For instance, use of “boat bombs” was copied by terrorists in the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Aden Harbor. Western ambivalence toward this long-running tragedy has been costly.
• Sri Lanka’s war was complex and challenging, spawning several dimensions of terrorist activity. The war was fought on the ground in Sri Lanka, while propaganda and funds for weapons were handled by LTTE supporters living in the West, and weapons were acquired from Southeast Asia and Central Europe. Although the United States designated the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organization in October 1997, it was not until November 2007 that it banned the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization as an LTTE front organization. Until then, in the guise of charity, LTTE activists were collecting funds and transferring them to the Tiger war chest. Canada proscribed the LTTE in April 2006 and banned the World Tamil Movement (WTM) in June 2008. The banning of these front organizations was a major blow to LTTE terrorist operations.
• Even after the unequivocal military defeat of the LTTE, its overseas supporters defiantly keep the separatist dream alive despite annihilation of most of LTTE’s leadership and the death of founder Velupillai Prabhakaran. If unchecked, they may well transform that dream once again into virulent terrorism, and this time, the Eelam War may well be fought locally - by the diaspora in the West.
Peter Leitner is president of the Higgins Counterterrorism Research Center and previously served for 31 years in various national security positions. Rajika Jayatilake is a communications specialist with expertise in international media and public relations.
'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
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