South Asia Monitor: Sri Lanka: The Battle For Jaffna - June 01, 2000
June 1, 2000
The dramatic advance of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) into the Jaffna peninsula, the heart of the Tamil area, is a shattering blow for Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga and raises concerns of regional instability for India. The immediate danger is massive bloodshed, with upwards of 25,000 Sri Lankan troops still in Jaffna city and the risk of renewed ethnic violence in the rest of the country if they are killed in large numbers. In the longer term, the prospects for Sri Lanka's fragile peace efforts have been badly undercut. Reviving them will require a much more radical approach to power sharing than the government has been willing to consider in the past. This will be very hard to sell to both the Sinhalese political mainstream and the LTTE, but it will only get harder with time.