Thursday 07 Oct 2021 | 06:28 | SYDNEY
Thursday 07 Oct 2021 | 06:28 | SYDNEY

Have the Tamils played their weakest card?


Sam Roggeveen


24 February 2009 08:57

I sympathise with Mark O'Neill's sentiment that the Sri Lankan Government cannot defeat the Tamil insurgency just by occupying territory, and that ultimately it is the Tamils' ideas that have to be either defeated or coopted. But the specific event that prompted Mark's post — a Tamil aerial attack against the Sri Lankan capital, Columbo — surely demonstrates that territorial gains are not entirely trivial.

After all, you need airstrips and a certain level of support infrastructure to stage such attacks. So I would be interested to hear Mark's views on the extent to which the Tamils might have played to the Sri Lankan Government's military strengths by 'conventionalising' the conflict. Has it actually brought them to the point where territorial defeats do start to matter, and where they may have to sue for peace?

One interesting footnote from the Reuters piece at the end of that link. It says both Tamil aircraft were shot down, whereas earlier reports said one aircraft completed its suicide mission by crashing into the tax office. Here's what looks like some surveillance camera footage of one of the aircraft flying/crashing into the Columbo building. (H/t WWP.)