CHAPTER TEN Jayadeva UyangodaA DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC of Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict is the determination displayed by both parties--the state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE)--in seeking a decisive military breakthrough. In terms of the commitment to war and intensity of the military activity demonstrated by the state as
well as by the LTTE, there is hardly a parallel anywhere in the world. Their mutual
determination is such that, unless a miracle occurs, the war is likely to continue
for many years.Against such a backdrop, a solution guaranteeing the minimum conditions for
peace and reconstruction would require the following two measures:
A Political Culture of Conflict
|1. ||Termination of the present war between the state and the LTTE through an
agreement between them.|
|2. ||A political agreement on the nature of ethnicity-based power-sharing and
its satisfactory implementation.|
Given the nature of the conflict, achieving these two goals will be exceedingly
difficult. The post-April 1995 phase of the conflict has been characterized by an
unrelenting escalation of violence.
1 Violence has not only bred further violence;
it has also reinforced the belief, equally shared by both parties to the conflict, that
a decisive outcome on the battlefield might have a direct bearing on a future political settlement. Maintaining parity in offensive capabilities, gaining control of new
or lost territory, and inflicting on the adversary maximum human and material
losses have thus become strategic objectives of both the Sri Lankan state and the
LTTE. There is no evidence to suggest that the two parties have reached, or are
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Creating Peace in Sri Lanka:Civil War and Reconciliation.
Contributors: Robert I. Rotberg - Editor.
Publisher: Brookings Institutuion.
Place of publication: Cambridge, MA.
Publication year: 1999.
Page number: 157.
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