Littte and Dravid Destiny Tryst as Indonesia 'might expel' refugees and India Denies Tami Refugees CITIZENSHIP. We Bengalies Know Nothing about OUR Kith and KIN.My Niece was in Love with Australia and Now My Son Dotes for Phillipines as GENERATION Next Refugees land in BLACK Hole Infinite!
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The woman refuses to give her name but says she landed in Manila in 2002 from the southern city of Shishi with her son and his wife, who were escaping China's one-child policy. The couple had a second child in the Philippines and plan to eventually return to Fujian, where the husband runs a clothing factory. Another son and his wife followed for the same reason and are awaiting the birth of their second child. The clothes store was set up to generate an income while they prepare their return to China.
The family are part of a wave of immigrants leaving China even as rapid economic growth is transforming the world's most populous nation. Most head to the US, Canada and other rich western countries, often as illegal aliens. But each year thousands also seek to make their fortunes in a middle-income country growing only half as fast as China.
The trend has created an immigration paradox. The Philippines, perhaps best-known in recent years for its outgoing migrants, has become a destination for immigrants in its own right.
The new Chinese arrivals are drawn by a combination of weak law enforcement and huge fortunes to be made selling cheap Chinese goods to a swelling Filipino middle class. Feeding the growth of that middle class is the one in 10 of the country's 86m people who are working abroad and their remittances, which reached $12.8bn (€9.25bn, £6.2bn) last year and have helped to drive consumer spending and economic growth.
According to Teresita Ang-See, an expert on Chinese in the Philippines, there are 80,000-100,000 illegal or overstaying Chinese nationals in the country, roughly a tenth of the million or so ethnic Chinese living in the Philippines. The latest influx has come in part because of Manila's move in 2005 to liberalise entry procedures for Chinese tourists and investors, a move that helped triple the number of Chinese visitors to 133,000 last year.
But their growing presence in the Philippines is resented by many Chinese-Filipinos who have worked hard to assimilate. Many local Chinese consider the recent arrivals unfair competitors in business and fret that they could stir up resentment of the existing Chinese minority.
The Chinese-language press in Manila is full of bitter exchanges between the new and old immigrants. "Although the new immigrants appear to be better educated, they are considered more uncivilised, uncouth and ill-mannered," says Go Bon Juan, director for research at Kaisa (Unity), a group promoting links between the local Chinese and Filipinos. "Even young students in Chinese-language schools tend to dissociate themselves from classmates who are newcomers."
The resentment is even more pronounced among businessmen, in part because the new arrivals have a "tendency to be brash and pushy in their business transactions", says Mr Go.
Many are drawn to illicit activities such as smuggling and drugs, he says. But they also stand accused of violating the law in more benign ways. Filipino law prohibits non-citizens from retailing but the rules are openly violated by new Chinese immigrants, whereas previous generations would often simply register businesses in the name of Filipino spouses or associates.
There are also questions about how long the new migrants want to stay. Immigration officials say some recent arrivals from China are using the Philippines as a transit point for entry to western countries using fake documents. According to the Bureau of Immigration, eight in 10 of the foreign nationals now caught attempting to enter the US illegally on flights from Manila are mainland Chinese.
"The Chinese come here as legitimate tourists or investors but try to leave for the US or Canada using forged passports or visas," says Danilo Almeda, an immigration spokesman. But "the illegal scheme hurts the Philippines' image and makes life harder for overseas Filipinos who have to face extra scrutiny from immigration officials all over the world", he adds.
TAMIL EELAM STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM
Tamil Refugees & Asylum Seekers
|"Exile is not primarily a geographical location, it is a state of mind through which one becomes what one has left behind. In the Tamil case many actually become what they have fled from. Between the extremes of the warrior and the victim the refugee must carry out his 'bricolage', assemble the pieces and carry on. For many this life project takes the form of internalised martyrdom, the fight for Eelam being replaced by a longing for Eelam which grows into a constant part of the personality and becomes a counterweight, the counterweight, to the vicissitudes of exile..." Oivind Fuglerud in Life on the Outside : The Tamil Diaspora and Long-Distance Nationalism |
"Exile, it is often said, is the nursery of nationalism. If so, then the yearning for a homeland has a long history.." Anthony D.Smith in*Chosen Peoples: Sacred Sources of National Identity, 2004
Genocide'83 led thousands of Tamils from the island of Sri Lanka to seek political asylum in Tamil Nadu, Europe, North America and Australasia. During the succeeding years, as the conflict in the island increased in intensity, this outflow continued. Article 1A(2) of the International Convention relating to the Status of Refugees defines a refugee as a person who
".......as a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it."
Except for seven states (Brazil, Italy, Madagascar, Malta, Monaco, Paraguay and Turkey), all other parties to the Convention apply the refugee definition without geographical or time limitation.
Additionally, the Convention relating to the status of Stateless Persons, the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees , the Declaration on Territorial Asylum , and the Declaration on the Human Rights of Individuals Who are not Nationals of the Country in which They Live provide the international legal frame work relating to refugees and asylum seekers.
During 1984 and 1985, Amnesty International opposed the refoulement of Tamils. On 9 January 1985 Amnesty announced that it believes that, if returned against their will, all members of the Tamil minority have reasonable grounds to fear:
1. that they may fall victim to arbitrary killings by members of the security forces
2. that they may be subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention
But, more often not, the efforts of Charter '87 and Amnesty International notwithstanding, the implementation of the law relating to refugees and asylum seekers has been largely influenced by policy considerations and real politick (both in the West and in India).
David Matas wrote in Canada in November 1984:
"Refugee claimants are among the most wretched people in Canada. They have fled countries where they have been imprisoned for their beliefs, they may have been tortured, their lives may have been threatened. They know no one or almost no one in Canada. They normally cannot speak either French or English. A refugee claim can take years to process before a final determination is reached. Until a person is recognised as a refugee, he is not recognised as a resident, even though he may be here for years. Despite his lengthy stay, he is treated as if he will be leaving in a week or two."
Nirmala Chandrahasan in her well researched 'Study of the Reception of Tamil Asylum Seekers into Europe, North America and India' during the four year period 1983 to 1987 (published in the Harvard Human Rights Yearbook, Spring 1989), commented:
"During this period the greatest number of Tamils - approximately 130,000 - sought asylum in India, separated from the northern start of Sri Lanka by a narrow stretch of sea, the Palk Straits. Approximately 70,000 Tamil asylum seekers went to Europe and North America."
"The treatment of Tamil asylum claims in different jurisdictions highlights two important points about recent developments in the handling of refugees. First, the reception of Tamils in North America, Europe and India indicates the extent to which national policy perspectives have shaped the respective refugee determination processes. .. A second development observed in the practice of Tamil-receiving states is the categorisation of the refugees allowed to stay into subgroups, such as "B status" (in the Netherlands) or "exceptional leave to remain" (in the United Kingdom) or with no designated legal status at all (in India). ..The question remains to what extent the fate of large groups of persons such as the Tamils can be left to the discretion of governments, rather than firmly based within a framework of binding legal norms."
Since 1987, the numbers of Tamil asylum seekers have continued to increase together with a growing determination of Western governments to stem the flow.
"Tamil refugees have a special place in British immigration law and practice over the last few years. Their arrival has provoked restrictive new laws and practices which have tightened British immigration control and made it harsher and less humane for other non-European settlers and refugees as well as Tamils." (Closed Doors: New Restrictions on the Rights of Asylum Seekers - Anne Owers - 1988)
Even after the Indo Sri Lanka Accord of 1987, Amnesty International continued to emphasise that there was considerable uncertainty about the safety of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
In 1990, the Minority Rights Group in London, profiled the case of Seenithamby Javanarajah, an asylum seeker, who was deported to Sri Lanka by the British authorities and was tortured on his return to the island.
"During his forced return to Sri Lanka Javanarajah travelled to Jaffna where the Indian Peace-Keeping Force (IPKF) was responsible for security. A month after his arrival he was detained by the IPKF and made to appear before three hooded informants' one of whom nodded his head when Javanarajah appeared. He was then taken to an IPKF camp, where he was detained, interrogated, kicked and beaten with pipes. He was severely beaten three more times over the next seven days and it was only aver 10 weeks of detention that this family managed to secure his release by bribery."
The presence of Tamil asylum seekers in Germany and Switzerland, brought with it overt racist attacks. In 1991, one Tamil woman asylum seeker was killed in Germany. Widespread protest meetings were held by Tamil associations.
In early 1994 ( in a well documented appeal ), the Swiss Federation of Tamil Associations called upon the Swiss authorities to reconsider their decision to forcibly repatriate Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka and pointed out:
"On 6 October 1993, an European Parliamentary delegation which visited Sri Lanka told the Colombo Press that ''the current situation in Sri Lanka was not conducive for Western governments to return asylum seekers''. These views give the lie direct to the claims sometimes made on behalf of the Sri Lanka government that '' the widespread human rights abuses of the last few years have sharply declined and that the Sri Lanka Government have taken measures to protect the human rights of all its citizens as a result of pressure from bodies such as Amnesty International and donor governments."
The Appeal added:
"May we respectfully say that instead of sending back Tamil asylum seekers to face detention, torture and death in Sri Lanka, the Swiss authorities and others with a liberal conscience should use their not inconsiderable influence and power, to persuade the Sri Lanka government to address the underlying causes of the conflict and recognise the right of the Tamil people to live in their own home land, free from the oppressive rule of a Sinhala dominated Sri Lanka government. "
Again, perhaps not surprisingly, the United States has adopted a particularly restrictive approach to Tamil refugee applicants. ( United States Court Rejects Tamil Asylum Claim - 1995 ). However, the case of Balaranjini Ratnam was an exception to the general approach.
The plight faced by some Tamil asylum seekers was brought to public attention by a 36 year old Tamil asylum seeker in Sweden setting himself on fire on 2 March 1994. The action of the Tamil asylum seeker in Sweden in preferring death, even by fire, to a forced deportation to Sri Lanka shows in stark terms the oppressive ground reality in Colombo and elsewhere in the island of Sri Lanka. ( Tamil Asylum Seeker sets himself on fire in Sweden - March 1994)
On 10 August 1996, the BBC reported an interview with Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar:
"There is no discrimination against Tamils in the country nor is there any danger to their lives, Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar told foreign media personnel recently... (In response to a) question as to the exact truth of the claims made by the Tamil youths overseas who complain that they were discriminated against due to fact that they were Tamils and their lives were in danger, Minister Kadirgamar in his reply said that they make these complaints so that they could seek political asylum in foreign lands. They are, in actual fact, economic refugees..."
Whilst the British Refugee Council publication Sri Lanka Monitor has taken pains to report fairly on the Tamil refugee situation, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has played an increasingly controversial role in relation to Tamil asylum seekers and has been criticised for being influenced more by real politick than by humanitarian considerations. The British Refugee Council Sri Lanka Monitor reported in September 1997:
"UNHCR declares in a March Information Note that orderly and safe return of rejected asylum-seekers to their country of origin could safeguard the principle of asylum for those who genuinely need protection. UNHCR further says that rejected asylum-seekers are not singled out at Colombo airport or later and people are treated fairly and humanely during Army security checks.
Human rights agencies say that Colombo conditions for Tamils have hardly changed since the British Refugee Council mission in December last year and its report in February. The situation remains precarious for Tamils with the continuing LTTE threat to the capital. President Chandrika Kumaratunge herself said in August that she was aware of innocent Tamils being detained by security forces for ransom. London-based human rights agency Amnesty International, during its August visit, uncovered evidence of widespread torture, including in Colombo.
Observers say UNHCR's position is prompted by considerations other than the real situation in Colombo. They point to a recently leaked December 1993 internal UNHCR memo from the agency's Sri Lankan Resident Representative to its Geneva headquarters acknowledging that the security situation for Tamils in Colombo had been deteriorating as evidenced by increased arrests.
The memo advises against freezing UNHCR guidelines, which permit Western governments to repatriate Sri Lankan asylum-seekers, on the grounds that frozen guidelines would be difficult to reinstate. Freezing the guidelines would upset the Sri Lankan authorities and in order to reinstate the guidelines the burden of proof that the situation had improved would fall on UNHCR.
The recommendation to continue the guidelines had been taken, according to the memo, on the request of the then Sri Lankan Presidential Advisor Bradman Weerakoon who had pointed out that the human rights implications of a UNHCR statement would far outweigh the consequences of deportations. The memo also says that political implications vis a vis the Sri Lankan government of any UNHCR statement need to be carefully weighed, particularly since it would be used in courts in asylum countries."
The UNHCR stand paved the way for further deportations of Tamil asylum seekers from Europe.
"The governments of Sri Lanka and the Netherlands signed an agreement on 10 September for the forcible repatriation of rejected asylum-seekers deepening insecurity among 350,000 Tamil refugees across the world.
Some 350 asylum-seekers will be returned to Sri Lanka in the next twelve months and the pact is due for review in September next year. Sri Lankan authorities have agreed to issue identity documents to refugees who do not have any travel papers.
The agreement for the return of Sri Lankan asylum-seekers is the second in Europe. Under a January 1994 pact between the Swiss and the Sri Lankan governments 696 rejected refugees have been repatriated in the last 33 months.
In the first eight months of 1997 Netherlands received 14,145 refugees, an increase of 28% compared to 1996, some 1,300 of them from Sri Lanka. A plane carrying 173 Sri Lankan refugees arrived in Amsterdam's Schipol airport in February from the Turkmenistan capital of Ashkhabad causing a furore and allegations of abuse of the asylum system.
Over 15,000 Sri Lankans have sought refuge in the Netherlands since 1984. The Dutch Foreign Affairs minister has concluded that the situation in Colombo is safe for Tamils and quoting international refugee agency UNHCR, claims that those repatriated from other European nations in 1996 and 1997 have had no problem in the Sri Lankan capital.
Refugees are concerned that other European nations may follow suit. Introduction of stricter asylum laws and procedures continue and less than 5% of Sri Lankans are granted UN Convention refugee status in European countries. Several nations, including Denmark and Norway, are deporting Sri Lankans even without formal agreements.
The Danish police have listed 154 Tamils who are in hiding after Denmark began deportations late last year. Sweden introduced a new type of air ticket visa in September for citizens of twelve countries, including Sri Lanka." (British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor, September 1997)
Tamil asylum-seekers in custody for some ten months in detention centres in Australia staged a hunger strike on 12 October 1997 against prolonged detention.
"Tamil asylum-seekers in custody for some ten months in detention centres in Australia staged a hunger strike on 12 October against prolonged detention. Their asylum applications were denied by the Refugee Review Tribunal. They have appealed to the Federal Court and are likely to remain in detention until their cases are heard. Tamil refugee organisations say such detention is a violation of human rights and have appealed to Immigration and Multicultural minister Philip Ruddock. Australian press reports say new legislation is currently being considered to deny appeals to refused asylum-seekers. In July the Immigration Department introduced a charge of $1,000 on unsuccessful applications before leave to appeal was granted. Some 640 applications from Tamils are said to be pending. In July 17 Tamils were found stranded at Coral Bay, 700 miles north of Perth.
There is increasing concern over the plight of Sri Lankans who are stranded in other countries. The Tamil Refugee International Network (TRIN) estimates that over 20,000 Sri Lankans are stranded in over 12 countries in South-East Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, including 5,000 in Russia and 5,000 in Thailand. According to reports, around 1,500 foreigners including 234 Sri Lankans are held in a Lithuanian Army camp. A young couple who returned to Sri Lanka blame their travel agent for the harrowing journey through Moscow and Minsk in Belorussia. They were transported in a container and locked-up in a barn for nine days with meagre food. They walked many miles in the bitter cold before reaching Poland through Lithuania but were arrested and returned to the Army camp in the Baltic state. After receiving some money from relatives in Denmark they were returned to Sri Lanka through Moscow.In the meantime, the Sri Lanka government has continued to persist in its denial that Tamils have a well founded fear of persecution if they return to the island. (British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor, October 1997)
On 18 August 1998, Denmark signed a repatriation agreement with Sri Lanka. The British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor, reported in September 1998:
"Despite increasing signs of tension in the capital, and warnings from human rights organisations, the Danish government has signed a repatriation pact with Sri Lanka. Denmark became the third European country on 18 August to sign an agreement with Sri Lanka for the repatriation of rejected asylum-seekers, following the examples of Switzerland and Netherlands. A number of Sri Lankans had been returned before the agreement was signed.
The repatriation will be phased and the accord envisages the return of 350 asylum-seekers in the first year. ... Two weeks earlier, Emergency rule was extended to the whole of Sri Lanka. NGOs have highlighted the unsafe conditions in Colombo and other parts of the island for Tamils and the continuing violations of human rights."
"Veluppillai Balachandran, a 39 year old Tamil refugee, killed himself on the 23rd March 1999, rather than be deported to Sri Lanka. He had previously staged a hunger strike to attract attention to his plight while he was held in the deportation prison (in Moers - NRW) and he had given several warnings to the courts and to the authorities in the deportation prison that he would kill himself rather than be deported to be tortured by the racist Sri Lankan military. Mr. Balachandran's suicide is a tragic indictment of the asylum process in Ger-many where a Tamil who clearly had a „well founded fear of persecution" was rejected as a genuine refugee and thereby left with no option but to kill himself."
The British Refugee Council Sri Lanka Monitor commenting on the plight of Tamil asylum seekers in Germany said:
"Sources say at least 50 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers have been deported from Germany in the last six months. The UK-based National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns says asylum-seeker V Balachandran, 39, committed suicide in a German prison on 23 March, before deportation to Sri Lanka.
The German Foreign Ministry claims that the 700 people disappeared in Jaffna in 1996 were LTTE cadre who had infiltrated the peninsula after its capture by the Army. The Ministry further claims that the Sri Lankan authorities implement the Emergency regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act in a pragmatic way and regarding torture, have taken steps to improve the situation.
But the US State Department reports that security forces continue to torture and mistreat detainees and the government has not made regulations under torture law to prosecute security personnel. In a March Background Paper, UNHCR, quoting sources, reports on torture, disappearances, extra-judicial executions and mass arrests of Tamils in Colombo.
UNHCR continues its "passive" or indirect monitoring of rejected Sri Lankan asylum-seekers from Switzerland and informally assists Denmark and Netherlands to check on returned refugees. UNHCR also receives information regarding refugee returns from Norway. UNHCR reiterates its view that Sri Lankan asylum-seekers whose claims have been processed through full and fair procedures and found not to fulfil the refugee criteria may be returned safely to Sri Lanka. This, UNHCR adds, does not obviate other reasons for non-return such as is contemplated under the UN Convention on Torture."
B r i t a i n Z i m b a b w e S o c i e t y
[Research Day Paper June 2009]
A Decade of War Veterans-led Occupations
(to return to Part 1 click here)
The Fast Track Land Reform Programme
The FLRP was an immediate strategy formulated by government and ruling ZANU PF to deal with the land movement. At this time the state shifted its role from one of the actors of the movement to that of a power above the movement exercising the authority of 'legalizing and regulating the occupations' (Haar van der G. 2005:5) . However, latently its objective was to usurp control of the land movement from the war veterans' leadership and sway it from its original objective of land redistribution to the land hungry. Through FTLRP the state regained legitimacy and assumed authority to take charge of and structure the land occupations. However, state support favoured the rising petty bourgeoisie (Moyo S. 1995; Kinsey B.H. 1999a; 1999; Sholtz D. 2004) , enhanced during ESAP in the 1990s. Implementation focused on attacking and weakening the land movement leadership. Organisationally the FLRP had a national task force to study the movement, create structures and re-establishing state control. Provincial committees were created and similar structures were set at district level. District committees and lower tier structures called Committees of 7, were frontline structures of FLRP, to negate war veteran leadership of the movement.
The first manifest clash between the state and the land movement was based on the new structures imposed by the state. At national level there was neither representation of war veterans nor any actors of the movement. At provincial levels war veterans employed by government were used to represent land occupiers despite the fact that these might have had nothing to do with the occupations. At district level the DA and the committee sidelined the actual war veterans who were leaders of the land movement, and replaced them by some hand-picked individuals that they preferred to represent the land movement constituency. Many such tactics were used but the land movement actors resisted, resulting into serious clashes which at times, degenerated into physical assaults (Sadomba 2008).
FTLRP involved land assessment to determine carrying capacity, demarcation into plots, settler selection and followed placement. Three tier tenure systems resulted where A1 plots were based on a communitarian policy and A2 was for commercial farming; communal lands remained unchanged. The objective of the land movement was in line with the A1 model where as many peasant farmers as possible would be resettled through the scheme. It turned out that the A2 model became very controversial as it was distributed for patrimonial reasons, handled directly by the Minister of Lands and Agriculture.
Moyo (2001) illustrated the fluctuations of the land movement over a period of time which other scholars fail to do (Hammar A. and Raftopolous B. 2003) thereby failing to note different phases of development of the land movement in the post independence period. However no analysis has been made to distinguish different phases of the war veterans-led occupations from 1997. This is erroneous in that failure to distinguish the various phases conceals many factors that help us understand the dynamics of the movement in space and time. The land occupations differed markedly between the nature, approach, objective and motive of war veterans-led occupations and state and ZANU PF led occupations during the fast track period. These occupations were mainly carried on occupied land, dispossessing occupiers in order to give it to ZANU PF elites, civil servants or relatives of those in the system. War veterans dubbed this wave of occupations jambanja 15 on jambanja meaning that they were occupations of occupied land. The fast track was not about bringing order to a disorderly operation but the contrary, it started to introduce disorder and new waves of occupations.
The process of the FTLRP was summarised in a document presented to the Provincial Stakeholder Dialogue held from 23 to 24 August 2004, organised by African Institute of Agrarian Studies. War veterans wrote:
Arrests of land occupiers has been orchestrated and well planned so much that strategies are made to create crimes where war veterans [are] fast-tracked to cells, court and jail. It's a well organized syndicate of officials from the mass that is used ... police details who arrest, magistrate and his public prosecutor who make sure you [go] to jail. When others [occupiers] realize this humiliation, they … go back to [their] towns of origin, and the so-called politicians become happy and celebrate. But can we say they will have solved the problem? No! … Already there is political discontent and distortion in the Agrarian Revolution. (Mashonaland West War Veterans Association 2004) .
As soon as the fast track took root, it started to weed out war veterans and other land occupiers, opening for commercial farms for the elite. These were mainly government officials, party loyalists and the ruling oligarchy who were given whole farms to themselves as opposed to subdivision applying to A2 farmers. They chose prime land with good infrastructure and farm houses, chasing away the land movement actors. Moreover the government input scheme favoured these large scale farmers than the small A1 farmers. For example A1 farmers, occupying 98 percent of the resettled land, got at most one eighth of the funds, with the balance going to commercial farmers on A2 farms. In the 2006 Government budgeted about ZW $1 trillion for '2005-6 season crop input finance to support A1 and communal farmers' forming more than a million farmers, to be conservative. A2 farmers got, through the Central Bank programme called Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Fund (ASPEF), 'ZW $7 trillion and other private financing schemes' (World Bank 2006: 59 Gono 2008).
Many no longer had the energy to fight and they simply returned to their houses in towns or their rural homes. The fast track was marked by many violent clashes between the state and the land movement. Moreover many of those who were given the land, for large scale A2 commercial farming wherefrom land movement actors had been removed, were not capitalist farmers and were accused of assert stripping (14) (War veterans Grievance document 2004) .
Murambatsvina (15) Period
This paper argues that the decade of war veterans land movement is a tale of class conflict within the liberation movement and without. Class antagonisms reached their climax during the Murambatsvina phase. In this section we examine the position of the land movement in the Murambatsvina period from mid 2004 to 2008. Many scholars and analysts have looked at Murambatsvina in partisan terms arguing that it was retribution on MDC supporters. This paper disagrees with this analysis and it argues that Murambatsvina was an attack on the land movement. It further argues that Murambatsvina occurred both in rural as well as urban areas and it started before 2005. Murambatsvina was imbedded in an overall strategy to deal systematically with the land movement that had been developed by the state from the rupture in 2000.
The state designed a strategy comprised of three options for formal intervention into the land movement. The first option was simple cooptation of the movement through ZNLWVA leadership structures aimed to diffuse the movement's autonomy and to subdue it. This option was embarked on soon after the February referendum in 2000, when Mugabe invited Hunzvi to spearhead electoral campaign at the ZANU PF Politburo post-mortem meeting that was held a week after the referendum. The second option was to create parallel state structures that would antagonise those of the land movement in the hope that the later would succumb. The third and last option was to smash the movement violently and dissipate it. The fast track was a process of executing these three options in that order and Operation Murambatsvina was a culmination of that long term strategy. During execution the options overlapped although they remain distinguishable and severable.
The attempt to co-opt the land movement failed for a number of reasons including but not limited to, complex horizontality of movement organisation, localisation, divisions within state organs (16) and effective negation of land movement structures that continuously made war veterans suspicious about the actual agenda of the state and ZANU PF elites. Although parallel structures were created in the form of Task Force Committees, land committees, village committees of seven and rejuvenation of traditional leadership, the land movement under war veterans leadership did not succumb. This left the state with no option but to implement the third alternative, then code-named Murabatsvina.
Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order began much earlier than 2005, as continuation of clashes between state organs and the land movement, particularly war veteran leaders. In Mashonaland west and Central for example there were continuous brutal evictions of occupiers by the state in Zvimba, Mazowe and Shamva Districts. Tactically, government postponed widespread violent onslaught on the land movement until the general elections of 2005 (17). It is notable that ZANU PF won the elections overwhelmingly, reflecting the effect of land movement both in rural and urban areas (Masuko L. 2008; Sadomba W.Z. 2008) . It is illustrative that ZANU PF regained the only seat in the traditional stronghold city of Harare both in 2005 and 2008 parliamentary elections and that seat was won by a war veteran candidate Nyanhongo, who rose from being councillor.
As a long term strategy to consolidate the land movement, War veterans decided to take over the political leadership of ZANU PF by mobilising support through the land movement. Their first step was to strengthen ZNLWVA. To do so they had to identify a courageous leader for the association, after the death of Dr. Hunzvi. Jabulani Sibanda, then chairman of Matebeleland Province, had emerged as a fearless leader when he publicly denounced the 'old guard' politicians of Matebeleland. The state and ZANU PF ruling elite backed Joseph Chinotimba. The Joint Operations Command tried to influence (18) the choice of war veterans but to no avail and Sibanda became the new Chairman (personal observation ZNLWVA meeting, 2004, Mutare). However he also was later coopted, foiling the plans of the association and the movement.
The second step of war veterans was to get into Parliament in massive numbers. Many registered for ZANU PF primary elections but were removed from the list by the party elite and were replaced by other individuals. Ironically, war veterans campaigned for these imposed candidates in the general elections. The vision of war veterans and their political tactics are in this sense, baffling. However this reflects the complexity of the situation where a movement has to confront catalysing neo-colonial tendencies (displayed by MDC), nationalist bourgeois tendencies of ZANU PF elites, settler and international capital. Determining the priority enemy at any given time might be tricky and debatable. Why did they not insist on getting into Parliament when ZANU PF was at its weakest point and they (war veterans) were powerful? Indeed this weakened the land movement. This is where Moyo and Yeros (2005) criticism is relevant. War veterans, despite ideological clarity and long term-strategies, were tactically sterile. A retreat at this point was tantamount to bolstering the position of ZANU PF elites giving them the tactical advantage which they were quick to exploit and swiftly smashed the movement by Murambatsvina. This tactical error grossly and dearly cost the land movement.
Soon after the general elections in 2005 the postponed 'violent retribution by the state,' to borrow Jun Borras' (2001:548) words, was commenced on the land movement (19). The operation started by demolishing houses of cooperatives in the urban areas. (20)The demolition was done by local authority operatives using earth-moving equipment accompanied by the police and army. Illegal structures in high density properties were also razed to the ground as were the established informal sector production sites and workshops. As there was no warning property was lost, and worse still means of urban livelihood were destroyed as tools and equipment for the small scale manufacturers were destroyed in the process. Above all the operation was life threatening as it left many families without housing and the effect on the urban land movement was clear as Masuko (2008:204) writes, '... in doing so (government) dashed the hopes of the low income urban homeless and of one of the most radical housing developments ever initiated in Zimbabwe. However ... the occupiers remained on the occupied farms minus all the structures that they had built ...'
The most intriguing question that scholars have glossed over or totally ignored is, what was the motive of the regime in carrying out the operation? ZANU PF had clearly started to regain popularity throught the land movement, winning more than two thirds majority in the 2005 general elections (Masuku 2008). Why did Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF forge genuine unity with war veterans and the land movement? The answer seems to lie in the intrinsic class contradictions and class struggle. War veterans feel that Operation Murambatsvina was targeted on them specifically and the land movement generally. Operation Murambatsvina was not the only operation of this period. There another one was Operation Chikorokoza Chapera that was carried in 2006. This was a rural operation that focused on specific occupied farms and mineral exploitation that had become the new source of livelihoods for dispersed Murambatsvina victims. Although Chikorokoza Chapera was countrywide, the most severe attacks were in Chimanimani gold mines and Chiadzwa diamond mines, both in Manicaland, where the state killed people to remove victims of Murambatsvina according to various accusations.
Structural reconfigurations also occurred during the Murambatsvina period. The state, ZANU PF and Mugabe, realising the cruel attacks they had made on the land movement and war veterans, it decided to forge a new alliance. This time it chose the traditional leaders to replace the mobilisation role of the land movement actors. The countryside was not being democratised by going back to traditional authority. Rather, this structure was, like in the case of the Phillines, being elevated and entrenched into an elite 'to dominate rural polity' and with state resources and delegated powers could 'use extensive patronage networks that combine (partial) provision of daily subsistence needs of rural poor households with the threat and/or actual use of violence' (Borras S.M. 2001:550) . In addition the executive of ZNLWVA was co-opted through material benefits including houses, double cab vehicles and money, as had been done to traditional leaders.
First, chiefs were allocated prime land with good farm houses and infrastructure. In addition they were given grants of seed and chemical fertilisers. They were also given double cab vehicles for personal transport and administrative personnel including secretaries and messengers. Powers of traditional leaders were also increased and they were given more functions as commissioners of oaths. In 2006 new agricultural programmes were initiated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. These were: Productive Sector Finance Facility (PSF) in 2003 and Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility (ASPEF) (Gono G. 2008:148-150) . The farm mechanisation programme under ASPEF included many schemes for drought relief food, seed, fuel, livestock, liquid money, farm equipment like tractors and combine harvesters. This was a bourgeois class under formation rising from the ashes of the destroyed small scale industrial producers. Chiefs were not only direct beneficiaries of this project but also distributors, giving them extra advantage of consolidating their social networks. Basic Commodity Supply Side Intervention Facility (BACOSSI) "under which primary secondary and tertiary producers and suppliers in targeted key sectors of the economy were afforded concessional production-linked financial support for working capital requirements" (Gono G. 2008:151) . However this caused high inflationary pressures on the economy as it distorted prices and as some of the inputs were abused, and were not channelled into production (21).
Much has been written and debated (22) about the evil nature with which Operation Murambatsvina was carried out by the state (Tabaijuka A.K. 2005; Toriro P. 2005; Mahoso T. 2008; Masuko L. 2008; Mhiripiri N. 2008; Mlambo A. 2008; Moore D. 2008; Vambe M. 2008; Vambe M. 2008) but little or no analysis has been offered on the class nature of the state operation. As a result the analysis is at best shallow and at worst confused. For example simple empirical facts are contested, like who was targeted by Murambatsvina. Vembe (2008:3) argues that 'both rural and urban areas; ZANU PF supporters and MDC supporters and non-aligned, were targeted'. However others see the operation as partisan, attacking MDC city strongholds as 'punishment' for 'voting for MDC' and desire of the ruling party to unwind time of the urbanites to 'year zero' rural homelands' ( Moore 2008:28). In desperate defence of state action, Mahoso (2008:160) tried to separate Murambatsvina from the land movement itself saying 'the African land reclamation movement [was] rural and [had] little to do with urban slum clearance'. Vembe's view is correct and supported by empirical evidence. Scholars failed to grasp the class conflict in Murambatsvina and its linkage to the overall land occupation movement. Moore's argument can be challenged on grounds of lack of imperical data to based on fieldwork which such a controversial study demands. It sounds more reasonable that urbanites who voted ZANU PF in 2005 were influenced mainly by the land movement and it this signified a shift from MDC considering that the party's land policy and alliance with white commercial farmers were seen as negating the land movement. Moreover, utterances by Morgan Tsvangirai that land occupiers were sprouting in a disorderly fashion like mushroom, warning a disaster of hunger, enhanced this perception about the MDC.
This paper argues that the land movement of Zimbabwe for the past ten years has seen the climax of especially class but also racial conflict. Politics of power at this juncture transcended partisan interests as the real bone of contention was protection of class interests and class domination by ZANU PF elites and petty bourgeoisie against peasants, rural and urban working classes. Political power was under formidable threat from the land movement that had now mobilised both urban workers and peasants. At no point in Zimbabwe's liberation struggle had such a powerful alliance of urban working class and rural peasants been forged. ZANU PF ruling elite, petty and rising national bourgeoisie were worried of the imminent power shifts threatening to take place in favour of the lower classes comprising the land movement and war veterans.
The myth that war veterans were incapable of leading the Zimbabwean society had been utterly dispelled and a revolutionary climate had developed. "The situation had presented itself" (Interview DTM, a war veteran leader of occupations in Mazowe District, 2000). Leadership capabilities of war veterans had been demonstrated by organising the land hungry, homeless, informal sector producers and farm workers, sending unequivocal signals that it was only a matter of time the movement was to take over state power. This of course sent shivers to the ruling elite who immediately took the third option - the real 'hidden dimension of operation Murambatsvina' – a violent retributive class attack of the urban and rural poor in the land movement. The impact of the housing cooperatives and Unions are illustrative of this new and rising power of the peasants and workers with marginalised war veterans as vanguard, against both capital and elitism.
A question that has been debated is whether or not the land movement dissipated and disintegrated after Murambatsvina. What became of the land movement and what is its status today? This question can be answered by viewing the agency of the land movement actors from 2005. Many war veterans that were interviewed in connection with Operation Murambatsvina, were bitter. More than 10 000 properties at different stages of development were destroyed including and especially those of the war veterans (23). Members of the land occupation movement were scattered across the country as a result of operation Murambatsvina and Operation Chikorokoza Chapera (24). Counter strategies by war veterans included ousting ZANU PF elites in 2008 elections (interview Muchaneta 2006). Dispersal of the land movement actors – Murambatsvina victims - effectively spread widely mobilising agents against the ruling ZANU PF elite, Mugabe and their bourgeois counterparts.
Strategically war veterans mobilised the ZANU PF electorate to be elected towards Parliamentary elections of 2008. However, the politburo sought ways of weeding out war veterans by applying unconstitutional qualifications, outlining that a ZANU PF Parliamentary candidate had to have been in the provincial executive for at least five years. In 1980, at Zimbabwe's independence ZANU PF had issued a directive barring war veterans from participating in the leadership of the party at any level, which condition was only lifted during the occupation period, by default. It was impossible that under normal circumstances one would have risen through the ranks to occupy a provincial level post, so this was clearly to exclude war veterans (25).
Many war veterans lost their meagre income campaigning to be parliamentarians, only to be weeded out (26). Similar to Das' observation, sheer numbers of the land movement 'constitute[d] a political threat to [the] regime overlooking their interests, either through elections or through non-electoral agency' (Das R.J. 2007) . Jabulani Sibanda, who tried to silence war veterans sidelined in the primary elections, was viciously snapped at in meeting of war veterans (January 2008, Fourth Street Offices, personal observation) . The angry crowd threatened the doom of the party in the 2008 elections. Some of the war veterans candidates, for example in a Marondera constituency and Mutasa, refused to step down with disastrous consequences to the ruling party. Others took the primary elections irregularities to the High Court but many others simply withdraw like war veterans in Goromonzi, Zvimba and Harare (personal observation, 2008).
The ballot became the new "weapon of the weak", now mobilised by the Murambatsvina victim scatterings comprising of urban informal sector producers, urban homeless and some dispossessed A1 settlers and marginalised war veterans. War veterans and land movement actors were disgruntled by the process and the sidelining of land movement candidates. This anger, disillusionment and mobilisation by Murabatsvina victims changed the traditional voting behaviour in the rural areas leading to ZANU PF defeat generally. Mugabe was also defeated by Morgan Tsvangirai in the March 29 elections. With panic, the state reacted by unleashing retributive violence on both the rural and urban electorate in a military operation code named Operation Mavhotera Papi? (Operation whom did you vote for?). The army was engaged to 'mobilise' or is it to 'coerce' voters. A shift in use of the army instead of war veterans clearly explains that the state had terminated its alliance with the later. A re-run of the presidential elections was marred by organised state violence resulting in Morgan Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the race and seeking refuge with the Dutch embassy in Zimbabwe. Murambatsvina had pushed partisan but especially class contradictions to their zenith.
War veterans heavily criticised regimentation, threats and violence against the electorate in the run up to the presidential run-off (27). The elections, that put Mugabe back into power, have been widely considered scandalous and were widely condemned regionally and internationally. This forced ZANU PF to concede to a power-sharing deal, forming a Government of National Unity with the two MDC parties (28). Omission of the land movement and particularly war veterans, in this GNU is conspicuous, raising questions of future of both the GNU and the land movement.
From the time veterans led the land movement localised and isolated peasant actions were transformed into a national land movement transcending urban and rural divide and partisan dichotomies of ZANU PF and MDC. This had wide political ramifications threatening seizure of power by the marginalised classes of peasants, farm and urban workers, under the leadership of war veterans. War veterans changed the land movement in terms of tactics and long term strategies and ideological depth. War veterans started to mobilise an alliance of workers and peasants and form decentralised structures (housing co-operatives and unions, and committees in the occupied farms). The political base of both ZANU PF and MDC was at threat and the later was losing its grip on the state.
The class conflicts necessitated the inception of fast track land reform programme that aimed at negating the land movement objectives and thwarting it in the end. The state failed neither to co-opt nor to thwart the movement through imposition of parallel structures and technocratic planning and land allocation that favoured the elite. Its last resort to deal with the surging movement, was violence epitomised by three national operations of military style: Operation Murambatsvina, Operation Chikorokoza Chapera and Operation Mavhotera papi? All three were rooted in state reaction to land occupation movement which threatened political power in the hands of ZANU PF elites and black bourgeoisie.
However current academic analysis has ignored the issue of class in the land occupation movement, tied as they are to partisan views. This has made the debate shallow and confusing. Grounded research reveals that the war veterans-led land occupation movement in Zimbabwe has much wider ideological as well as political consequences which scholars have yet to grapple with in their quest to unravel the unfolding social phenomenon. It is worthwhile to bear in mind that at the core of it is class contest for state power, under neoliberal socio-economic order as Das (2007:4) observed elsewhere:
Just as the neoliberal society is a class society, so the neoliberal state is a class state. In short, neoliberalism had made no difference to the fact that the state must protect capitalist property relations. Indeed, government policy is much rather about the restoration of class power, and increasing capitalist control over society's material resources (Das R.J. 2007:4)
The onslaught on the land movement (urban and rural) through the three national operations, the land tenure policy entrenching capitalist farming, elite protection and economic support from state resources all bears testimony to this class struggle and domination of the poor. The new Government of National Unity (GNU) provides little hope for the working classes as it reflects another alliance of the elites and a significant return of the White Rhodesians in active politics of the country. The question therefore is whether the land movement will be able to sustain its struggle against the elite. This depends on the ideological clarity of the war veterans or any other force that will emerge as vanguard of this land revolution.
13. "Jambanja" is a colloquial Shona word which connotes simultaneous expropriation and suspension of the law.
14. For example these new A2 farmers started to remove parts like plumbing materials, fancy lamp sheds etc. from the farm houses and sell or replace similar parts of their houses in town.
15. Murambatsvina is a Shona word which literally means "one who rejects dirt or garbage". It was coined on environmental health technicians because of their message of refraining from dirt. Mu is class one noun prefix ramb is a verb root meaning "refuse" or "refrain from" tsvina is noun meaning dirt or garbage. However tsvina is also euphemistically used to mean human excrement, but in this context excrement, as Judith Todd (2007:102) interprets, is a misnomer.
16. Dumiso Dabengwa, former Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) intelligence supremo, then Minister of Home Affairs, sent police to evict occupiers in March and April 2000. Joseph Musika, acting as President while Mugabe was out of the country, did the same later. In August 2000, Minister of Lands, John Nkomo, announced that occupations had to stop. War veterans actually clarified their position telling prospective members of parliaments that "… if government was saying 'land to the people' as a political gimmick, we were on our part, serious." (interview DM, 2000). Around March 2000 war veterans locked ZANU PF Provincial Offices and demanded audience with Mugabe, complaining that the ruling party and government were not pushing government and ZANU PF to unequivocally support their land occupation initative who sent Didymus Mutasa and Joseph Musika for negotiations (interview DM, 2000).
17. Government is always tactical the closer to elections the timing is; e.g. they only intensely executed fast track after 2002 presidential elections.
18. A day before the congress the outgoing executive and provincial leaders were addressed by the Joint Operations Command (commanders of the uniformned forces and the Central Intelligence Organisation) at King George VI (KG VI) Barracks. According to a report back by one of the attendants, C, the meeting had two objectives. One was to advice the leadership not to wash their dirty linen in public, meaning that their contradictions had to be shelved in the light of the focus by the international community on the events taking place in the country. The second was trying to impress upon the organisation to elect members who would be acceptable to the political leaders. It is possible that C wanted to use the report back to gain mileage as he was clearly a candidate sponsored by the politicians. He was heavily de-campaigned in Mutare and he could not become the Chairman of ZNLWVA a post that went to Jabulani Sibanda. Sibanda was preferred by war veterans for demonstrating courage against ZANU PF old guard in Matebeleland but was however later coopted and became an ally of Mugabe in the campaign for ZANU PF congress in 2007.
19. The main characteristic feature that distinguishes Murambatsvina period are is retributive violence, epitomised by state coined operations, namely: Operation Murambatsvina, Operation Chikorokoza Chapera (mainly rural) and Operation Mavhotera Papi?
20. One of the most widely publicized cases of Murambatsvina was the destruction by a bulldozer of Chinx Chingaira's house. Chingaira, a prominent singer, was a war veteran and had acquired a stand through the housing cooperatives. He tried to stop destruction of his house by standing on top of it but was pulled down and severely beaten by the police, warning the rest that the state meant business.
21. In many cases fuel was resold on the parallel market and production vehicles like tractors were converted into taxis for desperate commuters (personal observation 2005-2008).
22. Research in Zimbabwe has largely mimicked the political polarity thereby clouded with non-academic pursuits by scholars.
23. Destruction of war veterans' houses like that of Chinx Chingaira, a popular singer since the liberation, was very conspicuous. Chingaira climbed on the roof of pleading with for his house to be spared but he was brought down, beaten thoroughly as the house was razed to the ground by a bulldozer. Another war veteran leader of a housing cooperative in Malborough collapsed and died at the news of destruction of the houses.
24. The whereabouts of Murambatsvina victims and their impact wherever they went is yet to be studied. I carried out some research in 2006 in Zvimba, in 2007 in Marange (Chiadzwa diamonds mines) and 2008 in Uzumba, assessing Murambatsvina outcomes. It showed that Murambatsvina victims are spread in all social groups of the country and in all areas. In some cases the victims were allocated land by local leaders, establishing whole communities (personal observation Nyabira 2006, personal communication with victims Uzumba 2008, interview war veterans and traditional leaders of Marange and Chiadzwa 2007)
25. However, noting that there were other elites who had to be included but did not satisfy the condition, an exemption clause was put for such members as those who had been on diplomatic missions.
26. Personal observation (Goromonzi, Chinhamora, Mutasa and Harare South constituency, 2008).
27. Personal observation Concession (April-May, 2008). At a meeting organised by the Zimbabwe National army war veterans challenged them diffusing the violent plots in the area.
28. MDC split into two with one led by Arthur Mutambara and the other by Morgan Tzvangirai. The Mutambara party is known as MDC while the Tsvangirai party is referred to as MDC-T.
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(to return to Part 1 click here)
By Karishma Vaswani
BBC News, Jakarta
The Sri Lankas have been on this Australian customs ship for 11 days
Indonesia says the 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers moored in a boat off Sumatra must co-operate with authorities over identity checks or risk expulsion.
The Sri Lankans were intercepted in Indonesian waters eleven days ago while trying to reach Australia.
Australia and Indonesia agreed to a deal last week which in principle would see the asylum seekers moved to an Indonesian detention centre.
But the Sri Lankans, ethnic Tamils, are refusing to leave the ship.
Indonesia's foreign ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizahsyah has told the BBC that Indonesia will only be able to host the 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers once they have been clearly identified.
The refugees have so far resisted any efforts to get off the Oceanic Viking, an Australian customs ship that picked them up in Indonesian waters.
Mr Faizahsyah says if this stand-off continues, Indonesia will have no choice but to expel the Sri Lankans.
This has turned into an embarrassing problem for the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who last week agreed to a deal with Australia to look after the 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers in Indonesia.
The deal has been seen as a prelude to a wider-ranging agreement between the two nations which is expected to be signed formally at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November.
It has been dubbed the Indonesian solution.
In theory it would see Australia handing over cash to Indonesia, in exchange for Jakarta ensuring that ships heading for Australia with asylum seekers on board are intercepted.
But the agreement has been criticised by some in Indonesia who say it is just a way for Australia to outsource its problems to this country.
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Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|This article is currently subject to editing restrictions, following a dispute resolution consensus.|
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|Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam|
The official emblem of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
|Dates of operation||May 5, 1976 – present;|
Defeated as a conventional organization on May 17, 2009
|Motives||The creation of a separate Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka|
|Active region(s)||Canada United Kingdom, Norway And Others |
|Notable attacks||Central Bank bombing, Palliyagodella massacre, Dehiwala train bombing and others.|
|Status||Proscribed as a terrorist organization by 32 countries.|
|Annual revenue||$300–500 Million|
|Means of revenue||Donations from expatriate Tamils, Sale of Narcotics, Extortion Shipping, Sales of weapons, Taxes under LTTE controlled areas, Bank of Tamileelam|
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil: தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகள், ISO 15919: tamiḻ īḻa viṭutalaip pulikaḷ; commonly known as the LTTE or the Tamil Tigers) is a separatist organization formerly based in northern Sri Lanka. Founded in May 1976, it waged a violent secessionist campaign that sought to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. This campaign evolved into the Sri Lankan Civil War, which was one of the longest running armed conflicts in Asia until the LTTE was militarily defeated by the Sri Lankan Military in May 2009 .
The Tigers, who during the height of their power possessed a well-developed militia cadre, were notorious for recruiting child soldiers, for carrying out civilian massacres, suicide bombings and various other high profile attacks, including the assassinations of several high-ranking Sri Lankan and Indian politicians like Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993, and former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. They invented the suicide belt and pioneered the use of suicide bombing as a tactic. They also pioneered the use of women in suicide attacks, and used light aircraft in some of their attacks. They are currently proscribed as a terrorist organization by 32 countries (see list of countries), but have extensive support amongst the Tamil diaspora in Europe and North America, and amongst Tamils in India. Since its inception, and until his death, the LTTE was headed by its founder, Velupillai Prabhakaran.
Over the course of the conflict, the Tamil Tigers frequently exchanged control of territory in north-east Sri Lanka with the Sri Lankan military, engaging in fierce confrontations in the process. They were also involved in peace talks to end the conflict four times, each time unsuccessfully. At the start of the final round of peace talks in 2002, they had a 15,000 km2 area under their control. However after the breakdown of the peace process in 2006, the Sri Lankan military launched a major offensive against the Tigers, bringing the entire country under their control and defeating the LTTE militarily. Victory over the Tigers was declared by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 16, 2009, and the LTTE admitted defeat on May 17, 2009. Prabhakaran was subsequently killed by government forces on May 19, 2009. Selvarasa Pathmanathan took over the leadership, however he was arrested, and interrogated by the Sri Lankan authorities. Following Pathmanathan's arrest, Visvanathan Rudrakumaran became the de facto leader.
The LTTE was founded on May 5, 1976 by Velupillai Prabhakaran, as a successor to the Tamil New Tigers, a militant group most notable for the assassination of the Mayor of Jaffna, Alfred Duraiyappah in 1975. Prabhakaran sought to "refashion the old TNT/new LTTE into an elite, ruthlessly efficient, and highly professional fighting force", which, as terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna notes, he did by "keeping [his] numbers small, maintaining a high standard of training, [and] enforcing discipline at all levels". According to the Indian media news channel "ibnCNN,"[unreliable source?] the LTTE's main members including Prabhakaran were trained by the Indian Army[unreliable source?] and Indian intelligence agency "RAW" which attracted many supporters among disenchanted Tamil youth. They carried out low-key attacks against various government targets, including policemen and local politicians.
The LTTE carried out their first major attack on July 23, 1983 when they ambushed a Sri Lanka Army troop transport outside Jaffna. 13 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed in the attack, leading to the Black July riots against the Tamil community of Sri Lanka. The subsequent anger amongst the Tamil community resulted in numerous Tamil youths joining Tamil militant groups to fight the Sri Lankan government, in what is considered start of the insurgency in Sri Lanka.
 Rise to power
Initially, LTTE operated in cooperation with other Tamil militant groups which shared their objectives, and in April 1984, the LTTE formally joined a common militant front, the Eelam National Liberation Front (ENLF), a union between LTTE, the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO), the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS), the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) and the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF).
TELO usually held the Indian view of problems and pushed for India's view during peace talks with Sri Lanka and other groups. LTTE denounced the TELO view and claimed that India was only acting on its own interest. As a result in 1986, the LTTE broke from the ENLF. Soon fighting broke out between the TELO and the LTTE and clashes occurred over the next few months. As a result almost the entire TELO leadership and many of the TELO militants were killed by the LTTE. The LTTE attacked training camps of the EPRLF a few months later, forcing it to withdraw entirely from the Jaffna peninsula.
The LTTE then demanded that all remaining Tamil insurgents join the LTTE. Notices were issued to that effect in Jaffna and in Madras, India where the Tamil groups were headquartered. With the major groups including the TELO and EPRLF eliminated, the remaining Tamil insurgent groups, numbering around 20, were then absorbed into the LTTE, making Jaffna an LTTE-dominated city.
LTTE's practice such as wearing a cyanide vial for consumption if captured appealed to the Tamil people as dedication and sacrifice. Another practice that increased support by Tamil people was LTTE's practice of taking an oath of loyalty which stated LTTE's goal of establishing a state for the Sri Lankan Tamils.
In 1987, LTTE established the Black Tigers, a unit of LTTE responsible for conducting suicide attacks against political, economic and military targets, and launched its first suicide attack against a Sri Lanka Army camp, killing 40 soldiers.
 IPKF period
In 1987, faced with growing anger among its own Tamils, and a flood of refugees, India intervened directly in the conflict for the first time by initially airdropping food parcels into Jaffna. After subsequent negotiations, India and Sri Lanka entered into the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. Though the conflict was between the Tamil and Sinhalese people, India and Sri Lanka signed the peace accord instead of India influencing both parties to sign a peace accord among themselves. The peace accord assigned a certain degree of regional autonomy in the Tamil areas with Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) controlling the regional council and called for the Tamil militant groups to lay down their arms. India was to send a peacekeeping force, named the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF), part of the Indian Army, to Sri Lanka to enforce the disarmament and to watch over the regional council.
Although the accord was signed between the governments of Sri Lanka and India, and the Tamil militant groups did not have a role in the agreement, most Tamil militant groups accepted it. But the LTTE rejected the accord because they opposed the candidate, who belonged to the EPRLF, for chief administrative officer of the merged Northern and Eastern provinces. Instead, the LTTE named three other candidates for the position, which India rejected. The LTTE subsequently refused to hand over their weapons to the IPKF.
Thus LTTE found itself engaged in military conflict with the Indian Army, and launched its first attack on an Indian army rations truck on October 8, killing five Indian para-commandos who were on board by strapping burning tires around their necks. The government of India decided that the IPKF should disarm the LTTE by force, and the Indian Army launched number of assaults on the LTTE, including a month-long campaign dubbed Operation Pawan to win control of the Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE. The ruthlessness of this campaign, and the Indian army's subsequent anti-LTTE operations made it extremely unpopular among many Tamils in Sri Lanka.
 After IPKF
The Indian intervention was also unpopular among the Sinhalese majority, and the IPKF became bogged down in the fighting with the Tamil Tigers for over 2 years, experiencing heavy losses. The last members of the IPKF, which was estimated to have had a strength of well over 50,000 at its peak, left the country in 1990 upon request of the Sri Lankan government. A shaky peace initially held between the government and the LTTE, and peace talks progressed towards providing devolution for Tamils in the north and east of the country.
Fighting continued throughout the 1990s, and was marked by two key assassinations carried out by the LTTE, that of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, and Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993, using suicide bombers in both occasions. The fighting briefly halted in 1994 following the election of Chandrika Kumaratunga as President of Sri Lanka and the onset of peace talks, but fighting resumed after LTTE sunk two Sri Lanka Navy boats in April 1995. In a series of military operations that followed, the Sri Lanka Army re-captured the Jaffna peninsula, the heartland of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Further offensives followed over the next three years, and the military captured vast areas in the north of the country from the LTTE, including area in the Vanni region, the town of Kilinochchi and many smaller towns. However, from 1998 onward the LTTE hit back, regaining control of these areas. This culminated in the capture of the strategically important Elephant Pass base complex, located at the entrance of the Jaffna Peninsula, in April 2000, after prolonged fighting against the Sri Lanka Army.
Mahattaya, a one-time deputy leader of LTTE, was accused of treason by the LTTE and killed in 1994. He is said to have collaborated with the Indian Research and Analysis Wing to remove Prabhakaran from the LTTE leadership.
 2001 ceasefire
In 2001, the LTTE dropped its demand for a separate state. Instead, it stated that a form of regional autonomy would meet its demands. Following the landslide election defeat of Kumaratunga and the coming to power of Ranil Wickramasinghe in December 2001, the LTTE declared a unilateral ceasefire. The Sri Lankan Government agreed to the ceasefire. In March 2002, both sides signed an official Ceasefire Agreement (CFA). As part of the agreement, Norway and the other Nordic countries agreed to jointly monitor the ceasefire through the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission.
Six rounds of peace talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and LTTE were held, but they were temporarily suspended after the LTTE pulled out of the talks in 2003 claiming "certain critical issues relating to the ongoing peace process".
In December 2005, the LTTE boycotted the 2005 presidential election. While LTTE claimed that the people under its control were free to vote, it is alleged that they used threats to prevent the population from voting. The United States condemned this act.
The new government of Sri Lanka came into power in 2006 and demanded to abrogate the ceasefire agreement, staying that the only possible solution to the ethnic conflict was military solution, and that the only way to achieve this is by eliminating the Liberation Tigers of Tamila. Further peace talks were scheduled in Oslo, Norway, on June 8 and 9, 2006, but canceled when the LTTE refused to meet directly with the government delegation, stating its fighters were not being allowed safe passage to travel to the talks. Norwegian mediator Erik Solheim told journalists that the LTTE should take direct responsibility for the collapse of the talks.
Rifts grew between the government and LTTE, and resulted in a number of ceasefire agreement violations by both sides during 2006. Suicide attacks, military skirmishes and air raids took place during the latter part of 2006. Military confrontation continued into 2007 and 2008. On January 2008, the government officially pulled out of the Cease Fire Agreement.
In the biggest show of dissent from within the organization, a senior LTTE commander named Colonel Karuna (nom de guerre of Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan) broke away from the LTTE in March 2004 and formed the TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal amid allegations that the northern commanders were overlooking the needs of the eastern Tamils. The LTTE leadership accused him of mishandling of funds and questioned him about his recent personal behavior. He tried to take control of the eastern province from the LTTE, which caused clashes between the LTTE and TEMVP. The LTTE has suggested that TEMVP was backed by the government, and the Nordic SLMM monitors have corroborated this.
 Military Defeat
On January 2, 2009, the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, announced that the Sri Lankan troops had captured Kilinochchi, the city which the LTTE had used for over a decade as its de facto administrative capital. It was stated that the loss of Kilinochchi had caused a substantial dent in the LTTE's image. It was also stated that after the fall of Kilinochchi the LTTE was likely to collapse soon under unbearable military pressure on multiple fronts. As of January 8, 2009, the LTTE was abandoning its positions on the Jaffna peninsula to make a last stand in the jungles of Mullaitivu, their last main base. The entire Jaffna peninsula was captured by the Sri Lanka Army by January 14. On January 25, 2009 SLA troops "completely captured" Mullaitivu town, the last major LTTE stronghold. As a result of the offensive, there is increasing belief that the final military defeat of the LTTE is near, although the LTTE may launch an underground guerrilla campaign if it is defeated as a conventional force.
Top LTTE leader Cheliyan, the second-in-command of the Sea Tigers, was killed in Kariyamullivaikkal on May 8, 2009 dealing another blow to the organization. The Sri Lanka Government accused the LTTE of causing a human disaster by trapping civilians in the shrinking area under their control. With LTTE on brink of defeat the fate of the leader of LTTE Velupillai Prabhakaran remained uncertain. On May 12, 2009 BBC reported that LTTE was now clinging on to only about 840 acres of land near town of Mullaitivu which is roughly the same area as Central Park of New York.
U.N secretary General Ban Ki Moon appealed on LTTE that children should not be held hostage, recruited as child soldiers or put in harm's way. Claude Heller of United Nations Security Council said 'We demand that the LTTE immediately lay down arms, renounce terrorism, allow a UN-assisted evacuation of the remaining civilians in the conflict area, and join the political process.' The council president, speaking on behalf of the 15 members, also said they 'strongly condemned the LTTE, a terrorist organisation, for the use of civilians as human shields and for not allowing them to leave the area'. On May 13, 2009 the UN security council condemned the rebel LTTE again and denounced its use of civilians as human shields and urged them to acknowledge the legitimate right of the government of Sri Lanka to combat terrorism by laying down their arms and allowing the tens of thousands of civilians to leave the conflict zone. On May 14, 2009 The United Nations acting representative for Sri Lanka, Amin Awad, said that 6,000 civilians had fled or were trying to flee, but that LTTE was firing on them to prevent them from escaping.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared military victory over the Tamil Tigers on May 16, 2009 after 26 years of conflict. On the same day for the first time in their long struggle against the Sri Lankan government, the rebels were offering to lay down their weapons in return for a guarantee of safety. Sri Lanka's disaster relief and human-rights minister Mahinda Samarasinghe stated 'The military phase is over. The LTTE has been militarily defeated. Now the biggest hostage rescue operation in the world has come to a conclusion, The figure I have here is since 20th of April, 179,000 hostages have been rescued.'
On May 17, 2009, rebel official Selvarasa Pathmanathan conceded defeat saying in an email statement "This battle has reached its bitter end". Several rebel fighters committed suicide when they became surrounded. On May 18 it was confirmed that the rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran had been killed along with several other high ranking Tamil officials. State run television interrupted its regular programming and a government information department sent a text message to cell phones across the country with the news. Mass celebrations erupted across Sri Lanka to the announcement as the death of Prabhakaran is key to preventing a new guerrilla offensive. From government reports it seems Prabhakaran was riding in an armor-plated van with several top deputies and rebel fighters headed directly towards the advancing Sri Lankan forces. After a two-hour firefight the van was hit by a rocket killing most if not all of the occupants and ending the battle. Troops removed and have identified the bodies of Prabhakaran as well as Colonel Soosai (head of the Sea Tigers), and Pottu Amman (the intelligence commander). 
 Organisation and activities
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The LTTE is organized into three main divisions: a military wing, a political wing and a fund raising wing. A central governing body oversees all of the divisions, which was headed by the LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran until his death in May 2009. It is estimated that the LTTE has assets and investments in the range of $300 million to $1 billion.
In the LTTE, recruits are instructed to be prepared to die for the cause, and are issued with a cyanide capsule to be swallowed in the case of capture. The LTTE also has a special squad of suicide bombers, called the Black Tigers, which it deploys for critical missions.
The military wing includes the following specific subdivisions, which are directly controlled and directed by the central governing body:
- Sea Tigers – an amphibious warfare unit focusing on utilization of naval firepower and logistics, mainly consisting of lightweight boats.
- Air Tigers – an airborne group, consisting of several lightweight aircraft. It is known to be the world's first air force controlled by an organization proscribed as terrorists.
- Black Tigers – a suicide commando unit, which has carried out between 100 and 200 missions.
 Sea Tigers
The Sea Tigers is the naval force of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and is lead by Colonel Soosai. It is believed to have about 2,000 personnel and has become a potent threat to the Sri Lankan Navy at Sea. According to a 2006 publication of the Woodrow Wilson School of Politics and International Studies, the Sea Tigers have destroyed 35%-50% of the Sri Lankan Navy's coastal craft.
Following its northern offensive, the Sri Lankan military reported that it captured Sea Tiger main base in Mullaitivu and several boat yards. In early February 2009, the military reported once again that it captured the last major Sea Tiger base, killing three senior commanders in the process and thus limiting Sea Tiger operations. Several days later it was claimed that Sea Tigers leader Soosai and several top aids were killed in a Sri Lanka Air Force raid on a command center.
 Air Tigers
The Air Tigers was the air force of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The Air Tigers were believed to have operated five light aircraft. The organization was revealed in 2007 when it conducted its first air raid on the Sri Lankan Air Force base. It later conducted another four air raids. With the Air Tigers, LTTE became the first non-state organization to establish an air force. Although the Sri Lankan Army captured Kilinochchi on January 2, 2009, it was not able to locate the LTTE aircraft. Later, two LTTE aircraft were shot down in Colombo during a suicide attack on the Sri Lanka Air Force headquarters and the Sri Lanka Air Force base hangars in Katunayake.
 Black Tigers
A Suicide Commando Unit , which is known for carrying deadly attacks against the Sri Lankan Army and also, politicians who opposed their movement of a separate state for the minority Tamil. The Black Tigers are the first to assassinate major political figures and has been known to carry roughly around 100–200 missions, all concluding in a deadly aftermath. Ranging from men to women, attacks were carried out to eliminate enemies for the LTTE to advance and control territory.
Although the LTTE was formed as a military group, it later transformed into a de facto government. The LTTE controlled sections in the north of the island, especially the regions lying around the cities of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.
- Political Wing of LTTE- The Chief/Leader was Anton Balasingam, who also held as a key influence in major peace talks with Sri Lanka and the third-party of Norway. After his death on December 14, 2006, B. Nadesan took over as political head and lead the political wing of the LTTE
- Tiger Intelligence – The intelligence wing, which has helped the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam with exclusive missions such as radars and more to prepare the military for an attack. Pottu Amman, the leader of the Intelligence Wing was believed to be shot by the Sri Lankan Army on May 19, 2009
- International Relations – They are believed to be the only LTTE Wing to be standing after the Sri Lankan's Army's final offensive; it is led by current leader Selvarasa Pathmanathan. From an unknown location, operating outside Sri Lanka/Tamil Eelam, the International Relations Wing is now going to lead the LTTE and Tamil Eelam into exile in regards to a provisional transnational government.
 Tiger Courts
The LTTE implemented a judicial system that consisted of courts to adjudicate in criminal and civil matters. The Tamil Eelam judicial system consisted of district courts, high courts, a supreme court and a court of appeal. The district courts handled civil and criminal cases. The two high courts handled criminal cases such as rape, murder, treason and arson. The supreme court had jurisdiction over the whole of Tamil Eelam. The courts were said to be effective, and people who had a choice went to the Tamil Eelam courts rather than the Sri Lankan courts. LTTE also released law books that were updated.
 Tiger Police
LTTE also established a police force. The Tamil Eelam police was the other key factor in maintaining law and order. The police was formed in 1991 and, prior to the 2009 offensive, had its headquarters at Kilinochchi. Police stations were established in all areas controlled by the LTTE. The LTTE claimed that its police force was the reason for the low crime rate, but critics of the LTTE claim that the police force was an integrated arm of the LTTE armed force and that the crime rate is low as a result of LTTE authoritarian rules. However, everyone agrees the police force and the judicial system was the reason for high degree of rule of law in the areas controlled by the LTTE.
 Social Welfare
Another state function of the LTTE administration was social welfare. This humanitarian assistant arm was funded by tax collection internally. LTTE also established an education and health sector that offered services to the people under their control. It also created a human rights organization, called Northeast Secretariat on Human Rights, that functioned to advocate the rights of Tamils. Though not recognized by international government, it acted as a human rights commission. The commission communicated with the LTTE regarding complaints of child recruiting which resulted in the release of the recruit. The Planning and Development Secretariat (PDS) was established in 2004 which acted as a needs assessment body responsible for studying the needs for people and formulating a plan for effective action in areas that needed humanitarian assistance. There were also many civil servants who worked in the LTTE-controlled areas who were directed by the LTTE but paid by the Sri Lankan government. A customs service was operated at the "border" by the Tamil Tigers.
 Voice of Tigers
In addition to the civil administration, LTTE also ran its own radio and television stations. These entities were named the Voice of Tigers and National Tamil Eelam Television respectively. Both the radio and television channel were aired from the areas under LTTE control.
 Bank of Tamileelam
 Humanitarian assistance
After the Asian Tsunami in 2004, the Tigers set up a special task force called the "tsunami task force" for humanitarian assistance to the people affected by the tsunami. The Planning and Development Secretariat (PDS) was responsible for needs assessments for various humanitarian organization to maximize effectiveness of resettlement reconstruction and rehabilitation. After the tsunami, the PDS was responsible of coordinating and directing the NGOs involved in tsunami relief work. Furthermore, according to Tsunami Evaluation Coalition the key NGOs that responded also claimed that the LTTE forces provided extremely efficient and focused leadership and support to the relief effort in the areas controlled by the Tigers.
During the second round of negotiation between Tigers and the Government of Sri Lanka, an agreement was reached for a joint Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS). This mechanism would allow the government and LTTE to share funds for tsunami relief. However, this agreement was bitterly opposed by hardliners in the government and some moderates. As a result, the P-TOMS was challenged in the Sri Lankan supreme court. The court put the P-TOMS on hold.
The 2002 Cease Fire Agreement made the LTTE shift its struggle for self-determination from militant to more political means. The LTTE's own political wing was the result of this. This political wing also played a critical role in regard to both the peace process and local state building. However, LTTE's political wing did not participate in Sri Lankan parliamentary elections. The LTTE instead openly supported the Tamil National Alliance, which won overwhelmingly in 22 out of 25 electorates in the North-east and won over 90% of votes in the electoral district of Jaffna.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is a secular organization, regarding the religious beliefs of its members as private matters
 Women in LTTE
In 1984, LTTE created an all-female unit called the Freedom Birds (Suthanthirap Paravaikal). This unit was the first group of women to be given military training in India. The LTTE advocates equality for women from both male oppression and social oppression. This support for equality attracted many women into the LTTE ranks. As a result LTTE became the first Tamil militant group to employ women as soldiers in the battlefield. Tamil women believe that their participation in the armed struggle will bring them advantage in a future peaceful society and allow them to take part in "liberating" their society. The proportion of female combatants was small until June 1990, but increased rapidly afterward. Freedom Birds' first operation was in October 1987 and the first woman combatant to die was 2nd Lt. Maalathi, on October 10, 1987, in an encounter with the IPKF at Kopai on the Jaffna peninsula. An estimated 4000 women cadres have been killed since then, including over 100 in 'Black Tiger' suicide squads. Apart from military roles, the female soldiers have also produced numerous publications and many of them are described as rich in culture and writing.
 List of commanders
Current and former senior LTTE commanders are listed below. Some of the names are aliases that don't reflect the person's religious background.
|Shanmugalingam Sivashankar||Thillaiyampalam Sivanesan||Balasegaram Kandiah|
|Vaithilingam Sornalingam||S. P. Thamilselvan||Sathasivam Krishnakumar|
|Thileepan||Ramalingam Paramadeva||Colonel Jeyam|
|Colonel Theepan||Colonel Ramesh||Kandiah Ulaganathan|
|Colonel Bhanu||Colonel Sornam||Colonel Vithusha|
|Colonel Thurka||Shanmuganathan Ravishankar||Captain Miller|
|Maria Vasanthi Michael||Marcelin Fuselus||Sathasivam Selvanayakam|
|Charles Lucas Anthony||Captain Pandithar||Yogaratnam Kugan|
|Lt. Colonel Ratha||Lt. Colonel Santhosham||Lt. Colonel Pulendran|
|Ambalavanar Neminathan||Colonel Pathuman||Manickapodi Maheswaran|
|Lt. Colonel Kumarappa||Lt. Maalathi||Lt Colonel Appaiah|
|Lt. Colonel Akbar||Thambirasa Kuhasanthan||Gangai Amaran (LTTE)|
|Major Mano||Balasingham Nadesan||Irasaiah Ilanthirayan|
|V.Balakumaran (LTTE)||Cheliyan||Colonel Karuna|
 Other formations
|Charles Anthony Brigade||Jeyanthan Brigade||Sothiya Regiment|
|Maalathi Regiment||Kuti Sri Mortar Unit||Victor Anti Tank and Armoured Unit|
|Imran Pandiyan Unit||LTTE Anti-Aircraft Unit||Kittu Artillery Unit|
|Ponnamman Mining Unit||Ratha Regiment||Puki|
 Links to other designated terrorist organizations
As early as the mid-1970s, LTTE rebels were widely known to have trained members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Southern Lebanon, where concepts of suicide bombings, taxation, and war memorials were imparted to PFLP fighters. After the 1990 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, Indian government officials claimed to have discovered a covert link between the PLO and the LTTE: the PLO had plead for Mr. Gandhi to accept a proposal from the LTTE. This advice raised eyebrows at the time, but was largely ignored until his assassination shortly thereafter.
As late as 1998, the Tigers clearly stated:
... the LTTE has resolved to work in solidarity with the world national liberation movements, socialist states, and international working class parties. We uphold an anti-imperialist policy and therefore we pledge our militant solidarity against western imperialism, neo-colonialists, Zionism, racism and other forces of reaction.
The Westminster Journal further states:
Intelligence agencies are well aware that the LTTE was involved in the 1990s in training the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) both of which are closely linked to al-Qaeda. In 1995 and 1998, an LTTE combat tactician and an LTTE explosives expert accompanying groups of al-Qaeda Arabs was recorded training members of MILF. In 1999, an LTTE combat tactician accompanying a group of al-Qaeda Arabs was recorded training members of the ASG. At the apparent behest of al-Qaeda, the LTTE is recorded training members of Al Ummah (An Islamic terrorist group formed in India in 1992, believed to be responsible for bombings in southern India in 1998) in Tamil Nadu, India.
The Times of India, in a 2001 article, highlights an alleged nexus between al-Qaeda and the LTTE, and claims that "[al-Qaeda links with the LTTE] are the first instance of an Islamist group collaborating with an essentially secular outfit". Additionally, the US-based research organisation "Maritime Intelligence Group" said the Indonesian group Jemaah Islamiya, which has known links to al-Qaeda, had been trained in sea-borne guerrilla tactics by LTTE Sea Tiger veterans.
"Norwegians Against Terrorism", a one-man band led by convicted murderer Falk Rune Rovik, further described how the Tamil community in Norway, at the behest of the LTTE, sold fake and stolen Norwegian passports to al-Qaeda members. The LTTE itself acquired a fake passport for Ramzi Yousef, convicted mastermind of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center in New York.
A Council on Foreign Affairs article by Preeti Bhattacharji stated, "the secular nationalist LTTE currently has no operational connection with al-Qaeda, its radical Islamist affiliates, or other terrorist groups," but "In its early days, experts say the LTTE did train with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The group may still interact with other terrorist organizations through illegal arms markets in Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia."
 LTTE tactics in other terrorist organizations
Some of LTTE's attacks in Sri Lanka have similarities to attacks by, other proscribed groups. Some examples are:
- The similarities between previous LTTE attacks against Sri Lanka Navy ships and the al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole which killed 17 US Navy sailors. The incident has raised suspicions of connections between the two groups. The "Maritime Intelligence Group" based in Washington DC claims to have unearthed substantial evidence that the LTTE trained Indonesian Islamists in the technique of maritime suicide bombings. The group, linked to al-Qaeda, is believed to have then passed the technique it learned from the LTTE to al-Qaeda itself.
- The website "South Asian Terrorism Portal" claimed that the LTTE provided forged passports to Ramzi Yousef, who was one of the planners of the first attack against the World Trade Center in New York in 1993. The allegation has been backed by the Westminster Journal as well.
- The website "South Asian Terrorism Portal" also states that there are increasing intelligence reports that the LTTE was smuggling arms to various terrorist organizations, including Islamic groups in Pakistan and their counterparts in the Philippines, using their covert smuggling networks. The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies found that LTTE was building commercial links with al-Qaeda and other militants in Afghanistan, and that several cadres were spotted in Afghan militant camps.
- Falk Rovik, a convicted murderer, accused the LTTE of stealing Norwegian passports and selling them to al-Qaeda in Algeria to earn money to buy weapons. He further alleged that funds from Government of Norway had been inadvertently diverted to the LTTE.
- India's National Security Adviser, M K Narayanan, alleges that LTTE raises money by smuggling narcotics. A recent arrest of LTTE operatives in Colombia corroborates this claim.
- According to an "anti-LTTE" website, Glen Jenvey, a former employee of the government of Sri Lanka and a specialist on international terrorism, claimed that al-Qaeda has copied most of its terror tactics from the LTTE He highlighted the LTTE as the mastermind that sets the pattern for organizations like al-Qaeda to pursue. The Maritime Intelligence Group in Washington DC even states that al-Qaeda learned the tactic through LTTE contacts teaching Indonesians the methods.
- According to Asian Tribune, attacks on civilians in buses and trains in Sri Lanka were copied in the attack on public civilian transport during July 2005 bombings in London.
- The LTTE's ethnic cleansing campaigns against Muslims in northern Sri Lanka from 1985 to 1992 provided the inspiration for, and model by which, Kashmiri separatists would evict Hindus from Kashmir in late 1989–1990.
The LTTE has been condemned by various groups for assassination of political and military opponents. The victims include Tamil moderates who coordinated with Sri Lanka Government, Tamil paramilitary groups assisting Sri Lankan Army. The assassination of Ranasinghe Premadasa, who was the head of Sri Lanka, is attributed to LTTE.
LTTE sympathizers justify some of the assassinations by arguing that the people attacked were combatants or persons closely associated with Sri Lankan military intelligence. Specifically in relation to the TELO, the LTTE has said that it had to perform preemptive self-defence because the TELO was in effect functioning as a proxy for India.
 Human rights violations
The United States Department of State states that its reason for banning LTTE as a proscribed terrorist group is based on allegations that LTTE does not respect human rights and that it does not adhere to the standards of conduct expected of a resistance movement or what might be called "freedom fighters". The FBI has described the LTTE as "amongst the most dangerous and deadly extremist outfits in the world". Other countries have also proscribed LTTE under the same rationale. Numerous countries and international organizations have accused the LTTE of attacking civilians and recruits children.
 Attacks on civilians
The LTTE has launched attacks on civilian targets several times. Notable attacks include the Aranthalawa Massacre, Anuradhapura massacre, Kattankudy mosque massacre, the Kebithigollewa massacre and the Dehiwala train bombing. Civilians have also been killed in attacks on economic targets, such as the Central Bank bombing.
 Child soldiers
The LTTE has been accused of recruiting and using child soldiers to fight against Sri Lankan government forces. The LTTE was accused of having up to 5,794 child soldiers in its ranks since 2001.
Amid international pressure, the LTTE announced in July 2003 that it would stop conscripting child soldiers, but both UNICEF and Human Rights Watch have accused it of reneging on its promises, and of conscripting Tamil children orphaned by the tsunami. However, since 2007, the LTTE has claimed that it will release all of the recruits under the age of 18 before the end of the year. On 18 June 2007, the LTTE released 135 children under 18. UNICEF, along with the United States, states that there has been a significant drop in LTTE recruitment of children, but claims that 506 child recruits remain under the LTTE. A report released by the LTTE's Child Protection Authority (CPA) in 2008 reported that less than 40 soldiers under age 18 remained in its forces. However in 2009 a Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations said the Tamil Tigers "continue to recruit children to fight on the frontlines", and "use force to keep many civilians, including children, in harms way".
The LTTE argues that instances of child recruitment occurred mostly in the east, under the purview of former LTTE regional commander Colonel Karuna. After leaving the LTTE and forming the TMVP, it is alleged that Karuna continued to forcibly kidnap and induct child soldiers. Its official position is that earlier, some of its cadres erroneously recruited volunteers in their late teens. It says that its official policy is now that it will not accept child soldiers. It also says that some underage youths lie about their age and are therefore allowed to join, but are sent back home to their parents as soon as they are discovered to be underage.
 Suicide bombings
The LTTE pioneered the use of concealed suicide bomb vests. According to Jane's Information Group, between 1980 and 2000, the LTTE carried out 168 suicide attacks causing heavy damage on economic and military targets.
Many of these attacks have involved military objectives in the north and east of the country, although civilians have been targeted on numerous occasions, including during a high profile attack on Colombo's International Airport in 2001 that caused damage to several commercial airliners and military jets, and killed 16 people. The LTTE was also responsible for a 1998 attack on the Buddhist shrine, and UNESCO world heritage site, Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy that killed 8 worshipers. The attack was symbolic in that the shrine, which houses a sacred tooth of the Buddha, is the holiest Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka. Other Buddhist shrines have been attacked, notably the Sambuddhaloka Temple in Colombo that killed 9 worshipers.
Relatively speaking, there have been fewer operations in the south where most of the Sinhalese live, including the capital Colombo, although such attacks have often engaged high-profile targets and attracted much international publicity as a result.
 Ethnic cleansing
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The LTTE is responsible for forcibly removing, or "ethnically cleansing", Sinhalese and Muslim inhabitants from areas under its control, and using violence against those who refuse to leave. The evictions happened in the north in 1990, and the east in 1992. Tamil sources openly state:
Islam, however, is not being practiced presently [In Tamil Eelam], as the Muslims have been asked to leave the Tamil Eelam territory until the independence of Tamil Eelam. The Muslims supported the aggressive Sri Lankan Sinhala and Muslim Military against the freedom of Tamil Eelam.
Ironically, however, Muslim and Tamil communities in the North of Sri Lanka had participated together in the early days of the Tamil movement, and Muslim ironmongers in Mannar fashioned weapons for the LTTE, and local Tamil leaders were disturbed at the LTTE's call for the eviction of Muslims. However, as Tamil intellectuals began viewing Muslims as outsiders, rather than a part of the Tamil nation as they had been referred to previously, the LTTE undertook its anti-Muslim campaigns.
In its 1976 Vaddukodai Resolution, LTTE condemns the Sri Lankan government for, as it claimed, "unleashing successive bouts of communal violence on both the Tamils and Muslims." In 2005, the "International Federation of Tamils" claimed that the Sri Lankan military purposefully stoked tensions between Tamils and Muslims, in an attempt to undermine Tamil security. As Tamils turned to the LTTE for support, the Muslims were left with the Sri Lankan state as their sole defender, and so in the eyes of the LTTE, the Muslims had legitimized the role of the state, and were thus viewed as Sri Lankans.
Beginning in 1985, the LTTE forcibly occupied 35,000 acres of Muslim-owned farmland in the north of Sri Lanka, before systematically evicting the Muslims from areas under LTTE control.
Although anti-Muslim pogroms had occurred in the north and east of Sri Lanka since 1985, the LTTE embarked on a campaign to expel Muslims from the North in 1989. The first eviction notice was sent to the Muslims of Chavakacheri on October 15, 1989, after the LTTE entered the local mosque and threatened Muslims a few weeks earlier. Afterward, the houses of evicted Muslims were ransacked and looted. On October 28, 1989, the Muslims of Mannar, in the North of Sri Lanka, were told,
"All Muslims living in Mannar island should leave by 28 October. Before leaving, they must seek permission and clearance at the LTTE Office. The LTTE will decide their exit route."
The deadline was extended by four days after pleas from local Tamil Catholics, who were left to look after many Muslims' property in anticipation of looting by the Sri Lankan army – although the Catholics themselves were later robbed by the LTTE of both their own, and the Muslims' property. On the 28th, while Muslims were preparing to leave, the LTTE barred Hindus from entering Muslim villages and dealing with them. The areas were reopened on the November 3, after Muslims had been packed onto the boats of Muslim fishermen and sent southwards along the coast.
After a lull in ethnic cleansing, the LTTE on August 3, 1990, sealed off a Shiite mosque in Kattankady, the Meera Jumma and Husseinia, and opened fire through the mosque's windows, leaving 147 Muslim worshipers dead, out of 300 gathered for Friday prayers. Fifteen days later, LTTE gunmen shot dead between 122 and 173 Muslim civilians in the town of Eravur
Ethnic cleansing culminated on October 30, 1990 when the LTTE forcibly expelled the entire Muslim population of Jaffna. LTTE commanders from the east announced at 7:30 A.M. that all Muslims in Jaffna were to report to Osmania stadium, where they were to be addressed by two LTTE leaders, Karikalana and Anjaneyar. After listening to the leaders denigrate Muslims for allegedly attacking Tamils in the east, the leaders explained to the community that they had two hours to evacuate the city. The community was released from the stadium at 10 A.M., and by noon, and were only allowed to carry 500 rupees, while the rest of their possessions were seized by the LTTE after they were forced to report to LTTE checkpoints upon exiting Jaffna.
In 1992, the LTTE embarked on a campaign to create a contiguous Tamil Hindu-Christian homeland that stretched from the North of Sri Lanka, and downwards along the Eastern Coast. A large Tamil-speaking Muslim population inhabited a narrow strip of land between the two entities, and so a pattern of "ethnic cleansing" emerged in Eastern Sri Lanka, as was already done in the North. "The LTTE unleashed violence against the Muslims of Alinchipothanai and killed 69 Muslim villagers. This led to a retaliatory violence against the Tamils in Muthugala, where 49 Tamils were killed allegedly by the Muslim Home guards." Later in the year, the LTTE attacked four Muslim villages (Palliyagodalla, Akbarpuram, Ahmedpuram and Pangurana) and killed 187 Muslims. The Australian Muslim Times later commented on 30 October 1992: "The massacres, eviction and the atrocities by the Tamil Tigers are carried out in order to derive the Muslim Community from their traditional land in the Eastern province as they have done it in the northern province and then set up a separate state only for Tamils".
In 2002, the LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran had formally apologized for the expulsion of Muslims from the north and asked the Muslims to return. Some families have returned and re-opened the Osmaniya College and two mosques are functioning now. Since the apology, TamilNet, which is widely seen as an LTTE mouthpiece, has featured numerous stories of Muslim civilians coming under attack from Sinhalese forces. However, the stories may simply reflect crime, and not the ethnic hatred that TamilNet suggest.
 Anti-Muslim campaigns of 1990
During the summer of 1990, the LTTE killed over 370 Muslims in the North and East of Sri Lanka in 11 mass killings Numerous mosques were attacked, and dozens of pilgrims from the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia were killed. The number of Muslims killed in individual attacks, rather than massacres and high-profile murders, remains unknown.
 Proscription as a terrorist group
- India (since 1992)
- United States (designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the Department of State since October 8, 1997. Named as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) since November 2, 2001)
- United Kingdom (designated as Proscribed Terrorist Group under the Terrorism Act 2000 by the Home Secretary since 2000)
- European Union (since 2006; 27 countries)
- Canada (since 2006) Canada does not grant residency to LTTE members on the grounds that they have participated in crimes against humanity.
- Sri Lanka (from January 1998 to September 4, 2002, and again from January 7, 2009)
- Australia (since 2001) and other countries have listed the LTTE as a terrorist group in accordance with Resolution 1373.
The first country to ban the LTTE was its early ally, India. The Indian change of policy came gradually, starting with the IPKF-LTTE conflict, and culminating with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. India opposes the new state Tamil Eelam that LTTE wants to establish, saying that it would lead to Tamil Nadu's separation from India though the leaders of Tamil Nadu are opposing it. Sri Lanka itself lifted the ban on the LTTE before signing the ceasefire agreement in 2002. This was a prerequisite set by the LTTE for the signing of the agreement.
According to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, "LTTE has perfected the use of suicide bombers, invented the suicide belt, pioneered the use of women in suicide attacks, murdered some 4,000 people in the past two years alone, and assassinated two world leaders—the only terrorist organization to do so."
The European Union banned LTTE as a terrorist organization on May 17, 2006. In a statement, the European Parliament said that the LTTE did not represent all the Tamils and called on it to "allow for political pluralism and alternate democratic voices in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka".
 Criminal activities
One factor that has greatly benefited the LTTE has been its sophisticated international support network. While some of the funding obtained by the LTTE is from legitimate fund raising and extortion among Tamil diaspora, a significant portion is obtained through criminal activities, involving sea piracy, human smuggling, drug trafficking and gunrunning.
 Sea piracy
The LTTE has been accused of hijacking several vessels in waters outside Sri Lanka, including the Irish Mona (in August 1995), Princess Wave (in August 1996), Athena (in May 1997), Misen (in July 1997), Morong Bong (in July 1997), MV Cordiality (in September 1997), Princess Kash (in August 1998) and MV Farah III (December 2006). The MV Sik Yang, a 2,818-ton Malaysian-flag cargo ship which sailed from Tuticorin, India on May 25, 1999 was reported missing in waters near Sri Lanka. The ship with a cargo of bagged salt was due at the Malaysian port of Malacca on May 31. The fate of the ship's crew of 15 is unknown. It is suspected that the vessel was hijacked by the LTTE and is now being used as a phantom vessel. Likewise the crew of a Jordanian ship, MV Farah III, that ran aground near LTTE-controlled territory off the island's coast, accused the Tamil Tigers of risking their lives and forcing them to abandon the vessel which was carrying 14,000 tonnes of Indian rice.
 Arms smuggling
|This section relies largely or entirely upon a single source. Please help improve this article by introducing appropriate citations of additional sources. (June 2009)|
The anti-rebel Mackenzie Institute claimed that one of LTTE's secretive international operations is the smuggling of weapons, explosives, and "dual use" technologies. The part of the LTTE responsible for these activities is nicknamed "KP Branch", taking the initials of its high level operative, Kumaran Padmanathan. The workers for the KP Branch are from outside the fighting wing of the LTTE, since the identities of those fighters are recorded and available to law enforcement and counter-intelligence agencies by India's Research and Analysis Wing, who had helped train many Tiger cadres in the early 1980s. The KP Branch operates secretively by having the minimum connection possible with the LTTE's other sections for further security. It hands over the arms shipments to a team of Sea Tigers to deliver them to the LTTE-dominated areas.
The Mackenzie Institute further claimed that in order to carry out the activities of international arms trafficking, the LTTE operates its own fleet of ocean-going vessels. These vessels only operate a certain period of time for the LTTE and in the remaining time they transport legitimate goods and raise hard cash for the purchase of weapons. The LTTE initially operated a shipping base in Myanmar, but was forced to leave due to diplomatic pressure. To overcome this loss, a new base has been set up on Phuket Island, in Thailand.
Furthermore, The Mackenzie Institute claimed that the most expertly executed operation of the KP Branch was the theft of 32,400 rounds of 81 mm mortar ammunition purchased from Tanzania destined for the Sri Lanka Army. Being aware of the purchase of 35,000 mortar bombs, the LTTE made a bid to the manufacturer through a numbered company and arranged a vessel of their own to pick up the load. Once the bombs were loaded into the ship, the LTTE changed the name and registration of their ship. The vessel was taken to Tiger-held territory in Sri Lanka's north instead of transporting it to its intended destination.
Western countries are the main territory for fund raising activities of the LTTE. The money raised from donations and enterprises are transferred into bank accounts of the Tigers and from there to the accounts of a weapons broker, or the money is taken by KP operatives themselves. LTTE's need for resources is mostly fulfilled by the Tamils who reside outside Sri Lanka. In 1995, when the LTTE lost Jaffna, its international operatives were ordered to increase, by 50%, the amount raised from Tamils outside the island.
 See also
- Notable assassinations of the Sri Lankan Civil War
- Black July
- Sri Lankan Tamil militant groups
- Military use of children in Sri Lanka
- List of attacks attributed to the LTTE
- 2009 World Tamil protests
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 Further reading
- Balasingham, Adele. (2003). The Will to Freedom - An Inside View of Tamil Resistance. Fairmax Publishing Ltd. 2nd ed. ISBN 1-903679-03-6.
- Balasingham, Anton. (2004). War and Peace - Armed Struggle and Peace Efforts of Liberation Tigers. Fairmax Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-903679-05-2.
- de Votta, Neil. (2004) Blowback: Linguistic Nationalism, Institutional Decay, and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4924-8.
- Gamage, Siri and I.B. Watson (Editors). (1999). Conflict and Community in Contemporary Sri Lanka - 'Pearl of the East' or 'Island of Tears'?. Sage Publications Ltd. ISBN 0-7619-9393-2.
- Hansard Australia. (2006). Commonwealth of Australia Parliamentary Debates. Senate Transcript for 16 June 2006.
- Hellmann-Rajanayagam, D. (1994). The Groups and the rise of Militant Secessions, in Manogaram, C. and Pfaffenberger, B. (editors). The Sri Lankan Tamils. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-8133-8845-7.
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- La, J. 2004. Forced remittances in Canada's Tamil enclaves, Peace Review 16:3. September 2004. pp. 379–385.
- Narayan Swamy, M. R. (2002). Tigers of Lanka: from Boys to Guerrillas. Konark Publishers; 3rd ed. ISBN 81-220-0631-0.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam|
Sri Lanka Government sites
- Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence Map showing extent of area controlled
- Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence LTTE in Brief
- TAMING THE TAMIL TIGERS
- LIBERATION TIGERS OF TAMIL EELAM'S (LTTE) INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION AND OPERATIONS - A PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS
- Council on Foreign Relations background information on the Tigers
- International Crisis Group, an advocacy group, has information on the conflict.
- Tamil Tigers U-Boat force
- Mexico Refuses to give Legitimacy to the LTTE by Dushy Ranetunge, Asia News Network, April 19 2009
- Sri Lankan Civilians Trapped by Tamil Tigers 'Last Stand' By Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, May 3, 2009
- Guerrilla Tactics - How the Tamil Tigers Were Beaten in an 'Unwinnable' War by Jeremy Page, The Times, May 19 2009