Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Anticipatory Self-Defense

A Modest Assessment in Light of Peace Talks

by Fr. Chandi Sinnathurai, January 14, 2006

One would think the package from the de facto state would categorically state the sentiments of the Tamils -- this conflict cannot and will not be solved by adhering to the unitary constitution of Sri Lanka. That is the historical fact and the crux of the fundamental grievance of the Tamil people. Alternate models of governance including a two-state solution will have to be genuinely explored as a primary building block to peace in the region. 

The US is very much like the ‘benevolent’ Wizard of Oz.  The Sri Lankan conflict have been led, since the September 2002 Oslo-initiated Ceasefire Agreement (CFA), down the proverbial “Yellow Brick Road” in order to engage in the so-called peace negotiations. 

All along in this process the Tamils have had a sneaking feeling that the Wizard of Oz is behind the curtains pulling the strings in order that the end result might calibrate with a geo-political grand design.  Now that the CFA has almost turned into a Scarecrow, the peace process, like the Tin Man, is in desperate need of oiling. The Lanka Lion, which unfortunately has no moral courage, has “entertained” the lip-synching of Oz.

The ‘mini me’ Oz has roared warnings against the Tamils [Please refer Appendix I]. This, of course, reflects badly on the Executive Presidency of Sri Lanka. The innocent Tamil Dorothy, however, with the help of her so-called “vernacular of the peasantry” has managed this time round to lift the curtain of duplicity. Lo and behold, the wonderful Wizard of Oz is caught red-handed pulling the strings on the contraption called ‘democracy’ – the empire of Oz reigns by threat and intimidation! It seems nevertheless such wizardry has not brought the desired effect – at least on the dispossessed Tamils – in which we include the hill-country Tamils and Tamil-speaking communities. (Please refer to Appendices II – III).

Let’s freeze the image of the allegory; which of course helps us to imagine the context. Against this backdrop, we will now invoke the principle of preemption to the current situation of State aggression. 

The principal axis of our argument is that the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) has a dual duty to perform:

a) As a sole representative movement of the dispossessed Tamils, they have a moral obligation to the Tamil nation to preserve their rights.

b) As the sole military system of the Tamils, the Tigers have the right to self-defense and, moreover, the right to protect the Tamil homeland and its people.

The fact of the matter is that the Tamil Tigers are not trying to encroach into the Sinhalese territory, nor are they plotting to take over the whole island. The primary objective of the Tigers is to recover the lost sovereignty of the Tamils. We must note that the Tamil Tigers are motivated by practical and tactical considerations and their strategy is solely focused against military targets. The Sri Lanka Forces, on the other hand, have constantly targeted the non-combatant Tamil civilian population in a conscious strategy. 

The doctrine of preemption is not a new concept.  It has been used in the past by the US and other Western powers.  They have employed such strategy to eradicate threats that have been deemed “imminent.”  It is commonly termed the principle of “anticipatory self-defense.” The Bush administration invoked this principle, as the world knows, in the run up to the recent Iraq war.  The CIA invented a “fact” called the WMD threat as a pretext to capture Iraq.

Herein below some of the historical cases on preemptive attacks for consideration:

  • British attack on USS Caroline (1837)
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
  •  The Six-Day War (1967)
  • The Israeli bombardment of the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak (1982)
  • The cruise missile strikes on Sudan and Afghanistan (1998)
  • Kosovo (1999)
  • Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan (2001)

In all of these attacks the predominant principle was self-preservation and immediate eradication of threat – perceived or real. 

The SL forces have killed, abducted and raped many Tamil civilians and attacked Tiger camps in spite of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA). As pointed out earlier, one would argue that the Tigers, in the present sliding-into-war context, are hard pushed by circumstances to potentially initiate preemptive attacks on Sri Lanka forces / hard targets purely on the basis of very real threat. They could invoke the right to self-defense including the protection of homeland and its civil society.  Prudence on the part of the Tigers, one hopes, is restraining from such strikes. 

The Tamil Tigers have the right to invoke the principle of self-defense judiciously.  In order to legitimize preemptive strikes, the Tigers no doubt have an obligation to abide by international law and precedent.  Furthermore, such actions based on protection of one’s civil society would, in light of primacy of reason, legitimize the Tamil struggle’s moral and ethical standing internationally. The conflict is not between a legitimate army and a hit-and-run guerilla force any more. On the contrary, the conflict is arguably between two legitimate standing armies: Tamil Eelam and Sri Lanka. One would therefore assume, given the circumstances, it is perfectly understandable should the Tigers be contemplating more on the logic of preemptive strikes rather than retaliation.  Unfortunately, such is the hard truth of the gruesome reality of State terror.

At this point one would do well to remind ourselves of the Bush Doctrine’s 3 core elements: 1) Prevention 2) Preemption 3) Defense.

Having reached the breaking-point on prevention of open war via the CFA and a duplicitous peace process, the Tamil Tigers would find themselves, no doubt, focusing mainly on preemption and defense.  The last minute dash for peace by the international community does not, unfortunately, help the civilian populace, particularly in the NorthEast Tamil territories.

The SLMM [Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission] have reported CFA breaches from both sides.  Having said that, we must add, on the 14th of January 2006, the SLMM decided to vacate their offices in the Eastern city of Batticaloa, [and also possibly from Trincomalee] owing to an attack on them perpetrated by government-sponsored paramilitary forces.  If such an attack is possible on an international body, one is only left to imagine what sort of danger the local Tamils are left to face at the hands of such monstrous forces!

The Sinhala state cunningly utilized the CFA period and did the following two damaging things:

1) It engaged in a covert war using the SL Military Intelligence and the splinter Paramilitary and renegade mercenary groups. By employing this strategy, the State has successfully silenced most of the Tamil public intellectuals and opinion makers, especially in the East: Newspaper and broadcast reporters, journalists, human rights activists and Tamil parliamentarians.

2) It went behind the backs of the Tamils and tried to convince the West that the Tigers are a bunch of terrorists [in order to include them in the international proscription list] and therefore the propaganda was that peace is impossible owing to a carefully crafted “no-partner myth.”  The West, in its fatal obsession with terrorism, swallowed the myth.  Colombo, with the hiring of sophisticated PR firms, convinced the Western power brokers that the equation is therefore unreliable. 

In order to continue their corporate investments and development exploits in “that part of the world,” the West needs stability in the region! So naturally, the unanimous chorus in support for the peace process was purely a mercantile decision.  Human rights or self-determination of the Tamils are, of course, less of a priority.

For the peace process to genuinely yield fruit, it is only possible by taking a firmer stance to expose the State diplomacy of obfuscation. The de facto Tamil state officials could be assertive in representing the Tamil public opinion by engaging in diplomacy by public declaration with the foreign powers including the US proxy in the region - India.  

In order to take the initiative in a clear-cut peace initiative: LTTE officials might be presenting to the UN via the peace interlocutor a comprehensive peace-package. The UN is bound by moral obligation, if not anything else, to a people who are struggling for their UN-recognized self-determination and, therefore, cannot be seen to be showing total disregard to such a move for peace.

One would think the package from the de facto state would categorically state the sentiments of the Tamils -- this conflict cannot and will not be solved by adhering to the unitary constitution of Sri Lanka. That is the historical fact and the crux of the fundamental grievance of Tamil people. Alternate models of governance, including a two-state solution, will have to be genuinely explored as a primary building block to peace in the region within a specified time-frame.  Decolonization of traditional homelands and withdrawal of state forces have to be part of the deal without any conditions. Pussy footing around the periphery of the central issue has yielded nothing but blood, sweat and tears to the wounded Tamil nation. Lest we forget, it is no hyperbolical statement to say that the Tamils have endured for over half-a-century the use of WMDs: ‘weapons of mass slaughter and destruction’.

This writer would not totally exclude the opinion that peace processes are a good thing. The ones who hold such view might be right, but their explanation is not yet convincing.  Such processes might include a pile of saccharine tablets and insufferable rightness. However, my contention is that these talks hardly ever translate into tangible results, nor change one iota the appalling conditions in which especially the poor and the destitute masses are caught up.  Tamil Eelam

The Tamils have designated Trincomalee [Tirukkonaimalai] as Tamil Eelam’s capital.  It is indeed their historical homeland. Being a famous port city it will no doubt be an economic engine. Should there be an Eelam War IV the Tigers would be geared to reclaim the port city. By reading the signs none would be surprised, in the event of wresting control of Trincomalee, the resurgence of the people would exert pressure on the Tamil Tigers to not hesitate to unilaterally declare the state of Tamil Eelam.

It is worth noting here the words of the late Professor Wilson, a widely-respected Political Scientist and a life-time observer of Ceylon / Sri Lanka politics:

“When partition does take place it will be based on a unilateral declaration of independence and not with the consent of India”

(A. J .Wilson, The Break Up of Sri Lanka, University of Honolulu Press, 1988).

The peace-interlocutors will need to take seriously into account that the ground reality suggests that, without a viable Tamil Eelam, there can be no viable peace.  No amount of Oslo Accords without this can assure peace with dignity to the Tamils.  Many politically astute Tamils, knowing the Sinhala State's sectarian mind-set, would therefore view the peace talks as nothing but a Pummathu [Puppet show].

Tamils ought to resist armed occupation by the Sinhalese and categorically refuse to be “citizens of an occupied country.”

A right to self determination is meaningless without a remedy; without a reasonable probability of achieving its ends.  The million dollar question nevertheless is whether the Oslo-inspired peace process would guarantee to the Tamils their self-determination.  Thus far all efforts of dialogue has proved to be nothing but – dialogue des sourds (Conversation between the deaf).  The following are historical examples of duplicity:

·        The Bandaranaike–Chelvanayakam Pact - 1957

·        The Dudley Senanayake–Chelvanayakam Pact - 1965

·        The Vaddukottai Resolution - May 14, 1976

·        The Indo- Lanka Accord – July 29, 1987

·        The Parliamentary Select Committee Report – November 12, 1993

·        Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) Devolution Proposals – August 3, 1995

·        GoSL Devolution Proposals – January 16, 1996

·        The Draft Constitution of 2000

·        Agreement on a Ceasefire between the GoSL and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – February 16, 2002

·        The Oluvil Declaration – April 13, 2002

·        The Oslo Declaration – December 5, 2002

·        A proposal made by the GoSL to set up a Provincial Administrative Structure with the option available to the Muslim community to place its own proposal for discussion – July 20, 2003

·        The ISGA proposal put forward by the LTTE – October 31, 2003

·         Memorandum of Understanding for the Establishment of a Post–Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS ) – June 27, 2005

The Tamils ought to be wary of any 'road map' to peace.  It could very well be a trip to nowhere – like the Yellow Brick Road.  In the end, it is always the Tamil Tigers who get tagged as the bad guys; and the Tamil community apportioned the derision of being obstructionist!

Hence, this writer has a dim view of the current peace process.

We would therefore conclude that the over-riding principle of self-f-determination to the Tamils could be rightfully exercised in the current hostile climate by strategically invoking the principle of preemption – which of course is essentially anticipatory self-defense. Your guess of what will actually happen is as good as mine.  Yes, there is, of course, plenty of historical precedence set by “our” wonderful wizard of Oz. There are compelling reasons to be over the rainbow!

Principally, anticipatory self-defense should also be the Tamils’ moral right.

Reverend Chandi Sinnathuarai currently residing in Thondaimannaaru, Tamil Eelam; in order to be engaged in contemplation of the broken Palmyras (Borassus Flabellifer) resulting from eco-terror perpetrated by the Sri Lanka Forces.




US gives tough warning to LTTE

By Poorna Rodrigo

In the aftermath of a spate of killings in the North-East and fears of war, US Ambassador Jeffrey Lunstead yesterday warned the LTTE that if it chose to abandon the search for peace, the Sri Lankan military would emerge “stronger, more determined and capable”.

Addressing a luncheon hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka and attended by top business leaders, he said US military assistance to Sri Lanka would continue but was quick to add that such assistance did not mean the US feared that war might erupt.

“We want to make it clear. The LTTE will face a stronger, more capable and more determined Sri Lankan military. We want the cost of a return to war to be high,” he said.

The strong warning came a day after President Mahinda Rajapakse met the envoys of the Tokyo donor conference co-chairs—the US, the EU, Japan and Norway—to brief them on the crisis situation and reassure that the government would act with restraint.

The ambassador said US military training and assistance programmes, including efforts to help with counter-terrorism initiatives and block illegal financial transactions, would help to protect the people and defend Sri Lanka’s interests.

Answering a query whether he foresaw the possibility of the country being plunged back to war, the ambassador said the US hoped the peace process would hold despite the regular ceasefire violations.

“Let me make it clear. Our military assistance is not given because we anticipate or fear a return to hostilities,” Mr. Lunstead said. “We want peace. We support peace. And we will stand with the people of Sri Lanka who desire peace,” he stressed.

The ambassador praised the government’s restraint in the face of provocative attacks by the LTTE.

He called upon the LTTE to take part in the development of the country but stressed the rebels must renounce terrorism “in word and deed and become responsible participants in Sri Lanka’s future”.

The ambassador reiterated the US would fully support a peaceful solution to the ethnic conflict within unified Sri Lanka.Hitting out hard at the LTTE leadership, the ambassador questioned their qualities and motives when they continued to pursue violence even when the benefits of peace were obvious”.

“What kind of leaders block their people from realising their most fundamental democratic aspirations? What kind of leaders allow their people to suffer from lack of investment and industry?” he asked.

The US envoy called upon both government and the LTTE to resume peace talks immediately but refused to comment on the dispute between the two parties regarding the venue for such talks.

He called on the business community to take a “binding interest” in the peaceprocess since peace and the economy were inevitably inter-related.

“You need to take an active role in both promoting the process and educating the country about the benefits of its success or the consequence of its failure,” he said.

[Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka, January 11, 2006]


January 10, 2006 


His Excellency Jeffrey Lunstead
US Ambassador for Sri Lanka

Your Excellency

Your outburst against the LTTE is unwarranted, uncalled for and totally biased. You seem to be oblivious by design or through inadvertence to the ground situation in the Northeast.

You have held out a threat that “if the Tigers chose to "abandon peace," they will face a "stronger, more capable and more determined" Sri Lankan military.” No doubt this will be sweet music and will certainly embolden the racist Sinhala government! When a superpower like US holds threat to a small nation trying to shake off the hegemonic rule of the Sinhalese we have no choice but to stomach it!

Thamil Nation is a small Nation, but a proud Nation. We are proud of our 2,500 years history, language and civilization. The language we speak is 2500 years old and our Thamil grammar treatise is 2,300 years old! When the Westerners were jumping from tree to tree the Thamils were enjoying a civilization far superior to Greeks and Romans!

I don’t want to sound xenophobic but just a reminder since you have threatened to teach us a lesson just like you are teaching the poor Iraqis!

You seem to feign ignorance of the fact that President Mahinda Rajapakse came to power promising to jettison the federal model, concept of Homeland, self-determination, expel or curtail Norway’s role as the facilitator. In other words Mahinda Rajapakse showed his back to the Oslo Declaration and put the clock 50 years back to the Bandaranaike era! 

You claim “"Through our military training and assistance programs, including efforts to help with counterterrorism initiatives and block illegal financial transactions, we are helping to shape the ability of the Sri Lankan Government to protect its people and defend its interests" but  Your Excellency which people you are referring to? It cannot be Thamil people since more than 1,000 families have fled from Sinhala army controlled Jaffna to LTTE controlled Vanni during the last one week!

Your Excellency either you are suffering from selected amnesia or feigning ignorance of the following killings, rape, etc committed by the Sinhala occupation army since Mahinda Rajapakse came to power!

(1)   The rape and murder of 19 years old  Thamil girl  Eliyathamby  Tharshini on December 16, 2005 by Sri Lanka naval personnel at Pungudutivu which has deeply wounded the psyche of the Thamil women.

(2)   The dastardly murder of Joseph Pararajasingham, M.P. on December 25, 2005 at St. Mary’s Church while attending midnight mass by Sri Lankan army intelligence and/or para-military groups.

(3)   The shooting of 5 innocent Thamil students on January 02, 2006 at Trincomalee by a Special Task Force dispatched by defence advisor H.M.G.B. Kotakadeniya, a notorious racist and stalwart of the Jathika Hela Urumaya.

(4)   The daily arrests, cordon and search operations, extra-judicial killings, assaults, sexual harassment and disappearances by the Sinhala army

As I said at the beginning Thamil Nation is a small Nation but a proud Nation. If a super power wants to exterminate us so be it!  But our people will not die kneeling, they shall die standing!

Yours sincerely


Source: Thamil Vaddam Internet News Group



His Excellency Jeffrey Lunstead
 US Ambassador for Sri Lanka

 January 11, 2006

 Your Excellency,
 I am totally disappointed to note your Excellency's address to the American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka Monday January 9th, 2006.  Your Excellency  made reference to Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE), if LTTE choose to abandon the peace talk that LTTE will face "stronger, more capable and more determined" Sri Lankan military.
 His Excellency's urge on the LTTE to abide the peace process but not the Sri Lankan hawkish state rulers and its armed forces shows unfair treatment towards the Tamils. By indirectly implying that you and the US government will help the Sri Lankan Military, Sri Lankan hawkish rulers and its armed forces will use the excuse to rampage on Tamils to suppress their legitimate voice in their pursuit of longstanding freedom struggle.
 It look to me as if your Excellency is another casualty of the well oiled PR machines of Sri Lankan State to come up with the one sided threat to the

The recent increase of brutal killings, rapes, harassments, and assaults of Tamil civilians were carried out by Sri Lankan state armed forces with the
 aim of silencing Tamil people in their legitimate struggle for freedom and dignity.
 Should you closely monitor the situation in Sri Lankan, the state rulers and armed forces are on rampage against Tamils in NorthEast and violating
 the CFA with impunity as they are gang raping, murdering, assaulting and harassing Tamil civilians almost every day for the last few weeks. I would like
 to draw your attention to few of the horrific rapes, murders, assaults, mass arrests and disappearances committed by state forces within space of last fifty days.
  a) A young woman Miss.Ilayathambi Tharshini in Jaffna gang raped and murdered by Sri Lankan Navy personnel on December 16,2005.
 b). Mr.Joseph Pararajasingham MP, Executive member of the commonwealth Parliamentary Association and a democratic Tamil leader brutally shot and killed on December 25th 2005.
  c) A sixteen year old boy was brutally murdered by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers in front of his parents in Jaffna.
 d) Execution type of murders of five young Tamil students by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers in Trincomalee on January 2nd, 2006.
 .e)  Fifty-years-old Thambu Nadesu, from Saraswathy Lane in Puthur East, was asked to come out of his house for investigation by state armed forces and was shot outside his house on Tuesday Jan.10, 2006.
 .f) A Tamil school girl, was forcefully taken away by four Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers between Kondavil and Thirunelvely junctions in Jaffna on Tuesday  Jan.10, 2006.
 .g) Kandasamy Shanmuganathan, 31, a civilian, was shot dead by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troops Sunday January 9th, 2006.
 .h) Tamil Students, teachers and Vice Chancellor of Jaffna University assaulted by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers in a democratic rally on the young woman's rape and murder.
 .i) Tamil Parlimentarian assaulted Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers in a democratic rally on the young woman's rape and murder.
 .j) Sri Lankan Military troopers and the Colombo Police have arrested 920 Tamils, including 105 Tamil women, in a joint cordon and search operation in Colombo on January 1, 2006.
 Tamils were forced to seek a solution, and chose to use arms as a last resort. History says occupying and oppressing alien forces have met with violent resistance from the oppressed people, because it is human nature to resist occupations with all means available, so that one can live with freedom and dignity.
 America and International community should not be deceived by the well oiled PR works of the Sri Lankan State. America should not join hands with a
 discriminatory Sri Lankan government when hawkish rulers of Sri Lanka and its armed forces indiscriminately killings Tamil students, women, children, teachers and prominent democratically elected politician like Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham MP in a Church during the midnight mass service.
 America and together with international community should stand with Tamils who have suffered for last five decades under the Sinhala hegemony rules in Sri Lanka and be on the side of Tamils in their legitimate thirst for their own freedom, sovereignty and dignity like any others in this world.
 I thank you for taking time to read this and your kind attention of this matter.
 Yours truly,
 E.S.Rajah Toronto, Canada

Source: Antanna Internet News Group

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