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Vanquishing Bin Laden And Prabhakaran

May 7, 2011 3:21:46 PM - thesundayleader.lk

By Victor Ivan

At last the USA has been able to assassinate Bin Laden, America’s No. 1 enemy, the terrorist who terrified the whole of America. Some time earlier, the American intelligence sources were able to track down that Bin Laden was hiding in a mansion in Abbottabad, Pakistan. When the findings were confirmed, the operation to kill Bin Laden was launched whilst the President of the  USA and his senior aides were watching the video screens of the operation taking place on the other side of the world.

Bin Laden and Prabhakaran

According to information available, this operation had been conducted by a special operation team of six navy personnel belonging to a special brigade called SEALS using three helicopters.
The Pakistan government was not aware of this operation. It was initiated without the knowledge of the Pakistan government which was informed of it only after the helicopters employed for the operation had reached the periphery of the compound in which Bin Laden was hiding.
In this operation Bin Laden and all others who happened to be in the house suffered casualties. In addition Bin Laden, his two security guards, one of his sons and a woman considered to be a wife of Bin Laden were killed. The other two women sustained injuries. It was reported that the woman got killed because she was used as a human shield.

The difference between the wars waged against terrorism and conventional warfare

The major differences of a war waged against a terrorist organization and conventional warfare can be explained in the light of this operation launched by the USA killing Bin Laden.
The helicopters used for this operation invaded Pakistan airspace without seeking permission from the Pakistan government. No court order had been obtained to arrest Bin Laden. Instead, the operation team stormed the compound in which Bin Laden was hiding and killed all the men who were there. One woman also was killed in the process while two other women were injured. Moreover, the dead body of Bin Laden was not handed over to his relatives.
Perhaps, Bin Laden could have been taken a prisoner alive in this operation if they wanted to do so. It is said that he was given the option to surrender but was killed as he refused to do so. Yet, it is hardly possible to believe the story. It is apparent that the operation had been initiated with the intention of killing him.  Perhaps, it was  presumed that Bin Laden alive even  as a prisoner might  create more problems than Bin Laden dead which may have prompted them to decide in favor of assassinating him. This conclusion is correct.

The second insurrection of Wijeweera

The policy adopted by the security forces of the Sri Lankan army during the second JVP insurrection in suppressing the JVP militants and their leaders whose hands were smeared with blood is more or less similar to that of the USA in regard to Bin Laden. Immediately after the presidential election in 1988, the President of Sri Lanka released nearly 1800 JVP suspects in custody with the hope of reaching a consensus with the militants. What actually happened was that a bulk of those released joined the insurrection again. The policy adopted by the president provoked the security officers. The president learnt a bitter lesson from this incident. Thereafter, he adopted a policy of abstaining from unnecessary interventions in military operations launched to contain the insurrection and allowed the security forces to make decisions.
Except for certain incidents of assassinations such as the Embilipitiya massacre of students who had no connection whatsoever to the insurrection, it is a fact that most of those who were assassinated by the security forces during this JVP insurrection had their hands smeared with blood. The security forces had to fight amidst death threats to their family members. The rebels implemented a policy of killing family members of police and security forces when they failed to get hold of the members of the forces. This resulted in both parties fighting with a vengeance. In the circumstances, the victory of the war rested solely on the ability of one party to overwhelm the rival with a greater ferocity and cruelty which exceeded and overpowered the enemy. Thus, the nature of the insurrection impacted heavily on the nature of its suppression and vice versa.

Assassination of Wijeweera

Wijeweera was assassinated only after he was taken into custody. Not only Wijeweera,  several other frontline leaders of the JVP such as  Gamanayaka and Saman Piyasiri who had issued written dictates under the pseudonym  of Keerthi Wijayabahu were  also assassinated after they had  been taken into custody. The policy adopted by Sri Lankan security forces regarding the JVP leaders is different from the manner in which the American army had treated Bin Laden only because the Sri Lankan security forces killed them after taking them into their custody whereas Bin Laden was assassinated without being taking into custody. This could be considered the policy that any country would adopt in suppressing terrorism.
President Obama in his historic speech made soon after the death of Bin Laden asserted his right to act to defend his country and the American people whenever their lives were threatened. He had even mentioned that America in its pursuit to locate Bin Laden had to make even regime changes in Afghanistan which gave protection to Bin Laden. In response to the challenge posed by Bin Laden, America toppled not only the government of Afghanistan; it even made a regime change in Iraq. In this process, America had to kill tens of thousands of people in suppressing uprisings that burst out as a result.

Defeating Prabhakaran

Not only America, but all countries should have the right to defeat terrorist movements which threaten their security. Even little Sri Lanka is entitled to this right. The terrorist outfit of Bin Laden killed only about three thousand (3000) people in America. Yet the terrorist outfit of Prabhakaran killed more than fifty thousand (50,000) people. The LTTE even killed Buddhist and Islamic religious devotees in large numbers while they were engaged in religious observances in temples and mosques respectively. During the Premadasa regime nearly 400 policemen in the Eastern Province who had surrendered to the LTTE were ruthlessly assassinated by them. The LTTE forcibly evacuated over a hundred thousand Muslims from the North and robbed all their property. During the first round of terrorism, the LTTE killed large numbers of leaders and activists of other Tamil groups who were also fighting for the same objective. The LTTE even killed Tamil leaders who had entered the democratic political stream. Prabhakaran was not prepared to accept anything short of Eelam. He assassinated Rajiv Gandhi by sending a suicide bomber to India in revenge for Gandhi’s mediation in finding a solution which was short of Eelam. Thus, Prabhakaran posed a monstrous threat to the lawful government of Sri Lanka challenging and causing havoc to its very existence. Prabhakaran’s LTTE can be described as the most ruthless and vicious terrorist outfit that ever existed in the world.
Not only the political leaders of America but even those in Sri Lanka should have the right to defeat a terrorist outfit of that nature. No country can ensure zero level human rights violations in a war waged in combating terrorism of that magnitude and ferocity.  It is also inevitable that a certain number of innocent people become casualties which is natural and unavoidable under any war situation. Compared to the cost already incurred by the USA in terms of money and human lives in defeating the Al Qaeda movement, Sri Lanka has incurred only a minuscule fraction of it. Though America has been able to kill a number of Al Qaeda leaders including Bin Laden, it has not been able to defeat the entire movement. On the contrary, Sri Lanka was able to defeat the entire movement of the LTTE.

Last battle

The operation launched to kill Bin Laden resulted in killing or injuring all those who were in the compound. Even the woman said to have been taken as a human shield had been killed.
The Sri Lanka army had to fight with Prabhakaran and his army when the LTTE  had taken a large population of nearly three hundred thousand people as human shields.  Even the Darusman report has admitted that the LTTE had installed heavy artillery even on locations where civilians lived using them as a protective shield.
The report also admits that the LTTE had shot civilians who attempted to surrender to the security forces. Though, not mentioned in the Darusman report, the LTTE had infiltrated suicide bombers into the civilian areas and a large number of civilians attempting to surrender were killed on several occasions due to the blasting of suicide bombers. Of course, there had never been a war that had been waged before, keeping a civilian population of three hundred thousand (300,000) people who had been confined in a limited land area of just a few square   kilometers as a human shield. This, no doubt, is a new and unique experience that goes down the annals of the global history of war.
It was only a small fraction of the Tamil population of the country that lived in the LTTE controlled areas in the North. All those who could flee the area had fled to the other parts of the island or to the greener pastures of the West. It was only those who were in abject poverty, families whose children had joined the LTTE and certain sections of the people who had some connections with the LTTE for certain reasons remained there. The LTTE maintained a civilian security force consisting of the residents in these areas. They had been given a semi training in warfare.  In that sense, all civilians that the LTTE had used as a security shield cannot be classified as a ‘civilian’ population in the true sense of the word. According to an estimate made and published by D.S.B. Jeyaraj, the LTTE consisted of about 30,000 cadres when the war broke out.  In the areas where the war prevailed 165 local staff of 17 local and foreign NGOs lived throughout the period and until the war was over. If there was a policy of attacking civilians ruthlessly and calculatedly, then at least a certain number of these staff should have sustained damages and become victims. They too, lived among civilians and there were no such incidents reported.

Tamil Diaspora

It is the LTTE sympathetic Tamil Diaspora that is making a huge hue and cry demanding that the government of Sri Lanka be punished. They constitute the major group that contributed immensely  towards making the LTTE a rigid movement  causing its eventual defeat. Vanquishing Bin Laden And Prabhakaran
At last the USA has been able to assassinate Bin Laden, America’s No. 1 enemy, the terrorist who terrified the whole of America. Some time earlier, the American intelligence sources were able to track down that Bin Laden was hiding in a mansion in Abbottabad, Pakistan. When the findings were confirmed, the operation to kill Bin Laden was launched whilst the President of the  USA and his senior aides were watching the video screens of the operation taking place on the other side of the world.
According to information available, this operation had been conducted by a special operation team of six navy personnel belonging to a special brigade called SEALS using three helicopters.
The Pakistan government was not aware of this operation. It was initiated without the knowledge of the Pakistan government which was informed of it only after the helicopters employed for the operation had reached the periphery of the compound in which Bin Laden was hiding.
In this operation Bin Laden and all others who happened to be in the house suffered casualties. In addition Bin Laden, his two security guards, one of his sons and a woman considered to be a wife of Bin Laden were killed. The other two women sustained injuries. It was reported that the woman got killed because she was used as a human shield.

The difference between the wars waged against terrorism and conventional warfare

The major differences of a war waged against a terrorist organization and conventional warfare can be explained in the light of this operation launched by the USA killing Bin Laden.
The helicopters used for this operation invaded Pakistan airspace without seeking permission from the Pakistan government. No court order had been obtained to arrest Bin Laden. Instead, the operation team stormed the compound in which Bin Laden was hiding and killed all the men who were there. One woman also was killed in the process while two other women were injured. Moreover, the dead body of Bin Laden was not handed over to his relatives.
Perhaps, Bin Laden could have been taken a prisoner alive in this operation if they wanted to do so. It is said that he was given the option to surrender but was killed as he refused to do so. Yet, it is hardly possible to believe the story. It is apparent that the operation had been initiated with the intention of killing him.  Perhaps, it was  presumed that Bin Laden alive even  as a prisoner might  create more problems than Bin Laden dead which may have prompted them to decide in favor of assassinating him. This conclusion is correct.

The second insurrection of Wijeweera

The policy adopted by the security forces of the Sri Lankan army during the second JVP insurrection in suppressing the JVP militants and their leaders whose hands were smeared with blood is more or less similar to that of the USA in regard to Bin Laden. Immediately after the presidential election in 1988, the President of Sri Lanka released nearly 1800 JVP suspects in custody with the hope of reaching a consensus with the militants. What actually happened was that a bulk of those released joined the insurrection again. The policy adopted by the president provoked the security officers. The president learnt a bitter lesson from this incident. Thereafter, he adopted a policy of abstaining from unnecessary interventions in military operations launched to contain the insurrection and allowed the security forces to make decisions.
Except for certain incidents of assassinations such as the Embilipitiya massacre of students who had no connection whatsoever to the insurrection, it is a fact that most of those who were assassinated by the security forces during this JVP insurrection had their hands smeared with blood. The security forces had to fight amidst death threats to their family members. The rebels implemented a policy of killing family members of police and security forces when they failed to get hold of the members of the forces. This resulted in both parties fighting with a vengeance. In the circumstances, the victory of the war rested solely on the ability of one party to overwhelm the rival with a greater ferocity and cruelty which exceeded and overpowered the enemy. Thus, the nature of the insurrection impacted heavily on the nature of its suppression and vice versa.

Assassination of Wijeweera

Wijeweera was assassinated only after he was taken into custody. Not only Wijeweera,  several other frontline leaders of the JVP such as  Gamanayaka and Saman Piyasiri who had issued written dictates under the pseudonym  of Keerthi Wijayabahu were  also assassinated after they had  been taken into custody. The policy adopted by Sri Lankan security forces regarding the JVP leaders is different from the manner in which the American army had treated Bin Laden only because the Sri Lankan security forces killed them after taking them into their custody whereas Bin Laden was assassinated without being taking into custody. This could be considered the policy that any country would adopt in suppressing terrorism.
President Obama in his historic speech made soon after the death of Bin Laden asserted his right to act to defend his country and the American people whenever their lives were threatened. He had even mentioned that America in its pursuit to locate Bin Laden had to make even regime changes in Afghanistan which gave protection to Bin Laden. In response to the challenge posed by Bin Laden, America toppled not only the government of Afghanistan; it even made a regime change in Iraq. In this process, America had to kill tens of thousands of people in suppressing uprisings that burst out as a result.

Defeating Prabhakaran

Not only America, but all countries should have the right to defeat terrorist movements which threaten their security. Even little Sri Lanka is entitled to this right. The terrorist outfit of Bin Laden killed only about three thousand (3000) people in America. Yet the terrorist outfit of Prabhakaran killed more than fifty thousand (50,000) people. The LTTE even killed Buddhist and Islamic religious devotees in large numbers while they were engaged in religious observances in temples and mosques respectively. During the Premadasa regime nearly 400 policemen in the Eastern Province who had surrendered to the LTTE were ruthlessly assassinated by them. The LTTE forcibly evacuated over a hundred thousand Muslims from the North and robbed all their property. During the first round of terrorism, the LTTE killed large numbers of leaders and activists of other Tamil groups who were also fighting for the same objective. The LTTE even killed Tamil leaders who had entered the democratic political stream. Prabhakaran was not prepared to accept anything short of Eelam. He assassinated Rajiv Gandhi by sending a suicide bomber to India in revenge for Gandhi’s mediation in finding a solution which was short of Eelam. Thus, Prabhakaran posed a monstrous threat to the lawful government of Sri Lanka challenging and causing havoc to its very existence. Prabhakaran’s LTTE can be described as the most ruthless and vicious terrorist outfit that ever existed in the world.
Not only the political leaders of America but even those in Sri Lanka should have the right to defeat a terrorist outfit of that nature. No country can ensure zero level human rights violations in a war waged in combating terrorism of that magnitude and ferocity.  It is also inevitable that a certain number of innocent people become casualties which is natural and unavoidable under any war situation. Compared to the cost already incurred by the USA in terms of money and human lives in defeating the Al Qaeda movement, Sri Lanka has incurred only a minuscule fraction of it. Though America has been able to kill a number of Al Qaeda leaders including Bin Laden, it has not been able to defeat the entire movement. On the contrary, Sri Lanka was able to defeat the entire movement of the LTTE.

Last battle

The operation launched to kill Bin Laden resulted in killing or injuring all those who were in the compound. Even the woman said to have been taken as a human shield had been killed.
The Sri Lanka army had to fight with Prabhakaran and his army when the LTTE  had taken a large population of nearly three hundred thousand people as human shields.  Even the Darusman report has admitted that the LTTE had installed heavy artillery even on locations where civilians lived using them as a protective shield.
The report also admits that the LTTE had shot civilians who attempted to surrender to the security forces. Though, not mentioned in the Darusman report, the LTTE had infiltrated suicide bombers into the civilian areas and a large number of civilians attempting to surrender were killed on several occasions due to the blasting of suicide bombers. Of course, there had never been a war that had been waged before, keeping a civilian population of three hundred thousand (300,000) people who had been confined in a limited land area of just a few square   kilometers as a human shield. This, no doubt, is a new and unique experience that goes down the annals of the global history of war.
It was only a small fraction of the Tamil population of the country that lived in the LTTE controlled areas in the North. All those who could flee the area had fled to the other parts of the island or to the greener pastures of the West. It was only those who were in abject poverty, families whose children had joined the LTTE and certain sections of the people who had some connections with the LTTE for certain reasons remained there. The LTTE maintained a civilian security force consisting of the residents in these areas. They had been given a semi training in warfare.  In that sense, all civilians that the LTTE had used as a security shield cannot be classified as a ‘civilian’ population in the true sense of the word. According to an estimate made and published by D.S.B. Jeyaraj, the LTTE consisted of about 30,000 cadres when the war broke out.  In the areas where the war prevailed 165 local staff of 17 local and foreign NGOs lived throughout the period and until the war was over. If there was a policy of attacking civilians ruthlessly and calculatedly, then at least a certain number of these staff should have sustained damages and become victims. They too, lived among civilians and there were no such incidents reported.

Tamil Diaspora

It is the LTTE sympathetic Tamil Diaspora that is making a huge hue and cry demanding that the government of Sri Lanka be punished. They constitute the major group that contributed immensely  towards making the LTTE a rigid movement  causing its eventual defeat.

They were totally ignorant of the true facts and real conditions of Sri Lanka. They never assessed and monitored the good and the bad effects of LTTE actions. So much so, in the final analysis, the LTTE depended not on the support of the Tamil people living in Sri Lanka, but on the Tamil Diaspora which pumped large scale financial support to them.
This resulted in the LTTE becoming an organisation which placed confidence more on modern weapons which were beyond its true strength and ultimately turned out to be a terrorist outfit that believed in the power of weapons and not the power of the people.
It was also the Diaspora that influenced the LTTE profoundly on adopting a rigid policy that rejected a solution which is short of Eelam. In that sense it is the Tamil Diaspora in the West that was affected most in the final annihilation of the LTTE.
The dynamics of war against terrorism and conventional warfare are completely different. It is not always easy for government forces to identify the enemy as they appear in wide and varied shapes and forms at different times. At times, they come in uniforms while at other times in civilian clothing.
At times, they could be seen when they launch attacks while at times the enemy cannot be seen as they lie hidden in ambush. The terrorists hardly respect the laws, norms of justice and traditions and believe that they should terrorise society, killing and maiming thousands of people in order to achieve their objectives.  Sometimes the enemy becomes a human bomb that appears in the form of an innocent civilian. It is with such a rival group that legal armies are compelled to fight against.
So far, the UN has not deliberated on how a legal army of an independent country should act in a war against terrorism.
No policies have been drafted to suit the conditions applicable to repression of terrorism. The biggest and inherent limitation of the Darusman report and the expert team that compiled it lies in the fact that they have not taken into account the dynamics that are inherent in a war waged against terrorism.
In view of above, if the UN believes that the guidelines and ethics prescribed for conventional wars should be equally applicable for the wars waged against terrorism, then the UN has to be described not as an international organisation that defends the sovereignty of the legal states but an organisation that promotes terrorism.
Creation of such an image will not augur well for the UN, the member countries and the world in general.
Under the circumstances, it is most   unfortunate that even the government of the USA led by President Obama in spite of the beating it suffered from terrorism has failed to perceive the problem of Sri Lanka in its correct perspective.
Victor Ivan is the Editor-in-Chief of the Ravaya newspaper and the author of 14 books.