 1993).

17 See Cyril Ranatunga, Adventurous Journey: From Peace to War, Insurgency to Terrorism (Colombo: Vijitha Yapa, 2009).

18 See Tom Marks, “Sri Lanka’s Special Force: Professionalism in a Dirty War,” Soldier of Fortune 13, no. 7 (July 1988): 32-39. For a negative assessment of the KMS role (and the UK’s as well), see the highly skewed (but useful, in parts) Phil Miller, “Britain’s Dirty War against the Tamil People – 1979-2009,” International Human Rights Association, June 2014,

19 See Tamil Nation, “Conflict Resolution: Tamil EelamSri Lanka,” 1998,; P. Venkateshwar Rao, “Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka,” Asian Survey 28, no. 4 (Apr. 1988): 419-36.

20 For the Tamil dimension, see A. Jeyaratnam Wilson, Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism: Its Origins and Development in the 19th and 20th Centuries (London: Hurst, 2000); Chelvadurai Manogaran and Bryan Pfaffenberger, eds., The Sri Lankan Tamils: Ethnicity and Identity (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1994). For the Sinhalese dimension, see Tessa Bartholomeusz, “First Among Equals: Buddhism and the Sri Lankan State,” in Buddhism and Politics in Twentieth-Century Asia, ed. Ian Harris (New York: Continuum, 1999), 173-93.

21 See Patrick Grant, Buddhism and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka (Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 2009); Tessa J. Bartholomeusz, In Defense of Dharma: Just-War Ideology in Buddhist Sri Lanka (New York: Routledge/Curzon, 2002). On the Marxist ideology, see Satchi Ponnambalam, Sri Lanka: The National Question and the Tamil Liberation Struggle (London: Zed Books, 1983).

22 On Tamil communalism, see Thomas Marks, “People’s War in Sri Lanka: Insurgency and Counterinsurgency,” Issues & Studies22, no. 8 (Aug. 1986): 63-100.

23 See Thomas Marks, “Counterinsurgency and Operational Art,” Low Intensity Conflict & Law Enforcement 13, no. 3 (Winter 2005): 168-211.

24 See R. Ramasubramanian, Suicide Terrorism in Sri Lanka (New Delhi: Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, 2004); Mia Bloom, Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2005), 45-75.

25 See Channa Wickremesekara, “Operation Liberation: 25 Years On,” Groundviews, May 28, 2012,

26 It is worth noting that this chapter’s authors met as a consequence of the IPKF deployment, when both were billeted in Jaffna Fort: Brar as commanding officer of the IPKF battalion headquartered there, and Marks as a journalist embedded with the Sri Lankan partner battalion in the same location. Brar became a key interface with LTTE command personalities—a relationship that continued until the outbreak of hostilities. See Thomas Marks, “Sri Lankan Minefield: Gandhi’s Troops Fail to Keep the Peace,” Soldier of Fortune 13, no. 3 (March 1988): 36-45, 74-75; Thomas Marks, “Handling Snakes and Unfriendly Troops in Sri Lanka,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sept. 22, 1987, A-17.

27 See Rajan Hoole, Daya Somasundaram, K. Sritharan, and Rajani Thiranagama, The Broken Palmyra: The Tamil Crisis in Sri Lanka – An Insider Account (Claremont, CA: Sri Lanka Studies Institute, 1990).

28 See Rohan Gunaratna, Sri Lanka: A Lost Revolution? The Inside Story of the JVP (Kandy, Sri Lanka: Institute of Fundamental Studies, 1990); C. A. Chandraprema, Sri Lanka: The Years of Terror – The JVP Insurrection 1987-1989 (Colombo: Lake House Bookshop, 1991).

29 See Rohan Gunaratna, Indian Intervention in Sri Lanka: The Role of India’s Intelligence Agencies (Colombo: South Asian Network on Conflict Research, 1993). For the Indian perspective, see Shankar Bhaduri and Afsir Karim, The Sri Lankan Crisis (New Delhi: Lancer International, 1990).

30 Some sources put the number of police murdered as high as 600.

31 For battlefield photos, see Thomas Marks, “Sri Lanka: Reform, Revolution or Ruin?” Soldier of Fortune 21, no. 6 (June 1996), 35-39. Forces in the camp numbered about 600, and attackers numbered in the thousands (a figure of 5,000 is often used). Lance Corporal Gamini Kularatne posthumously became the first recipient of Sri Lanka’s highest award for gallantry, the Parama Weera Vibhushanaya, for his actions in assaulting the armored bulldozer that had broken through the defenses on July 14, 1991.

32 Predictably, it is the Rajiv assassination that has exercised international attention. He was, after all, apparently on the verge of again becoming prime minister in the Indian election campaign, which created the opportunity for his targeting. See Rajeev Sharma, Beyond the Tigers: Tracking Rajiv Gandhi’s Assassination (New Delhi: Kaveri Books, 2013). See also the fictional film The Terrorist, directed by Santosh Sivan (1994). The assassination (and a cameo for the Premadasa killing) serves as the backdrop for the film Madras Cafe, directed by Shoojit Sircar (2013), which, though widely acclaimed, was banned in Tamil Nadu for (ironically) its accurate portrayal of the Madras-supported LTTE.

33 Author (Marks) interview with Dingiri Banda Wijetunga, Aug. 15, 1991, Colombo. Wijetunga was from the Kandy area, the heartland of Sinhalese nationalism.

34 See Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence, Humanitarian Operation Factual Analysis July 2006-May 2009 (Colombo: 2011), 21, The two aircraft lost on April 28 and 29, 1995, in the vicinity of Palali Air Base in Jaffna, were Avro transports carrying soldiers on leave; ninety-seven died. In July 1995, an FMA IA 58 Pucará providing close air support was also shot down, its pilot lost. Several years later, on September 29, 1998, Lionair Flight 602, using an Antonov An-24RV, was downed, apparently by an LTTE surface-to-air missile, killing all fifty-five people aboard. Though the missile type has not been stipulated, as early as mid-1987, author Marks examined an SA-7 shoulder-fired missile manual (translated into Tamil) in an LTTE safe house in Jaffna.

35 Author (Marks) interviews, including a July 1995 series of meetings with Anuruddha Ratwatte, Colombo.

36 Author (Marks) interviews with the assessment authors before their deployment, July 1994, Honolulu. As reflected in the Sri Lankan copy of the Special Operations Command Pacific assessment, dated July 20, 1994, U.S. involvement was focused on training and support functions.

37 After moving quickly to designate LTTE as an FTO, Washington was much slower to ban its various fundraising fronts, such as the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, named a specially designated global terrorist entity under Executive Order 13224 on November 15, 2007. The Maryland-based Tamil Foundation was not banned (under the same authority) until February 11, 2009.

38 Author (Marks) interview with MPRI personnel, Apr. 12, 1996, Alexandria, VA.

39 Precise reasons for Ratwatte’s removal were unstated. Besides the operational disaster, he was implicated in a series of corruption scandals (still under investigation at the time of his death) and accused of death squad involvement (of which he was acquitted in January 2006). On the corruption charges, see Frederica Jansz, “The Crooked General,” Sunday Leader, Sept. 1, 2002,; Frederica Jansz, “Anuruddha Ratwatte Corruption Case Re-Opened,” Sunday Leader, July 18, 2010, On the murder charges, see BBC Sinhala, “Ratwatte Acquitted on Murder Case,” Jan. 20, 2006,

40 See Kaihla, “Banker, Tiger, Soldier, Spy”; Nomi Morris, “The Canadian Connection: Sri Lanka Moves to Crush Tamil Rebels at Home and Abroad,” Maclean’s, Nov. 27, 1995, 28-29.

41 Like the United States, after proscribing LTTE, Canada was slower to move against its front organizations. The important fundraising group World Tamil Movement, for example, was not banned until June 2008. In all cases, LTTE supporters vehemently opposed such proscription. On the worldview of diaspora members who championed LTTE as the authentic representative of the Tamil people, see Øivind Fuglerud, Life on the Outside: The Tamil Diaspora and Long-Distance Nationalism (London: Pluto Press, 1999).

42 See G. H. Peiris, Twilight of the Tigers: Peace Efforts and Power Struggles in Sri Lanka (New Delhi: Oxford Univ. Press, 2009).

43 See BBC News, “Full Text: Tamil Tiger Proposals,” Nov. 1, 2003,; Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, “Sri Lanka Interim Self-Governing Authority: A Critical Assessment,” Economic and Political Weekly 38, no. 48 (Nov.29-Dec. 5, 2003): 5038-40,

44 See D. B. S. Jeyaraj, “Tiger vs. Tiger: Tenth Anniversary of Revolt Led by Eastern LTTE Leader ‘Col’ Karuna,” Daily Mirror, Apr. 12, 2014,; Ajit Kumar Singh, “Endgame in Sri Lanka,” Faultlines 20 (2011): 131-70.

45 See Zachariah Mampilly, “A Marriage of Inconvenience: Tsunami Aid and the Unraveling of the LTTE and the GoSL’s Complex Dependency,” Civil Wars 11, no. 3 (Sept. 2009): 302-20; Alan Keenan, “Building the Conflict Back Better: The Politics of Tsunami Relief and Reconstruction in Sri Lanka,” in Tsunami Recovery in Sri Lanka: Ethnic and Regional Dimensions, ed. Dennis B. McGilvray and Michele R. Gamburd, (New York: Routledge, 2010), 17-39.

46 See Kasun Ubayasiri, “An Illusive Leader’s Annual Speech,” Tamil Nation, 2006,

47 See Gunnar Søbø, Jonathan Goodhand, Bart Klem, Ada Elisabeth Nissen, and Hilde Selbervik, Pawns of Peace: Evaluation of Norwegian Peace Efforts in Sri Lanka, 1997-2009 (Oslo: Norad, 2011),; Kristine Höglund and Isak Svensson, “Mediating between Tigers and Lions: Norwegian Peace Diplomacy in Sri Lanka’s Civil War,” in War and Peace in Transition: Changing Roles of External Actors, ed. Karin Aggestam and Annika Björkdahl (Lund, Sweden: Nordic Academic Press, 2009), 147-69; Maria Groeneveld-Savisaar and Siniša Vuković, “Terror, Muscle, and Negotiation: Failure of Multiparty Mediation in Sri Lanka,” in Engaging Extremists: Trade-Offs, Timing, and Diplomacy, ed. I. William Zartman and Guy Olivier Faure (Washington, DC: USIP Press, 2011), 105-35.

48 See C. A. Chandraprema, Gōta’s War: The Crushing of Tamil Tiger Terrorism in Sri Lanka (self-published, 2012 [available at]). For a discussion of mobilization of manpower (Sri Lanka never had to resort to a draft), see Michele Ruth Gamburd, “The Economics of Enlisting: A Village View of Armed Service,” in Winslow and Woost, Economy, Culture, and Civil War in Sri Lanka, 151-67.

49 Author’s (Marks) road counts of vehicles and individuals, and examination of the relevant logs kept at major government checkpoints ringing LTTE-held areas, consistently revealed flight away from Tamil Eelam and toward government-held areas—thus, toward relative safety. Efforts to conduct longitudinal studies on such internally-displaced-persons populations achieved mixed success. See H. L. Seneviratne and Maria Stavropoulou, “Sri Lanka’s Vicious Circle of Displacement,” in The Forsaken People: Case Studies of the Internally Displaced, ed. Roberta Cohen and Francis M. Deng (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1998), 359-98.

50 See Cathrine Brun and Nicholas Van Hear, “Shifting between the Local and Transnational: Space, Power and Politics in War-torn Sri Lanka,” in Trysts with Democracy: Political Practice in South Asia, ed. Stig Madsen, Kenneth Bo Nielsen, and Uwe Skoda (London: Anthem Press, 2011), 239-60.

51 See Ivan Welch, “Infantry Innovations in Insurgencies: Sri Lanka’s Experience,” Infantry (MayJune 2013): 28-31; Daily FT, “General Sarath Fonseka Reveals Untold Story of Eelam War IV,” Mar. 10, 2015,; K. M. de Silva, Sri Lanka and the Defeat of the LTTE (New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2012); Ahmed S. Hashim, When Counterinsurgency Wins: Sri Lanka’s Defeat of the Tamil Tigers (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).

52 See S. E. Selvadurai and M. L. R. Smith, “Black Tigers, Bronze Lotus: The Evolution and Dynamics of Sri Lanka’s Strategies of Dirty War,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 36, no. 7 (2013): 547-72; M. L. R. Smith and Sophie Roberts, “War in the Gray: Exploring the Concept of Dirty War,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 31, no. 5 (2008): 377-98.

53 See Tamara Herath, Women in Terrorism: Case of the LTTE (New Delhi: Sage, 2012).

54 See N. Malathy, A Fleeting Moment in my Country: The Last Years of the LTTE De-Facto State (Atlanta: Clear Day Books, 2012).

55 See Damien Kingsbury, Sri Lanka and the Responsibility to Protect: Politics, Ethnicity and Genocide (New York: Routledge, 2012); David Lewis, “The Failure of a Liberal Peace: Sri Lanka’s Counter-insurgency in Global Perspective,” Conflict, Security & Development 10, no. 5 (Nov. 2010): 647-71.

56 See Mats Berdal, “The ‘New Wars’ Thesis Revisited,” in The Changing Character of War, ed. Hew Strachan and Sibylle Scheipers (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2011), 109-33; Paul Richards, “New War: An Ethnographic Approach,” in No Peace No War: An Anthropology of Contemporary Armed Conflicts, ed. Paul Richards (Athens, OH: Ohio Univ. Press, 2005), 1-21.

57 See M. L. R. Smith and David Martin Jones, The Political Impossibility of Modern Counterinsurgency (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2015).

58 See, for example, International Crisis Group (ICG), “War Crimes in Sri Lanka,” ICG Asia Report no. 191, May 17, 2010; Frances Harrison, Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden War (London: Portobello Books, 2012).

59 “Lawfare” is most often applied to the efforts of substate actors, both legal and illegal, to use the law as a weapon to impose their will on others; hence the play on “warfare.” A growing body of discussion and scholarship is available on the topic, including a blog (jointly sponsored by the Lawfare Institute and Brookings) that adopts the more expansive definition: the use of law as a weapon of war (irrespective of user). See Lawfare Institute and Brookings, “Hard National Security Choices,” 2015,; Tom Marks, “Lawfare’s Role in Irregular Conflict,” inFocus 4, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 12-14.

60 See John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, The Advent of Netwar (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1996); David Ronfeldt, John Arquilla, Graham E. Fuller, and Melissa Fuller, The Zapatista Social Netwar in Chiapas (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1998).

61 See Gordon Weiss, The Cage: The Fight for Sri Lanka and the Last Days of the Tamil Tigers (London: Bodley Head, 2011).


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