Sri Lankan Ceasefire

A Question about the Sri Lankan Ceasefire

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, July 2002 (ID.2001-07-03)

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Even after a ceasefire agreement was signed and is in effect since February 2002 between the Sri Lankan military and the minority Tamil militant group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Sri Lankan military seems to be buying (or planning to buy) military equipment from abroad. At the same time the Sri Lankan Navy has shot at LTTE vessels allegedly bringing in weapons. It seems that the military can acquire new weapons but the LTTE cannot. This, in my opinion, creates an "unstable" ceasefire situation that does not bode well.

A ceasefire is generally agreed by warring parties when there is a military stalemate. Military capabilities are almost evenly matched and neither party expects to win the war in the near future. If, however, during the ceasefire, one party can increase its force by acquiring new weapons and the other is prohibited to do so, sooner or later the former gains a decisive military advantage. Once the military balance has tipped decisively, the stronger party thinks that it could win the war and scuttles the ceasefire and peace talks. Thus the end of ceasefire and back to blood letting. Another scenario is that the party that is prevented from acquiring new weapons watches with concern the other side acquiring weapons and gaining in strength. Before the military balance tips dangerously against it, it decides to end the ceasefire and goes back to war. Thus the end of the ceasefire and peace talks. Back to blood letting. Is one of these scenarios developing in Sri Lanka?

As a concerned Tamil from Tamil Nadu, the current situation alarms me. It is time now to rectify the imbalance and stabilize the ceasefire. I would like to see peace come to the tiny island, and the horrors and sufferings of the past quarter of a century end once and forever.

F020629    2002-a1d

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