The Incentives Towards Complete LTTE Elimination Have Been Set In Place Through Monday's Cowardly Airbase Attack!

© Hindsight By Sarath Kumara For LankaWeb

March 26th 2007

There are many nuances once again attributable towards the credibility that the LTTE have anything near a compelling overall aerial capability even in the semblance of a minnowish perspective in the aftermath of the Katunayake Air Base attacks as they have merely been very fortunate and got away with another cowardly hit and run after which their bragging has not stopped.

True enough this is the second time Sri Lanka's Air Industry of both Civil and Military holdings have been targeted and both most certainly attributable to negligence on the part of the authorities who according to Reuters have been caught with their pants down to which might be added napping!

While The military analysts are still trying to work out how the Tigers had been able to fly one or more small planes to the International Airport area, drop bombs and make it safely home, it never seems to have occured to them that these aircraft might not necessarily have come from the Wanni as the Armed Forces were previously quite confident according to some media reports that any LTTE attempts at areial warfare from a Wanni takeoff location had been thwarted and kept in check and that an airstrip and hangars had been destroyed in the Wanni during recent offensives, so could these planes have come from elsewhere ?

When military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe is said to have speculated that" planes can come along the beach side or over water without being detected" was he alluding to the fact that these planes could have been secretly based in Tamil Nadu without the knowledge of the Indian Authorities given the covert yet strong support the LTTE have there or could the location of origin have even been the Maldives or any other Indian Ocean locale which the LTTE given their cunning could easily have infiltrated through incentives given to impoverished accepters of financial gratuities gratefully accepted? And is it that hard to speculate about places such as Mauritius, Seychelles or even Madagascar as the LTTE have searched far and wide for succour towards their cause even reaching out to Thailand as the record shows so anything is possible and hence the easy getaway to a base not necessarily in the Wanni which would, while exposing the naivette of the Sri Lankan Authorities sound quite plausible! Furthermore two lightaircraft would have been easily detectable if flying towards the Wanni rather than if they had been headed across the Indian Ocean!

The rhetoric which follows the attack is now becoming overpoweringly audible with an air of frustration to it. Some of it as quoted by experts suggests uncertainty "That is what the Air Force is still trying to find out, where they have come from. A newly unveiled Tamil Tiger "air force" of between two and five light planes is no match on paper for Sri Lanka's dozen fighter jets, but they pose a proven threat the military would be ill-advised to underestimate.This air attack appears to have taken the air force by complete surprise, and this is confirmed by the delayed response, by which time the attackers have been able to return to base.It is a significant threat for a number of reasons. What they did, although they may have failed to achieve their target, is to demonstrate that they have such a capability," according to analyst Iqbal Athas of Jane's Defence Weekly the expert in this instance with all due respect.

As the investigations and post mortems of the attack continue it has been interestingly observed by a Reuters report that the attack has also exposed the vulnerability of Sri Lanka's radar air defences which goes on to say that Sri Lanka has no access to costly 24-hour real-time satellite footage of its skies. At least one of the Tiger aircraft is believed to be a Czech-made Z-143 two-seater training light aircraft. The Tigers smuggled small, propeller-driven planes into the island in pieces aboard merchant ships they owned after a 2002 ceasefire and reassembled them. The truce has now broken down into renewed civil war more appropriately described as the renewal of the internal armed insurrection of the LTTE terrorists. So much for Ranil Wickremasinghe's Memorandum of Understanding and Ceasefire! better off termed Memorandum of Misunderstanding and Backfire!

It seems apathetic and irresponsible for the Government of Sri Lanka to have to face this kind of criticism even by Reuters about having no access to costly 24 hour real time satellite footage and surveillance of her skies.This is an administration which has gained notoriety for an excessively large cabinet, being ridiculed around the world fo same and its disproportionate spending involving unjustifiably high pay raises, deluxe transporation vehicles and personal security as well as a humungus war budget to match but the fact that they have not been able to invest in the all importance surveillance system which could have prevented this cowardly attack is reprehensible and something for the GOSL to ponder upon towards future National Security and wiping egg off their faces!

Had there been such a surveillance system, provided the staff entrusted to man them were awake! the securities set in place consequently would never have permitted Monday's pre-dawn air strike on the island's biggest air force base, close to Colombo's international airport and the first such so called 'rebel attack' now converts the Sri Lankan authorities mindset into cannon fodder fired indiscriminately by the foreign news media as they ridicule them in tandem where it has been said albeit tongue in cheek that quote " It may sound like something out of a Biggles schoolboy novel, but it should be cause for worry." and worry it must surely cause and to a degree embarrassment that while Sri Lanka's elite armed forces are carrying out a remarkable campaign against the terrorists in the North and East of Sri Lanka their vulnerabilities back at home base in Colombo have been exposed to a few airborne LTTE gnats due to the oversight provided by inadequate security related to overlying costs of installation and maintenance where the politicians continue their reveries of indulgence and pampered decadence in the veritable manner of the ostrich with head buried in the sand! !

Suddenly the terrorist issue looks as though it is about to become compounded as what the attack depicts somewhat frighteningly is that the rebel attack on the Air Force encampment and military base some 23 miles (37 km) north of the capital, killing three airmen and wounding 16 despite having failed to destroy Air Force fighter jets, which were the target, could recur if measures weren't taken immediately to rectify the overall situation.Once again quoting the Reuters report "It would place at great risk the larger offshore patrol vessels of the navy which can certainly become vulnerable, troop transport ships can also become equally vulnerable and so can armed groups leading an offensive on the ground." and suddenly the LTTE could become a threat to the Nation in a dimension never before envisaged! Not unmitigated paranoia despite sounding like alarm bells needing to be heeded!
While Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe has laughed at the Tigers' claim of a new" Tamil Eelam Air Force", named after the independent state they are trying to carve out in the Island's North and East, suggesting that "Small aircraft coming in and dropping one or two bombs does not constitute a so called "Tamil Eelam Air Force " a correct affirmation nonetheless. The sheer audacity and arrogance of the LTTE needs to be taken into account here as a possible future disruptive element towards Sri Lanka's progress as well as being a threat to National Security and an incentive to launch that final offensive against the LTTE where the sole objective would be to destroy them completely without negotiation or any further dialogue.

Notably and perhaps as a last hurrah! The Tigers, who are continuing to suffer major defeats on the battlefield and at sea in recent months but retain their defiant guerrilla warfare image through their capability at sporadic surprise attacks which is a hallmark of any insurgent movement have threatened a "bloodbath" across the island together with more air attacks in their latest rhetoric through their world wide web news engine Tamilnet which also merits a search, disrupt and indict mission for the hate messages and seditious propaganda they send out on an ongoing basis veiled at times in subtle rhetoric which in terms of internet requisites are criminal and illegal!

The LTTE propagandists and their loyalists who seems to be crowing about Monday's air raid as tit-for-tat for repeated Air Force strikes on territory the rebels no longer control are in for another surprise which they might not exactly be equipped to cope with. As the Military pushes on with a declared plan to wipe out the Tigers militarily within 2-3 years it is reported that their once feared nemesis in the form of Major General Janaka Perera too will be lending his invaluable input and strategic military competence towards the cause of eliminating the tigers a task which he once almost accomplished as he heads out of Jakarta, Indonesia while the likes of LTTE's verbose clarion in the jungle Rasiah Ilanthirayan suggests almost in futile dispensation of cowardly Dutch courage that: "It is not only pre-emptive, it is a measure to protect Tamil civilians( who incidentally disown the LTTE in droves in case he didn't know or pretends not to!) from the genocidal aerial bombardments by Sri Lankan armed forces. More attacks of the same nature will follow." The high faluting yet incongruous words of Tiger terrorist spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiraiyan said by telephone from the rebels' northern stronghold of Kilinochchi after the attack on the Air Base. A rebel without a cause who may well see his past sins flash before him ere long as the grim reaper approaches him and his cronies towards their ultimate demise!



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