Sunday, January 4, 2009

Where is LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.?.

On a day when the advancing Sri Lankan armed forces almost captured the Elephant Pass known as the Gateway to Jaffna the question that is now increasingly asked is: Where is LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

The warhorse’s whereabouts has been a matter of speculation and great interest ever since the LTTE’s stranglehold in North Sri Lanka has been undermined.

The question has also become urgent in the light of the fall of Kilinochchi and Elephant Pass. It is also interesting that voices from India (especially the Congress party) have demanded that he be extradited to India as he is a wanted criminal there in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The buzz in Sri Lanka today is that Prabhakaran, contrary to belief that he had escaped to a Western country, is still holed up in the forests of Mullaitivu.

Media circles here have quoted Tamil Makkal Vidudalai Puligal (TMVP) Leader and Parliamentarian Vinayagamoorthy Muralidaran alias Karuna as saying that the LTTE Chief was still living in the thick jungles of Mullaitivu. The jungles of Mullaitivu are slowly coming under the control of the Lankan army. Yesterday they made much headway there. Karuna, quoting top level TMVP intelligence sources, said that Prabhakaran continued to give military leadership to his cadres from the jungles.

Lankan sources have also strongly denied the possibility of Prabhakaran having crossed the Palk Straits, seeking refuge in Tamilnadu. Meanwhile on the battle front, the fall of Elephant Pass looks just a few hours away.

Pro-LTTE websites and their proxy politicians have openly expressed fears that they would lose Elephant Pass immediately and their main seaport Mullaittivu and other places of control eventually. But the LTTE is still putting a brave front.

Shivaji Lingam, member of the 22 parliamentarians strong Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the proxy party of the LTTE, has been quoted from Chennai as saying: ‘Even if the LTTE were to lose Mullaittivu also, then too they will continue their struggle.’ The pro- Tamil website, Cyber News said, ‘The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have begun withdrawing from entrenched positions in the strategic Elephant Pass region.

The narrow Isthmus that links the Jaffna peninsula to the Northern mainland known as Wanni by land is often described as the gateway to Jaffna’. Preparations are also afoot to vacate tiger positions in other key places in Eastern Wanni like Mullaittivu, Oddusuddan, Muhamalai, Kilaly and Vatraappalai.

Apparently soldiers are now about one km to the south of Elephant Pass and are near Kurinchatheevu adjacent to Elephant Pass. Realising that Elephant Pass is not defendable the LTTE have begun vacating the area, the sources say. The LTTE cadre fleeing from Elephant Pass, Mullaittivu, Oddusudan and Vatraappalai are expected to hide in heavily entrenched fortified bunkers in the jungles of Mullaittivu.

The Elephant Pass had taken by the LTTE in April 2000 after a fierce and bloody battle with the Sri Lankan army. Nine years later the historic Elephant Pass has now been secured by the government forces.

Forces advance on Mullaitivu

With the fight for liberating Mullaitivu accelerating after the capture of Kilinochchi, the Sri Lanka Air Force carried out two successful air strikes yesterday morning.

“Air Force MI24 gunships carried out air sorties, first on LTTE positions Northeast of Oddusuddan around 6.15 a.m. and the next around 10.30 a.m. on LTTE defences 2.5km South of Mullaitivu,” Air Force spokesman, Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said. The attacks were in support of the ground troops attached to the 59 Division advancing towards Mullaitivu.

Late last week, with the declaration of Kilinochchi capture Army Commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka said that the battle for Mullaitivu has already begun as troops of 59 Division captured around 800 yards of the LTTE-built earth bund in Mullaitivu. Accordingly troops have positioned themselves just 5km south of Mullaitivu and 3km south of LTTE’s main airstrip.

At the moment the Task Force 01 commanded by Brigadier Shavendra Silva is advancing towards Elephant Pass while troops attached to the 57 Division commanded by Major General Jagath Dias are further consolidating their positions in Kilinochchi town area preparing for their forward march. The 59 Division commanded by Brigadier Nandana Udawatta is operating just south of Mullaitivu while Task Forces 02 and 04 are advancing Southwest of the 59 division, commanded by Brigadier Rohana Bandara and Colonel Nishantha Wanniarachchi respectively. Task Force 03, commanded by Brigadier Sathyapriya Liyanage is progressing Northeast of the A9 road.

Army Commander, Lt. General Sarath Fonseka congratulated the victorious troops and their field Commanders at the Vavuniya Security Forces Headquarters for their achievement in Kilinochchi on Friday.

During his discussions with the senior officials in Vavuniya, the Commander briefed them on the next step to be taken in Kilinochchi. Meanwhile the troops who entered Kilinochchi are currently consolidating their position in the area.

Clearing and search operations have been launched with troops giving priority for removal of anti-personnel mines and booby traps. Additional reinforcement are expected to reach Kilinochchi to strengthen the troops who are already there. Meanwhile President Mahinda Rajapaksa has emphasised that the victory of Kilinochchi should not be interpreted as the defeat of the North by the South or as a victory of one community over another.

In his address to the Nation on the television on Friday amidst countrywide celebrations to mark the victory in Kilinochchi, the President added that it was a decisive victory over savage terrorism that has devastating effect on the entire country.

He opined that the victories in Wanni had been achieved, based on the expectations and the mandate given to him by the people at the Presidential Election in 2005.

Meanwhile Major General Jagath Dias who led the troops into Kilinochchi and hoisted the Lion Flag there said, “It is after 10 years we have regained Kilinochchi and we are now in a position to advance towards Jaffna in the North and Mullaitivu in the East.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

SRILANKAN ARMY Vs Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam!.

Dealing a massive blow to the LTTE, Sri Lankan Army on Friday captured the rebels' de-facto capital Kilinochchi after ten years in its second major military success in the quarter-century long battle between the two sides.

The LTTE virtually conceded the strategic loss when it said that the Army entered a virtual ghost town as the whole civilian infrastructure as well as the centre of the LTTE had shifted further northeast.

'It is the first time after a decade the Sri Lankan forces have been able to take control of the town after several months of fierce fighting that has claimed hundreds of combatants on both sides of the war,' pro-LTTE website TamilNet reported.

Savouring the major success in its offensive against the LTTE, President Rajapakse called as an unparallelled victory the capture of Kilinochchi, which was made the de-facto capital after the rebels had lost Jaffna town a few years ago.

'For the last time, I am telling the LTTE to lay down arms and surrender,' he said in a televised address as celebrations erupted across Colombo with people bursting fire crackers.

But the news was also greeted by a suicide attack opposite the Air Force headquarters here when a suspected LTTE rebel triggered explosives killing two people and injuring more than 20 others.

Analysts believe that the fall of Kilinochchi could embolden the troops into moving towards the Elephant Pass, the entry point to the Jaffna peninsula and also open the A-9 Highway for smooth transportation of supplies.

The analysts also feel that the loss of Kilinochchi would be a major psychological blow to its morale while it would be big boost to the Government's campaign against the rebels fighting for the separate Tamil Eelam (homeland).

The LTTE, which once enjoyed tremendous political support in Tamil Nadu and with the Governments at the Centre in 1980s, squandered much of it after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by one of its suicide bombers in Sriperumbudur in 1991.

The army also hoisted its flag in various installations in Kilinochchi marking its victory after 10 years when LTTE had reclaimed from the Army.

Announcing the fall of Kilinochchi, Rajapakse said the recent comments of Prabhakaran that the capture of Kilinochchi would remain a dream of the Sri Lankan President has been proved wrong.

'Today, on the second day of this heroic year, I am now ready to reveal to you the proud news of the most honourable victory in the annals of military heroism that runs through many centuries of our history,' he said announcing the fall of Kilinochchi to the nation.
'It was the constant dream of all Sri Lankans, whether Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim, who are opposed to separatism, racism, and terrorism, and have always, sought peace, freedom and democracy. Today our heroic troops have made that dream a reality,' he said.

'It is a decisive victory over savage terrorism that was playing around with the blood, muscle and sinews of humans. It is a victory over venomous separatism that sought to divide people on grounds of race and religion.

Three columns of government forces advanced from three fronts this morning with tanks, heavy artillery and under heavy air bombardment to overwhelm Tigers' defences and marched triumphantly into the city centre capturing major buildings.

Army chief Gen Sarath Fonseka said taking Kilinochchi was the culmination of a major military offensive that began in March 2007 and has witnessed daily fightings for at least nine months.
The Lankan troops are also fast advancing on the last bastion of the Tigers' Mullaitivu which they have surrounded from all sides, defence ministry spokesman Udaya Nayanakara said.

Over 100 Tiger rebels have been killed over the last two days as army took complete control of the Paranthan and Iranmadhu townships near the LTTE de-facto capital on Thursday and launched the final assault from these areas on Kilinochchi, officials said.

Troops and tanks entered into the Tiger capital from three sides this morning and were engaged in heavy fighting to clear the town of LTTE remnants who were on the run, defence officials said.

Lankan troops were carrying out flushing out operations by searching all buildings and complexes. 'There is no option available for the LTTE rebels other than to flee towards the jungle patches in Puthukuduiruppu and Vishvamadu in the East of Iranamadu tank as troops aggressively advanced towards the heart of Kilinochchi in all fronts,' the Defence Ministry said.

LTTE's political head Balasingham Nadesan had recently said in an interview that even if Kilinochchi were to fall, the LTTE would carry on a guerrilla war against the Sri Lankans. An army spokesman separately said that all the key landmarks of Kilinochchi were in government hands.
My Point Of View:


Thursday, January 1, 2009


In the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks in which six Jews were killed,Israel's Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs, also called the security cabinet, has declared 35 groups, mainly active in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and North Africa as terrorist organizations.

'In a comprehensive discussion held on the issue of Global Jihad, Israel's security cabinet recently decided that these organizations, with affiliation to Al-Qaida and Taliban, will be subject to strict monitoring and enforcement actions as per the laws against money laundering and financing of terrorism,' security sources told.

'These declarations are a significant measure in the international struggle against the financing of terrorism and are designed to put Israel in line with those Western countries, especially the United States, that are also using economic means in dealing with terrorism and it will also assist Israel in locating funds designated for terrorist organizations in the Middle East,' they said.

The decision is said to have been based on extensive staff work by the National Security Council and even though these organizations do not necessarily act againstthe Jewish state, Jerusalem is taking measures to aid international efforts against financing of terrorism. The decision obligates banks and financial institutions to report any activity suspected of being related to these organizations to the Israel Money Laundering and Terror financing prohibition Authority.

Among the notable Pakistani organizations included in the list are Aid Organization of the Ulema, Al Akhtar Trust International, a financier of which has been linked to the murder of Wall Street Journal's South Asia bureau chief, Daniel Pearl, Al Harmain Foundation of Pakistan, Al Masjid Al Aqsa- Aqsa Foundationand Al Rashid Trust.

All these organizations have been accused of having links to Taliban and the global Al-Qaida network.
The Al Harmain Branch of Bangladesh and several organizations of Afghanistan have also been listed among terrorist organizations, sources said.

The National Security Council is likely to submit names of additional foreign individuals and organizations for security cabinet approval to aid the fight against global Jihad.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Leadership lapses marred response to Mumbai terror attack

Top police officials under fire for errors of judgment
Errors of judgment and top-level leadership lapses marred the Mumbai police’s management of the first, critical hours of last month’s Lahskar-e-Taiba attack — errors that are now driving calls from for a full review of the force’s crisis response system.
Mumbai’s top police officials, highly placed government sources said, failed to take charge of the Police Control Room, the nerve centre of the city police’s overall command structure. Nor did they use the force’s wireless system to rally their men demoralised by the loss of several of officers, notably the heroic joint commissioner of police and chief of the Anti-Terrorism Squad, Hemant Karkare. Instead, one top official chose to station himself and two aides inside a bullet-proof vehicle parked at the National Centre for the Performing Arts Building near the Oberoi Hotel, thus cutting himself off from the broad flow of operations.
Coordination at the Police Control Room fell to a committee of three joint commissioners of police — Crime Branch chief Rakesh Maria, his Law and Order counterpart, K.L. Prasad, and Administration head Bhagwantrao More. Without authority over subordinates outside their own chain of command, the control room team achieved little. Mumbai’s police failed to initiate a thoroughgoing lockdown of major roads, to block the potential movement of the terrorist groups. Nor were teams of police personnel dispatched to other potential targets. Worst of all, police and Special Reserve Police personnel stationed in the suburbs were not rushed to reinforce the small, ill-armed groups engaged in the early fighting.

Pakistan ready to ban Jamat-ud-Dawah :Yousuf Raza Gilani


Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani confirmed on Wednesday that Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a Lashkar-e-Taiba commander who Indian investigators suspect to be the mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks, had been taken into custody in a crackdown on the group.He also hinted that Pakistan is prepared to impose a ban on the LeT front Jamat-ud-Dawah and take action against the founder-leader of both, Hafiz Saeed, if it was designated as a terror group by the United Nations Security Council.
In addition, he confirmed that Zarar Shah, named in a New York Times report as a communications expert of the LeT and a “central character” in the plot, and a possible “liaison” between the group and the Inter-Services Intelligence, was also in custody.
Speaking to reporters in his hometown Multan, Mr. Gilani, however, said he did not know about the reported action against Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar. A Pakistani newspaper had said authorities had “confined” Azhar to his home in Bahawalpur which, like Multan, is in southern Punjab province.
“About the other two [Lakhvi and Shah], yes. We are investigating them,” Mr. Gilani said, in reply to a question about all three. “As far as Maulana Masood Azhar is concerned, I have not received any report about him.”
The Prime Minister said if India provided evidence of any Pakistani’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks, action would be taken against that person or persons in accordance with Pakistani law.
“If the Indian government provides evidence, we will take action; we have already started taking action on our own, and that is a good message for our neighbour country and for the whole world that Pakistan is a responsible nation and is taking action on its own,” he said.
He denied the actions were being taken under pressure from India and the U.S. Mr. Gilani declined to answer a question about the Indian allegation that all attackers were Pakistanis, and said he would wait until full investigations had been conducted.
Asked about the possibility of a ban on the Jamat-ud-Dawah in case the U.N. Security Council designates it as a terrorist group (Pakistan’s permanent representative to the U.N has said this could be considered) Mr. Gilani said the world did not differentiate between the JuD and the LeT. “Lashkar-e-Taiba is a banned organisation. If the office-bearers of [the LeT] become part of a new group, then tell me what should we call such an organisation. They are not making a differentiation between the [LeT and the JuD]. They are considered one and the same.”

“U.S. verifying reports”

Warning of “unintended consequences” if Pakistan did not act against the “non-state actors” who used its territory to stage attacks in Mumbai, the U.S. on Wednesday said it was “working hard” to verify what Islamabad was actually doing against such elements.
“... I think we have to be concerned because it’s obviously a time of great outrage in India. And what I emphasised was that this was a threat to both Pakistan and India, these terrorists,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an interview to the National Public Radio.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mumbai attacks similar to 1993 New York

The meticulous planning and execution of the Mumbai terror attack, which has left the country's security agencies scurrying for cover, might not be as original as it is presumed to be, because of its eerie resemblance to the 1993 New York Landmarks Plot, hatched by Al-Qaeda.

When compared to an Osama bin Laden's then-relatively new terror group's plot to target prominent hotels and landmarks in Manhattan that was uncovered 15 years ago, the audacious last week's attack looks like a re-play of the same.

According to US-based private Intelligence company, Stratfor, in July 1993, US counter-terrorism agents had arrested eight individuals later convicted of plotting an elaborate, multi-stage attack on key sites in Manhattan.

'The militants, who were linked to Osama bin Laden's then-relatively new group al Qaeda, planned to storm the island armed with automatic rifles, grenades and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

In multiple raids on key targets combined with diversionary attacks, they aimed to kill as many people as possible,' the firm's latest report on Mumbai terror attack said.

The planned attack, which came to be known as the Landmarks Plot, called for several tactical teams to raid sites such as the Waldorf-Astoria, St. Regis and UN Plaza hotels, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and a midtown Manhattan waterfront heliport servicing business executives and VIPs travelling from lower Manhattan to various New York-area airports.

The militants carried out extensive surveillance both inside and outside the target hotels using human probes, hand-drawn maps and video surveillance.

Detailed notes were taken on the layout and design of the buildings, it stairwells, ballrooms, security cameras and personnel all reconnoitered,' the report said.

It said the attackers intended to infiltrate the hotels and disguise themselves as kitchen employees. 'One attack team planned to use stolen delivery vans to get close to the hotels, at which point heavily armed, small-cell commando teams would deploy from the rear of the van.

Stationary operatives would use hand grenades to create diversions while attack teams would rake hotel guests with automatic weapons. The attackers planned to carry gas masks and use tear gas in hotel ballrooms to gain an advantage over any security they might come up against.

They planned to attack at night, when the level of protection would be lower, it said. The targeted hotels, the report said, hosted some of the most prestigious guests in Manhattan, like in the case of the hotels targeted in Mumbai.

'These could have included diplomats like the US Ambassador to the United Nations, who traditionally keeps an apartment in the Waldorf-Astoria, or even the US Secretary of State, who is known to stay at the Waldorf during UN Sessions.

They also host various business leaders. If successful, the attackers doubtless would have killed many high-profile individuals key to New York's stature as a center for financial and diplomatic dealings, it said. Stratfor said at the time, US counter-terrorism officials deemed that the attack would have had a 90 per cent success rate. Disaster, then, was averted when federal agents captured the plotters planning the Landmarks attack, thanks to an informant who had infiltrated the group, it said.

The intelligence firm said that Mumbai terror attacks closely followed the script of the New York plot. 'The similarities between the Landmarks plot and the November 26 Mumbai attacks are quite obvious. In symbolic terms, as the Mumbai attacks unfolded, many onlookers said that an attack on Mumbai is to India what an attack on New York is to Americans.

'In more concrete terms, the targets, methods, weapons and geography involved were similar (if not identical), and the unconventional style of the attacks points to a common author,' it said.

Outlining that Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are known to return to past targets and plot scenarios, the private intelligence company says that the Mumbai attack had al Qaeda brand written over it.

The country's counter-terrorism forces had then detained Landmarks plot mastermind Ramzi Yousef in 1995, who remains in US federal prison.

Listing out the similarities in the method and targets and surveillance carried out in both New York plot and Mumbai terror attacks, Stratfor said the similarities suggested that Ramzi Yousef and other early al Qaeda operatives who helped prepare the Landmarks plot in New York authored the Mumbai plan.

'Considering that the militants launched their original attack from Karachi, Pakistan, and the previous involvement of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, which has connections with al Qaeda leaders in western Pakistan, it is very likely that al Qaeda in Pakistan at least provided the blueprints for this attack.

It also added, 'Ultimately, the biggest difference between the Landmarks plot and the Mumbai attacks is that the Mumbai attacks succeeded. The failure of the Landmarks plot probably provided key lessons to the planners of the Mumbai attacks, who were able to carry out the stages of the attack without detection and with the full element of surprise.'

Sunday, November 30, 2008

‘Army not mobilising troops on border’

New Delhi:

The Army is not mobilising troops on the border with Pakistan in the wake of Mumbai terror strikes, a senior Army official said on Sunday, scotching speculation in this regard.
“We have not received any orders from the government for moving our troops to the borders and there will be no [2002] Operation Parakram-like mobilisation,” the official told PTI here.
After the Parliament attack in December 2002, India had mobilised troops on the western front creating an eyeball-to-eyeball situation for 11 months but no war was fought.
The official also said the border ceasefire was well in place.