Write a profile of one of the following terrorist groups:
Your profile should focus on two broad aspects – Facts and Analysis.
Origin of the Group
Over the recent past decades, terrorism has been a significant threat to the global peace as several terrorist attacks have caused the death of millions of people across the world. Over the years while analyzing the brutality of those incidents, one question has been again and again raised that why do terrorist groups undertake malicious practices by killing people (Mackinlay 2013). However, the person concerned for international relation studies have figured out several ideologies of the organizations that drove them to leave their social life behind and commit terrorism. Still, the question remains unresolved as to why does a person take the lives of some innocent civilians who are complete strangers to the person (Mac Ginty 2016). Hence, the study in order to analyze the ideology of a popular terrorism group called Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), will give a profile of the mentioned organization. The whole course of the discussion includes a detail description of the group. The study divides the discussion into two sections. In the first section, the paper sheds light on the facts regarding the group and the second section highlights the analysis part. The facts section includes several aspects such as the origin of the group, their ideology, leadership, organization structure, strategies, tactics, and main attacks and so on. On the other hand, the second part of the analysis throws light on the impact of the groups’ activity and future plans of the group. The paper finally concludes by summing up the entire discussion.
According to Hashim (2018), the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or popularly known as LTTE was one of the main groups that came into existence while fighting for the establishment of a separate independent state that is Tamil Elam. Sri Lanka based this organization was mostly known as the Tamil Tigers. The organization was founded in the year of 1976 and waged as a secessionist nationalist insurgency (Hess and Korf 2014). The move of LTTE to create a different nation for the Tamil people of the North and Eastern Zone of Sri Lanka was the main driving force behind the Sri Lankan Civil War which began in 1983 and then continued till 2009. The war resulted in the defeat of the LTTE during Mahindra Rajapaksa’s presidency. However, it deserves mention that LTTE alias the Tamil Tigers were supported by significant Tamilians of Sri Lanka. In regard to that University Teachers for Human Rights stated that the group was a combination of nationalist ideology and internal terror which led to their success in atomizing the Tamilians (Hyndman and Amarasingam 2014). During the time when LTTE was at the peak of its power, it was perceived by several researchers that the group was supported by the entire community.
Ideology of the Group
As per Kruglanski et al. (2013), during the early 1970s, United Front government led by Sirimavo Bandaranaike brings the policy of standardization into operation in order to modify the less number of Sinhalese being accepted into the Sri Lankan University. Meanwhile, a student of the University, Satiyaseelan developed a league for Tamil students opposing the activity of Bandaranaike. This league was comprised of the youth generation of Tamil community so that they will fight for the student’s right in order to have the fair process of enrollment in the University. The group was inspired by the ideologies of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and their insurrection in the year of 1971 (Kruglanski et al. 2014). It was the first Tamil group like Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna. 5th May of 1976 was founding year of LTTE and developed as the predecessor of Tamil New Tigers.
The primary aim of LTTE was to create an independent state of Tamil Elam for the people of North-Eastern area of Sri Lanka. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is one of the self-styled national liberation organizations whose primary purpose was to create an independent state for Tamilians of Sri Lanka’s North and East region (Kruglanski et al. 2014). Tamil nationalism was the primary ideology of LTTE. The group was also inspired by the ideology of many Indian freedom fighters like the Subhash Chandra Bose. The organization claims to be fought for the restoration of sovereignty in its homeland. Even if the group had most of the Hindu members, it established itself as the secular organization. In accordance with Mac Ginty (2016), the leaders mainly Velupillai made it assure that religion does not have the place in the ideology of the group. The oppressiveness of the Tamilians in their own society was condemned by Velupillai Prabhakaran. For example, he was strongly opposed to the caste discrimination and gender biasness of Tamil culture. Thus he formed LTTE as a nationalist team with an aim to bring revolutionary changes in the Tamil society. Their aim was not just to make an independent state from Sri Lanka but to bring widespread changes in the society.
As per Mackinlay (2013), it can be said that the group’s ideology is to eliminate gender discrimination and social biasness from the society. The ideology also states that the group supports the liberation of women within the society. Prabhakaran also termed his philosophy from the perspective of politics as ‘revolutionary socialism,’ and his aim is to make the society as ‘egalitarian society.’ It has been reported often that while asked about LTTE’s policy from the economic perspective, Velupillai stated, “We can only think about a proper economic structure when the ethnic problem is resolved. ... What form and what structure this economic system is to be instituted in can only be worked when we have a permanent settlement or independent state” (Moorcraft 2013).
Leadership and Organizational Structure
Richards (2014) suggests that Velupillai Prabhakaran founded the group in the year 1976 was declared as the leader. 40 members were in the group, and all of them were Tamil youth. Ponnuthurai Sivakumaran and K. Pathmanaba deserve mention along with Velupillai Prabhakaran since they equally contributed while founding the team. Ponnuthurai Sivakumaran later became the leader of Sivakumaran group while Velupillai was 18-year-old youth. After the founding of LTTE on 5th may of 1976, Uma Maheswaran became one of the leading members of the team. A five-member team had also been developed so that the activities of the group could be monitored (Murphy, 2013). It is said the by the researcher, Rohan Gunaratna that Prabhakaran aimed to "refashion the old TNT/new LTTE into an elite, ruthlessly efficient, and highly professional fighting force” (Richards 2014).
As per Thiranagama (2014), the group was a well-structured team which had a two-tier of leadership structure. The members were divided into two groups. One was assigned to undertake the military activities, and the other group was assigned to look after the political scenario. Presently the group follows the structure of 7000 and 15000 fighters. Most of the funds of the group come from the sympathizers of the area. In addition, several diaspora communities based in North America and Europe also contribute to the funding of the group (Winchester 2013). The fund contributors were the legitimate humanitarian associations who play the role of fronts for the organization. However, several criminal activities have been reported which claims the indulgence of the LTTE groups into criminal activities. The prominent leaders of the group are Soosai, Charles Anthony, Pottu Amman, Nadesan and Veerakathy Manivannam (Nalapat 2013). All of them were appointed in different sectors such as some of them were allocated to look after the political office while others were assigned to look after the global networking of the group. However, it needs to be mentioned that most of the prominent leaders had been killed during the Eelam War IV in 2006 and 2009 (Young and Dugan 2014).
As per Winchester (2013), the LTTE was one of the major terrorist groups who successfully formed a functional military. Their fight with the Sri Lankan government over the creation of the separate state was continued for a long quarter century. The group adopted the war strategy in order to bring the change within the society. Following the ideologies of freedom fighters such as Subhash Chandra Bose, the LTTE organization believes war strategy to bring equalities in the societal front (Thiranagama 2014). The organization mainly fights against the government in order to assure parity in not only society but in political front and so on. However, as per the observation, the organization does not start a war just based on the beliefs; instead they follow a particular strategy and ethics. Before waging war, the group put in a lot of thoughts. They strategies out the whole plan and make it sure that their strategy is sufficiently proved. In addition, they also keep the future aspects under consideration (Richards 2014). The organization has a global connection so that they can remain connected with the entire world and can hurl attack anywhere in the world. However, they maintain a special connection with the United Kingdom and Canada (Murphy 2013). They brought the societal issues in the highlight as to how women and children are oppressed in the society and features it through the medium of advertisement before the general public.
Strategies and Tactics
The warriors and the killed members of the group are projected by them as the martyrs or heroes who did not even think twice before dying for the sake of bringing changes in the society, while the entire world treats them as nothing but terrorists to the society (Moorcraft 2013). Beside of Canada and the United Kingdom, the group also had a good connection with the Eritrean government which was considered to be the greatest asset for the organization. The major feature of the organization which needs to be mentioned is that the organization not only speaks of bringing social changes but also implemented their viewpoint of social equality in their own organization (Mackinlay 2013). The team comprises of both the male members and the female members, and they value the women power and their contribution to the society a lot. However, one of their strategies is widely criticized as they make hostile of innocent children while spoiling their childhood trains them to become future activists of the organization. As per Mac Ginty (2016), due to their separatism and nationalist ideology, the members of LTTE had created factional between the Tamil communities. While some of the Tamilians support LTTE's ideology, others strongly oppose the war strategy of LTTE.
As per Richards (2014), there are 32 countries across the world who have listed LTTE as the terrorist group of the country. The countries include India, the United States of America, United Kingdom, European Union, Canada, and Sri Lanka. Among them, India was the first country who put a ban on the military activities of the organization by terming the organization as the major terrorist group. However, the Prabhakaran, the leader of the group contested with the terrorist designation of the organization (Thiranagama 2014). He further blames on the false propaganda which influenced the international community to consider the group as the terrorist group. Agreeing to that, human rights specialized Karen Parker said LTTE is not a terrorist organization rather it is the group of nationalists who wage war against the government of Sri Lanka. A large number of political figures had been assassinated by LTTE are Ranasinghe Premadasa, the President of Sri Lanka, Former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, political members of United National Party, MP Gamini Dissanayake and so on. Many suicide attacks had also been undertaken by LTTE (Kruglanski et al. 2014). However, for which the group has been termed as the terrorist group is their attacks on the civilians. Noteworthy attacks led by the organization are the Aranthalawa Massacre, Anuradhapura massacre, Kattankudy mosque massacre, the Kebithigollewa massacre and the Dehiwala train bombing which claimed a large number of innocent civilians (Richards 2014).
Like other terrorist groups, LTTE’s impact on the society was certainly negative. In addition, the international politics was badly affected due to the terrorist attacks of the organization. In accordance with Mackinlay (2013), the social structure and social order had been disrupted as LTTE promoted a factional feud between the Tamil communities. LTTE in an attempt to establish their ideology in the society not only created consequences on the society but caused disorder in the political as well as social governance. The entire world for a longer period was under the effect World Wars which did not only claimed lives of millions of civilians or destroyed world economy but completely demolished social order. Mac Ginty, (2016) opines that while the entire world was seeking measures to maintain peace across the globe and trying to accelerate the economic growth of mainly the developing countries, LLTE’s activities further fueled the warlike tension in mainly Sri Lanka and India. The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India and the Sri Lanka President, were not only the incidents in which political foundations were shaken but those incidents generated fear among general civilians (Murphy 2013). LTTE’s attacks on the civilians for no good reason or out of the grudge against the government threatened the entire society.
Certainly, the intentional violence that was generated by the malicious practices of LTTE affected the social disorder of mainly the two Asian countries India and Sri Lanka. The group was defeated during the battle between Sri Lanka and India in the year of 2009 (Moorcraft 2013). It had been officially announced that the group was destroyed as the leader of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam; Velupillai Prabhakaran had been killed by the Sri Lankan Military officials. However, several reports anticipated the existence of LTTE had not been clearly wiped out from Sri Lanka. Some school of thought or specialist of international relations existed even after the destruction of the group in 2009. According to Winchester (2013), even some experts in international relations have doubts on the regrouping of Tamil Tigers secretly today. Thus the future redevelopment of LTTE cannot be completely dismantled.
Thus it can be concluded that the study had discussed the considerable contribution of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in ruining the global peace. Until the death of the leader of the group was, the group was very active in exercising insurgency affecting the social disorder and political balance of the two countries. Therefore, the study in order to analyze the ideology of a popular terrorism group called Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), had given a profile of the above mentioned terrorist organization. The discussion conducted a detail description of the organization beginning from the basic description. Hence the study parted the discussion into two sections. In the first section, the study threw light on the facts regarding the group and the second section thoroughly analyzed the exercises of the group. The facts section included several aspects such as the origin of the group, their ideology, leadership, organization structure, strategies, tactics, and main attacks and so on. On the other hand, the second part of the analysis threw light on the impact of the group’s activity while analyzing the future possibilities of the group.
References and Bibliography
Hashim, A., 2013. When counterinsurgency wins: Sri Lanka's defeat of the Tamil Tigers. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Hashim, A.S., 2018. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In Routledge Handbook of Terrorism and Counterterrorism(pp. 362-375). Routledge.
Hess, M. and Korf, B., 2014. Tamil diaspora and the political spaces of second?generation activism in Switzerland. Global Networks, 14(4), pp.419-437.
Hyndman, J. and Amarasingam, A., 2014. Touring “Terrorism”: Landscapes of Memory in Post?War Sri Lanka. Geography Compass, 8(8), pp.560-575.
Kruglanski, A.W., Bélanger, J.J., Gelfand, M., Gunaratna, R., Hettiarachchi, M., Reinares, F., Orehek, E., Sasota, J. and Sharvit, K., 2013. Terrorism—A (self) love story: Redirecting the significance quest can end violence. American Psychologist, 68(7), p.559.
Kruglanski, A.W., Gelfand, M.J., Bélanger, J.J., Gunaratna, R. and Hettiarachchi, M., 2014. De-radicalising the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE): some preliminary findings. International Journal of International Relation, 54(2), p.311
Kruglanski, A.W., Gelfand, M.J., Bélanger, J.J., Sheveland, A., Hetiarachchi, M. and Gunaratna, R., 2014. The psychology of radicalization and deradicalization: How significance quest impacts violent extremism. Political Psychology, 35, pp.69-93.
Mac Ginty, R., 2016. No war, no peace: the rejuvenation of stalled peace processes and peace accords. Springer.
Mackinlay, J., 2013. Globalisation and insurgency. Routledge.
Moorcraft, P., 2013. Total destruction of the Tamil Tigers: The rare victory of Sri Lanka’s long war. Pen & Sword Books Limited.
Murphy, M.N., 2013. Contemporary piracy and maritime terrorism: the threat to international security. Routledge.
Nalapat, M.D., 2013. Defeating terrorism—Why the Tamil Tigers lost Eelam… and how Sri Lanka won the war. JINSA Global Briefing.
Richards, J., 2014. An institutional history of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies-CCDP.
Thiranagama, S., 2014. Making Tigers from Tamils: Long?Distance Nationalism and Sri Lankan Tamils in Toronto. American Anthropologist, 116(2), pp.265-278.
Winchester, H.P., 2013. Landscapes: Ways of imagining the world. Routledge.
Young, J.K. and Dugan, L., 2014. Survival of the fittest: Why terrorist groups endure. Perspectives on Terrorism, 8(2), pp.2-23.
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