Monday, August 15, 2005

Lakshman Kadirgamar assassinated

Lakshman Kadirgamar, foreign minister of Sri Lanka, is assassinated. Today's Hindu editorial remembers him, while raising concerns about how the Norwegian-brokered ceasefire has allowed the LTTE to consolidate its military hold and eliminate its opponents with ruthless impunity. Kadirgamar is mourned by his nation (and his old college), even as politicians in Sri Lanka sing from tired scripts about civilisation, barbarity and terrorism.

Determined to set itself up as the 'sole representative of Tamils', the LTTE has reportedly been behind a series of recent attacks on non-LTTE Tamil organisations and leaders. The killing of Kadirgamar - son of Jaffna Tamil parents - could be part of this broader campaign. The Independent reports that the LTTE has denied involvement, but suggests that - given Kadirgamar's prominent role in the drying up of international support for the organisation - whoever killed him, the LTTE had good reason to want him dead. The sophistication of the operation is also said to point to LTTE involvement (although most reports mention the relative lack of security around LK's private residence). Yet beyond the obvious desire to eliminate the most high-profile Tamil in the government, there are reasons to wonder what the LTTE (if it is in fact behind this) would have hoped to gain: analysts point out that they are not in the best position to resume active hostilities. Both government and LTTE maintain that they want to observe the fragile ceasefire, but prospects for meaningful peace talks now look bleaker than ever.

Finally, in this age of so-called 'Islamic' terrorism, it is worth pointing out that suicide bombing as a terrorist technique was pioneered by the (mostly Hindu) Tamil Tigers. As were female suicide bombers.

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