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EDITORIAL: Tigers at bay
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, one of the world’s most violent terrorist outfits, are surrounded in northern Sri Lanka and about to be destroyed - but Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and European self-styled peacemakers are getting in the way of victory. The meddlers should let Colombo finish off this menace.
In desperation, the Tamil Tigers are using tens of thousands of locals as human shields. The Sri Lankan government declared a cease-fire and called on the Tigers to release their hostages, but unmanned-aerial-vehicle video footage shows the terrorists holding masses of innocents at gunpoint, refusing them freedom. Last week, Mrs. Clinton played into the hands of the terrorists by blaming the Sri Lankan government for the crisis. “The entire world is very disappointed” that they were “causing such untold suffering,” she said.
Foreign governments and aid organizations are calling on Colombo to cease operations, fearing that further action will lead to a humanitarian calamity. Norwegian Environment Minister Eric Solheim has been the point man in trying to negotiate a new truce, but he has been denounced by both sides. In response to his unwelcome efforts, the Nation, a Sri Lankan newspaper, editorialized that “the caravan of military operations has to move on. The time has come to tell the salmon-eating international busybodies to mind their own business.”
The Sri Lankan government is justifiably confused and angry at the international response to their progress. Sri Lanka has been fighting the Tamil Tigers for over 30 years. The Tigers pioneered the modern use of suicide bombing and have killed thousands of civilians. A U.S. government expert on the group tells us that the Tigers are “one of the most odious insurgent groups around, and for a long stretch of time had more suicide attacks than the rest of the world combined. It has made a cult of martyrdom and violated every single previous cease-fire.” During the most recent truce, the Tigers took the opportunity to assassinate about 200 moderate Tamil politicians and the Sri Lankan foreign minister.
Last year, Colombo decided enough was enough and withdrew from the cease-fire agreement. Using innovative counterinsurgency tactics, the Sri Lankan defense forces dismantled the guerrilla network on land and at sea. They drove the Tigers from their safe havens and bottled them up in a four-square-mile patch of beachfront swampland. Tiger leaders are hunkered down in underground bunkers trying desperately to stave off their looming demise.
We can only imagine American satisfaction if we had al Qaeda in this position. It is unconscionable for the United States to castigate its Sri Lankan ally for prevailing in its war against terrorism. The Tamil Tigers have purposefully created the conditions for a humanitarian crisis and deserve neither amnesty nor mercy. There are ways to help resolve this standoff that will not allow the Tigers to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, such as providing military and intelligence support for pinpoint strikes against the terrorist leadership. Failing that, the Obama administration should mind its own business. The Sri Lankans are winning; we should let them finish the job.
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By David A. Clarke Jr.
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