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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 28-Jan-2009
Sri Lanka crisis civil war nears climax, as army captures Mullaittivu

Web Log - January, 2009

Sri Lanka crisis civil war nears climax, as army captures Mullaittivu

An explosive battle among 300,000 civilians is feared.

I frequently use the phrase "explosive climax" on this web site to refer to the ending of a generational crisis war. Readers of this web site who have wondered what I meant may now be able to see an example in the current news.

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There are two or three generational crisis wars going on in the world today. One is in Darfur in Africa. This war continues without a climax because of "peacekeeping forces" by the United Nations and African Union, and the creation of massive refugee camps. What the United Nations and the African Union don't understand is that their actions are preventing the explosive climax that's required to end this war.

The Gaza war may or may not be called a crisis war at this point. There were plenty of genocidal acts on both sides in the recent battle between Israel and Hamas, but genocidal violence in its greatest form has not yet occurred. This will be a crisis war soon, but not just yet.

The Sri Lanka civil war is a crisis war that's approaching a conclusion.

Sri Lanka <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source:</font>
Sri Lanka (Source:

Three weeks after capturing one Tamil Tiger stronghold, in Kilinochchi, government forces have now captured the port city of Mullaittivu, the last major stronghold for the rebels.

The remaining army of about 2,000 fighters has been forced into smaller towns and into the jungle.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is a fairly standard war between two ethnic groups.

The civil war between the two Sri Lankan ethnic groups -- the market and government dominant Sinhalese vs marginalized Tamils.

The Sinhalese came to the island of Ceylon from northern India around 500 BC, and adopted the Buddhist religion around 300 BC, developing a great civilization. They speak the language Sinhala, and today they're about 70% of the population of Sri Lanka (the modern name for Ceylon).

The Tamils occupied the southern tip of India as early as 1000 BC, in what is now the Indian province of Tamil Nadu. They adopted the Hindu religion, and came to Ceylon in the 7th century AD. In the 14th century, they seized power in northern Ceylon and established a Tamil kingdom. They speak the Tamil language, and today they're about 10% of the population of Sri Lanka. (Muslims and Christians comprise the remainder of the population.)

The conflict began in 1976, with the formation of a separatist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), informally known as the Tamil Tiger rebels. The goal was and is an independent Tamil state on Sri Lanka. The LTTE began low-level terrorist attacks and battles with government forces in 1983, until a ceasefire was signed in 2002.

The ceasefire started falling apart in 2005, and violence took a big surge upward in summer 2006, while the world was watching the war in Lebanon, as I described at the time.

A significant change took place in January of last year, when the Sri Lanka government declared all out war against Tamil Tiger rebels, and committed itself to defeating and destroying the rebel movement by the end of 2008.

Now a year has gone by, and the LTTE army has suffered numerous defeats, and is confined to a small region in northeast Sri Lanka. There are hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians in the same region. The army has set up refugee camps or "safe zones," to which Tamil civilians may flee from the fighting.

So let's summarize the situation:

A Sri Lankan soldier poses in front of a defaced LTTE emblem in the captured district of Mullaittivu <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: AFP/Al-Jazeera)</font>
A Sri Lankan soldier poses in front of a defaced LTTE emblem in the captured district of Mullaittivu (Source: AFP/Al-Jazeera)

Here, Dear Reader, is where you can understand what the concept of an "explosive climax" is, and why it appears that Sri Lanka war is close to one.

In this kind of standoff, the 300,000 civilians are a pawn. Each side is going to claim that it's protecting the civilians, and that the other side is killing civilians.

And yet, neither side is going to permit any number of civilian deaths to stand in its way. This is a fight to the death, and civilians are simply collateral damage.

Thus, we have Sri Lankan government officials saying that 300 civilians have been killed and 1,110 injured in heavy fighting, and the fault is with the LTTE.

On the other hand, the LTTE claims that there government forces are firing into "safe zones," and that far more than 300 have been killed. They're also claiming that Sri Lankan soldiers are raping Tamil women who flee to the safe zones.

This is the mechanism by which a generational crisis war turns increasing genocidal, as time goes on. And you can see how the Gaza war is headed in the same direction, though it's not as far along.

If you want to understand how the world works, then you have to understand how this trend works. As gruesome as the Sri Lanka civil war is, it gives everyone a chance to see how this trend works in real time.

We can't be sure, but it now seems that the Sri Lanka war is headed for an "explosive" climax. The government forces will win, and the "explosive" part will be the recriminations over the number of civilians killed and injured, and possibly over "war crimes" such as rape.

Once the war climaxes, and winners and losers are identified, then Sri Lanka will change from a generational Crisis era to a generational Recovery era. The survivors will be horrified by what they've done, and they'll all vow that, as long as they're alive, it must never be permitted to happen again. And so the cycle will begin again.

The following video from al-Jazeera, titled "Inside Story - Is it the end for the Tamil Tigers? Jan 27," is an excellent report on the current situation in Sri Lanka. It's well work the 11 minutes it takes to watch it.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Sri Lanka crisis civil war thread of the Generational Dynamics forum.) (28-Jan-2009) Permanent Link
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