What has gone wrong with the LTTE? It has had to revert to the tactics it employed at the very inception of its terror campaign. During the last few days, we have heard of an LTTE group snuffing out innocent lives in some parts of the Moneragala District. Trapped in the Wanni, Prabhakaran may be trying to cause the military to be spread thin by causing trouble in the southern parts of the country. But, how long can the LTTE sustain such operations?
Sparrow groups are, no doubt, a potent weapon in the hands of any terrorist group. But, such attacks are hardly a remedy for the crisis that the LTTE is embroiled in. Internationally, its allies have failed to mobilise enough support to prevent it being encircled in the Wanni. Its small groups in Moneragala may go on unleashing terror for some time but before long they will run out of ammunition or be hunted down by the army and the STF. Now that the LTTE`s stronghold is in the danger of being overrun, it cannot afford to spare more combatants for disruptive operations in the South or co-ordinate them. Now the villagers of Tanamalwila may be running for fear of armed Tigers but the day the Tigers are left with no ammunition, they will have to run equally fast to avoid the galkatas carrying chena cultivators who know the jungle like the back of their hand.
The LTTE`s increasing dependence on civilian killings to the point of using them to give an impetus to its terror project harks back to the initial massacres it carried out at Kent Farm and Dollar Farm way back in 1984, when it was only a fledging terror outfit. Resorting to the same tactics at this juncture when it claims to have established a separate state in all but name is like, as we have said earlier, a university graduate going back to Montessori in a bid to succeed in life!
The Tigers have cooked their goose and made more enemies than friends. The resentment of the people under their jackboot is only too well known. This is what the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna)?the UTHR (J)?says about the public mood in the LTTE-held terrain: `Several LTTE leaders who deal with the people know the extent of resentment and the curses uttered out of their hearing. Instances of popular jubilation have also been reported when air force bombers hit an LTTE target. At a place 12 miles north of the frontline, a senior LTTE leader told some friends, `Should the Army advance this far, the people would rebel against us!` (UTHR (J) Special Report No: 28, Dec. 04, 2007)
At the beginning, the LTTE may have served some purpose to the victims of 1983 riots, who wanted to avenge the barbaric ethnic violence they suffered at the hands of criminals among the Sinhalese, ably assisted by the JRJ government. But, Prabhakaran used the instances of ethnic bloodletting exactly the way Hitler used the rising Bolshevism at that time to promote his macabre cause and create the monster of Nazism. The LTTE may have acted as an effective counter to the State and the perpetrators of crimes against the Tamil community. But, it outlived that purpose with the passage of time. Today, it has killed more Tamils than the Sinhala mobs did in all incidents of communal violence put together. It has wiped out the crème de la crème of the Tamil intelligentsia and political leadership, save a few.
What the LTTE is paying for is a number of blunders a cocky Prabhakaran and his lackeys made in the past. The LTTE never cared to master the art of politicking, as evident from the absence of a strong political wing like Sinn Fein, which took over from the IRA killing machine a process of resolving a decade-long conflict. For, the LTTE terrorism has been no means to an end but the end and the means both. Simply put, the LTTE is Prabhakaran and Prabhakaran the LTTE. That is why Black Tigers have to swear allegiance to him and not the organisation as such, just as Hitler`s Brownshirts did.
That Prabhakaran has always believed only in a military solution is evident from the way he has set about putting a de facto state in place, piece by piece. He built his own version of an army, a navy, an air force and a police force and proceeded to set up a self-styled public service and a judiciary. He may have believed those institutions would serve as pillars to carry his Eelam after his final war. But, little did he realise that those apparatuses had a foundation of sand and would cave in under their own weight one day. Such `state organs`, he failed to see, needed to be built on the bedrock of legitimacy. States cannot be carved out or transformed and empires built haphazardly in a hurry according to the whims and fancies of fanatics, however persistently they may pursue their goals. That`s why Hitler failed in his empire building endeavour and Pol Pot`s Utopia project came a cropper.
Legitimacy of an organisation doesn`t flow from its cause alone it has a lot to do with other factors such as the conduct of the leaders concerned and the means employed to achieve their goal. Recently, the outgoing British High Commissioner Dominick Chilcott got into diplomatic hot water by talking about legitimacy of Eelam while condemning terrorism unleashed to achieve it. If a person like Chilcott, who has no qualms about claiming that Eelam is not illegitimate, finds it difficult to say something charitable about the LTTE`s modus operandi, who else will be able to do so?
The LTTE is back to square one after twenty five years of fighting. It has had to start all over again. Had Prabhakaran been a CEO of a private company, owned by someone else, he would have been sacked a long time ago for wasting human resources and billions of rupees so recklessly. He is lucky that nobody dares question him in the LTTE.
Those who expect Prabhakaran