Casualty Figures

Reuters has a report. In summary,

  • More than 6,200 soldiers killed and nearly 30,000 wounded (Source: Defence Secretary interview with ITN)
  • More than 15,000 LTTE cardres killed according to the Military several months ago. No final tally.
  • Around 7,000 civilians killed since January according to unverified, unofficial U.N. estimates. Around 280,000 displaced according to aid agencies.
  • Overall, according to the UN, the conflict has killed from about 80,000 -100,000 people.


Update (23/05/2009): According to Army Chief speaking to NDTV, a total of 22,000 LTTE cardres were killed by the Army alone. He also puts the casualty figures of the Sri Lanka troops lower.

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The Rajapakse Doctrine

Move over Bush, the TIME has a new piece on the Rajapakse doctrine of counterinsurgency. The whole thing is worth a read. Below is a key excerpt:

The main principles [of the Rajapakse doctrine of counterinsurgency] are:

Brute Force Works
Modern military wisdom says sheer force doesn’t quell insurgencies, and that in the long run political and economic power-sharing along with social reconciliation are the only ways to end the fighting. But the Sri Lankan army eventually broke down the Tigers in an unrelenting military campaign, the final phase of which lasted more than two years. That sort of sustained offensive hasn’t been tried anywhere, in decades.

Negotiations Don’t
After numerous attempts at mediation — most notably by Norway — led to nothing, Rajapaksa basically abandoned the pursuit of a negotiated solution. Once the military had the upper hand, there was little effort to treaty with the Tigers.

Collateral Damage Is Acceptable
In the final months of fighting, the Sri Lankan military offensive hardly differentiated between civilian and Tiger targets. Refugees fleeing the fighting said thousands of innocents were being killed in the army’s bombardments. Modern militaries typically halt hostilities when large numbers of civilians are killed. The Sri Lankan army barely paused. Reva Bhalla, director of analysis at Stratfor, a global intelligence firm, says Rajapaksa’s “disregard for civilian casualties” was a key to the success of the military operation.

Critics Should Shut Up — Or Else
For a democracy, Sri Lanka’s recent record on press freedom is an embarrassment. Journalists who dared question the government (and not just over the military campaign) have been threatened, roughed up, or worse. The Jan. 8 murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge, a crusading editor — and TIME contributor — was an especially low point. In recent months, as the fighting intensified, journalists and international observers were kept well away, ensuring very little reporting on the military’s harsh tactics and the civilian casualties.

Lack of accurate reporting from the war front was one reason why the international outcry against the military’s heavy-handedness was so muted — especially in the U.S. Rajapaksa also benefited from the post-9/11 global consensus that insurgent groups using terror tactics “can no longer call themselves freedom fighters,” according to Daniel Markey, a South Asia expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. “The Tigers didn’t understand this, and paid a significant price.”

That may be one lesson insurgencies worldwide can learn from the Tigers’ downfall.

The whole thing on TIME.

On a somewhat related note, and if you are into this sort of thing, take a look at this superb article on Tehelka on Prabhakaran’s rise and fall.

[video - English] Sri Lankan President Addresses the Nation

Youtube has the speech given by President Mahinda Rajapakse declaring the victory in the war against the LTTE.  The full speech is available in six parts. 

Part 1:

Part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

What’s next for Sri Lanka?

Newsy.com provides multiple perspectives from the international media.

[Video] Recovering Prabhakaran’s Body

The state media broadcast the video of Sri Lankan armed forces recovering the body of LTTE chief Prabhakaran. His remains are shown here on display. The video is available on youtube. Viwer discretion is advised

The video also shows Prabhakaran’s former comrades, Karuna and Daya Master identifying the body and commenting on what is a defining moment in Sri Lanka’s history.

A related video showing the jubilation of Army combatants is availble here.

PRABHAKARAN KILLED

Confirming earlier rumors, MoD website and state media confirms the death of LTTE cheif Prabhakarn’s death along with his confidants Soosai and Pottu Amman. from MoD,

The latest reports from battlefront reveal that LTTE leader V. Prabhakran, has been killed this morning (May 18). The sources further say that LTTE’s intelligence wing leader Pottu Amman and Sea Tiger wing leader Soosai were also killed.

As usual, fireworks going off in the streets everywhere in the country.  State media is playing patriotic songs and profiling the three decades of terror perpetrated by the LTTE and it’s leadership. The entire Tiger leadership has now been eliminated.

[VIDEO] SRI LANKA CELEBRATES VICTORY

Video in Sinhala

President Mahinda Rajapakse was given a hero’s welcome as he arrives in the country after the military delcared all civillians have been rescued and the LTTE cornered to a tiny stretch of land.  The streets of Colombo and around Sri Lanka are jubilant with the celebrations of an impending victory and a complete anhiliation of the LTTE.  There is talk that the LTTE leadership will commit mass suicide. The Sri Lankans expect a complete victory in the coming hours.

Update : Aljazera has a report on the celebrations