Friday, August 04, 2006

war - what is happening?

note: above map does not pretend to be exact and is only a rough guide. click to enlarge

with regard to my factual reporting of the events of the war i have made it a principle not to write down the first story that came my way, and not even to be guided by my own general impressions; either i was present myself at the events which i have described myself or else i heard them from eye-witnesses whose reports i have checked with as much thoroughness as possible. not that even so the truth was easy to discover: different eye-witnesses gave different accounts of the same events, speaking out of partiality for one side or the other or else from imperfect memories.
book 1, 22. history of the peloponnesian war - thucydides (one of my favorite books btw)

it’s a pity that most reporters do not follow in the footsteps a historian who reported on a contemporary conflict 2400 years ago. reports about current (and on going) fighting in trincomalee district is a good example. no one can give casualty figures or assert who is controlling what while the fighting is taking place, but some people pretend to. government and ltte does that for propaganda purposes. accounts of the eye witnesses (including ones i have spoken to myself) are contradictory. media just repeat these almost certainly false figures or narratives. in fact only thing we can be certain is that they are inaccurate. that is why i will not relate what i heard ( besides i cannot produce my eye witnesses, as such others cannot verify my account and it becomes useless as i have said earlier ) .

so how do we know what happened?

there is nothing to do but to wait till the situation stabilizes, as it probably will in a few days, if we want to go into details.

in a general sense however we can say the following.
  • government's ground operation to take over the sluice-gate of the mawilaru anicut is moving at snail's pace (if that) at present but this was expected. this operation reportedly had several prongs and some of the prongs moving in from different directions seem to have joined up with each other.
  • ltte artillery attacks (originating in sampur area) on navy movements were unsuccessful. only time they came close to success was in their attack on 'jetliner' ferry carrying 800+ military personnel, but that was a suicide mission like the one on day before wesak. even that failed. this failure on the part of tigers is probably the most significant event militarily. some analysts feared before this that ltte's was capable of effectively blockading trincomalee harbor, thus cutting off supplies to troops in jaffna.
  • ltte launched attacks against several army camps and muttur town 2days ago. indications are they were not successful against the army camps. it may be that ltte didn't plan to overrun them in the first place, but merely to distract them. on the other hand their raid on muttur was successful initially. military was certainly not in complete control of the town by august 2nd night, that does not mean ltte was in control either. situation probably changed by last (3rd) night after government sent in reinforcements. military seem to have got the upper hand there but we can't be certain till situation stabilizes.

how do we judge who won?

that can only be done if and when situation is stable.
if at that point sluice-gates are open without government giving in to ltte demands and muttur and other areas under government control are free of pussies government would have won.
let's hope they do.


childof25 said...

talk about interesting eyewitness accounts..check this out

Also this article ( has a rather intriguing quote "The blocked waterway affects about 8,000 farmers. According to the source, if the situation is not resolved soon many Sinhalese farmers could lose their crop. Tamil and Muslim farmers would be spared only because they planted their seeds earlier."...I just found that a bit bizzare

sittingnut said...

either the blogger or my connection is not working properly (suspect the later since i am not in colombo) at the moment. so sorry about any errors in the post cannot correct them ( it was hard enough to get the map uploaded ) since i cannot edit it. hope this comment will get posted

yes i saw that too. bizzare is the right word.
bbc and errors whan will it end ?

ashanthi said...

s/nut keep us posted

on the matter of who's winning, sorry no-one is winning

it is going to takes decades for us to recover from this latest "war"

ashanthi said...

s/nut - why aren't you in colombo? i'm worried - can you pse send me an email - thanks mate, appreciate it.

sittingnut said...

where were you last week or so? :-)
i am away on business.

yes in a general sense in a war nobody wins, but i was referring winning in the political and military context . there will be a winner in that sense.

btw didn't i say we will have a war this year in last november ? here we have one.

Keshi said...

Seriously I dun even feel like visiting SL cos of this dumb war!


sittingnut said...

we on the other hand live here.

Keshi said...

yes I know...and I feel for every person who lives in SL with this mess.


sittingnut said...

:-) i can understand what you mean.
but i meant we want to live here.