US embassy cable - 04CHENNAI294

LTTE SPLIT FESTERING WOUND SAY SOUTH INDIANS

Identifier: 04CHENNAI294
Wikileaks: View 04CHENNAI294 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Chennai
Created: 2004-03-19 06:35:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PTER PREL IN CE
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 190635Z MAR 04
FM AMCONSUL CHENNAI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0969
AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI
INFO AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
AMCONSUL CALCUTTA
AMCONSUL MUMBAI
AMEMBASSY OSLO
UNCLAS  CHENNAI 000294 
 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PTER, PREL, IN, CE 
SUBJECT: LTTE SPLIT FESTERING WOUND SAY SOUTH INDIANS 
 
REF:  A)03 CHENNAI 1441 
      B)03 CHENNAI 304 
      C)03 CHENNAI 1036 
 
1. (U) SUMMARY: The current split in the Liberation 
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) hamstrings the Sri Lankan 
peace process and might even degenerate into a 
"bloodbath," warned security analysts who met DAS 
Donald Camp during his May 15 visit to Chennai.  They 
predicted a standoff between Karuna, the better 
general, and Prabhakaran, the autocrat who brooks no 
dissent.  Indian state government officials foresaw an 
interruption of refugee repatriations.  All feared that 
a multi-polar state, ideal for breeding terrorists, 
might emerge.  END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
Analysts See Stalemate, Covert Ops, Muslim Alienation 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
2. (U) "This is going to lead to a stalemate that will 
hinder peace moves," lamented V. Suryanarayanan, former 
Director, Center for South East Asian Studies, 
University of Madras.  Other speakers at the Observer 
Research Foundation (ORF) expressed complementary 
views.  Colonel Hariharan, former Chief of Military 
Intelligence of the Indian peacekeeping Force in Sri 
Lanka, indicated that Karuna was a better general than 
Prabhakaran and would likely win any conventional 
confrontation.  So, he hypothesized that "a covert 
operation is likely to have already been launched" to 
assassinate Karuna.  B. Raman, former additional 
director of the Research and Analysis Wing (India's 
CIA), added that Karuna, no fool, would not have split 
from Prabhakaran unless he sensed growing popular 
discontent in the East against Prabhakaran's northern 
LTTE faction.  Raman added that Karuna must have 
believed that Prabhakaran planned to eliminate him so 
he defected, with a powerful force, while he still 
could. 
 
3. (U) ORF panelists described the current split as a 
defining event for the LTTE.  "The image that the LTTE 
is a monolithic structure is broken once and for all," 
V. Suryanrayanan noted.  The apparent failure of the 
LTTE's famed intelligence wing to prevent this crisis 
stunned the analysts.  "Looks like intelligence outfits 
of non-state actors are as fallible as their state 
counterparts," A.S. Paneerselvam, Sun Television 
network's chief news editor, observed.  T.S. 
Subramanium, special correspondent, Frontline Magazine, 
predicted that "Pottu (LTTE's Intelligence Chief) will 
pay with his life" for the oversight. 
 
4. (U) ORF panelists also predicted increasing 
alienation among Sri Lankan Muslims.  They noted that 
neither Prabhakaran nor Karuna offered Muslims hope of 
adequate representation in any government.  This, 
coupled with a growing sense of Muslim identity, 
virtually ensured alienation with potential for 
extremism.  The panel referenced previous calls for a 
"separate Muslim police force" and the flow of Gulf 
money to Sri Lanka as evidence.  They noted a "rich 
potential for radicalization," and hinted at others who 
would want to take advantage of the situation, gliding 
into references to what they called Lashkar-e-Toiba 
"sleeper cells" in South India and especially 
Hyderabad.  They implied that the Muslims of Eastern 
Sri Lanka could be ripe for such contacts. 
 
--------------------------------------------- - 
State Officials Fear For Security and Refugees 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
5. (U) "We are watching the situation for it has 
security implications for the state," Lakshmi Pranesh, 
Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) 
offered at a separate meeting between DAS Camp and GoTN 
officers.  Her statement echoed earlier reports of 
Indian concern (REF A).  The GoTN fears the LTTE split 
will stop the repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees from 
Tamil Nadu (REF B).  "We repatriated 1500 refugees last 
year," T. Pitchandi, Secretary Public and 
Rehabilitation, told DAS Camp.  The GoTN continues to 
work with the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in 
Chennai to facilitate issuing Sri Lankan travel 
documents for the refugees (REF C). 
 
6. (U) COMMENT: South Indian security experts have 
warned that the LTTE's split may signal a tectonic 
shift in Sri Lanka's political environment that could 
have international repercussions.  India's Tamil Nadu 
state has already considered the implications for its 
refugee population.  In the shadow of the current 
crisis, South India feels vulnerable to a break down in 
Sri Lanka.  END COMMENT. 
 
HAYNES 

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