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The War Nerd / May 11, 2009
By Gary Brecher


Velupillai Prabhakaran: LTTE’s Guerrilla Generalissimo

One thing you have to give the doomed Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka credit for: their supporters sitting in comfortable first-world cities have no shame when it comes to begging for help. Militarily the Sri Lankan Tamils are o-vuh, but when it comes to demanding favors from people who have every reason to hate their guts, these guys are world-class. For some hilarious examples of propaganda from a doomed army, check out the LTTE’s glossy but totally insane website, Tamilnet.

Today’s headline on their site is this little classic: “99% of Norway Tamils Aspire for Tamil Eelam.” “Eelam,” y’unnerstan’, is their fancy name for the independent Tamil state they want to create in Sri Lanka, the “E” in “LTTE.” Anyway, what this headline means is that they rounded up the Tamils living in Norway and herded their frozen asses into a Sons of Knute meeting hall in Oslo and lo’n’behold, 99% of those poor flotsam (should that be “flotsam” or “flotsams”? Not sure) turned out to be in favor of dear old Eelam. The fact that they were ten thousand miles away from Sri Lanka, where the government artillery was shredding the last backyard-sized scrap of land in “Eelam,” didn’t faze those Norwegian diehards one bit.

These guys have no shame at all. They’d probably be willing to go on Flava Flav’s “Workfare for Overage Street Ho’s” show, they’re so shameless. They even, believe it or not, called for the US to save them with “gunboat diplomacy.” I kid you not.

After decades of playing the bold revolutionaries, they’re actually screeching for American destroyers to rescue them. Ah, it’s a fun world as long as you remember we’re all garbage at heart.

Now that the Tamils’ great Sri Lankan kingdom has been whittled down to about ten acres of blasted scrub, they’re so desperate they’re even tying up traffic in Toronto by way of attracting attention to their sad little plight that they totally brought on themselves. The Canadians are giving it their typical mealymouthed cowardly PC response, “We understand your frustration,” while these losers tie up the biggest freeway in Toronto.

Tamil Toronto

But my favorite little desperate gesture from the Tamils is the way they’ve reached out to Sonia Gandhi, the big Indian politician, to ask for help.

Which is funny because Sonia happens to be the widow of Rajiv Gandhi, who was killed by a suicide bomber in 1991. And who sent the bomber? Nobody but the LTTE, the Sri Lankan Tamils’ great liberation army. Yup, they didn’t like Rajiv’s policy on Sri Lanka so they sent him the LTTE version of a strip-o-gram: a zombie girl who shimmied right up to Rajiv at a rally and pulled her own string. It stripped her all right; it stripped the flesh off her and Rajiv and anybody else within the blast radius. Scorched-earth erotic dancing. The ultimate Bollywood closing number.

And now that the LTTE is cornered like a weasel with its foot in a trap, they actually have the gall to ask for her help. This is why I could never be in politics: you have to have the ability to forgive people. I’ve never forgiven anyone in my life. I don’t even get the concept. If something was bad, something offended you, then it stays that way. It doesn’t turn nice because a little time has passed. I never did get that idea. But Sonia just sat up on a dais in Chennai and listened to a bunch of old LTTE supporters read poems about the glorious Tamil martyrs—you know, like the girl who erased Sonia’s hubby—and politely remind them that India can’t interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, bla bla bla. I guess that would’ve been sweet, in a quiet way, but me, I’d want to offer the Sri Lankan army the full support of every fighter plane the Indian AF can send down there. “Oh, I’ll help your friends in the LTTE, all right: I’ll help them all be reincarnated as tapeworms after we send the Indian Air Force down there to wipe out your last-ditch bunkers! Oh yeah, my little Tamil buddies, we’re gonna put on a little air show for ya, we’ll call it the Rajiv Gandhi memorial air munitions display because after all my hubby was a pilot back when he was alive before you turned him into blackened meat, remember little buddies? Yeah, and anyway the Indian arms industry needs a showcase, let the world media see what our new air-to-ground munitions can do to a bunch of losers who tried to set up a 19th-century rebel empire and found out it’s not so easy any more.”

That’s what I’d do. But Sonia’s a patient sneaky lady, a good politician, and she remembers that her party owes a lot of its power to the fact that it carried all the Tamil districts in the south. So she just smiles while the Sri Lankan army grinds the LTTE to death.

There’ll be many a dry eye when those bastards are gone. All over the world, governments are quietly chortling, even while they tsk-tsk in public. The Tamils got way above themselves, and nearly everybody is happy to see them fall.
The real question is, what happened to turn a really impressive, powerful guerrilla army like the LTTE into this pathetic dead-ender comedy skit, hanging on to its little “sovereign state” in somebody’s backyard banana grove while the army arty shreds the leaves?

I’ve written about the LTTE before, used to admire the bastards for their sheer ruthlessness and the way they bridged the gap between conventional and guerrilla war-making methods (read this and this), but it’s beginning to look to me like that strategy of the LTTE’s where they try to cross over from guerrilla force to a “sovereign state,” with its own uniformed armed forces and government and liberated territory, backfired real bad on them. They’d have been better off skulking in the scrub hoping to cause enough trouble to be bought off. Now they’re going to be just plain wiped out. That’s the trouble with doin’ it old-school: the old-school end game for a defeated conventional army is total annihilation.

The LTTE was doing so well as a guerrilla army that it did what winners usually do: find some way to push its luck and turn victory into defeat. It’s weird how you see that pattern everywhere you look, from corporations that are good at doing one thing they make tons of money and then put it in some totally unrelated business they know zero about, to armies that figure winning a battle is a sign you should go pick on some bigger, badder enemy (See Wehrmacht 1941).

The LTTE started way back in the 1970s, when guerrilla armies were a growth industry. They won over the Tamils in Sri Lanka by being more hard-ass than any of the older Tamil militias, and they proved it by just plain wiping out their wimpy rivals, like the TELO.

You have to remember how different the world looked when people like the LTTE’s Dear Leader Prabhakaran made the career choice to become a guerrilla generalissimo. And you have to remember that in the kind of hellhole he grew up in, it really was a career choice. There weren’t many others, and guerrilla had a rockstar appeal compared to the other options, like starving schoolteacher or smalltime farmer. This was before the IT industry turned the Tamil part of India (basically the SE quadrant of the Subcontinent) into Silicon Valley East. Back in them days, the quickest way to have dinner with the big folks was to control a bunch of malaria-ridden skeletons waving AKs.

So Prabhakaran did what any good entrepreneur would do, grew his business the old-fashioned way: ambushing convoys and assassinating government officials. The LTTE fought a slow stalemate against the army for 25 years after that, with fake “ceasefires” from time to time followed by assassinations to announce that it was back to business as usual, but the one steady factor was Prabhakaran, who got crazier and more conceited as the years went by. He wanted it all, and step one was killing anybody who was a career rival. Which he did, starting in 1986 when he used the old-as-the-hills technique of calling all the braintrust together for a big conference and then mowing them all down. I can’t believe anybody falls for that one, when it’s been Plan #1 for about three thousand years. But who knows, there are still suckers buying Chrysler, so you can’t underestimate stupidity.

The greedy goons running the LTTE were getting more and more pissed off and jealous because in the meantime, their Tamil friends over in Chennai were lording it over them with their Microsoft options and i-phones and kids majoring in comp sci at MIT. Worse yet, the richer those mainland Tamils got, the less they were interested in sending money to the LTTE boys hunkered down in the coastal scrub. Back in the 1970s it was that or pluck chickens, but when Microsoft is offering to send you to their corporate campus in Seattle, all expenses paid, the Pol Pot version of The Apprentice doesn’t seem like such a great option any more. The whole shape of the world (outside Africa anyway) was turning against guerrilla armies, and the LTTE had to figure out which way to turn.

At one level they were in a pretty good position; they held most of NE Sri Lanka, off and on, and their opposition, the Sri Lankan armed forces, was nothing to be afraid of. By 2000, the LTTE took Elephant Pass, a key route to their heartland in Northern Sri Lanka. They had other assets: a lot of money and sympathy from the 80 million Tamils around the world, and they had the BBC on their side too, because the Tamils’ were always the Brits’ pet tribe on the island, specially imported back in Victoria’s day to give the native Sinhalese fits.

But Prabhakaran was no Pol Pot. He was more like a businessman, and he kept his eyes on what he considered the prize, namely making every Tamil on the island his personal slave. There’s always a slave side to a guerrilla movement, because the people are their main asset, and you want to have good control over your asset. But Prabhakaran took it way too far, even for a Dear Leader type. Of course it didn’t help that he was hands down the ugliest revolutionary leader in history, a fat little toad tamped into a camo uniform.

Here I figured I was too ugly to be the Che of Fresno but maybe not. If this lumpy raccoon-eyed amphibian Prabhakaran can do it, then Generalissimo Brecher here we come.

Prabhakaran decided to settle for a ceasefire and set up his precious “state” in the north of Sri Lanka, and he went whole hog. Nobody loves bureaucracy more than an Indian, and the LTTE was suddenly turned into rubber-stamping, desk-grabbing, bribe-taking office pigs. Just imagine what the DMV office would be like in Hell and you’ve got the idea. Every cadre wanted payback for the years hunkered down in the bush from every poor sucker who needed a document stamped. They actually started a “living tax”—as in a tax on the fact that you were breathing. And being a guerrilla army, they made it real clear that if you didn’t pay your breathing tax, they had no problem about interrupting your oxygen supply.

When you think about the LTTE’s famous air force and navy from this angle, they don’t look so cool any more. I admit, I wrote how cool they were, but since I’ve been looking deeper I see they were part of the whole “legitimate state” bullshit business plan that sank the whole movement. They were just more showing off, more trying to be like the big boys. In hindsight it’d have been better for the LTTE to stick to what makes guerrilla armies strong: the AK, RPG and staying tight with the villagers.

This is what Mao would have called “mismanaging your prime asset.” Not that Mao would’ve used that capitalist-roader talk but what he taught his PLA cadres amounted to the same lesson: you better treat the people decent (Mao said, “Don’t take anything from the peasants, not even a sweet potato”), because it’s the people, not the land you claim, that keeps you strong. Here’s the key Mao quote that Prabhakaran and his little careerists should’ve memorized: “Lose land to keep people, land can be retaken; lose people to keep land, land and people both lost.”

That one sentence explains everything that happened to the LTTE. They terrorized the people, their only real asset. When the war resumed in 2002, the Tamils voted with their feet. They ran from the LTTE slavedrivers, even risked surrendering to Sinhalese soldiers instead of sticking with their “liberators.” The LTTE was so shocked at the way their peasant slaves were deserting them they made it policy to fire on Tamil civilians who were trying to flee LTTE-controlled zones.

A classic lesson in how to lose by not listening to Mao, by valuing land and fancy uniforms over sharing rice with the peasants. And now Prabhakaran has about a week or so left in his miserable life to go over Mao’s lessons in his head while he skulks in a bunker somewhere in his precious “Tamil Eelam.” Then the soldiers will kick the door in and the bastard will have a couple of seconds to decide whether to be a hypocrite right to the end, surrender and hope the UN gets him clemency, or die like he made thousands of trusting Tamil kids die, by swallowing the cyanide pills every LTTE soldier carried around his neck. If they even make cyanide necklaces in his collar size.

Gary Brecher is the author of the War Nerd. Send your comments to

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Add your own

  • 1. Alok  |  May 11th, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Generally agree with you, but just a couple of quibbles…

    1. LTTE also started losing support in India post-Rajiv Gandhi assassination. The Indian intervention in SL was deeply unpopular in India itself and people were kinda pissed with Rajiv Gandhi for having sent Indian troops in. But that’s the strange things with us Indians. We hate the guts of a Gandhi till the point someone shoots/blows him/her up, and then we martyr them and canonize them. go figure.
    Anyway, there was a real crackdown on LTTE synpathizers in India and those left walking went underground for a long long time.

    2. Colonel Karuna. One of the big reasons why Pirabhakharan is in such a bad position is because one of his smarter lieutenants basically took half the cadre, upped and left. He sort of cut a deal with the SL Army, joined politics as a Tamil leader and terribly weakened the LTTE in the process.

  • 2. James  |  May 11th, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    The wording of this essay, and its vernacular, does not sound like the usual Gary Brecher….

  • 3. geo8rge  |  May 11th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    There is a real estate bust story here. In New York City and probably everywhere the Tamil immigrants were into construction trades. While the boom of the 1980s when on and on they were able to send money back to Sri Lanka to keep the war going. Then the economy collapsed and real estate collapsed and pffft, so did the Tigers.

  • 4. harv  |  May 11th, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    James man…who gives a fuck?

    Anyways, Gary’s analysis is pretty much accurate. However, successful breakaway resistance movements have to customize according to the region/culture/geopolitical atmosphere. What was good for mao may not be good for others.
    Let’s hope Hizballah does not also rot itself out by getting entrenched in domestic politics and shying away from refresher conflicts with israel.

  • 5. Expat in BY  |  May 12th, 2009 at 4:30 am

    You know, Cheech Marin would probably disagree that Prabhakaran is the ugliest revolutionary leader in history. Given the picture at the start of the article, the two could be brothers…

  • 6. justaguy  |  May 12th, 2009 at 5:08 am

    just to let you guys know t agree with James. This isn’t gary, and just for the record i want to say this is bullshit. i cant belive even the exile is shouting this propaganda bull. ill bet in 1 month(2 tops)the tigers will be the ones who win. trust me on this and when you’re done cussing me come back read this in a couple of months and know i was right.

  • 7. Realist  |  May 12th, 2009 at 5:27 am

    Nice one. Lets watch out for the internal police comb & sweep operation.

    I always wondered why the Tigers chose those funny camo pattern. Looks like the winner from a drawing contest between mentally disabled kids. Nobody respects the poorly dressed insurgent.

    General Brecher would be well advised to make more informed fashion choices. How about the timeless black BDU? Or California urban hipster? Just stay away from boonie hats and berets.

  • 8. bob breen  |  May 12th, 2009 at 6:39 am

    The tigers have terrorized their own people long enough. They got financing by extortion so i guess that they are getting their big turnouts to demonstrate using the same tactics.
    The only sad thing here is that there are a lot of innocents suffering because of the egomaniacs who wanted to be royalty.
    Good riddance tamil pussys.

  • 9. mikey  |  May 12th, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Thanks for the new article, Gary. Hope you got a buck from the $10 I donated to keep you on board.

  • 10. badnewswade  |  May 12th, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I knew the Tamils were cunts the instant I found out that the terminally unfunny Latuff was making cartoons about them, and the Indymedia movement were having conniptions about the poor wittle tewwowists.

    Thanks for this alternative viewpoint!

  • 11. James  |  May 12th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Well, I don’t really give a fuck I was just commenting on something that a war nerd would notice; namely, that, unless Brecher was trying to write differently, this reads like someone else wrote it than who normally writes these, giving credence to the theory that Brecher is a pseudonym for a group of people. Incidentally, this essay is not up to the usual quality of ‘his’ others; these things are probably related, but I did not base my conclusions on the quality. I did, however, base my conclusions on the fact that my thumb is stuck deep inside of my arsehole. Not that I didn’t put it there–or that I don’t enjoy it there. It’s just that it interferes with my thinking, which is normally much stupider than even this.

  • 12. Mark  |  May 12th, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    The second-to-last sentence is classic War Nerd. He hates military leaders who waste their men…

  • 13. Chris  |  May 12th, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Reading the comments section above is like listening to a bunch of spoiled teenage know-it-alls explain something they know zero about. Get your own columns assholes.

    Bravo to Mr. Brecher and the eXiled crew for another excellent, original, deeply incisive article. I don’t know anywhere else that offers such decent political commentary.

  • 14. Allen  |  May 12th, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    I doubt the Tigers are done. They will regroup as a much smaller purely terrorism oriented group maybe build back up to some guerrilla stuff over time.

    It’s been a while since I studied it, but as I recall the Sri Lankan civil war (or civil conflict whatever) raged partly because the Sinhalese basically treated the Tamils like official second class citizens. In fact when they were not hard enough on the Tamils it became a three way civil war with Sinhalese ultra chauvinists killing pretty much everyone that got on their bad side … including many Sinhalese.

    Maybe that’s all in the past. But generally speaking, people would rather side with their own home grown assholes than side with some other assholes that don’t show them respect … And that’s why the Tigers, or some other similar group, will probably be back …

  • 15. Nimisha  |  May 13th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    ” Their sad little plight ? ”

    WTF ! There is a genocide going on here, innocent people are dying on both sides how is that just a sad little plight . What makes it worst is they are even more fcked up because the world fails to realise or empathize with them because of the tamil tigers, being tamil doesn`t mean you support them . Lot`s of the Sri Lankan tamils I know dislike them . It`s just they have tried to do the most ( there completly stupid and going about it all wrong, alot of propaganda ) . It`s a similar to Palestine the world will only care when the they do not have an option to turn their backs .

    I can see where you coming from with your anger against the tigers and some of the dangerous protests like on the Gardiner, but you can not deny the genocide done by the Gov and the tigers against the Tamil people .

  • 16. rick  |  May 13th, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    You realize what’s wrong with the intellectual culture when you read these real war nerd comments, from real war nerds. Nobody just “enjoys the beauty of the game.” It’s all ideological with you people. People who know shit are wonderful and essential, but why is the audience limited to people who know shit? You can’t just enjoy folly and corruption on its own terms, you fucking sickos.

  • 17. rick  |  May 13th, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    The last sentence was meant as a chastisement, btw. As in not enjoying folly and corruption on its own terms is your intellectual deficiency.

  • 18. Carl  |  May 14th, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Great writing! Prime war nerd on a good subject. I just wish it was longer.

    It might not be 100% accurate, but it’s more relevant than the normal news you read, and sure as hell more entertaining.

    Thank you Gary, may Fresno be merciful.

  • 19. harry_haller  |  May 14th, 2009 at 3:26 am

    Along with Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, a big factor was the crackdown on the LTTE in India, Europe and the US post 9/11. Money is the lifeblood of all such organizations and their supporters (the Tamil diaspora) doesn’t really have a good way of sending money to the LTTE other than legit means (hawala as we Indians call it). Before 9/11, the LTTE maintained bank accounts all over the world, and their supporters could donate to them. Once they were designated a terrorist org, their accounts were frozen and they never really figured out a good alternative, such as the al Qaeda is using today.

  • 20. GSV Gray Matter  |  May 14th, 2009 at 4:52 am

    Terror movements never really end – they just become farcical. See Basque separatists and the IRA. The LTTE is probably dead as an effective movement, but there will almost certainly be a hard core left after the fighting dies down.

    I think the next big Tamil rebel group is likely to pioneer entirely new methods of guerrilla warfare – the large pool of ethnically Tamil IT workers ensures that the subcontinent is a good place to watch for new techniques of information warfare.

  • 21. Spotacus  |  May 14th, 2009 at 7:22 am

    The way to get friends as an armed group is to win. Hell even war nerd turns on you if the shit hits the fan. Poor LTTE no more friends. I think the Somalian pirates have overexpanded and pissed too many people off as well, I would sell shares in them too.

  • 22. Einzweidry  |  May 14th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    “I’ve never forgiven anyone in my life. I don’t even get the concept.”

    WN, i know what specifically you are referring to here. But even if we take a look at your present column: the topics of war and peace are so much interconnected and have always been. As ‘they’ say: show must go on.

  • 23. Jack Boot  |  May 15th, 2009 at 9:05 am

    As Mao said: The people are the sea, and the guerrillas are the fish that swim in the sea.

    The Tigers, like the Algerian Islamists, began to pollute the very sea that had sustained them. Silly little fishies…

  • 24. Namal  |  May 15th, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    There is another side of this story. Tamils are probably the largest ethnic group in world without their own country. They tried to get it from India and gave up because India was so strong and they were not match to other larger ethnic groups in India. They tried to get hold of Maldives, but India supported the Maldives government. In Sri Lanka it was much easier. It has a higher population of Tamils (around 25%)and the fight was against a smaller ethnic group (80million Tamils aganst 15 million Sinhalease). Everybody talk about Tamil minority, but the truth is otherway round. Thats why international media are on their side, larger nations are on their side and they can make up what everstories. Minority Sinhalease were not match to them. However, present government policies were such, they decided to make alternative freinds who are going to support their course. they are well focused and doing it well. Surely it will end within next two weeks.

  • 25. JR  |  May 15th, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    You’re a fucking idiot. Helloooooo! The war in Afganistan just doubled in size. And you’re writing about these twats? What a waste.

    Son. You could make a difference, if you actually gave a shit.

  • 26. JR  |  May 15th, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    “But who knows, there are still suckers buying Chrysler, so you can’t underestimate stupidity.”

    People still read you, you worthless piece of shit.

    The great thing about you is you don’t get paid. Who’s the sucker now, asshole?

  • 27. Esteban Escobar  |  May 15th, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    You overlook the Abrahamic connections in this conflict, and virtually all wars around the world. The LTTE leadership, and including Prabhakaran and Gandhi’s assassin, were dominated by Tamil christians, as are the Sinhalese leadership (Mahinda Rajapaksa’s real name is Percy Mahendra Rajapaksa). The grunts fertilizing the soil here may be hindus and buddhists, but the players moving the pieces around are of the “true” revealed faith; the religion of love (as in love thy nonbeliever to death)!

  • 28. Bollox  |  May 16th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    The one missing item in this report, as other war nerds will appreciate, is the transformation of the SL military. The LTTE is a tough, well-equipped, resourceful and experienced outfit. For a detailed examination, this milblog from a SL viewpoint’s worth reading.

    Note especially how combined arms ops have been mastered to a level unthinkable a few years ago. But you know what they finally worked out? Holding territory by itself is of no use. The LTTE had to be destroyed. “Kill more to achieve more” became an unofficial slogan.

    Lots of small unit ops, promotion based on battlefield success and not seniority, multiple front attacks, excellent CAS and naval co-ordination, deep penetration operations targeting LTTE leaders and an iron will to see it through to a timetable and plan determined by the armed forces. All of this done on a tiny budget compared to First World armies.

    As for idea that the LTTE will be able to slip into the jungles to re-start a guerilla campaign. Forget it! Again the SLA are already in the jungles. Small LTTE bands will get through, but they won’t survive for long. The SLA is not the ceremonial outfit of 20 years ago.

    For examples of SLAF CAS, see here:

    I nominate SL Armed forces for the ‘Most Improved Military’ in 2009. Perhaps the War Nerd could nominate some other militaries? It certainly won’t be the Brits with their pathetic performance in Basra 🙂

    BTW, Esteban, this particular war has nothing do to with the Jews. Try as you might, they can’t be blamed for this one. It’s not even strictly a religious war.

  • 29. BS  |  May 16th, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Escobar –
    Hindus and Buddhists in Sri Lanka signed a pact a little while ago to stop all missionary work in Sri Lanka. So you know for sure it isn’t a religious issue.

    On Mahendra Rajapaksas first name as Percy, its not because he’s a crypto-Abrahamic but because as a young man he converted from Roman Catholicism TO Buddhism not the other way around.

    Converts are always out to prove their zeal and Rajapaksa is no different.

  • 30. Alok  |  May 17th, 2009 at 3:13 am


    Had the feeling that the SL Army had improved, but thanks for the links that show exactly how and why.

  • 31. Catar Gas  |  May 17th, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    So far, we have: Mr. Brecher accurately predicted death of a high-ranked person at least 4 days before the actual event.

    There were notions, remarks, innuendos that the style of his usuall shabby communiques changed to a more precise-business-military-like.

    Indians, you turn: what is this magazine up to?
    Why they all relocated to California?
    Why the continuous war on war on drugs?

    Why radio segments suddenly started?

    Taxi drivers, where to?
    Financiers, BUY or SELL?

  • 32. Frasse  |  May 18th, 2009 at 2:28 am

    So the toad leader of the LTTE is dead, according to the rumors escaping in ambulance. I always like how leader say “I will fight to the death [of all my followers]”. I always liked the last Byzantine emperor, when he realized that they were done (something they actually should have realized earlier), he was last seen charging the Turkish that broken through the city walls. I mean that is a least a good way for a leader to go down, share the shit you put your followers in.

  • 33. Frank McG  |  May 18th, 2009 at 5:23 am

    “(Velupillai Prabhakaran) and his top deputies then drove an armor-plated van accompanied by a bus filled with rebel fighters toward approaching Sri Lankan forces, sparking a two-hour firefight, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

    Troops eventually fired a rocket at the van, ending the battle, they said. Troops pulled Prabhakaran’s body from the van and identified it as that of the rebel leader, they said. The attack also killed Soosai, the head of the rebels’ naval wing, and Pottu Amman, the group’s feared intelligence commander, the officials said.”

    Awesome! I’m guessing it went down something like this: as they all huddled in a bunker, desperation-fueled brainstorming kicked in, and one of his advisers remembered the ending to an episode of the A-Team.

  • 34. Frank McG  |  May 18th, 2009 at 5:27 am

    Also, I bet one of them was in the middle of saying, “I love it when a good plan comes together” right when the rocket hit the van.

  • 35. elise navarro  |  May 18th, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Ames you son of a bitch. You never reply to anyone. Me included. I would nix you off my favorites in a heart beat if you didn’t write so infuriatingly well.

  • 36. Piramidalhats  |  May 18th, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Elise, ‘Frank McG’ message was Ameses coded reply to you.

  • 37.  |  May 18th, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Velupillai looks so much better in death. Brecher’s theory he could become the next gay King of whatever the city he is presented to live in was ridiculous.

    Also Brecher, – you are a Korwin of Death.

  • 38. Nisse  |  May 18th, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Interesting read. I only wish Gary would write more often, not just once a month like its been lately. I keep klicking on the bloglink but there aren’t any many updates…

    On another note, and i hope this doesnt break any rules for posting. There is a political, diplomacy, war and corporate simulation web-game named which I belive readers of the war nerd might enjoy. Some 100k people around the world login every day to defend or expand their contries.

  • 39. madura  |  May 18th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Nice to here all this from some people who really know about wars. You people have your facts correct, there was no genocide in SL by the armed forces. LTTE did all that and posted fake photos on their “friendly” media. We sinhalese are not “pets” of UK so UK was playing hard ball with the government! well all their pledges have been answered the freako and his psycho team is dead now but why are the tamils abroad screaming and crying? they wanted SL be devastated and Eelam made on its soil

    SL is first colonized by indian people from time to time they mixed with the natives who were living here and the race sinhala was born. tamils are not from india they are a version of persians, you might have noticed that tamils dont have anything common with indians, only the language has some effect but not the appearance/lifestyle. tamils can live anywhere they want but they should know that its not theirs thats the bitter truth they are needed to understand the so called “genocide” will continue rehabilitating the tamils who crossed over. But there are LTTE cadres with them Army is filtering them out they will be kept under guard(what to do, they asked for it) SL is not risking another life for 33 year old bloody conflict.

  • 40. NOT DONE YET  |  May 18th, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    yo moron what are you blind thats not the man put some glasses on moron i’ll bet this thing ins’t even close to being done.

  • 41. real  |  May 19th, 2009 at 6:16 am

    I agree with 40. The Commander might well still be alive.

  • 42. Tammy Dawson  |  May 19th, 2009 at 6:22 am

    Run with it Gary! I’d come out of the woodwork to support the Che of Fresno. Mind you, there wouldn’t be a Michael Moore or Rosie O Donnel admirer in the millions more that would join you, but beggars can’t be choosers.

  • 43. Mar C  |  May 19th, 2009 at 10:07 am

    The TTs lost, great, time for insurgent warfare, Baghdad style.

  • 44. Karel  |  May 19th, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Remarkable parallels between this civil war and the one in Angola (Savimbi&Unita)

    Wrong options at the wrong times.

    Brecher should do a Unita story(ies) – He does best with enough time elapsed since the events. His current analysis is not spot-on.

  • 45. Bollox  |  May 20th, 2009 at 2:38 am

    Russia welcomes news of LTTE defeat

    Always good to see Russia has friends who occasionally manage to get out their quagmires… unlike the self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe © USA…

    Savour this with a chilled bottle of Lion Lager.

  • 46. Hyro  |  May 22nd, 2009 at 2:46 am

    Namal >>> [quote]In Sri Lanka it was much easier. It has a higher population of Tamils (around 25%)and the fight was against a smaller ethnic group[/quote]

    what utter crap..Tamils are only a 7% Minority in Sri Lanka..while the Sinhalese are nearly 75%.. They would have fared better in India..LOL

  • 47. Ben  |  May 25th, 2009 at 7:42 am

    The Tamil population of Sri Lanka is only around 12%.But from the colonial times they have been given the feeling by the colonial masters that they deserve 50%of political power. This is how the colonial powers lay the seeds of ‘divide and rule’Once a division is established the colonial regimes can still have a finger in the pie.This explains how British and the French foreign offices were trying hard to exploit the sri Lankan situation.This time they failed.But they will keep trying.It is hard to forget the ‘glory of the empire’.Even though the empires do not exist.
    On the other hand the exiled Tamils who really have exiled themselves into European cities for bettering their personal livelihood wants the so called ‘struggle” to continue. Where there is no war, there are no refugees. There is no war now in Sri Lanka and there is no reason for the Tamils to continue as refugees in Europe or elsewhere.
    So let them be sent back to their original homes.It will be no surprise to any one if the Tamils try to claim homelands in the countries which gave them asylum.
    Norway that under the guise of peace brokering have been arming terrorists in Sri Lanka, may soon witness the boomeranging of their secret misdeeds

  • 48. war-and- peace  |  May 28th, 2009 at 5:04 am

    Great article! thanks mate.

    One addition. It’s doubtful whether LTTE was really a guerrilla outfit if you consider that they really drew their strength from abroad. Tamil Diaspora throughout the world and some western powers helped them grew. LTTE really didn’t swim on the water which was people, rather it got itself armed by foreign money and created a pool of blood out of people it was supposed to liberate and swam on it!

    This can be another reason for their very sudden demise, something quite unheard for real guerrilla movements. I think well to do expat Tamils’ lust for having a separate state was not in line with the ground realities, aspirations of local tamils and history. So it got broke down as soon as the Sri Lankan leadership got his act right. (Like Indians did long ago when Tamils tried to carve a separate state there)

  • 49. tamilnet  |  May 29th, 2009 at 8:50 am

  • 50. TIGER  |  November 4th, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    people need to shut the fuk up, and get a job and live there life, if u dnt know the fact, the most greatest and power full leader is tamil tigers leader, and no one will ever replace him,and gain his power, and srilankan gvnmnt is the most cheepest, beggers in the universe, got help from india parkistan russia uk, china, to beat the tigers, lol. its funny, to know that srilankan gvnmnt, know how weak they are , but they have dne a great job. but its never over, until the tigers flag, comes bk, and ealam comes to tamils.

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